Wednesday, June 20, 2018

As Spring Flies Into Summer

The White Crane: Flying Into Dreams, Bonnie Joy Bardos, 48" x 60", oil

Once we recognize that all things are impermanent, we have no problem enjoying them. In fact, real peace and joy are only possible when we see clearly into the nature of impermanence. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Spring turns into summer, weeks of rain fade into hot sunny days. Here at the old Art House, River and I spend mornings out on the front porch: I drink a morning mug of coffee, and he basks in sunshine. We stroll through the daylilies, lush roses, pink honeysuckle, catmint, bright phlox, yellow suns of coreopsis. Hydrangeas in white, blue, lavender spill throughout the gardens. Knee Deep, the resident fish pond King, sits on his mossy rock. Birds flit, in the afternoon sun, crows wing low over the road, cawing.

This month, a new exhibit opens at the Upstairs Artspace, and the above painting will be part of it, along with alot of contemporary art. I'm in "Four Women/Four Journeys" which features Carol Beth Icard, Patricia Cole Ferullo, and Linda Hudgins. We've been friends and fellow artists for years. Downstairs, nationally famed Stoney Lamar appears with the likes of Dale McEntire, Dale Weiler, David Zacharias, Mark Gardner, Shane Varnadore and more in a sculpture show. Holland Van Gores shows his fine wood-turnings also--the exhibits will run through August 3. The Upstairs goes back 40 years: back to the days when Craig Pleasants opened the upstairs bedrooms in his house as a place for artists to show work. Not just any work, either. Craig had a vision. Out of those artists, a lot went on to become famous. The gallery moved, and the first time I found it, it was beside City Hall in Tryon, NC...and that was the beginning. Poetry coffeehouses, gatherings, and interesting art (along with people). A non-profit, the gallery has been in its current location beside the Tryon Theater since the early 2000' fact, I worked there for a good five years, up until 2011 or so, and remember "String of Pearls", the 30th anniversary gala we put on. Craig and Sheila Pleasants came. The mission of the gallery has always been Craig's: that the Upstairs would support artists, and show their work: work that would not necessarily be commercially sales-driven stuff. I hope that stays the same. Run by a Board of Directors, the Upstairs will hopefully go on another 40 years!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Art in Spring

I want to be alive to all the life that is in me now, to know each moment to the utmost.
~ Kahlil Gibran

(painting: "White Crane", oil on linen 36" x 48", Bonnie Joy Bardos)

Spring is the time I roll the big wood easel outside to the front porch, pushing it carefully over worn Persian carpets and oak floors, up over the threshold just a bump, and voilĂ ....we're out! Next cart-loads of paints, an old blue metal cart here, a small white one there. A turquoise blue rag draped over a pile of oil tubes. An old glass bottle to hold garden flowers dripping with morning dew. Pink honeysuckle twines up the porch rails, draped over an ancient wood trellis.

Nearby the Japanese maple branches drip down green fountains gracefully toward the shimmering fish pond. Pond frogs Banjo and Knee Deep hold court on mossy rocks, and River Dog stretches out to catch sunshine. These days are strawberry juice deliciousness. Peonies open, roses join in the dance. One more spring has come to the old Art House and me...and we make art, grateful for these moments.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Art, Dogs, & Good People

(paintings: Bonnie Joy Bardos)

"It isn't more light we need, it's putting into practice what light we already have. When we do that, wonderful things will happen within our lives and within our world." ~ Peace Pilgrim

Spring's coming, despite the long hold of winter's icy clutches here in the mountains. I'm back from a road trip to Florida with River Dog and art supplies. A friend offered their charming vintage Fernandina Beach bungalow and all I had to worry about was getting there. Which took a bit of wrangling through rental car sites and such. The further south toward the coast we got, the warmer the air became between each rest stop. Shucking my winter jacket felt good. On the Florida state line, the phone died, so I had to rely on old-fashioned wits and road signs to navigate the final miles to Amelia Island and Fernandina. Artists tend to do that anyway, rely on drawing their own lines and following the nose. Here, no here. Wait, that looks right! Yes, we finally pulled into the cottage's driveway and piled out, road-weary and grateful for landing safely.

