A Race to the Finish Line—Will She Finish These Paintings?

Here it is, the Tuesday before the Oracle Artist Studio Tour and I am still painting.

It’s not that I don’t have plenty of work to show, but my goal has been to complete a group of water paintings with Lake Powell as the subject for the Tour. I am the Artist of the Month at the Powell Museum in Page for the month of June and I’ve been working on a series of 7 paintings specifically located at Lake Powell which will be part of the exhibit. So in order to motivate myself, I’ve set the Studio Tour as a goal for completing this group.

Plus I want to have 3 new flower paintings to show for the Studio Tour. Two are ready. The one below is far from done, so I think it’s going to have to make an official appearance sometime later.

Here’s a snapshot of the 3 lurking paintings:

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Wish me luck. And come visit to see if I met my goal. Next Saturday & Sunday, April 16 & 17, 10am-5pm each day. Studio #12!

Oracle Artist Studio Tour—April 16 & 17!

The Oracle Artist Studio Tour is coming up oh-so-soon, on April 16 & 17th from 10am-5pm each day. 44 artists will be showing their work at 17 locations. Studio #12 is my studio, shared for this event with Jim!

Jim will be showing his new series of landscape photographs of the Colorado Plateau and will have information and products available about his ongoing US Route 89 project. I’ll be showing my new water paintings as well as flower paintings from my new series.

Acrylic painting on canvas 36x36

Tracery     Acrylic painting on canvas      36×36     2016

We’ll both have cards, small as well as large works, and other exciting stuff for you to enjoy looking at and for purchase.

Purple signs will lead you to the Welcome Center on American Avenue (the main drag in Oracle) just across from the Fire Station. Brochures will be available with a maps noting studio locations. Or you can download the information on the Oracle Artist Studio Tour website. The Welcome Center will have artwork on display from each artist, providing a great opportunity to plan your visit according to your interests. Each studio will be marked by purple signs with studio numbers to make navigating simple.

This is our 7th year participating in the studio tour. It’s great fun for us. As you tour, you’ll meet interesting artists and see some spectacular work. Oracle is a lovely little town at 4500 ft. elevation, with oak and mesquite trees and great views. Many of the studios are tucked away where you’d ordinarily never be aware of them—a treasure hunt.

And a final incentive to visiting my studio is: homemade cookies and brownies and guacamole and chips (if the avocados cooperate and ripen at the right time).

OAST '16

Shortest Blog Post Ever or What I Got at Pei Wei

Chowing down on Chinese food this weekend, on the way to an art opening at Etherton Gallery in downtown Tucson, I just couldn’t wait until I was done eating to open my fortune cookie. Here’s what I got:

Fortune Cookie

I got more art in my life by going to see the excellent photography show at Etherton. And now I’m going to get more art in my life by getting off this computer and spending the next 5 hours painting.

A Trip to the Golden Goose Thrift Shop Results in Studio Reorganization

All we were looking for were a few gardening tools during a recent visit to the Golden Goose, a local thrift shop. Didn’t find any. But I did stumble on an odd contraption—a former display kiosk made of clear Plexiglass with movable Plexi shelves on four sides. I have no idea what it was originally intended to display. My mind raced.

I have lots of art supplies. My acrylic paints, gels, pastes and related items (all Golden acrylics of course) were stored in baskets on wire shelves. All in a jumble. More than once I’ve gone into a panic when something I needed wasn’t there, ordered it and had it arrive after desperately waiting for delivery only to find a brand new jar or tube or bottle of the very same item hidden at the bottom of the basket.

This display kiosk seemed like the perfect solution—clear, compact and transparent storage. Out came my credit card and before I knew it we were loading my new acquisition into the car. A stop on at the local Tractor Store yielded just the right castors to attach to the base. Back in my studio Jim attached the castors while I got out the Windex and cleaned all the shelves.

