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2009  Blog
began March 2007
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Progress on Precious Tiffanie (2/27):
            I made some progress, this morning, on my watercolor of Tiffanie clutching her new doll. By tomorrow, I may get this painting finished. I'm working at getting the dolls hair to look like the golden curls it has. The last change I made was to add the dark shape behind Tiffanie.

click on painting for a larger image    >>>
Maps From Space (2/26):
             Google is improving it's searchable maps of our planet. Below is a screen pic of Albuquerque showing the Sandia mountains to our east. Go to http://www.earthalbum.com/ and look at any part of the globe you want to explore. Or, just find your neighborhood, your friends house in another city or where you use to live.

Albuquerque, New Mexico and Sandia Mountains
Spring Watercolor Entries (2/25):
             Now that MasterWorks notices are out, I can decide what to enter into the NMWS Spring Exhibition. I'm sending the three images below. I do seem to have better luck with watercolors I do of children. Tony Couch is our juror this time - Let's hope he likes children. 

Angels in Training

Tiffanie Sleeping

Little Miss Sunshine 2

Exhibit Runs

April 4 - 25, 2009
Hispanic Arts Building Expo NM
10am – 5pm,
Easter and Mondays
MasterWorks of New Mexico (2/24):
            In the mail today was the rejection notice from MasterWorks of New Mexico. Included was the news that I had one painting accepted into this years show. It was my watercolor of shadows cast over a horno at the Taos Pueblo. It's always a tough exhibition to get into so I'm lucky to have one in this year. Now I can decide which paintings to enter into the NMWS Spring Show.

MasterWorks of New Mexico
Opening Reception - Friday, April 3rd, 5 to 8 PM
Frani Working Hard:
           Frani's grandmother once told me, "Polish woman strong like horse".  She was so right, while I play at the museum or waste time on my computer - she is out there among the cactus cleaning out those "Spanish Saber" plants that have gotten out of control. She bags them up and I take them to one of Albuquerque's Convenience Center. Isn't that a great name for a dump and it only cost me $3.60 to use the Center.

Frani Sitting in Cactus                                         Spanish Saber Plants Cut from Garden

Harvey Girl

Harvey House Returns to Kansas City
Alvarado Hotel (2/23):
           This mornings docent training was on the upcoming exhibit on Albuquerque's Alvarado Hotel. Sadly it was torn down years ago. This jewel of the Fred Harvey Hotels was built in 1901. Fred Harvey’s chain of Harvey House restaurants and hotels traced the Santa Fe Railroad’s expansion westward in the 1870s. For nearly a century, Harvey's company served good food at reasonable prices in clean, elegant restaurants to the traveling public throughout the Southwest. They also brought civilization, community and industry to the Wild West.

Jewel of the Railroad Era - Albuquerque's Alvarado Hotel
March 8 through June 7, 2009

click here for a teachers guide for this exhibition

Alvarado Hotel - Albuquerque, New Mexico

           As the rails moved west, Harvey rose higher in the railroad business, but he never forgot his roots as a restaurateur. Given the sorry state of eating establishments for train travelers in the day, Harvey realized rail passengers needed quality food service on their journeys. Harvey’s association with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway led to the development of several eating houses on an experimental basis. At its peak, this first-ever restaurant chain included 84 Harvey Houses, all of which catered to wealthy and middle-class visitors alike. The chain’s “Harvey Girls,” waitresses dressed in plain black uniforms with crisp, white collars and aprons, were the signature feature of Harvey House lore. Trained to handle hungry crowds of rail passengers quickly, efficiently and politely, the Harvey Girls became a symbol of the restaurant chain’s respected reputation.

Fred Harvey

Pruning Roses (2/22):
          With this warm February weather, the roses were telling us that they were past due to be pruned. I cut all eleven plants way back to the heavy stock. Then Frani cuts up the roses into small pieces. These bushes have grown a lot in the four years since I first planted them. They love the cool summer nights in Albuquerque.

<<<    roses two years ago
More Progress (2/21):
          At this mornings Saturday painting group, I made some more progress on my watercolor of "Precious Tiffanie". It's proceeding OK so far. I'll finish her up before next Saturday's session. I'll have to miss Saturday painting sessions in March because I'm taking a "Fly Fishing Class" at UNM.

<<<   click on painting for a larger image

Time To Trim Roses:
          Actually,  I believe I'm a couple weeks late - they are sending out new leaves already. I cut back four rose bushes today - I'll get the rest tomorrow. The climate in Albuquerque is perfect for roses. They love the cool nights in the summer. We planted eleven bushes our first winter here and they are still growing strong.

