Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. It's a journal of sorts. It gives me a place to show my work-in-progress for my painting and photography. Comments are welcome --- add one at the end of an entry or email me at BarbBlumer@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to take the time to wish all of my friends, family, art buddies and blog readers a very merry Christmas. Hope Santa is good to you!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On Being Young and a Photography Judge

Yesterday I was a photography judge of the school arts competition where the subject was "Wow!". Local winners go to regional, then to state, and on to national levels. Grades 3 to 12 end up competing against each other.
One of the youngest (age 9, I think), was my top pick which just goes to show what a blessing it is to being uninhibited and unencumbered by technology and all of the baggage that goes along with growing up. The teens did a great job, too, but they were much more aware of what is expected for a photograph. Overall I enjoyed the images best that got their idea across well and were more unexpected. I thoroughly enjoyed being a judge and it made me realize just how hard it is to judge well.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Making progress

I am happy to report---to myself since I think I am the only one reading this blog---that I actually painted the day I confessed my fears in my last blog entry.

I did less jewelry to give myself time to start the purple path painting. But the really exciting news --at least to me---is that I came up with a completely new idea for my paintings. I am calling them portals.

I haven't been this excited about something I was working on in years. So, I have been busy developing a prototype and showing the early stages of it to some of my trusted "advisors" and it seems to have some legs.

When excited about a project, I find the time. Interesting...

Will post both the purple painting and the portals prototype as soon as I get them far enough along that I want to reveal them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Getting serious

I am realizing why my painting doesn't happen. I am very busy with other things and let them become higher priority and excuses. Today, for example, I have written thank you's/donations for my "In Their Studios" show and book earlier this year. Important follow-through to do. Plus I have continued to push for a new venue for that project next year. Important to do. I noodled my current photo project, Cottage Quiet. Important to do. And I am making jewelry for the a holiday show this coming Saturday. Important to do for cash and because I made the commitment. This is in addition to all the family, household and health needs, including my renewed commitment to Body Boot Camp and yoga, after the indulgent Thanksgiving holidays. All important to do. Thank goodness, I finished the writing project last week or I'd be stressing about that, too. Where does painting fit in? My primed canvas sits untouched on the easel across the room.
I know that I just need to start painting, but I am letting all this busy-ness help me avoid my fears.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gold Star Day

Today I found myself wanting to paint! So, I have toned an 11x14 gessoboard in purple (magenta mauve). I hope it dries soon, so I can begin. It's going to be a straw yellow landscape with a path and probably a figure. The closest thing I have done in the past is this painting from many years ago. Coincidentally (or not), I finished my November writing project today, too.

Lone Figure on Beach, 1999, 16x20

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why do people paint (make art)?

Today I am thinking about why people make art.

When cleaning out my studio, I found a note I'd made during a plein air painting session in 2001. It said "Cavalene says people paint for lots of reasons
--to sell & make $
--for ego
--because they have to
--to learn something about themselves or their world around them."

And, I noticed Anne JP's blog says "My art feeds my writing and my writing feeds my art."

If you have other reasons or thoughts on the subject, I'd like to hear them.

I am going to be noodling my own reasons. More on that later.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Perspective Class Last Month

My lack of understanding of perspective has been a road block for me. Real or imagined. I never had it in school and find it difficult to grasp from books. So, I finally decided to do something about it and took a 4 week, 3 hour class on Wednesdays through the museum in Rochester.

I had to drive an hour and half drive up and back but it turned out to be therapeutic. Weekly, the fall foliage progressed through its phases. Bright reds and olive greens turned to rusty oranges and browns until the last week we had a dusting of snow on the hills.

Glad I am not making the drive now, but I'm very glad I took the class. Our instructor taught us the terms, how to measure effectively without using perspective, then the rules of one-point and two-point perspective so we can use them or break them. That's all we had time to do. I will take another class or workshop if I can find one again.

I am also including a couple of pages from my sketch book that I did this summer to refresh my drawing skills. I am going to continue practicing.

Drawing Practice on my own, August, 2008

Ran out of light before I finished -- August, 2008

Class exercise - One point perspective - October, 2008

In the field -- I thought the lake would have filled my page, but after measuring correctly, it was only half the page. This is how far off my landscape drawing has been. Scary! I just kept drawing what I saw in the foreground...as practice. Next time, I'll know.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Studio Walls Color -- New Energy

I had the walls of my studio painted last week. They are now a dark greenish-gray. I considered taupe, terracotta, 18% gray, white, but eventually found this color by googling "best color for studio walls." http://forum.portraitartist.com/showthread.php?t=6468 The closest existing Benjamin Moore paint color is 1489 Devonshire Green.

What a difference a new paint of coat makes! The old pale, blue-gray color was depressing me. I found I did not want to spend time in my studio. Now I am eager to work.

I sense that I am being revitalized and will soon be very productive. I am cleaning house both figuratively and literally.

What is NaNoWriMo?

Here's the link for the National Novel Writing Month website: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/whatisnano

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why am I writing this month?

I am the kind of person who keeps thinking about something for a long time, sometimes for years. And I am also the kind of person who thinks it is a good thing to confront your fears, no matter how icky they may turn out to be.

If I confront this thing that has gotten on my internal "to do" list and actually do something about it, instead of just thinking about it, I will find out if it is worth anything at all. Then, poof!!, it will be gone and there will be room for something new, something fresh and exciting to enter.

That's why I am taking the time this month to review and consolidate what I wrote during my writing phase, ten years ago. It was one of the paths I took when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next, after leaving my corporate marketing job and before I created a jewelry business with my sister.

