Saturday, June 26, 2004

LAS LONELY GIRLS "called by anyother name is just as sweet.."(poor Shakespear alas .....)

I have after careful thought, and after standing in the middle of my kitchen, where I paint, and staring at all the paintings I have, in all the different series and progressions of women, decided that when a painting is what I consider “museum quality”, I am going to add it to the collection I have decide to call "Las Lonely Girls".

OhhhhKayyyyyyyyyyyyeeee. I am totally enthralled with two bands these days. The first is GidgetsGaGa. My friend Mickey Flores is the” force” behind its driving pop tunes. He reaches to the heart of his surroundings and every song he writes is from what he observes in a colorful obsession of commentary through the eyes of an Artist who uses his guitars as his brushes and paints, and popular watering holes of Midwestern cities as his canvas. Instead of having his works burned into your eyes like some Caravaggio of painting, his work burns into your very soul through your ears. If faith comes by hearing.. Hey, baby, Im a believer!!!!! (GidgetsGaGa’s new CD is coming out soon and I cant wait to hear it!!)

The second band is Los Lonely Boys. Three Latino country singers from “Texaz”, take Nashville by storm, but have to find another town to break into the big time. I’m like a sucker for a pop guitarist who plays with Apache tendencies and has… long hair! But I didn’t know what these guys looked like or where they were from when I heard “Heaven” for the first time…. I think I was painting and had it on in the background. Then I saw the video.. Ayeeeeeeeee! It’s a work of Art! “Heaven” is a work of art!

So with Mickey Flores’ Belmont and Lullaby going through my head, and Los Lonely Boys’ Heaven close on their heals.. Its amazing I can write my own music. Although I did manage this past week. So with great flourish.. and an imaginary drum roll…tadatadatadatada…etc etc In honor of two break out bands that impress me… I here by dub my “fat ladies collection”: “LAS LONELY GIRLS”

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004


Detail of the wild rabbits watching Nikki in Day in the Life of Nikki Series. Posted by Hello

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This Painting is from a series I was thinking of doing back in 1998. Its was to be called: A Day in Life of Nikki. I have ideas for the rest of the 20 painting series from activities I observed Nikki doing when we lived in the country and he could come and go as he wished.

I got discouraged when I finished this painting and never finished the series. Not because the painting didn�t do what I wanted it to but because I didn�t have enough money for materials to do it. The little materials I had on hand had to be set aside incase I was commissioned to paint a horse portrait. At that time I was just grabbing at any commission I could get so I often did receive an advance.

Now I always get at least a third of the commission in advance for materials. Its non refundable. This was suggested by a businessman acquaintance of mine I met from my time in Texas in 2001. He told me that by taking a non-refundable advance you prevent people from costing you money who aren�t serious about the work you do.

It so sad that Artist as a rule are not educated in good business practices. If I could change one thing about my art training is that when I requested to take business classes I was discouraged from it because it was not considered an integral part of a Liberal Arts degree. Still a special class designed especially for artists would prevent a lot of the frustration that artists have over funding.

It could include such information as writing grants, managing inventory, tax law over views, copyrights, minimal record keeping, negotiating contracts with galleries, agents and patrons. Things that are uniquely important to Artists and help them protect all the time and effort they have invested in their work. I hope that since 1978 things have changed and educators with vision have found a way to empower young artists coming up. Posted by Hello

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First Thought: detail

First Thought: detail of face Posted by Hello

I actually painted this painting last night. It took me about 3 ½ hours. During the course of the painting I received a call from one of my friends. It was sort of neat because I just kept right on painting during the entire conversation. When we disconnected I looked down and realized that I had painted the entire blue robe while we were talking on the phone.

I am really liking the direction this painting is taking me. Its sort of like Renior meets VanGough. Sometimes when you work really hard on something you feel really hungry and tired. When I finished this painting I wanted hot tea and cinnamon toast.

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"FIRST THOUGHT" (a new painting)

This painting is called First Thought.
Like that first thought you have when you wake up in the morning.

