The Puppy project

Riverside Art Museum is holding a fundraiser called Art Bark in the Park to which I applied and was assigned a pup. I decided to paint the pup in oil – a skyscape with lawns on the bottom of each paw with dogs on, and my sonnet about dogs painted into the clouds.  So far I’ve done the sky and the lawns.  I will need to wait a week or so until that is dry enough to add the dogs and poems.  I didn’t know until I picked up the dog that I was getting a beagle.

metal dog ready to paint

The blank canvas. I’d had to fix the undercoat in a few places. The difference in undercoat color won’t affect the painting.

Jeni Bate painting metal dog

My fellow artist Mary Foote came over to see this as a demo so took some photos of me in action

Jeni Bate painting metal dog

I was showing Mary how to blend clouds in oil

Metal dog with oil skyscape painting

Photographed this one at an angle to get the entire dog in.

And it’s possible to paint on the back, so I have another canvas to dream up!

The Hunger Bowl

The Hunger Bowl

The Hunger Bowl

One of the galleries that I work with – Vanguard Gallery in Moreno Valley – is again doing a charity project in conjunction with The Salvation Army to raise money for and bring attention to homeless children.  Like last year, we had wooden bowls donated by Ikea, and participating artists collected a bowl to decorate as they saw fit, according to the theme.  My bowl for this year was primarily poetry, although I backdropped this with a transparent sky-theme coating against the wood.  I had intended to do a transparent watercolor layer of blue and ‘lift out’ clouds with cotton wool, but there were just a few patches where I hadn’t sanded the coating off well enough, and they made a few cloud entities, so I decided to leave it as is.

The wording is:


I stare into the bowl –
The bowl is empty –
as empty as my stomach –
as empty as hope –
as empty as the rooms in the house we were forced to leave –
everything sold on craigslist –
or swapmeet or yardsale –
all the furniture gone –
trying to meet the mortage –
only getting the forclosure papers –
the eviction notice on the door –
the staplegun’s shot echoing like an executioners rifle through the hollow of the empty rooms –
as hollow as empty as the hearts of the so-called neighbors –
who closed their doors and looked the other way –
with souls as empty as my Dad’s wallet –
as empty as my Mom’s purse –
as their bank account
and my head is spinning round and round –
like the bowl –
like us driving round and round –
trying to find a place to sleep in the car tonight –
we don’t know where to go to sleep –
we don’t know where to go to find work –
we don’t know where to go to live –
our lives are empty –
our futures are empty –
tomorrow echoes back at us like a threat –
that this is just the beginning
that the empty bowl is spinning –
the wheel of misfortune rolling down the road of forever –
and as it spins it gets deeper and deeper –
and harder to climb out of –
and emptier and hungrier –
with every passing cloud –
that is reflected in its shining chasm –
reminding us that there is no roof over our heads –
there is no food –
there is only hunger and tomorrow –
there is only homelessness and tomorrow –
and going round and round –
to our so-called favorite spots –
is there shelter or not –
is there food or not –
is there work or not –
is there hope or –
no there is never hope –
there is only this bowl –
the hollow bowl –
the begging bowl –
put food in my bowl –
put money in my bowl –
put work in my parents’ bowl –
but if I turn over the bowl –
I cannot turn it into a roof over our heads –
I cannot empty the misfortune out of the bowl –
I cannot empty the hunger out of the bowl –
I cannot empty the poverty out of the bowl –
it just gets deeper and emptier every time a hopeless tomorrow turns into another empty today –
and the world turns –
year on year –
into another homeless today –
year on year –
into another penniless day –
year on year –
into another hungry today

Another sky goes home.

Dawn over Winter Forest

#1055 Dawn over Winter Forest.

Another little watercolor collage skyscape has found it’s new home, having been adopted through the Rochester Contemporary 6×6 fundraiser.

Only four more to go!  And my remaining (anonymous) work is almost getting front page billing as others ahead of them are sold.

You can buy directly from Roco’s website, and all proceeds go to the art center.

Hidden skies

"Moreno Valley Morning"  20x24" acrylic on wraparound canvas. $400

“Moreno Valley Morning” 20×24″ acrylic on wraparound canvas. $400

I’m currently working on three collages to submit to a competition for artists who live near to the US/Mexico border.  One of the requirements is that the work submitted initially has not been previously shown elsewhere, even online… so I can’t show you what I’m creating.  Oh well.

The next project will be for the Rochester Contemporary 6x6x2013 fundraiser – I like doing these little studies for possible future paintings, and this year I have decided to work from the photographs one of my fans has been sending me – sunsets rather than dawns.  The only snag is, the work is shown in Rochester anonymously, i.e. only signed on the back…so I can’t show you what I’ve painted.  .

But after the flurry of activity for commissions, I decided I could no longer look at the almost-completed painting that I worked on at the demonstration for Artoberfest in Moreno Valley.  “Moreno Valley Morning” is now complete.

Really, some people will do anything to put off working on taxes…

Happy New Year to you all!

Work in progress.

A Work in Progress.  It doesn't have a name yet!

A Work in Progress. It doesn’t have a name yet!

This time of year is usually a lull time for the art world, but not so in this studio. I’ve got two commissions in progress.  Here’s the second one – the request was for the colors of ‘Coffee Bean Morning’ and the triangles of ‘Three Ancient Sentinels’.  I’m waiting for the customers to let me know if they’re happy with what I have so far before I glue it down.  Eventually it will have the same foreground as Coffee Bean Morning also.

In other news I heard the other day that my Desert Wreath brought $150 for the Boys and Girls Club of Cathedral City.

Desert Sky Wreath

“Desert Sky Wreath”.

While cutting branches from my mesquite the other week, I was thinking about how I had forgotten to go to Michael’s and bought items from which to construct a wreath for the Boys and Girls club wreath fundraiser. I wanted to make something locally inspired, and with another couple of ideas-in-the-idea-stage in mind came up with a mesquite wood wreath sporting 12 mini sky paintings in dome-shaped skies.  I created the ‘cups’ with a plaster-cloth product formed around a locally found sandstone concretion that is pear-shaped.  Each sky is from a different month – or thereabouts, some of the winter mornings could be anytime in the winter, and some of the summer skies are painted from memory rather than from a photograph

Yes, I know, it’s not your average wreath, but then I aspire to not be the average artist.  Sometimes it’s not what you can paint, it’s what you can conceive of.

Happy Thanksgiving.