Next came the Domino Effect. A total restructuring of my studio (again). It took several days of concerted effort to figure out how to reorganize everything since getting the paint supplies out of the shelves of baskets resulted in empty shelves of baskets. Now what to do with these? More reshuffling. And more…

I’m excited about the end result. The most important part of this reorganization is that I expanded my painting area. Gradually the part of the studio in which I paint has shrunk as my workshop organization and office space has expanded. With the Plexiglass kiosk I was able to consolidate painting supplies. And get rid of ineffective storage. I expanded my painting space to take up fully 2/3 of my studio. It’s now much easier to move around in and much more inviting. By making more space for painting, I created a visual reminder of my commitment to making art.

BKCstudio_160229-7Plexiglass storage is at the far left. This and the wire rack next to it form a visual barrier to the workshop prep/office space portion of my studio. Makes it easier to ignore all that stuff I “should” be doing instead of painting.

 

BKCstudio_160229-6A view of  the whole studio. Beyond the Plexi and wire rack are my consolidated workshop prep area and office space.

And now it’s time to paint!

Multi-tasking is My Middle Name

My studio is a mess. Or maybe it’s a beehive of activity. There’s a method to my madness but I’m not always clear what it is. I’m currently preparing for 3 workshops and working on 10 paintings.

Do you ever have that thing where when you’re short of money you are compelled to go out and buy a lot of stuff? Totally irrational. When I’m short on time to paint I have a similar impulse. I keep starting new paintings. I guess you could gauge how short-changed I feel in the time-for-painting department by how many paintings I’m working on.

One of the workshops I’m preparing for is a color workshop next week. The photo shows the neat part. There are 4 other tables covered in stuff to sort through and figure out how to organize.

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There’s a table with 2 paintings that I’ve barely started. I applied a Light Molding Paste texture and then several washes to each one. See below. You’ll have to check back to see what these turn out to be…

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Below are 2 more paintings at roughly the same stage. The second one down has a few additional layers of washes.

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Then there are 3 small paintings on paper. I’ve been working on these for way too long. They have so many layers, the paper has gotten heavy. I’m hoping to get these done sooner rather than later.

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Here’s the array of 7 paintings on various surfaces.

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Below are paintings which have graduated to the easel.

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A flower painting just to keep me on my toes.

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It’s possible that this one is close to being done. At any rate, I’m stuck on it for the moment.

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An overview of the work on my easel, below.

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Plus, I just finished a redo. Below is the former Shoreline. I thought it was done. Jim photographed it. I added it to my records, my online website gallery and various online galleries. It was hanging on the wall in my studio. I just didn’t like it. It was driving me crazy. So one day a month or so ago, I took it off the wall, marched it outside and proceeded to sand it down.

Acrylic painting on panel 12x12

 

After way too long, I think it’s finally done. Voila! The new Shoreline.

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Please don’t say you like the old one better!

A Fresh Start, Newest Paintings, 2016!

Last spring my sister and I spent four days together at a beach in Northern California. It was a wonderful time.  On one of the days we hiked along a cliff overlooking the ocean. I love the rough waters crashing into the rocks below. But what caught my eye were the flowers growing in profusion along the pathway and into the fields. Even on vacation, my eyes don’t stop working. When we got back to the hotel, I couldn’t get those flowers out of my mind. On our last day, we went back to the same area so that I could see them again. I took a bunch of snapshots.

I was compelled to create paintings about these flowers. I have no idea what they are (some are varieties of iceplant, I think). I envisioned each of them as having distinct personalities and didn’t bother with botanical accuracy. It was a fun challenge to switch gears and figure out how to capture what fascinated me.

At the same time that I was working on the flowers, I was continuing to paint water. Plus there were workshops to teach and other business to take care of, as well as the Golden Conference in Miami in December (see previous 3 posts). I worked on the flower paintings off and on for close to six months.

Jim photographed them last week. That means they’re finished.

Acrylic painting on panel 36x36

Fiesta     Acrylic painting on panel      36″x 36″     $2800

 

Acrylic painting on panel 20x60

Flower Fest    Acrylic painting on canvas   20″x 20″     $2600

 

Below are three water paintings in progress.

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Just started the one on the left. The middle painting was finished, didn’t like it, so I sanded it way back and am going to do something (?) with it. The one on the right still needs lots of work.

