Friday, September 29, 2006

Getting the Big Head

I am not one to brag about my accomplishments, so I was a little nervous about the presentation for Texas Clinic, a new medical facility I am creating lobby art for. The meeting was to introduce specific components of the building to the tenants who will be occupying it. The design firm began the meeting, describing the concept, and all the elements that went into the initial design. They reviewed surfaces, flooring, walls, colors, patterns, lighting, medical instruments, construction elements, and artwork. I was introduced by Henry Brilliant, who really was the star of the show. His description of me far outdid anything I could have said about myself. Yes, I got the big head!

It was a great opportunity to meet people. I rarely get to work with individuals. These are the people who will occupy the space. They want a say in how their offices are decorated. Several asked me if I could help them. Since I was an art consultant before I began painting, I have the experience to do the whole project. Basically that includes a preliminary meeting to walk the space and determine their budget. Next I would submit a proposal based on my own artwork. If I can't satisfy them on my own, I have a world of artist friends to recommend. I can handle all the framing, and installation. Package deal, which is what most people want. It will do me good to get back out in the world.

Got a couple new commissions yesterday, total of almost 20 pcs. Am also working on a restaurant project with resin boxes. I will get to use the fabulous photos I took of fishing nets in France.

Still developing concepts for the cancer center in NY. Have received more info about the light boxes, and I'm playing with resin and plexi combinations.

I have started the tedious process of organizing all my photos and transferring to my new giant hard drive system. Thank goodness I bought a book that is helping me step by step.

I canceled the trip to Denver. Seems an early snow spoiled the fall color. And the hotel I am working with there felt like I had already submitted enough appropriate imagery.

And I'm off for the weekend to my neighbor's lakehouse in East Texas!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Scratch That Itch

I have a travel bug.

I know I just got back from a family trip, but I'm painting tropical palm trees and missing an artist's retreat in the fall colors of the White Mountains, AZ. Some of this may be due to my new high def flat screen TV. I've modified the color settings so that it's saturated. CSI Miami is WOW! But I look outside and my yard is worn out from the hot dry summer. I don't want to be here. I'm itchy.

I have a plane ticket to Denver on hold. For under $200 it would be great to take my camera to the mountains! But I've read the fall color report, and it seems that recent snows has ruined the unsually spectacular aspen show.

Inspiration of the day: COLOR

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Moment of Truth

I was astounded at the personal emails I received as a result of yesterday's posting about my father. Thank you one and all -- for the comments, advice and sharing. I know the solutions intellectually, but don't seem to be able to put them into place.

So I move on:

Never underestimate the power of painting! This is a lush tropical scene with saturated colors. Big enough to work my whole arm in flurries of strokes representing palm fronds. It's fun!

My meeting for the Texas Clinic is tomorrow, and I have put together some handouts and a portfolio of very assorted images. These are all doctors, and will assuredly have their own ideas on what art to have in their offices. I haven't done a presentation in a very long time, so I am looking forward to it.

Don't have the trip to Denver scheduled yet, but am ready to go up there to do a photo shoot. If I wait too long it will all be snow-covered!

My recovered hard drive should be on it's way back to me. They were able to rescue all my data, and I'm glad. Although I did have a back up, it wasn't quite current enough. So when my drive arrives I will put my new storage device into the system and will be constantly backed up. That will be a relief to me. Also have a huge UPS (uninterruptible power supply) coming in a few days.

I started a new eating plan yesterday, with the intention of taking off the 15 pounds that have crept up on me since I haven't been vigilant about my thyroid medication. Today is Day Two, and I am feeling virtuous. Which is easy on the second day.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Quickly Unable

Spam emails are easily identified. I just received one with the title from this post "Quickly Unable". There's something interesting about the combination of those two words.

I am fresh from a trip to south Texas to see my 91 year old father. I always approach these visits with the idea that this time will be different and he will be nice to me, and maybe even like something about me. It never fails, I am "quickly unable" to please him.

My goal was to have some new abstracts done yesterday, but I didn't have the heart for it, I kept reaching for black paint. So I put that project away.

