Monday, June 4, 2012

New Blog, New Address

Due to an unexpected life disruption, I have not painted or blogged for several months, so in April I closed this blog and discontinued my web site. A few people have noticed and inquired, which distresses me some. As I attempt to resume painting  and to resurrect myself online, a new look, approach, and blog address seems appropro. Hereafter, I will post new work at Connie McLennan Paint Praise. Thanks for checking back.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Don't Look Back

"Don't Look Back" 8 x 8" oil on panel
Some paintings name themselves, some are tough. This time, finding the meaning of of this daffodil's Italian name--sempre avanti--solved the problem.

It's no surprise that painting is NOT like riding a bike. Then again, riding a bike isn't even like riding a bike: if you don't ride regularly, you may remember how, but the muscles won't be in shape. I have not painted in several months and am getting a late start on my 25 "orange" themed 20-20 Show paintings. Chances seem slim for finishing in time, but who knows. Now that I've started I'll paint when possible and try to enjoy the ride.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ironstone Vineyards Show

My table at Ironstone Vineyard's "Spring Obsession" Show

A recent post on the Ironstone Heritage Museum Blog features the three of us who received Judges Merit Awards in the Spring Obsession competition at Ironstone Vineyards earlier in March.
The painting that won my award was the Sierra Heritage oak tree that nearly drove me nuts awhile back. I was thrilled to discover that Chris, the museum and events coordinator at Ironstone is a former SF Academy of Art chum I knew by her maiden name and had not seen since school days, and that the judges were also old friends, teachers and directors from the Academy. Impromptu class reunion!

As always, sorry for my long, unexplained absence.
It shall remain unexplained, as I have resolved to keep this blog strictly about art, but I'm hoping to get back to some painting and more regular posting again soon.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Request

Don Hatfield--my friend and painting mentor (also a Fuller seminary graduate who for the past year has been my faithful, de facto "pastor" through my own difficult times)--has suffered the most horrendous of tragedies (new link, 3/29) On Feb 27, his daughter Rachel, mother of his three adored grandchildren, was stabbed to death in their Cameron Park home. Her husband is in custody. For Don, this came on the heels of losing his wife Janey to cancer in January and his home two years ago in the mortgage crisis. At 64, he is now in the process of taking guardianship of the babies, ages 4, 2 and 9 months. As he currently lives in a small Yountville condo, he needs a bigger house and a nanny. A fund has been set up, and he is seeking donations. Donors above the $500 level will receive one of his beautiful prints.

Please consider donating and/or relaying this information and the link below to your email list.
Rachel Winkler Children's Fund


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Single Most Important Rule

Hybrid Beet, 8 x 8" oil on canvas panel, $165
Around the first of the year a number of people posted lists of rules for self-improvement, success, etc., some quite good. In fact, though I couldn't possibly improve upon it, I was tempted to re-write this one for painters. However, for all practical purposes, and because I can't remember long lists, I think most of them can be distilled to two words: Don't quit. All else is nuance or addendum to that basic advice.

Sometimes it's easier said than done. Like golfing ability, painting skills decline when not practiced daily. No amount of "head work" can make up for the physical act of applying brush to canvas--a lesson I seem to give myself regularly. After not painting for awhile, I sometimes even consider quitting for good--though I have yet to figure out what else I would do.

In developing a theme, having too many options can be confusing, intimidating. One dependable motivator for me is taking on an "assignment"--a project with parameters and a deadline. Must come from so many years of illustration. So, after a couple of false starts and failures that went straight into the trash (yeah, that glass thing in the last post didn't work out AT ALL), I have settled on a theme for the next "20-20" show (25 8x8" paintings)--though it hardly seems possible it has been a year since the last one. Even though I said I was finished with small paintings, it has been a rough year, so this will do for getting back into the swing. Again I have chosen a color theme: The Subject is Orange. Since Pantone's "color of the year" for 2012 is Tangerine Tango, maybe they will match someone's couch--ha, ha.

I will again laminate fabric to the wood panels, this time "faux linen": cotton canvas dyed to match natural linen and primed with matte medium or clear gesso. Something magic about that color, and I need all the magic I can get. On the other hand, somebody recommended Liquin Light, so I bought a little bottle and totally don't get it--I HATE that stuff.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How NOT to Write a Popular Art Blog

1. Write titles that are neither provocative nor descriptive of the content.
2. Since it's an art blog, ignore anything you may know about writing. Treat it like a personal journal: talk about non-art-related events of no interest to anyone who isn't a family member, friend or particularly loyal follower.
3. Don't think about who your readers are, who you would like them to be, or what may interest them. This is your show, and you are the star--whether anyone else cares or not.
4. Post sporadically, leaving long periods of inactivity.
5. Post whatever you have, including inconsistent, mediocre work or outdated pieces--anything to fill the gaps.
6. Don't do anything to promote readership. Rarely post on other people's blogs or participate in any other social media.

In short, do what I've been doing for the past six years.

I began blogging during the height of the daily painting/eBay selling movement, primarily to promote my weekly small works. Since I was illustrating regularly, painting was more of a hobby during the gaps. Unable to paint consistently, I let my blog drift in whatever direction I was going. Now that it has now been dormant for two months, the stat counter and "Popular Posts" feature show that the most hits come primarily from search engines--people looking for a particular subject identified in the title--or links from the few other blogs where I'm listed. Duh.

I am not a comedienne or marketing expert; I am not an art historian, nor do I consider myself skilled enough to offer a lot of painting advice; and I can't promise daily or even weekly posts quite yet. But between new work and occasional insights, I think I can still write a better blog. Frankly, even blogs written by those who are funny, more knowledgeable and better painters don't always hold my interest. So with this late start on a "New Year" (necessitated by yet more family crisis no one needs to read) I hereby resolve to take a shot at least at improving my writing.

Oh yeah--the image. It's a reference photo for a piece I'm starting as an entry for a show in which the theme is glass and jewel colors--because sometimes it's easier to get (re)started with an "assignment." More on that later...