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Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Rose Quartz & Serenity

Madam Butterfly
Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas

Have you already heard about this? Pantone selected two colors of the year for 2016...yes, Rose Quartz and Serenity. So who is Pantone?  Color Authority.  Owned by Washington, D.C.-based Danaher Corp., Pantone creates a system that helps manufacturers define color precisely. Every year the company polls decor and fashion designers, manufacturers and retailers about colors they plan to use and based on the information gathered, pick the color for the coming year.  This is the first year Pantone has selected two. Rose Quartz and Serenity.

The 2016 PANTONE Color of the Year

Take a closer might say baby pink and baby blue, however Pantone says more of a Rose Pink to convey a rosy warmth balanced with the blue to invoke tranquility. No baby stuff here.

Be watching for these colors....everywhere.  You will see it in home products, clothing, personal products.  Here are just a few.

Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer, Pink
Image result for pink designer clothing men

Interestingly enough, when Pantone announced their decision to name these two colors for 2016 I could not stop connecting my most recent painting, Madame Butterfly, to the decision.  

Madame Butterly

Truly, I did not know of Pantone's color selection until just a few days ago.  No one did.  I firmly believe (and have written about this before) if the mind is open it can tap into thoughts that circulate through the universe. It's not a conscience thing; it happens with spontaneity and is absolutely unplanned. This goes along with my last blog post about using your creativity, allowing yourself to be open and flexible.  Do things a little differently.  

Madame Butterfly

When I approached this particular painting I let it grow and change in a spontaneous manner.  I had not planned on using this palette.  It just happened as the painting progressed based on what I thought looked best.  A lot of intuition.  I never use pink..oops...Rose Quartz.  I typically do not use pastel colors.  My palette is usually bold, fully saturated color. Being open allowed the universe to dictate a very different palette and one I now see is coming into use everywhere.  Rose Quartz and Serenity.  

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Get Creative.

Use Your Creativity

Every one of us, yes, every one of us is creative. I cannot tell you how many times I hear, " I could never do that.  I don't have a creative bone in my body.  I can't even draw a stick figure."  This couldn't be further from the truth.  Everyone is creative and just needs to learn to tap into that creativity. And when you do, you are entertained, happy, and can create a positive situation for everyone around you. Here is an example:

An old time friend invites me to build a gingerbread house every year. She makes the gingerbread, cuts out the pieces, gathers together all the candy and other decorative items, and helps put the house together. This friend is creative....and generous too (she does this for over 70 people).  She doesn't believe she is creative however.

It is a gift to be able to spend time in the studio of the Gingerbread Lady (some people call her that) letting your creativity flow, sharing friendship and a few nibbles of sweets.  Her creativity allows others to use their creativity and have fun in the process.

What ever you are doing, let it be infused with creativity. Think outside the box.  Do it a little differently than you normally do.  Expand your idea and do it in a different way adding flair and imagination. That's creativity.  It can be in the garden, in the house, at work, where ever you are and with what ever you are doing.  

It's a busy time of year with loads of opportunities to change the way you typically do something. Change it up by using your creativity.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mamie Gregory IV.

Madame Butterfly

original painting by Pamela Hunt Lee
Madame Butterfly
40 x40
Acrylic on stretched canvas

An exceptional basket weaver, Mamie Gregory was a Panamint Shoshone who lived from 1867 to 1947.  Born at Indian Gardens near Darwin in Death Valley, CA (one of the hottest places on earth) she is known for her elegantly created storage vessels.  

Madame Butterfly

As a young adult Mamie married tribal member George Gregory, whose name was adopted from his employer, and moved to the old mining town of Coso Hot Springs.  Working for a dollar a day she cleaned houses and took care of the laundry for neighbors.  She walked 5 miles to work each morning, returning home at night to weave baskets and prepare the materials needed for this craft.  All this in a dry, arid, harsh environment.

Madame Butterfly

Utilizing a high stitch and coil count, Mamie's baskets went from utilitarian storage baskets to smaller gift baskets coinciding with the Curio Trade of the early 1900's.  Now highly valued, her remaining baskets are housed in private and museum collections.  And they are spectacular!

Madame Butterfly

Frequent use of a butterfly design on her baskets earned her the title, Madame Butterfly.  The grace and beauty of her designs (which included lizards, spirals, and other shapes as well as the butterfly), the careful craft and excellent weave earned her the distinction as one of the world's finest basket weavers.

Madame Butterfly
40 x40
Acrylic on canvas

Joining the other paintings in my Indian Women Portrait series, this painting is designed to honor Mamie Gregory and her elegantly created baskets. 

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Mamie Gregory III.


Get two artists together for conversation and you just don't know what might come up.  The other day over lunch I was asked, by a fellow artist, if I was using stencils on my current painting of Mamie Gregory.  She was looking at the lizards climbing up the canvas, the butterflies flitting around. Answer:  Yes.

