Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Keith Richards

I was so bummed that I forgot to initially include that Keith Richards / Rolling Stones' video on the Blues (in Britain) at the end of my last post until after it sailed off into the universe, I decided to post it again.  Along with it, I give you a fast portrait drawing of Keith from a shot at the very end of the clip after he dispenses the bit of wisdom below.

Here it is done in black ink.  One of my favorite rocker dudes ever to grace the planet.

"I mean, what do you want to do in this world, ya' know?  
Why did you start it?  
How do you want to finish it?  
Now that's the blues."

Keith Richards talks about The Blues in Britain:

Monday, July 28, 2014

You Make Me Giggle

I've been working on this little fellow for awhile.  I usually do have a little piece sitting on the side that I add and add to while working on other things, while listening to music, while daydreaming, or in my case I should say, nightdreaming before sleeping.

What is it saying?  "You make me giggle,"  "Don't make me laugh,"  "Mum's the word," "I was just thinking of you," "Oops, I just let a fluffy?"  I left a glimpse of a little Anthropologie bowl on top of its head--thought it looked like a cute little hat. (-:


in this case, I finished this fellow after re-listening to this fantastic podcast that my friend, Tanja, clued me into: Marc Maron interviewing Roseanne Cash.  Start listening at about 13 minutes in order to bypass commercials/and intro.

I was listening to it driving home from Chicago last Saturday, but I couldn't always concentrate on it, seeing as how I was avoiding potential collisions on the highway.  Around about 40 minutes, they start talking about the blues, and Marc says this:  "The power of the blues to ease your heart is so fucking phenomenal." My sentiments exactly, baby.  They go on to talk about being an artist, and an artist's life, saying how it's impossible to quit being an artist...well, man, listen for yourself.

At one point, Marc mentions the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and the Stones' "Love in Vain" playing.  And, since the Rolling Stones are one of the biggest lovers and promoters of the original blues singers (and Mick Jagger is one of the producers for the James Brown biopic, "Get on Up") let's have you listen to it below, o.k.?  O.K.  Maybe you can let your mind wander, and you can draw your own little creature.

"Love in Vain"  Rolling Stones

THE CLASSIC:  Robert Johnson, "Love in Vain"

Eh, this sucks.  I wrote this blog, and probably anyone who checked it already won't be checkin' in on this post again, but here's one more thing I wished I had added before:  Keith Richards talking about the Blues in Britain.  Geez, Louise!  How did this feathery fellow become my dissertation on the blues?  Sorry, folks, but you know, I always like a good mind meandering!

Blueberry Pie

Go read about this beauty on my other blog: http://www.listentomepielady.blogspot.com. (-;

Throw-Together Blueberry Pie

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I Will Call Myself Madonna

I had this old drawing I had done about 6 years ago and thought I would give him a makeover. However, he somehow morphed into a young Madonna.  I said to the picture, what happened here?  What is the story behind this metamorphosis?  Cue music:  "...and here's what she said to me..."  No, not "que, sera, sera," but "Get into the groove..."  and then she reminisced about a life-altering event in the local discount store in Michigan long ago:

Fifteen-year-old Madonna Louise Ciccone stared at the blue wigs in her local Woolworth's store.  She was supposed to be there to get her new school supplies for her sophomore year, but she had other thoughts in her mind such as, what was she to wear for her upcoming school yearbook pictures?  Should she dare don that bright yellow tube top staring at her from the clothing section?  It most definitely accented her newly-developed curves so it was definitely a contender.  That idea, however, was thrown out the proverbial window when she donned one of those blue wigs.  She looked at herself in the small, circular metal mirror on the shelf and was entranced--why, even Narcissus would have been jealous!  A feeling of what she should do in her future washed over her:  I will become famous world-wide, a controversial superstar, provocatively sexual, and unerringly magnetic.  And then, the bubbling fervor of self-knowledge flew forth aloud from her lips, right there in the cluttered five-and-dime store aisle she said for all to hear: 
"I will call myself...Madonna." 