I was stuck by two things that made me smile. The pose is very close to a mid-evil icon painting. Just a flick of the wrist and that hand next to her face could be blessing the viewer. The other thing was.. I just sort of wanted her to be holding a little tiny Star Trek like cell phone. If you look twice you see she isn’t but the first time if you aren’t on your toes you might actually think you see it. Ahh, the joys of impressionism, and the interpretation of the viewer.

While I am still using my traditional earth tones I have expanded the pallet to employ more cobalt blue and cobalt violet. And instead of depending more on the burnt sienna as my base tone for skin I have moved more to a light warm pallet for the skin of cadmiums in the form of red light and yellow light. I’m not brave enough to use the greens in the skin tone yet but this too shall change with time.

My next challenge in this process is to try to develop consistency in color form technique and image. This is the most difficult and can at times become the most boring part of the process. It is like doing your multiplication tables over and over and over again.

Remember the goal here is to gain control, to discipline yourself as an artist in the techniques you discover so that when the real work begins what you accomplish in interpretation is done effortlessly. Posted by Hello

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Breakneck Speed! The ART OF CREATIVE MANIA

Breakneck Speed! The Arts and Creative Mania.

Sometimes in Art the progress an artist makes comes fast and furious. Eating and sleeping become inconsequential. You rush headlong into creativity and time, days pass and you don’t know it.. you just don’t want to loose the momentum. Good Creative days coming one right after the other and you want to milk it for all its worth with out any interruptions from romantic admirers, friends that want to tell you all their problems that are the same problems they cant seem to solve over and over again, responsibilities of family, home repairs, shopping, doctors appointments, sleep.

Its more charged than speed or any other high.. you just zoom to your doom from exhaustion hoping that Providence will allow you the opportunity to finish. And those brief breaks that you take, you plead with God to increase your time so you can finish the task, bless your endeavor and help you accomplish it because you know you aren’t humanly capable of keeping up the pace. But you just don’t want it to end.

Among all this stark reality of the Creative Mania, you realize that not one member of your family or friends understands what you are doing, what you are going through, understands the passionate drive, that keeps you going on two hours of sleep and going with out food to paint and paint and paint… except God who has blessed you with, for the first time in months, something that is working, finally, the way you want it to.

Those thoughts and pictures in your head.. they are traveling thorough your hand finally to the paint and canvas and images are leaping out at you telling the story you want them to tell, the colors and brushes are giving you the effects you want them to show. This is the Blessing.. to have it all come together for as much time as you can keep it coming. Until it runs out.. and then you struggle again until the breakthroughs start again and you suddenly find there is technical control.. it happens with each new level you achieve in painting, in writing, in music. It is the Creative Process that drives you to passion, often drives your family crazy and marks you as a “selfish bugger” or… well it rhymes with itch. It drives away possible mates at breakneck speed because they know that they cant complete with what they suppose is your secret lover.

God understands it.. he put it in you. Sometimes a family member who shares it also understands. And once in a life time you meet a person of mate potential who not only understands it, but has it as well.. and when you pass as two ships in the night …you at least always have something to talk about, to share, to empathize with each other about, to encourage.

You pray in your small human life that God will bring you such a mate. That any children you have will also be inherently filled with it. That your patrons become so interested in what you are doing, they too will at least seek to learn about this Creative Process, so that even if they cant understand it, they can at least accept it as normal. That you aren’t really borderline insane .. you are in fact just really really focused.

Check out more of Linda Martin’s work at www.llmartin.comKeep up with the latest news about Linda’s work at

RED SHIRT#4(detail)

Detail of Red Shirt #4 Posted by Hello

Progression Six:Red Shirt Painting 4

Progression Six : Red Shirt Painting 4

In the natural progression of the Artistic process we find the last of the 4 Red Shirt paintings series.

