Monday, April 08, 2013

Work Art Balance

I've had a fortunate life where I can always make time to create art. Not fortunate enough to make a living from my art but I've worked in my own business since 1995 so that I can balance work to pay the bills and art to feed my soul. Sometimes that is more challenging than other times.

And this is one of those times.

Typically working with small to medium-sized businesses to help them with social media, their websites, their online marketing and relationship strategies, I've taken on a client for 9 months that is much larger than is typical for me. I'm very excited for the project, building a large online community for a very large company, but it will take my full focus to succeed at their aggressive goals. I've built many online communities over the years, and still host one at that began in 1994 and is still running and active and vibrant today. I love building communities and connecting people with each other and with good content. So all of that is perfect for me. I'm the right person for this job.

But I'm aware art is going to take more of a back seat in my life for awhile. I'll have to work harder to schedule time to paint and balance that with my chores, and seeing people. The stuff of life. Although a solitary activity for me, art is the stuff of life for me as well.

I did just complete two large oil paintings right before I signed this contract. I'm glad I did that. And while my art studio is there and will wait for me, I also brought a full set of paints home so that I might be able to do smaller projects or maybe just shorter painting stints here and there on the weekends - just to keep it going.

I find I can't let painting go more than several weeks. I begin to not feel quite right. And so, beginning today, I embark on an experiment of balancing work and art and making sure both feel heard and supported and expressed.

A friend (not an artist but someone who appreciates art) told me not that long ago, "It used to be artists had benefactors. Now they have jobs."

I'll take that thought with me as I re-enter the corporate world and create another great space for community online.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Labor Day Weekend 2012 Open Studios

It's that time of year again. The town of Sausalito fills with people seeking sun, fun, art, music for the combination of the famous Sausalito Arts Festival as well as the 5th annual Sausalito Artists @ Work Open Studios - a chance to see actual local artists in their studios and chat with them and see their body of current work. I'll be in Studio 237, on the second floor. We'll be open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday 11-5pm. I look forward to you stopping by and saying hello!

Lots of art to see at both locations. and Sausalito is such a pretty town and we've had some great beautiful sunny days here.

So come on the ferry if you live in the city, or come by car or bike - just come!

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Paper Mache Cow Work in Progress

The cow project had a setback this week. Last week I sanded the paper mache clay (which has joint compound in it so it is kind of like plaster). I am not going for a smooth surface but wanted to at least have all the jaggies gone.

I then sprayed the cow with gloss jet black paint, from a spray can made for car paint. The gloss in it turned out all splotchy so I thought a second coat would cover that but it didn't. The gloss was taking in some areas and not in others. It was all black but not all gloss.

It was only then that I realized I had not primed it first. DUMB! Here is what the cow looked like at that stage:

That was my setback. I decided now was the time to go back and fix my problems so I primed the cow with grey primer paint, let it dry and then did a light sanding all over.

The paint store told me hi gloss does not come in the spray cans so I decided I valued hi-gloss over an even application of the paint, so I got black hi-gloss acrylic latex enamel paint and covered the cow. Here is the cow getting covered up once again:
and here is the cow after two coats, which I was much happier with (and all the splotchies were gone):
In these two next photos, I have a close up of the surface of the cow to show how I actually didn't want to go for a glassy smooth surface. Oddly, in these photos, it looks like a chrome has already been added but, in fact, it is just how the light looks on the hi-gloss black. But it did give me a hint, of sorts, of how it might end up looking. I won't know until I actually do the chroming next week. I'll post results in the next update.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Paper Mache Cow Sculpture Continues

Its been a project I've been doing along side my painting and so has taken some time. I've really been enjoying learning to work with the materials and solve problems as they crop up (and boy, did they crop up).

He is a cow starting to stand up and get on his feet and I feel just like that as I move through the project, a little more and more confident and seeing this sculpture emerge.

It is 48" wide by 30" tall.

In this photo, I completed the paper mache process over the crumpled newspaper form. I had to do it in stages, starting with the cow upside down and doing the bottom, letting it dry, flipping him over and then doing the top.

In this photo, I complete the whole paper clay process which was the most challenging part. I learned getting the recipe right really makes all the difference. And patience. I couldn't do too much of a section at a time so it would "adhere" properly. I did also run into a mold problem on the bottom and had to scrap out a big hole after it was pretty dry and remove the mold and I washed it all with clorox and put a fan on it to dry more properly. That seem to fix it. I also went too fast with the head and didn't let the paper mache part dry enough before doing the clay and the whole underside of the face fell apart and had to be rebuilt - paper mache first, let it dry completely and then back to the paper clay. Fortunately, that worked and you can't even tell. The ears are really solidly on there now. The tail was hard to get the clay to stick and get it in the crevices just right.

