Great Opening Party!

Thank you to everyone that stopped by my new studio opening party last Friday.  I had well over 125 people come check out my new “digs” and help me celebrate!

If you missed it, be sure to let me know and we’ll schedule a time for your own personal tour!

Artwork hung… couldn’t wait to make holes in those fresh, new walls.

We had an Italian/French soda bar to refresh everyone.

Some of the first guests arrive.

New Studio Update

I’ve nearly completed all of the interior painting (and am SO glad to be done working from the top of a 10-foot step ladder to reach the ceiling!).  Over the next few days, I expect the building renovator to complete my utilities (final electrical, sink/plumbing, window trim, door installation, etc.).

Now for the big multi-hundred dollar question… turns out the building renovator plans to install wood floors in the common hallway outside my studio and asked if I’d like to have wood floors installed in my studio space.  Uh, YES!!  My floor is currently old, painted concrete with medium damage (pits, cracks, rough spots).  I had not budgeted to put in new flooring, but planned to clean it well and paint it for the short term and then install a more comfortable wood floor when I could afford it.

So, the building renovator has basically offered me a great price and promised that it will be done before my Opening Party on May 2nd.  I think I’m going to go for it – I’ll have to postpone some other finishes for now to fit it into the budget, but it will look great and be much more comfortable to stand on than concrete!

New paint on the walls and my minimal cabinets installed!

Snowy Day in April

It occured to me this morning as I woke up to a bunch of April snow that it was almost exactly a year ago that I was moving into yet another new studio in the snow.  My post with pic here from a year ago looks alot like today’s pic below!

Last year at this time I was moving to a studio space that I rented in the Santa Fe Arts District.  This year, I’m preparing to move into a new studio space that I recently bought, also in the heart of the Santa Fe Arts District!  I plan to move a few things in next week (and the weather is expected to be in the 70’s).

Snowy day in April, 2008… no studio moving today!


Update on my New Studio

I sure felt depressed as I wrote my last post and came up with that haiku!  Well, I now have some good news on the renovation progress with my new studio – my understanding is that the permit issues that have delayed work for nearly 4 months have been resolved and things are expected to move forward quickly now.  I went by last Friday and took another snapshot of my space – you can see foundation work being done on the main entryway that my space is next to.  Wow!  Actual digging and pouring of concrete!

Now the bad news… I’ve had financing for purchasing this space lined up with Countrywide since last September.  They just notified me that they would be cancelling my open line of credit retro-effective to the end of January.  So, I’m starting over with securing financing and running into some resistance.  The big mortgage companies seem to be really tightening up on lending (remember not too long ago it seemed that they gave money away to anyone that could fog a mirror).  Going the commercial lending route is also problematic since the amount I need is “too small” for most programs!

I don’t think I’m ready to solicit for donations yet… but I’d be interested in a private financing option, so email me if you’re interested!

My new studio space on February 8, 2008.

Colorado Watercolor Society Newsletter

Last fall I stepped up to take over the Editor position for the Colorado Watercolor Societies’ monthly newsletter, Collage.  It is an interesting volunteer job and I’m having fun working with lots of new people to get this newsletter out each month.

I’ve been a member of the CWS for about 4 years now and think they have some good things going on.  In fact, the next monthly meeting is tomorrow (Tuesday, 1/15) at 7:00pm in Denver.  So, if you’re not familiar with this organization, come to a meeting – visitors are welcome!  This month’s meeting will include a product overview of Dr. Ph. Martin’s watercolor paints (Hydrus) by Larry Salis who is the President of this local company based in Golden.  This will be followed by a demonstration by Colorado watercolorist Janet Nunn – it promises to be an interesting evening.

Details on the meeting and other CWS news are in the latest newsletter – visit the CWS website and click on the Newsletter tab to check it all out!

Denver Arts Week: October 5-12, 2007… I’ll be there – will you?!

Denver’s first official Arts Week is October 5-12, 2007 and there are plenty of great arts events of all sorts going on in each of the art districts throughout Denver.  I’ll be participating and exhibiting at several events, so I hope those of you in the Denver area will come out to see and hear what’s going on!

Here’s a synopsis of where I’ll be, and I’ll post more details on the day of each event.

Friday, October 5, 2007: Art on the River Exhibit Opening Reception, 5:30pm – 8:00pm 

On Friday, October 5th, I’ll be at the Opening Reception of the “Art on the River Exhibit” at the Art Students League of Denver.  My painting, “Stevie in the Shade” was selected for the Second Place Award (which includes a cash prize!) and I’ll be on hand to visit with everyone.  This will be a great exhibit and is generously sponsored by the Greenway Foundation.