Part 3 of Barbara’s Adventures at Art Basel Miami…

Well, I knew they had to be famous. In my last post I showed a photo of a couple who were very imposing, had a presence even in the crowds leaving Art Basel Miami. My Golden Artist Colors Conference friend, artist Bianka Guna contacted me and said she thought the couple was Jerry Staltz and Roberta Smith, only two of the best known art critics in the country (world?).  I immediately googled them and I think Bianka is right!

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Below are photos of paintings from Day 3, Saturday. The buses took us back to the Wynwood District. It was raining hard (again) so I made a beeline to Context and Art Miami again (see 2 posts back for more photos of these venues). I knew from conversations with others that I’d missed a lot of artwork during my first visit. And I had. Below is a (random) selection of what I saw:

IMG_0608Alex Katz, White Impatiens, screenprint

 

IMG_0614Jane Hammond, Spiral Vase with Oriental Poppy, unique botanical collage with lithography, linocut, relief printing, digital printing, colored pencil, watercolor & gouache, hand cut and assembled

 

IMG_0621Sam Francis, Untitled, acrylic on paper

 

IMG_0632This installation was the center of a lot of attention. I think it’s by Mr. Brainwash, Street Pop artist Thierry Guetta. Please correct me if I’m wrong!

 

IMG_0635Visitors and gallerist with what I’m pretty sure is a Charles Burwell painting in the background.

 

IMG_0637Charles Burwell, Harmony in Red-Small Square, acrylic on canvas

 

IMG_0640Grace Hartigan, Saint George & the Dragon, oil on linen

 

IMG_0651Robert Motherwell, I.H. Series No. 22, acrylic, mixed media & ink on paper

 

IMG_0653Joan Mitchell, Untitled, watercolor on paper

I decided to have lunch in the cafe at Context—Miami Art since I was starving and feeling a bit woozy from all that art. Not to mention it was pouring rain outside. It was bustling but I found an empty table and settled in to eat my lunch. A woman approached and asked if she could share the table. We proceeded to have a conversation. What an amazing person! Sara Baldwin is the founder/director of New Ravenna Mosaics. A bit of her backstory is that she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in painting. During this time she created a mosaic piece. Several years later she dreamed up the idea of starting a mosaic company as a way to use her art background in a practical way. She started New Ravenna Mosaics with a handful of artisans as a cottage industry. Roughly 20 years later, the company employs 130 people and occupies 3 city blocks in the historic district of Exmore, VA. The company specializes in custom mosaics in stone and glass. They are beautiful and so is she.

By the time we were done eating, the rain had tapered off. Since I had a raincoat on, I decided to risk the walk to the Rubell Family Collection, which had an exhibition of women artists called No Man’s Land. I failed to take any photos (actually I wasn’t sure if I was allowed). If you’re interested you can click on the link to get a feel for the exhibit.

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I left the exhibit and outside guess what? It was pouring again and I stood with an ever growing crowd waiting for the rain to let up. When it seemed to simmer down, I made a run for it back to Context. By the time I got there, everything from my knees down was sopping wet. Just as I arrived it started pouring. Inside was a scene similar to Thursday evening (see 2 posts back). There was water flooding onto the floors and dripping starting at some of the roof seams of the tents. A huge crowd of people were gathered at the entry lobby waiting for the rain to calm down. I waited there too, as I’d arranged to meet my Golden friend Vicki Siegel (see last post). Sure enough she showed up right on time. Her husband picked us up (a knight in shining armor) in his car. He was kind enough to fight the traffic and take me on a tour of Wynwood’s famous mural scene.

IMG_0675Could this be a famous artist?

IMG_0683This pocket park is surrounded by murals—Wynwood Walls—with murals by Banksy, Shepard Fairey and more.

