Friday, October 29, 2010

Dark Horse


My painting for today is Stargazer. It is an 8x8 gallery wrap canvas.
Available at Lancaster Art.

Have a safe a happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Fear Factor

Today I want to share a few thoughts on fear. There is rational fear designed to keep us safe and alive. Then there is irrational fear based on no reason whatsoever. This will be the focus today.

Rational fear:  Trapped in a Cave
Irrational fear: blank canvas

                       It is crazy, but I have certainly felt this way.
Or worse get half way through a really great painting and then get frozen with fear that I would screw it up.
                       When I was a young artist I used to watch a German painter on PBS. I never liked his style of painting/teaching, but I loved his philosophy on life and art. The one thing he said that has stayed with me all these years is:
(and you have to imagine the German accent)

"I used to go to the canvas and shake but NOW THE CANVAS SHAKES!"

I still periodically feel the fear but to get through it I consider myself going into battle. I put my warrior princess hat on, take a breath and get the canvas to shake.

Sometimes the canvas will bend to my will easily. Sometimes it is a fight.
Even if the battle is furious and I lose, the worst that happens is a slightly bruised ego and a canvas goes into the trusty wood stove where all my artistic sins are cleansed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Getting my Head Back into Painting

Messenger sold
It's been a busy week here Jo Anne returned from the hospital after her heart attack. She is doing very well.
I talked Dad into going to the nursing home for respite care and physical therapy. He will go next week.
Ive spent alot of time talking to doctors, nurses and other health care people.
Then there are the renters and all the stuff with the rental properties, Dad and Jo Anne's business that we run (are stuck with) now.

Then I try to sit down to paint in between. I think I will never be able to get my head wrapped around it. I flip through my numerous sketchbooks filled with ready made ideas and escape.
Sisters of the Horse

I think with all the distractions I've had the paintings will suffer, but I've found some of my best work comes out of times of great stress and many distractions.
After all these years it's autopilot. Sit at the easel.....and it just comes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Of Hay Bales and Heart Attacks

Sometimes the drama.......
            We start out the weekend with a passel of kids for some good outdoor fun with horses and farm chores. The hay was cut and getting ready to be baled.
       By Saturday night we had 6 kids, three elderly folks,three women and a stack of large pizzas. I was passing out milk and animal crackers to the children. My step mother Jo Anne walks through the kitchen talks to me, takes ten steps into the living room and collapses on the floor. She had enough strength to call out to me to call an ambulance. I grab one of the house phones. One of the kids had pushed a button and no dial tone. I holler for someone to find a cell phone. 911 was called, my stepbrother was fetched from his place on the farm. I sent the kids out on the patio and by the time the first responders were starting to roll in the kids were on the cellar making ambulance sounds. I herd kids and dogs into the studio while the other adults dealt with the ambulance and stuff. It was a heart attack and a bad one. She was life flighted to the city had a stint put in a couple of hours later. Stable...thank God.
      The hay started getting baled on Sunday afternoon. All the kids were gone but one. Paula and I and 10 year old Terra get 50 bales up that night. I lift bales but know better. I sleep with a heating pad around my wrist. That bad break from that bad landing. Terra goes home.
    Monday rolls around no help in sight. Paula brings her 90 year old mom. We feed her and Dad before heading out to the field. I take only one glove to keep me from using my left hand. Paula loads I drive the truck and trailer. I pull the bales off with one hand while Paula stacks them in the barn.
    Lunch for the parents and us. They are doing fine. Mike shows up to finish baling. We get another trailer full and put in the barn. We get slower. It's 4 and we fill the trailer again. Help shows up. We count bales left on the ground and decide to sell 50 bales. A few phone calls later we have folks pulling up to pick it up. My niece brings dinner for us all. We are done, tired and relieved. We have 200 bales up for winter. It starts raining after midnight.
       Jo Anne is being released from the hospital today.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thoughts on Being Trapped in a Cave

My sister Dale and I waiting for rescue.

As I watched the miners being rescued  my mind turned back to that Monday in May. I've been thinking about it allot through out this whole ordeal with the Chilean miners.
What really struck me is the sunglasses they were wearing and how I wished I had sunglasses that day.

It's been what 12 or 14 years now, a beautiful May morning and a girls day out adventure. It was me, my sister Dale and Jo Anne. Jo Anne was in her 60s and her son owned the land this huge cave was on.
I had been in the cave several times and my sis and I had explored this very deep section once. We had planned to go back in and look for a passage to another even deeper section I had heard about. Jo Anne wanted to go and check it out.
All went well as we descended climbing, and crawling a half mile or so down. We enter a small room with a flow stone on one side and a small hole that is the entrance to a corkscrew like tunnel going up. I go in first as I am the most experienced spelunker. I twist my body while climbing up the rocks stuck in the clay and gravel that make up the tunnel. Twenty feet or so it opens up to a room the size of a football field strewn with rocks the size of cars and buses. The other gals crawl through with no problems. 
We all have a great time looking at formations and exploring the huge room and several others that connected to it. We were still looking for the other passage when suddenly I said "Lets go". Dale was surprised and did not like the way I said it. We still had another half hour or so before we had planned to leave. She swears that is the moment the tunnel collapsed. I don't know I just got nervous all the sudden and  felt it was time to go.