The original from years ago:

"Get into the Groove"

Friday, July 18, 2014

Susan Andrea Warmington - Jazzmaican

My friend, Susan Andrea Warmington just released a beautiful jazz CD available at CDbaby.  Jamaican-born, and beautiful inside and out, she is an amazing vocalist! Click the link, and take a listen.

From the Album Notes:

Susan Andrea Warmington is a Jamaican born, American based, Jazz Singer whose style is sunny and warm, yet emotional and expressive. All the songs were recorded and produced in Jamaica at the famed Tuff Gong Studios with wonderful Jamaican Jazz Musicians and shows the great diverse musicianship that the beautiful island offers. Susan herself is classically trained but has chosen Jazz as the primary way of expressing her Voice. On her debut EP, JAZZMAICAN she sings the Peggy Lee classic "I Don't Know Enough About You" with Jamaican Jazz legend, Ernest Ranglin among other lovely ditties with her friends.

Susan Andrea Warmington | Jazzmaican

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Floppy Hat over Cool Blues

Hmm.  I have nothing to say about this fellow, except that I really like him.  Ha!  You just know that he was out in the fields, rolling up hay bales or coming in from riding his horse all over some mountains in Montana, weary from corralling cattle and newborn calves.  Anyway, that's what I think. (-;

Friday, July 11, 2014

Songs to Draw From - Talking Heads - "This Must Be the Place"

The Brooklyn Art Library's Sketchbook Project always offers so many great projects and challenges (free and otherwise) to inspire the world to make art at every turn.  Today is the last day to participate in their latest offering, in collaboration with Diner Journal magazine, but you still have a few hours to get inspired and get something in the mail.  Here's the link:  songs to draw from.  Check it out to see everyone's outcome.

Here's my contribution to their latest challenge (fuzzy, original 1983 video at bottom)--

My interpretation of the Talking Heads song, "This Must Be the Place."

My first rough sketch--shoot, now that I'm looking at it, I forget to include that love hammer to the head!  Oh well, c'est la vie.

This Must Be The Place

Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me around
I feel numb, burn with a weak heart
Guess I must be having fun

The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground, head in the sky
It's okay, I know nothing's wrong, nothing

I got plenty of time
You got light in your eyes
And you're standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money, always for love
Cover up and say goodnight, say goodnight

Home, is where I want to be
But I guess I'm already there
I come home, she lifted up her wings
I guess that this must be the place

I can't tell one from the other
I find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this is where I'll be, where I'll be

We drift in and out
Sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view

I'm just an animal looking for a home
And share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I'm dead

Eyes that light up
Eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head
This Must Be The Place lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Hope Floats and Soul Feels--really, there's an explanation for this!

I can just feel people worried about my mental state on this one.  I actually painted this in June, right after that "Phone Call in Red."  I did the same thing, saturating the Bristol page with copious amounts of water, but to a greater degree this time around.  I painted this one in green ink, and almost wished I had left it alone right there.  Something with the running green and starkness of white appealed to me, but I kept going. 

It made me think of the 1956 French Picasso documentary, "Le Mystere Picasso" ("The Mystery of Picasso"),--NOT that I think I'm Picasso!  But towards the end of the film, he paints a picture and you want him to just stop.  It's wonderful.  But he keeps going...and there's another moment where you think, STOP!  You'll ruin it!  And onward he goes, painting over, blocking out, on and on, until even he admits that on this one, he went too far.  He couldn't save it any longer.  But as I lost my first strictly green and white painting, the one where the eyes conveyed more apprehension than sadness, I thought of Pablo.  And then I thought, maybe you can never get to be a great artist, or at least the best artist you can be, if you're not willing to destroy your own art.

I read once where someone said you should show the process of your creations.  And I do, at times.  But more often than not, I have entered some sort of Zen zone.  Even I don't know what I'm creating.  Most of the time I don't.  And in those moments, I never think to myself to stop and take a picture of what I'm doing.  I WISH I had that green and white photo, but as Al Pacino said of the NYC rooftop playgrounds of his youth, "that world is gone."

