Friday, September 3, 2010

I Think I'm Back

I’m back!! At least I think I am.
Sadly, I have been “missing in action” for quite awhile. I really have been busy with so many other things, though that excuse is not exactly legitimate. I know there are people out there who faithfully blog and they’re every bit as busy as I am, or maybe even more so. Of course, I have battled some health problems, too, but I suppose most people have to do that too, IF they’re mortals.
Anyway—on to something else.
The art part of my “arts-and-scribbles” has been going pretty well, though how would you know? The “scribbles” part—the writing, including this blog and my other writing—have suffered from a sad case of neglect for awhile. In fact, I’ve done well just to try to keep up with my journal, and I’ve been doing a daily journal since 1976. Okay, I don’t know for sure where I’m going with this, with my lame excuse list, that is, but I’m going to try very hard to keep things up better.
It does feel good to have written this very short blog. I will have more of my art news next time. It’s been fun and exciting.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Writers Conference

I had the awesome experience of attending my fourth LDStormakers Writing Conference on April 24 and 25, 2009. I came home literally exhausted but with my brain stuffed full of inspiration and knowledge and a heart full of hope.

These people are true artists in every sense of the word. Words are art. They create visual images, a gamut of emotions, and, if used in the way the Lord expects of us, they can inspire others and drive them forward in their deepest hopes and dreams.

My personal definition of a true artist is someone who has learned their craft through sacrifice, hard work and tears and is then willing to sacrifice even more by nurturing those who come behind them and may someday be their own competitors.

At the conference, I had a private conversation, about this very subject, with a much published LDStorymaker author, Josi Kilpack, whom I admire greatly.

I thanked her for her generosity in helping us aspiring authors. She was gracious about it and made a comment about how it was necessary for her. Necessary? To help someone who might one day take your place?

To me that is a true artist and I am forever grateful to have come across so many of them in both my writing and my art.

I asked a very talented painting mentor of mine what I could ever do to repay him for his time and sacrifice in my behalf.

His answer?

"Share what you know with someone else. That will pay me back."

Oh, I do hope, someday, to be a TRUE artist. I want to be that generous with my knowledge and see someone else reach their aspirations, even if they turn out to be a much better artist than I am.

Then I will get my own "payback."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"Morning Shadows -- Silver Meadow" by Hazel Jensen

Quote from John F. Carlson in

"Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting"

"Power, whether physical or mental (or "artistic") comes from the exercising of the God-given faculties. It is difficult to go forward, but the backward slide comes with no effort. Or, to put it differently, when effort is relaxed we retrogress, whether we will or no. All this does not mean that by mere hard work, or by merely growing old, one can become anything desired. There are men who work and grub incessantly, work so hard they have not time to see! A deserving but pitiful state. The inspirational and impressional moments are shut out.

The true artist works rather in great gusts of effort, and in smaller gusts of apparent lassisitude. He is not lying about 'waiting for some inspiration.' He is in the travail of the dreamer entering into expression."

Preparing for an Art Show

This past week I have been working on two new paintings for an art show at the Western Heritage Museum and Gallery in Vernal, Utah. It will be on display from March 3rd to the 27th.
It's nerve-racking to prepare for a show, but it also gives me a real rush.
It feels so good to choose that perfect reference photo (one I or my husband have have taken, so I can view it on the computer screen in my studio), pick out just the right sized canvas, set it onto the easel, set a brand new palette and start playing in the paint. Time ceases to exist and away I go on a wonderful adventure, all the while thinking,"This is the one. This is going to be my best painting ever."
Kellie Buckner, a fellow writer, said on her blog, that her Bestseller
novel is always in some stage of development.
That's how I feel about every painting I begin. Yet, when I get it finished, even if I am fairly happy with the results and someone else likes it enough to lay out their hard-earned money to purchase it, I always know that it isn't quite my "bestseller." Not yet.
Disappointing? Yes, a little.
But when I begin the next painting tomorrow or the next day or the next (I have to have at least one in the works all the time), I will be in the same frame of mind I was in when I began my last one. Even if that one is better than any of my others, it will never measures up to the painting I saw in my mind. But -- if it WAS perfect -- would I still want to paint? Would I think to myself, "Wow! I did it! Now I can stop painting."
No. I would most likely say to myself,
"Wow! I did it! But can I do it again?"
Actually, I think it's good to always have the ideal of perfection in our minds to keep us ever reaching for progress. That principle works for life and all the other achievements we pursue. But we must never let that ideal discourage or disuade us. That would be the worst outcome to striving for perfection.
What amazes me is that I see perfection in someone else's painting.
My friend and mentor, A. D. Shaw, does PERFECT paintings all the time. But why, after creating hundreds of fantastic paintings, does he say he's still striving for that perfect painting?
I think our obsessions to create perfect art are terminal conditions.
Actually, I hope they are. What a wonderful way to go.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

First Time Playing Tag

When I took the photo for this painting the temperature
was minus 15 degrees F.
I did not do this painting en plein air