The evening called for a glass of crisp vino and a veggie pizza from a nearby local pizzeria. Ah. Life is good when you have a good dog, good pizza, a cool place to hang your hat, art supplies and a glass of wine in hand.

While on the island, I painted every afternoon: sitting in a weathered rocking chair, blue easel set up on the front porch. Azaleas, camellias, roses, palm fronds, blue sky and sea breezes. Lots of dogs and nice folks walking by. River enjoyed daily walks along the historic district too, and I set out to explore downtown, art galleries, and interesting points of view. Plus, a stroll on the beach barefoot of course. At night, I found myself hanging with a couple of home folks who'd bought a house on the island: they hauled me to the Salty Pelican and the Palace--the oldest bar in Florida with glowing old woodwork to tell those tales. And, every afternoon, I painted. Just bright 'out-of-mind' paintings that bloomed like the azaleas nearby. It does a body good to get away to a warm beautiful place in winter, especially fueled by kindness and love from others that made it all happen. A circle of color and love that goes round and round in a world starving for love and beauty. Let there be art. And people who love art, artists, dogs, and have good hearts.

The day I packed up to leave, scrubbed Wade's sweet little vintage cottage clean with gratitude to my generous host, I made a new friend, who'd gotten back to Fernandina from LA just in the nick of time to catch me before I left. Rhonda ended up buying one of the paintings and loved it so: it was meant to be. Such good energy! I left the island feeling renewed and full of color again.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Winding Road of Art

"As I write I create myself again and again." ~ Joy Harjo

"...there never was a world for her
Except the one she sang and singing, made." ~ Wallace Stevens

"Any woodthrush shows it- he sings,
not to fill the world, but because he is filled." ~ Jane Hirshfield, "The Stone of Heaven"

Here it is a new sparkling year: 2018 has arrived. Single-digit temperatures in the mountains combined with weeks of a Christmas 'gift' virus kept me from painting. The most I've done is pick up charcoal and sketch horses into a landscape, a welcome reprieve into 'my world' as I call it. I *had* to do something! For sculpture, I've put the large figure I'm working on outside on the back porch to 'weather' a bit more. Let's face it, winter is never my favorite season, nor the easiest to survive in an old house: the basement pipes have created a skating rink of today, it's wait-for-a-plumber-and-pray time. In between all this, I've been reflecting (new years bring a clean slate and self examination time).

It's time to consider the road ahead (this is something I ponder every year at this time!)...literally and figuratively. Is my work any good? Am I being true to self always? Where is it (and am I) going? Where do I belong in this world? How do I balance the ingrained need to create versus survival? Age-old questions for most serious artists. It is my belief that this broken world needs art to mend our beings, our very souls. To bring light into darkness: both for the artist who creates it, and for those who see/read/hear/feel it. Art is life. It is to me--over this brutal winter, I've wondered if I should go back to the workforce world in order to make my tattered ends meet: if it hadn't been for angels among us, I would have fallen down, hard. Yet, time and time again, they have come when I needed them most. And, the wood thrush's bell-clear answer came: you are doing what you should, and must. While you are here on this earth. Keep believing. Don't give up. Sing. Be filled. Create yourself again and again....

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Painting & Life

"Best Date Ever", 16" x 20", Bonnie Joy Bardos

Our heart, when it breaks open, can hold the whole universe.