I haven't been able to throw away my writing circle stories or my haiku, so I know they mean something to me. Unlike my journals. I chucked all 15 years of them and I am glad I did. Too much ugliness in them. They served their purpose. I no longer need them. But this writing stuff? I don't know.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My first published haiku

umbrella forgotten--
jump over a puddle
beaded drops cling


I had forgotten about being published until this week when I started transcribing my old writing circle stuff as part of a writing challenge that an art buddy started. We are supposed to write 1500 words a day during November. I am at 6912 as of today.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


My most recent photography project is a photo diary entitled Cottage Quiet.

It about my nearest faraway place. And, it is intended to be a mini-escape for the viewer, too.

Right now it is a 40 page book of 4 x 6 images printed in warm brownish-gray tones and mounted on cream paper, plus I have created a companion slideshow for online viewing.

There are about 60 images altogether which I am in the process of editing.
I am trying to decide which image to use on the cover, i.e., which one best represents the mood and intention of the project. I think it ought to be a horizontal image, but I tend to make mostly vertical images. Some candidates are

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Work in Progress

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Painting with Penny

Keuka Lake from Penny's Dock
4 x 6

Today I had fun painting with my friend Penny on her dock. This was my view looking south. It felt good to give her my painting as a gift.

Penny is new to oil painting. She shared her vision for her paintings: a watery, layered, washed look in beautiful subtle colors, with some symbolic elements added. Not completely impressionistic, but not realistic.

I hope that I will soon have as clear an idea of how and what I want to paint. It is uncomfortable being stuck, like I am.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Painting with Priscilla

The only painting I've done in the last couple of weeks was plein air with Priscilla. We decided to paint in her garden at Keuka Lake which is spectacular, especially this time of year. We are going to try to paint most Tuesday mornings.

Pale Yellow Iris - Keuka Lake

Friday, June 6, 2008

Self Portrait - A beginning

My first attempt at a self portrait is going to be a square within a square format, inspired by the inchie movement and Anne JP. It's nine square canvases, currently taped together, to make a 12 x 12 inch square. I am repeating the square in the background. When done, we'll see if the squares are interesting on their own, or if it works as a scrambled composition in a new array.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Painting Again - Whew!

After a 6 month break, I am ready to paint again. I started out by gesso-ing a bunch of boards and doing other stuff (watching painting videos, etc.) which didn't actually involve painting, i.e., procrastinating, but today I actually put out my array of colors and picked up a brush. Hooray!

On this old painting of the tomato & corkscrew, I decided to add the highlights, deepen the shadows and brighten the orange-reds, then call it quits. Time to move on to something new.

The next project is a painting of a honey bear for my brother's 50th birthday, which was last June. My goal is to give it to him by the time he turns 51 on June 24.

My first attempt is very crude. The colors are not at all what I wanted. The bear turned greenish. And the foreground is yucky. I haven't painted something transparent before, so this is going to be a challenge. Not sure I like the design either. But I thought I'd post what I did and not worry about it being perfect. :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Weathered Cambodian Temples

Are these images B&W?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


These images are from Long Meadow Ranch and Tomales Farm & Dairy, my brother's places in California, taken last March. I continue to come back to them, so they may be the start of something new for me. I haven't done many landscapes or sepiatoning.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Post-show Blues do exist

I was warned that I would experience the post-show blues. For the last two weeks, I was flat and frustrated and doubtful. I distracted myself by cleaning up my studio and paperwork, doing gardening and house chores, and consuming too many peanut m&m's. Yesterday, finally, my energy came back and I had a great day creating new jewlery designs. Today, I feel like painting, so I am back. Yeah!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Straight From the Tube

Yellow Piano, 20 x 24, Oil on Canvas
I might revisit this style of painting that I did about 8 years ago. I called it "Straight from the Tube." I had received some samples of intensely colored oils from Mexico and thought it would be interesting to use them as straight from the tube as I could. I painted on white to keep the look bright. I was also reading about Matisse; hence, the objects and patterns originating from our home. For example, a carpet element became the wallpaper. Beyond that I was playing with symbolism. The yellow piano represented fickleness. The left cloudy doorway was my past. The sunny clear room on the right was my future. I guess that's me at the piano, but at the time, I didn't think so.

A Painter-Friend's Recent Advice

"There comes a point where you must stop depending on classes and other people's judgement of your work and let your work take flight on its own. That is, of course, unless your whole purpose in this is to be able to paint in an academic rather than expressive sense. I may be wrong but I think you want to express your self, not just replicate what you see. So trust yourself and find your voice."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Book Jacket Photo Shoot - Which One looks like a serious, yet quirky poet?

My writer and illustrator friend, Anne Jennings Paris, came to visit and wanted a portrait for her upcoming book of poetry. Here are our top 6 picks from the shoot.







Tuesday, March 25, 2008

West End Gallery Show & Book

My show is up and the book is finished!

If you can't see it in person, please visit the first gallery of their website http://www.westendgallery.net/ to see a few of the 118 images in the show.

The book can be ordered through the gallery. It's 96 pages with over 90 duotone images on silk text. (Only 300 were printed.)
Here is my artist's statement from the show:

The Artist as The Subject
The images created for this book are an exploration of what goes on inside the studio where art is being created.
It was my desire to make portraits of artists in their own environment, turning the tables, making them the subject.
I wanted to acknowledge the importance of the act of art making.
I chose a mix of artists….painters and sculptors, glass artists, a photographer, a ceramist, a videographer/writer…just a sampling of the depth f talent living nearby.
My intention was to keep the images impressionistic. They were made in one visit, without supplemental light or extra equipment, unposed and informal.
The conditions were unknown and unpredictable, making the visits even more exciting.
It was a privilege to be invited into their private spaces.