Saturday, October 6, 2007: Painting Demonstration at Foothills Art Center, 11:00am – 2:00pm

On Saturday, October 6, 2007, I’ll take a “fieldtrip” out to the Foothills Art Center in Golden to do some watercolor demonstration painting in the gallery as part of the Rocky Mountain National Watercolor Exhibition.  I’ll be creating some of my elementals in the main gallery room, right near my painting (Elementals No. 18) that was selected for the Exhibition this year.

October 8 – 12, 2007:  Outdoor painting during the High Plein Air Arts Festival

During the week of October 8-12, 2007 I’ll participate in the High Plein Air Arts Festival in Denver’s Golden Triangle Museum District.  This will be great fun – lots of artists painting “plein aire” (outside, or “in plain air”) throughout the District.  I’m not sure yet were I’ll be and when, but will post more next week as I get started creating a unique elementals Denverscape painting!

Left Hand Carpal Tunnel Update: Stitches Out!

I finally got the stitches out of my left hand today!  I sure was ready to get that big, puffy bandage off, but what a big baby I was at Dr. Hurley’s office – I had to lie down after they unwrapped my bandage because I nearly passed out!  Many folks know that I grew up on a farm doing all sorts of bloody things to animals, but apparently when it comes to the sight of my own blood (and there wasn’t even any blood today), I’m all woozy and faint. 

In any case – it’s all done now, but, I still won’t be able to do much with it (like not lift much weight over a few pounds) for the next month.  And, the pain since surgery with my left hand has been noticeably worse than with my right hand, so I’m having a more difficult time with it being uncomfortable to just paint.  Just think though, in two months I’ll be as good as new!  Overall I’m very excited about the success of going through the carpal tunnel release surgeries on each hand.

After getting my stitches out… I had to have a band-aid put on so I wouldn’t see my “wound”…

Back to Painting… in my Temporary Studio Space at Home

Well, after several days “off” last week to move out of my old studio space (more on that here), and then several more days off recouperating from my left hand carpal tunnel release surgery, I’m finally able to get some painting done.  Even though I’m having to use our livingroom and diningroom for storage, this is actually a pretty workable set up for the next month or so.  Let me know if you’d like to come by to check it out – I’m certainly open by appointment! 

Getting our front sunroom (which is under renovation) cleaned up for creating art.

I started painting again this morning… the lighting is a bit challenging, but it is working great!

Studio Woes….

I typically strive to stay positive and upbeat in my life… and with my blog posts.  Today I have to share a bit about my current studio situation, which has rather quickly turned a bit sour.

One of the downsides of sharing a studio space is that I really only have control over me and my art (there are, of course, more downsides and plenty of upsides).  I’ve learned that the behaviour of others can sure be a big wildcard, especially when it can affect my creativity and work habits.

So, first the GOOD NEWS: I’ve had a new studio space (very close to my current location in the Santa Fe Arts District) under contract to BUY for several weeks now and expect to be moving in at the end of October!  This will be a space that I’ll own and I plan to make it a really great space for creating.  So, I’ll have more exciting announcements and info on that coming up very soon!

But, there is some BAD NEWS:  The sub-lease for my portion of our shared space isn’t being renewed and I must move out at the end of September.  So, I’ll be studio-less for several weeks.  This development was quite unexpected and it has created some operational issues (like rescheduling the carpal tunnel release surgery for my left hand) and has soured the creative atmosphere at the studio.  Rodney Wallace (who holds the lease to our studio and subleases to me and the other two artists) abruptly served me a written notice on September 1st that my lease would not be renewed – no “heads-up”, no discussion, no flexibility, no nothing.  I call that pretty sad behaviour.

I know many artists that are pretty particular about their creative space.  I know I’m one of them and I’ve worked pretty hard to stay flexible in our shared creative space.  I just sure wish that would have counted for some good old fashioned professional courtesy in a situation like this.  

Carpal Tunnel Surgery Update

I thought I’d give everyone an update on my recovery from carpal tunnel surgery…. first to thank everyone that commented here on my blog with encouraging words and well-wishes for a speedy recovery.  I also received quite a few emails from folks, so thank you again to everyone – all the thoughts and prayers have helped!

Second, I have a few snapshots from getting my stitches out this morning.  My surgeon, Dr. Hurley and his staff have been great, especially with my high level of anxiety on having my painting hand cut open!  But, I will say that I expected to be doing more with my hand at this point than I am.  After getting my stitches out this morning, I spent a bit of time in my studio (it has been almost 2 weeks since I last painted!), but will have to take it easy for awhile longer.  I know I’ll be able to paint more this week, but am not supposed to lift any real weight over a few pounds for the rest of the month.  Good thing most of my materials are pretty light weight!