~ Joanna Macy

This painting is one I started working on one evening. As my favorite pieces are prone to do, it just 'happened'. Strands of Christmas lights around my old house kitchen were my only lighting, and create a magical feel, although it's too dim for painting. My new infrared heater helped warm the chill air, and the brushes kept saying 'red'. Blue. Yellow. The eyes delighted me: the slant of one, the look of imperfection. A bird cage disappeared under the yellow, the side table ghosted through. Cats appeared. People are going to think I'm a cat lady--although I only have one, she appears over and over. River Dog is taking a break: I'm paying him a model fee with homemade food this winter as we battle his kidney disease. I would do anything for him. He's with me every day, helping paint: and there's nothing more companionable than a snoozing dog in morning sunshine, the soft sounds of a brush caressing the canvas, birds singing, fish pond trickling, the heart tender and full.

Right now, I'm looking at the piece to see what it needs. Maybe a little deeper cobalt blue. Hmmmmm....I sits, I thinks. Such is life. Paintings are but a metaphor for life: they happen, sometimes they need a tweak, sometimes they sing with delight. Sometimes they have something big to say although they're deceptively simple. This one makes my heart sing!

(photo: starting a painting)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Life & Art

Fall days grow shorter, as blue shadows grow longer in the evenings; mornings get here later...crisp. Around the Art House, I've moved most of my porch plants back inside, as well as closing down the 'front porch' studio. I've set up a table on the back deck to catch warmer afternoons while they're here. Just picture me sinking fingernails in the skirt of summer, begging her to come back, come back! Cold and dark don't sit well around here.

Despite dead furnace, house stuff, plumbing, dog, etc. I've been working on a sculpture piece and painting, after the annual open studio tour--which takes a while to recover from! Honestly, if I went a week without working, and art IS working, I don't know what I'd do. The sculpture is outside on the back deck, where I drill, pound, and fit pieces to the puzzle of what it will be. Not even I know. That's the beauty of just going with the flow in life, you don't know the answers. Usually they're right there the whole time. The truth is, I'm just grateful these days...old house, old truck, and all. How lucky I am that so many people believe in me, and that I believe in me too. If I stumble and fall, someone is there to help me up. That's what we need the most, to remember that we are all walking each other home (to quote Ram Dass).

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Day In The Life: Artist At Work

My search bar reads "between custard and ice cream" but that couldn't possibly have anything to do with art, could it? Maybe it does. Maybe. A day of painting is perhaps, to an artist, like the smoothness of custard and ice cream. Rich, full, soothing. Yet, a day of painting is *hard* work too. All day, I worked outside on my front porch studio, on my feet standing. It rained, the sun came out, it rained some more. Breezes drifted. Heat settled. My glasses fogged up. The feet hurt. Stop! Stop, they cried. The dog snoozed near them. As I usually remind 'normal' folks who actually might read this blog, artists work hard. It's not our 'hobby'. Or worse yet, the age old question...."How do you REALLY make a living?" I've heard it all, as well as any artist that ever has existed. Rembrandt probably heard it. An artist is at work, whether there's a paycheck involved or not.

One of the many stages of this piece. I *love* this, but took the orange bit at the top out, then kept going. I believe this would have been a great abstract finished painting, though!

This week, I told the dog and cat they at least have food, so that's good. We like to eat around here. It's not an easy existence, but when you do what you were born to do, somehow you find your way. The universe is listening, and someone out there's going to find your art. Annie Dillard writes: "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern."

I thought you might like to see the journey of a painting, along with what I did today: on a rainy/sunny/August day. Yes, my feet still hurt, the dog is still near them: we're inside now at the computer screen while I take a break to sit down and share this with you. The life of an artist.

Painting in the rain.

By now, this piece must have 50 layers. Some get removed, some added to. It's symbolic of life. It's taking a new direction, isn't it?

This is the painting in its most recent stage, it of course belongs to my long-time series "Esto Perpetua", yet feels different. This one is titled "Time of Mist: All is Not Lost". Right now, it's going to dry for a few weeks before I decide "Finished!" or keep going. I let paintings lead me. All is not lost....I keep looking at the abstract version I like so much, yet I love this too! It'll happen. The universe will speak. And I'll keep on painting. Tired feet and all, the dog near by.

