Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Faces, Bodies....

This summer has been difficult. In a lifetime there are events that change the course of your life or at least change the way you perceive life. Death is one of those life altering moments when you look at everything differently. A kid that I considered a son, only 19, died in a motorcycle accident two weeks ago. He loved my daughter in a way that most would consider the love of a lifetime. Brandon was a rare kind of great and rather than focus on how sad I have felt, I have pushed myself to paint the sadness away....

For the last few months I have not been selling paintings (gasp!) but instead, working on a collection of faces, bodies.... I'm still "playing" with colors and textures and ideas. And that is what we do as artists, we play. If we don't, we become stagnant, locked in a pattern that may not be a pattern of growth. It is a double edged sword sometimes as one goal of the the artist is to have work that is easily recognizable. But what happens when it is recognizable (that's good) but it also has an algorithm or formula that no longer excites the artist?

Quote of the day: "I've never been lonely. I like myself. I'm the best form of entertainment I have." ~ Charles Bukowski

Song of the Day: "I'll Take You There" ~ Staple Singers


Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Chance Meeting With a Couple Degrees of Seperation

The dishwasher repairman was in my home last weekend.  After I explained my dishwasher problem to him he casually bent down to begin mechanical CPR on this pathetic unit. As he was working he said to me, "So you're an artist".  Now I was more than a little fascinated because, well, I don't wear a name tag that reads Kathryn Ramos-Artist. My dishwasher is not in my studio. Most of my art is sold to buyers far away from the area of California where I live. I was thinking that maybe he was gifted with some kind of psychic ability that allowed him to know all and see all (especially good for my sick washer).

I'm sure he could see my amazement as he said, " your hands, your clothes". So of course, as usual, I forget how much I neglect my appearance when I'm working. My hands had splotches and smears of paint and just like every article of clothing I own.....there were paint splatters here and there and you know, everywhere. This wasn't even the most interesting part. He said his dad was an artist and he could recognize one, even without the paint evidence. We talked a bit as he worked and he shared some things about his dad and his dad's paintings and the life he had growing up with a professional, somewhat eccentric artist.  He casually used his dad's name and this is where I did the "NO WAY!" moment. Not only did I know of his dad's work but most of the art savvy US population probably did as well!  He shared a little more as he did his mechanically artistic work on my dishwasher and brought her back to rip roarin' life. And yes, like a starstruck fan I had to tell him that our conversation was probably the highlight of any artsy conversation I have ever had.

This is where it got a little uncomfortable for him. He asked me to keep our conversation to myself as his life choices were a source of contention within their family.....I did the the yada yada yada thing in my head because I totally got it. No explanation necessary.  But I have to say that my dishwasher repairman may be the closest I will ever get to an art superstar :)

New work on line this week. My favorite (today) is an ACEO card titled "Strong Woman" :
The words on the side read-
"I know what I bring to the trust me when I say I'm not afraid to eat alone."  Hopefully most people will understand that quote and understand why it is so important. If you know who said it first, I would love to know and give them their due credit.

Quote of the Day: "None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives". ~ Jane Austen

Song of the Day: "We're Not Gonna Take It" ~ Dee Snider

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


I have a damned fascination with art trading cards! Makes me wonder if there's a 12-step program for collectors.....Hi, my name is Kathryn and I am addicted to miniature artworks.   In all seriousness, my infatuation with miniature art probably comes from collecting wine labels. Such beautiful works of art on such a small space. So I've been working on art trading cards although they are technically ACEO's as I sell them rather than trade them. There are some absolutely extraordinary works of art on those little cards, 2.5 x 3.5 inches. And although their prices can escalate and they are very collectible, you can usually find them quite affordable.  I will try to choose my top 5 artists and post some of their work here in the next couple of weeks.

My latest 4 ACEO's are listed on EBAY for the next week:  kathrynramosstudio on Ebay

On a sad note, lost my pup to old age this week. Scout was her name and she was the best damn dog! She was 13 years old, a German Shepherd mix and she was loved. I held her sweet face in my hands as she was euthanized and I honestly don't know if I will ever stop missing that ol' gal.

Quote of the Day: "If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons." ~ James Thurber

Song of the Day: "A Better Man" ~ Eddie Vedder (on the Letterman show 2015)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Looking for the Joy

When the news is overwhelmingly sad and the future looks bleak, when elections, terrorists, and hate seem to dominate the headlines, I turn to art more than ever. Art heals. It doesn't discriminate. Creating is a salve for a wounded soul and oh my God is there ever a greater need than now?

I've read this quote from Mr. Rogers many times over the years and given my age, I can safely say I heard it the day it was spoken:   When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."

These 4 paintings are sitting in my studio now, I'll live with them and add finishing touches until later this week when they will head to the online

Song of the Day: "Lean on Me" ~ Bill Withers

Quote of the Day: "An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind." ~ Mahatma Ghandi

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Winery and a Wedding

Heading to a wedding at a winery today. There aren't many things that will take me out of my studio on a weekend but combine a wedding with a winery and I'm the first one there!

I was up before sunrise and painting by early light. Posting a photo of my studio this morning. I'm always curious about other artists' studios so I like to share.....   The "wardrobe" in the corner is an antique with a mysterious history.  Enter Narnia....

