Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Long Weekend Begins, Again

Today begins the longest weekend in history, for me at least. A year has passed and it's time once again for our church to host their big Greek festival. That means I will be spending my free time, that which it is, setting up the huge flea market. For that I am extending to all of you my apologies for possible spotty posts, posts of all the items both next to new, vintage, and junk, posts about the ensuing madness, posts devoid of art. Mea culpa.

Actually, the madness began yesterday. Every year we sell so much stuff parishioners donate and now there's more stuff. Where does it all come from? Where do people keep it all? What constitutes a valuable item or garbage? One's garbage is another one's treasure as they say.

Amid the junk we have found beautiful and valuable items. It's fun to see people light up with glee when they find a thing they love in all that heap. People have fought over the stuff, I'm not kidding.

We who work the flea market look at it like a task on Donald Trump's TV show The Apprenctice. We have a task and we see how well we execute it, solve problems, manage the workers. Last year we managed to bring in big numbers and we are planning to do the same or, hopefully, surpass last year.

It's a big job, but somebody has to do. Watch for updates from the junk heap right here.
(If I can I will post a photo of the gym-sized room of stuff later.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Photo for Friday

Chugging along on the latest watercolor painting and I see some darks creeping in in places. Well, something has to happen in between the figures. It can't all be light, airy and flowery. I may lighten up the space from mid paper and up. I thought I would make believe the people were dancing outside somewhere, but I might practice what I'm planning on another paper.

I added values and skin tones while trying to give the figures some grounding or they will float. What else can I say? It doesn't look like this is going to be a fun, free wheeling painting. Maybe trees and sky in the background will make it look more "fun"?

Whatever happens, happens. And that's that.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thought for Thursday

"Very few people possess true artistic ability. It is therefore both unseemly and unproductive to irritate the situation by making an effort. If you have a burning, restless urge to write or paint, simply eat something sweet and the feeling will pass." ~Fran Lebowitz, photographer

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Starting Something Different

The latest news flash is that I have been asked to do some illustrations for a book on Greek culture. The interested person happened to see some of my work online and liked the style of landscapes I did of scenes in Greece.

It's exciting, yes, but the thing is he thinks my color choices are dark and melancholy. This particular painting that he liked was on the washy side and I guess that's what he's interested in. I'm not so sure I am illustrator material. I think if there's a work someone likes maybe I can recreate that feeling but it might have to be on my terms. It's the idea that I paint something a certain way and that's it. Now my work has to have limits or direction, but it's not coming from me.

Well, anyway, I'm working on what he suggested and maybe he'll be interested, or not. He wants figures dancing and having fun. That's fine, but since I have been painting from life lately I'm not used to using photographs. Dancing people are not easy to paint from either, photo or no photo. I'm taking liberties with the poses and just going at it.

I sketched out this photo I found in my pile, of a party I attended with our Greek dance group a while ago. My son is on the right playing his bagpipe and people are dancing having a good time. Using the twenty minutes time slot I lightly painted in some color values. What this is going to look like painted up may not be to this person's liking, but it's a painting and I'm doing my best, regardless of the outcome.

I don't know about melancholy, though. Looks happy enough with energy and movement. Let's see what happens when it's finished.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Doing What I Can Do

Pen&Ink sketch (c)2011 DST

While I was waiting 20 minutes for a reaction, or none, after my shots at the allergist, I pulled out my little sketchpad and rapidograph and started sketching another patient across from where I sat. It was going really well until she got up and left. That left me with myself to sketch.

I have a confession to make: I haven't painted at all this week. Can you tell? I know, fifty lashes with the wet noodle. Thinking too many things, bugged at some things, things I really can't do anything about other than ruminate on the things. Things I do, don't do, did, want to do, can't do, not sure how to do, etcetera. So, I didn't paint.

This week I must put aside all that resistance stuff and paint. I have a project I've been asked to do now and the thinking and planning has to happen. Negativity in all it's forms, Mr. Resistance, the stalker (Hi!! I see you!), the weather, all must stop at the front door. I am going to be too busy to bother with all that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thought for Thursday

“A word to the wise ain't necessary, it's the stupid ones who need the advice.” ~Bill Cosby Actor, Comedian

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Art Speak and All

Rainy Day #3 is well underway, yet again. No time to paint today either. I am shooting for some sort of Artist Date tomorrow and I hope it's not as soggy as today.

I have been cleaning up my bio and artist statement, so all is not for naught. I had an interesting offer the other day and, you know what I say, the operative word is Yes. So Yes, yet again. Now I need to submit my bio and artist statement, and a link to some samples of my work.

I already had an artist statement and a bio, but I think it needed to be clearer. I am very good at artist speak and that could make someone walk away and say "What did she just say?" yes, I am good at that kind of art language.

Once, a while ago, someone asked me why I hadn't stretched my huge oil painting on stretcher bars after it was finished. I painted the 5x8 foot work on my basement floor and needed to get it out of the house, so no stretcher bars. Well, in answer to his question I started by saying, "Esthetically..." and this guy flipped out. "Oh don't start with the art speak on me now" he said. So yeah, I can do that well.

