Carnations and Green Acorns

Carnations and Green Acorns, oil painting by Sarah F Burns
Carnations and Green Acorns, oil painting by Sarah F Burns

This floral still life is featured in my show this month at the Ashland Painters Union.  The flowers come from Fry Family Farm – carnations and green zinnias.  The acorns and sticks from my neighborhood and you might recognize the painting in the back ground.

If It’s So Much Fun, Why Are Artists So Crazy, Depressed, Moody and Weird?

TC Auto Sales, Medford, OR Oil Painting by Sarah F Burns
TC Auto Sales, Medford, OR

I read an interesting article about discovering the current stereotype of a city by typing “why is ————- so” and letting Google’s auto complete fill in the common searches. That led me to wonder what the stereotype for artists is these days.  So I keyed “why are artists” and then “why are artists so”  and guess what — people think artists are weird, poor, liberal, sensitive, emotional, depressed, moody, messy and important.  Crazy also came into play.  (At least some people think we’re important – but they didn’t know why, because they wanted Google to tell them. )

This experiment came on the heels of a day out painting plein air in downtown Medford.  I thought I’d found a quiet street but there were lots of people who came by and if they said anything they mostly said something like, “Looks like you’re having fun!”  Fun.  Okay.  It’s kind of true, but it’s pretty revealing about what people generally think artists are doing.   Art is fun when things are going well.  When you’re in a groove, when you’re so engrossed that you don’t need to eat, won’t answer the phone etc, BUT people don’t get that if we’re supposed to be anything but Sunday painters having a nice hobby in retirement that it takes consistent, persistent WORK.  And struggle.  In the moments when the best work is created there is a zone that is awesome, but to get into the zone you have had experiences that are to the right or left of the zone, where you over correct and have some painful crashes.  For me, to achieve the work I want to create, I’ve had to study and keep at it, and even now I have goals I want to achieve that I have to study and work at a whole lot more.  Not only that, the very best artists make art every day, which I almost do, but not quite.  The fact is, I couldn’t make anything that anyone would care to see without having put in in tons of time and thought and preparation over many years.  Fun, on the other hand, is  a nice dinner with friends and family.  Fun is playing at the beach.  Fun is relaxation. Painting is sublime, but it’s work.  It’s exhilarating and heart breaking.  It’s more fun than fun and it’s not fun at all.

Being misunderstood may just be why we’re so crazy, depressed, weird and moody all the time.   😉

Fixed

A belated post with my efforts for the Fixed Show at Ashland Painters Union April 2013.

Fixed was the theme and show title, a conceptual show thought up by – suprise, suprise – a college student member. When I thought of an idea that worked with what I like to do, I got less sarcastic about it and made four paintings from the exact same location, just looking different directions.

Looking South-ish in Phoenix, OR at the RR tracks on First St.
Looking South-ish in Phoenix, OR at the RR tracks on First St.
Phoenix, Oregon, First Street Looking North-ish
Phoenix, Oregon, First Street Looking North-ish
Phoenix, Oregon, First St Railroad Tracks, Looking North North East (ish)
Phoenix, Oregon, First St Railroad Tracks, Looking North North East
Phoenix, Oregon, First Street at the Railroad Tracks, Looking East
Phoenix, Oregon, First Street at the Railroad Tracks, Looking East

The show was pretty awesome, lots of interesting work, and so the idea turned out to be a good one.  I actually have lots of ideas similar to this concept for landscape painting that for the most part I’m too lazy to do.  So Anyway.  Thanks Q.

White City, Oregon – the Most Beautiful Place on Earth

There is no shortage of great scenery to paint in White City.  I’ve painted here a number of times – and have discovered another fan  – Julian Bell. He creates drawings onsite and paints in his studio.  We’ve gone out together a few times – here is the fruit of my labor:

White City Work Yard Oil on Panel 8" x 10"
White City Work Yard Oil on Panel 8″ x 10″
Oil on Panel, 8" x 10" $160
Oil on Panel, 8″ x 10″
Oil on Panel, 5" x 14". $160
Oil on Panel, 5″ x 14″
White City Sketch Graphite on Paper 7" x 11" $60
White City Sketch Graphite on Paper 7″ x 11″

And here is one of the Julian’s White City Pieces:

Black and White City by Julian Bell
Black and White City by Julian Bell

He doesn’t have a web site, but look out for his work, it’s cool and graphic, he also shows at the Ashland Painters Union.