This painting is more impressionistic and less stylized. At first view the subject seems to be questioning, perhaps even accusing the viewer. But upon closer look at the detail the eyes are almost "Stepford Wives" like, surreal, but pleading for some unknown, yet desired mercy from the viewer? from Providence?
This painting very simplistically depicts the eternal inner struggle of carnal beings. The person is struggling with inner demons or outer temptations. The weight of the struggle has the subject writhing on the ground. In the stark reality of the struggle there is outter darkness as all the things of the earth are blotted out in a self imposed emotional prison. (*teasing look* Hows that for phsyco babble?? hahaha) The simplicity of the painting allows the viewer to answer these questions for themselves. This is one step closer to the realism and the impressionistic qualities that I am trying to achieve as an artist.
 Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 19, 2004

March and June paintings Side by Side

Comparison: March and June Paintings side by side.

I just thought you might like to see the progression of the paintings since march. Both of these are from the Blue Shirt Series Photographs. Its interesting how different they are yet very similar.
 Posted by Hello



Now I have moved from Mexican Murals to Thomas Hart Benton in style. The brush strokes are bolder and there is still some blending. But I am beginning to See my self in the Blue Shirt series paintings. I love the hand treatment in this. Big bold swatches of color to show high lights.

You will notice also that I have changed my color scheme in this one. I am experimenting in cobalt blue and cobalt violet for shadows. I am still laying out the figure in burnt sienna and allowing hints of it to show through the over painting applications. I t appeals to my background as a watercolor painter to be what some would declare as sloppy. In fact the Spiritual Nature of my work shows through when I don�t try to control every aspect of my work. There are sometime things that just appear by not over working paint and brush.

You will notice to that there is less detail in this blue shirt painting done in June than in the painting I completed in May of the Red shirt painting. The effect is interesting in that most of the detail is in the face and hand. The face is at once soft but also rough. I really love the hand in this painting. And the face is starting to really look like me.

To hold to my impressionist leanings Nikki isn�t in as much detail but the stiff attitude is So him! He hates to be held and tells me that its because no cat with any dignity would ever allow it. What you cant see is that the hidden front foot is pressed against my chest and every muscle in his body is tense. He doesn�t mind sitting next to me as an equal he just hates being held. Posted by Hello



I really like the way this painting I did in May 2004 turned out.
It is representational of the stages I go through when exploring
Subject matter I�m not particularly good at. When I stood back and looked at it It reminded me of the paintings you might see in Murals in Mexico. I even painted it around Cinco D� Mayo!

This painting took me a long time to paint though. It was done in about 5 sittings..

While this painting is surely representational, the bold brushstrokes are missing and have been replaced by smooth blending of very wet cream consistency oil paint. I still have some problems with anatomy, especially in the hands but the feet in this one anyway worked. The face is very stylized. In fact I could just stop here and not progress any further in developing my skills.
But the goal is to make it real!

I love the way the shirt and the hair worked in this. I laid down the entire figure in burnt sienna, and when I painted on the hair using a stiff bristled brush loaded with a dark mix of burnt sienna and pathalo blue. Some of the rusty color showed through like real life highlights. You cannot tell in this photo but quite often I allow that rusty red to show in spots to highlight areas, especially if there is dark on dark in an area of the painting.

I had to laugh when I looked at this photograph. You can see my feet at the bottem.

I am actually painting on a card table here. I bought this table at an indoor flea market in 1994 and used it when I rented a space to teach art. It worked great teaching art at that place because It was far enough in the country for adult oil painting classes and it was a placee to show my work and teach children while their parents walked around and looked at all the really neat antiques and crafts. There was even a book seller who sold used books. We ended up doing quite a few trades as she was always looking for art books and resource materials for me. Posted by Hello


I consider this my first actual break-through painting in this process.
This is from a series of blue shirt images I took with my cat Nikki.
For those of you who don’t know him. Nikki has been one of my service animals for the last 11 years. I speak on this later of course because I know that many are curious about cats as service animals.

Although the painting is sloppy in places there are some distinct family attributes in the face and body attitude although it doesn’t quite look like me yet. It is also very close to what I am trying to achieve.

I had to laugh when I first looked at this as poor Nikki’s facial features are quite crooked. It reminds me of about 20 years ago when I first started to paint red foxes. I was horrified when I discovered the one that I sold first has eyes of two different sizes and levels on the poor foxes face. Thankfully I have done so many paintings that Nikki is a willing subject for my experimenting with him.

