Branching out into Western animals

March 4th, 2010

I love being an east coast girl except I wish we had more charismatic mega-fauna like this...

Thanks to the fabulous photographer (and my former neighbor) Brent Doscher, I have finally got more of my latest painting shot and uploaded on my website. And did I mention that my website is all new and improved too? Check it out folks — I’d love to get your feedback.

So I’m pretty happy with the latest 350 paintings — and I’ve even pulled out a few that I am really, really happy with.But I’m not going to show them all at once — what fun would that be?

So it’s been a busy and productive few weeks — yay! And New Hampshire Magazine assigned me to write an article about grass-fed beef and I even did a painting to go along with it! Despite being without power for three days, I managed to pull it off.

So that’s the latest news here — it’s hard to make time to blog, I have to say. It feels so dear diary. Guess I am not as loquacious as I thought I would be… Could be worse, as they say in New Hampshire!

Um, Happy Year of the Metal Tiger?

February 13th, 2010

Tigers? We don't need no stinking tigers in North America...

So, apparently metal tigers aren’t that lucky. But ONLY if your lucky element isn’t metal. Happily, mine is, thank goodness. Whew — I feel like I could use a little luck this year!

So to update: After a bright and determined hit on the re-start button, my enthusiasm for my 350 project came to a crashing halt in the darkest days of January. But after some interior regrouping, I am back at it, albeit with some adjustments. For a variety of reasons, (my sanity being first and foremost amongst them) I am extending my deadline for the project. Originally I picked Earth Day 2010, but quite frankly, that will make me crazy. I didn’t want to admit, but there it is. I’ve done crazy and, despite it’s reputation,  it isn’t that much fun.

And I’m discovering that I want to paint more than just 6 x 6″ portraits of animals.

BUT I still want to complete the project! So I’m making Mondays “350 Day” and the rest of the week are “paint whatever I want” days. So far it’s working really well.

When will it all be done? Who knows?! The journey has to matter as much as the destination…

Back to work (again!)

January 5th, 2010

Yay! it’s finally a new year and 2009 is officially in the past…

So I’ve started my new schedule: four days of focused painting and one day of teaching/networking/adminstrative/blogging/etc. (Not all at once of course.) The way I figure it that will give me 24 hours/week of solid painting time. Is this enough? Not sure.

Especially since I just calculated that I have to average 12 paintings a week to make my slightly adjusted deadline of May 1. Gulp.

But believe it or not I think I can do it! These are mostly 6 x 6″ paintings. And many of them, if I stick to all of North America’s mammals, will be rodents. Portraits of rodents — little pointy faces with black beady eyes. Piece of cake!

Hmm. I may have to reconsider that one. Not sure I can handle that much rodentia, despite the temptation of ease of execution.

I think I will end up doing some birds too…

So I took out twelve canvases and put them on my work table yesterday. It’s not that bad. I can do this!

But I did take out some I already started to help me ease into the new year.

Yeah they’re my rules and I can bend them. As long as they get done right?!?! Right!

I can do it!

I’ll post a picture next week of the best of the twelve…

A new word for a new year

December 14th, 2009

For the past few years, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I simply pick one word.

I got this idea from Christine Kane, one of my favorite musicians and blogger extraordinaire. For 2009, I picked the word “ACCEPTANCE” because I wanted to work on accepting people as they are, instead of how I wish they could be. A lovely thought, right? But boy, did this year turn out different than I thought – I had to do a LOT of accepting: Of my mother dying suddenly; of having to clean out her house; and then subsequently selling it (50+ years in the family); of having that, my last connection to my hometown of Brooklyn, NY severed forever; and, last but not surprisingly,  of not being able to work on my 350 project. Oh yeah, and I got laid off from my Something Wild gig.

I did not accept any of this very well. In fact, I raged against it all. I let the grief swallow me up. I barely painted. It was all very natural but much of it was not welcome, not wanted, and definitely NOT what I was planning on happening for this year!

But eventually, with the help of my darling husband, my family, the support of many wonderful friends, the wild bears I met in MN, and an absolutely amazing weekend workshop at Kripalu; I am finally coming to terms with it all. Yes, acceptance was the perfect word for this year.

So what will be the word for 2010? I want it to be a word that is not as heavy, not as self-improvement-y, not as serious. Because I really really hope that 2010 won’t be any of those things. I plan to get back on track with my 350 project and I have all these cool ideas swirling around in my head for a new body of work too. I want to paint paint paint! I want to dance more and laugh a whole lot more than I did in 2009.

So it’s official: my word for 2010 will be CELEBRATE. Because despite all the sorrow and losses, I still have so much to be joyful about. And above all, I want my art to celebrate the things I love about this world. And I have great friends who are really great to have at parties. It’s a darn good word. And even if 2010 isn’t perfect, this word will remind to focus on what is beautiful and magical about my life.

My next post will probably be in January! So Happy New Year, Happy Solstice, and don’t forget to CELEBRATE all the good things in your life — past, present, and future…

Open Studio A Big Success!

