The final line-up in Yuma.

Jeni Bate Solo show at Yuma Fine Arts CenterI got to the Yuma Fine Arts gallery about an hour and a half before the reception.  I needed to repair one of the paintings which had a scuff from being loaded into or out of the truck – that wasn’t a big job, so it only took about 30 mins.

Jeni Bate Solo show at Yuma Fine Arts CenterWhile I was waiting for the paint and glaze to dry I took some pics of the final line up of the show.  You can see from later pics that nibbles are appearing on the tables.

Jeni Bate Solo show at Yuma Fine Arts CenterThe reception was quite well attended and I spent a busy few hours talking to a lot of people. (And not having time to take photos to show that it was busy!)  We sold about four books and one painting.  Martha, the gallerist, noted that usually the larger purchase come after people have slept on the decision.

Jeni Bate Solo show at Yuma Fine Arts CenterDuring the reception there was a short ballet demo in the main gallery – Yuma has its own ballet company!  I was also introduced as not only a visual artist, but a poet, and read one of the poems from my new book, Mixed Weather.

Jeni Bate Solo show at Yuma Fine Arts CenterOne of my paintings – Bright Morning – I donated to the fundraiser raffle.  Not sure who won it!

Newer work…. a rework.

Wiest Lake painting

Wiest Lake – the original.

Wiest Lake is my favorite fishing hole.  If you’ve checked out my website in the past you may have noticed my painting of it.  It bears the following inscription along the bottom:  “When we came to the lake with our rods and nets and went to open our tackle boxes, we paused with bated breath – the beauty had hooked us and the peace had reeled us in.”  The location is a blue gem amidst farmland.

Wiest Lake mixed media painting

Wiest Lake – Mixed Media painting, 48×48″. $4030.

Well, I decided it was time for a revamp. One of only two paintings where I have added the refractured watercolor part after painting the surrounding/underlying acrylic painting.  Now it looks like this. Just a little more magical now.

Newer Work #12 – reminder to save water.

For those of you outside California, we’re having all sorts of water usage restrictions because of the drought.  It’s not just the last few months, it’s been dry for years.  Although we’ve had a couple summer storms, which is a little unusual, they seem to get other parts of the Coachella and Imperial valleys, leaving Salton City dry.  A few days ago there was a storm here, but on the other side of town.  My house got dripped on, that was it.

The ongoing drought was the inspiration behind “Gentle Storm”.  The poem – prayer – painted into it, might just be answered, it seems, if this winter’s forecast strong El-Nino delivers. (But not on weekends please… fairs are not as waterproof as one might think….)

Gentle Storm

#1151 Gentle Storm. Mixed media on panel: refractured watercolor, acrylic, poem. 12×36″. $750.

“Gentle Storm”.
Oh gentle storm
please bring us rain,
that we might grow
our crops again
That we might live
and laugh and love
and praise the raindrops
from above

Newer work #9

Ocean's Draw

#1143 Ocean’s Draw. Mixed Media on deep panel, 36″x36″. $2,260.

This one I don’t have any doubts about.  I had it on the wall for a long time before it went into the box ready to go to its first show in Menlo Park next week.  I wrote the following poem for it and painted it into the painting.

Ocean’s Draw

The days of ocean sailing past
the waters flown to feel less vast
and yet its power remains, for we
relax, when gazing ‘cross the sea.

Newer Work #5

Peace and Turbulence

#1138 “Peace and Turbulence”. Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas, 20×16″ $270.

When I hold a paint-n-wine evening, I end up with a duplicated painting.  This time I decided the class would paint “Dark Water, White Wave” an existing oil painting that I love.  So at the end of the evening I end up with a new version of this – in a slightly different size and shape, and this time in acrylic instead of oil.  It is a day view looking east across the Salton Sea.

Class progress

Last Thursday I held a paint-and-wine class at Vanguard Gallery in Moreno Valley.  I know it’s taken me a while to get these posted – the schedule in between has been kind of full.  Anyway, here now are the pics taken as the class progressed.  I think everyone enjoyed themselves – only one had painted before.

The lure of the blank canvas

The lure of the blank canvas – or is it the fear of it…

Working on the underpainting

Working on the underpainting

Working on the underpainting

Working on the underpainting…

Time for a glass while the underpainting is drying

Time for a glass while the underpainting is drying

Getting some clouds in

Getting some clouds in

Waves are harder than you think...