IMG_0694Murals were everywhere…

Next up was the opening of the Square Foot Exhibition at the Projects Gallery, which was just across the street from the Hausmmann Gallery (above). Frank Hyder, artist and owner of Projects Gallery started this exhibit 3 years ago, organized to coincide with Art Basel. About 400 12″ x 12″ paintings/wall sculptures were on display salon style showing an international group of artists and including a group of about 50 of the Golden artists. My painting wasn’t on display here because it had been chosen for the Projects Gallery Aqua Miami space (see previous post).

IMG_0711In case you’re wondering the blank spaces are either some of the 24 paintings at the Aqua location or have been sold.

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Frank Hyder‘s studio is adjacent to the gallery and he had it open for visitors. It was great to have a chance to see his work in person—always fun to snoop around artist’s studios.

IMG_0742 (1)Work table, the guts of the operation.

IMG_0743Snapshots of segments of several pieces.

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IMG_0748Hyder’s illuminated wall paintings are mesmerizing

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I couldn’t get back far enough in the studio to photograph all of this inflatable sculpture. It’s made of nylon and paint and is part of The Janis Project which has a fascinating story behind it and a great 4 minute video.

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We got back to the hotel, through the rain, via the coach bus.

It was an amazing week and I was ready to go home! Getting home involved getting up at 3am to catch the shuttle to the airport. The sunrise out the plane window made it almost worth it.

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Many thanks to Golden Artist Colors, Mark & Barbara Golden, Patti Brady, Pat Pirrone and the many others in the Golden family who made the Golden Gathering Conference and Art Basel Miami experience possible.  Thanks also to the Arizona Commission on the Arts for the Professional Development Grant. The trip was supported in part by a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts which receives support from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts.

All Day Friday at the Art Fair—Scope, Art Basel Miami and Aqua Art Miami Art Miami

Friday morning, with sore feet from Thursday afternoon and evening at Context & Miami Art, we (the group from the Golden Conference) faced a full day of art viewing with anticipation, decked out in more comfortable shoes and plenty of band-aids. A small group of us were lucky to be guided by Vicki Siegel, who lives in the area and goes to Art Basel Miami and its’ satellite fairs every year. She worked out a route that made sense geographically and saved us a lot of time. The strategy at each venue was to split up when we got there and meet back at a designated location at a designated time. It worked really well. Many thanks, Vicki! Our first stop was Pulse Miami Beach.

At Pulse:

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A rest area provided by Hyperallergic, an excellent daily e-news publication about current art issues and events. I admit that I sat on one of the couches for a few minutes in order to rest my feet. Below are some of the paintings that caught my eye.

IMG_0419 Michele Ross, Upend, mixed media

 

IMG_0423Ann Hamilton, Needle in the Time-stack, paperback, wood slices, bookbinders adhesive

 

IMG_0427Tegne Kunbi (no title or media on the label)

 

IMG_0432Edward Burtynsky, Morenci Mine #2, Clifton, AZ, C-Print

 

IMG_0435Joan Snyder, Big Blue Two, oil, acrylic, papier-mache, herbs & seeds on linen

 

IMG_0450Judy Pfaff, Untitled, mixed media collage

 

IMG_0455Diane Samuels, “They left a great, wide wake…”, Ink on handmade paper

This piece is hung on the wall and then partially rolled out on the floor. Every line from Moby Dick (hence the title) is written below each stripe. The writing is so small you can barely make it out even inches away from the piece.

IMG_0458Detail of “They left a great, wide wake…”

 

IMG_0445Spot, 44,000 Lego blocks (and me) A never ending supply of animal crackers in the red dog bowl was part of the installation. I scored a box. And ate it all later for lunch.

The next stop was Art Basel. This is the big one. Jam- packed with people. The atmosphere was pretty frenzied with gallery officials on their phones making deals, sold paintings taken off the walls and being crated right there, with new paintings put up to replace the sold ones. I have no idea how many millions of dollars worth of artwork is sold during this 5-day time period.

