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Thursday, November 30, 2006

dog paintings (november 30, 2006)
Painting dogs from photographs is one of my favorite things to do. This is an english setter named "neutron" who lives in France. His owner commissioned a painting from me in June, and emailed me a few photographs.

I selected a romantic photo of the dog in a field and painted a nice portrait that I hoped would please. To tell the truth, I find it stressful to paint commissions. I have the best time when I am painting for nobody but myself.

A few months later, I painted this second portrait when the pressure was off.

I painted the portrait over an oil painting by my then 5 yr old grandson. I like painting over old canvases, probably because of my New England heritage where I hate to waste anything.

Here are stages of the portrait as it progressed. It is size 9x12".

I started out by scraping off the underpainting, an abstract done with oil sticks by my 5 yr old grandson.

Then I used bright cadmium red medium to "draw" the image of the dog. I used this color because it was the only one that had not dried out in my paint box and I had a lot of it.

I worked in my kitchen with light coming in the windows, while listening to an unabridged book on tape called JOHN ADAMS by David McCullough.

The days are short this time of year, so I had to resist the urge to take an afternoon nap and paint while the sun was out.

At first I liked the painting with the red background. But after looking at it on my kitchen wall, I decided the image did not have enough depth. It looked kind of flat.

I reworked it without thinking, painting with my mind "at rest," kind of mindlessly. That is my favorite way to paint. I can paint while talking on the phone or listening to the radio. Apparently my brain is compartmentalized so that speaking does not interfere with my hand-eye coordination.

Perhaps I was thinking of Vuillard when those lovely blues and greens and beige colors came up in the background. Perhaps I was thinking of a grassy field. I stopped when the result pleased me.

When painting, most of what I do pleases me. Have you ever noticed how some painters love their own work? I believe we each have an inner child that is encouraged by praise. All I know is when I am working, everything I am creating looks TERRIFIC. Later on, I might be more judgmental, but not much. The happier I am, the better my work seems to turn out.

I brought this painting to the AVAM show. Nobody bought it, but I sold a few giclee prints of it for $10 each.

7:35 am pst

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Craft show at AVAM, Baltimore, November 25, 2006
Here is my booth at the one-day show at the American Visionary Arts Museum on Key Highway in Baltimore, November 25, 2006.

It was my last art show of the year.

Let me tell you there is no thrill on earth like being able to hang up all my paintings and look at them all together, and sit there working and have people come by and say "I like your stuff."

Here is a picture I was working on, self portrait as my inner child. This was painted over a canvas I found on the street, or else in a dumpster behind an art school last year. I scraped off the old painting as much as I could, but two bumpy swirls remained, so I used them as a start for the eyes and the rest of the form evolved as I painted on and off over the past six months.

Sometimes people come up to me at an art show and ask "did you paint all those today?" or "did you paint that today?" or "how long does it take to make a painting?"

It's hard to know how to answer questions like that. Some people say "all my life" or words to that effect... I work over and over and over paintings. Some people feel I "overwork" them. It's a matter of taste I guess. I put the paint on, then scratch through it until it gets a kind of scumbled multicolor effect which I like.

2:17 pm pst

2007.02.01 | 2006.12.01 | 2006.11.01

1866 deed Hannah Lateer guardian for Nathan Sturdevant orphans Sells their Falls Pa 2 acres for $600

Page one, Minor Children of Nathan Sturdevant are Vanderburg J. and Juna E. Sturdevant ages 11 & 9

Hannah Lateer with husband Isaac Lateer sell Sturdevant's 2 acres in Falls Twp Wyoming Co Pa

Fuller Sickler (as highest bidder) buys the property for $600

Signatures of Isaac and Hannah Lateer are spelled LATTEER but text is different, as is census record

Sept 13 1865 Francis Hough, Justice of the Peace, finalizes the deed to Sickler

june 1958 I am standing at main gate of vassar college, clutching my diploma, looking "studious."

Here i am standing in front of a "fancy" car on graduation day. It doesn't belong to anybody I know.

I took this photo when I was 12 years old.

Granny in the Garden 24x36" oil on canvas 和arciaSWilson2006

This painting evolved from abstract splotches of color but Granny must have been on my mind while I was painting. Her hair is brown, not white, and her cocker spaniel has turned into a dachshund, but the peaceful feeling is still there.


Vena's Grandmother, Katharine Swigert, is 61 years old in this photo and Granny is about 3. Granny named my mother after her. The girl standing behind the wall, Henrietta Baker, is listed as "servant girl" on the 1880 census for North Middleton Pa. She must have helped out at the tavern on Waggoners Gap Road, The Fairview Inn, which was owned by my gg grandfather, Jonathan Cashman Beecher.

Memory of Granny in Church, 16x20" oil on canvas 和arciaSWilson2006

Granny sometimes attended the Presbyterian Church in Clarks Summit Pa; Grandpa went to the Methodist one. Granny sang "Rock of Ages" while I hid my face in the hymnal. On the way home Granny said that if she had to do it over again she would have become a choir singer. She had been a music major at Irving Seminary, Mechanicsburg Pa, class of 1899.

Afternoon Nap 16x20" oil on canvas 和arciaSWilson2006

Granny and Grandpa took naps after meals, Granny in the living room, Grandpa in the dining room. The living room lampshade had butterflies pinned all over it (not shown in this painting) and Granny explained that she put them there because they looked so beautiful with the light shining thru their wings. Mother found out where they came from when she vacuumed and saw that moths had eaten away the carpet underneath the furniture.

Grandpa's last Christmas tree, photo by Marcia Sandmeyer 1951 Clarks Summit Pa.

Memory of Christmas Without Dad, oil on canvas 18x24" 和arciaSWilson2006

Pen & Ink Drawing of Christmas Without Dad 和arciaSWilson1991

Easter 1943 Mom had scolded us for not wearing our hats but Dad said never mind.

Portrait of an English Setter 9x12" oil on canvas just sketched in

Portrait of an English Setter 9x12" oil on canvas 和arciaSWilson2006

Marcia Wilson booth, AVAM Marketplace November 25, 2006 Baltimore

Pit Bull as Princess, 11x14" oil on canvas 和arciaSWilson2006

Self Portrait as my Inner Child 18x24" oil on canvas 和arciaSWilson2006

Self Portrait in Tub With Dog 24x36" oil on canvas 和arciaSWilson2006

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