Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Torrey: Small Town Charm and Griffin Family Band!

So, it's Saturday about noon and I'm enjoying my day--feeling a great sense of accomplishment!  I had gotten up early, been through a huge list of "things to do" and was chillin' with Ryan watching NCAA playoffs with my computer on my lap, when low and behold, I get an email from Doug with an attachment.  "Hi Hon, here's my painting for the week!"  What the ???  I still have three days to relax before my blog is due!  Gosh, he's such an over achiever!!  

Well, I anxiously opened the file, and, well, WOW!  

"Torrey Wash"

"Torrey Wash" really shocked my emotions!  Memories of red sand oozing through my toes as I walk barefoot through a wash flooded my mind of this great little area we Southern Utahn's like to call "God's Country."  I was suddenly inspired to write about this charming little town called "Torrey."  

Torrey is in Wayne County near Capital Reef for those of you who don't know the area.  If you haven't been there, you should!  Hopefully by the end of this blog, you'll be booking your flights, or getting out your calendar, googling it on MapQuest to figure out how and when you're going to get down there for some "Torrey time!"  

As you may remember, I grew up in Escalante, a town just 60 miles from Torrey (over the mountain and through the staircase!)  One memory of Torrey is driving through, to quote my dad, "one helluva snow storm" to play for a dance.  Yes, I am the youngest of one of the original members of the Griffin Family Band!  We played for every dance in Southern Utah, be it the 4th of July celebration or someone's weddin', we were booked!  (sorry, when I get into my Southern Utah mindset, I start to take on the dialect as well!)

My folks, Bill and Dawn Griffin, were amazing musicians and between the two of them, could play any one of several different instruments: piano, guitar, accordion, banjo and marimba to name a few.  Then with six little "chillins" to add to it, we added in a trumpet, drums, flute and lots of singers who could sing parts!  Well, okay, let me clarify a few things--we all knew at least 3 chords--that's the bare minimum to play most songs.  My mother, at the piano, would call out a chord.  "A minor!"  What?? A minor??  hmmm  If we didn't know it, we would strum "softly" and fake it.  But if it was C, F or G, we really "let 'er rip!"  I remember telling my kids you officially knew how to play an instrument if you knew C F and G.  They would give me a puzzled look.  Years later, I found out, they never really understood what that meant . . . now they ask with a smile "Mom, what exactly is "see effin' G?"  haha  smart alecks . .  

As we got older and got together, my mother would have a song she'd been working on and would hand out the parts.  "Doug," she'd say, "you'll be singing bass on this one."  Doug, bless his heart, has a great singing voice but wouldn't sing if I asked him, but would answer with a pleasant "Okay, Mom!"  He never refused to sing when she asked and she always asked without hesitation.  In the words of my Grandma Griffin, "Laaaard, sonny, you've got the talent, now use it!  Ya don't need to be coaxed!"  Oh if you could only hear me say that, it would be very, very funny, trust me!  

The last time the Griffin Family Band was officially together for a "gig" was at my Dad's 80th birthday party in October of 2006.  We had a great time singing and sharing all of our favorite songs with friends and family.  The following year, however, we lost my mother very suddenly to an aneurism.  She and Dad were a few months shy of their 60th Wedding Anniversary.  

Needless to say, her shoes have been very hard to fill.  Nicki, my oldest sister, has really stepped up to the challenge though.  She really is amazing on the piano and can play by ear, just like our mother.  We have had a good time, standing around the piano singing and figuring out some of these songs, as we'd stop her on occasion, "Hey, I don't think that's the chord Mom used to play!"  Thanks, Nik, for sharin' your talent! 

This coming July, Boulder Heritage Days, in Boulder, Utah, is paying tribute to Boulder women, of which my mother is one.  They have asked our family to come and entertain and pay tribute to our mother by singing some of our favorite songs and "biggest hits!"  We are very excited about the chance to get together again.  Tickets are going fast so book your flights now!!  Haha, okay, well, it's free and you'll kinda need to bring your own camp chairs - but get there early, the front row "mosh pit" will fill up fast!  Boulder is just over the mountain from Torrey, of which you could enjoy the most beautiful drive of your life.