I don't want any features to be too detailed but I did fashion some basic eyes and eyelids with the paper clay. A little hard to see in this photo but they are there.

Now I'm giving him an overall light sanding. I don't want him to be smooth but I do want to have the surface lightly sanded so it feels nice to run your hand over it. After the sanding is done, then comes the paint job. I'll keep you updated!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Paper Mache Cow - Session 1

 I decided I wanted to experience what it would be like to create a paper mache sculpture. So after watching a couple of youtube videos, I decided to launch into the project with both feet (and no additional resources, probably a bad idea, but how I usually do things).

In my first step, I wanted to just cut out a cardboard shape of the cow's body. I didn't worry about his ears or legs for now. You can see I have really leaped in - he will be a sizable cow for a first project. Who knows, maybe he'll turn out to look like a pig - anything is possible.

I then cut out the shape of the two legs from separate pieces of cardboard. I think I'm not going to worry about the other side of him, because his legs wrap underneath and I can probably build up the shape I need there from just the newspaper. I used masking tape and began build up shape to the two legs. It probably ought to look more exacting but it doesn't.

And that's it for Session 1. Now off to get a lot more recycled newspapers and more masking tape.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Scam Email: Tyler He

This scammer had trouble faking a decent last name (and then inverted it for his temporary disposable email address), but otherwise everything else about this scam is all to the formula.

Original email:

From: tyler He []
Subject: [actual name of painting inserted here]

How are you doing? Was going through your works and love this piece. I would like to make the purchase if it is still available.

Thanks and i await your response.
Next email:

On Nov 29, 2011, at 1:13 PM, tyler He wrote:

Hello Catherine,
How are you doing? Thanks for your prompt reply. Well,  I'm quite satisfied with the details but would also like to inquire about a minimum price...

Unfortunately, I'm on my way to France and few other countries on an official trip (I'm a marketing Executive) and wont be back for another  couple of weeks, If you'd like to know, I'm relocating  to the UK this month and I'm trying to gather some good furniture for my new abode. I'm buying yours piece amongst others, quickly! before someone else grabs it.:)
Glad if you could let me have me your phone no. so I give you a call. 
Best Regards,

PS: In the mean time, you could forward me your full name and contact address so I can mail out the certified check to you ASAP.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Winter Open Studios 2011 Dec 3-4

My studio is cleaned up and ready for the weekend of Winter Open Studios at the ICB Building in Sausalito, CA. I've got those special Open Studio only prices up. I'll be open Dec 3-4, 11-5pm, along with over 80 other artists in the building. Lots of art to see. I'm located in studio 237 on the second floor right across from the Manager's Office.

I'd love to have you stop by and say hello!

ICB Building
480 Gate 5 Road, Studio 237
Sausalito, CA 94965

(turn left on Harbor Drive from Bridgeway, building on left at Harbor/Gate 5 Rd)

For those who are unable to visit, most of my artwork can be found on my website at

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sausalito Artists @ Work Labor Day Weekend

We had a great open studio weekend at the ICB Building in Sausalito this weekend. It was the same weekend as the Sausalito Art Festival and the whole town was jammed with people as a result.

Lots of people came through and I did well. I love talking to people about art and showing them my process. This time I had my silk painting frame set up and was showing people how I do silk painting. I was able to finish a bamboo silk scarf on Sunday and a nice blue one with dragonflies on Monday.

Sue Averell, the organizer of the Open Studios weekend, had a great party in her large studio (which is right next to mine) Saturday night with lots of great food and wine and balloons and meeting great people. Some were artists she knows from Arizona who had come up to be in the Sausalito Art Festival. A great time was had by all.

My studio mate, Mary Margaret Stewart, was actually in the Sausalito Art Festival for the first time this year and she was on fire! She sold out everything she had. I love the success of artist friends as well.

Here is a photo of some people wandering through looking at my scarves (sorry about the hanging rope from Mary Margaret's studio space in the photo!) and a better picture of the one wall of scarves, though I had others on racks and... well, all over the place. I was also showing my oil paintings and worked on some small oil still lifes on Saturday and sold them right on the spot, even though they still need time to dry.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Presidio Paint Out August 29, 2010

I enjoyed a sunny day in the Presidio for a group paint out event. We were to paint anything we wanted visible from within the park, between 10 and 2 pm and then exhibit our finished work at the Officer's Club from 2-4pm.

I did this event about a month ago and this crowd was twice as big - over 50 artists participated. I decided to find a more unusual area of the park - one I was unfamiliar with, and that is getting harder and harder to do as the years go by. But there was one area I just never went into or explored and that was the Tennessee Hollow Watershed area. I chose the El Polin Spring area, despite the massive renovations and rehab going on there - maybe because of it. Certainly no other artists found their way to where I was. I didn't know anything about the El Polin Spring so I read up on it the day before.