And that is a day in the painting life.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Meanderings & The Painting Life

"Solace I", Bonnie Joy Bardos

“It’s a serious thing, just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world.”

~ Mary Oliver, Red Bird

Late summer days in the mountains flow with cicada song, peepers, long blue shadows promising fall ahead. Every morning I'm outside on the front porch studio, working on new paintings and listening to the fish pond trickle, River dog snoozing nearby, and bird song. Now and then someone strolls by and wishes me a good morning. Last week, I hauled a large sculpture outside and worked all day on her for a juried show that opens tomorrow night. Named "Walela (Spirit Guide)" (Cherokee for hummingbird), she's made of fired clay, metal, copper wire, fiber, and much more...along with natural branches and wood pedestal. Walela consists of many found objects and recycled media.

Update: "Walela" won 2nd Place in 3-D Art for the Arts Council of Hendersonville's Annual Bring Us Your Best exhibit, as well as winning "One Planet/One World" award presented by the Hendersonville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship for "the artwork which best represents a world community that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of all beings, and the oneness and interdependence of all life." This means the world to me--and what an honor for both awards. I'm so grateful that I drove over through Flat Rock, past the Carl Sandburg farm and on to the UU service today and took a heart-felt note of gratitude for their support and appreciation of the arts.

A painting I worked on became a road trip back to the '60's....a Nash-Rambler station wagon, forest, and the iconic picnic table alongside the winding road. All summer, art projects have been in the works: all influenced by the turn of earth and slant of sun, the soft dog ears under my hand. Butterflies that flit, hummingbirds that zoom to the nearby more year I stand at my work table and easel, observing and putting it all into the story I'm painting. Life for an artist goes on on those August summer days...

In late September, my house/studio will be on Art Trek Open Studios, sponsored by Upstairs Artspace. I've done this event every year, and will be at it once again! Mark your calendars for the weekend of September 30 and Oct. 1. A preview party featuring all participating artists will be September 29, 5-7 p.m. at Upstairs Artspace, 49 S. Trade, Tryon NC.

"Road Trip II, Bonnie Joy Bardos)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Art in Bloom

"Art in Bloom" is this month; I was lucky to be one of 24 artists selected by juror Michael Sherrill to pair with floral designers, who interpret each art work; the art work will be in the Gallery at Flat Rock until June 11. It's an honor to be a part of this exhibit in a beautifully elegant space. Deedie Springer of Springvine Design will be the floral designer for my painting "New Beginnings" from the Songs of the Earth series.

"Songs of the Earth: New Beginnings", Bonnie Joy Bardos, 48" x 60"

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Month of May

May brings more lush green, wild roses streaming in bunches in pinks, whites, and delicious shades and the iris bloom. This photo is one of my pet rhododendrons that I planted over 23 years ago here. Naturally, when things bloom, I 'borrow' a stem or two for the front porch studio. Call it inspiration! Everything serves as inspiration to an artist: even the bad stuff. Recently, I had to deal with a few things that brought me to a low period. And I decided I was over and done with working in gray-scale landscapes: I would only do them if I felt like it, not because a gallery demanded it endlessly. I picked the brush up, hauled out a blank canvas to the porch and let the day take me wherever it would. One painting became two. Two became three. And, who knows where it'll end. Another new series has been born out of angst. By doing something a bit different and freeing the mind (or what's left of it these days!) I found hope and delight in paint and canvas. The series hasn't yet been named, but I've had a ball coming up with snarky titles. Stay tuned....

