Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wet Paint and Roadblocks

Hi friends and family -

It's been way too long and believe me, I've missed you a whole lot more than you have missed me!  But nonetheless, I'm alive and well and I'm excited to be back in touch.  The last few months have been full of what you might call "roadblocks" and too often, when they land in front of me, I look at them, sigh, and say "Lord, stop picking on me!!  Enough already!" The problem I have found with complaining to the almighty, however, is that the "parent" in him comes out and he tends to lay it on a little thicker just to make sure you've learned your lesson and realize "it COULD be worse!"

Earlier this year, we were devastated to have lost our sweet Jack Russell, Jade, to a mysterious disappearance.  Here one minute, gone the next.  No trace.  No witnesses.  We scoured the neighborhood for weeks, posting signs, checking all the shelters.  Being chipped, we were hopeful and optimistic but so far, after 5 months, still no sign or word.  Who does that?  It has been so very frustrating and thank you to so many of you who have sent your well wishes and words of encouragement.  We have missed her terribly but Doug has felt the biggest void.  We hope wherever she is, she's being well taken care of and loved.  This was the first of many "stumbles."

A few weeks ago, I had a most delightful lunch with a very wise and wonderful friend, Marjorie McClure, who shared with me a most insightful poem which has helped me look at my "roadblocks" a little differently.  Thought I'd share . . .

The Guest House 

This being human is a guest house. 
Every morning a new arrival. 

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes 
as an unexpected visitor. 

Welcome and entertain them all! 
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, 
who violently sweep your house 
empty of its furniture, 
still, treat each guest honorably. 
He may be clearing you out 
for some new delight. 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 
meet them at the door laughing, 
and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whoever comes, 
because each has been sent 
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

I mean, this Rumi guy was born in the early 1200's!!  Seriously?  The dude had it figured out!  So he's telling me that these "roadblocks" I've been fighting are actually our growing pains and we are to embrace and welcome them!  Okay okay, I'll stop whining!

So the last few months have brought on many delightful "guests" and like Rumi says, some have been sorrowful but others have been most joyful!  Some of those "joys" have been the wet paint found on Doug's easel!  Simply spectacular!

A couple of weeks ago, Doug participated in the Ogden Plein Air competition.  It's one of our favorite competitions because it's Doug's own "stompin grounds!"  This being where Doug grew up, he looks to each road, each building, and the "boulevard" as his own.  Of course, on this day, I had triple booked my calendar (one of my favorite past-times and terrible habits) but was so glad I pushed two of the three aside to join Doug at the Union Station.  This first painting was done for the "overall" competition.

"20th and Washington"
12 x 16
"1st Place - Ogden Plein Air Competition 2011"
A winning painting it was!  The quick-draw done Saturday morning produced another winning painting as he parked his truck on 25th Street, dropped the tailgate and painted the festival from the end of the street.

8 x 10
"1st Place - Ogden Plein Air Quick Draw 2011"
Following the festival, Doug and I had our first week-long separation for 2011 while he went to Helper to teach a fantastic five-day workshop!  Sue Martin, one of the students, was very prompt in sharing her experience of the workshop with her blog  Wait!!  Finish reading mine first!!   Here is a demo and some of the students painting:

"Class Demo - Bus"
6 x 6
Shannon Grosko
Steve Chamberlain
With no internet and long teaching days, I was very happy to get him home the night before Father's Day.  We spent Father's Day putting together a "smoker" for some "shmokin' good" ribs and then enjoyed all the kids for dinner and some "gee-tar" jammin' and singin!  Neither the The Partridge Family NOR the Osmonds has anything over on this bunch!  hahaha

We also worked in some golf over the weekend!  shocking I know . . . and I did let him win - it being Father's Day and all.  We were thrilled to golf with Marco and his most talented artist-wife Shanna Kunz-Hernandez.  We had such a great time.  Shanna tried to even the playing field by golfing with the wrong "lead" hand.  Ahhh thanks Shanna.  Such a sport!

Doug also participated in some fund raisers with great causes.  The Eccles Foundation Fund Raiser, Art Access 300 Plates Show and Spring City Heritage Days.

"Desert Ponies"
12 x 16
So since I'm trying to catch you up on my happenings over the last few months, my Utah Jazz really fell apart and I became a convert to the Dallas Mavericks!  Go figure!  I mean, really, Dirk Nowiski and I have never seen eye to eye (because he was so good and generally whooped on my Jazz men) and Mark Cuban, their owner, well we've gone the rounds several times!  But after the Jazz didn't make the playoffs (therapy 3 times a week), I decided to root for the team that could beat the LA Lakers.  I figured that was the Mavs.  Sweeping the Lakers 4-0 was above and beyond my expectations but then to go on and beat Miami in the finals was an uber treat!  I'm going through somewhat of a withdrawal now as basketball has ended and I find myself surfing ESPN and Fox Sports for signs of a ball bigger than an orange, but with no luck.

