February 16, 2010

2010 Starting Out with a Bang!

Well, we have made reservations to go to the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies exhibition in Salt Lake City on May 14 and 15. This is going to be exciting! The painting has been delivered to the NMWS Delegate accompanied by the bio and a brief explanation of the painting. On the 19th it will be on its way to Utah!
Sharon White started painting with casein and oils in the late 60’s in Dodge City, Kansas. After a move to Wichita she studied briefly at the Wichita Art Institute. During the next 15 years her artistic endeavors took a backseat due to numerous moves and jobs while raising three children.
Following marriage and a move to Hill AFB, Utah in 1985, she continued with oils and joined the Western Art Guild of Ogden, becoming Vice President in 1988.
Sharon currently resides in Albuquerque, NM, with her husband, Ken, and her Schnauzer, Gidget. In 1996 she started painting with watercolors, and joined the New Mexico Watercolor Society, a turning point for her. She was very active in the Society and in 1999-2000 was President. In 2004 she achieved Signature status. Through the organization she met many artists and made lifelong friends. "Joining the watercolor society was the best thing I have done to further my art education. Watercolor will always be my favorite - it presents so many challenges!"
More recently her interests have expanded into experimenting with acrylics, collage and experimental art. She paints all subjects, but her favorite is sunflowers - not surprising since she is a former Kansan.
"I paint from my heart. 2009 was a year of losses for me, culminating in the unexpected loss of my mother. Life was taking wrong turns and I wanted to be back "In The Drivers Seat" again - in charge of my life vehicle, steering down a less tumultuous road."

It looks like we are also going to my granddaughter's high school graduation that same weekend. We are still trying to figure that one out.
In addition we have a trip planned to Dallas April 22,23, and 24 to the National Robotics competition. My grandson Tanner's team took all honors at the regional competition in Omaha, including the excellence award.
Whew! Lots of good things going on this year and we are only into February!

January 15, 2010

Western Federation of Watercolor Societies

A couple of months ago I entered three paintings into the WFWS 2010 show not even thinking I had a chance. Western Federation of Watercolor Societies consists of 11 watercolor organizations: Arizona (Phoenix area), Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, San Dioego, Southern Arizona (Tucson area), Texas (Ft. Worth area), Utah, Oregon, and West Texas (Dallas area).

Shown are the three paintings: "Is it an Apple or a Pear?," "Grandma's Boa," and "In the Driver's Seat."

On January 12 (my granddaughters 18th birthday!) I received word I had one juried into the show, "In the Driver's Seat." Out of the 47 artists who entered from NM I was one of twelve who got in. My painting was selected out of 104 paintings. I'm excited. This may be a trip to Utah in May for the reception. Ken wants to go too. Carla O'Connor was the juror and will be the judge. I took a workshop from her several years ago.

This painting is an abstract, something very new for me. I find abstracts very hard. I know what people say when they view one: Oh! I could have done that! Well, people - TRY IT! It is harder than you think. I struggle with it. But I love doing them. I hate to draw and this is a good way to do a painting without having to draw. However, it takes a lot more thinking! And a lot of layering of paint.

The WFWS Utah exhibition will be held in West Valley City from May 14 - June 28. There will be 100 paintings hanging in the show. Colorado actually had the most accepted (20). Then San Diego (18) and then New Mexico with 12. Total entered from all societies: 489 artists entered 1,082 paintings. Wow! I really feel honored to have been chosen.

One more thing: of the 12 from NM who got in, 5 of them were with Local Color - the Monday painting group I am in. What an accomplished bunch. And 4 of them are also in the Friday Painters Group I have painted with since 1996. Just another example of why it is helpful to paint with groups. They all keep me inspired and it is helpful to get critiques occasionally.

I hope this is an indication that 2010 will be better!

Helen L. Baxter, Mother, Artist, Singer, Friend

In memory of Helen L. (Warren) Baxter
1923 - 2009

2009 was a tough year! It ended with the passing of my mother, Helen Baxter on December 19. She had been in an auto accident Nov. 9th and never fully recovered! The funeral was held in Wichita on December 28. Pictured above is Helen in one of her costumes for Young at Heart, the gospel choir she was in. They traveled all over the US singing and performed annually in the Ozarks. She was a very active 86 year old! She will be missed by many people.

July 8, 2009

Leslie E. Nelson

Thought I would add a few more paintings to my portfolio on my blog. Another Sanibel Island painting and two I just finished and entered into the Rio Grande Art Association show coming up in the fall. Sanibel Sea Shells II (16 x 20) was in the recent spring show of the New Mexico Watercolor Society. The other two (Paper Tigers and Linda's Bouquet) are acrylic paintings, which is the medium I am currently working in. The three new paintings are on the right side of the blog. Paper Tigers is bits of newspaper glued to watercolor paper in a "mosaic-y" way, painted with acrylics, and then adhered to canvas. Something a little bit different. The Rio Grande Art Association (RGAA) is basically an oil and acrylic group (not accepting art under glass). The Watercolor Society accepts only paintings under glass. So this gives me two very different options for my work.