I also was strangely reminded of my cousin Betty Collier when I first stood back and looked at this painting. It was something about the way she would hang on and never give up fighting to live. That attitude is in there in the eyes and the way the bangs fall, the way the mouth puckers in defiance against unseen threats. Betty was never that fat, nor did she ever have hair as long as mine. I don’t think my aunt would have ever allowd her to have anything but a dog.. but that was a long time ago. Betty always impressed me. So even though this painting isn’t really of her.. I dedicate it to her memory.
 Posted by Hello



These two details show paintings finished last February.
Notice that the detail is even less prominent and there is more color and plays of contrast showing form based on light source and the various degrees of preventing that light from shining on the model.

This is still the generic representation. However, all the paintings done at this time are beginning to resemble each other more. Because of the way the brush strokes blended the color there is a fuzzy edge if you view the close ups like this. But if you stand about 8 to 10 feet back from the monitor you can see about what they would look like if you viewed them in person..

Keep in mind that because of the economics of my life I am not working large at this time but most of these studies are being done on gessoed watercolor paper about 9� by 11-1/2 inches Posted by Hello


The First Progression: STUDIES OF HUMAN FACES.

I have always thought that human faces are my weakest point.
These study details from work I did last fall show the style I am aiming for with
my impressionistic work. There are lots of brush strokes with strong plays of light and dark. I love the idea of lots of drama and suggestion even in the simplest and most intimate action rather than photographic like representations.
I have always been a Conceptual person. Meaning I understand and create in concepts
Rather than try to deal in hard-core details. This grabs the essence of the subject matter or the event and leaves a personal interpretation to the person who views the work.

On the other hand God made me both a Dyslexic and Nearsighted.
I couldn’t see a detail even if I did recognize it.

On the other hand: Discipline of being an artist forces me to, even in my imperfect way practice my craft until I do see the details. To practice and practice until it becomes second nature so that a mere thought provokes a stroke.

The unsatisfactory thing about these two paintings and others I did at the time is that, while you can see the concept of females. You cannot tell if they are old, young or middle age, you cannot see them as actual people because they are generic representations more so than having a graspable characteristic of a specific person.

So now I take myself back to school to paint faces, and learn how to represent individuals as oppose to the concept of a generic individual Posted by Hello

Friday, June 18, 2004

Nude Debate Part 5: The New Direction

So now I have purpose to what I attempt.
The will of God you seek with all your heart. Sometimes the voice you hear is your own, your parents, your friends, your pastor, your mentor, your teacher…your patron… but until you seek to know the voice of God and recognize it for yourself you cannot begin to understand where are you have been much less the direction you are going. You cheat yourself in not seeking it diligently because when you listen to other voices and not his, sometimes they impose their own fears, prejudices and attitudes on you. Yes, draw from the wisdom of others who have gone through what you have just begun, draw from wiser people than you, but don’t let their wisdom and experiences stop you from hearing how God has chosen your path and your purpose.

I know now that I must do what ever is necessary to accomplish the will of God in my life. No matter how my Christian Brothers and Sisters may protest, punish or criticize me. And for those who look at my work and assume something not intended or some other debauchery of the Saintly Life style… Well it is my opportunity and responsibility to set them straight.

If they refuse to listen and try instead to create chaos in my life through disharmony and strife.. then I will "wipe the dust off my feet" and move to a place where the Vision God has given me is celebrated. Even if this means sacrificing my own security and comfort.

And why? Because the Will of God in my life is more important than what people think of me for trying to do it. It is what I like to call the Rahab(aka Rachab) Factor. God Can and Will use anyone who puts their trust him no matter who they are or what they have done.

Her story is in the book of Joshua in the Bible. Rahab was Boaz’s mother. Boaz married Ruth; Their son was Jesse the Father of the Great King of Israel, David.. the ancestor of Joseph and Mary; the earthly father and mother of Christ our Lord. Way kewl huh.!!! Oh did I mention that Rahab’s first career was prostitute?

I guess everyone is curious as to what direction my art is taking. That too shall be revealed soon. But I must work on my skills first. Do my figures and learn the technical skills I need to accomplish it first.