IMG_0496Entrance to Art Basel, located in the Miami Convention Center

IMG_0517David Hockney, Three Deck Chairs, acrylic on canvas

 

IMG_0537Eric Fischl, The Disconnect, oil on linen

 

IMG_0547Charles Burchfield, watercolor and gouache on paper

 

IMG_0550Jane Hammond, Dock, acrylic paint on mica over plexiglass with silver, gold, copper and palladium leaf

 

IMG_0552Sean Scully, Yellow Junction, oil on canvas and steel

 

IMG_0557Mary Heilmann, Reds, oil on canvas

 

IMG_0559Camille Henrot, Overlapping Figures, bronze, plaster, wood & bricks

 

IMG_0566Exiting from Art Basel. I had a feeling the couple in black (woman with black hat) were famous…anyone recognize them?

 

IMG_0567A few people resting their feet in the lobby at Art Basel

From Art Basel, we went to Aqua Art, the sister satellite fair to Art Miami and one of the venues located in a classic South Beach hotel. In this case it’s a 2-story place with a central courtyard including fountains and a pool. It was quite a scene—lots of energy, lots of younger people. By the time we got there it was close to 5 pm.

IMG_0576Courtyard looking towards the back. There were 46 galleries located to the right and left and upstairs from the courtyard. 28 cities and 10 countries were represented. Over the 5-day event 10,500 people were in attendance.

 

IMG_0594Entrance to Pele Prints gallery space.

 

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Entry sign to Projects Gallery. The artwork above is one of Frank Hyder’s illuminated wall paintings. Hyder is an artist and owner of Projects Gallery which has a permanent location in the Wynwood District of Miami and a temporary space at Aqua Art Miami. And WOW is right.

 

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Patti Brady (on my right) and I along with Christina Forster-Ramos (all from the Golden group) had paintings chosen from the Projects Gallery Square Foot exhibit at the permanent gallery location in the Wynwood District to be shown at the Aqua Arts Projects Gallery temporary exhibit. Patti’s painting is just above us, with the scalloped edges. Christina’s painting is to my left—the girl holding the umbrella. And my painting (water scene with dock) is just below. See the red dot by the lower right corner of Christina’s painting? The painting sold. My had a red dot, too, but my jacket is covering it. And shortly after we left Patti’s painting sold, too.

Tomorrow, the rest of the story…

Barbara’s Big Adventure—Conference and Art in Miami—Part 1

Several weeks ago I traveled to Miami. To be precise, I was in Fort Lauderdale at the Hilton Beach Hotel attending a Golden Artist Colors Company Conference. Not counting the day of travel each way, about half the week was devoted to workshops, lectures and eating. Yes the food was excellent! The other half of the time was spent in and around Miami looking art at various venues of Art Basel Miami.

There were 77 Golden Artist Educators and Golden Working Artists at the Conference from all over the world (literally). With participants from Western Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, the Netherlands, London, Canada and more, as well as from all over the United State, there were many interesting personal stories as well as insights into different cultures and ways of making art (and making a living making art). I made an effort to sit next to different people both during workshops and meals in order to get to know as many people as I could. In addition to first-rate workshops and lectures the opportunity to network with and learn from fellow artist/teachers was invaluable. The whole experience was amazing.

Below are several images from Marsha Staiger’s excellent workshop, Creative Momentum. It was the first of the workshops I took and alas, the only one in which I remembered to take a few photos.

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IMG_0153Those of you who take classes/workshops from me in the future will benefit from what I learned at this conference, from new ways to approach various acrylic and other products, to ways to encourage creativity, organize materials and use new-to-me tools.

Thursday afternoon after the last workshop and lunch, we boarded a bus (arranged by Golden) to go to Miami to experience Art Basel Miami, one of the largest art fairs in the world. I spent that afternoon and evening, all day Friday and Saturday looking at art. Art Basel Miami is huge, with many different satellite venues as well as the main event at the Miami Convention Center.

I loved being able to get close up to artwork that belongs in a museum setting, observe the wheeling and dealing going on between the sellers and collectors, and watching the crowds of people. Photography was allowed everywhere! I took about 500 photos on my new iPhone, mostly of artwork and some of people.

