Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Making Art, Making Do

I think I need to mention something. The painting I made for Lauren’s auction--Blossom-- I painted in my kitchen. The kids were home for spring break last week, which means I had to clear out of my “studio,” aka Flannery’s old bedroom. So over the bricks of the kitchen floor I unfurled my big roll of plastic sheeting. Up went my paint-splattered easel. The talavera tiles of the kitchen counter I covered with a bunch of old Wall Street Journals. That’s where I mixed my paint, and while waiting for layers to dry, I prepared ingredients for that night's dinner.

The reason I feel compelled to mention this is that there was a time I felt a little apologetic that I didn’t have an official studio. Here in Santa Fe there are dozens of artists with well-appointed studios, replete with northern light. Me, I work in the corner of a polka-dotted bedroom with my high school prom dress hanging on the wall. And last week I was relegated to the kitchen. What kind of self-respecting professional would work under these circumstances? One who has promised she'll complete a painting and send it to New Orleans in two days!

I had been rather pleased with Blossom. As was everyone else. Flannery said she wanted it for college graduation. Bennie said he wanted to sell it in the gallery. I kind of wanted to hang it at home. Several of you kindly said that you would buy it were it not bound for the auction. Everyone was so pleased with Blossom, I was a little skittish about beginning a new canvas. But the next day I set a canvas four times the size of Blossom on my kitchen easel. 24" X 24" is about as big as I would dare in the kitchen. Again, I would be preparing dinner between bouts of painting.

I slathered down layers of paint. I left them to dry. I turned to the counter. I chopped onions. I chopped jalapenos. Back at the easel I scraped off the layers of paint I'd left to dry. I poured on more. I chopped garlic. I chopped cilantro and tomatoes. I gouged and peeled the surface of the painting. I peeled and mashed avocados. I squeezed lime. Guacamole was taking shape. I turned back to the canvas. A painting was taking shape. It was starting to look like an aged adobe wall against which someone has thrown a quart of guacamole in a fit of passion. I salivated. I could go for a jalapeno-induced endorphin rush right about now. I almost tasted it.

Instead, I brought Winds of Change into the gallery the next morning. I hung it on the wall. IT SOLD WITHIN 48 HOURS. Oh, if life always offered such immediate gratification, I would have a well-appointed studio replete with northern light.

89 comments:

lime said...

being from a corner of the country where guacamole is not an every day sort of thing it looks to me rather like sherbert. either way i am glad it gave you some instant gratification. and i agree you should have a great studio with northern light! but if your kitchen allows you to crank out such great work, hey it's all good.

murat11 said...

Tina can certainly relate to you your portable studio: her "studio" is the back patio, under a giant ash tree: a fan to discourage the mosquitoes in the warmer months (that's about 10.5 months out of the year) and bundled up with a heater during our three week winters.

My writing "studio" is a work table at the end of the kitchen. It's great to have the fancy studio, but there's wonderful discipline in finding your artistic way in the unsheltered world, too. Congratulations to you and the guacamole! And blessings from San Pascual, the patron saint of kitchens. Guac on!

murat11 said...

Cool wall behind that prom dress, too. Neat how you can do great walls on walls AND great walls on canvas.

jameil1922 said...

i just want some of that guacamole. does not art make life worth living?

San said...

Lime, now I'm seeing various sherbets too. The left area is a little grapey at that. And of course we have, pardon me, lime. Which reminds me, Lime--lime, when squeezed, is the ingredient that really makes guacamole sing.

Mima said...

Winds of Change is lovely, and I am not surprised at all that it sold so quickly! Maybe you should move permanently to the kitchen as the food is obviously having good effect. And can I have some of your home made guacamole?

San said...

San Pasqual, I have an image of you over my stove!

I would enjoy Tina's al fresco set-up, but the NM dust has a way of settling into fresh paint. I have, however, worked in the garage with the big door thrown open to the foothills. In the summer it gets a little sweat-lodge-like. No mosquitoes though.