This Monday morning I am preparing for my Wednesday meeting to present my ideas for artwork for Texas clinic. I am presenting to the new tenants of the building for their individual suites, so I will take an assortment of paintings, since I don't know what styles they prefer.

Also this morning I am painting palm trees again, a big 36 x 48. I bought a roll of oversized paper and start by gessoing, so it will lay flat. Getting into the rhythm of painting always soothes me. And this morning I could use some soothing.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Site Specific Art

A client called me yesterday asking for very specific imagery for a hotel in Denver. Truth be told I haven't been to Denver in a long time, certainly not since I bought a high-res digital camera. The last photos I took there were film, and just personal travel shots. I doubt that I could even locate them. So I made a proposal to fly to Denver if the hotel will provide a free room, and I'll take all the shots they want if they promise to buy a certain dollar value of photography from me. Doesn't that sound like a win-win? I get to go to Colorado (I want to anyway) and add to my growing database of professional images, and they get the exact photos they want.

I'm having my new TV and sound system installed today. I remember the days you could buy a TV, bring it home, plug it in and watch it. Everything is so much more complicated these days, especially since I have a whole surround sound system. What a mess.

I'm throwing a few things in a carryon and flying to south Texas this afternoon. It's a family visit to see my dad, sister and niece. It's a short visit, I'll be home on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hotel Installations

Marriott Waverly reception desk, Atlanta, GA

When I do commissioned work for hotels it invariably is a long process. First the designer decides on the paintings, and provides sizes. I quote to my client (art consultant). Then I forget about it and go on to the next thing. Some months later I will receive a purchase order. Sometimes so much time has passed that I don't even remember it and I have to look through my files to refresh my memory. Occasionally I have quoted something that I don't even remember how to do. Regardless, at this point I usually have a very short deadline. This is because I don't get a purchase order until my client (art consultant) has received a PO and a deposit check from the design firm or purchasing agent.

The installation above is a good example of this. There are eleven pieces, abstract paintings on wood platforms. When I painted this job some months ago, I had about two weeks fabrication time. I was pressured daily to provide digital images of the work so that it could be approved as I painted it. It was a relief to finish the commission. I assumed it would be installed within a week, but almost two months have passed and just today I received photos of the paintings which were installed last week.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Art in Hospitals

My newest project is in New Jersey. I am working with a NYC designer, who apparently has been through at least one other artist. There are two 24 foot walls of lightboxes, divided into six foot sections, and one 10 foot wall in 5 foot sections. The designer wants something similar to my photo panels only I will have to work on plexi. It is a challenge for me -- one that I welcome. My background in stained glass certainly comes into play here, for the knowledge of how transmitted light affects the appearance of the panels.

I couldn't be happier!

And since all things go in cycles (with me at least), I quoted a new healthcare project yesterday which is located in North Carolina, four 22 foot long canvases, plus two 3' x 5' paintings. Looks like my fall season will be busy.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Who's Buying Art

As the economy changes, certain segments expand, and others contract. The intense scrutiny of corporate America has slowed the purchases of paintings for offices. Healthcare is hot, however. I recently joined the Society of Arts in Healthcare as an artist member. I now receive emails from others in that field, and have discovered a whole new world of which original artwork is a vital part. I am well aware of the healing properties of art, based on our bodies reactions to color, shape and form. Now I am studying further, to increase my knowledge of this vital field.

I have two appointments this Monday morning, one with the designers for the hotel in California the abstracted beach scene painting was designed for. Since they didn't like the original painting, they want to develop just the one bottom corner of it, the people section. We're meeting to discuss what changes they want. The second appointment is with another design firm I painted samples for last week. This is for an abstract color field painting. Since the painting is so minimal, they are concerned with the texture of the piece. I did 8 small swatches, and they have picked one. Hope they understand that it will look different once it's painted full size (25x28).

Then I am working on new abstracts. Just playing at this point, but I have something in my mind I am trying to get out. Again, very minimal. We'll see.

Also working on several commissions. Palm trees for a Florida hotel, abstracts and mixed media pieces. Also designing some new abstracted horse images. Lots going on -- mostly in my head right now!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Website Marketing

We all know that the internet has replaced all other forms of advertising as a way to market products and services. I rarely advertise in any way other than keeping my website updated, and this blog, of course.

