New Home in France

I haven’t blogged here for a very, very long time. The reason is that my husband and I have been in the process of moving to France for a long while now. After years of planning and making many trips to France to explore various cities and towns, we finally arrived last fall and found a great apartment in the heart of our choice of cities – Aix-en-Provence. But it took two more trips back to our house in Austin to finish packing what stuff we wanted to bring with us and what stuff to have shipped, and then to get our house ready to sell.

In the meantime, I haven’t had much bandwidth to paint, nor have I had much in the way of art equipment and supplies. I’ve bought a few things here, but wow! – the cost of replacing a lot of the brushes, paints, and tools that I have been accumulating over the past approximately 4-5 decades seems astronomical compared to what I originally paid for things. I don’t know if that’s more related to time or to place.

On top of that, except for a couple of cameras, all the equipment I usually use for photographing my paintings is in our shipment, which is due to arrive – oh, maybe next month. Most of my office equipment isn’t here yet, either. And I need to buy a new easel for painting on canvas.

I have a good-sized room with a great balcony for my studio/office, and I did get a worktable, a desktop, some drawers, and a really nice chair – all from Ikea, which luckily delivers. I still need some shelves and storage equipment, but I’m planning on waiting until my art and photo stuff arrives so that I can try to make sure I get just the right configuration of furniture in which to organize my art stuff.

I left behind many of my paintings, drawings, and prints in Austin. A lot of them got re-homed during our estate sale, some are at Top Drawer Thrift in Austin (sales benefit Top Drawer, not me), and I do believe quite a few got thrown away. I packed most of my favorites, most of my smaller drawings, and my sketchbooks. I do hope French Customs doesn’t have a problem with that, as we have a lot of blank wall space waiting to be filled.

As I chose to come here on a retirement visa, I am not allowed to sell or give away any of my things for at least the first year after our things arrive. At present, I do not plan to change my visa to a Talent visa, which would allow me to practice my art professionally, but I do plan on continuing to paint, because…how could I not?

In the meantime, I have done some sketches and small works on paper, my favorite of which is this small painting inspired by Lee Bontecou’s sculptural ideas.

“Batterie Extraterrestre” – Watercolor pencils and watercolor on watercolor paper – 7.9″ x 7″

Several New Organics Watercolor Paintings

It’s been a while since I did any new Organics paintings, but I cranked out a few new ones this past week.  I started with an old one I hadn’t finished.  Here it is completed:

Organics 31 • Watercolor pencil on watercolor paper • 6″ x 5″ • © 2020 Marilyn Fenn

I then did another painting per day for the next few days, continuing to explore similar themes as those that originally motivated this series from quite a few years ago.  And here they are:

More posts of paintings to come in the near future. 🙂

Art Site Redesigned and Back Online

I am happy to announce that I have just completed a redesign of my main art site.  I am glad that it only took 3 days to redo the art site, while redesigning/revamping my blog (this one right here) took about 3 weeks!  For the first time in my 20+ years of making and designing websites, I’ve used themes NOT designed by me (which was another challenge in itself), but the days of making my own pixel-perfect themes is over.

I am uncertain at this point whether I will keep (and try to redesign) my art shop, however.  It is currently not working, and it could be easy or hard to get it back online.  We shall see.

Anyway, I’m happy with the new designs of both my blog and art site.  I hope you like them, too. 

Returning to the Blog

Wall of Paintings in Progress

It has been quite a while since I last blogged here.  At some point around five years ago, I came to realize that the whole cycle of painting and posting on social media had gotten out of hand — posting for a virtual reaction too soon to properly evaluate my paintings.  I wanted to begin creating again without the pressure of responding to other people’s opinions, so I decided to quit posting my work online for a while.  That while just happened to last a few years longer than I planned.

I’m back now!  I have just redesigned and rebuilt my original blog which already contained 10 years’ worth of posts and pictures, plus I added quite a few new galleries of photos from various art exhibits from Austin, the US, and Europe (with more still to be added as I edit the files).  I’m truly glad to have my blog back.  There’s a lot of good stuff here!  (YMMV).  I do hope you find something of value.

Next, I must get my fine art site and my art shop working…bear with me; it could take a while!

Fourth (and last, so far) in This Series

I Know We Canteloupe (But Honeydew Be Mine) 
Oil on panel  
12" x 10" 
© 2015 Marilyn Fenn
I Know We Canteloupe (But Honeydew Be Mine)
Oil on panel
12″ x 10″
© 2015 Marilyn Fenn

I do love this painting, and I have enjoyed creating this series. After these first four, however, my interests took a turn, which you will see in the coming days (if you stay tuned).

First of a New Series (in a Series of New Series)

Everybody Loves This One
Oil on Canvas
12″ x 10″
© 2015 Marilyn Fenn

Here is one of my first paintings of this year. Doing a lot of experimenting–trying different things. Some are working out great; some not so much. I am happy with this painting, though I’ve since started heading in another direction (or 10).  I’ve done about four paintings like this so far.  More to come tomorrow.

Some Paintings Tips that Have Helped Me a Lot!

Paintings in Waiting

A couple months ago, I found these great tips on making paintings which have helped me tremendously. I have found these to be immensely helpful in getting the critic off my shoulder while I try to create: a problem that’s been dogging me for years! Now I have a couple dozen new paintings that I will start sharing with you soon–warts and all–and more in the making.  Yay! 

Here’s the condensed version for the studio wall:

1. Quality through quantity.
2. Do NOT mix generating and editing.
3. When to judge: After you’ve completed a piece, look at it and decide what direction you want to go in next.
4. Don’t be afraid to re-use elements.
5. How to have “lots of ideas”: permute.
6. “Get through your first 50 failures as fast as you can.”
7. Don’t even bother “fixing” pieces.
8. Work fast. Creativity is exciting.
9. Let your level show.
10. Don’t hide your failures.

And here’s the link to the full version, from the Scarlet Letters blog: Notes on Making Art.

Falling and Recovery

Color Mini 2014-016
Oil on canvas
4″ x 4″
© 2014 Marilyn Fenn

I was never satisfied with the initial version of this painting, so I worked on it a bit last night.  I decided I very much liked the sense of stacked and possibly falling boxes on the right hand side of the painting (now turned 90° counterclockwise), so I worked to carry that theme throughout.  I’m pretty happy with it now.  It reminds me of the idea of pushing oneself off-balance, and then having to catch oneself—a falling and recovery, ala Merce Cunningham.

Here was the original version, which just didn’t quite make it:

Color Mini 2014-016
Oil on canvas
4″ x 4″
© 2014 Marilyn Fenn