As to your writing digs, I'm reminded of something Stephen King wrote about after he got run over a few years ago. (Not that I assume you're a big fan of him, mind you.) He said that when he was a young dude, he wrote on this tiny table jammed into his trailer. He kept telling himself, when I make money, I'll have a big fancy desk. He made money, he got the big desk, and he found it next to impossible to write on the big desk. There is a lesson in "the unsheltered world" for sure.

Can't claim credit for the magnificent spotted wall. That's the work of Wild Bill Tick Tock aka Bennie.

San said...

Jameill, thanks much for the visit. I'll have to check out your place. Art, it does make life worth the trouble. Art and guacamole.

San said...

Mima, a friend of mine mentioned to me that she feels that creativity is sometimes enhanced by an unusual setting. I believe she's on to something there.

By all means, do share the guacamole. Would you like blue corn chips with that?

self taught artist said...

such a vision
the cooking and painting
thrilled for your quick sale!
here's to artists who make art without the perfect studio.

San said...

Paula, here's to us. Cheers!

Sparkling Red said...

I will not rest, now, until I have eaten guacamole. Fortunately, my husband is an expert in guacamole.

There is something delicious about that painting. If I didn't know any better, I might run up to it and bite the corner.

San said...

Red, you are hilarious! And fortunate. A husband who knows his way around a bowl of guacamole is worth his weight in jalapenos.

murat11 said...

My San Pascual came from Taos. Funny thing about the Stephen King story: I almost related the same story of the trailer home "desk" in my comment to you, but I was a bit fuzzy on the details. I'm not an SK reader, but I've always enjoyed what he has to say about the process of his writing, and I liked his recent writing book. You gotta love his cut through the shit approach to life and writing, whether you're drawn to the writing or not. Me, I'm too busy pickin' out prom dresses.

San said...

Paschal, we're on the same SK wavelength. A frightening thought. My details are plenty fuzzy too.

My San Pasqual is a print which I encased in a Mexican nicho. And come to think of it, I have another. It's an itty bitty dollhouse armoire which this kind of loopy guy painted with an image of SP. He (the loopy guy) comes by the gallery to sell his Mr. Wares. The itty bitty SP stands atop my cookbooks. I love New Mexico!

bridgette said...

congratulations on the quick sale! It is a beautiful painting.

As a mom now I have found myself in similar situations where I'm cooking or taking care of my little one while waiting for paint to dry. Actually his first year was one of my most creative period ever! Now that he started walking though...things have slowed down a bit. But I found this entry inspiring. Thanks!

San said...

Bridgette, thank you for the great compliment.

I too have always found my children to be quite the inspiration. I remember those days when they started to move around and be into everything. A challenging time, but when you pour your energy into nurturing your kids, it all seems to come back. Good luck with it all...

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Even without a “well-appointed studio,” San, your creations are magnificent. And moving from canvas to pealing veggies in the same room indicates you are truly a “working” artist. Consider all of the masters who also had no well-appointed studios and who were relegated to painting in places such as Tahiti beaches, dance halls, and whore houses.

Congratulations on the fast sell of “Blossom;” many more fast sales follow.

San said...

Nick, you know how to make a girl feel good. Thanks!

Today the kitchen. Tomorrow the beach in Tahiti--that sounds pretty well-appointed to me. That Gauguin, he knew a good thing.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Hmmm, Tahiti does sound good, doesn't it?

San said...

And I'll bet Alex would love it too.

Lee said...

Ooh!!! Congratulations on such a quick sale! It definitely deserved a good home.

Guacamole huh? Love that stuff. It's a staple of the S. Texas diet. Happy dining. :)

Hugs!

San said...

Thanks, Lee. The buyers live in NYC and Naples, Florida. A silly part of me would love to see it in The Big Art Apple, but they chose Florida. Now I have three in that state--in Miami and Pensacola too. Not in NYC. Yet.

Wish we could sit down to some guacamole right now. With some margaritas on the side.

HUG.

smith kaich jones said...