I better get back to it and finish up. I could add some whacky thing and mess it up with that art language. It has to be clear, English words anyone can understand. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


My apologies for the non-post friends. Rainy day #2 is well under way and Rainy Day #3 is expected to be more of the same. It's depressing. Thank goodness the weather is sort of warm rather than cold. That would really be terrible.

Rather than painting I've been knitting, but I forgot to take a photo of the finished product. I knew it would be a bad idea to put away the painting supplies when I was having a dinner. Out of sight, out of mind. You know how that goes.

Finishing the knitting project was an accomplishment though. My granddaughter now has a new hooded sweater to enjoy. I hope she can wear it for a while before she gets too big. A finished item is like a miracle around here. Done and out. Next!

As spring is in full swing with the rain, stalking is also happening in earnest. But guess what? Peek-boo-I-see-you too! Its easy to feel anonymous and stalk to one's heart's content.

I know who is who, friend or foe. (Most here are friends.) Just as people can stalk, it is just as easy to see the stalker. Don't they get that? Come on. Maybe now they will get the idea. But, then again, maybe not.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Busted Blogger Today

It seems Blogger was having technical difficulties since yesterday. Well that wasn't fun. I can't tell you what kind of week I have had and now this! You know Murphy's Law? Everything that could go wrong went wrong this week. Between my dishwasher, refrigerator, cell phone, garage door opener all making me lose my mind, then even Blogger was down. Oh great.

So it's late afternoon and I have nothing for you. Nothing! I'm exhausted and I need a vacation or at least, a few hours off somewhere that I can see the ocean. Will it happen? Probably not.

See you next week when hopefully, things will be working. Even me.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What is Your Pencil?

Self Portrait in pen and ink (c)2011 Dora Sislian Themelis

With the excitement of the spring holidays dying down I was finally able to get back to reading some of the latest resistance beating books for artists. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp is an easy read, if only I could sit and read it.

Still in the second chapter and I think I understand the ideas she's trying to convey. Trying to make art-making a habit by finding the right switch to flip is a valid point. Some artists' brains click on with certain actions or stimuli. Blasting rock music, lighting a candle, cleaning the studio might do the trick for some. I have yet to figure out what mine is.

Tharp suggests avoiding certain things as part of the creative ritual. Things like not multitasking, watching movies, adding up numbers (Right brain/left brain?), and playing background music. I guess these can be distractions to creativity. There are things that could keep me from painting for sure. I am easily distracted by a great number of things.

Living without some kind of distraction though is too monastic. I like a good distraction now and then. But keeping a comfortable environment helps. Clean, with loved items, surrounded by comfortable colors helps to keep my brain in my head.

Being prepared is the big one for me, and it seems, for most artists. That's where the question came in: Where is your pencil? Better yet: What is your pencil?

What is your tool to keep creating? Figure that out and don't be caught without it! Tharp relays a story of someone who, as a kid, wanted a famous person's signature, but when asked for his pencil, didn't have one. No tickey, no shirtey! After that this guy was never without a pencil. You just never know when you will need one.

"Pick your pencil and never leave home without it" says Tharp. Be prepared! Make something be a part of the ritual to create, whether it is a pencil and pad in my purse, or a camera in your pocket.

Ideas fly by my brain so much of the time. If and when I get a good one, and I'm not prepared- it's bye bye. While I was waiting in the doctor's office I whipped out my rapidograph and sketchpad to doodle my shoe.

I knew where my pencil was.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


"Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out." ~Anton Chekov

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rain, Clouds and Thinking Things

Apple is Butting In (c)2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
8x12 Watercolor on Arches paper

Lone Shell (c)2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
8x12 Watercolor on Arches paper
It's been busy around here after the holiday and trying to get myself back on track. I finished the watercolor with the apple and moved on yesterday to the next work. The broken shell was looking at me so I did it the favor of a portrait.

Moving along at least.

Today is overcast and it's been raining. Rotten weather like this is depressing after having warm, sunny days. The day itself isn't so great. I'm thinking things today. You ever have one of those days that you are constantly thinking things? All kinds of things? Today is one of those.

I don't have any time for painting today either. Maybe not even tomorrow. Maybe not even Friday or all weekend. I am looking forward to Monday.

Monday, May 2, 2011

He Was Found and is No More

Here in New York, as I believe in most of our country, we can breathe a deep sigh of relief and feel a small sense of justice that The perpetrator of the events of September 11, 2001 has met his fate at the hands of US Navy Seals and Special Ops last night.

"We will not tire. We will not falter. We will not fail" were the words of former President George W. Bush ten years ago when he vowed that Osama bin Laden would be found. And so he has.

It is somewhat difficult remembering those days, but remember we must. Last night there was celebration in NYC, but this time it was because a murderer was found. Unlike after September 11 when cheering hordes broke out in certain communities to celebrate the attacks of the World Trade Center and 3000 deaths in NYC.

I'm sure this is only the beginning and only this chapter has come to an end.

New Work

New Greek island harbor watercolor painting All the trouble started when I decided to switch blogging platforms from Blogger to Wordpre...