Last Year's Roses
Student Art (2/20):
          Yesterday, I added some new student art to the New Mexico Art Education Association (NMAEA) web site. Roni Rohr, new president of the NMAEA, sent me the photos of her students working on murals. Click Here to see her students at work on the murals. I serve as webmaster for New Mexico art teachers. Being retired, I've got time to do fun stuff like that.
Precious Tiffanie Progress:
          I made a bit of progress in my new watercolor of "Precious Tiffanie" this morning. On the way to my Friday painting group - I stopped by to visit with the parents of "Little Miss Sunshine". I gave them photos of the two watercolors I did of their daughter and showed them my most recent painting. I found out that her real name is Nickie. Her parents have actually written a children's book featuring their daughter. They even ask me if I might be interested in doing illustrations for the book. I told them, "I'm willing to try."

Kathleen Sebelius
NMWS Newsletter (2/19):
          This morning I put the finishing touches on the March issue of Brushstrokes, the monthly newsletter of the New Mexico Watercolor Society. After a few people get a chance to proof read it - I'll send it to the printer.

Sebelius A Good Choice:
           The word is that Kansas Govenor Kathleen Sebelius, an early Obama supporter with a record of working across party lines, is emerging as the president’s top choice for secretary of health and human services. Sebelius would bring eight years of experience as her state’s insurance commissioner as well as six years as a governor running a state Medicaid program. Her strongest asset may be her record of navigating partisan politics as a Democrat in one of the country’s most Republican states. Sebelius will make a strong asset to the Obama administration.
Seven Pounds:
           Frani and I went to another dollar movie yesterday. It fits our retirement budget. We saw the Will Smith movie "Seven Pounds". We found the powerful movie plot both complex and well developed. It was well worth our time to experience to see this thought provoking film. I don't think it gives too much away to explain a bit about the plot: Ben (Will Smith) is an IRS agent who is depressed and guilt-ridden about mistakes from his past. He sets out to make amends by helping seven strangers. When he meets Emily (Rosario Dawson), a beautiful woman with a heart condition, he falls in love with her, thereby complicating his plans. Woody Harrelson also appears as a blind pianist who befriends Ben. I highly reccommend this movie. Since it was released in December and is already in the dollar theaters - it must have not been received too well. That is a real shame because it is a powerful story which was told quite well.
Painting Precious Tiffanie (2/18):
          I did a rough drawing this morning of Tiffanie clutching tight to her Precious Moments doll she got for Christmas. I'll use an eraser to lighten the drawing before I start painting.
Watercolor Critique (2/17):
          Last nights watercolor society meeting was well attended and lots of members brought paintings for critique. Laurie Johnson and Bud Edmunson did the critiques, To the right, that's a photo of Bud next to his portrait which was painted by Bob Gutchen. On the left, Mary (NMWS President) holds up my watercolor of "Little Miss Sunshine 2". This is one of the most valuable meetings we have. Artists gain information, not just about their paintings, but from what is said about each of the other artists work.
         About my watercolor of Little Miss Sunshine, Bud did suggest that I should soften the hair and try to hide some of the hard edges in the figure. It's something I should have learned from the classes I took from Jay Drummond. She is a master at letting the edges in her paintings soften and disappear where needed. It's something I need to work on. Bud did say that the blue finger nails did not bother him.
Fly Fishing Class:
          It's going to conflict with my Saturday morning watercolor painting - but I've signed up for a Fly-Fishing Class. One has to set priorities once in a while. This will be a new art form for me. I'm used to fishing for Bass and Crappie in Missouri, but not for Trout in these New Mexico streams. I'm use to a spinning reel but I've never used a fly rod. My beautiful bride, Frani, bought me a nice reel and fly rod for Christmas. Now, I need to learn how to use it.

New Quilt by Frani
Frani's Quilts (2/16):
           While I'm busy painting watercolors, working on my i-mac, or going to meetings, etc. Frani spends her time working on creating quilts. Click here to see the new quilts she just finished sewing bindings on. Here are some earlier quilts from last year by my beautiful bride as well as even more quilts she made in 2006. See - I don't have all the talent in the family.

<<<    click on frani's quilt to see more quilts
Critiques about "Little Miss Sunshine":
           Thanks to everyone who commented on my painting of "Little Miss Sunshine" .  I'll wait till after Monday's critique at the watercolor society meeting before I make any changes so I can compare the comments.