Lordy, Lordy! What a great tale & a great painting! My lucky day to've discovered your blog! I have no studio, or I guess I should say I have no kitchen - not even a stove. But I DO have paintings & avocadoes & limes in
the same room & that is a VERY cool thing. Nothing like the smell of lime on your fingers. NOW I'm gonna have to head on over to Los Gueros for an avocado & tomato taco, generously doused with lime.

WILSONART said...

OH! You are so right-on about the lime in the guac. A sweet little mexican lady gave me her recipe years ago, along with one for salsa.(easy on the peppers please)

I have a decent room set up as a studio, but I find myself dragging smaller projects to the den,,,,the light is so much better, and I can see outdoors. A cardinal flew up and perched earlier today, as though checking out my work.

Fabulous to have something to sell so quickly,,,,or slowly for that matter.
#;-)

San said...

Thank you for the visit, SKJ. You sound like you're well-appointed indeed with regard to the key ingredients that make life worth living.

And you're making me salivate for an avocado and tomato taco!

San said...

Babs, sales are fun, aren't they? And a cardinal watching you work--that sounds like a good omen indeed.

I happen to have northern light in my kitchen. This could be the start of something big. And I will go easy on those jalapenos when I make your guacamole.

CHEWY said...

San,
Congrats on the sale of another magnificent painting. Cooking and painting are a great combination for you... as long as the paint doesn't end up in the guac. (chuckle)

I set up a studio in our roomy basement... but during the cold, dark winter months I've been painting in my bedroom in front of my two large sunny windows. Oops, paint spots on the carpet.

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Congratewlayshuns!

:@D

Ms. Creek said...

it came from your heart...your studio is where your heart is at the time...you are an incredibly talented woman!

Celebration of Life said...

San: I LOVE..."Winds of Change" Congratulations on the quick sale! I can't wait until I get to visit your studio!
Jo

Velvet Ginger (Rubye Jean) said...

You are one busy lady!!!! I love that painting! I also like the names of your children!

Shrinky said...

Sometimes things just have a way of coming together - you were still inspired from birthing blossom when winds of change flew on to your canvass (karma comes around and rewards).

I could hear your excitement as you mixed and chopped, I trust the meal came out equally as delicious?

San said...

Dar, I keep meaning to tell you how much I like that profile picture. So here goes: I LOVE that profile self-portrait.

You and me and our portable studios--I guess some paint spots go with the territory. And what's a little cadmium red in the guac? Don't tell, but it's a real flavor enhancer.

Kim said...

Ohhh San...I am not sure you should change this kitchen/painting studio set up! I think it is working for you right now! This is another fantastic one! I can sure see why it sold so quickly! Heck! Bennie probably will build you an extension and find some northern light for you, if this is what you can produce there in the kitchen in Santa Fe! If I had to guess you work well when people are around... and in your kitchen you have only the very best people!

Yummy! Guacamole...now that sounds like a dance on the old tongue! I might just have to make some myself, here, today! :) You are quite an inspiration to be sure. Now speaking of dancing, it sure looks like you have done just that with ALL of your art...and this painting is an outstanding example. I love it!

San said...

Much obliged, Bob.

xoxoxo

San said...

Ellie, I hadn't thought of it like that, but you are so right--a studio IS where the heart is.

I see you have a new exciting profile picture too. LOVE IT!

Hug.

San said...

Jo, that will be a sweet day, when you visit.

Hope you're having sun today in Wyoming. Cheers! (Lifting my cup of French roast.)

San said...

Rubye Jean, thanks! Flannery and Oakley, not the usual names. We wondered if our kids would get teased in school, but it didn't happen that much. Except for the day that Oakley came home, disturbed that someone had called him Oatmeal Methodist.

My heart went out to the little boy who was named Forrest (as in Gump). On the playground they would shout, "RUN, FORREST, RUN!"

San said...

Oh, Shrinky, you always put things so well--"winds of change flew on to your canvas..." I hear it howling.

Delicious? When I'm painting, it's almost like being pregnant again. Things taste really good!