16 x 20  
The quakies over the mountain are breathtaking - this was taken in the fall as the leaves were changing

Torrey is one of Doug's favorite places to paint as well.  He's represented by Torrey Gallery there on the "main drag" and has recently been asked to teach a workshop there!  So, effective immediately, Torrey has been added to Doug's "Workshop Tour!"  June 23-26 are the dates.  Go to the link to the right of this blog or on our website and fill out a registration form.  The response to the workshops this year has been phenomenal and they are filling up fast.  We are excited to spend some time with you artists!!  

I'm adding a few other paintings of Torrey and Boulder Mountain to get you inspired to either visit or paint.  It may just be from my perspective, but I do believe this country is one of the most well-kept secrets in the world!!  shhhh let's just keep that between you and me  . . .


"Typically Torrey"

"Torrey Cliffs"

Doug painted this onsite in front of Torrey Gallery up Main Street to the Chuckwagon.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Wet Paint" & Workshops!

As promised, here is another blog--but the topic of my new-found fame at NUAMES is not quite as exciting as the fact that Doug provided as promised, a new little painting to post! I was thrilled!  So we’re going to call this our weekly "wet paint" and these will be available for purchase exclusively to our blog readers so if it catches your eye, act fast!  You know how to reach me!  It is set inside the black “float” and a maple frame and could be shipped anywhere in the country within the week!

oil on board
6 x 8

Seriously, watching Doug paint is so cool.  Sometimes, when I sit down in my easy chair (yes, the one with quite a bit of green paint on it now) he doesn’t understand why it’s so fascinating to watch him paint! On the most part, Doug’s somewhat of a “hermit” painter.  Not a big show-boy! But those who have had the opportunity to watch him paint will absolutely agree with me--it’s an amazing process to watch! 

I think that is why he has been such a successful teacher.  He has an amazing talent for teaching.  As mentioned by one of his students, Dallin Phillips, who was an educator at Utah State University for many years himself, “Taking Doug’s class was an incredible experience. I was really nervous going into it but enjoyed it so much.  Doug is an incredible teacher—many who “do” can’t teach, but he is the exception.”

Doug’s mentioned that teaching is a great learning experience for him as well. “It’s a humbling experience for me, that people are willing to pay money to have me teach them to paint!”  I think that is one of Doug’s most endearing traits. He always welcomes feedback from the students and tries to incorporate those changes to make the classes better. 

I’m giving you this from my perspective, of course, cuz that’s what this blog is about, so from feedback I’ve gotten from his students, and from those workshops that I’ve been able to “hang out” and get to know the students, I’ll hit their favorite parts! 

He starts a workshop with an introduction that talks about the pallet, the set up, the preparation of the boards, talking about values, mixing paint and the integration of color upon color--having all the tools to get started is so important to having a good experience in painting. seriously, you should see this "custom made" easel - it has a slot for his q-tips container and the paper towel roll for heaven's sake!  I have seriously debated whether to take the class myself—there have been a few beginner-beginners like myself so I think one of these days I will.  But first I'm going to have to figure out what "integration of color upon color" means . . . Pretty sure I’m going to test this man’s patience and teaching abilities!!     

Another fun part of the workshop is when Doug does a demo and the students get to see the painting from start to finish. Sue Valentine is a well-known Utah artist and this was one of her favorite parts. 

“Your demo’s were worth a thousand words!  The limited pallet, color mixing and value lessons helped me learn not only how to paint, but how to see! I felt I learned more in five days than I have learned in a whole semester at school.  You simplified what seemed so complicated to me.  Honestly, your workshop was one of the best I have taken.”  

Many of Doug’s students came to take the class because they wanted a jump-start in painting.  They’ve wanted to paint more seriously for years, but have never found the time to “take time” for themselves!  Michelle Burnett received this workshop as a Mother’s Day gift from her family!  What a treat for her to come and spend a week just painting!  Tracy Grant was another who has made great strides in the painting world! Both Michelle and Tracy received awards in a painting competition at Gallery 25 in Ogden!  Way to go, ladies!!   

“Taking Doug’s workshop was one of the best things I have done for myself in a very long time!  I feel like I learned a lot and your clear presentation and explanations made it even better.  I must say that even though the weather was not what I would have wished for, it made me see that you can still go outside and paint!” 

I always loved the “adapting” to the weather challenges as well.  I recall one afternoon when the weather was anything but cooperative, Doug had students set up everywhere between the studio and our home!  Blake Luther was painting under the patio and Emily Sanders was out in the game room, painting a still life of a piece of our daughter's birthday cake!  

Coming to see Doug’s studio wasn’t something he used to do—only when the weather prevented them from painting outside did they come to the studio. He didn’t take my word for it that it was something people would really love to see!  “Who wants to come and see my studio?” he’d say!  Well, I guess a lot of students would because it is the highlight of the workshop for many!!  Thanks to Ed Adair, for finally putting the issue to rest!  Doug really valued your priceless feedback, Ed!  

“On the matter of meeting at your studio...I think that that experience was a highlight of the workshop, to see how a professional worked in an environment. . . the efficiencies, the insights to the professional art market.  The still life was just a great and wonderful experience.  Do not underestimate the benefits of this part of your workshop!  Doug, you are a very good teacher...you conveyed much of the intuitiveness and, I think, the emotional-spiritual aspect of the total painting process.  And, I must say, that your wife did a great job in making our day at your studio an enjoyable event...her lunch was a real nice touch, and, of course, one that was not expected.  

I truly appreciated the week and in becoming acquainted with you.” 

Ah Ed, thanks for those kind words!  I enjoyed the chance to “chill” with the students and get to know everyone better as well!

"What a fantastic experience!  I loved the class - learned tons - and I'm excited to do more.  I came away feeling that I had great new information to move forward with.  I'm ready to start counting my 10,000 hours utilizing my new skills.  It was really great to know you all.  I hope to see you again. Thanks to Jeanette for taking care of us.  Best to all, Bunny Kauffman"

 We have met some wonderful people throughout the years who have become very dear friends. We have appreciated many of you who have stayed in touch and stop by the studio now and again to say hi and share your progress in the painting world! Thanks to Carol Gnade for these great pictures! It made writing this blog very easy and she and Jade became great friends during the “studio” visit.  She also took the picture of Jade in front of the “color wheel” on the last blog! 

Doug is doing at least 3 workshops this year!  The three we are certain about are May 19-21 in Midway for the Midway Art Association (Cost is $250). What a beautiful place to paint in May!  This is reserved FIRST for their members, but will have a waiting list and will fill the class up from that list after the first of May!  

The other two workshops are going to be through Helper Workshops in Helper, Utah, and I could write a whole blog about that fun place – I can’t say enough about what a great experience that is!! (Cost for those are $420)  The summer workshop is from June 14-19 and the fall workshop will be from September 27 – October 2nd.  There may be another workshop in Austin, Texas in the late fall!  

Below is a link to a registration form that you can fill out and simply submit.  You’ll then receive an email back with all the information regarding that particular workshop, cost, accommodations and materials needed!  In case you’re wondering, of course, I’m hoping to be to all the workshops to provide comedy, fun and most likely, treats!

All my best till next week and another weekly "wet paint" fresh off the easel!  Can't wait!!  xoxo

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Someone's Been Sitting in my Chair!

Wow – where has the time gone?? I will quickly ask for apologies for my “leave of absence” and then I’m going to move on! I just watched Julie and Julia so needless to say, I am motivated to get back to sharing my random thoughts about art, but also about everything else! So from here on out, this blog will come much more often and probably be much more random! J

You’ve missed me, right?? SAW WHEAT!!!! (say it fast!!) 'n there ya go! Glad ya missed me. J

We have had a very busy few months. I have been running in every direction you can imagine . . . teaching school, consulting, doing books, attending school, learning web site design, cheering on my Utah Jazz and cleaning out cupboards . . . everything except two things: blogging and exercising! I intend to do more of, well, at least one of those two things . . . J

Doug, however, has been enjoying his winter hibernation in his “man cave.”

