Rhino. Underpainting. Brushes. Etc.

I have a ton of brushes.  Most of them are cheap, a few set me back $20-$30.  I love having a variety to choose from for each stage of a painting.  Sometimes I'll use the cheapest frayed brush to work the paint, and sometimes I need an expensive sable with a nice pointed tip to get the paint to do exactly what I want.  Some of my favorite brushes are some of the cheapest. The important thing for me is to have a variety to choose from, and to keep them in tip-top shape by making sure to thoroughly wash them out after using them.

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I've been trying to keep a good momentum going in the studio.  I just started this little rhinoceros a few nights ago.  I'll start a larger painting within the next few nights too, but I like having these mid-sized paintings to work on in between the larger works.  The figurine for this piece is so small and hard to see for painting the details.  It will be a challenge for sure.

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I also picked up this little guy last week.  I have been avoiding the thrift shops for the most part since we moved because we are really trying to get rid of a bunch of stuff, but every once and a while I'll sneak out to look for something really specific.

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Well, I'm off to work in the studio!  And again - if any of you are in Minneapolis this weekend (Nov 7th) please stop by the opening of my exhibition at Soo Visual Arts Center and say hi!  I'd love to see you! PS - they are also unveiling a couple of new limited edition prints for purchase there - so be the first to see which ones will be released!


In the Studio

While getting the house into a functional state, I've also been plugging away in the studio.

I finished all of the work for my next show before we'd moved.  When you paint with oil paints, you've got to really push your deadlines for exhibitions back because the works need time to dry and in my case be varnished with an initial varnish so the surface appears nice and uniform.

Putting the last layer on this guy today. Almost done.

I'd started this little cardinal before we'd moved, and just had to put one more thin layer of paint over the whole thing to really solidify the colors.  The red I used for this painting was cadmium red which is very slow drying.  I had to transport this guy half-dry from SD to WI, and I'm glad he survived the transit without getting distorted!

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Last week I sent out the pieces for my next exhibition titled Conscious Objects which opens the 7th of November in Minneapolis, MN at the Soo Visual Arts Center.  It is always a big job to pack and ship work, as you have to be prepared for it to be dropped off the side of a truck or stepped on - hah. Here's a sneak peak of this happy squirrel before he was cased in many layers of plastic, foam, and cardboard.  If you are in Minneapolis, please check out the work - it will be up for the next month + - here is the press release: Conscious Objects at Soo VAC

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Otherwise, I've been able to put in some good hours in the studio - both painting, and organizing/photographing/doing paperwork. I'm starting to get back into the groove, and kick out some work.

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This one has been especially fun with the complexity of the hair to go along with the reflective surface.  Plus, how can you resist this guy's face?

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I've also been really trying to refine how I prepare my surfaces - especially for my works on panel.  I'd been gessoing them with a roller and light sanding between layers, but I wasn't really 100% happy with the slight surface texture.  It worked great for blending paint, but it was driving me nuts when it came to fine details.  So I switched up my method of application and my sanding process, and made a batch of ultra smooth panels for some of my next paintings.

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These are underpaintings on those panels - a continuation of the series 'faux landscapes' that I've been working on the last few years.  I'm pushing these to be a little bit more abstract than the some of the others I've done in the past.  I'm not sure if that is the direction I'll keep pushing them, but in the meantime I'm having fun.

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I'm loving the surfaces so far though - they are divinely smooth, and the paint is gliding like a dream.  It is nice when you get to the point where you don't have to fight the materials to get them to do what you want.

New House & New Projects

Dodgeville -> Oshkosh   Closing on our new house in a few hours. Thanks to Nate's parents for babysitting the 'grandcats' for the last week!
(Nate & I and the cats making the journey from SD to WI)

I'm attempting to catch up a little bit with my blogging.  I was off the radar for a while with the move.  We've been packing and unpacking while balancing a ton of personal projects (exhibitions, music gigs, record releases, studio upgrades).  Nate has started teaching classes at UWO as their new Director of Recording Technology and I've been teaching online and continuing my studio practice while slowly renovating our new place.  Speaking of that, here's our new (to us) house:

We have a ton of plans to make the exterior a little bit more inviting. :)  We'll be adding shutters, painting the olive green a different color, and adding a little landscaping to liven things up.  It is a 60's house with a great layout.

We've done a lot of work to the interior so far (and have a lot to do still too). After we got our kitchen/living room/bedroom unpacked, I started on my new studio space.  It is about the same size as my last studio, so I have to be pretty inventive with how I arrange and organize the space to maximize functionality.
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I moved around some existing wall shelves, and built some shelving in the small closet.  I made the closet shelving specifically to hold the bins that I store my supplies in and the most common size canvasses that I use.  I also built and put up a pegboard to store all of those things that I use a lot, but don't want out in my workspace.
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Building the braces for the shelves.
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The 'finished' product (albeit still not entirely organized).  I think I spent around $30 on all of the materials along with some supplies I already had.  I'm loving having these custom shelves.
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So as of now the studio is functional.  It still needs a lot of work - namely painting and organizing - but at least for now I can still continue to paint while I slowly get to those jobs.

I've also done a lot of painting on the first floor, and replaced the window treatments with curtains.
Kitchen Before:
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The blinds in the kitchen were old, dirty, and blocked the view into the backyard.  The house has a lot of windows, and we really want a bright kitchen, so I chose to go with simple white curtains.  I also painted the ceilings with flat white paint, and the walls a really light neutral grey.  The kitchen feels a lot more modern and airy now. We've still got to paint the cupboards and replace the light fixtures.
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I'm also toying with the idea of painting all of the trim white, but I'm not sure yet.  

We've also painted the living room and replaced some of the curtains.  We've still got the replace the godawful faded olive/teal floral carpeting though - I cannot wait to get that out of here.  We haven't decided if we are going to put in different carpet, or extend the pergo floors from the kitchen/hallway into the living room so the first floor has cohesive flooring.  

Goodbye 'baby barf' yellow, hello beautiful grey. :D
We were glad to get rid of the 'baby puke' yellow walls, and put in a nice neutral grey.  I like to change up the artwork and the blankets/throw pillows a lot in the house, so the grey walls let me change the feel of the room without having to repaint every time I redecorate.  

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Cozy. 

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One of the most satifying projects thus far has been ripping out the carpet on the second floor hallway. I can't believe the prior owners covered these beautiful hardwoods! I think the carpets turned off a lot of potential buyers though, so I'm counting this as a total win. 

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We've also painted the office - we had to get rid of the 'cloud walls' as soon as we could!

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We've still got a lot of work cut out for us though - painting, curtains, some floors, etc.  I made a 'little' list of all of the projects left to complete.  I'm looking forward to having things a little bit further along so it really starts to feel like our space.