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″

New Painting: Hare Skin Rug (Bugs Bunny)

"Hare Skin Rug" Oil on canvas 8" x 8" © 2011 Marilyn Fenn
“Hare Skin Rug” Oil on canvas 8″ x 8″ © 2011 Marilyn Fenn

Until my painting of Marvin the Martian a few days ago, I went nearly two weeks without painting (argh!) — quite an interruption in this almost daily schedule I’m trying to keep to.

We went to Oregon for a week, which was wonderful!  We went for my brother’s wedding and then traveled around just a bit down the coast: walked for hours on beaches in Cannon Beach and Newport, and from the balcony of our hotel room in Newport, we watched whales surfacing off in the distance under a sunset.  We saw a lot of art in Eugene and Portland and ate too much pretty good food.

It was also the first time we took an airplane in 6 years.  We are trying to reduce our carbon footprint, and so have been traveling by train since 2005, but as much as we prefer train travel, it just didn’t make sense for this trip.   The plane trips were not as bad as I feared; no crashes, no trouble with the TSA, no lost luggage, and only one really late flight (storms in Denver), though we did have to forfeit a bottle of water and a Leatherman.  The clouds were awesome, which I really enjoyed (I take lots of photos of clouds from planes whenever I do fly).

I also came down with the worst case of allergies I’ve ever had, which I’m finally almost over after two weeks.

Plus, I got an illustration gig while I was vacationing that required me to spend two 14-hour days upon our return drawing illustrations for a book publishing company in London (and two days in recovery from staying up late drawing with a mouse!).

So, I’m feeling the interruption, but trying to get back into the swing of things.  For this painting, I decided to paint something soft.   This is a small stuffed Bugs Bunny toy.  I used only 4 colors in this painting: white, cadmium red, thalo turquoise, and—just for the eyes—black.  I attempted to use very few, yet descriptive, brushstrokes; standing as far away from the easel as possible while still allowing my hand and brush to reach the canvas.  I think I succeeded in not overworking it, but did I underwork it?  I’m not totally sure.

New Painting: “You Earthlings Have Made Me Very Angry”

"You Earthlings Have Made Me Very Angry" Oil on canvas 8" x 8" © 2011 Marilyn Fenn
“You Earthlings Have Made Me Very Angry” Oil on canvas 8″ x 8″ © 2011 Marilyn Fenn

I love Marvin the Martian.  He’s probably my favorite cartoon character of all time (though Bugs Bunny is a very close contender, and some new 3D characters, such as Rango, are quite fabulous as well).  However, Marvin’s been with me since I was a kid.  I’ve drawn him, made a 3D model of him, made a tiny and very short animated 3D film of him with a spaceship of his (that I also designed and modeled), I’ve dressed as Marvin for Halloween, and now I’ve finally painted him.

I was hoping that if I painted a slightly larger object than the little 1.25″ – 1.5″ characters I painted before our vacation, it would help me loosen up some.  Maybe it did, a little; maybe not as much as I’d like.  I think I need to paint soft things next.  But I am very happy with how Marvin came out.  He does look almost exactly like the little plastic toy I used as a model.

Marvin is painted on a 1.25″ deep gallery-wrapped canvas, and this time, I’ve painted the sides the same blue as the negative space (or background).

New Painting: “I Got My Easter Egg!”

"I Got my Easter Egg!" - Organics Sketch 23 Watercolor crayons on Stonehenge paper 7.5" x 7.5" © 2011 Marilyn Fenn
“I Got my Easter Egg!” – Organics Sketch 23 Watercolor crayons on Stonehenge paper 7.5″ x 7.5″ © 2011 Marilyn Fenn

The title of this painting is from one of my favorite stories about my husband.  At his first Easter egg hunt, being quite little and new to this tradition, he found his first egg and declared, “I got my Easter egg!”  He didn’t realize he was supposed to keep looking to acquire yet more eggs.  This story is illustrative of the kind of person he is: never greedy, and always satisfied with just enough.  🙂

Three New Organics Paintings

"Organics Sketch #19" Acrylic on Stonehenge Paper 8" x 8" © 2010 Marilyn Fenn
“Organics Sketch #19″ Acrylic on Stonehenge Paper 8″ x 8” © 2010 Marilyn Fenn

I started this one a while back; I may continue to work on it some more. I’m not really happy with the colors just yet.

I worked on this one and did the two below while at The Vortex last weekend for the East Austin Studio Tour. Come watch me work on more little pieces this weekend, and maybe buy one or two. These are $50.00 each, and I have about 40 little works on paper like this, plus some sketches for less and larger paintings for more. 🙂 Also, if there’s any painting of mine you’d like to see in person while visiting The Vortex, let me know which one, so I can bring it with me. I hope to see you there!

Organics Sketch 20
Organics Sketch 20 · Watercolor Media on Stonehenge Paper · 8″ x 8″ · © 2010 Marilyn Fenn
Organics Sketch 21
Organics Sketch 21 · Watercolor Media on Stonehenge Paper · 8″ x 8″ · © 2010 Marilyn Fenn

New Sketch: “A Gathering of Small Redheads”

"A Gathering of Small Redheads" Watermedia on Stonehenge paper 8" x 8" © Marilyn Fenn
“A Gathering of Small Redheads” Watermedia on Stonehenge paper 8″ x 8″ © Marilyn Fenn

Here’s my latest little sketch, though perhaps it is more of the germ of an idea for some future work. This one is not typical of the work I am currently doing, but I love the goofiness!

I will be posting more new work as I get the images prepared for the web, so stay tuned.

I think I will have about 40-50 of these small works on paper for sale, as well as perhaps eight new oil paintings and about a dozen mini paintings this weekend and next at our location for the East Austin Studio Tour: The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road.

A Few More New Small Painting-Sketches

"Organics Sketch 17" Watercolor crayons on Stonehenge paper 8" x 8" © 2010 Marilyn Fenn
“Organics Sketch 17″ Watercolor crayons on Stonehenge paper 8″ x 8” © 2010 Marilyn Fenn

I have quite a few new paintings and sketches to post.  Today I’m posting some more small painting-sketches.  These could be considered studies for future larger works, but they are also (usually) little paintings or drawings in and of themselves.

The painting above is a further study into the basic organic forms I have been working with.

Continue reading “A Few More New Small Painting-Sketches”