Plein Air Medford

Garfield and 99 Medford web
Oil on panel 12″ x 20″

Garfield and Hwy 99, near the new Rogue Federal Credit Union and the new Super Walmart. You can see the new Harry and David building to the right in green. New New NEW!

Pear Packing Alley, South Fir Street Medford, Oregon

Pear Packing Alley,  South Fir Street Medford, Oregon

Pear Packing Alley, South Fir Street Medford, Oregon Oil on Panel, 12″ x 16″ $500

Last Friday I woke up to a glorious sunny day – the first in months!  We always get a February false spring – or February Fake Out, as some call it.  Warm weather for a few days before it starts to rain again.  I gathered up my stuff and headed to a street in Medford that I’ve wanted to paint for a long time.  Pear orchards have been a large part of the local economy here for years and this street – S. Fir  St in Medford hosts both Naumes and Tree Top packing plants. Playing with and paying attention to the perspective on this one was super fun.  It was fantastic to be out working en plein air after many months stuck in the studio.  Of course I have grand plans again this year to spend much, much  more time painting outside. We shall see!

APU Peripheral Visions Show

Thanks to Mark Arinsberg for these shots!  This is my half of the Peripheral Visions show at Ashland Painters Union in January 2013.

Ashland Sarah F Burns Shadow Mural Painters Union January 2013
Ashland Painters Union January 2013

Sarah F Burns by the window at APU web

Here is the work of Q Quast – “I am this Space. I am this Place.”  It’s sitting on the floor, waiting to be taken home.  Originally it was hung on the wall – of course.  Q is doesn’t believe in websites so she doesn’t have a link for me to share…

Q Quast " I am this Space. I am this Place."
Q Quast ” I am this Space. I am this Place.”

Lots of Experimenting Going on…

Peripheral Visions

I’ll be showing a shadow painting installation at Ashland Painters Union starting January 4 – opening party is from 5 – 8 pm.  The show is up through the end of January, gallery open 1:00 – 5:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. Q is showing sculptural prints.  Together we were goofing off at the Ashland Art Center Print Lab and screened some flyers just for the fun of it.

And on another experimental note:  my chef brother in law recently asked me to make him a drawing of his knife and fork.

Knife and Fork for Neil Clooney Graphite Drawing by Sarah F Burns
Knife and Fork for Neil Clooney Graphite Drawing by Sarah F Burns

became…

neil clooney arms

He’d probably want you to know he needs to go back in to get some touching up done.  You’re really not supposed to go on a wilderness rafting trip for a week the day after you get a large tat.  I guess conditions were less than perfect for healing…. Worth it though, I’m sure.

Smithfields Rabbit Painting

I just hung this painting at Smithfields, two of the series went home with a nice family, so there was room to hang this piece.  The rabbit is from Ian Hensel at Hensel Family Farms.  

Tykee Rabbit Smithfields Vanitas by Sarah F Burns
Rabbit for Smithfields, Oil on Linen

A Few New Things

I have been thinking about it for months and it will soon be a reality.  I am cutting way back on my administrative job in January to be able to paint full time (and teach a little bit).   The prospect of not working for a regular pay check is a little scary but as my friend Amy said to me, “If you’re going to be an artist you have to be brave.

Oil Painting of Highway 99 in Talent, Oregon by Sarah F Burns

I drive through this intersection at least twice a day on may way to and from my day job.

Xyara Figure drawing by Sarah F Burns

And the newest life drawing group in the valley is over at Atelier LaRose – Steven put together a successful kickstarter campaign to hold free life drawing sessions open to anyone.   They are kind of a free for all – models swing from the rafters, lighting comes from several directions, and of course, these sessions are totally fun.

Beth figure drawing by Sarah F Burns