There were convenient picnic tables there I decided to take advantage of. And some bird watchers who said they were watching the humming birds, of which there seem to be a bunch flitting around. They said there were some other beautiful species as well. Some one was doing some kind of bird watching pretty much the whole day. I added a couple of bird watchers into my painting.

Here is a photo of my little painting nook for the day, just as I was beginning to work.

I really enjoyed the day in the park and at the end of the day, seeing what all the other artists chose to paint and how they interpreted their Presidio scenes.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010


We had a great hotdog bbq at the ICB art studios building yesterday. We had a lot of fun, good food and drink and company. And we raised some money towards buying ourselves a picnic table so we can eat outside in the sun when the weather cooperates.

I took some photos at the beginning of the bbq but then got involved in talking to people. More people showed up as the bbq went on.

I heard there was an "after" after party, but I missed that....

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Plein Air Session at Corte Madera Marsh

Yesterday, I was seeking to escape the fogged in city to where there was sun so I could paint outside. I drove around Tiburon but could see the fog was quickly coming in to anything I wanted to paint.

I ended up at the Corte Madera marsh and had sun all afternoon. It was a little windy for me (my chair and water container completely blew over one time) but otherwise was a very pretty afternoon.

I kept company with a whole flock of these pretty birds, American White Pelicans. They rotated around the marsh feeding and relaxing. Okay, they came out as just white splotches on my little painting but they were quite beautiful to watch all day.

I painted for about 2 hours and then went and had a lovely Thai dinner and glass of wine in Mill Valley.

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Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Fisher Collection

I had the pleasure of going to SFMOMA on Friday and see the small portion of the Fisher Collection. It is a partnership with SFMOMA to house and display the collection of Gap founders Doris and Donald Fisher,  more than 1,100 works by iconic 20th century artists in total (this peek had about 160 of total collection on display), dubbed Calder to Warhol. Much of this collection has never been seen by the public. It was great to see some of these works up close and live.

I liked the Gerhard Richter pieces, Anselm Kiefer (I like a lot of his work), Agnes Martin, Serra and Warhol. I had never seen Chuck Close's work up close and there was a whole room for his work and I liked the David Hockney double portrait.

Then I got to hang out with and go to dinner with the Friday Artists' Roundtable group and talk art and other musings.

Here are two Gerhard Richter pieces:

Here is a Anselm Kiefer piece:

Okay, the below Kiefer piece is NOT part of the Fisher Collection, but was on display at the SFMOMA several years back and took my breath away. It's not a great image of it. It was almost room-size and it looked like swarms of locusts lifting from the earth - and the swarms were all sunflower seeds. A better image would have shown the complexity within the "swarm". I loved Kiefer after this in-person experience.

And back to my day with the Fisher Collection, here is part of the Artists Roundtable Group at the rooftop cafe before dinner.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

After the Marin Art Festival

The Marin Art Festival was a nice event but was not without its challenges.

On Saturday, the wind kicked up by 1 pm and was relentless the rest of the afternoon. I was constantly battling keeping things from blowing away. It was also challenging that my booth location turned out to be in the furthest back section of the fair. I suppose *someone* has to be in the way back, but I didn't want it to be me.

The fair was well attended and in spite of all these challenges, I sold. I do feel it is becoming more and more a crafts shows than a Fine Art show. It might be interesting if they sectioned out the fair and put all the fine artists together so the collectors have a section where they know the higher priced art is versus people looking for low-end crafts and gift items. I knew to bring more than my fine art paintings this year and it what brought people into my booth. I have not shown my hand-painted silk scarves here before and they were very well received.

Here are a couple of photos from the day:


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Marin Art Festival June 19-20, 2010

I am participating in this year's Marin Art Festival at the Marin Civic Center. Find me in booth #87!

June 19-20 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Over 250 fine artists in a spectacular setting by the Lagoon in the Marin Civic Center, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, fifteen minutes North of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Festival foods range from Louisiana gumbo and crawfish, Greek salads, South Western chicken breast sandwiches, fresh crabcake, grilled oysters and French pasteries.

* Stroll through spacious pavilions.
* View & visit with Phyllis Thelen, the 2010 Marin Master.
* Meet with the artists and talk about their work.
* Entertainment Schedule
* Check out our Chance to Dance Showcase: Hula to Hip Hop.
* Enjoy sit down dining with a team of student waiters.
* Sample fine wines and brews.

More information and directions at

Free entrance pass at


Monday, May 24, 2010

Hayes Valley Street Fair

Participated in the Capsule SF street fair in the Hayes Valley yesterday. It was sunny and well-attended but there were horrible winds all afternoon. We watched tents lift up and fly off, people's stuff on their table blow off into the street, and garment racks full of clothes blow over again and again. These certainly were challenging conditions but it was a great day and the margaritas from Absinthe at the end of the day was the perfect topper.

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