Saturday, December 26, 2009

SISTERS AGAIN




SISTERS AGAIN is a 20x24 alkyd painting on canvas. My previous 5x7 pastel study helped me know whether I should go larger.








I really like this painting. It reminds me of a Jessie Wilcox Smith illustration. Jessie was a children's books illustrator in the late 19th century, who studied under Thomas Eakins and Howard Pyle. She may be best known for her covers on Good Housekeeping magazine. If I could do nothing else the rest of my life but work like this, I'd be a happy person. See her work by clicking the title, "Sisters Again" above.

Speaking of happy, I hope you all had a happy Christmas and Hanukkah. Mine, despite all the stresses, turned out lovely. I'm grateful for my healthy and beautiful extended families.

There was one disaster, however, which I would like to avoid in the future. My mashed potatoes turned into inedible paste. They literally would have choked people to death, had I served them. Was it the cream that I added instead of milk?????

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

AT THE BEACH WITH MEG




AT THE BEACH WITH MEG is a 8x10 alkyd on GessoBord.







No time to write. I have Christmas gift shopping to do. And Christmas grocery shopping to do. And a Christmas dinner to prepare. And packages to wrap. And stockings to stuff. And a house to clean.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

CASSIE AT THE VANITY



CASSIE AT THE VANITY is a 9x12 pastel on PastelBord.













CASSIE AT THE VANITY, and 3 other pastels are being shipped to the Brandon Michael Fine Art Gallery in Santa Fe, for:
THE FIGURE, December 21st through January 15th
Opening Reception - January 1st, 5 - 7 PM

Monday, December 14, 2009

My new book, click to see it.

















Not a good day so far...

I had to run up to the post office to deliver an entry by its deadline today for a show in Wichita. Less than a mile from my house, still on my street, approaching the highway, a dog came running from the highway toward me; I veered my car to try to avoid him. I was unsuccessful. I heard the impact, and heard him as he collided into my front left bumper. I stopped and watched helplessly as he ran to the backyard of the house nearby. I backed up, pulled into the driveway, ran to the back. He was lying on the deck, breathing rapidly. Though there were no visible injuries, I knew he was in bad shape. I banged on the door of the house. No answer. I called 911, not knowing if they would consider this an emergency. They did. They sent a Deputy Sheriff out (he was there in less than 10 minutes). As I waited for the cops, I stayed with the dog and apologized and cried and prayed he'd go quickly. He did. By the time the Deputy arrived, the dog was not in pain anymore.

The Deputy knocked on the house door, and, not surprisingly, someone answered. I figured someone was there but just didn't want to answer to a stranger at the door. It was their dog. They were not able to keep him tied up; he kept slipping out of his collars. I had seen him in the back yard through the year, tied to a tree, no matter what the weather conditions. I had felt sorry for him.

I wish there were something redeeming to say about it, but there's not. I'm just very sorry. And sad.

Friday, December 11, 2009

SISTERS AND A GOOD BOOK, click to bid


SISTERS AND A GOOD BOOK is a 7x5 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.

It's getting cold out there. I think I dreamed last night of planting zinnia and poppy seeds. The first few cold days of the season, and I'm ready for spring. But poppies should be planted in the fall, so I'm out to go find some poppy seeds.

Monday, December 7, 2009

SISTERS IN WHITE, click to bid



SISTERS IN WHITE is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins (and usually ends) at $100.











It seems fitting to end the year with Christmas–a festive celebration for family and friends. A time to warm the house with glowing candles, brightly wrapped presents and a huge pot of wassail on the stove. And despite the fact that they appear immediately after Thanksgiving nowadays, the brightly decorated malls, Christmas carols and outrageous yard light shows thrill me.

But this is what I look forward to all year: when everybody’s finally asleep in the house. I go into the dark living room, plug in the tree (always a real one), turn on Handel’s Messiah, and for 2 hours, listen to the entire piece. It brings into focus what this is really all about: 2700 year old prophesy fulfilled in the birth of a little Jewish boy. If you’ve never listened to the entire symphony, it goes on to tell the rest of the story.

I say it’s a must, if you find yourself getting lost in the cacophony of the season.

Friday, December 4, 2009

LITTLE DANCER



LITTLE DANCER is a 20x24 alkyd on canvas.