Nude Debate Part 4:My Responsibility as an Artist and A Christian

On and off for the last nine years I have been doing my best to dissipate stereotypes and educate on an individual level. I have been an activist for the acceptance of individuals as they are; each with their own beauty to be embraced, their own culture to be protected and savored, their own history to be learned from. I do not pardon behavior that is self-imposed to continue victimization or self-destructive. Part of that was to learn about the beauty of my self when I thought in the eyes of people I had none.

I began by self photography. Then as I watched the light and how it changed the way things appeared seeming to embrace form as oppose to clashing with it .. I began sketches of the play of light against skin and fabric. An artist friend excited about this exploratory sent me photographs of himself for me to practice on. They were benign and dramatic black and white images that lent themselves to graphite studies.

Late last summer I began small oil studies of human figures, drawn to it with an obsession that was one of wonder and exploration rather than some misguided carnality.

My goal has been in the last year is to paint museum quality oil paintings in a free style that can be done quickly and consistently. This I have been able to do with landscapes. But with the human form its not so easy for me.. Especially the face. I get bogged down with cartoon like detail that makes for a stylized face that doesn’t look like the person it is intended to look like. So the past few months I have been working on this.. the structure of the female face.

A few months ago I realized why I was moving in this direction. In my life everything has been done, experienced and the roads I have traveled, while not always main stream, have all had a purpose of a Spiritual Nature for a specific job that God seems to be leading me in. My music is the same, my poetry, my other writing, my teaching.. all in the same direction. Honor God, and prepare, for the big one! The big job… that one thing you were placed here on earth to do.

To Be Continued

Nude Debate Part 3:“The Artistic Process.”

Artists must work at what they do. They must learn the technical aspects and must go back and practice those things like a figure skater learning their figures and devoting time to and then they will have the freedom that comes from mastering the technical aspects of their work Every great master had to master figures, that included nudes. Once they were mastered then the creativity could begin to flow. Yes, as a Believer I have a responsibility not to lead those who are younger and weaker in faith into sin. Choosing how I represent myself and what work I expose to the general public is what must past the test.

I have heard this often among my Christian Sisters and even my own family: “Why do you need to do nudes??”

My Answer:Because an artist needs to know how the bones connect to the muscles, how the muscle connects to the skin, how the muscles contract and extend and the differences in the way they look when they do. An artist needs to know the difference between fatigue and well rested and how it makes the skin tone look and the muscles appear under the skin. An artist needs to know the difference between the way old skin, middle aged skin and young skin acts and how it plays off the muscles and in different types of light. An artist needs to know how the joints come together and meet, how the muscles and skin react with the join. And all this in how they react or appear to react under different types of cloth or leather. And I could go on and on. But an artist needs to know more than all of that. An artist needs to know how to represent it and what colors work for the desired representation.

An artist cannot begin to represent a human in his or her art unless the technical aspect of doing the sketches and studies has been accomplished. An artist must know his subject. Even the impressionists and cubists studied basic artistic skills before they ventured out into their own experiments with paint light and form. Picasso one of the greatest Artists of the 21st century, a living legend for most of my younger years.. went through the process of doing his figures. He understood the importance of the foundation.. once you have the foundation.. then go for the freedom of creativity and make your statement to the world.

To Be Continued

Part 2 Nude Debate: The Respectability Factor

Artists as a rule are just as moral or immoral as the rest of the world.. we just document what we do so you know about it. At least we aren’t pretending to be good righteous people when we aren’t.(nudge, nudge, hint, hint)

Artists are no more or no less human or prone to human foibles than another. But people are afraid of us because we sometimes reflect back to society and civilization that hidden reality that no one wants to deal with. We strip away or hide the cover-ups and improprieties at our creative whims. We think for ourselves and express for ourselves with minds that God gave us to either use for his purposes or to use for ourselves at our choice. Artists are uncontrollable and yet very disciplined.

The trouble is people forget even the studies and the sketches of the old masters were not meant to be seen by the general public. Now the private sketches of Degas, Da Vinci, Michelangelo and numerous others are published with their papers for students, scholars and every day people to look through and study to see what process they used to get to the point of making their masterworks.