I have some need to explain what this is about, but why?  Is it less artistic, because I feel that I want to explain?  On one hand, because I'm not a stop, take-a-picture-along-the-way painter, I think that my words are my photo timeline.

Anyway, people think I'm off my rocker, but it's my blessing/curse of feeling deeply that's at work, not mental illness. 

I WAS watching the 2008 film, "Hope Floats" with Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. two Saturdays ago.  That film is a tough one to watch.  I think it's great, but there often is one humiliating event after emotional upheaval after another.  I have to admit, I was crying hard, and that green running around the nose--well, it couldn't be more apropos, because that's the exact, snotty cry I was having.

I saw shapes within the background of ghostly, strange figures, and I brought them forward.  I wanted to post this pic, but I actually feared people would think, "Geez, she's SO depressing."  OR, it could be like the old lady, who upon seeing a painting of mine (which is a little scary) in a recent art show, loudly saying, "Oh, I don't like this kind of art."  Oh my gosh, I actually cracked up on that one as I watched and heard her reaction.

You see, my sweet paintings are much more popular, but I don't always feel that way.  And I don't always want to paint that way.  What I want to do is get rid of the knot inside of me that builds with more complex emotions, and that only happens by painting and releasing those feelings.  See the basket on the girl's cheek?  I wanted to indicate that I feel the need to catch all of my emotions--not just the happy ones.  The curious, critical figures to the right?  They're the ones I feared judgment from.  The woman creation is frustrated--she just wants happy art.  The man is trying to figure out what the hell is happening.  Look, these people represent no one.  Just the meandering contemplations of my mind.  At this point in my life, the majority of time I am pretty much past the judgments; but for this one, one that is so personal, I felt overly exposed, raw...I didn't want to post it, and I actually was surprised at myself for feeling so trepidatious.

To the left...the hands and arms encircling/supporting "HOPE" that is floating.  Seems good in theory, but sometimes, you eye that concept from a distance...is it really possible?  Because I'd be lying if I didn't say at times I doubt it (Hope, that is).  I think, try to recall all I've watched and read in "The Secret," but baby, a veces (sometime), it's hard.

My favorite line of the entire movie comes from Harry Connick, Jr.'s character, Justin Matisse.  Sandra Bullock, upon realizing how talented he is with building houses, tells him he should try to make money from his talent rather than just going around painting walls.  He tells her (regarding the exploitation of your talent/dream) the following: 
"You find something you love and you twist it and torture it and try to make money at it. And at the end, you can't find a trace of what you started out loving."
Maybe that's what I'm trying to say, too.  I have to make these, non-pleasant things.  In the end, they mean more to me than all the pretty ones.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hope you had a great Fourth of July

I had a whirlwind weekend with family this past holiday.  As we were waiting for the fireworks to start, I drew this of my cousin's blackboard-painted door in her kitchen.  He's cheering to the day, probably with a limeade...or a margarita, who knows? (-;

I included my Aunt Judy in the picture since we were teasing her about her road trip escapades.  Hope you celebrated our country's independence in style.  And I hope, all of us remember the delicacy of state and the tremendous freedom we have been given.  May we NEVER take it for granted.



Friday, July 4, 2014

Woman in Her Blossom Hat

A little bit of time plus the following equals this little lady:  Piece of extra paper, oil, pastel, ink, glitter, charcoal, acrylic, watercolor pencil, and leftover paper from a bar of soap from Anthropologie.  Yes, it's true!  I like to use it all! 

I recently cleaned off my entire desk, and then found I was stymied.  I need all my "stuff" around me and easily available.  Being organized does not work for the way I work!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summertime Sweetness

My art has been a little serious of late.  So instead, here's a little sweetness for your summertime.   (-: 

I think this little one is saying, "I'm going this way."
And then I think of that beautiful Italian word Elizabeth Gilbert used in 
Eat, Pray, Love, "Attraversiamo" (let’s cross over).   
To what you ask?  Well, to unbridled happiness, bien sûr!
(Of course!  This time a little French for you.  What can I say?  As America's Independence Day approaches, I'm feeling international, because we are, after all, made up of everywhere.) (-:
Eat, Pray, Love, "Attraversiamo"

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Phone Call in Red

I found myself, one recent hazy day after watching an old movie, wanting to experiment with painting in one color.  I wet down some Bristol paper quite abundantly and used only red.  At the last minute, I added a smeary pastel of yellow to mimic the glow from old fluorescent bulbs.  The result satisfied my meandering mind and momentary meditative need for quietude.  Ah, how I love alliteration!

Phone Call in Red

Sunday, June 22, 2014


What happens when a bunch of hens start clucking?  Cacklephony.  Ah, ha, ha, ha! (-;


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Phyllis, A Winter Day, and Her Easy Chair

Here, finally, is a commissioned piece for my friend Phyllis Natanek.  She belongs to a local art league we are both in, and she is a wonderful artist (as is her husband, Richard.)  She had the idea of what she wanted, and she composed the poem as well.  It was just up to me to figure out the final details, how to incorporate the poem, and inject my style.  She probably thought it was never coming her way.  In truth, I have been working on it on and off for quite awhile.

I had spent a lot of time on a previous version, and even though it wasn't working, I kept at it since I had already invested so much time.  No wonder I could never complete it...it didn't feel "right."  I finally abandoned it, and began this more "wackadoo" version which fits me much better.  I just spent about 1/2 hour going through my computer images, but I guess I never did take a picture of that first, realistic attempt.  Check out my last image her, and you can see where I had drawn over the first picture (I actually painted white all over it in frustration, but you can still see the former outline.)  I'm not sure if you can see it, but I put texture into that blanket to give it some fluffiness.

Okay, Phyllis.  Thanks for hanging on so long! 

My initial attempt, lines faintly visible under a white overcoat, and then the genesis of the final version.

Here is one of Phyllis' most recent paintings:

'Oblivious to Alien Fungi and The Storm, the Dung Beetle Soldiered On'.
Acrylic on Canvas. 18 x 24.

Photo: 'Oblivious to Alien Fungi and The Storm, the Dung Beetle Soldiered On'. Final version. Acrylic on Canvas. 18 x 24.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Enervating Return

I'm tired. 

Maybe it's because we had an all-day event at the hospital yesterday (all's well now).  That procedure combined with an art show last week has me moving in slow motion, or as my former Spanish student Morgan used to say, "walking through pudding."  And it's hot out...muggy.  I say to myself, I just want to be quiet in this pudding state. 

I was starting to formulate words for this post while I walked my dog.  A song started playing in my head from the 1996 movie, "Picture Perfect" with Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Bacon.  The two are sitting at a tennis match at about 34:57 when you hear:

"Now I'm quiet, quiet as a mouse can be,
but inside my head it's loud as a cavalry." 

(By the way, no matter what way I Google this with "Lyrics" or "soundtrack," I can't figure out the name so help me if you know it.)  Regardless, this was way too chipper of a melody to go with my feelings.  Then I smelled the heavy scent of petunias in the sticky night and saw lightning bugs hovering lazily over the grass, and I thought, "Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air."  Yes, that reflected my feelings better.

Anyway, perhaps this is why I'm finding myself in my last two posts drawing tired, gritty men at the end of a long journey.  This latest painting looks to me like a Chinese warrior (but he doesn't look Chinese) coming home, snowflakes or swirling buds lending a dreaminess to what awaits him.  It's been quite some time since I've seen Zhang Yimou's, "House of Flying Daggers," (2004), but that's what it reminds me of.  By the way, if you haven't seen that movie, it is magical, mystical, tragic, and painfully beautiful.  Do yourself a favor and watch it.  I think I'll re-watch it myself soon, followed by a long sleep to shake this ennui.

