Wednesday, December 31, 2008

50% OFF SALE ON NOW!

In Bloom, acrylic on canvas, 18" x 18", ©2008, SALE PRICE $300.00

In the spirit of clearing the decks for the new year (and in the spirit of buying heating oil for the rest of this unusually cold winter), I am having my first ever


50% OFF FOR 50% OF JANUARY SALE!


From now until January 15th, 2009 save 50% off the paintings found in the HALF OFF SALE gallery on my website and all the paintings on my small art blog.

Everyone who buys a painting will be included in a drawing for a surprise gift!

Prices listed are the sale prices and include tax and shipping. (If shipping outside the continental U.S., additional charges may apply.)
Questions, leave a comment here or email me at arockett@gmail.com.
Interested in a payment plan? Just ask!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Stay Tuned…

So far the response to my last post has been pretty great - I've even made some sales already! Thank you all!

I will indeed be having a sale. I'm working on getting my website and small art blog set up for it (changing prices, making PayPal buttons, adding pieces, etc.) and plan to "open" by tomorrow sometime. Maybe I'll time it to coincide with when the oil truck shows up!

Even though it's not fully set up yet, go ahead and take a look and let me know if there's something you'd like.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Baby it's cold outside - and inside too!

(I've asked a question at the end of this post that I'd very much like to have your answer to…)

Okay, our Christmas has been, ummm, interesting this year. Being snowbound was just the beginning, and the root cause of much of our dissatisfaction with the holiday season thus far. A couple of days into the snowboundness, our DVD player decided it didn't want to work anymore. We don't have cable right now, but luckily, we still have a VCR and some Christmas specials on VHS tapes, but our Netflix DVDs are just sitting there waiting for our new player to arrive. Then, we couldn't go out and find a Christmas tree. Then, we couldn't get to Christmas Eve service at our church (this was the biggest blow). Yesterday we were finally able to get out of the house for a bit because our friend sent her dad over to pick us up with his 4-wheel drive capability and so we all went to the movies and had dinner together. Ah, nice. Maybe we can salvage something here.

Oh, wait. Woke up this morning to a non-functioning furnace! It's still snowing! The melted snow turns to ice at night! And we have no heat?! Repairman arrived this afternoon, tuned it up a bit, then announced that in addition to needing that, we are now out of oil. Placed an order for it immediately only to find that the earliest they can get it to us is WEDNESDAY! I'm cold NOW!

And I'm also very, very broke now. After Christmas expenses, on top of moving expenses, money for fixing the furnace and filling the tank with oil is a very large, very unexpected expense. We're new to this land of furnaces and our landlord thought for sure we'd have enough to get us through the winter at least so we thought we wouldn't have to worry about it until next fall at the earliest.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to raise some extra cash in a hurry. Maybe have a big sale on my artwork, say 50% off? That would make my small 5" x 7" canvases $50 (tax and shipping included).

But if I was to do that, would anybody be able to take advantage of it? Would anybody want to?

Seriously. I'm asking you. Would you be interested? Please let me know. If I get enough positive response, I'll do it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Favorite Books of 2008



Yet another snow day. So much ice on the roads (and our roads are mostly of the not flat variety) and our car just can't handle it, therefore spending a lot of time very close to home. So I thought it might be a good time to write what's turned into my annual post about the books I've read over the past year. So far I've read 83 books this year, and I'm reading 84 and 85 right now. I'll be limiting my list to my favorites. (click on the titles to be taken to Amazon.com for full descriptions)

Mysteries - Lots of great mysteries this year, many in series but also a few stand alones.
The Wine of Angels by Phil Rickman - in last year's post I mentioned this fantastic Rev. Merrily Watkins series, and I was finally able to find the first few books, beginning with this one. Great stuff!
I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming - Long awaited follow-up to All Mortal Flesh. And I was not at all disappointed!
Touchstone by Laurie R. King - another excellent read from one of my favorite authors.
In the Woods by Tana French - I think this is my favorite find this year. Also really enjoyed her follow-up novel The Likeness, and hope she writes many more. (I believe these mysteries are actually shelved with regular fiction.)
My husband's boss recommended the Detective Kathleen Mallory series by Carol O'Connell. Great series! Addictive too. Begins with Mallory's Oracle, and my favorite so far is the fourth one, Stone Angel.
Fiction
The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber - excellent read! Really gets inside the artist's head too.
The Matchmaker of Perigord by Julia Stuart - just delightful. Kind of like how it feels to watch the film Amelie.
Spiritual Inspiration
Walking on Water: Reflections of Faith and Art by Madeleine L'Engle - excellent
Toward God: The Ancient Wisdom of Western Prayer by Michael Casey - I'm still reading this, trying to savor and absorb its wisdom. Mind blowing. Totally changing my perception of, and deepening my experience of, prayer.