From Context and Art Miami Thursday afternoon and evening:

IMG_0172Jacob Hashimoto  The Backbone of Night   Paper, wood, acrylic & Dacron

 

IMG_0201 (1)Frank Stella—there were tons of Frank Stella pieces at every venue both 3-d and 2-d

 

IMG_0227Esteban Vincente    Overjoyed   Oil on canvas

 

IMG_0239Pierre Bonnard   La Lande   Oil on canvas

 

IMG_0242Johannes Schranim   Wasserlinie 2    Oil on canvas

 

IMG_0262Jim Dine     Chartres, 2nd Version     Woodcut with lithograph

 

IMG_0343Kazuko Inoue     Untitled (000021)     Acrylic on canvas

 

IMG_0324Gallery officials grabbing a quick bite to eat.

 

IMG_0370There was quite a bit of drama on Thursday evening. It rained. A lot. The torrential rains were thunderously loud in this huge tent. The rain went on and on and then…leaks. Water was seeping and then flowing under the walls, and dripping from seams in the roof. Imagine—millions of dollars of artwork in a leaky tent. As far as I know nothing was damaged. I heard that 5 inches of rain fell in a couple of hours—don’t know if that’s accurate but it sure seemed like that much rain.

 

IMG_0415Eventually it was time to get back to the bus (around 9pm) on Thursday. Here’s the scene outside, bumper to bumper traffic and ankle deep water. Did I have an umbrella with me or a raincoat? Well, no. They were in my hotel room.

The photos I took while I was in Miami were of any artwork that caught my eye. I thought maybe I’d see a pattern in the photos. Thought I’d get some insight into my unconscious artistic taste/interests. But alas, couldn’t find any rhyme or reason. So I did the same with the paintings posted here—just spun through photos from Thursday and picked some. So if you’re looking for a pattern…there isn’t one. Or maybe there is and I just don’t see it.

I plan on doing another post or two on visits to Art Basel Miami on Friday & back to the Wynwood District on Saturday to see more art in that area. Check back in a few days if you’re interested.

The Wonders of Technology—A Calendar to Welcome in the New Year

I’ve had a problematic relationship with technology over the years, but I admit that wonderful things can come of learning to master little bits of what technology has to offer. Certainly for an artist, websites offer a great way for people from anywhere and everywhere to see the work and learn about the artist. I’m happy to be able to upload photographs of my artwork, blog about what I’m up to and reach out to people. By inviting people into my world, I’m able to show the reality of what it’s like to be a working artist, at least for me.

On the other hand, no sooner do I think I have a handle on some new computer maneuver and there’s an upgrade. Everything changes and I’m back to square one, learning all over again. If you refuse to do the upgrade, little by little everything mysteriously stops working. And if you’re me, you just assume that you’re going crazy. Then you do the upgrade and battle with learning all the new stuff all over again.

What this blog post is really about is one of the wonderful things possible with technology (and having a tech savvy husband generous enough to keep helping me over & over again). That wonderful thing is print-on-demand.

2016 Painting Water CalendarOnce upon a time, in the dark ages, if I wanted to create a calendar with images of my paintings I’d have to design it, lay it out and get it ready for the printer. Then I’d have to fund the production of a large number of calendars–the more calendars, the cheaper the printing. Then I’d have all these calendars that I’d figure out how to sell. This process would take weeks (maybe even months) and a lot of money and risk.

But with print-on-demand, I can decide which paintings to include, pick a template, have Jim do all the hard work of getting the dates, holidays etc. correct and figure out all the sizing and formatting. Once everything is assembled in the correct size and format, all the information is sent on-line to the on-demand company.  Then I put a link on my blog post. And if you would like to look at the calendar and perhaps purchase one, the link is right below. The company (Blurb) will print the calendar(s), and send it/them out within days.

Below is a gallery of the paintings in the calendar. Click on the first image to enlarge.

The calendars are $12 each plus shipping. Click below to go the the printer’s website and order your calendars.

2016 Painting Water Calendar

2016 Painting Water Calendar

2016 Painting Water calendar-Acrylic paintings by Barbara Kemp Cowlin of water with reflections, ripples, sparkling light with many colors.

Find out more on MagCloud