"House of Flying Daggers"

The Eagles - "Hotel California"

Friday, June 13, 2014

Upcoming Art Show - Cantigny Art in Bloom

Hello, darling people!  I have an art show this weekend, June 14th and 15th at Cantigny Art in Bloom in Wheaton, IL (outside of Chicago).  I'll be posting upcoming pictures soon!  Why am I up at 12:40 a.m.?  Because no matter how prepared I think I am, there's always more, more, more to do!  Here's some more info. in you're in the vicinity--Oh!  And I'll be at booth 74!!

Cantigny is a 500-acre park and part of the Chicago-based McCormick Foundation. It is home to two museums, formal gardens, picnic grounds, restaurants and 27 holes of championship golf. 8,000 people expected.
1 S. 151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL 60189
Saturday, June 14th 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 15th 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Click here for their website:  Cantigny Gardens
And in keeping with my continued artistic diligence, here's a little blast from the '70's. 
Andrea True Connection, "More, More, More"
Can't you just smell your Coppertone Suntan lotion
sizzling away in the sun
with this playing on your transistor radio? 
Oh yeah!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Painted birdhouse

Below is a birdhouse I painted as a donated piece of art work for an organization named "Shine."  It puts a spotlight on young artists and their instructors.  Here's their link for more information: Shine and other artists who are involved.

Mine includes one of my all-time favorite French sayings, "Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid."  In English, "Little by little a bird builds its nest" or every bit helps.  I prefer to think of it as a reminder to any sort of achievement...one step at a time!  I have another painting in mind for that saying, so it will be appearing again in a completely different form.

I took some pictures indoors and some outdoors so here are versions of both.  I still don't think I captured the colors on camera like I would have liked to have had.




Thursday, May 29, 2014

Out of the Blue

I think I've discovered something...the angle that I'm drawing at, or rather the angle my drawings/paintings turn out like (bad sentence structure, I know) is due to the way I'm drawing at my desk.  I have a huge, oversized easel, but instead I'm drawing in a tiny space, lying my canvas or paper over bottles and tubes, a mini-7UP can, mounting tape, splintered popcicle sticks, whatever! 

Actually, maybe this is just an excuse, and I'm just a lopsided creator! ha!  Anyway, I'll just keep sticking to my own style--these portraits feel more alive to me, somehow, in their "skewness."

Spent lots of time on this one--gouache, ink, acrylic, pastel, oil stick--just kept adding to her.

Look how my different camera-angle taking gave this chiquita a completely different look. 

Different angle:
Here's how this picture started.  I accidentally rolled over a pastel stick and crushed it into my wooden floor.  Rather than waste such a precious material, I smeared it on various pieces of paper.  That's how this painting began.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tommy Kane

This past month I participated in Sketchbook Skool (yes, that's spelled correctly), an online sketchbook class created by Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene.  Over 6 weeks, both of those well-known sketchers, along with Prashant Miranda, Jane LaFazio, Roz Stendahl, and Tommy Kane generously shared their tips for sketchbook drawing.  They are all fantastic, of course!  And they all offer different approaches to this art.  I've been following Danny Gregory ever since he published his inspiring book, "Everyday Matters."  I came across Tommy Kane right after Danny and have several of his prints.  I could slobber over all of them, but I'll let you discover them by yourself!  Plus, to be honest, it's 1:41 a.m., and I'm tired.  Here are their websites.

http://rozwoundup.typepad.com/ or http://rozworks.com/
and finally http://tommykane.com/

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Tommy:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Buddy Guy

I woke up this morning at 6:10 a.m., an unheard of event...well, not unheard of. Wait, let me begin again.  I woke up this morning at 6:10 a.m. feeling refreshed and well-rested.  Yes, that's more like it.

Yesterday, Saturday, I slept 13 hours!   I woke up briefly at 8 a.m. and still felt exhausted, and I crawled back into bed and slept until 2:15 p.m.!  I hadn't felt well at the end of the work week and my hound way lying next to me like an insulator (my husband long ago had went to work), both leading me into a brief coma.