"Drown the Choos", Bonnie Joy Bardos

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring: Paintings & Butterflies

Detail of "Flight" by Bonnie Joy Bardos

The old saying is true: you can't stop spring. Green leaves unfurl amid showers of apple dogwood ballet, birds singing at lavender dawn. Today, I hauled baskets of painting supplies out to the front porch studio (as I like to call it) and painted. Azaleas, blue sky, breeze, fish pond trickling--my graceful orange friends weaving along the surface. River Dog has a new friend as studio assistant: Pikachu the cat lazes nearby as River snores. You just can't get good help these days! Jokes aside, I love my little helpers. Just having their peaceful companionship adds to the pleasures of life. And painting. This one is a detail of "Flight": I've been working on a series of smaller butterfly paintings as well as others to celebrate the season.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Art of Painting & Sunset

(detail of larger painting 24" x 48", Bonnie Joy Bardos)

“Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love.” ~ Rumi

This painting with pink magnolias hung in a couple of exhibits over past months until I brought it home from the last one a week ago. I liked having it come back to me, as if the time apart had given me new eyes and a new way of looking at the piece. I still liked it, but....there were new adventures to be found. A few days ago I picked it up and made some changes with oil paint. It's not like I really needed to do it either: commission paintings need to be worked on and finished around here! However, sometimes the little voice nags on my shoulder, and it frees my spirit to be brave enough to jump off the edge and take the unknown path. February is the month of love. Artists must be in love with what they do, to create and breathe their art. As ever, a painting or sculpture will take me on a long journey: it's a story. Mine. Yours. Layers build up, disappear, new images and colors bloom. Sometimes inertia sits there forever, until the day comes: I pick up a brush, paint, and reconnect the heart and soul without fear. The twists, turns, pitfalls become something of beauty, of light, of truth. There it is: life unfolding.

Winter in February brings buds emerging. I picked two daffodils last evening, walking River dog along the street. Climbing over dry grass and brambles in a long-abandoned lot, I picked yellow sunshine to bring back home, holding them in my hand the whole way home, sniffing the light scent of spring. Joy in those little things! Those promises that life does go on all around: the robins coming in, forsythia dancing along branches. An emergence of this world.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Beginnings On The Road of Art

"Every morning, even before I open my eyes, I know I am in my bedroom and my bed. But if I go to sleep after lunch in the room where I work, sometimes I wake up with a feeling of childish amazement — why am I myself? What astonishes me, just as it astonishes a child when he becomes aware of his own identity, is the fact of finding myself here, and at this moment, deep in this life and not in any other. What stroke of chance has brought this about? What astonishes me, just as it astonishes a child when he becomes aware of his own identity, is the fact of finding myself here, and at this moment, deep in this life and not in any other." ~ Simone de Beauvoir

Every year, I write a New Year entry to this blog, although I find myself a few days behind on catching up this time around. Years do that, you know. Winter in this old house slows me down to: every winter I fuss and vow to never suffer through another one in the starving artist fashion of hand-warmers, wool socks, layers and layers of clothing. Is it the slower I go, the behinder I get? I remind myself it's OK. Just OK to be here, maybe slower than usual, but grateful to have gotten up one more day, and like Simone de Beauvoir, am astonished at being deep in this life and not in any other. Martha Graham said that there is no one else like you. That's pretty powerful stuff to us creative types. I can't imagine being any other way. Perhaps it's living in between worlds, aware of this physical one, aware of a metaphysical layer. Yesterday as snow covered the earth, branches and light came in the windows, I took a picture of the moment with my smart phone that is smarter than me. Blue winter sky, sparkles, white on dark, ripples. Layers of things to watch, learn, ponder. Life goes on...

Saturday, December 10, 2016

December: Thoughts & Journeys

Photo: Teaching myself Instagram...bit by bit.

Winter white glistens each morning now--although autumn's leaves were slow to fall this year; clinging to branches in crimson, scarlet, tangerine, russet. As ever, my paint colors reflect life all around; nature the eternal muse. The outer world shouts, roils, thumps at my door: yet day after day, I return to the paints, colors, images upon the canvas and find all the answers there. As ever, that's what artists do: in order to make sense (if anything can) of the world in their own way. I teach myself life (and Instagram) bit by bit. Below, a painting detail of a piece I've been working on, from the Lone Boat series I started years ago. This one has many layers, and the more I've worked on it, the more the depths and mysteries within delight something within my being. This is the first round.