Detail of lizards and butterflies.

I realized this might not occur to everyone, so I thought you might like to see the stencils I created.  Each was hand drawn, cut out of heavy paper, placed against the canvas, traced around with pencil.  After the outline was in place I painted around the image and then later filled in the image.

Paper cut outs used as stencils.

After painting around the outside of the stenciled image.

After the stenciled images of butterflies and lizards were painted in.

What the painting looks like today.

There is more work to be done to bring this painting to completion, but Mamie Gregory aka Madame Butterfly is almost ready to join the gallery of Indian Women Portraits on my web site.

To contact me click HERE
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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mamie Gregory.

Madame Butterfly

I encourage you to scroll down through the images below to see the development and progress on the painting of Mamie Gregory aka Madame Butterfly.  An image is worth a thousand words....

Under painting the face.

Mamie begins to look out from the canvas.

The dress she is wearing in her photograph becomes inspiration for design elements in the painting.

Mamie's lizard basket motifs inspire more design elements.

Stylized image of a basket is added to the canvas.

Butterflies flitter onto the canvas.

How the painting looks this morning as I approach the easel.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mamie Gregory - Madame Butterfly.

The Results Of A Museum Visit.

Blank canvas just waiting for inspiration to hit.

Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration.  Just one word to describe what happens when you visit a museum. Remember my last post about getting yourself to a museum?  For an artist, there is overwhelming inspiration to be had.  And I am inspired.

Basket from the Nevada State Museum collection.

It was the visit to the Nevada Museum of Art which led to visiting the Nevada State Museum, a subsequent visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum and now another scheduled visit to the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, all to research basket makers, that has me inspired.  So it's into the studio, new big canvas on the easel, and the resolution of how I want to present Guadalupe Arenas who was a member of the Agaua Caliente band of Cahuilla Indians and an extraordinary basket weaver.  I also have a friend who believes she owns two of her baskets and just talking about Arenas and her work has encouraged me to paint this woman.  HOWEVER, I cannot find images of her...arrrgggg. Next week I visit the archives of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum where I am sure to find what I want, but in the mean time, all that inspiration is bubbling up and over leading me to work with Mamie Gregory.  

Mamie Gregory aka Madam Butterfly.

Also known as Madame Butterfly, Mamie Gregory was another extraordinary basket weaver, a Panamint Shoshone living from 1880's to 1951.  She fits right into the outline for : my Indian Women Portraits, the time period, basket weaver, lived in the area where I live....  and with an alias of Madame Butterfly she is just too delicious to ignore.  This moniker derives from her recurring designs of butterflies, butterflies, butterflies with a few lizards, squirrels and what is described as a whirlwind.  I stumbled across her when visiting the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum a couple years ago and she has floated in and out of my creative conscious since, so here we go.  Inspiration from museum visits moving me into the studio to work on a new creation.

Beginning of new portrait painting.

Check back to see how this painting progresses.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Visit A Museum

Just Go

Jump on your bike, get in your car, or let your feet walk you over to a museum.  Any museum, but I do recommend an Art Museum.  Specifically, if you are in close proximity to Reno, NV get yourself over to The Nevada Museum of Art to explore and take in Tahoe: A Visual History

Over 400 items that portray a visual history of Tahoe have filled the entire museum allowing the visitor to wander through time, artfully.  Paintings, Native baskets, photography, architecture, and contemporary art representing over two centuries of cultural and creative production are being shown.  If you live in the area you will realize a closer connection to your home and it's history.

The museum is also offering lectures and classes as a spin off of this exhibition.  Last month Gene Hattori, Curator of Anthropology at the Nevada State Museum, discussed their extensive collection of baskets and works by Washoe weaver, Louisa Keyser, aka Dat So La Lee, some of which are currently being shown in the exhibition Tahoe: A Visual History.  During his presentation he invited all in the audience to contact him for a private tour of the basket vault at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City.  Did I?  You bet!  Immediately!

Entering the basket vault, which at one time was a bank vault.

Shelves of baskets woven by Louisa Keyser

Louisa Keyser's hand print.

Behind more locked doors: Burden Basket and Covered Bottle created for the Curio Trade 
by Louisa Keyser

Feather covered basket.

Feather Decorated Basket.

What an amazing experience to stand among baskets that are a part of the local history, at least one dating back 2500 years.  If you follow my blog and my art work, you know about my Indian Woman Portraits based on basket weavers who lived in the areas where I live, who lived in the late 1800's into the early 1900's.  Visiting this collection was especially intriguing to me and to the continuing work on this series.  Thank you to Gene Hattori for hosting this opportunity.  Would it have happened if I had not visited the Nevada Museum of Art and attended a lecture?  Probably not.  So get yourself out to a museum today, and if not today go tomorrow.  There are great things to see and experience in a museum, knowledge to gain, and fun to be had.

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