Last year I posted a link to my website on an online interior design magazine. It was free and I haven't given it much thought until yesterday, when I got a call from a local architecture firm who had seen the listing. And today I received a call from a designer in NYC working on a large cancer center in New Jersey. She looked at my website and found exactly what she was looking for, and asked if I could come up to NY. I always grab any chance to go to the city, but I think I'll wait until I receive the package of specifications before I book a ticket.

Bottom line, interior designers are looking for art. Gotta get my name out there.

Something You Can't Teach

I'm spending Thanksgiving in Santa Fe again this year, and since I'll be there for more than two weeks I searched through to find a photography or painting workshop during that time. In the search I came upon the photography of Leslie Bryn Alsheimer . This kind of talent can't be taught. I'm sure she's well educated in the technical aspects of photography and post processing in Photoshop, but where she shines is in her unique viewpoint. Literally.

Still painting in the studio, have new commissions that arrived yesterday, so I'm happy about that. My work schedule has not been so frenetic lately, and I'm glad. Weekends are starting to be actual breaks instead of just more workdays. It's almost cool enough to get out in the yard again, and I'm planning new garden arrangements. Artwork for the yard!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Digital Asset Management

Everybody knows how important it is to backup digital files. As a photographer, it's foremost on my mind. So I have an assortment of hard drive arrays trying to manage an ever growing database of files.

I recently invested in a huge hard drive system with four drives which somehow rotate all the files so that if one of the drives fails it doesn't matter since the info is repeated on another drive. You just pop out the old drive and put in a new one. At least in theory.

The new book on "DAM" is overwhelming me. I've been reading it all week in preparation for transferring and renaming my files onto my new drives in a very organized system. Everything was falling into place to set up my library of image files. Then my main drive failed. I noticed it this morning. It just wouldn't power up. And it's only three months old. So I was caught between backups.

This has happened to me before, so I'm not panicking this time. I just packed off the drive, and sent it off to be analyzed. Just takes a couple days and I'll know what went wrong and if it can be recovered. I do have many DVD backups -- but not of anything I've done in the past two weeks.

I'm taking the time to get back in the studio. I have some commissions to paint. Also talked to my giclee publisher at Metroartworks and he's really wanting some new work from me. So that's a good incentive to develop something new.

Yes, still in the back of my mind is that fear -- are my files gone?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I promised to post photos from the grid paintings I had to rip the collage photography off of and paint realistically. I strung that process out for days, just because I had a bad attitude. These are two of the three. Haven't had any feedback after delivery, so I guess they are approved by the client.

I wonder why some clients pay immediately and some hold on to payment until you hound them? They should realize that I (like most people) are motivated by money. I say that because of one client who I like a lot, very easy to work with, always compliments me on the work I do for them, but they don't always remember to pay me! Money talks.

Had a great meeting yesterday with the new design firm. Their offices were totally wild! Black velvet curtains cordoned off the reception area, which is all white with a black grand piano. When clients are in the building they run slideshows of past projects on the walls - which I thought was a very cool idea. The conference "rooms" were round pods with banquettes and fluffy pillows, all white with white fringe curtains, the kind of fringe from a graduation cap, only 6 feet long. Looks very much like a nightclub, really. Great creative environment.

I have a meeting on the 27th to do a presentation to tenants of the new medical office building, Texas Clinic. I am already doing commissions for all the public spaces, but this meeting is for the people who will occupy the space. I expect they all will have different tastes, but the building itself is very contemporary. That will be a challenge for me, since I don't usually deal directly with the endusers. Jeez, I wonder if I should go buy a power suit?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Day to Do Things

Some days you know are special, some are significant, some are sad. So it was with the five year anniversary of what Americans have dubbed "9/11".

Today is just a day to do things. After complaining to my good friend that I had no commission work in the studio, I got an out-of-the-blue phone call from a designer I don't know. She's local and found me on the internet. Her firm is designing a bank in a small town about an hour and a half from Dallas, and she wants to commission some art. I love getting a new client that way - with no effort on my part at all.