Comments so far have included:
- blue nails are not an indication of good health
- even though I like the look of the blue-violet nails in the painting
- her nostrils are two different hues
- except for the finger tips ( nail polish or shadows ) don't look realistic
- the hair -  it's just too harsh
- the face is not shadowed enough to be back lit
- might remove some of the blue specks in the background
- my eye was just drawn to the really light hair "coming out from her eye
- dark shadows - in her hair seem harsh in contrast to the lightness of her sunlit strands
- hair could be lighter - blended more
- get rid of the flat black...(hair in shadow)
- contrast between the highlight and the color on the left arm that stands out just a little
          Those are a sample of comments and suggestions - I did not include the numerous positive comments even though I do appreciate the strokes. I especially appreciate those who took time to make suggested changes using photoshop.

Finishing Up (2/15):
          I'm trying to finish my newest watercolor of "Little Miss Sunshine" in time for Monday nights NMWS meeting. This month's meeting is critique night and I want to get some comments about the work. The last thing I've done was to remove the frisket that was protecting certain areas. I'm working from a photograph - but there comes a time when I need to move away from the photographic image and work with what the painting needs.

"Little Miss Sunshine 2"
KU Jayhawks

National Champs
Quite A Busy Day (2/14):
          I started out this morning painting with my Saturday morning watercolor group. I'm continuing to make progress on my second painting of "Little Miss Sunshine". I've just started on the skin tones - but she is starting to look like a little girl.
Fly Fishing Soon:
Right after painting, I went over to Expo New Mexico for a Hunting and Fishing Show. I was looking for information on fly fishing in New Mexico. More importantly, I was looking for places where I could learn to use my new fly rod correctly.

KU Basketball:
          Next, I stopped off at "Fox and Hound Pub and Grille" to join other Jayhawk Alumni to watch the Kansas vs. Kansas State basketball game. It was an exciting game. Both KU and K-State fans were there cheering as their team scored. KU was way behind early in the first half. But the teams were tied just before half time. KU managed to pull ahead to win by eleven points. K-State beat us last year for the first time in a long time. KU has won 38 out of the last 40 games.
Blossom All Cleaned Up (2/13):
          Blossom went to the beauty shop today. She looks better and sure smells better. I think she feels better too. A bath and a haircut is just what she needed to be ready for Valentines Day tomorrow.

Dollar Movie
Cheap Date (2/12):
          Frani and I are in our retirement budget mode. We went to a dollar movie yesterday and today. Actually, it's hard to remember when we paid to see a first run movie. Yesterday we went to see "The Day The Earth Stood Still". Today it was the epic movie "Australia". Before we went to at movie theater we stopped at Costco to by a case of bottled water. We put water in Frani's purse so we don't but anything at the show. Also, Costco always has great samples to taste - so we got a free lunch before going to our dollar movie. Next week they are running three movies we want to see - more cheap dates.

Blue Mustang Fury (2/11):
          Why do some people get so upset about public art ? Some people want the Blue Mustang sculpture at the Denver airport, by Luis Jimenez, to be relocated where they won't have to see it. There is even a web site dedicate to relocating the statue: http://www.byebyebluemustang.com/ Some refer to the Mustang as "Bluecifer," "Satan's Steed" and "Blue Devil Horse." Jimenez proposed the mustang — a descendant of Spanish horses that symbolize the West and provided an early method of long distance travel, like airplanes do today. Rearing 32 feet high on its hind legs, the metallic blue sculpture of a mustang demands the attention of all heading to or leaving the main terminal. Its glowering eyes — that change from yellowish white to red during the day — stare intensely as one drives past. In June 2006, Jimenez was killed when a section of the unfinished work fell from a hoist at his Hondo studio. He was 65. Jimenez's sons, Adan and Orion, completed the sculpture, which was installed Feb. 11, 2008.
         Albuquerque docents visited Luis Jimenez in his Hondo studio a couple years ago. We got to talk with the artist about his work and even saw the Blue Mustang in progress. Later that year Luis Jiminez died in an accident. He is truly missed by fans of his art. Why so many people get so upset about his work is a real mystery to me. Don't they have more important issues to concern themselves with ? Click here to learn more about the artist.

Michael's Painting

Another Connection in Malaysia (2/10):
          Another artist/teacher, from Malaysia, who I met in 1989 sent me an e-mail today. Last month I made contact with Jin Leng in Kuala Lumpur. Both Jin Leng and Michael Chong traveled to Columbia, Missouri to make presentations for an international conference that I was also attending. Michael and I corresponded for several years and then somehow we lost track of each other. I found Michael recently via a Google search. He wrote me back this morning. He lives in Miri, a small town on the island portion of Malaysia. Malaysia is made up of two sections. The country is separated into two regions—Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo—by the South China Sea. I'm putting a Google map below.