Well, it’s on again. The Christmas frenzy. When to pull out the decorations? When to buy the tree? Do I host a dinner? What to buy the husband? I always thought Christmas would get simpler as the kids grew and left home. I never stopped to consider they’d be back with husbands and grandchildren. And then there are the step children and the step grandchildren. I think we’ll have 10 stockings on the mantle this year. Oy. It doesn’t get easier.

And it’s time again for me to start organizing our church’s annual New Year’s Eve art show. It’s a one day show, open to all artists in the area. No jurying. They just bring their work on the Sunday before New Years. Several of us at the church remain long after the service is over, and bite our nails, hoping artists show up with work. Inevitably the artists trickle in, and inevitably we wind up with a beautiful show.


The New Year’s Eve show, from 7-9:30, is an opportunity celebrate the arts and to get to know the artists in the community.

And this year we’re having a separate show just for kids in the adjacent room, with their own buffet table and award. It should be fun.

If you’re in the area, and want to join us, either as an exhibitor or an appreciator, here’s more info:
http://www.douglasvillevineyard.org/art-show.html

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

In them ol' cotton fields back home...



This was a demo I painted during a workshop this summer.












Recently, I took a 4 and a half hour drive to Savannah to my friend Diane's home; from there we drove to Jacksonville, Florida, to watch CW Mundy do a painting demonstration (you must see his work: www.cwmundy.com/collections). We were totally inspired by Mundy. And she and I have committed to paint something, using his technique, before December 6, and send each other a jpeg of our paintings. If it's successful, I'll post it here too.

But back to the trip. On my way to Savannah, always on the alert for a picture, I carried my camera. The cotton fields in south Georgia are ready to harvest. I did not grow up around cotton fields, so I always find them startling...cotton, growing on a plant. It just seems strange to me. I figured there are probably many people who have never seen a cotton field or cotton plant close up either. So I put on my emergency flashers, and pulled over to the side of the road on I-16, in the middle of nowhere, with semi's rushing by, and waded through knee-high weeds to get close to a field.

Friday, November 27, 2009

PET PARADE 4, click to bid




PET PARADE 4 is a 7x5 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, MORE PET PARADE AND MY CHOICE FOR THE DOLL SHOW PASTEL, click to bid.



MORE PET PARADE is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.



Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

And Congratulations, Kay Verney, for this response (I considered giving away several, but that would be really stupid. I'll just keep doing these little contests. I absolutely love hearing from you all):

Hello Margaret:
I too am a fan of HGTV. My husband looks askance at me whenever I go upstairs to the TV room to indulge --- it's considered a rather mindless indulgence in my household (and watching human hulks hurl themselves at each other on Monday night football is expanding his mind?) So I am always surprised when he winds up beside me on the couch and comments favorably on the makeovers.

I think that right side of his brain is finding a safe moment to express itself.

I showed hubby your email and he honed right in on the male point of view:

"Look, men are pragmatists. They know their house isn't going to get an "Extreme Makeover". There's certain parameters the designers are going to have to work with. So they don't expect much. They prepare themselves for some scope of improvement, so they are not disappointed or caught too unawares. And so when these professionals go and pull out all the stops, these guys are genuinely blown away."

And as to why you like these men? Its sweet to see them yield to unadulterated charm! The men at the doll shows? Probably the gentler sort to begin with. And what better and safer place to appreciate innocence, beauty, and grace in miniature than at a doll show.

Love, love your work. Thank you for putting me on the email list!

Creatively Yours,

KAY

Kay, email me with your address.

PET PARADE IN VILLA RICA 3, click to bid


PET PARADE IN VILLA RICA 3 is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.


Another from the pet parade down the street from me. The whole thing lasted maybe 30 minutes as they paraded around the block. There were Shetland Ponies, horses, a Grand Marshall (who happened to be my framer) and a police escort. It was really cute.

Tomorrow I choose the winner of the doll show piece. Many of you wrote wonderful things. It's really difficult to decide. Have a happy Thanksgiving, all of you. Enjoy your families, if you're fortunate enough to be with them.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A FORTUNATE WIFE, click to bid





A FORTUNATE WIFE is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.











Nobody seemed to show much interest in this doll show series, but I really enjoyed painting them. So I'm still at it. I love these men at the doll show. I also love watching the men's reactions on HGTV decorating shows, when they're genuinely overwhelmed at what a difference an aesthetic transformation can make. What is it about these men that makes me respond to them that way? A doll show pastel to the person who can give me what I think is the best answer.