This morning I have a meeting downtown (I'll take my camera) with another new client, for the healthcare facility that I will be working on soon. This one is with Henry Brilliant, the guy who saw my work at a local hospital and decided I was the perfect artist for him -- for a long-term collaboration. I met him for the first time last week, and it was like we were old friends. The design firm is very cutting edge, and will be a good partnership going forward.

Also got a phone call at 7:00 last night, placing an order for six paintings that I quoted last week, so the studio is booked again - yay!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Creative Manifestation

I don't know why I am so surprised everytime this happens. It's often enough that I should expect it.

Last weekend I created a concept piece that I posted here, the Western images on boxes with resin. Today I received a request for quote for 9 resin boxes, arranged in a grid, similar to my piece, only these are all horses. Amazing.

And this afternoon a client called looking for photography from the San Francisco area.

I'm feeling blessed.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

September is the New January

As things get cranking for the fall season, hotel companies are scrambling to spend their budgets before the end of the year, art and craft fairs are filling local parks, and the general public starts thinking of Christmas gifts. I know - it's still summer to lots of us, but let's face it, time marches on.

Don't you hate it when you have a boomerang painting? I had three paintings returned to me yesterday. I've never worked so hard on seven paintings. I designed them way back in March, before my trip to France. I've redesigned and redesigned, until I was very nearly sick of them. Was so glad to get them painted and out of the studio, and an invoice submitted. So I had trouble understanding what the problem was when my client called. These are grid paintings, very popular with clients who like to contribute to the design process. These particular ones had photographs of various buildings, supplied by the client. I have done this plenty of times, and I always collage the photos to the painted panels. But this time she wanted them painted. Had I known that in the beginning I would have adjusted my prices. Now I'm stuck, because she said she told me, and I don't think so, but what can I do?

Bottom line, I sanded the edges of the collaged photos and am painting over them. I'll take a picture when I'm done.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Pastoral Landscape

South Texas Lowland
15" x 38" on canvas

I've spent a lot of time on the Gulf Coast in my life, and this landscape is reminiscent of the area around South Padre, where there's a mixture of mesquite trees, cactus and marsh.

Why did I do it? No reason at all -- just wanted to do something different.

Different Kind of Grid

I am continuing my geometric mode. I just realized that the resin project I completed this weekend is just another grid. Something about the structure of this geometric shape is appealing to me. Sometimes my artist friends encourage me to violate the borders, and break up the structure, but I resist.

These are hand-tinted photographs, applied to 8" x 8" x 2" birch boxes, then coated with resin.

I have some photography commissions to work on today, but I think I'll also start some new paintings. I don't have any painting commissions pending, and it's a good time to do some personal exploration in the studio.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

No Holiday Here

This Labor Day weekend when I had the perfect opportunity to get out of town on a road trip, circumstances conspired to work against that. So I'm here, and in the middle of a project I'm doing just for me. The series of 9 boxes are painted, and Western hand-tinted photographs applied to the fronts. The edges are chocolate brown. They have all dried completely, so today I will do a resin pour.

My housesitter had a personal emergency, and now I am watching her dog instead of the other way around. And my trip to Arkansas became her trip, as she was called away to family due to illness.

And have you ever had the smoker going with a brisket and decided to throw on a ribeye steak? Man what a treat!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Mixed Emotions

There's a long holiday weekend stretching in front of me. I have nothing in the studio. I'm glad/sad about that. The yin and yang of being self-employed. Happy to have work (money), not happy about too much work (time).

I have just billed a client for time and expenses on a cancelled project I began before the purchase order was released. This has never happened to me before, so I don't know what to expect. The designer encouraged me to send an invoice, guess it's up to the hotel owner to pay it (or not). I'll report back.

Since my studio tables are clear I had to mess things up some and have laid down a coat of gesso on nine 8" sq boxes, much like artist Martha Marshall is doing. Mine won't be abstracts, they will be collages of western photography and paint. I can see them in my head - but haven't had time up til now to get them out of there.

But the open road beckons! I have a housesitter lined up, a three day weekend and a full tank of gas. We'll see what wins out.