Map of Malaysia

Michael Chong Demo

Michael Chong's Painting
Woody's Training  Day (2/9):
          I'm tooting my own horn here. This morning I did model presentations about two paintings at the Albuquerque museum. Myself and two other docents had volunteered to prepare to demonstrate how we would approach different pieces of art. I repeated my presentation for three different groups of docents. I'm told that it was received very well. Actually, the best training is when we do it ourselves. I learned that long ago when I was teaching.
         After the model presentations - we gathered for our annual "Friendship Luncheon". It was pot luck provided by the docents. We invited museum staff and emeritus docents to join us for lunch. It's always a great way to socialize with people we don't always see.

New Logo
Art Teachers Rock (2/8):
          Yesterday, I was in Santa Fe to meet with the board on the New Mexico Art Education Association (NMAEA). I'm web master for the organization. Check out the NMAEA website at: http://www.newmexicoarted.com We met to plan the future of the organization and especially talk about our Fall conference. Here is a link to photos from last Falls conference in Glorieta. We also discussed the possibility of holding a casting and printmaking workshop in Tumcumari in early June. For me - this was just another excuse to spend the day with six beautiful ladies.

Lunch at Harry's Roadhouse in Santa Fe
Obama Portrait Controversy:
          The sticker on the back of my new Chevy Mini-Van has the image of Obama created by Shepard Fairey, a Los-Angeles based street artist. The image, which he never copyrighted, has led to sales of hundreds of thousands of posters and stickers. Fairey said he found the photograph, he based the "hope" poster on, using Google Images, and he released the image on his Web site shortly after he created it, in early 2008.
         Now, However, the Associated Press claims it owns the copyright, and wants credit and compensation.  Fairey disagrees, though he has acknowledged the image is based on an AP photograph taken in April 2006 by Manny Garcia on assignment for the AP at the National Press Club in Washington. Is use of the changed/altered image "Fair Use". The term fair use is a legal concept that allows exceptions to copyright law, based on, among other factors, how much of the original is used, what the new work is used for and how the original is affected by the new work.
          Fairey said the he first designed the portrait when he was encouraged by the Obama campaign to come up with some kind of artwork.  He later showed a letter to The Washington Post that came from the candidate. "Dear Shepard," the letter reads. "I would like to thank you for using your talent in support of my campaign. The political messages involved in your work have encouraged Americans to believe they can help change the status quo. Your images have a profound effect on people, whether seen in a gallery or on a stop sign."
Now, Farley has been arrested on a seperate, unrelated charge of graffiti after police determined he'd tagged property in two locations. Now he may be arrained on an earlier default warrant related to a separate graffiti case.

Ladies In Red (2/7):
          Frani and I went to some art openings last night. It was "First Friday" in galleries all over Albuquerque. We only stopped at five galleries. Our first stop, was of course, the Kimo Theater. The New Mexico Watercolor Society has an exhibit at the Kimo Theater with a theme of "Primarily Red". I have two watercolors in the current show. I took the photo at the Kimo of three ladies (in red of course) who arranged the exhibition for us. They are standing next to my Poppy painting. We stopped at three other galleries downtown and then went to an opening at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Shame On You - Frani:
         At one gallery, Frani was checking to see if they would do lay-away. They could - but Frani told the lady that she would need to return another day because she did not bring her purse. Then, I walked up and offered to cover the lay-away for her. Frani said, "I don't even know this guy - I wouldn't take his money, and anyway all he wants is sex."

Mini Poppy
6 x 4 inches

Little Miss Sunshine Again (2/6):
            This morning I'm starting on a new watercolor of Little Miss Sunshine. I'll use an eraser to lighten the drawing before I start painting. To see my earlier painting of her CLICK HERE.

click on drawing for larger image   >>>
<<<   This mornings progress on my second attempt at painting "Little Miss Sunshine". I'm trying some finer lines of frisket in the hair and a more subtle background. But I don't feel that the background is dark enough to make the little girl pop out as she should. So, I'll put another layer of color over the background.

          I also finished two of my experiments at painting miniatures. I fear the flowers are still too large - because the rules for MasterWorks specify a 1/6 scale or smaller.

   Darker Background   >>>

Mini Poppy
6 x 4 inches
227884 Total Signatures To Date (2/5):
           Quincy Jones started a petition to ask President-Elect Obama to appoint a Secretary of the Arts.  The list of signatories are updated continuously. You may go to the site and view the lists of names. It's interesting to read the comments that some people included.

          Please take a moment to sign this petition and much more importantly - Please pass it on to your friends and colleagues so they too can sign this important request.