Finally, a great big thank you to my partner Steve, who has been taking great care of me (from squeezing the toothpaste to doing all of the laundry)!  I’m sure things will be easier when I get my left hand done in September.

Right before my hand was finally set free this morning from this darn bandage… 

Right after getting my stitches out this morning…

Colorado Art Ranch… rejected.

Many of my art friends and collectors know how I’m fascinated with and inspired by different places.  I sometimes yearn to be someplace else when I’m painting in my studio – usually someplace on the coast or someplace where it is autumn all of the time or someplace where it rains for days and days.

It’s not that I don’t love Colorado and my studio in the heart of the Santa Fe Arts District in Denver, because I certainly do.  I’ve just always been a dreamer about idyllic places.  And as an artist, I always dream about me creating art in these different places.  My nearly annual retreats to the Oregon coast to paint in winter is something I truely cherish.  But, it is an expensive retreat (although, another big thank-you to everyone that helped out with my trip this past January/February with the purchase of one of my Oregon Coast 12×12’s!).

So, I’ve been researching more artist residency programs, especially those that provide some or all of the space (studio, room and board) for free.  In May, I submitted my first application to the Colorado Art Ranch, which has a really great program here in Colorado.  Twice a year, they select a town in Colorado to set up their “nomadic” residency program – the location for this fall’s program is in Durango, Colorado.

I put together a package with my best art images, great answers to their application questions, including a great idea for my one day of “giving back to the community” (I proposed holding a workshop where people created a large community painting that we cut into fragements and did different things with the individual fragment paintings).  I even had three really great industry references.

I was really disappointed to find out recently that I had not been selected for the Durango residency (but did get a nice personal email from the Executive Director, Grant Pound).  You can be sure I’ll keep trying, fueled by my yearning for different places to create!

Carpal Tunnel Surgery – Right Hand First

I’ve not mentioned this to many folks – I’m scheduled to have my first carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand on Wednesday, July 25th (and I’ll have my left hand done in late August or early September).  I’ll admit I’m a bit nervous about the whole thing.  It is apparently (alledgedly?) pretty routine stuff, but when the surgery center called me today to get all the pre-op information they needed, she did emphasize that “while routine, it IS surgery”.  Recovery should be fairly quick, but I’ll be out of my studio until probably next week.

I first started having pain and numbness problems with both hands nearly ten years ago when I still worked as a technology guy.  Back then, they believed carpal tunnel was primarily due to work-related activities.  Now I’m told it is more likely genetic and NOT related to repetative work (such as computer work).  In any case, in the last few years, it has gotten progressively worse.  I now have to take short breaks from my painting several times a day to relieve numbness.  And, when doing intensive work such as renovating a rental property for two weeks recently, the pain and numbness gets so bad that I have to stop working completely after a few hours.

 So, even though I’m pretty nervous about the whole thing, I hope and pray that it will correct my problem so I can just get on with painting!

5 Interview Questions from S.L. Peterson: Answer #1

Nearly two months ago, S.L. Peterson, a wonderful fellow Colorado artist (who recently moved, though), posted her answers to a blog interview that she participated in.  In return, she was inviting other artists to join in and she would “interview” them by sending five new interview questions for them to post on their blogs.

So, I asked to be interviewed, and S.L. sent me five great questions.  Since I’d like to provide an in-depth response to some of the questions, I’m going to post them one at a time.  Here are my thoughts on the first question:

Question #1:  You just moved from a studio in LoDo to a new studio space in the Santa Fe Arts District – both look like really neat spaces in areas where a lot is going on.  I’m an artist who works from a home studio, and I’d love to hear how your work benefits from having a devoted studio space.  How does your studio environment influence your work?  And how does the act of getting up and going to the studio every day affect your work ethic?

I started my art career working on a tiny table in the corner of my livingroom – about five years ago when I left my corporate job and career.  This progressed to taking over one of the extra bedrooms in my home.  However, I quickly figured out that as an artist, my “creative space” was one of the top factors that were critical for me to successfully transition my career and launch my art business.  So, I created several key goals for the space in which I would create – my “creative space”.  My creative space must be a space that:

  • develops my ability to “switch on” my creative process whenever I want to
  • naturally focuses my energy and creativity on creating art (as opposed to taking extra energy to get me into my “creative zone”)
  • develops my ability to consistently create quality results (art)
  • fosters good art creation working habits
  • is a professional-feeling and serious space for clients (collectors, gallery owners, press, etc.) to visit

Like the corporate world, I’ve approached my art career and business from a goal and results perspective.  One difference though is that I’ve found my creativity and time creating art don’t always fit into my business or project-planned approach.  I think it is important to have the ability to “turn on” my creative process whenever I want, so that I can better control my productivity and results.