Painting: detail of "Lone Boat" series, a work in progress

Update: here's the finished painting.

Almost too late to walk in the woods, but I did,
anyway. And stepping aside for a moment
from the shadowy path to enter
darker shadow, a favorite circle of fir trees,
received a gift from the dusk:

a small owl, not affrighted, merely
moving deliberately
to a branch a few feet
further from me, looked
full at me—a long regard,
steady, acknowledging, unbiased.

~ Denise Levertov, "Creature to Creature"

Finally, I just have to stick a photo of me and River dog here. He turns 5 this Christmas: I adopted him from Shar-Pei rescue when he was 6 months old and had to have an eye removed. When we drove home from Raleigh, he put that sweet little snout on my arm and it was love. The best studio assistant, he paints with me outside in warm months, inside during the cold. Usually, he's snoring or basking in the sun while I do the work. That's my boy! Dogs don't worry like we humans do. Maybe a bit of worry over what'll be in the dinner bowl, but around here there's always something in my sweet boy's bowl. Always. As this year winds down, I stand back to count my blessings. Paint, dog, roof, old truck. Good friends. Thank you for reading this blog, and may you always find some pearl within.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November: Changes of Life & Art

"Storm Warning", 12" x 24", Bonnie Joy Bardos

“ is a serious thing
just to be alive on this fresh morning
in this broken world.” ~ Mary Oliver

November has arrived, the month that quivers between fall and winter. Here in the mountains of North Carolina, we've had an Indian summer with a long dry spell, warm days, golden leaves. I bought large pots of marked-down jeweled plum chrysanthemums from a garden center, hauled them home in the truck's front seat and plopped the big pots on the front porch. Luckily, because the weather has been dry, warm, bearable: I've been able to extend painting time on the front porch, rather than having to move paints, tables, easels back inside for winter. Yes, I know. It's coming!

The mums rode home up front with me: the seat overflowing with color and spicy scents, the overhead drive home filled with gold, crimson, blue; corn stalks low in dusty fields, a reminder of long-ago childhoods. All things change, as does life, art, our perceptions of things. Yet, truth remains the same. Something to think about.

Here is a new painting, still in progress, but nearly completed...inspired by colors from a fall day, the hint of a storm on the horizon. Shades of lush plums, blues, and images live in those endless depths. Like the changing sea, skies overhead hold multitudes. And, so do we.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Seasons: Art & Life

Back from New Mexico, Art Trek open studio weekend over, (although the gallery exhibit continues through mid-month), I'm home working on new paintings, one a commissioned piece. Other than the hot water heater flooding the basement, life continues around the old Art House. River was glad to get me back, and lies on the front porch, easels spread around as we paint. More like he basks in the sun and I do the work. Dogs really are smarter than we give 'em credit for! Butterflies flit, hummingbird stragglers sip at feeders--they'd better head off to warmer climes soon. I'd like to myself! New Mexico swirls through my mind: blues, terra cotta, sap green, dusky purple, gold. You'll see a few pictures from the visit, along with Patricia Carlisle Fine Art on Canyon Road--it was a pleasure to visit Chip, Patty and crew, and see my work hanging in such a beautiful space. There's also a picture of a painting I'm working on. New Mexico is bound to seep through the layers!

“Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.” ~ Mary Oliver

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Art Trek Open Studio & Santa Fe

"Esto Perpetua: Primal", 48" x 60", Bonnie Joy Bardos

It's time to take that long anticipated trip to New Mexico: blue skies and drying chili peppers swinging in the breeze, Canyon Road and silver mesas in morning sun, turning into gold light pouring into evening. September brings Art Trek open studios when I return: September 24-25; a preview party at the Upstairs Artspace on September 23 from 5-7 p.m. All participating artists will have work displayed in the gallery until October 14. I'll have sculpture, paintings and more at my Art House. If the weather is good, paintings will be displayed in the front Japanese maple/fish pond garden, on the front porch, and on inside the house. Welcome to my world! This painting is 4' x 5', gray-scale and desert tones, finished with a hint of cold wax. It's one of the most striking paintings I've ever done, with many layers. At different times of day, it changes as the light moves...late afternoon and evening brings the fire out from the background.