* * * * * * * *

I have been tagged by Cindy Beck. I hope this works.
I am suppose to tell 25 (or less?) random things about myself.
Then I tag 25 (or less?) people and link to them. So here goes.
1. I am married to the greatest Valentine in the world. We have spent 44 Valentine Days together except for one (while he was on active duty). He's definitely the one
I want to spend eternity with.
2. My family is the most important thing in my life.
3. I am a pushover for children and will always take their side in any situation.
4. Mountains feel, to me, nearly as reverent as temples.
5. I dearly love plein air painting. It gives me a wonderful sense of freedom and joy.
6. I -- like Cindy -- am a dog lover and have been blessed with several of them. They have enriched my life greatly. Having never purchased a papered dog (one someone else names) I love to take a week or more finding the perfect name. Then I hardly ever call them that, but substitute some dear little nickname I find when I know them better. Examples: Sandi=Sami Jo; Chico=Beaker; and Trixie=Mrs. a-Whiggins (remember her on the Carol Burnett show?) Strange maybe, but it works for us.
7. I am and always have been, an optimist. It's so much easier, but drives some people crazy.
8. I have a story published in the book "Forged in the Refiners Fire: co-authored by Candace Salima and Elizabeth Cheever. I appreciated them giving me this opportunity.

So there are 8 things. More might be boring.

I am going to tag: Joyce DiPastena; Christine Bryant; Ronda Hindrichsen; Karen Hoover; Carol Morse and Rachelle Christensen (then she can see if I did this right.).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Being an Artist: A Blessing or a Curse?

My friend, Barbara, a fellow artist, and I were having a discussion one day about our art. We were both discouraged at the time and quite stressed about getting ready for a big show and neither one of us were feeling well at the time.

One of us made the comment, “Maybe we should pray about being artists. If we’re not supposed to do it, why can’t Heavenly Father remove from us this awful drive to paint?” Then the other said, “Is having this talent a blessing or just a curse?”

I hate to admit it, but there are times I look around and think, “Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to get a project finished by a deadline? Not to have to spend so much money on painting supplies? To have lots of leisure time to do some of the things other people my age do?”

Yes, I know. That is called “judging” another person and their life, but there are times I feel just a little bit envious. A little bit? No, if I’m going to confess, sometimes it is more than a little bit. I always—rain or shine, ill or well, stressed or not—have this awful drive to create art.

My friend and I both said, at almost the same time, “I’d stop painting, but I can’t NOT do it!”

We both laughed—at ourselves and every other poor artist who has the same problem.

The very next morning, around 4:30 a.m., I had this wonderful idea for a new painting. Oh, I could just visualize it and felt that wonderful surge of—well, whatever it is—engulfing my mind and heart and I couldn't wait to get dressed and into the studio to begin creating it. This truly was going to be my very best yet.

Could this be inspiration? I was absolutely sure of it.

So … there I was, out in my studio before sunrise, putting a Vivaldi cd into my stereo, whipping out my brushes, squeezing that delicious, creamy paint onto my palette and setting a new blank canvas onto my paint-spattered easel. Soon I was totally immersed in the magical, amazing joy of creating something that has never existed before.

Then what did I do?

I said a prayer to my Heavenly Father thanking Him for blessing me with this lovely, wonderful curse.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What a Wonderful World We Live In

I freeze a lot in winter. My circulation is either too slow or outdated or too skinny for my body, but whatever it is, I freeze a lot. In the winter one of my favorite possessions is my electric blanket. It is pure luxury to get into bed beneath my flannel sheets and kick my electric blanket onto pre-heat and send those shivers into oblivion. I don't know who invented electric blankets but when I get the chance to meet him, I'm definitely going to give him a big hug.

My favorite thing to do in winter (other than enjoying my electric blanket) is stepping out to see a dazzling world where drab scenes become wonderlands of light and blue shadows and even the weeds look like something out of heaven. I love to see those big, feathery, white flakes drift out of a white sky onto the cold, white ground. Could anything be more heavenly than that and the next day when the sun comes out and the whole world sparkles? Well, maybe, but only if it could be that dazzlingly beautiful and still be warm.

My husband says that with my health problems we should live in Arizona. I come right back with, "But I don't want to live in Arizona." Don't get me wrong, I love the desert and think it is beautiful. I also love the tropics and think they're beautiful, but I would hate to miss out on the magic of a winter day where I already live. So here we are, freezing.

The following photo was taken across the road from where we live. Love how the drab, old pasture turned dramatic with that fleeting moment of sunset light and the long, blue shadows. The following painting is called "Promise of Spring." Hope you enjoy them.

"Leftover Snow"

"Leftover Snow"
by Hazel Jensen (sold)

"Promise of Spring" by Hazel Jensen Winner of 2nd Place Award at the Lucille T. Stoddard Women's Art Show in Orem, Utah

Dry Fork Sentinels

Dry Fork Sentinels
by Hazel Jensen (sold)