Thursday, December 31, 2009

Time for Change

New Years Eve... when I was young I would imagine that by 2010 we would all be traveling in hovercrafts, hmmm, picture the Jetsons. I'm sure I have just dated myself :)  But here we are,  much is the same even with profound developments in technology. My lists for the new year are almost complete, so much to be thankful for but so much to do...

I see the new year as a time of change for myself. I am an artist but I am also a teacher. This year I am a teacher without a classroom, one of many California teachers who have regretfully found themselves a victim of the economic crisis. Regardless of how much "recovery" news is out there, it is not so for the many excellent teachers waiting for a classroom.   I love my vagabond artistic life right now. I paint and create and even sell and I have met some wonderful people worldwide. But time to "re-invent" myself again. The arts in my life will continue but time to go back to school....again.  I'm the most educated woman I know without a job! It's a good thing I have a sense of humor :D    I would love to hear from other women who have re-invented themselves to pursue different careers.

Gratitude for Thursday:  I'm grateful for the feeling of excited anticipation that I feel for the year ahead.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Preparing for the New Year

And so another Christmas passes and I count my blessings again...

I'm working on my "lists" today. I'm making a list of things I like about myself even though some of them seem a bit quirky, well quirky if you are not me:)  I'm making a list of things I'm thankful for, hmmm, is it wrong to include this great latte I just made with a dash of cocoa and a hint of cinnamon? Then comes the list of what I want to focus on this coming year. Not resolutions, just areas of my life that need tweaking.  My biggest goal right now is to keep each list somewhere between 7 and 19 points. Less than 7 seems lazy, more than 19 feels too regimented, too anal.

No uninterrupted time for art this past week. Soon...

And finally, watched a great movie last night: Julie & Julia.  I know, I know, it has been out for a while but I rarely ever see a movie at the theater. There were so many scenes that I completely connected with. I'm not sure if I would call it a "chick flick" or not but I watched it with my teenage son and my husband and I was the only one laughing (meltdown on the kitchen floor)  and the only one tearful with joy as she finds success doing something she loves. 

Gratitude for Sunday: Here in the Western U.S. where it barely feels like winter with these perpetual sunny days, I'm grateful for clouds and even a little rain today.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Two Days Away from the Studio

I'm adding this link for the cloth and clay dolls website. I have to say, it is great group of people and I had such a blast making my first folk style doll, with instruction from the website, well I have to pass on the good stuff. I felt honored to have my first doll featured on the main page, very cool.
Cloth and Clay Dolls brought to you by Gritty Jane

I have not painted at all this weekend. Life got in the way but it was good. My son's soccer tournament and and an absolutly necessary day of winter deep cleaning at the homestead. I'm working on two paintings these days and each time I venture into the studio those darn paintings look so sad and neglected. One is a folk art  countryside and the other is another in the angel series.

Gratitude for Sunday : I'm thankful for the bundle of firewood that warmed our home today.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Folk Doll and Newest Jewelry Piece

I finished the cloth and clay folk art doll, just love her, came out very sweet. As a matter of fact, love her so much I just started another. I'm posting a photo of her as well as a piece of jewelry that I just put on my Etsy website. The jewelry is a charm bracelet that I made to pay homage to one of may favorite shows: I Love Lucy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

UNCLE !!!!

And so I yell "UNCLE!!!" My "painting-a-day challenge" is now 7 paintings behind and I give in to my darned slow and meticulous painting technique. I did get pleasantly sidetracked by my cloth and clay doll project, a little different painting "canvas". I'll be posting a photo of the finished folk doll soon.
There are many blogs I check out in a quick read daily but there is one that I stumbled upon yesterday: Life Without Novacaine by Deborah Mori . I really enjoyed reading it but the one thing I loved the most was her "Gratitudes". At the end of each posting she puts one thing she is grateful for so I hope you don't mind Deborah, but I love that idea so much that I will now be including that on my blog. Why? Well, in these times we need to look for the silver lining. It's there but if I don't pause to think about it I look past it to see only the cloud.

Gratitude for Sunday: I'm grateful for the beautiful Christmas lights on my front yard, looks like a scene from a fairytale. What are you grateful for ?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Feathering the Art Nest.

Okay, yes I am behind on my 30 Day Challenge.... But I'm an optimist so I will double up the next few days. I have to say it is a labor of love to do these quick paintings.

I spoke with a gallery owner this week and I always walk away with two feelings after the portfolio review: 1) it's great to talk art, it just is a pleasure and 2) there is always that moment when I find myself searching their face for more, guess I'm looking for more adjectives.

I'm not sure if other artists are experiencing this but with our economy, being what it is, the luxury of buying art is not at the top of the priority list. But the selling of materials and tools to make art seems to be thriving. I think about myself when it's time to tighten the belt, I always find a little bit to spend on that prized paintbrush to add to my collection or a new tube of paint or today’s purchase, masonite board for a new painting. Do I already have paint, brushes, and canvases?? Yes!! but I love to feather my art nest with more :) My walking shoes have a few more miles on them, last year’s coat still looks good and manicure? pedicure? not nearly as much fun as this new brush and crackling medium I'm anxious to try.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Preparation

A painting a day is still happening!  I'm focusing on art cards :)
It is Tuesday and with Thanksgiving just a couple days away I'm also preparing to host a Thanksgiving celebration for 12 people. I love spending time with family and friends over a big dinner and always feel that if you are able to do that, well, you have a lot to be Thankful for.
Haven't had much time to work at the folk art doll but hopefully that will happen later today.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Yay!! Finally time to photograph.

I'm posting a few photos today. Finally trying to get caught up on the backlog of photos I've gotten behind on :)  The two cupcakes and the very primitive house with the sheep are part of my 30 Day Challenge. What can I say, I love cupcakes! The very colorful piece of folk art with the quilts hanging out to dry? Well, I spent half a day cleaning out my studio. I hope I'm not the only artist who does this but sometimes I finish a painting and then file it away to the back of the canvas stack. Usually I do this because there is something I don’t like but I feel pretty certain that I will see it with new eyes later and spot the flaw or maybe, as in this case, wonder why I tucked it away. I think when I completed this piece in 2006, I had been debating on whether to give it a crackle finish or not. I'm glad I didn't as I love the bright colors. It just seems to fit with the colors of the quilts. As usual these paintings will be on my etsy sight later today and tomorrow at . The fourth photo is the beginning stage of a folk art cloth and clay doll I'm working on. I'm new to folk art dolls but I love them so wanted to give one a try in my "spare time" which is usually around 1:00 am. Many thanks to The Original Cloth and Clay Doll Workshop with Jane DesRosier. When I have a chance I will post a link to this fabulous group.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

American Folk Art

Painting my fingers to the bone...really and truly I'm not behind on my 30 Day Challenge but I am so behind on the photography ! By Saturday for sure... I'm focusing on primitive American folk art as that is what I know and love. Occasionally I like to stretch and try something new on the canvas but I always return to my first true love :) Three times a year I teach a class in American folk art and each time I'm amazed at #1: how beautiful each and every painting turns out and #2: how there is a unique skill connected to recreating that old world look that folk art enthusiasts adore. When I'm teaching I tell my students that we are not going to follow all of the rules of creating "good" art. In folk art we get to embrace the breaking of some of the more formal rules. I can paint in a more traditional manner with landscapes, still life and so on but folk art, primitive folk art is what touches my soul. I have an extensive collection of art books but the most dog eared are the folk art books. I never get tired of studying and appreciating these early works.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm posting two more paintings completed during the 30 Day Painting Challenge. I have to admit the next piece is done but not ready to be photographed as I'm "crackling" it, a process that won't be fully finished until this afternoon. As I finish these pieces, they will be ready for purchase at my shop  .