San said...

Kim, you are more than kind. Thank you for the encouragement!

As to working when people are around--it does have to be "the best people," those who "take me as I is." I wouldn't be able to set up an easel in a public space and work. I would feel SO self-conscious. Those who can do that I admire tremendously.

HMBT said...

Of course it sold, your created it while you created life, in the form of food for those you love....what I ask could be a better place for a painting to take form! Wonderful work as always, you inspire me, thanks for that.

San said...

Heather, you know all about food and art and life. You inspire me!

CHEWY said...

San,
There is a lot more to that self-portrait than I can show on a "G" rated blog. (blush)

Celebration of Life said...

Morning San as I clink my cup of coffee to yours! I woke up this morning with about 6 inches of new snow but the sun is trying to shine! The best thing about snow this time of year is that it melts quickly and turns everything green! The trees in the yard are starting to bud (a little) and I can hear birds singing. I love spring. Much to my amazement, my daffodils were still in full bloom when I got home yesterday. May you have a joyous productive day!
Jo

San said...

Dar: YOWZA!

San said...

Back at ya, Jo! Joy & production!

6 inches of snow--yikes. We'll get some more before spring takes hold for good, but I hope not half a foot. To sun and daffodils...

A.Bananna said...

beautiful.

I love your studio! the walls are cute! I wish that I could do something like that for my girls..but we rent this house....we are only to paint the walls white. YUCK. :) I think I would rather have my childs room for a studio...more memories there..more insperation!

Have a great day!

San said...

Thank you, Anna. We lived for many years in rental properties. When we finally bought a home--in Pacifica, California--we had so much fun painting the kids' rooms. And in one of the bathrooms we painted the floor with their footprints. How I miss that little bathroom!

Kids' rooms do have the best energy. You are so right.

CrazyCath said...

My goodness San no wonder it sold in 48 hours! Not only are you talented but you multi task so well!

My dad is an artist and has his own blog called Tholeman here and blog called The Draughtsman here

There is NO WAY I could ever see him cook dinner at the same time as paint! Lord knows what we'd be eating! Or even what he would be painting with... lol

San said...

Thanks, Cath. Come to think of it, I wonder what "secret ingredients" my own family has eaten down through the years.

I look forward to seeing what your dad's up to...

Velvet Ginger (Rubye Jean) said...

San, I can't stop thinking about that purple wall with the yellow dots! My grandaughters would love that!

San said...

Rubye Jean, it makes me happy, even at my age!

Daryl E said...

Salivated is right .. color makes my mouth water .. I was sure I had added you to my blog roll but I didnt .. so I did. I hope you dont mind but I enjoy reading you and seeing your art .. and your comments are always a comfort and a giggle.. really.........

San said...

Daryl, I've been intending to add you to my list too. Thanks for the reminder.

SandyCarlson said...

I can see how Winds of Change would have sold so quickly. Your passion for color comes through your work!

San said...

Thank you, Sandy. Gotta put you on the list too.

Angel... said...

I have enjoyed reading your post.Nice painting San,

May I ask you one question where do you buy acrylic paints.. as I used to make canvas back home now here I don't know where to get colours and stuff.

Thanks alott

San said...

Hi Angel. I find the best selection at a store here in Santa Fe called Artisan. I enjoy shopping "in person" rather than online.

Swearing Mother said...

Now you've made me want guacamole AND that painting!!

San said...

Well, Swearing Mother, you've given me a marketing idea: With every painting comes a complimentary quart of guacamole.

;-)

Angel... said...

Thanks San,

I will try to find any location in Canada.

Thanks for your help darling

Angel

San said...

I'd forgotten you're in Canada, Angel. Why don't you click on "Five Foot Under" on my blogroll? That's a painter named Daphne who lives in Canada. She might have an idea for you.

aims said...

Wow!! Wow!! Wow!!

Girl - art doesn't spring from a well-appointed studio..it springs from the heart. And your work shows it!

