|Orlemann Art - the artwork of Valerie Orlemann|
|Orlemann Art - the artwork of Valerie Orlemann|
Wow, I've been gone a while. Since my last post I did a lot of painting. And several shows. But then I was diagnosed with cancer, had major surgery, and radiation treatments. Somehow the desire to blog evaporated. Well. Here I am again.
In the aftermath of treatment, I was a wreck. Tired, in pain. And painting badly. A kindly friend made it her mission to get me out painting again. It was hard. It hurt. Still does, some. But after a couple of months I started being able to turn out a good painting or two. Then I did a solo exhibit featuring my new work. It went really well. Then weariness set in. I've been through a few cycles of post surgical depression, so I assume it was more of the same. My kind friend has moved on, so this time I have allowed myself to relax. I paint a little--I have a huge supply of unfinished plein air paintings to clean up--but I'm also enjoying time with my husband and daughter, biking, hiking, cooking, doing a little gardening. I'm doing a lot of thinking, trying to recover my sense of joy and purpose in life and in art. Some of those thoughts may make it into this blog.
My husband (an active blogger) warned me that I shouldn't start a blog unless I meant to keep it up. Otherwise my readers would think I'd died. Well, it's been a while since my last post, but I'm alive and well. And painting. I felt derailed over the holidays. Too much to do, making and mailing gifts, baking, traveling. Then the new year brought the flu. Dang. Art resumed slowly. A little plein air here, a little studio work there. My latest work celebrates spring in my garden. Available at Artisans Gallery.
The Cedar Breaks paintout ended with just enough time for an end-of-summer road trip. We went to Colorado Springs to visit our friends the Bensons. Ellen and I hit the road with plenty of junk food. When we got to the Springs, the Bensons entertained Ellen while I explored and painted the beautiful Garden of the Gods, some ten minutes away from our hosts' home. The Garden involves rows of huge sandstone ridges, jutting like sharks' fins from the foothills below Pikes' Peak. They are crazy-looking, lovely pieces of rock and are beloved by the people of Colorado Springs. So beloved that it's hard finding a place to park if you want to get out and paint them. I tried early (plenty of parking), mid-day (no luck) and late (some spaces opening up). This is an afternoon painting from the east side. Reflected light makes the shadows hot with color, and the westering sun still lights up the edges.
Cedar Breaks National Monument is having its first plein air (outdoor) painting event. I'm one of the painters chosen to be up there painting for the month of July, along with J. Brad Holt and Mary Jabens. Good company! Yay! Please come to the art exhibit and sale July 31 and August 1 at the Giant Steps Lodge in Brian Head. No purchase necessary, just come and see the art. It should be great.
Now for the adventure. Cedar Breaks is beautiful, so painting up there seems reasonable. However, there have been complications. Like the altitude---10,000 feet. Think of normal weather in July in Utah--monsoons, wind, thunderstorms, hail. Then picture that weather up there. It's been a little violent. Painting halted abruptly on the fourth of July when an epic deluge hit. Painters, bikers, hikers--pretty much everybody---dashed for whatever cover they could find. It took two trips to get my gear to the car, and I was soaked through before I could drive away. Then there was the time I was painting on the Ramparts Trail one fine, somewhat windy morning when I turned my back for a moment. In that moment, my easel---complete with paint thinner, brushes and a couple tubes of paint----was blown over the edge. I watched in horror as the easel launched and jar of thinner rolled down the vertiginous slope, bouncing gaily over small cliff bands. It just kept going. It may be washed down to Cedar City some day. Fortunately for me, I was able to reach a leg of the easel and haul it up. A passing hiker with a good head for heights edged down a slope that made my knees weak and retrieved my paints and brushes. I was profoundly grateful, but still a mile from the parking lot with no paint thinner. Darn it. I found a more sheltered spot a bit farther from the edge and painted un-thinned.
The Sears Museum Gallery at Dixie State University is running an exhibit of square artwork, measuring 12"x12". The exhibit is entitled " 1x1". I have spent most of my art life working on a rectangle, so square-ness seemed like a worthy challenge. Here is one of my entries.
This little painting made me happy. Yesterday. Today I decided that it was not what I wanted, so I wiped it out. I used to feel that painting over or wiping out a painting was admiting defeat. Now it feels empowering. I will NOT burden myself with art I don't like. So there.
It's cloudy and gray again. I find it hard to get going on a gray Saturday. So I was still in my pajamas until around 10:00 am. But my procrastination did not include painting. I was in my studio, touching up a plein air painting from yesterday when I realized that it said something odd about me that I was painting in my pajamas.
I am initiating this blog because I want somewhere to post my thoughts and art activities. Somewhere that will be out of the way of everyone except those few who want to know what I am thinking and doing. So, welcome here.