I crawled down the tunnel to find rocks had fallen and the exit was only big enough to get my hand through. I hollered at the others not to come down and waited.
Soon our spotters showed up and realized we had a BIG problem.

In Arkansas there is a group that is trained for cave rescues. I didn't know about them until that day. Our rescuers were called and we busied ourselves getting supplies in through the small hole thinking we may not have it very long. Sleeping bags were twisted up into a long small rope to fit through the hole. We carried up water, a thermos of coffee and some food. The cave rescue team sent up a walkie talkie. We settled down in our make shift camp, drank coffee, ate lunch and waited.

 We talked about what could happen if the whole tunnel goes (hoping we weren't in it at the time) and the only way out would be to drill through the mountain. Weeks or longer? There was no way of knowing how deep inside the mountain we really were.
And then there were the  news crews that were showing up outside. When we heard that we made a decision. If any reporters were on the property we weren't coming out no matter how big they made the hole. I've had my ass in a crack plenty of times but didn't really want the whole world knowing about it. They were asked to leave and did.

The walkie talkie would squawk and call us down into the tunnel. Dale and I would take turns going down and moving rocks. We would also work on the bracing they were putting in to stabilize it. It was dangerous work from our end.
We found out the mayor of a local town showed up with a pickup filled with fried chicken and pizza donated by local restaurants. There was a crowd of people outside playing Frisbee, eating and helping with any thing the rescuers needed. I wanted pizza and a couple were brought down and rolled up in the box and stuffed through the little hole. Messy but good.

After 11 hours they called  and wanted me, the smallest, to try to slide out through the log bracing. I stayed in the tunnel for about an hour until the rescue team gave me the go ahead. I carefully eased out the hole into the flow stone room.
Now I hadn't been panicky through out this whole day but stepping out of the tunnel I got freaked out.
The lights nearly blinded me, battery powered but still bright. When I could see anything at all it was a room full of people. I had trouble standing up and felt very disoriented.
I needed sunglasses. That's what made me think of this whole thing again, the sunglasses.

I could see as Jo Anne and then Dale came out, the flow stone had shifted. The whole thing.

Luckily it was almost dark by the time we got outside to see the news helicopters overhead shooting pictures.

The cave rescue team was awesome and made something which could been a disaster for us into a just another adventure.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Art Business, Business, Business

The last month I have immersed myself in business. Getting the website up was a huge project, there was the big honking T shirt project and adding more prints.

The website is fantastic. Clicpik was certainly the right choice for me. All went pretty smooth until it came time to pay my yearly $54 fee. My bank would not let me use my debit card for an overseas transaction. I had to go to the bank and do a bank transfer. No only did it cost me $40 but took a while as the gals down there did not have a clue how to do it.

Did I say I live in a really small town?

If you haven't checked it out you can here.

Then there was the tshirt project. This was different for me as I have only ever done paintings and had no desire to sell t shirts but....
I had this idea mainly because this is how I describe myself. It kept kicking around in my head and would not leave me alone.

So I finally did it.
It came with a myriad of issues as well, from getting my local printer to produce anywhere near my time frame, to promotions and now the big storage issue in my already cramped studio.
I ordered adorable tags from with my paintings on them
and purchased resealable cello bags for the T's.
They officially went on sale yesterday and the sales have been good so far. I've got my fingers crossed.

I keep adding more prints of my paintings. Across the Universe (above) and Outriders (top) will be available real soon.
 I have been using Fine Print Imaging. They are fantastic! If you decide to have prints made I would highly recommend these great folks. If you use me as a referral (Diana Lancaster) they will show me some love and $.

I am soo ready to get back to painting.
Whew, all the business stuff just makes my head spin.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Skinny Catfish

Available here

My friends came to fish at the pond yesterday. They made some catfish bait using hot dogs, strawberry koolade and garlic. It worked very well. They caught a bunch of catfish, but ended up throwing them back because they were so thin.
I feel bad because I haven't fed them all summer thinking they could fend for themselves.
 Plus if critters aren't following me or making a rukus I figure they are ok. I'm off to the feed store again to get some fish food.

I dreamed last night my man came to cut my hay. With a full week of dry weather expected I am hoping dreams really do come true.