Sunday, March 22, 2009

Show Fiesta!

Every year, the "Celebration of Fine Art" show hosts a catered dinner for all the artists and their families. Luckily for me, I have a sister who lives in Goodyear, AZ, and she and her husband Steve, joined us for the event. We had a ball! Not only did we eat some great Italian, but we enjoyed a gorgeous Arizona sunset.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Aspen Art!

I met Debbi Eischen last year at the show, and she has been thinking about my work ever since! What a sweetie. She was determined this year to get a painting, but deciding on which piece to take home proved a little more difficult. For three weeks, she kept coming back to my "Crimson Forest", and just when she had decided that it was the one...I shipped it out to a Gallery! Poor timing on my part. But, I told her I would paint her up a similar piece, and this is the result! She came in today, and loved it! I've painted this scene several times, but I do think perhaps, this one is my favorite! Such great reds in this piece. Lots of layers of texture, too. It is surprisingly heavy to hoist. It was a delight to re-connect with Debbie, and I'm thrilled she'll be taking home a painting!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Gift of Words...

This is John. He is the most unique and interesting person you will ever meet! He is a very intuitive soul who loves art and is a regular here at the show. He is also a very gifted writer. He put together a book with insightful commentaries and photos of his top 15 artists from this show, and presented it to Susan Morrow Potje, the Event Manager. This is what he wrote about me (and he claimed it was his longest narrative):

You must meet Jen. (Right now, grab the keys, climb in the car, and drive to the show. Now!) Once you meet Jen, you will know that plenty of children have clapped their hands and believed in fairies; and plenty of little, lost boys have curled up on her couch to hear her stories. For truly, if anyone in this show is she, Jen is the Wendy-Lady.

She is sugar an spice, the icing on the cake, the cheerleader who skips and smiles, and the girl next door rolled into one. She is a delight. In a world of glass and steel, of recession and depression and collapse, she is a sprite. She is the embodiment, the personification of light.

She is also a maestro with brush and oils. her paintings are visually stunning. They are tactile performances. They interact with light and shadow. They evolve as sunlight changes. They are breathtakingly exquisite revelations of nature. They emote. They live.

Jen has mastered a technique of applying paint in a manner that absorbs, refracts, and reflects light. However precise the science, the process seems intuitive for Jen. In the same way that Descartes so brilliantly observed, "Cognito ergo sum" (I think; therefore, I am), Jen seems unable and unwilling to repress the joie de vi'vre (zest for life). Her zeal is contagious; her zest irrepressible.

As you visit Jen's home away from home, pay attention. You'll see a mini-studio where she works. You'll see several galleries where she displays her paintings. You'll see a sofa where you can relax and imagine that you are home and a "show-and-tell" wall lit by a series of lights controlled by a rheostat so that she can REALLY show you something that you've never seen before: living, changing, dynamic paintings. Once you see the effect, you'll never say, "I want a boat instead." You'll never say, "Let's spend a few days in Telluride." You'll never say, "What we need is a cruise!" You won't, unless you have one of Jen's paintings on your wall. If you do, you're good to go. Otherwise, whatever else happens to the economy, you have a reason to say, with a knowing glance to any college graduate taking a swim in a pool, "Paintings. Paintings are the future. Forget Exxon-Mobil and Dow. Buy JensArt. Remember JensArt.

Words alone cannot describe Jen or her work. Extraordinary, phenomenal, distinctive, and mesmerizing barely scratch the surface. As one man said to his wife after meeting Jen, "honey, if I saw nothing else today, Jen's art was worth the price of admission...and so much more." So much more, indeed. (For anyone who wonders about young people today, Jen is a hopeful talent worth your time and treasure.)

Fellow Oregonian!

I just love it when people from my own little home town pass through the show! This is Charlaine Brittson from Jacksonville, OR. She was reading the show pamplet, and discovered that there was an artist from Central Point, OR. She had to come meet me in person. What fun!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"The Art of Raku"

Joseph Woodford is a ceramic artist from Chandler, AZ. This is his 10th year doing the "Celebration of Fine Art" show in Scottsdale (my second!). His work is collected by a plethora of famous people including Barry Bonds! Joe fell in love with this form of art in high school and realized at that moment what he would do in his lifetime. His Raku art comes from expressions with clay that have an African, Japanese and Southwestern theme. "My work is a never ending road to improvement. I keep pushing myself in trying to create new things to make each piece unique."

Raku is a 16th century Japanese art form. Joe takes a block of clay and goes through shaping the clay into different bowls and disks. He then adds textures very carefully to make each totem or vessel unique and to ensure that no two pieces are alike. The sculpted clay is then fired in a kiln at 1800 degrees, thus turning the clay into pottery. Joe puts a glaze on each piece, which contains copper carbonate, and then places in a gas kiln firing again at 1800 degrees. Lastly, the piece is removed from the heat and covered to stop the oxygen from hitting the sculpture. Joe states, “You must be careful as to when the cover must come off to obtain just the right rainbow of colors.”