These were just a part of the process of the artist in making the art. I agree there were some artists that actually used the subject of the intimate activities of the human body as the final product. But the final product of the artist usually reflects the artist’s life style and the daily activities of the artist and what that artist is influenced by. The final product of the artist is the responsibility of the artist and everything that the artist does to prepare for that final product is just the necessary technical aspect of that art.

I fail to see how that is offensive. Or is it offensive because it is public?? Its more outrageous that it was made public with out the artists knowledge or permission and that someone is making money off of it while the artist himself (or herself) sacrificed, lived in poverty and sometimes didn’t have enough food to feed his children. Its even more outrageous that we except that as the artist’s lot in life while we exploit him or her. There is more than one way to pillage a city, I suppose. If you cant steal their money and resources, then bind up the keepers of their culture. That’s what we are: Keepers of the culture.

Is it any less respectable for an artist to paint humans and document their daily life as it is for a dress designer to create clothing after studying the human body and how it moves, or a doctor to study medicine and examine his patients, or a nurse who probably has more hands on touching of human bodies than anyone else. And what about the guy who designs car seats.. is he less respectable because one of the things he has to think about is how the seat and the shocks of the road will affect the bladder of a pregnant woman?? Or an aging gentle man with brittle bones. UNSPEAKABLE! What makes these careers more respectable?? Because they sometimes save lives and/or make us more comfortable? And is not what the artist does just as respectable? Artists just look and study; they rarely touch their subjects in a physical sense.

Perhaps it is because some artists have the reputation for allowing their free spiritedness to roll over into a very liberal morality. Yes of course there are some. Yet, I have met other of artists that are of very high moral charactor, good family men or women, who attend church, support missions, teach sunday school, ect. One of those women was a Minister's wife who when widowed kept her children fed by teaching art classes and running an art supply store. Sounds pretty respectable to me. To Be Continued

The Debate: To Paint or Not to Paint the Nude.

There is an on-going debate among Christians and Christian Fine Artists. Any person, and any young person, who decides to take up a career in Art really needs to come to terms with this issue. It is the issue of painting nudes and whether or not it does or does not infringe upon the “purity of heart” clause in our covenant when we receive Christ?

I found what I thought was “great” way to deal with it many years ago. I just learned to paint animals and landscapes and buildings and any person who wasn’t directly involved with the animal such as a rider really didn’t get any attention from me. I thought that I had solved the problem because I was doing benign art that couldn’t possibly spark the ire of my Christian Bothers and Sisters.

Funny isn’t it.. Doctors, Nurses, Dressmakers, Tailors, and some Scientists all have to at some point be familiar with human functions and anatomy in order to carry out the duties of their professions with some knowledge and care for the well being of the object of their work. Would you want to be treated by a nurse or doctor who didn’t know where things were and what they looked like? What about clothiers?? Would you wear the clothing of a person who only knew about quadrupeds?? How could someone who knew only how dogs and cats are made and where things are, make clothing that would properly fit a human?

The very nature of an artist should provoke more understanding among the brothers and sisters. We are at once, interpreters of daily life, historians, documentariens, scientists, we make social statements and commentary on things we know about, we bring beauty and provoke thought, we carry on thoughts and wishes of our patrons and capture feelings of certain moments in time, we are physiologists, we are sociologists. We do not always touch our subjects, but our subjects always in subtle ways touch us.

To tell an artist that he or she should not practice figures and study figures before beginning to paint humans is like telling an architect that he must design a house with no knowledge of foundation, materials, wiring and plumbing. It could lead to costly mistakes besides the fact that things would just look funny. But worse it would be like telling a child:”write your story right now, you don’t need to know how to make the letters…” It would be all scribbles and meaningless and incredibly frustrating to the person who knows what they are seeing in their mind and know it is screaming to be let out on paper. To Be continued

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

New Oil Painting

This one is called "Hayfield in Spring". Im selling these little oils to help make my new CD of original folk music Posted by Hello

New Oil Painting

"After The Storm" One of my newest Oil paintings Posted by Hello