Again, through my roller coaster of the first half of 2011, good ol' steady eddy (that be Doug) kept knockin out some amazing wet paint!  These two pieces are going to be shown at the Trailside Gallery Miniature Show in July.  I think we've decided to take a mini vacation up to Jackson to go to the opening which is on July 21st.  The first one is indeed a FIRST, as this would be Doug's first "fly fisherman" ever painted!  see that cute little man out in the water . . . love the hat . . .

"Passing Time"
8 x 10
Trailside Gallery Miniature Show
"Rocky Mountain Headwaters"
8 x 10
Trailside Gallery Miniature Show
A few commissions for some dear friends here and there were the icing on the cake.  This first one of an old schoolhouse near Mt. Pleasant.  Really? Did I just say that?  I mean, it sounds like you all know where Mt. Pleasant is!  haha  so yeah, you all have google - look it up!!

"School House"
8 x 10
for Dorothy . . . 
And for our dear friends, Lyn and Linne, a family home I believe.  Looks like a place we see in the movies but doesn't really exist!

This is a favorite with a new "panoramic" style.  These are great for our countryside here in Utah.  A way to capture the "whole spread!"  

Up and coming . . . Doug is heading to Midway to do the plein air competition there - where I'm going to join him on the 30th of June through the 4th of July!  Wahoo!  I am so excited for a little va-cay!!  This painting is for a live auction they're going to have at the Midway Plein air.  If you're interested in putting in a bid, contact Pam Weileman at the Midway Art Association.  It is spectacular.

"4 Trucks and a Van"
12 x 29
Doug has entered these two beautiful pieces in the Eccles Statewide Competition.  Their opening reception will be held on Friday, June 30th in Ogden, Utah.  Tell me these aren't going to steal the show!  

40 x 42
"The Artist's Brush"
30 x 40
Zion's National Park
Doug will be heading to Estes Park Plein Air competition in August, Escalante Plein Air in September, Moab one-day workshop and Plein Air competition in October, and the Zion's National Park Plein Air invitational in November.  I'm hoping to get to attend some of these with him.  We have a full year ahead and I'll be anxious to keep you posted on what wet paint comes out of them.

Marjorie, I'm taking Rumi's advice and inviting each and every house guest in . . . with open arms.  I'm putting on my steel-toed boots and kicking each of these roadblocks out of my way.  Many of you have been there to help move the big boulders out of my way and for your love and support, I thank you!!  Give me your feedback on the wet paint above . . . love to know your faves!  

As always, thanks for being part of our lives and humoring me as I share Doug's art, at least from my perspective . . .

Much thanks . . .


PS - Our website is up to date and I will keep you posted on the competitions and paintings!  Follow our blog and find both Doug and I on facebook as well!  Let's be friends!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wet Paint and the Train

Hello all -

I am sitting here at my desk gulping down a Coke Zero from Carls Jr. and yes, some other foodage from that establishment, finally taking a few minutes for me.  And YOU.  I decided the time isn't going to magically appear for me to drop you a note, so I must MAKE the time.  I was gently nudged by a few of you wonderful blog readers that you'd checked periodically and nothing new was here!  Bless your hearts! Thank you for caring!

My new position here at Stucki, Steele and Rencher law firm is wonderful, but very busy!  It's all good stuff and I very much enjoy the work and I love the people! I ride the infamous "Frontrunner" - the train that runs from Northern Utah to downtown Salt Lake City.  It's worked out great as I catch it in Clearfield (4 miles from home) and it takes me to downtown Salt Lake City where I then catch the "Trax" that winds it's way through downtown until it drops me off in front of my building!  Slick, yes!!  Interesting . . . INDEED!  Oh, and I'll mention right off the bat that I've already gotten a citation for jay-walking - ugh!

Union Station
12 x 16
My "people watching" skills have increased dramatically and every day is a new adventure!  Some days we are packed in like sardines (those would be snowy days when no one wants to drive) and standing cheek to cheek with people from all walks of life is actually really great.