Weck's for Breakfast (2/4):
           Yesterday (being Tuesday) we got to "Tuesday Mornings" at 8 am to pick up some advertised specials. Then of course I suggested Weck's for breakfast. We didn't even know that Denny's was giving away free a breakfast yesterday. Not that we would have wanted to fight the crowd and wait anyway.
         Weck's is an Albuquerque institution with eight locations around town. It's a treat to get their BIG BREAKFAST BURRITO with tons of hash browns smothered with green chile and jack cheese. Better yet, Today I get to eat the half of Frani's Burrito that she didn't finish. If you are in Albuquerque - check out Weck's for breakfast or lunch - they close at 2 pm.

          The big breakfast, yesterday, must have helped because I started putting together our taxes. By tomorrow, I should be ready to send them info off to Larry, our tax guy. I'm not nice to be around when I'm doing taxes, just ask Frani. She avoids talking to me for a couple of days.


Docent Training (2/3):
           Yesterday's (Monday) docent training at the Albuquerque Museum was done by fellow docents doing the training. That's really the best way to learn - from each other. Next Monday it's my turn to demo how to conduct a conversation about two paintings in Common Ground. Below are pics from Mondays training.

click on any photo with a blue border for a larger image
McCaskill Has The Right Idea:
           Sen. Claire McCaskill — steaming mad and not going to take it anymore — on Friday called Wall Street executives "idiots" and proposed limits on some of their salaries. Her proposal would force companies taking federal bailout money to limit compensation for any employee to what the president of the United States currently earns: $400,000 a year. "Is that so unreasonable?" the Democrat from Missouri asked. "It's eight times the median household income in the United States of America. … I don't think that sounds like a bad deal." "They don’t get it," McCaskill said on the Senate floor. "These people are idiots." The compensation cap would cover salary, bonuses and stock options.

          Personally, I've never understood why anyone should make the multi million dollar salaries they make. I think our major concern should be providing a "living wage" for everyone willing to work. Of course that's a major reason I supported John Edwards for president. I believe, as he does, that we can eliminate poverty if we really want too. At heart, I'm a true populist - I don't want to eliminate
the rich folks - I just want to take their money and spread it around. I thought we use to have a progressive tax structure.

New Novel by MJ Brett:
           My favorite cousin, in Colorado Springs, has just published her fourth novel. Margaret writes historical novels. Her ideas come from years of teaching in American military schools in Germany. This one is titled "Street Smart On A Dead End". It is about a girl named Olivia, an incorrigible sixth grader. She enrolls in a new school, her obscene vocabulary and aggressive behavior stymie the faculty. A naive teacher, Kate Johnson, unwittingly becomes the "counselor of chance" as tough-minded Olivia faints in her arms with the words, "Help me!" and reveals a mindful of secrets.
          I helped Margaret develop a web site, a couple years back, to promote her books. To see her web site CLICK HERE. You can read excerpts from her novels on her web site. She will even sell you an autographed copy if you mention her cousin Woody.
Triplets On Ice (2/2):
          I just received photos of my fantastic triplet grandkids ice skating. This was their first time on ice skates and they loved it. "Can we go again", was the message I heard when they called to tell me they could ice skate.

click on Timothy for a larger image   >>>
Friends Make It To DC:
          Our neighbors, Len and Barbara were able to attend Obama's inauguration last week. They sent us a photo shot from their vantage point. Their photos shows the closest they got to the podium. They were in the group who had Silver Tickets, but were denied entry due to the slowness of the extreme security measures. They started their journey at 6:00 AM and waited in line for about 3 hours (very cold), and moved only 100 yards, surviving several scary crushing incidents. Even so, they reported having a great time, getting to meet a lot of VERY happy people from all around the country. Len wears his homemade sign.

Love in the Air (2/01):
          After 45 years - I'm still in love with Frani. It works out with us because we each do our own thing. While I paint and play with my computer - Frani works on her quilts. I shot the pic, on the left, while she spread out her new quilt on the living room floor to match up the backing.
         Currently, I'm trying to paint miniature watercolor
paintings. My format is 6 x 4 inches (24 square inches) which meets the rules for miniatures. But, the poppies in my compositions may still be too large to fit the requirements for a "real" miniatures according to MasterWorks of New Mexico. So, I'll keep painting and work even smaller. I plan to paint 15 of these small watercolors before I stop because this is a real pain.

Painting Small Watercolors
          The National Art Education Association (NAEA) has a new web address: http://www.arteducators.org/  All art teachers, everywhere, should check out the new look of the NAEA. The new NAEA website includes important information like:

         Even though I'm retired from teaching, I stay active by doing workshops and maintaining a website for New Mexico art teachers: http://www.newmexicoarted.com/ We meet in Santa Fe next week to flesh out plans for our Fall Conference.

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