I was fascinated today as I watched the whole process. It looked so much more exciting than applying paint to canvas! All that fire and steam! The end result is always a just never know what you're going to get! Joe was definitely in his element as I watched him work his ceramic magic.

As artists, we are constantly evolving. The "vessel" above represents Joe's latest artistic breakthrough. He couldn't wait to share it with me. It is truly an incredible piece. Not only is it a clay pot shimmering with beautiful Raku glazes...but it represents clean lines coupled with raw, uninhibited textures. Screws, razors, and steel barbs protrude from the rough clay twisted at the nape. It is really quite beautiful. I know what it feels like as an artist to have an "Ah-ha" moment. Nothing is more exciting than hitting a new level, artistically. It is those moments that keep us creating!

Tuscany and Provence!

These are the latest paintings from my "Romantic Series". I love to do European Landscapes...poppy fields from Tuscany, or lush lavender from Provence. The colors are always so intense! The texture is so thick in these paintings that the poppies or sprigs of lavender actually jut out of the canvas 3-dimensionally. I want the viewer to feel as if he/she can pick the flowers and make a bouquet! Most importantly, I want my paintings to provide an "escape" into an utopian world where color and beauty remain dominant. The comment I get most about my work, is that they are "happy" paintings! I just love that.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Visiting Mom in Scottsdale!

We thought it would be fun to bring the kids out to the show. They pray for Mommy every night to do well in Scottsdale, yet they really don't know quite what it is I do. So, we thought it would be a good experience for them to see the art show first-hand. It was fun taking them around to meet all my fellow artists. Not many of them have kids (or they are at least all grown), so most were surprised to see me with four little ones! "Wow! You're busy!" was a popular comment. Or, "When do you have time to paint?" After about an hour, the kids had had enough art, and were ready to find the nearest swimming pool! Swimming in March was a real a treat, and I'm sure that was the highlight of the trip.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Finding Peace in Maroon Bells"

This is one of my favorite new paintings! I took an older painting, and gave it a face lift! I changed the whole mountain scene to one of my very favorites..."Maroon Bells", deepened the lake with a vibrant blue, and added a ton of color to the bushes in the foreground! Voila! It is a whole new painting, with a lot more life! This piece is all about glorious color.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Walk into Autumn II"

This is my newest Aspen painting! It is a 48 x 60 painting inspired from Colorado. I love doing paintings with roads. It makes one wonder what is just past the bend...or where the road will take you!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dream Commission!

Lisa was looking for art for her gorgeous new European-styled home, and happened upon my website! She was instantly attracted to my subject matter of Aspens and European countrysides, and loved my use of bold color! We were a perfect fit. She emailed me pictures of her house, and asked me if I could help her with her niches! She has 2 in the front entry way, and 2 upstairs in the master bedroom. I was was thrilled with the challenge! I knew instantly that colorful paintings on canvas, stretched to fit perfectly inside the niches, was exactly what she needed!

I happened to be in the Bay Area for my sister-in-law's wedding reception, so I suggested I swing by the house to see the niches in person. I really like to see the project first hand. It helps to get a feel for which subject matter would be best suited for the space. Matt came with me, and we met Lisa and Mark at their home in Pleasanton. After showing us around the house, we sat at the dining room table and browsed through my portfolio together. We decided the two niches in the entry hall would work splendidly with 2 aspen-themed paintings. Bright and vibrant reds, oranges, blues will be just the thing needed to bring alive the very neutral walls and decor. Both Lisa and Mark want lots of color, so two tall, vertical aspen scenes will be perfect for the front entry. For the other two niches upstairs in the Master bedroom, Lisa and Mark thought "European" themed paintings would be well suited for their Tuscan style bedroom. I agreed! We decided to do a lavender field and a poppy field with rolling hills and olive trees in the distance. Both paintings would "flow" into one another, as the niches are quite close in proximity. I think it will look fabulous! I can't wait to get started. All in all, it was a delightful visit, and I'm thrilled that Lisa and Mark picked me to create 4 custom paintings that will be sure to add lots of color and drama to their already fantastic home!

Monday, March 2, 2009


This past weekend I flew from Scottsdale to San Francisco, where the Vranes side of the family hosted a wedding reception for Debra (Matt's sister) and Blair Carlson. It was held at the country club in San Bruno, and I thought it the perfect place for the event. The food was exceptional--I especially loved the chocolate fountains for 'fruit dipping'. I got a canker sore from all the chocolate coated pineapple I consumed! This will be the last time we will make our boys don their black suits with "sage" bow-ties. But aren't they handsome all dressed up?! I just love seeing them like that. It's so rare I get to. I miss them all so much while I am away in Scottsdale doing the 10 week art show. I really couldn't get enough kisses! My daughter, Addison, attached herself to my hip, where she remained for the entire weekend.

To see Debra and Blair's wedding video, click on this link: