Counting the days until I find myself back in the Bay Area!

Orbs No. 22 - 22" x 30" Watercolor and Collage

Orbs No. 22 – 22″ x 30″
Watercolor and Collage

In the last week, I hung one solo show and dropped a dozen paintings off for the Sawmill Gallery Invitational that opened on Friday evening.  Both shows look fabulous.  The exhibit at Blue in Portland, Maine just ended.  All of the paintings for the upcoming exhibit Orbs, Science & Healing at the Bouras Gallery, Overlook Medical Center, must be framed and catalogued before I leave for California next week.  No wonder I haven’t been posting on my blogs lately!  In the middle of it all, a very dear friend reconnected, inspired and provided the fuel for the energy I have needed to produce and market this exciting new body of work!  Life is wonderful, to say the least.

If you live near Santa Rosa, please check out the workshops I will be teaching September 26, 27, 28 & 29 at RileyStreet Art Supply, Santa Rosa, CA.  Calendar of Workshops and Events

Painting:  Orbs No. 22, 22″ x 30″ watercolor with a tiny piece of handmade paper added.

It’s true that the Universe responds to all requests.  I am busier than ever with travel, workshops, exhibits and painting!  My plants are suffering from the time crunch.  Five months passed before I added a new drawing to my Family Treasures Series.

Plastic, light-up, musical curch

Plastic, light-up, musical church, Family Treasure No. 50

Maintaining three art blogs is a bit overwhelming and unnecessary.  As of late, I’m getting far more spam comments on both my Third Time Around blog and my Creative Color blog.   I’ve decided to stop posting on both of these blogs for at least three months.  I will be posting only on my website blog…. ChrisCarterArt.com/blog.

In addition to the website blog, I send out a monthly newsletter with painting travel tips, updates on workshops and events as well as updates on both plein air and studio paintings.  On the website blog sidebar, you can easily subscribe to either or both the blog and the newsletter.

Thanks for your readership!


Family Treasures No. 50 – drawn first in ink with fountain pen, followed by watercolor in coptic bound sketchbook

Here is another photo of a new painting hanging in the Bone and Joint area of St. Lukes Hospital in Bethlehem, PA.

Figures in Motion, Watercolor

Thanks to Monsoon Gallery in Bethlehem, PA for  providing this incredible opportunity for me to have my favorite work hung in a place of healing.  Erin did a fabulous job with the matting and framing!  I look forward to seeing the paintings in person.

Paintings in the hallway of St Lukes Hospital

All of the paintings were done in watercolor or pen and ink with watercolor.  They ranged in size from 18″ x 24″ up to 24″ x 48″ unmatted.  Some of them are figures in yoga postures, others are figures dancing and the large ones are of people in line, dancing, talking and interacting in one way or another.

How ironic.

Figure to inspire the body to heal.

My intent has always been to enable the healing of body, heart and soul through the images of my art.

Along the way I became known, through solo gallery exhibitions, for the somewhat abstract images of breasts and buttocks.  That was not my intent.  Eventually, I also became known for brilliant color in the simple images of my Yoga Art and the quick paintings of musicians and dancers during live performances.

Put a thought, a dream, a goal, into the universe and it will begin to manifest.  Just as parents cannot control the result of their spawning, I can’t control the result of the seed planted by my hopes and thoughts.

I’ve been commissioned, based on prior work,  to paint ten paintings to be hung on the walls of a new hospital.  Perfect!

However……. there can be no breasts, no cracks and no bright colors!  Well….. alright then……

I can still do it.

The thought of anyone, any one single person, viewing my art in the hospital and finding inspiration to heal themselves, to the best of their ability, makes this a challenge I’m willing to accept.

An added stipulation is that the paintings must be large!  The yoga art, the zakar art, and all the paintings of musicians painted live have been quite small due to the fact that I paint them in the yoga studio, a dark theater or a bar.  When enlarged, all of the inaccuracies of anatomy scream rather loudly from the paper.