As you can imagine, the day unfolded quite languorously.  Around 5 p.m., I found myself watching Cadillac Records, about the great blues label run by Leonard Chess in Chicago that helped launch Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, Willie Dixon and Etta James.  No one represented Buddy in the film, but he's a Chicago Bluesman through and through and was heavily influenced by all these greats.  Anyway, watching it reminded me of Buddy, which led me to rewatch a favorite part of Martin Scorsese's 2005 rockumentary of the Rolling Stones (playing at the Beacon Theatre in New York City), Shine A Light.  The next step of course, was that I needed to paint Buddy Guy as he appeared in that film, during the playing of Muddy Water's hit, "Champagne and Reefer."

Feeeeeeeeeeeeeel the power of his voice and guitar playing.  Oh, so wonderful to behold visceral virtuosity, no?  I've seen Buddy twice in person.  The first time was at Alpine Valley, playing with Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Vaughan, and Robert Cray, the night before SRV's fatal crash.  Ugh, I can barely type it even 14 years later.  The second time was 2007 in Bridgeview, IL at Eric Clapton's "Crossroads" Guitar Festival.  (I was thinking I saw him once more playing at Kingston Mines in Chicago, but perhaps I'm hallucinating.)  Anyway, he is always, always phenomenal.

"Champagne and Reefer" from Shine A Light featuring Buddy Guy:

Here's a little blast from the past.  One of the drawings I did for my 2010 Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook project, "Coffee and Cigarettes," was Keith Richards spitting out his cigarette during that same song.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Gossipy Creatures

This piece has been sitting on my desktop for quite awhile.  I coated some cardboard with some modelling paste still on my fingers from another painting I had done and didn't want to scrape it back into the jar.  I worked on it, set it aside, picked it up again when I wanted to paint, but didn't want to launch into anything major.  I've worked and worked on this little piece.

I wasn't sure how it was going to shape up or what it was, but it started to emerge from the background of paint smears I had put on it.

I call it "Gossipy Creatures."  I wanted to make the figure on the left not look so intent, I considered making that mouth upturn a bit, but I liked the worried/distant look in it's eyes, so I left it alone.  Maybe I was influenced by my co-worker, Crystal's, recent reading of Othello for her reading class.  That bird has a little glint of Iago, me thinks...or not. ha!

Just got back from walking the dog before I head off to work.  I was thinking about Othello while I wandered. I remember my high school English teacher, Miss Driscoll, having us read that play and requiring us to memorize long passages of Shakespearean verse, soliloquies filled with elaborate language beyond our capacities, but then upon comprehension, within our means.  God bless those teachers who filled us with terror and demand, who pushed ourselves and our brains.  We are always capable of so much more than we think or are required to do. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

You Can Do It, You Did It!

I have several commissioned pieces I am finishing up this month and next.  The first is from a co-worker, Diane, who volunteers as an adult-learning tutor.  Diane began with one of her students as she helped the girl earn her GED (General Education Development) high school equivalency diploma.  From there, she has encouraged her protégée throughout her college career, and on Saturday, this young woman with earn her Associates Degree in college.  Isn't that an inspiring story?

I tried to do several things here.  I wanted to give the diploma and it's lettering a "parchment" paper/old style look.  Diane used to tell her, "You can do it" and when she reached certain achievements, "You did it."  Diane also had given her a turtle charm bracelet inscribed with the "you can do it" motto on its back so I wanted to include that. 

The graduate also likes fairies.  I thought this was so apropos, because it is a representative of magical possibility.  Can't you imagine yourself clinging to an image like that as you begin a long journey from no high school diploma to graduating from college?  It makes me want to cry for what she's achieved.  Anyway, I thought I would give her a floating turtle to represent both a mythical and an earthbound symbol of determination, hard work, and magical reward.

Diane was also her encourager along the slow, plodding path of class building upon class.  She was her "human" turtle so I gave her shirt the same green color of that sweet creature.  Finally, our college's color is purple so the graduate is clad in it along with some purple thrown into the background.  So there you have it!

Oil Pastel and Ink
9" x 12"