Friday, November 20, 2009

LOOK THIS WAY, click to bid










LOOK THIS WAY is a 5x7 pastel on Pastelbord. Bidding begins at $100.





Yes, it's Elvis. And his little black dog. And he was leading the Villa Rica Pet Parade, right there in his sparkly blue jumpsuit, and nobody seemed to think it was unusual. They just walked right by him before the parade began, like he was just another dog-lover. I, however, observant artist, recognized him and followed him around most of the day.
























Let me also take a minute to say thank you to all of you who have sent me such kind words. It makes my day sometimes to wake up to your wonderful comments.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

PET PARADE IN VILLA RICA, click to bid













A couple of weeks ago I passed a sign advertising PET PARADE!, just down the road from my house. What a photo op for me, I thought. And it was. And wait'll you see who I saw there...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

RIVER IN A KIMONO, click to bid.



RIVER IN A KIMONO is a 5x7 pastel on pastelbord. Bidding begins at $100.














I won't bore you with all the reasons why I've been quiet. I'll just say this: we're meeting with a marriage counselor tomorrow.

But I have not been idle. I'm working on an instructional video, which should be ready any day. I'm doing it all by myself with the incredible mac software. I just love mac. Been on macs since the very first ones. It's an incredible machine. I'd be lost with out it. Wait'll you see how my video turns out.

Friday, October 30, 2009

An award winning piece, and an essay on chicken poop.


LISA IN REDS AND GREENS is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Not for sale.
You've seen this one before on this blog. I had mentioned that I really liked it. Looks like I may know what I'm talking about. It was one of the winners in the recent American Impressionist Society National Exhibition in Denver.



So I was out in the yard on this cool drizzly next-to-the-last-day of October, scraping up chicken poop. No, we don't own chickens, although I always thought I'd like to. I always thought it'd be nice to go on daily egg hunts. And I've always heard fresh, home grown eggs taste better. And the chicken poop would undoubtedly make my flower garden glorious (I have since given up ever trying to grow vegetables. Ever). So Ben told our friends, Miriam and Houston, that I might like to have some of their chicken poop for my garden. They were more than happy to oblige. Ben came home one day this summer with two huge containers of black mush, which smelled suspiciously like, well, you know.

I was a little bewildered, because I had imagined that chicken poop would be dry, almost granular, and easy to scoop and spread around. I wasn't quite sure what to do with this. I thanked Ben profusely, then got my trowel and scooped a little out and tried to spread it on top of the soil. It didn't spread, it stayed in a gooey clump. I tried chopping it, smearing it, stirring it. Very distressing. And surprisingly smelly. I had no idea chicken poop would actually smell like, well, you know.

Needless to say, I was a little daunted with the enormous amount of the stuff. So we've been maneuvering our cars around the two containers in the driveway. They've been there for months, getting rained on, waiting for me to figure out what to do with them. Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought Ben would magically make them disappear.

And it finally happened. I must have run over one with my car, while trying to evade the awkwardly parked truck. I let that sit for a couple of days, thinking Ben might make it magically disappear. But he finally said, "When are you going to do something with that chicken poop (he didn't use that word)? "Oh, was all that for me?" I asked.

So today in the drizzle I scraped and slung and sweated and stunk. But I think I actually am the winner here. I dumped quite a bit of it in an area that hasn't been, but will be a new garden bed next spring, much to Ben's chagrin. Ben'll never know what hit him.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

HER FIRST BARBIE





HER FIRST BARBIE is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.











It was "Ideals"! Thank you everyone who remembered the name of the publication. And Holly even sent a link to ebay where you can buy the old magazines: http://shop.ebay.com/items/ideals%20magazine?_dmd=2&_sop=1&rvr_id=&keyword=ideals+magazine&crlp=1869420203_9398&MT_ID=475&tt_encode=raw

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

THE DOLL SHOW



THE DOLL SHOW is a 7x5 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.



This has nothing to do with that, but I was notified yesterday that in the American Impressionist Society National Exhibition, I won two awards: Third Place and the WindRiver Arts Award. I'm thrilled--it's a very prestigious show. Here's a link to the Saks Gallery in Denver, where the show is being held. www.saksgalleries.com/exhibitions.html

Monday, October 26, 2009

A PATIENT HUSBAND



A PATIENT HUSBAND is a 7x5 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.



I haven't been writing lately because I haven't been able to think of anything to say. Not sure why exactly. I've been busy, but not unusually busy. Distracted, but not unusually distracted. Seems my mind has been unusually blank though.

