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Today I need to seal a painting. It's always a challenge if I want to use spray varnish because if I do it outside, it can't be windy or raining. If I do it inside, it has to be in the garage because the fumes are bad. I was considering setting up a spray booth on the deck today but the sky looked suspiciously cloudy...and sure enough, it's raining now!

I'm on Instagram now as lisagriffenart, so look me up if you're on there. It's been fun so far. I don't have a close relationship with my smartphone so I resisted signing up for Instagram for a long time, but I'm enjoying how simple and streamlined it is.

Here are a couple of paintings from the last few weeks:

Wheeee!
"Wheeee!" This little dog doesn't know where he's going but he's headed there fast.

Wishbone
"Wishbone". I suspect there's some Pokemon influence in this one.

Slow return

I took a long break from online activity over the holidays and am only getting back to it now. It was good to have a quieter mind for a while. I always seem to go into a mild hibernation in January. Now I find myself re-awakening and ready for spring. Too bad spring is a long way off, here in the Pacific Northwest! In my hometown in California I know the daffodils and fruit trees are blooming and I think my body is still attuned to that timing.

Between holidays and a big project at the gallery, I also had a long break from painting. It was mostly restful but after five weeks or so I was getting antsy. I'm loving being back in the studio. Here's a new one, finished yesterday:

Not the Boss of Me
Not the Boss of Me
mixed media on 16x20 canvas

Winding down, gearing up

Big thoughts about art and the new year. Setting some goals, shifting direction, clarifying what I really want. I'm feeling the urge to clean out the studio and organize it differently. Preparing. Taking a big breath and getting ready to go deeper.

This is one of my favorite paintings that I've done recently. So yeah, more things like this.

Archaeology
Archaeology
mixed media on 8x8" wood

The problem with pinks

pinks

Perusing paintings on the internet, I've been drawn to shades of pink. So here's the first layer of a new painting. It vaguely resembles a Valentine but I like it a lot. So much, in fact, that when I went into the studio today I found it hard to paint over it.

I added some calligraphic marks and that was all fine. But then when I started in with the black...I started to think I might end up regretting this. What's wrong with leaving a painting at the first happy layer? Some people would do a painting like that and consider it done. Unfortunately, it doesn't feel done to me, so there will be many more layers and a long awkward phase before this gets back to being something I like.

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Summer quilt, etc

quilt strips

Sometimes I wonder what I'm thinking, starting a new quilt in the midst of so many other things, but it's pretty obvious that I crave a new quilt project because of all the other things. It's calming to me to sort through the fabrics and put them together in a new way. Plus, I like the colors.

It's been hot here (85 degrees is hot for us) so I'm really loving all the blues and greens. They make me think of cool water under green leaves. A little like this:

gazebo

That's the gazebo on the lawn near the state capitol in Salem. I had to pick up paintings in Corvallis on Sunday so we made a little family trip of it and figured Aidan could learn something.

Christian and Aidan in Salem

It was nice and shady in the park.

Catzilla!

Catzilla!
mixed media on 20x20" gallery-wrapped canvas

New painting I finished the other day. Things have settled into the lazy-yet-somehow-busy routine of summer. I wasn't sure what to expect this year, painting-wise. The past few summers I didn't get much done. Too busy dealing with kids at home, outings to the beach or mountains, travel, etc. This year seemed especially iffy because Aidan announced that he didn't want to do any camp or other activities.

That turned out to be a good choice. He's old enough to keep himself busy a lot of the time. I got him started on a writing project and he's been proudly writing a page a day of a dramatic story. He's done some painting in the studio with me. After 846 days of inactivity, he rediscovered WiiFit and has been using that a lot.

Meanwhile, I'm all over the place. I've been slowly cleaning the studio and it feels so spacious without all the clutter! There are things that have been in the exact same spot for three years and I'm planning to do more to get organized and make the space work better.

I've had the urge to write and was thinking of doing daily writing prompts, but Aidan asked if I'd write a story for him. Now I'm turning out a few pages per day of adventure story for an expectant, sharp, highly critical kid. No pressure, though!

I've also been wanting to start a new quilt but I'm holding back on that because it feels like I have enough going on already and I don't want to get distracted from painting. And writing. And organizing.

How's your summer going so far?

Sadie

Sadie

I finished this little lady last week. Mixed media on 16x20" canvas. The purple background isn't quite as dark as it looks in this photo.

Sunday is the day for hanging my solo show in Corvallis. It seems like it's been a long time getting here, yet I'm rushing around doing the last-minute things. Sealing paintings, attaching hanging wires, figuring out the details of what I need to take with me.

The fun part is pulling paintings out of the stacks in the studio and seeing them for the first time in a while. It's like getting a fresh look and even rediscovering some that I'd forgotten about.

Oh, spring

April blossoms

I've been enjoying this spring weather that is 85 degrees instead of cold and rainy until the 4th of July. I'm pretty happy as long as I can see some sun.

Of course we still get some days like this:
Rainy Clematis

And that's fine too. As long as they're interspersed with sun. We need the rain for all this green.

Little fuzzballs have been hatching!
Ducklings

I'm so happy I'm married to a man who will go to the park with me every day to see if there are ducklings yet. We found these guys at a park nearby, but then about a week later our own creek had ducklings and goslings.
Goslings

The same evening we saw the goslings, this breathtaking fellow showed up:
Blurry eagle

An eagle! We've lived here twelve years and had never seen an eagle in the area.

While doing some weeding, I decided this one that pops up occasionally around the yard was too pretty to throw away. I carefully dug it up and put it in a pot and it seems happy. According to my book of Northwest weeds, it's Storks Bill, a member of the geranium family.
Storks Bill

And another weed, lit up by the evening sun during a walk in the woods:
Fendlers Waterleaf

I posted it on Facebook and meadowood and I were puzzled by it until I searched high and low on the internet and figured out it's Fendler's Waterleaf. I like that name.

When I'm not spying on fuzzy ducklings or taking pictures of flowers, I'm in the studio getting ready for my solo show that goes up June 1. Here's a peek at the clutter behind my easel and some work in progress:
Studio peek

I hope you're all enjoying spring too!

Conrad

A Facebook friend died. He was an interesting artist and he was very open about his cancer diagnosis a few months ago and his deterioration along the way. Maybe that's why I felt so upset when I heard that he had died. I didn't know him, except for seeing his art and updates on my Facebook feed, so it felt strange to be crying over him this morning.

The last couple of weeks he was in hospice but he still managed to paint. His longtime love traveled to be with him and they got married on his hospice bed, each of them wearing a wreath of flowers, and the next day he died.

Four finished

Here are the first four paintings for the 88 Strong show at the Goodfoot in Portland.


Black Sheep

Last year some friends were in this show and I wondered how one would get involved, and this year I was invited!


Put a Bird in Me

The artists got a list of 88 themes/titles to choose from and some of them crack me up. A couple of the funnier ones that I couldn't find a way to use are "No One Ever Makes Art About Hot Tubs," "High End Bumper Sticker" and "Everything Will Be Fucked." I'm also fond of "Heavy Petting Zoo."


Magic Gardens

But I'm happy with the ones I ended up using. Sometimes it's hard to come up with titles so I liked having a list of interesting ones at hand.


Cold Hands

Four more paintings coming up!