And then there is the issue of color.  I have worked non-stop for three years to bring my color to brilliance…. and I will continue to work on that as soon as I meet the demand of creating “acceptable” figure paintings in browns and neutrals to match the walls of the hospital.

So far…. I have painted twenty, twelve of which are acceptable (in my mind).  I plan on painting forty and picking the best fifteen to twenty from those. From those, the client may pick the ten to frame and hang.

I ask you….. what is a body without breasts and buttocks?

Don’t expect too many postings in the next few weeks.  I have only two to three weeks to meet this challenge.  Wish me luck!

Regardless of what happened yesterday, today offers the opportunity to be more optimistic, to smile a bit more and to transform my life into one that comes closer to my dreams.

Poppies outside the window

I was tempted to paint the fallen petals on the table again this morning.  Only one petal was left clinging to the three stems in the vase.  It had stretched itself across the stems like an animal skin strung for drying. Instead I turned my attention to the poppy garden outside the window, the alien-like pods bent in the gray light of a cloudy morning.

Tomorrow I give an artist’s talk at Connexions Gallery in Easton where my current exhibit of Blues Jam paintings hangs.  I am grateful to Chas Cochran, “Harpman”, who has agreed to play harmonica after the talk so that I can demonstrate my technique of painting musicians in action.  I look forward to this gathering and hope that my passion for life and for capturing the moments of music and motion will outshine my current gloominess.

I am feeling like one of the poppy pods outside the window.  I am ready to burst out into an outrageous, yet fragile, bright orange blossom tossing about in the wind, my many layers of petals catching the light of the sun and looking like a neon light against the dark green of my foliage.

I want to travel and paint, exploring this land and other lands, getting to know the people of those lands.  I want to fill my sketchbooks with the drawings that capture the essence, the traditions, music and dance of local folk, wherever I find myself.  That is my dream.

Drawn first with Parker 51 fountain pen followed by watercolor washes.

Sitting in the front row, six feet away from Tom Waits as he sang and played the piano at the Passim Coffeehouse in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I scribbled this pencil sketch.  It was November 10, 1974 and it was my first experience of drawing a musician during a performance.

Tom Waits, Passim Coffeehouse, 1974

Nine years ago I gave this little sketch to the owners of the gallery that was representing my work.  It was seen hanging in the gallery by a man who immediately recognized it as Tom Waits.  He insisted on buying it even though it wasn’t for sale.  He didn’t want a reproduction, so I agreed to draw a “copy” of the little sketch.  What a mistake!  The original drawing was done in less than a minute, inspired and guided by Tom Waits himself, sweat on his face, smoke spiraling up from where his cigarette rested on the piano.

Three and a half hours of struggling to be expressive with my pencil and re-capture the magic of a moment that happened two decades before resulted in a less than spectacular copy of the sketch.  Fortunately, the customer was satisfied, but I felt miserable.  I hadn’t drawn or painted “live” for at least ten years and I realized how much I missed those moments of bringing art and music together.

Though I have only this blurry reproduction of the original drawing, I am printing it and framing it to hang in the show at Connexions Gallery in Easton PA, a tribute to the moment that started it all, the seed that has grown into my greatest passion.

Even when I’m not quite in the right balance for ink and paint to flow, a few gems come home with me from the Tuesday Night Blues Jams.

Joe Mac at the Blues Jam

The portrait of Joe Mac is my favorite painting of the night.  Nothing seemed to be going right for me until he started playing and the hand responded.  My mind was in such a funk, I wasn’t sure if it worked or not.  The smile on Joe’s face when he saw it made the whole night worthwhile.

Drawn first with dip pen and black ink, followed by watercolor washes of cool blues and purples.

Postcards for the exhibit of the Blues Jam paintings at Connexions Gallery (opening reception onMarch 16th) didn’t make it in time for me to pass them around to the musician last night.  I’ll post info on Facebook and pass out postcards next Tuesday night.

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