I always say I could write better someplace else - and it's only me procrastinating...because the words are always in my head - wherever I go.

Your art is fabulous - fabulous - fabulous!

And if you have to move the fridge to do it - go for it!

San said...

OK, aims, I'll take your words to heart. And you know you're right--that fridge HAS to go!

jennifer h said...

I envisioned the guacamole just before you said it. I love how you played the description of cooking against the painting process.

It's beautiful, and I'm happy for you that it sold so quickly! (though I'm not surprised)

Daryl E said...

There's an award for you over at my place .. come and get it

Jeff B said...

It sounds like your dessert was selling the piece so quickly. Congrats.

San said...

Jennifer, thank you. A guacamole envisioner--my kind of woman!

;-)

San said...

Daryl, I came, I saw, I collected! Thank you.

I will post it proudly. And pass it on...

San said...

Jeff, you make me smile. Thanks, man.

jsd said...

I've never associated taste (literal taste) with painting, but this one has that sense of taste - it feels perfectly ordered but not constrictive - it's beautiful.

Sandi McBride said...

Okay San, it may be time for that home I know the boys have picked out for me (they do after all remind me it will be them doing the picking out of the home). I could have sworn I left a comment here yesterday...I think I got lost in the beauty of your artwork and just thought I had left a message...I certainly talked to you about them, but maybe in my raving, I was just in a rave...I wish I had that talent...but even my stick figures don't resemble sticks, so what's a girl to do? She just raves on...again, beautifully done...but then it's no surprise...
Sandi

david mcmahon said...

We see art (and the world) in a similar light, San.

And that in itself enables us to define our own art and our own lives.

Kinda neat when you think about it that way ....

Cestandrea said...

San, your painting is very sensual, it makes you want to touch the surface or lick it:)
I love the story that goes with it, it is perfect, like the painting. The surface you created looks like an aged sunlit wall, which could tell stories about it's surroundings,
Andrea

San said...

"Perfectly ordered but not constrictive." What a lovely observation, JS. Thank you!

San said...

Oh, Sandi, maybe we'll be sharing a room in that lovely home. The same thing has happened to me. I've felt sure I left comments and then they just vanished.

Thanks for the re-rave. I wouldn't be concerned with stick figures when you have such interesting stories.

San said...

Very neat, David. Thanks for expressing it that way.

Don't tell me: you write in a polka-dotted room with your old prom dress on the wall.

San said...

Andrea, now that's a comment I can sink my teeth into. YUM. Thank you.

Dilly said...

Hewo San!

San, wat book be Stinky Cheez Man? Dilly not like sownd ov book. Sownd smelly.

San! SAN! Dilly hatch egg!!!

¬"

San said...

Dilly, I believe you would LOVE The Stinky Cheese Man. It's a take-off on The Gingerbread Man. The illustrations are simply amazing.

Dare I go see what you've hatched?

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Wow - congrats on the sale and the work method. I've tried plastic sheeting underfoot, but find it too slippery - though we've got some builders damp course that might work over carpet, come to think of it.

I'm sitting in a white room with a white marble lino floor and now wonder if I should throw all the furniture out....!!

Great post.

A.Bananna said...

I love the foot print idea! I will do that if we ever buy a house! LOL.

San said...

Julie, the way the plastic makes noise under my feet bothers me a bit, until I get caught up in the process. When that happens, I forget the plastic's there.

Whatever works, right? If you decide to throw out your furniture, let me know. I get dibs.

San said...

Anna, we forgot to take a picture of that floor. Wish we had. I could blog it!

Akelamalu said...

Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

This post made me laugh because I too have been painting this week - no not on canvas - the dining room walls! I'm afraid that's the nearest I get to being an artist! I wish I could paint something someone would even consider buying! :)

indicaspecies said...

The artist who creates wonders under any circumstances. :)

San said...

Akelamalu, I have the reverse problem. You would not want to see the mess I would make of a dining room wall!

San said...

Welcome back from your travels, Celine. I am looking forward to more visual feasts from your recent journey.