The photo shows a few paintings in their last stages, soon to be on ETSY.

Song of the Day:  "Life Is Too Short" ~ Scorpians

Quote of the Day:  "Like life is short,....Like you don't know when it's going to end. Like some things left unsaid, can't ever be said." ~ Jim Butcher

Sunday, April 17, 2016

FoLk aRt

When people ask me what type of artist am I, I usually get the same reaction each time when I say I'm a modern day folk artist. A few will know what that label  might mean but mostly I need to explain....a lot. I love folk art. There are a few different definitions, funny but there is not a firm definition. And that is point one of what I love about folk art.
                Art originating among the common people of a nation or region usually
                reflecting their traditional unschooled artists.

I have never been so great at loving to follow the rules. I will, But I don't like it. At all. Folk art is freedom from rules. I can and do traditional art pieces but always go back to my roots.

On the subject of folk art, almost finished with two paintings. I will need to live with them for a week or so to decide if I am done or not.

 I have been somewhat consumed by mandalas lately. Funny how one thing leads to another as we step and side step our way through this life.  On a recent trip to Santa Barbara, I was exploring some shops when I entered a spiritually warm almost ethereal little shop. The walls were lined with mandalas. I was completely in awe as I saw folk art at its most raw, most intricate.  By coincidence the rock hound in me had been collecting rocks from surrounding beaches seemed the perfect matching....round flat rocks and mandala paintings. Another form of folk art.

Quote of the Day: "Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas."
~ Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

Song of the Day: "I Lived" ~ One Republic

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Angel Paintings

In the past I've mentioned my angel series...the series crops up every once in a while. I know this will sound very new age? holistic? but the angels come, when they come. I usually work on traditional folk art paintings with an occasional plein air here and there. The angels come into my dreams. When they start coming in nightly, I get the essence on canvas, in my own style of course. They are kind of a visual metaphor for me.  I know they may disappear again or they may stay a while but until then, I keep painting them. This is the part that I don't really know how to are the messages determined? Every angel has a message and I don't know it until I come to just about the end, and sometimes even then they can sit in my studio for days as I wait for the message. When I'm done with these mixed media angles, they get at least five coats of sealant. When I am done listening to them and they need to go to another owner, they will show up on ETSY and my website.

Two finished and one in the planning stage.

Quote of the Day: "No, I never saw an angel, but it is irrelevant whether I saw one or not. I feel their presence around me". ~ Paul Coelho

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

California Cool

I walked into my studio at sunrise this morning.  It's California cool outside, the birds are chirping, it feels brisk and this is the time of day that I love. There are no demands on my time other than what I self impose.

I've been working steadily on a piece that is just about finished. She is a very special angel. I had posted an early photo on this blog and have added other "in progress" photos on Facebook:

 Song of the Day: "Imagine" ~ John Lennon

Quote of the Day: "We do not remember days, we remember moments." ~ Cesare Pavese

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Trial and Error

The last month or so has been a month of artful experimentation. I'm moving more and more towards mixed media paintings and my trash bin has sadly overflowed with mistakes lately. It's been a great opportunity for me to practice what I preach when I teach art classes. First, don't throw any art away when you are tired. Let it sit, come back to it the next day with fresh eyes. It might look completely different when you are are rested. Secondly, take chances, make mistakes. It's only art, not brain surgery. Fifteen mistakes will give you fifteen ways to not not make the same mistake. Third, a badly constructed painting does not make you a bad artist, it makes you a wonderfully creative soul who just needs to embrace their creative side, accept their mistake, learn from those who can teach you and move on. And fourth, when all else fails, pour some wine, turn up the music, and let it go for a day.

 When I last posted on my blog, I was in the middle of a couple of paintings. The angel was an epic particular reason other than she was not what was in my head. The second was my folk art landscape...I'm still going to see if I can save this one. I was testing a new crackling product, Ranger Distress Crackle Paint, and sadly it did not give me the desired results. I may still be able to save this painting as I really like it but I will need to work over the areas where I used the crackle medium.

Finally, here is the mixed media piece I have on my easel today. Her angel wings are there but invisible to the camera.  So far she is coming along just as she needs to, so we will see how it goes tomorrow.

Quote of the Day: "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." ~ Scott Adams

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Last Day of February 2015

    One of my goals for 2015 is to post works in progress. I have two paintings on my easel this week and they are both far from finished but here they are. This first one is an angel. A few years ago I spent a summer doing a series of angels. Every one of them has been sold except for the one nearest to my heart. Each one seemed to have a predestined owner, not intentional on my part, just kizmit I guess.   I am resurrecting the angels but I have to tell you that the angels are different than my other paintings in that to say this....they come to my canvas in a different way. Most of my paintings come from an explicit need to express a feeling or a passion for a scene. The angels show up on my canvas as some kind of extension of my subconscious. More on that later.

 The second painting is another of my Rufus Porter inspired pieces. Again it is very much in the beginning stages but hopefully with quiet rainfall on the roof of my studio tonight, I will make lots of progress.

Quote of the Day:  "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."  ~ Robert Frost

Song of the Day:  "Epiphany" ~ Staind