Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Weekend Celebration

"Dog Days II"
ACEO Original Colored Pencil Drawing
2.5 x 3.5"

I am a member of a wonderful coop group of artists who have our own gallery (actually it has been there for over 20 years and I have only been there for 2!), Studios on High Gallery, in the Short North Arts District just north of downtown Columbus, Ohio. This city has a wealth of talented artists, and our gallery has 18 of them making original paintings, drawings, sculpture, glass and fiber arts.

The first Saturday of every month for 20 years, the galleries and business in the district have stayed open late and hosted a Gallery Hop which combines art viewing, shopping, dining, along with a bit of street fair activities. Oh, and a great load of fun if you are into people watching! So it's no wonder with all of that, the event has grown into an enormous success with thousands of visitors each month.

This coming Saturday, Sept. 1, Gallery Hop will be even more special with the lighting of 17 street-light arches. These arches were landmarks of the neighborhood and Columbus in the early 20th century. (The political and logistical nightmare to get this done has been going on for years, so you can imagine how exciting this is to have these landmarks lit!)
I am very, very proud to be a native Columbus girl, who has seen this city grow and thrive. And I love being an artist who hangs her work in the Short North Arts District. Pinch me!
If you are ever in Columbus, stop by the gallery to see my work and stay late to experience the nightlife and to see the arches! Oh, and don't forget to drop me a note if you're planning a visit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Another Day Older.....

"Dog Days"
ACEO Original Colored Pencil Drawing
2.5 x 3.5"
Well, lots to reflect on and think about today; it is my birthday.
Long ago I outgrew needing parties, cake and balloons; but today I got lots of phone calls, cards, and gifts from my friends and family. Those meant more to me than a party ever could.
Now that I am a "big girl", I have decided to try to treat myself well on my birthdays and I might decide that I'm going to just sit down and put my feet up if I feel like it (which I did), or buy myself a new pair of shoes (which I did), or eat chocolate (which I did). And the best part is, I feel no guilt about it at all. That's delicious.
And since I am approaching a milestone birthday which can make some women decide to wear polyester and sensible shoes, I have a pact with all of my best girlfriends that we won't allow the others to EVER do that. Since none of them have spoken to me about the way I dress lately, I think I'm still good.
All in all, it was a really great birthday.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My OCD Day

One of the many things you do not learn in art school are applicable, logical and practical ways to manage your art business - and there are SO many things to learn. Since much of what I know I have gleaned from other artists, (check out Maggie Stiefvater's blog to laugh and learn), I thought I would share some of my "boring non-art-making crap" that nonetheless, might be helpful to some of you.

Maybe since I had to buy, hunt and gather mass quantities of school supplies for a fourth grader last week, I had my own school supply fever (I'm sure I have OCD, though!) It has been on my To Do list for some time to sort, inventory and reorder colored pencils and now was the time. Fortunately, I had just been to the CPSA Convention and took a class from Linda Lucas Hardy, where I not only learned some great art-making techniques but I also learned some "product manangement" techniques as well.

First of all, I have squirreled away all of my pencil stubs since I started using colored pencils many, many years ago and had them stored in a large plastic container. But (trick from Linda), I decided to glue pieces together to make what I call a pencil "rehab"; and since new colored pencils run $1 or more, I'm sure I've saved myself quite a bit of money. I had tried using other glues before, but they never worked well, but Linda swears by Super Glue Loctite Gel, which I can also say, too, does work.

After working for several hours, here are my "new" pencils. And since I do draw and demo on location frequently, I was also able to put together a 96 piece travelling set (complete with those precious Deco colors!)

At Linda's workshop, I purchased a palette guide - what a great tool! She has done a lot of work to help you compare and categorize your pencils and has included lots of other great tools as well. I highly recommend that, if you use Prismacolor colored pencils and a lot of them, you contact Linda to purchase this guide.

To organize all of my art business needs, I swear by notebooks. I use them for tracking my shows, competitions, finances, sales, inventory, and now my pencils. I put Linda's chart in plastic sleeves and use a fine dry erase marker to track brand new, working and rehabbed pencils. I'm sure this will help me get a handle on what I need and save me some money.

Let me know if you have a unique way of keeping track of your art supplies!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Unable to Translate

"The Vigil"
ACEO Colored Pencil Drawing
2.5 x 3.5"
This morning, in the pouring rain, I saw my last child onto the bus for his first day of fourth grade. My, time does fly. For weeks I couldn't wait to get my studio time back, but I missed him terribly today.
However, I should have known what to expect when he came home. (For any of you who have sons, you may have had similar conversations):
Me: "How was your day?"
Him: "Okay."
Me: "Do you like your teacher?"
Him: "She's okay."
Me: "Did you make any new friends?"
Him: "Nobody does on the first day."
Me: "What did you do today?"
Him: "Stuff."
Having an older son should have prepared me for this, but I still can't get used to it. My husband responds in much the same manner. Could be that Mars thing. Ah, well, I am sure I sound like a chattering monkey to them, being from Venus and all.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Colored Pencil Drawing
12 x 16"
Change 1: Watching Kids Grow Up
Cameron and I spent the past couple of days in Cincinnati visiting my little sister and her kids. We spent yesterday at The Beach waterpark before all the kids go back to school this week. (Does it seem they go back earlier and earlier each year?) My youngest niece was just tall enough (and brave enough) to ride the big slides this year and told us all that she was having "her tallest day ever". We dodged a couple of storms and had a wonderful time. (That is my excuse for not blogging recently.)
Change 2: Reworking a Composition
But now I'm back to the WIP above; I am struggling to get the layout right and feel a bit better with the reworking on the leg and foot but may need to do some more. Any comments or suggestions? (By the way, I just changed the setting for this blog that you do not have to be registered to leave a comment.)
Change 3: Personal
Oh, I also just cut my hair. It's been a long time, but well overdue. I saw pictures of myself taken at the CPSA convention and thought "my she looks dated and tired" and I never want to be the one whose friends have to take her on the Oprah Winfrey show to be made over! But my oldest son said I look younger, my youngest son said he hates it, but my husband thinks it looks just right. Two out of three ain't bad, I guess.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Back to Work