October 27th, 2009
Rosemary Conroy's 350 project

Here's what the paintings looked like at my open studio last weekend

Whew — Close to 200 people showed up at my open studio on October 24 & 25th! It was the grand unveiling of my 350 project and everyone seemed to be impressed (or thought I was crazy.) It was great to see it up on the wall and I am pretty charged up to move it forward. And thanks to all my wonderful supporters, we raised a nice bit of change for the Piscataquog Land Conservancy.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to really focus doing more of the 350 paintings for a few more weeks… I have a commission and need to get some paintings done for the Sharon Arts Gallery Holiday Show. As much I want to finish this project, the chance to make money now can’t be ignored. Plus, paying for 350 panels and paint and stuff adds up, you know.

Besides, my new goal is Earth Day 2010 — plenty of time!!!

An Auspicious Autumn

September 23rd, 2009
A painting that I worked on in between my 350 project paintings -- it's metaphorical of course.

A painting that I worked on in between my 350 project paintings -- it's metaphorical of course.

So yeah — auspicious. That’s what I’ve decided this will be. I’ve been working on getting ready for my open studio at the end of October and I’m really getting excited about it. It’ll be fun to show people all of my 350 paintings to date (I think I’ll have about 45 by then, plus a few from my co-artists.)

Part of me sighs when I think how far I had hoped to be by now, but in the interest of cutting myself some slack, I don’t think this project will be irrelevant just because it won’t be finished this year. Listening to the news, it kind of seems like it may take a while to get a world-wide consensus on what to do about global climate change anyway. Of course I HOPE they can pull their act together when our great world leaders meet this December in Copenhagen — this is, after all serious stuff!

In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away towards having a show of all 350 paintings by the spring of 2010…

A Bump in the Road…

April 24th, 2009
350 -- Flying Squirrel

350 -- Flying Squirrel

Life has thrown me a rather strong curve-ball recently and so this project will have to take a backseat for a while. I’m still determined to get it done, but it won’t be getting much attention for a while.

So here’s a creature that manages to sail through darkness with grace and apparent ease. Seems like a good metaphorical note to pause on.

Bunny Love

March 30th, 2009

350 - snowshoe hare

I always think of snowshoe hares when I hear the sports guys on the radio talking about “March madness” because this is their mating season (the hares, not the sports guys!)

And believe it or not, hares get pretty crazy. There’s leaping and cross-peeing and all kinds of lagomorph lunacy. I wrote a “Something Wild” spot about them once. It had the best alliteration I have ever used (to date) in describing how the males impress the females with “boisterous bouts of bunny boxing.” They do actually stand up on their hind legs and trade jabs with their front paws.

So I have arrived at the Vermont Studio Center where I am beginning a one month painting residency. I am one of 50 artists who have won fellowships to do nothing but work on their art. It’s totally awesome — the food is great, my studio is big and bright, and everyone I’ve met so far is really wonderful. I love talking about painting over dinner.

(Not that my husband doesn’t indulge me and let me yammer on about my work, but it is different when you have a room full of people who are all painters, sculptors, and writers.)

I’ll try to add some pictures when the sun comes out — hopefully tomorrow. Mud season in Vermont isn’t terribly picturesque but it does make you want to stay inside and paint!

Cuddly Kitten Day?

March 23rd, 2009

I actually heard on the radio that today — it is “Cuddly Kitten Day” and also, “Cute Puppy Day.” But since I’m more of a cat person than a dog person, I thought I’d post two wild cats for you. The Canada lynx, on the left, is from a beautiful animal I met during a wildlife art workshop I took in Montana two years ago and the bobcat is from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center here in New Hampshire. Not sure these qualify as “cuddly” or “kittens” but that’s OK!

Less than a week until I leave for the Vermont Studio Center! Thanks for all your good wishes of support and encouragement…

350 Begins!

March 2nd, 2009

Whew — this makes it all real, I guess — in a virtual sort of way. Today I start painting the first of what will eventually become 350 portraits of North American wildlife.

The idea is to show how much is at stake in our efforts to combat global climate change. I figure a wall of 350 wild animals staring back at us, the humans in charge, has a chance to make a dent. I chose to focus on North American animals because (a) that’s where I live and (b) we are using the most stuff on this planet and having the biggest impact.

So what gave me this crazy idea? Well, I was inspired by Bill McKibben and his organization 350.org to do something symbolic but meaningful to raise awareness about this important effort. We need to get our CO2 emmissions back down to 350, from where we are at aroun 387 or so. Being a wildlife painter, it wasn’t a huge leap to think 350 paintings. Of wildlife. Of course!

(It did occur to me, at first, to get 350 artists to each do one painting, but the coordination that would have required would have taken me away from my own painting. And being selfish and maybe a tiny bit of a control freak, I decided it will be easier to do myself. We’ll see!)

So I plan to post my images as they come along, so please check back often. I have lots of ideas on how this is all going to roll out, but first I have to get some paint down on some canvases.

Thanks for your interest and support!

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