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This weekend I am wrapping up my show at Hyde Park Grill (Duval) in Austin and pleased to say it was a fun and successful event. During the weeks that my art was on display, my husband and I ate at the restaurant several times. Sitting in a large space with other patrons- surrounded by my paintings- was a rather surreal experience. It was as if I threw a party yet I didn't know anyone who came!

Now I have to get busy to prepare for my September show at Hyde Park's south location in Austin. Hopefully it will be another party for strangers - or maybe friends I have yet to meet.

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A client in Austin was in the process of updating and modernizing his condo. For his bedroom, he needed a large painting to serve as the focal point while keeping the mood calm and serene. The walls were painted a rich, dark gray/blue so I kept the color scheme to a minimum after starting with a base of burnt sienna for subtle warmth.

A photograph rarely does justice, but hopefully you agree that 'Evening Song' looks great. An observer commented that the painting was sensual and moody- perfect for this setting!

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I wanted to share a fun commission I did for a couple who live in the King William district in San Antonio. While inspired by another one of my paintings, this client needed a larger piece in a landscape orientation. They chose a simple black metal floating frame and I think it looks great in their condo. One of my favorite things about this painting is that people see different landscapes- some see water while others see low clouds and a low mountain range. When people can define a painting in their own context, I feel like I did my job :-)

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Working with another commercial client, the owner had undertaken a considerable renovation to completely change the look of their two lobbies in a downtown office building. A conscious effort was made to provide several spaces where employees could escape to or convene in throughout the day. The results were effective and impressive.

In creating a modern look with a comfortable feel, there was only one component missing - art, of course! We added two large oil paintings to one seating area and a colorful acrylic piece to another. It instantly made the areas more “homey” and relaxed when you sank into the cushy furniture…Job? What job?

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It's impossible to pick up a magazine these days and see anything but the virtues of modern design. It's as if the Fairy Goddess of All-Things-Modern waved her wand and declared "To be fashionable (chic) is to be modern" - in architecture, furniture and fashion.

If you are starting from scratch that would be an easy assignment. But many of us begin with the palette of existing architecture, like a Tuscan-inspired design, for example. Or in the case of dated commercial properties there could be brass finishes or mauve paint. Whatever you have to work with, there is a desire to revitalize the look to compete with newer properties with clean lines and color schemes.

To that, I say “Art to the rescue!”

It is amazing what a few modern art pieces can do to breath life into a space. Recently, I worked with a couple of commercial clients in San Antonio to change up their lobbies. In addition to the new artwork, the company who occupied the building added their own photos. This combined with new contemporary furniture really transformed their space.

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In June, I completed several art installations for three office buildings. The project was very exciting as each space was a blank canvas allowing me to interpret a response with the artwork. The lobby environment presented a slight challenge due to massive amounts of marble and granite which possessed its own motion/movement. My solution was to keep the subject matter simple (yet large at 52 inches by 52 inches) while incorporating texture and subtle color. Other areas needed a boost of color and I was happy to oblige.

Part of the overall creative process for this installation was the ‘full circle’ nature: several decades ago, I worked in the commercial real estate industry managing office buildings. It was great fun to be back in that environment and working with professionals whose objectives were logical to me.

In addition to nine permanent pieces, I created three paintings to temporarily display in common areas. In two of these, I used a brayer tool to apply some of the paint which created a more geometric effect.

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Earlier this year, I added to my Serenity series with two pieces that I painted on Birchwood. After seeing a number of Rothko works recently, I was motivated to create something colorful but simple. These were designed to be hung in a space that had very little color so this is definitely the brightest spot in the room. I liked the sharp corners that the wood ‘canvas’ provided so next up was a much smaller project using similar colors but in more pronounced application. I recommend priming these pieces very well before you paint if they are in a natural state.

Next up, I painted a couple of pieces where I started with a lot of texture. The first one was an exercise of recycling a canvas that my daughter had started and no longer wanted. It was energizing seeing how the texture played with the various colors as I layered with acrylic. I had so much fun with the first one that I created a similar piece with more subdued colors.

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Apparently, we are well into February. I don’t know how that happened so fast. Growing up in the Midwest with winters of bitter cold, I remember that January seemed to go on for m.o.n.t.h.s. Of course, I can’t complain about the weather anymore- unless it’s August or September.

While it seems I do not have much to show for my art endeavors this year, I would highlight a trip my daughter and I took to New York last month. We had so much fun making the rounds of the museums, a Broadway play and of course fit in some shopping. So many pieces of art inspired and entertained us both. It was a treat to enjoy those moments together.

Now I am eager with many ideas and can’t wait to show you new pieces soon.

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That would be how I would describe my life of late- in a box. With everyone off at college, my husband and I downsized into a much smaller house. We love it! But first came the boxes- -lots of them- organizing, discarding, packing, unpacking, re-arranging, and discarding some more. I tell friends proudly how we were fearless in this process and how liberating it was to free ourselves of many possessions.

Then, in telling the whole story, I have to ‘fess up’ to the fact that I have not one- but THREE storage units. Well, in all fairness, one of them is dedicated to my piano that we currently do not have the space for. So really I only count the two and I still feel like I have simplified my life to a great and wonderful degree.

Then came the holidays- in which I was wrapping boxes- and then it was the New Year and we made the decision to run our businesses from our new home office and close our remote office. You guessed it- more boxes to deal with.

But after all the boxes, I am looking forward to a wonderful year with exciting changes...

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