Above is a picture of my granddaughter, Leslie, who is a junior this year at Papillion High School, in Papillion, Nebraska. This is one of her senior pictures. She and her mother have made some trips to colleges and I think she will be settling on one in Marysville,Missouri. She wants to be a journalist and is on the school newspaper. I can't believe I will soon have a grandchild going to college!! Can I be that old?

May 19, 2009

A Year Later...

Well, here it is a year later and so much has happened. I really have ignored my blog for so long. It is time to get back to it. I never was good at keeping diaries as a kid and I guess this is too much like one.
In June of 2008 we decided to put our house up for sale. It sold in six days!! almost unheard of with the real estate market not being so good. Another artist had told me about a house in Paradise Hills for sale, so we went to look at it, and that's when we decided to put the house up for sale in Rio Rancho. By the end of July we had moved after living in the other house for 8 years. I now have a studio, about 12' x 16' and it is very nice. However, I still paint in the kitchen since it has a huge breakfast bar made of granite tiles. I can really spread out and it cleans up fast. One of these days I'll get my studio organized the way I want it and it will feel right there too. I tell ken that the Karma is just right in the kitchen. Maybe it is all the sunlight coming in.

My daughter and two grandkids had planned a trip for months and of course it fell right at the time we had to vacate the house. However, being the great people they were, they rallied around and helped, and we even managed a day trip to the Jemez mountains and Bandelier. The highlight of the Bandelier trip was coming down a path where a bunch of people stood around. As we got closer, we saw a huge diamondback rattlesnake coiled by the side of the path. And some idiot of course was teasing it and making it rattle. We did get a pic of it (well, Ken did. My hands were shaking so much my picture was all blurred). We nicknamed it the Evil Rattler (E.R. for short) and it has become a family joke. I am now painting an abstract of Bandelier, and guess what keeps appearing in the painting!? When I complete the painting (God knows when) I will post it on the blog.

In September of last year, I took a five-day workshop with Virginia Cobb up in Cerrillos where she has her studio. I stayed with my friend Linda Grace in Santa Fe, and we drove to Cerrillos every day. The Bandelier painting got its start there, although I didnt know then that was what it was going to be. Eight months later I am still working on it. Typically that's how I work. No hurries! I have lots of PIP's sitting around in my studio (Paintings in Progress).

In October we made a trip to Austin - one of the two business trips a year Ken takes with the National Gypsum Association. Austin is a nice town and we saw some friends from our time in the Air Force that we hadn't seen since the late '80's. Austin is a nice town and I enjoyed exploring while he was in meetings. One of the highlights was going to the Whole Foods headquarters for lunch. That is a big place!

It's now 2009 and I have had another visit from Shannon and the two grandkids, Leslie and Tanner. They are now 16 and almost 15 (June 29). They stayed five days this time. We took the Railrunner to Santa Fe and walked the Plaza and Canyon Road. Next day we went to the Jemez Mountains clear up to Fenton Lake and picnicked and hiked. I fell against a rock and hurt my leg and am still trying to get it healed after a week. On Sunday Tanner played golf with Ken for the first time in his life. He got a very bad blister on his hand and is now on antibiotics, but loved golf! He is thinking of going to a golf camp near where he lives (Papillion, Nebraska). We had a family dinner after that with my mom and brother. The rest of the time was spent in shopping and more hiking down in the Bosque. After they left it took me a week to recover. Not only was I exhausted, but I had a sort of empty nest syndrome. One day they were here, the next day gone! The house sure got quiet again! It was fun while it lasted. I don't get to see them that often. I guess I'll have to plan a trip to Nebraska.

The Railrunner route from Albuquerque to Santa Fe opened up in November, and I love it! I just took a workshop for 8 weeks, every Friday afternoon in Santa Fe. I rode the Rails toting all my painting gear. It was so much fun!! And the workshop was fun too. Darlene Olivia McElroy was the instructor and I learned new techniques to use with my acrylics. I'm wanting to do more mixed media kind of works and this is going to help, once I assimilate everything I learned.

My brother, Mark Culkin, has come to live with my mom and keeping her busy. He has started a window washing business. Recently he was a movie extra in a movie entitled, "Have you heard about the Morgans?" It was fun hearing about his adventures on location outside of Galisteo. It is not easy and they worked long hours, sometimes at night. Maybe this will be a new regular job for him. I hope so. New Mexico is becoming the new movie capitol offering incentive packages to get movie makers to come here. I have several friends who have been extras in movies. Two were in Lonesome Dove sequels as well as Wild Hogs in Madrid, NM. I hear they are making a sequel to Wild Hogs.

So I think that about brings my life up to date since May of last year. I am going to have to post a little more often than that. I am taking a sabbatical from watercolor and trying to get some things done after my mixed media workshop. Also working on improving some of my abstracts and getting ready to enter the Rio Grande Art Association exhibition. Since I am so new at acrylics I don't hold much hope of getting in. But you never know....