So, I’ve worked to create a space that is about and for creating art.  I keep the other parts of my business and life out of the studio – all things that aren’t about creating my art.  Almost all of my business information, files, technology, office supplies, etc. are at my home office, not in the studio (expect for things like my calendar, studio notebook and inventory, all which fit in my bookbag).  All of my general “daily life” stuff also either fits in my bookbag or is left at home.  The only technology I have at my studio is my cell phone and my iPod (well, I have lighting, a working bathroom and a microwave, too).

Overall, I think I’ve successfully created a space that is about creating art.  And, since it is in a space that is not part of my home, I don’t have to spend energy on “forced discipline” to create art when I’m in my studio.  Of course, my switch for turning on my creative process doesn’t always work – but I’ve trained myself so that it usually does (there are times when I’ll get to my studio and literally walk in, look around a bit and then leave, because I just know it isn’t going to happen).

So, I feel my studio has given me solid consistency in my creative process and increased the quality of my results. As an aside, I don’t normally turn off my creativity when I’m not at my studio.  I often think of new ideas, inspiration, compositions, technical solutions at any time and any place, but my studio is where I apply all of that to create my art.  Having a studio away from home has also helped me develop studio working habits that I like to have.  For example, I find “good” stopping points for my work (rather than stopping suddenly to see what the dog is barking at) and am more disciplined at keeping things tidy (instead of thinking I’ll just come back in a minute to clean up and then never do). Finally, I really like the feel and look of my studio space as a place where clients, gallery owners and press can visit – it is truly a space about my art.

Opening Night for 4 Art Studios

I had a blast at our Opening night for 4 Art Studios this past Thursday!  We had quite a crowd – over 300 attended!  Thanks to everyone that came by to share my new space and latest artwork.  If you didn’t make it, give me a call or email me to schedule a time for you to come by.

 We’ll also be open for the next First Friday artwalk on May 4th between 5-9pm.  First Friday in the Santa Fe Arts District has become the premier monthly arts event in Denver – always a feast for the eyes, ears and soul!

Steve and I at Opening night.

Early crowd at the Opening.

Visit to Florida…

I visited Florida with Steve for a long weekend to visit his Mom.  South Florida (we were in Boca Raton) sure has changed over the last 20 years (even the last 5 years!).  We had a great visit, spent a morning on the beach, went to an arts and crafts fair in Delray, bought some local orange blossom honey, and generally soaked up the heat, humidity and humanity.  One of my favorite snapshots was of the baby pineapple growing in Steve’s Mom’s front yard – it was so cute!

Me and the baby pineapple.

I think for me, Florida is a great place to visit, but just too much of everything in a pretty small space.  As usual though, I pick up on colors from the places I visit – so I was very inspired by some of the South Florida colors (especially the colors of the Atlantic as we flew over the beaches around Boca and Ft. Lauderdale) and created a few mini Fossils in blues and greens.  What do you think?  Do these make you think of the blues and greens of the South Florida Atlantic?

Two mini Fossils (5×5″) in some South Florida-inspired colors.

Detail on one of the 5×5’s… bright highlights are silver and moonglow metallics.

The Denver Art Museum

I briefly walked around the Denver Art Museum today… I love that such an awesome new space can bring out wildly varied responses from people.  Remember all of the various (and often controversial) opinions from “Joe Coloradan” late last year as the new wing prepared to open?  Well, I read today that nearly 400,000 people have visited since then…. here’s a few pics from my visit on opening weekend last fall.

Simply awesome architecture and construction materials.  I wonder how
I feel about this scale of art vs. one of my Elemental squares…

My favorite outdoor sculpture is the spider.


I finished moving today… I expected to finish by early afternoon, which I did, but didn’t expect the 8″ of snow we had when I woke up this morning.  Makes me think of a quote I overheard last week at my doctor’s office: “Kathy Sabine is a liar!”.  I don’t think I’d go quite that far, but it wasn’t supposed to start raining (with snow only a possibility) until later this afternoon…

This was at 7:30am this morning… I still had lots to move!

I think I’m too tired from moving to think much about my old space now – it was a good space to create.  I really look forward to getting things settled in my new space at 4 Art Studios, though, and on to creating more art!

Last item to move – my “ponder” chair where I often sit to ponder my paintings.