Okay – I have to tell you about Doug’s haven. Hopefully, everyone has their space where they can keep their “stuff” and DO their favorite “stuff.” Ya know, where you can just "chillax!" I'm pretty sure I didn't just make up that word . . . Doug’s haven is his studio. It fits him like a glove. I mean, a renovated old house with everything a man could ever want for a “dog house!” What a great “getaway” to spend the day “working.” did I just put that in quotes . . . I don't think I meant to! hee hee Here's a visual . . He has one room with his framing table with 4 vices, a room for storing shipping and packing materials and storing old “retired” paintings and frames, and one room has been transformed into an “office” for his lovely wife and amazing office manager--emphasis added by editor ;)

The living room, however, has become the “master suite!” The easel (that moves up and down at the push of a button) sits smack dab in the middle of the room. The pallet, to his right, is tailored with slots and shelves to meet every need. On the left, is a table housing his computer, his camera and a custom-made “music stand” for his guitar book.

He has built a little “perch” for Jade so she can look out the window and watch the kids walk to and from school! He has also, so considerately, placed a nice big easy chair for me to sit in and watch him paint. all together now, "ahhhhhhhhh." Oh . . . well . . . yeah, I think he sits in it on occasion, and for those rare times, he has covered the chair with an old sheet so as to protect it from Thalo green paint that might be on his hands or his clothes, but that’s a rare occasion, I’m sure! Oh, did I mention there is a little TV mounted strategically up in the corner so I can see it from the easy chair – how sweet is that?!!

The kitchen has been designated as the “gesso” room – prepping both boards and canvases, with a big flat file where the stove used to be. The fridge, however, needed to stay. All the “necessities” of an “office” lunchroom-–microwave, toaster oven, half of my dishes, bowls, my favorite glasses and half my set of silverware. I find my favorite paring knives missing and somehow my roll of paper towel in my kitchen magically disappears. What the heck? You have a nicer vacuum here than I do in my house? Grrrrrr . . . deep breath . . . I’ll go on . . . The stereo system has been wired to go into every room – with a switch of a button. Nice! Did I say EVERY room? Oh, yeah, I did. But . . . . and yes, it’s a big but . . . (but a “but” with only 1 “t” mind you) . . . with the paintings that have come off that easel in the master suite, I have resorted to the fact that the boy can have as many of my paring knives and dishes as he wants and, now that I think about it, there's no stereo sound in the bathroom . . . hmm, hon, you should work on that - you really should have music in the bathroom!!

With all of the chaos that I have in my life, Doug is as steady as an old work horse. He has been the stability in my life and has had a phenomenal year!! Below is a picture of me (I'm inside the jar) and Doug is portrayed by the brush . . . we call this little piece "Stimulus Package!"

"Stimulus Package"
16 x 20

This was part of a fantastic show at Terzian Gallery a couple of weeks ago. For those of you who were “in the neighborhood” and stopped by, I think you had a real treat! I’m going to post a few of my favorites here. He’s also promised a painting a week for me to post if I’ll pen a few lines! Deal!!! I’m on it! I have a million great stories to tell you so check back soon! I will be back within the week to share with you my newfound popularity at NUAMES High School – officially the favorite substitute teacher EVER to step foot on their campus!!

This blogging has worn me out . . . I think I’m going to take a break and rest in MY easy chair . . . hey, is it just me, or is there quite a bit of green paint on this chair . . . J

"This and That"
14 x 16

"Over the Edge"
14 x 16

"Jay Walking"
16 x 20

"Flying Solo"
42 x 40

"Fading Fast"
42 x 40

"Looking for a Lift"
14 x 16

"Park City Post Office"
42 x 40

"All Shapes & Sizes"
12 x 16