May 21, 2008

Painting groups and Art Organizations

Local Color Critique Session
I wanted to say more about painting with other artists. I actually belong to three different groups of artists who get together to paint. Mondays is Local Color Art Group , which I mentioned before, meeting twice a year for ten weeks at La Mesa Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque. This is a very structured painting group. We stick to a schedule and have presentations, still life set-ups and best of all, FOOD to keep us in that creative mode! At the end of the afternoon, we have a formal critiquing session. There are approximately 24 in that group and what a talented bunch they are! I will put a picture on showing some of our critiques.
On Thursdays, I occasionally go to a painting group at Manzano Mesa Multigenerational
Center in the southeast area of Albuquerque. This group is comprised mostly of artists "on the other side." Which means from the East Mountain area, little towns such as Cedar Crest, Tijeras, Edgewood, Sandia Park. This group is comprised of pastellists, watercolorists, oil and acrylic painters. A mixed bunch. No structure - just come and paint and be sociable. It is a long way for me to drive from Rio Rancho so I don't go too often. But it does keep me up on my friends from the east mountain area that I don't see very often.
My favorite painting group is one that I've belonged to for 12 years, and I am one of the charter members of that group. Every Friday we all meet at the 1st Unitarian Church at Comanche and Carlisle. We call it the Friday Painters Group. Over the years some have dropped out or moved away, but for the most part we seem to stay at around 20 artists, almost all using watercolor or acrylic. This is a very unstructured group and we tend to stroll in and out at different times of the day. Not all come each week so most of the time it is maybe 10 or below that show up. This group has grown very close over the years and we have all gotten to know each other's methods, preferences, and idiosyncrasies. It is wonderful to have that support and camaraderie and we have all changed and grown so much. Once every couple of years we have an art show at the church. Some of the members belong to the church and so we have the privilege of using it - paying only $1.00 a week for the use. Can't beat that.
As you can see, I am very busy with going to painting groups. I also belong to the NM Watercolor Society, the Rio Grande Art Association (acrylics), and the Rio Rancho Art Association (of which I am on and off because I get upset with them).
My point in telling you all this is: Painting with groups and joining art organizations has made a great impact on me - not only with my art, but on me as a person. Not only do I have local art friends, but I have friends all over the state. I have volunteered with these organizations, benefited from the people and activities, and grown as a person. Volunteering is how you meet the most people and you learn to work together for the benefit of the whole.
And of course, the benefits of being an artist and visiting outside of the state is also wonderful. I can go anywhere and visit galleries, art associations, or studios and strike up conversations with other artists. I never feel out of my comfort zone, because it is all over where my art is concerned. And also a great conversation starter for when I am around non-artists, such as twice a year when my husband takes me on business trips. Last year we were on a bus headed back to the airport after being at a resort near Atlanta, GA for one of his business meetings, and they were all passing my portfolio back and forth across aisles looking at all my paintings! That was a great feeling that they all enjoyed them so much and were so complimentary!
Enough said - I guess you are getting that I enjoy my art groups very much and it has made so much of an impact on my life. When I moved to New Mexico, it was three years before I really made friends and what changed it for me was to join the NM Watercolor Society. After that everything changed - it opened up many opportunities for me.

April 21, 2008

Local Color and Dorothy Vorhees

D. Lawrey Vorhees

Well, it's Monday and tonight is the meeting of the New Mexico Watercolor Society. My friend, Marcy Boushelle, is doing a presentation on "Abstract Design Using Collage." I am really looking forward to her demo. I'll report on that tomorrow.
Which reminds me of something I wanted to mention. Marcy and I are members of the Local Color Art Group which meets twice a year on Mondays for 10 weeks. The group used to be part of the students of Dorothy Vorhees, a well-known instructor in Albuquerque. This lady taught 3 classes on Monday and Saturday for many years and taught almost until the day she died at 89 years of age. After she passed away, a large body of her students, not wanting to break up, decided to continue the Monday and the Saturday groups.
The Monday group has carried on in a structured way, keeping to some of the schedule that Dorothy maintained for years. We start by having announcements, a short presentation by one of our members, a few hours of painting time and then - at the end of each day, we all get together and critique each other's paintings. Everyone signs up and takes turns at doing presentations, the "Inspiration Table" (still life set up), bringing food (very important for our ability to work, according to Dorothy), and cleanup. In the summer, we sponsor an instructor for a three-day workshop. This year it will be Gale Webb from Texas. Last year it was Jan Hart and the year before it was Dorothy Peterson, both NM artists.
Through this we have all continued to grow artistically, and our friendships and fellowship has grown so much stronger. It is a great group and to be able to continue the legacy that Dorothy left with all of us is truly a blessing. A recent exhibition of our works revealed how much all of us had grown - through Dorothy, and from our continued efforts to share and learn from each other. We have now opened the group up to others who were never blessed with being a part of Dorothy's "family." But they will benefit from knowing her students and being a part of the Local Color Art Group.
Dorothy, we know you are still guiding us, and we miss you!