Monday, December 24, 2007

Have been neglecting my blog, and my art!

It has been a while since I last blogged! Or, for that matter painted.

This time of year there are a lot of things to distract me from my pledge of painting daily. I painted regularly up until about two weeks ago. I finished the three small paintings of my oldest grandchildren, scanned them, and have packed them up for delivery Christmas day to their other Grandmother. And, I have started a new painting - a Mexican beach restaurant scene with a group of Mariachi players.

My first distraction was to take time out to design, compose, and publish our annual Christmas Letter. The decisions of choosing photographs and selecting stories is quite lengthy. The stories must be interesting, but not boastful. There are too many annual letters talking about "we did this, we did that," perhaps more to impress the reader than to just bring our far flung friends and relatives up to date with our own and our family's going's on.

We had to get them out fast (we were already very late) because many must be sent to relatives back in England and Wales by regular mail. So many of our older relatives do not have email.

But quite a few were able to sent by email to our "younger" and more mod friends and a scattering of relatives.

In the middle of this rush, my trusty printer stopped printing. We had to take the letter to FedExKinko's to prepare color prints. And hand write all the envelopes.

But, perhaps the primary distraction is that we have decided to upgrade several things in the house. The principal item of which is to install a big screen TV in our den.

Everything has to be done in stages. First the older TV had to be moved to another room. Then we had to dispose of the old wooden cabinet. Then the room had to be emptied so that the carpet could be cleaned.

While this was going on we had to choose the new TV and accompanying sound system. Plus select a wooden stand to put under the TV. The big items were coming across country from New Jersey. The smaller items from local stores.

Then when they arrived I had to assemble the wooden stand, and install the new sound system (which involved a lot of running hidden wires around the room). When the TV finally arrived and was unpacked, I had to ask a neighbor to help me lift it into position - I am getting to old and feeble to do all of these physical things.

Now all is done. Peace reigns again around the house. The new TV is wonderful. Very soon I will get back to painting again - every day!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

New Painting and Consequential Issues

At long last I got my recent painting of "Marty and Diane" back from my photographer. I immediately shipped it off to them as an early surprise holiday gift.

A few days later I received a phone call Marty expressing strong appreciation and thanks, and then tentatively asking if I could alter Diane's nose.

My wife, my resident critic, never liked the way I had painted Diane's nose. I had struggled with it, but thought I had got it right. One of the troubles of painting portraits of friends, family, and of course commissions, is that the likeness has got to be good.

After the phone call I blew up in Photoshop the original photograph to show Diane's nose, and also the same area of the painting. The comparison was not so good. The photograph showed the nose both shorter and softer. I wish I had done this before I completed the painting. I guess that is how one learns.

Marty (a really old friend) and his recent new wife Diane, live in San Diego, and are planning to travel up to see us in January. They will bring the painting with them, and I promised to apply my painterly skills to adjust the offending nose.