Colored Pencil Drawing
12 x 16"
My youngest son (and the last one at home) was invited to travel with his very good friend and family to Pittsburgh for a few days. This was a surprise and unexpected, but said friend was not happy about travelling without a friend in tow (many 9-year old little boys have a tendency to feel this way).
With mixed feelings, I allowed him to go, not because I do not trust the family, on the contrary, that was not a problem at all. It's just that knowing my youngest is beginning to move out into the world without his parents brings up some bittersweet feelings.
I jotted down a quote I found the other day, presumably to pass on to my dear friends who are taking their children to college soon. But I think I needed to have it around for me, as well.
"Your children are not your children, they are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you but are not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you." - Kahlil Gibran.
So, while both missing my son and revelling in the time alone, I worked all day yesterday (until about 1 a.m.!) on this rather large piece. I hope to finish it very soon. He goes back to school next week; so surley by then.....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Secret Magic

"Blue Sunhat"
ACEO Original Colored Pencil Drawing
2.5 x 3.5"
A couple of months ago, I read The Secret. Yes, I was curious and had to find out what all the buzz was about. It was interesting, thought provoking, and a little too weird for me in some ways. (For those of you who loved the book, my apologies, this is just my opinion.) However, (and I may spoil it for those of you who haven't read it), the basic overall idea is that you have to believe in yourself to achieve more....with a lot more mumbo, jumbo thrown in.
I, like many artists, do tend to doubt my ability to be more, do more, make more, become more notable, get more publicity, get a book deal, win awards, make more sales, etc., etc., etc. So, I did decide to try to apply the principle of positive thinking into each day (not always easy) and to say to self "Why NOT me?" Then I go to work.
Creepy as it sounds, things have been going well for me (I hope I don't ruin it, now); little leads to bigger things, getting information from out of nowhere that's good for me and my art, winning some awards, making some wonderful sales, meeting some influential and inspirational people and more.

Is this a spiritual thing? Maybe. Is it because I am more open? Maybe. Is it because I am working harder to achieve my previous "lofty" goals because I now think it's possible for me to actually achieve them? Probably more likely. Or is it, too, that I finally have the courage to step through doors to opportunities that have always been open to me. Mmmm.
So each day I will continue to try to tell myself "Yes, you can." I think that's all the magic I need.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hot and Sticky

"Buddy's Bowl"
ACEO Original Colored Pencil Drawing
2.5 x 3.5"
My son and I just spent the day at the Ohio State Fair and I am broke, tired, overstimulated, hot, sticky and full of sugar. It was a great day.
I have visited this fair for as long as I can remember and I see something new every time I go. Today we saw pig races (the potbellied pigs were not the fastest bunch), a cow in labor, newborn lamb twins, a retriever dog show (Buddy could do everything they did....well, maybe some of it), hamburger in a cone (I did not even want to see that) and deep fried cheese cake (I did not eat that either). And if you like to people watch, hoo boy, this is the place; you will see it all.
We had to stop by the Fine Arts show which despite the fact that it is housed in a building behind the giant slide, is a very good art show and a tough one to get into. I was very happy to have two pieces accepted in this year's exhibition. I used Cameron as the model for both works, so he was happy for once to go with me to look at art. (Plus, he has to or we don't ride the giant slie.) I tried to take a picture of Cameron standing beside one of my drawings, but the docent stopped me, saying it was against the rules even if the piece was mine. Oh, well, rules are rules. I did feel a little stupid and a little peeved. But I should know better.
Each time the fair comes around it brings a little melancholy for me, too, as it has always been held at the end of summer. And I love my summers; especially good ones like this one.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What a Time She Had!

ACEO Original Colored Pencil Drawing
2.5 x 3.5"
I just returned from Bethesda, MD (which I fell in love with) and the CPSA International Show and Convention, where I won "The Fantasia Pencil Company Award for Excellence" for my piece "The Aviators"! I am so honored and happy to have been included in the company of so many excellent, creative people. I kept waiting for someone to walk up and say that a mistake had been made and that Wanda Bartow Drucker had won, not Rhonda Bartoe Tucker. But there was my image up on the screen and my name on the winners list. Speechless was I. Good think we didn't have to make one. Yikes!
During the convention, I had the privelege of taking a class from Linda Lucas Hardy, who taught her technique of working on sandpaper, and from Robert Guthrie, who taught his technique of working on Mylar. I learned a lot from these two talented artists and teachers, who both, by the way, just happened to snag two of the most prestigeous awards of the show. I can't wait to incorporate some of their methods into my work; you'll see it here first!
The week ended with the artists' reception on Saturday night at the Mansion at Strathmore Gallery. With its combined beauty and rich history, its sure to be one of the highlights of my career to say "My work was displayed there once." If you are ever in Bethesda or the DC area, make a stop there.
My family traveled with me and were quite happy to jump on the Metro to DC and visit all of the national monuments and museums in the area. All of us were also able to spend some time with a brother and sister-in-law and our two beautiful nieces. So, all in all, it was quite a trip for both my body and soul!
(Happy Birthday, Dad! Love you!)