Waves are harder than you think…

Finishing water

Finishing water

Adding mountains

Adding mountains

Working with water

Working with water

More mountains going in

More mountains going in

All done

All done

Children in their new home.

Misty Morning II

Misty Morning II, at its forever home in Texas

One thing that I don’t often get to enjoy is seeing my ‘children’ settled in their new home.  Occasionally I will take artwork to a customers house to see whether it works in the location they’re considering, but usually I say goodbye to my offspring when they are placed into a box at an art show.  I am particularly overjoyed to see this watercolor diptych in their new frames and their new room as it’s in Texas – and I’ve never met their new ‘Dad’ face to face.

As they’re framed pieces I shipped them unframed and they were a little while before the new frames were chosen, but now here they are above the sofa.  It was also a very interesting way that the sale came to be.  Having ‘met’ their new owner as his client for some online business, during a phone call he mentioned he liked my work and had this place that needed some new art, and described the location and colors of the room.  I recommended this watercolor diptych which wasn’t on my website, and we exchanged some pics of the artwork and the room.  Turned out it was just the thing – the right feeling for the location, the right size and the right colors.

Tribute to the drying Salton Sea

Dawn at the end of an era.

“Dawn at the end of an era”. Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas 12×12″. $120.

The Salton Sea is in the news a lot these days – it’s about 4 ft lower than when I first moved here almost ten years ago.  The foundations of the old yacht clubs that were flooded in the dual storms-of-the-century in the late 70s are now visible.  The boat launch area from which a friend and I once paddled a canoe, is now an almost dried up inlet sporting only a large puddle.  I’m glad I took photos back then, they are already historical.  Sometimes when I paint from them I wonder if I will still be able to see the sun rise out of the water at winter solstice throughout my lifetime.  Perhaps, perhaps not.  This painting was created based on one of those old dawn photos.  I titled it to reflect that.

A couple days at the lake.

Despite the fact that I live close to the largest body of water in California, it’s not terribly enjoyable during the ‘hot’ season, and Doug and I like to go up to Lake Cuyamaca – up in the mountains, 5000 above the Salton Sea, about an hour and half away, it’s a whole nother climate.   We rented our favorite little cabin for three nights and packed up bedding, fishing gear and the bare basics of a kitchen.

On the first evening we went out for a stroll and saw a lot** of wildlife.  I had left all connections to work behind, except I took some writing paper, thinking I would put a few poems together.  This came out of the evening walk across one of the dams that forms the lake.  You will see once you get into it the tune that it’s based around.  The last line though requires a little more explanation.  We had just crossed the dam and saw a squirrel in the path.  We stopped.  The squirrel stopped.  Then, as we continued, instead of scooting up a tree, it walked down the path towards the dam, just like people walk past each other on a city sidewalk.

Evening Stroll

On the first evening strolling beside the lake we saw:

Twelve Canada geese
Eleven redwing blackbirds
Ten wild turkeys
Nine cawing crows
Eight scavenging raccoons
Seven strutting grackles
Six massive vultures
Five mule deer
Four fishing herons
Three flitting bats
Heard two hooting owls
And a squirrel walked right past us on the path.

Of course, having left all connections to work behind, that included the camera and on the last evening I was unable to photograph the view across the still lake just after moonrise, which confirmed that there is an even quieter cabin on the other side.  I did this from memory.

On the easel - Cabin

On the easel – “Cabin” – original oil on canvas 24×36″ $1080.


Water on the easel.

On the Easel #2

“Dark water, white wave”. Oil on canvas, 24×12″, $360.

It’s been awhile since I’ve painted in oil – and I love the scent of the linseed that wanders out of the studio and through the house.  Perhaps I need to regard this as a strong incentive to paint more of them.  This new baby, which will be drying on the easel for the best part of a month, probably, as it’s an alla prima with thick textured layers, is one of the early views that I took of the Salton Sea – you can see the photo I worked from resting on the bottom layer of the easel.  The print is dated 2005.  No idea where I took it from, except that it would be Salton City – most likely from the point near Martin Flora park.  I should go back and take more while the sea is still there.