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

~ Walt Whitman, excerpt from "Song of the Open Road, I"

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Late Summer Paintings

Into the Sunset, 12" x 36", Bonnie Joy Bardos

'My head is bursting with the joy of the unknown. My heart is expanding a thousand fold.' ~ Rumi

Outside the study window, old stained glass glowing blue, rose, gold in filtered light, millions of rain drops fall from a pearl gray sky. Endlessly--enough where the poor dog can't get out to bask in afternoon sun, I can't paint out on the front porch studio, and the basement in this old house is full of those very same drops. Maybe billions of them. The yard turns to wild jungle, no mower will go forth bravely into it this day. And to paraphrase Macbeth, nor tomorrow, or tomorrow or tomorrow either for that matter.

My work is influenced by what's happening right now. If I'm writing a newspaper column, I don't have a set plan for it, more like a go with the flow kind of deal: the biggest thing I'll do is scribble an idea on scrap paper to remind myself that it's an "Ah HA! idea". So, I just sit and write about what ever has come up that very day and make a little tale a big lesson. Usually the paper ends up getting their money's worth for my two cents of thought.

For this painting, sunset, season, and sky influence the colors. I can only paint what I love and how I feel: it's never about an actual place: I leave that for others to do. That's not my bag, not my scene. The metaphysical always has intrigued me, those delicious mysteries I can't see, only know. Sort of like filtered light through the stained glass. Perhaps I've been reading too much Alice Hoffman. Maybe I'll read more....

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Late Summer Art & Magic

( Photos: Love people who buy art and support living artists! New paintings from the outside summertime studio)

It's August. And it's H-O-T. Mornings, (after coffee on the porch swing) I paint outside on the front porch, my 'studio' surrounded with wisteria vines dripping, butterflies, hummingbirds, and life. And mosquitoes. I just can't paint inside when the sun's out, flowers are blooming, and life is full and green. Sweat rolls off my face, into the paint. Mercy, I think. It's HOT! It is. Such is life of an artist: paint when and where you can.

There's not always air-conditioned comfort or lunch prepared for noon. Uh uh. Not happenin'. Oh yes, there are days when I wish, wish, wish that lunch would just magically appear in front of me, ready to enjoy. Uh uh. Usually on a muggy summer day, by that time, I'm ready to head inside with River dog leading the way. We stand at the refrigerator, door open: wishing for that Magic Lunch to appear. Still, I'm grateful, here I've had a morning of good work with brushes, fingers, sponges dipped in color. Things happen. It's always magical, and part of the journey. In a few months, I'll be whining about freezing to death in this old house of mine. Still I'll be at it inside, at the kitchen easel, out in afternoon sunshine when brief respite warms the day up enough, and flinging paint. Working on sculpture. There's a long-time pattern to this, one that says keep going, keep going, keep going. Make art while you're here.

So far, this has been one of my best art years: I still haven't had to go get a side job as bag-boy at the grocery store. Or beg friends to save me from the abyss: artists don't tend to own a lot (if any) stock, live rich, or think like bankers do. I don't. I have no stock, retirement, or silver spoon. No one's ever left me a trust or legacy. I'm it. So far, the dog gets fed, I try to get fed, buy a few plants for the garden and pay my bills. The mortgage payment looms monthly, but there we go, keepin' on. Thank you, universe. Gratitude never fades.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Loving The World

"My work is loving the world. Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness." ~ Mary Oliver
"Summer Wind", 12" x 24": Bonnie Joy Bardos

"Into the Mystic", 12" x 36" (sold): Bonnie Joy Bardos