Yesterday, after church, my husband, Ben, and I loaded up our bikes in the back of his pickup truck, and drove to meet my brother-in-law, Joe, to ride the Silver Comet Trail, a paved bike path on the old abandoned railroad lines in northwest Georgia. We rode the path from Rockmart, along rushing creeks and past quiet subdivisions and freshly mown hayfields, uphill, downhill, meandering and forgetting all but the beauty of the day . The gold and orange fall colors reminded me of those old periodicals I saw in Dentist offices as a child (can anybody recall the title?), full of color photos of idyllic rural scenes: churches in the snow or autumn landscapes, always with inspiring poetry or prose. When I tried reminding Ben and Joe about those books, which I'm sure everybody grew up with, they looked at me blankly and Ben said, "Boys didn't read those things. We used to read National Geographic." "We used to read Playboy," Joe added, "for the same reason." They both nodded in agreement.

I'll never figure out why men and women are so different.

With a few hours left in the day, Ben and I drove an hour north to a friend's barn, where we sat quietly, him with a rifle, me with a camera, hoping a deer would emerge. We always thought it'd be a great thing to do together. I could shoot all the raptors he's always telling me about--owls, falcons, hawks, kites; he could hunt. I could be creative, he could be a man. But we learned all too quickly that this just would not work. We forgot how much noise a camera makes when you click the shutter.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with todays picture. The picture is from a doll show I attended recently with a friend. I always feel so fondly toward the men I see attending these sorts of functions.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

TEA PARTY




My workshops in France this spring are finally finalized and will be announced online next Tuesday. I've been given the opportunity to announce them to my mailing list first (forgive me please if you get more than one email--you may be on more than one of my lists. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please pass this on.

The maximum number of students in each class will be 7 or 8 (not sure yet), so it should be a wonderful time for all of us. Here are details:

http://www.margaretdyer.com/la-bonne-etoile.html

Thursday, October 8, 2009

ANOTHER PROFILE




ANOTHER PROFILE is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

OLIVE GREEN AND CRIMSON



OLIVE GREEN AND CRIMSON is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.


I sometimes have a burning desire to write, with no idea what to write about. That's how it is at 12:45 a.m. right now. I'd love to write something poignant. Or funny. Or even just interesting. But nothing comes to mind.

I have had a burning desire to write a children's book since I was a kid. I want to create another world to escape to. If it's ever to happen, it better happen soon. My mother was an English major (which probably explains why all of my siblings and I are grammar nazis). She and I used to toy with the idea of her writing a book, and me illustrating it. For her birthday one year, I gave her a suede notebook. I waited for months for her book to take form. One day she showed me the first sentence. I loved the first sentence and couldn't wait for the rest of the book. But mom was sick, and the story never got any further.

I want to write but have absolutely nothing to say. So I guess I'll go to bed. Maybe inspiration will come in a dream.

Pardon me for ending so many sentences with prepositions.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

LONG BLACK HAIR, sold




LONG BLACK HAIR is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. bidding begins at $100.












As a member of DailyPaintworks.com, I have made a commitment to post at least 9 images a month on my blog. Last month I fell short. So when I feel the urgency to produce new work, and don't have the time to schedule a new photo shoot with a model, I refer again to my files. This is one of those. A model who posed for a class I taught in Mukilteo, WA, a few years ago.

Monday, October 5, 2009

PENSIVE NUDE




PENSIVE NUDE is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.











No time to write. Am on my way to visit stepdaughter's new baby in the hospital (birth announcement below, photo taken by me), then on to the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center for a 'dress rehearsal'. The Carrollton Creative Writers Club, of which I am a member, has been given the opportunity to read some of our work for a couple of hours during MeccaFest Art Festival, October 10 & 11 (http://www.meccafest.com). Tonight we're doing a run-through so we look like we know what we're doing this coming weekend.

Hope to have more to say tomorrow.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Solitary Rose



Solitary Rose is a 30x40 oil on board. I just put it up here because it seemed to have some relevance to my blog today. I painted it in 2006. It still sits somewhere deep in that hovel I call my studio.








I just couldn't go into the studio today. It just wasn't in my heart. So I piddled around this morning checking email, gave myself a manicure, wandered outside into this beautiful early fall weather and thought, what's to stop me from transplanting a few day lilies. Within a half hour I had completely destroyed my manicure, dug up and divided clumps and clumps of day lilies, planted them in a curved border all along the front of the house in front of the azalea hedge, pulled up clumps of iris', which were practically above ground anyway, and with shovel in hand, dug around my gardens throughout the yard and put those tubers which survived my clumsy efforts into their new homes.