With all of this speedy painting lately, I've been thinking about artists who just seem to naturally have the gift for laying paint down quicky. This, of course, is not me. I'm painfully slow but it brought up a memory of an artist I had the pleasure of seeing in the 80's at the University of Nevada, Reno.  I've been trying to remember his name but it just won't come to me. I think I even read that he had passed away but he was great. A huge, huge canvas, one song played while during that few minutes he grabbed paint and completed a portrait right there on stage, 4 minutes tops! Hmmm, not sure if that would even work with folk art but it sure did with these fabulous portraits of his.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Originality in Artwork

I was talking with some friends recently about originality in art work. The general consensus is that it seems such an exercise in futility to be completely original. While I do agree that it seems everything has been done, it is still awe inspiring to see how each artist will replay what may seem to be an old subject. Angels have been painted forever. Landscapes?? Wow, they are everywhere. In just my lifetime I've seen more than enough landscapes, folksy or otherwise, to last a lifetime. But each time I see a new painting of these subjects, I am amazed at the subtle nuances that make a painting unique to the artist. Wow, how do they do it? I've seen the old wooden house on the hill but then along comes another old wooden house on a hill and that artist used a great combination of colors or gave a unique shape to the house or, well, you get it. I think that is what separates the people who love and appreciate art from those who would rather have their walls bare. We see the sweet, subtle, intriguing, or downright boisterous differences between his landscape and her landscape and we are again in awe.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

1 down, 29 to go ...

Okay so I didn't choose that huge canvas for the 1st day of the 30 day challenge but I did complete the first painting on an art card. 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches. Sometimes it's fun to pull it all in and work in detail, nose practically on the work. I did a miniature piece of American Folk Art.

On a side note, I paint to music, always. Oddly enough I can remember every soundtrack of every painting. John Mayer, Frank Sinatra, 40's Big Band, The Beatles, ... well the list is too long and the variety of music is too extensive. I'm sure I am the only person in the world with Metallica, Mozart, Jimmy Dorsey, The Monkees and more on my iPod living peacefully side by side :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go !

Friday the 13th lived up to its name and here I thought I would love the irony of beginning my 30 day painting challenge on this day. Feeling under the weather I let my acupuncturist pin cushion me back to health. Ahhh, much better... So, here I sit at my easel forcing myself to get out of my comfortable little box and stretch a little. My mantra: stop thinking, just paint...stop thinking, just paint...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

30 Day "Painting a Day" Challenge

In two days I will be starting 30 days of "paint one a day". It's my challenge to myself. I'm a meticulous, slow painter. Artists friends have raved about how liberating and beneficial it is as well as FUN. So my own 30 day challenge will start on Friday, November 13th. That's 30 days, rain or shine, sickness or health, even Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving painting will most likely be done in the wee early morning hours before the holiday festivities kick in☺   Photographing and and editing and placing them on my website at will run behind a little but I will try to keep up and keep photos posted here as well. If there are any other artists that would like to try this crazy challenge during the holiday season I would love to hear from you.

On Angels Magazine

Like so many web sites, I found this one by accident but I'm passing it along as I LOVE the premise. I know how angels can work in our lives and a web magazine that celebrates them, well, I love that idea! So I'm passing the link on to you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I genuinly love my paintings even when I look back later and wonder why I chose those colors or that landscape or whatever... But once in a while there is a painting that I truly LOVE and I can't really say why. On this particular piece maybe it is the face of the angel or maybe I'm just in love with its large size (30 x 40 inches), no I think it is something in the eyes. Hmm, well for whatever reason, as it hangs in my studio, I am entranced by it. I had already posted a photo a couple weeks ago when I finished this one but I will post one again right now.

Good news for my jewelry line at . The wonderful people at Hansen Co. Jewelry in Salt Lake City, Utah will be carrying some of my select pieces in the near future!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pursuit of Joy

Pursuit of pure joy is serious business. I'm paraphrasing someone and I apologize as I can't remember who said it, but is fits me to a tee. Having painted for most of my life, more and more I realize the need to close off the world when I am "at work". My home studio is a place where I lose all track of time and space ...if I let it! And that is where my heart of hearts can truly pour onto the canvas. The quandary happens when the phone rings or I hear a knock at the door or I start wondering what time I need to get dinner in the oven ... In other words, just because my studio is at my home location doesn't mean I can allow my mind to be at home. To really create, to allow my mind to generate ideas freely I have to block all of the mundane tasks of day to day life. I have read that this is true of home based businesses. From what I've read, even if your business is home based you need to get out of your pj's, dress for work and focus just as you would at the office. So it stands true for artists also, even though most of us LOVE it and we know we would do it for free even if we could never sell even one iota, we need to give ourselves permission to close out the world and focus on that pursuit of pure joy.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What is that noise?