"Double D-Flation"
12 x 16
These were some really great cinedome theaters that have been in Ogden for many years!
They were torn down just a couple of months ago.
I must shamefacedly admit I did have some "train" rage the other day.  I know, it's just not like me!  It was one of those days when the "trax" was packed and there were many more people getting ON than were getting OFF.  Thus a seat shortage.  There sat a young man (heading to the University) with his backpack occupying the seat next to him.  He had a smug look on his face as people around him scrambled to find something to hold onto as the train stopped and started, sending people flailing into those around them!  We looked like a pin ball machine!  Several people around me were all looking and whispering about how rude that he would not move his backpack and offer the coveted seat.  A woman even went so far as to go and stand right NEXT to his seat and wobbled back and forth in her heals trying to keep herself from falling.  Still, nothing--eyes looking straight forward or shifting to look out the window to avoid eye contact.

As you can well imagine, my blood is boiling and I'm DYING to reach over there and wring his neck!  Most of the comments around me were whispers, but mine were not.  That's shocking, I know!  I was conversing with some of the people around me (I have a captive audience on the train - people HAVE to listen!)  He absolutely heard the comments but his smugness got even smuggier.  (I'm going to skip doing spell check as I'm certain I'm making up words now!)

Finally, as this woman almost fell into the lap of another person, I turned back to him and loudly asked him why on earth he did not have the decency to move his $*!!@* backpack for her to sit down.  He had his response ready - just WAITING for someone to ask!  "Well, no one ASKED me to move it!" His voice was whiny and nervous with a crackling tone.  The train erupted in vocal comments back to him, mumbling in disbelief and then the laughter took over.  The comments kept flying and finally he said out loud, looking down at his lap, "OKAY PEOPLE, can we just let it go - it's over.  Stop talking about it!"  hahahaha Oh my, why do I do this?  Seriously - I'm a little nervous about him finding me now!  He was disturbed!!

"Playful Descent"
12 x 16
This morning, however, as I got onto a packed Trax, it was so full that there were people standing and yes, one seat still open.  Many chose to stand as this sweet little vagrant (missing at least a couple of teeth) looked at me with a smile and patted the seat next to him.  I was scared, I'm not gonna lie!  I could see why many didn't want to sit there.  I couldn't bear to hurt his feelings though.  Apparently his offer of his seat had been turned by a few before me.  He had some gloves on that had holes in them and a raggedy coat and hat.  I made my way down the aisle and scooted in next to him.  His eyes lit up and he smiled.  Yes, missing more than two teeth!  As we passed by the Utah Jazz arena, he said to me, "the Jazz are playing tonight" as his head nodded up and down.  I said "Yes they are!  Chicago!"  His face lit up - he'd hit the jackpot!  Someone to talk Jazz with!  He began telling me that Carlos Boozer was on their team and that Carlos used to play for the Jazz, ya know!  (Did he not know who he was talking to?  Had he not seen me doing post-game interviews with Jerry Sloan??  hahaha)  I nodded and agreed--we talked Jazz for about 6 minutes until I came to my stop.  When it stopped he leaned way over so to whisper in my ear "I hope we win tonight!"  I whispered back, "I hope so too!"

I'm not going to bore you with any more stories.  Today, anyway.  There will be more to come I'm sure! I have a million of 'em!  I do want to say that the transition of going back to work has been tough, but Doug and the kids have been fantastic in making my life much easier when I get home!  Dinner ready, dishes done, open arms and recorded episodes of the Office, Glee and Outsourced!  I sit with my laptop while we watch TV - updating websites, returning emails, finishing up work I didn't get done during the day.  But it's all good!

Not being able to watch Doug paint has been disappointmenting so he's done a few "progress" paintings that I thought you might enjoy as well.

Drawing out the painting with a q-tip - too cool for school!  
Adding the color values . . . 
Almost done . . . you might THINK it's done . . . but the fun little touches
that reach out and grab you are still to come!
"Winter Home"
16 x 20
Fabulous, huh?  Yeah, I hope seeing these paintings is as big of a treat for you as it is for me.  I leave, I come home and voila!  A new painting appears!  It's amazing!

I should get back at it!  Thanks for your patience, your support and gentle prodding to keep this going!  It's good for me to "share" my stories - I have a million stories!  haha

Thanks everyone!  The traveling workshop "Tour La Plein Air" still has 4 spots left!  Jump on it - especially if you're fun!  I'm going and hoping to be thoroughly entertained with lots of fun things to write about!

Talk soon - I promise!!



"Obscure Occupants"
12 x 16

"Patiently Linger"
12 x 16
"Wintry Illumination"
16 x 12
"Cross Lit"
12 x 16