Within minutes of kneeling down and planting my first day lily however, I thought, how nice to get away from art for a while, and immediately realized again how very fortunate we artists are. How fortunate I am to spend my life creating beauty (or at least striving to), and how fortunate I am to work so hard at it, that I have to find time to get away from it. Art is truly a gift, one that I acknowledged at a very early age. Through a lifetime of feeling inadequate, I have always been humbled by this gift, this responsibility also, that affirmed.

And as if this wonderful moment of awareness wasn't enough, as I finished up the new day lily bed I noticed one gardenia in bloom, all alone in my enormous gardenia bush. I leaned over to get a deep whiff, and was immediately transferred in time to our home in Clearwater, Florida. I was 12, we had gardenias, and my mother was alive. And her face, her presence, became momentarily vivid.

Another gift. Thank you, God.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Carmen and Abigail














This is a portrait I'm working on, of Carmen and Abigail. I hate doing portraiture, but I love doing children. So if I can get them in a comfortable unposed situation, I'll do it. These twins were beautiful and a pleasure to work with.

It still needs some work.

Monday, September 28, 2009

KELLY AGAIN




KELLY AGAIN is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.

Friday, September 25, 2009

BLACK TUTU




BLACK TUTU is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.











This is a young girl from a dress rehearsal I watched a few months ago and am only now just getting it up here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

KELLY







KELLY is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

RIVER




RIVER is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100.











This is River, our model from the Cape Cod workshop. The same model as the previous post, wearing the kimono. I take pictures, with permission and a nice tip, during the poses and come home to work on them. This was from my photos. River surprised us with wigs, so you most likely will not recognize her in upcoming pictures.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back home and plum tired

This was a sketch I did during my recent Cape Cod workshop. It now belongs to one of the students from the class.


Well I'm back. I've been in and out of town for 3 and a half weeks and I'm tired.

I first drove to beautiful Florence, Alabama, to teach a 3 day workshop. What a surprise that place was. While driving the 4 hours from Atlanta through rural northwest Alabama, I wondered continuously how my class could possibly fill. Where would they find the students? I drove over the Tennessee River into Florence on a Friday night; the thriving town was alive with bands and crowds and artists selling their wares all up and down the main street. The workshop was held in a beautiful old mansion, the Kennedy-Douglass Center, now dedicated to the arts. I got to meet some wonderful people there.





The Kennedy-Douglass Center in Florence, Alabama.




Upon returning home, I had to load up the car again for a trip to Louisville, where my Dad was attending his annual Guadalcanal Survivors reunion. What started out, I'm told, many years ago with an attendance of about 1000 men and women, has now dwindled down to a group of about 100. It was an honor to meet these remaining war heroes. My sisters and I got to attend a memorial for those who won't return, share drinks, sing oldies (from the 40's, not innagaddadavida) with them and listen to their war stories. We hope to do it again next year.


My Dad (on the right), USN USS Sangamon-TBF Sqn-26, and his good friend, Bill Carroll, USMC C-1st Pioneer.












Arriving home, I didn't have time to unpack before I had to leave to teach a 5 day Master pastel class to the Pastel Society of Cape Cod. Flying into Boston was an emotional experience for me. Looking down into the beautiful coastline and seeing thousands of sailboats in the gorgeous early fall weather made me wonder what the heck have I been doing all my life. I had no idea Massachusetts was so beautiful. I spent the week in a cozy Cape Cod bedroom, and after 7 hour days in the studio every day, was driven around by my host, Ginny Nickerson (http://ginnynickerson.com), to see the area and get lots of photos for my new paintings. One evening we were treated to a fresh clam and linguini dinner, the clams having just been dug that week from the bay, at Tom and Rosalie Nadeau's, (http://www.rosalienadeau.com/rosalienadeau.com/Home.html) home and got a tour of her studio. I will never be satisfied with my studio again. These people live well. I felt I could move up there and settle in and be right at home. I have to get back there.









Most of the Pastel Society of Cape Cod class. The girl in the white shirt in the front is the model who posed for the sketch above. Hi to all of you in Cape Cod!

So anyway, I'm home. and haven't been this tired since I don't know when. And I've got to get back into my poor little studio and get some work done.