I was working on a painting in my home studio a couple nights ago, windows were open letting in cool late night air. It was very quiet. Unlike my usual music to paint by I had opted for the quiet sound of the late night. I heard a noise. This noise was not the normal late night crickets, frogs, breeze blowing through. It was the kind of noise that made the hair on my neck stand up. My ever fearless watchdog/studio hound was sound asleep but I called her name to see if she detected anything wrong. I cracked the door and told her to "go get it" and she took off like a rocket. I could see nothing out of the ordinary from my window but she barked and stood at attention, unrelenting. By now I had realized that my painting was going to be put on the back burner while I figured out whether to step outside into the unknown with my fearless dog or go hide under the bed! I couldn't let her bark all night so I turned on the spotlight in the backyard and safely behind my glass door I scanned the perimeter to see if I could see what or where the intruder was. And there up in a tree was a raccoon. After all that, a raccoon. He was staring at me, stunned and scared. So I called me dog off and stood staring at that poor alarmed creature and decided that all I could do was turn off the spotlight and let it go on its way. How does all of that relate to my paintings? Well, it doesn't really except that I’m sure that a raccoon will show up in one of my paintings very soon...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Let the Halloween festivities begin...

The project for the school is complete and tonight it will be used for a school function. It came out good although I give credit to Charles Schulz as I did a Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin project .
Also,on another note, I have recently come across a cache of vintage glass and am making some jewelry pieces using that glass. WOW, looks beautiful! Look to the right and you will see a link to my etsy page for jewelry. In the next few days I will be adding some more of those vintage glass pieces. They would make GREAT Christmas gifts.
Just to clear up confusion, my name is Kathryn Ramos but on my jewelry I work under my maiden name CORBETT. It's nutty but a while back I felt a tug of nostalgia for my family name so I use that maiden name to honor that childhood memory.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Artistic Expectations

I love being creative. I love it. Here is the only downside of saying, "Yes, I am an artist". Expectations!! When creativity flows and the Yin and Yang is in balance, I can feel it and it is exhilarating but when I have a creative job to do I can feel the hot breath of pressure down my neck. I can't wait around for the inspiration to hit so I sit, have coffee, peruse my favorite art books...still no inspiration. Time for a brisk walk, iPod, the dog, and motivating music. Nothing yet. Ahhh, finally, an idea for this project and yes, I think I can do it! So what is this project that threw me into artistic limbo today? Design a Halloween backdrop to use for the Trunk or Treat festivities at the local elementary school. I think a lot of artists are like matter the size of the project, we want to create the masterpiece because we are, after all, the "artist".

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Finishing Touches

In my much younger days, I would start a painting and I could not work on any other painting until that one was finished. These days I find myself working on 3 or 4 paintings at one time, rotating throughout the day and week. My favorite part of the process is when I get down to the finishing touches on a nearly complete painting. It is as though, at that one moment, the piece comes alive. I'm posting the two pieces just completed this week. These will be for sale (or at least the prints)on my ETSY website within the week.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall is in the Air

Love this time of the easel is waiting for me, coffee is one, today's music is big band hits of the 40's. Okay, those 40's hit are way before my time but I still love them. It is about this time of the year that I pullout a painting that has been 3 years in the making. It is so wrong, really, 3 years on this one little painting. But once a year, maybe twice, I get this very wintery, holidayish feeling and when I do I pick up this one particular painting and add some more details. It is a folk art winter scene and just can't be worked on when it is blazing hot outside.
The java and paintbrush are calling...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Italian Street Painting Festival

What a fabulous way to spend a weekend ! My back and knees have almost recovered from 12 hours of a continous hunched over position as I recreated a Rufus Porter piece of folk art. We had a great time, artists everywhere, great weather, live bands, simply perfect.