Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shin Hanga

 Kawase Hasui, Moon at Magome

I was lucky a few years ago to catch an exhibition of Shin Hanga (new prints). Honestly, I didn't know too much about them going in. I left the Sackler amazed, wowed.... in love. As a child of nature, I immediately recognized that the artists were in tune with the earth. The light, the trees, the water.  Don't get me started on the color.

 Kawase Hasui, Morning at Beppu

The artists were absolute masters with light, and very perceptive of how the light affects the subjects.

Here is a great series of prints of the same subject, but showing how manipulating color can affect the mood and time of day. Click next to see the next prints.

My favorite artist is Kawase Hasui. His pieces are on this post. I could very easily look at them for days at a time.  You can check out a lot of his work here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Two Ingredient Ice Cream

Picture by MommyKnows

What's this?  A super delicious Summertime treat with only two ingredients?  I am definitely on-board.

Prep: 10 minutes Freeze: 6 hours
1/2 cup of honey
2 1/2 cups of cream (35% fat)
(she also adds a bit of vanilla and some grated vanilla bean, but that's totally up to you)

1. Whip 1.5 cups of whipping cream (plus 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract) until it forms stiff peaks, refrigerate.
2. Heat honey on low heat until it is very runny and add the remaining 1 cup of cream. Stir together until well blended (and grate in teensie bit of vanilla bean).
3. Add honey/cream mixture to the whipped cream. Whisk until well blended.
4. Freeze approximately 6 hours until the mixture is the consistency of ice cream.

Find more great recipes at Lifehacker's "Low or No-Heat Meals for the Summer" 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Girl in Hyacinth Blue

Within the past 6 months, I have been really interested in reading anything I can about art.  My latest book that I am heavily immersed in is Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland.  It is about the history, through generations, of a painting by Vermeer.   The painting itself doesn't actually exist.   It is historical fiction.

You can read more on the author, Susan Vreeland's site.

There is also a little write up about Vermeer.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Recreating Me... a show in Seattle

HMCraig, "Opportunities", 30x40", acrylic on canvas

My painting, "Opportunities" has been accepted to show at and event sponsored by the Washington State Brain Injury Association. "Recreating Me: Exploring and Healing Through Creative Expression" is at the Burke Museum of Natural History from July 7-11.

The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
NE 45th St &15th Avenue NE
University of Washington Seattle, WA 98195-3010

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Happiness held is the seed; Happiness shared is the flower.
John Harrigan

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Crazy English Summer by Faithless

Faithless never did a video for this song, so somebody else did!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sherrie Wolf

Sherrie Wolf "Still Life with Venus and Cupid", oil on canvas, 60x48", 
ref: Agnolo Bronzino 1540-1550

Sherrie Wolf works on paintings on a few of my favorite things. Floral Still life with references to art history. It is not hard to find the references, as they are major characters in her large scale paintings.
 "With one foot in the past and another firmly in the present, I create a dramatic staged setting for my still life images. Appropriating art-historical references as windows to the past, I am paying visual homage to great European and American painters who have led me to where I am today as a contemporary artist." 

Sherrie Wolf "Sealife" oil on canvas, 48"x72"
ref: Noel-Nicolas Coypel, 1628-1707

Monday, June 21, 2010

Art Committee

I now belong to an Art Committee that selects and puts on shows of artworks by disabled people. My first meeting was at the beginning of June. The table was surrounded by intelligent, compassionate, and talented people. This feels right, almost like I'm on a different road than I intended to go on, but the journey seems richer... as though I am taking Route 20 across the United States as opposed to one of the quick but bland interstate highways.   

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Debussy , Clair de Lune and The Darjeeling Limited

I've been listening to the Darjeeling Limited soundtrack, this is on it. It's good for painting. The movie itself is pretty good, too.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Erik Johnson- Work of Art

I've been watching Bravo's new reality show "Work of Art, The Next Great Artist". I watch because it is amusing, and I hope that it gets the general public more interested in and not as afraid of walking into a gallery. That's neither here or there, for this post though.

  The second episode that aired this week had a little bit of a blurb by one of the artists competing. It went something like this  ... 

"since my brain injury is on my left side, I've gotten obsessive about art"....   followed by "I just lost my train of thought"  

  Not the exact quote, but you get the idea.  I stopped sketching, and sat with full attention directed at the television, at Erik.  My people!!!!!      When I first heard about this show, I thought to myself... "there's no way I would be able to do that, my injury would overrun me and I would have a breakdown on camera....  I wonder if they would accept anyone like me?".   And.. they did.  And... I'm happy.

I found the "Get to Know Erik" video on Bravo's site, along with his Bio. I patiently watched, and wondered... would he say something more about his brain injury?  And... he did.

Erik Johnson says he had a "series, of three pretty major head injuries. Things just got more and more intense and weirder and art kinda grew from that. That's when the art just kind of became obsessive where I couldn't. Stop. Doing. It."

That sounds familiar.

Erik did say in the episode that there was a motorcycle accident, but he hasn't explained any more... what types of injuries, how severe. Maybe Bravo is just saving this for future episodes?            I'll let you all know.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Joan Mitchell

Joan Mitchell (I'm not sure which painting this is)

Joan Mitchell was an Abstract Expressionist.
Abstract Expressionism has an "emphasis on spontaneous, automatic or subconscious creation."

Her paintings are expansive, often covering two separate panels. Landscape was the primary influence on her subject matter. She painted on unprimed canvas or white ground with gestural, sometimes violent brushwork. Her paintings are highly expressive and emotional.

I like this video of her, and her answers to the questions.. painting is painting.. nothing more, nothing less.

Zach Anner

I don't have enough good things to say about Zach Anner.  He's incredibly funny, smart, and humble... and by the looks of it, he might have his own travel show as voted by viewers for Oprah. Take a look at his audition, if you haven't already, and make sure to vote!

The description of the audition:
"Wheelchair-bound lady magnet Zach, discusses his many talents and idea for a TV show designed to inspire people who never thought they could travel. Join Zach as he globe-trots to some of the most notoriously inaccessible locations and embraces the spontaneous nature of world travel! No matter what the obstacle, he'll face every bump in the road with a smile. You can come too if you you have an adventurous spirit... and a wig!"

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Marblehead Festival of the Arts

HMCraig, "You Were Only Waiting for this Moment", acrylic on canvas, 30x40"

The lilac painting was juried into a show for the Marblehead Festival of the Arts.  When it was dropped off, I had my doubts whether it would be taken in or not (there was a lot of good work).  But, here we are...  :)

The festival runs from July 1-5, with a Champagne and Culinary Arts Reception on the 27th. I've been told that a lot of people attend the events.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Suzanne Etienne

Suzanne Etienne, "Matisse Bouquet" (no info available on size)

I'm an admitted sucker for color and pattern. Suzanne Etienne's work includes both, and with unrestrained results. This is undoubtedly happy work.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.  ~Tennessee Williams

photo by Maia C on Flickr

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Administrative Artist (or the beautiful life)

photo by maessive on flickr

There is a book titled "I'd Rather be in the Studio", and it is a highly recommended tool to have for artists. There is another book titled "The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love". I know what the general perception by the public of artists is- people who get to play with paint/marble all day and have no adherence to the rigors of what the rest of our society has constructed to be a normal productive life (no 9-5).  So, here I was, a sundress wearin' croissant munchin' artist with paint up to my elbows, surrounded by flowers,  and a dreamy view of the world, when it really started to sink in.... there is a business side. There is a marketing side. There is an administrative side.   Uh oh.  Trouble in Shangri-La.

photo by angelalachan on flickr

No, not really... it sort of crept in every week. Blog. Check. Online website. Check. Submission forms for shows (with submission fee). Shipping arrangements for shows across the country. Inventory list (keep track of what paintings are where). Free online portfolio pages (to increase traffic). Marking things in the calendar with alarms (that pesky memory thing). Supplies log/ordering. Art Association memberships. .... 

This past week, though, it has been about business and post cards. One must have business cards. Postcards are also helpful to leave with artwork, just in case anyone has any questions about the artist or would just like something to hang on their refrigerator/cubicle/inspiration board.  So, I set out to design some. And then I had to find companies that would produce them (good quality for a reasonable fee). There is too much involved in something so simple (and my brain injury wasn't helping).  So, I made sure to order a lot, because I don't want to run out anytime soon, and start the whole process again (this may be a misstep, not sure yet).

photo by timmygunz on flickr

Yesterday, it was shipping and submission forms. Later on today, I am going to figure out how to get to a hardware store and get a hanging solution for a storefront. Tomorrow I have to deliver paintings, postcards, and a release form. After that, there is an art commission meeting. Sometimes, I am at stores (thrift, antique, grocery), looking for new objects to include in paintings.    I "work" on art all the time.  Just not solely on paintings.   

One of these days, I will figure out a schedule to relegate administrative duties to. The alternative plan is to get so fabulously well to do that I can hire an assistant. Wouldn't we all like assistants? 

Well, this is odd...

I have a google alert set up for "HMCraig". This is what I found in my inbox this morning.  HMCraig hairstyle.        ???      The best part is that not only am I included, my dogs apparently have nice hairstyles, too.

What to do?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Virginia Katz

Virginia Katz, Momentum, strips of accumulated paper, 50"x36"

According to her website, Virginia Katz "takes her cues from her environment".  The piece pictured above, Momentum, was made using found strips of paper.  There are also pieces in which trees and the wind participated in, because Katz attached a pen to a branch ... which yielded beautifully moving results.

In the body of work entitled "Atmosphere", she constructed pieces concerning "The web of air traffic over the United States and Europe, within a 90 minute period, was downloaded and charted."

Virginia Katz "Form and Function (Country Interaction) Euro air, May 23, 2004, 8-10 p.m."
Oil on Matte Acetate ,4' x 3', 2004

" Form and Function ..." detail

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Madame Blue (Across the Universe)

HMCraig, "Madam Blue (Across the Universe)",  about 20", acrylic on canvas panel

This was the only piece I finished in 2004.  Yes, I should have been painting more.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Music- Ukulele

Queen! On Ukulele!  ... and then she starts talking about the classes she's taking.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Butterfly For My Sister

HMCraig, "Butterfly for My Sister", 16x20, oil on hardboard panel

I think this was the first oil painting I have ever done. Coming from an acrylic background, oils were a bit tricky to work with. There was a lot of wait time for the paint to dry enough that I could add another distinctive layer, and not turn the whole project into what's known as mud. 

Kind of a funny little story about this piece... I was working on it for my sister. When I was getting close to finishing the painting, G walked in and exclaimed "I really like that one".  While he is really supportive of my painting, it's rare that I get this kind of reaction out of him.  I hung my head and sighed. The butterfly already had a destination, and it was not to be on our wall.

The reason for me sighing..  A few years ago, I was working on a painting for a friend. The subject was a woman, in a very Klimt inspired environment.  G walks over and says... "I really like that one!". 
It seems he only likes the pieces that already have a specific destination (again, on another person's wall).

This will probably play out again when I work on a piece for my brother. And I will hang my head again. And smile. Maybe chuckle a little.