Other Non-Fiction
Plenty by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
both of these books continued the inspiration to eat more consciously, seasonally, and locally started by reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle last year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow Day(s)

First Snow, acrylic on canvas, 5" x 7", ©2008 SOLD!

Well, it is definitely Winter. Here in the Seattle area (and most of the Pacific Northwest) we've been slammed with unusually arctic conditions for the past week and a half, and they say there's more to come. We are blanketed in snow, and icy roads mean much of our regular routine has been disrupted. Even Churches were closed yesterday (Sunday).

Since we were unable to get to church yesterday morning, I decided to indulge in a little of what our priest calls Northwest Pantheism and took a walk with my cameras to try to capture the beauty of this winter wonderland. Unfortunately the batteries in my digital died fairly early on, so I only managed to get a few photos with it, and you can see them here on my Flickr account. (I also took my Diana+ with me loaded with some black and white film, but I'll have to wait until I can get it developed to see what I captured with it.)

Luckily I had some art supplies (paint and small canvases) here at home since I haven't been able to drive to my studio. I've painted a couple of small pieces, and I managed to pick up some larger canvases between snowfalls the other day so I can continue to paint here. The painting at the top of the post I painted after the first snowfall last Saturday. I was entranced by the colors and texture of the snow and dry grasses and tree trunks. I plan to do some larger versions along this them too.

The painting below I completed on the heels of River Walk, and you can see that they share a common inspiration.

River Walk II, acrylic on canvas, 5" x 7", ©2008 SOLD!

Both of these paintings are available for sale on my small art blog, or from my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Poem for Out of Darkness

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Caravaggio, The Calling of Saint Matthew, 1599-1600
Oil on canvas, 10' 7 1/2" X 11' 2"
Contarelli Chapel, Church of San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome


My friend (and poet extraordinaire) Gregory Crosby wrote this wonderful poem in honor of the Out of Darkness (Into Light) exhibit, inspired by this powerful painting by the Baroque painter Caravaggio. (You can see some of the art included in this exhibit here.)

On Caravaggio’s Calling of Saint Matthew

The world is its own shadow.

In the house where everything
is counted, nothing gained,

the afternoon’s gold slips beneath
the pane, & dusk raises something

in hearts that will not otherwise rouse.
Someone is at the door. He lifts

his arm from this quotidian shade,
this everyday dark so rich it cannot

exist anywhere but in this world.
The sun seems to frame his head,

casting his profile into deeper shadow,
but it is his hand that gleams: languid,

simple, assured. His companion’s hand
shadows it, though this man’s gray

head as yet only catches the light
of day. Two sharps in sumptuary

turn toward the strangers; two men,
young & old, at the table’s end, see

nothing to stir them just yet from
silver… & a gold coin glints from

Levi’s black cap, glimmers thanks
to a brushstroke as subtle as Christ’s

halo, as the tax collector points
to himself in soft alarm, as if to say

Who, me? But his softer eyes betray him.
He knows, as if across the chapel’s dim

effulgence he sees himself, Matthew—
sees his martyrdom, & accepts it, like a

sum that cannot be wrong. This is how
it is. This is how the light arrives: without

fanfare, like any, every morning; a light
that reveals all darkness is only absence,

only shadow; the hand of light, paused,
midair, just below the terminus of the

shadow on the wall. The light, here;
the world, here; the world, elsewhere.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

light fog

River Walk, acrylic on canvas, 12" x 24", ©2008

Though still on the mend, I am finally starting to feel better. I was even able to paint a bit today for the first time since last Monday, which is when I completed the painting pictured above, inspired by a walk I'd taken along the river. I have more images of this inside my head, but I haven't been able to express them yet.

Now begins the difficult task of starting the fight against Resistance – again. Things have been topsy-turvy since the move as far as trying to get back into the swing of making art, and being sick just did not help any. I'm torn between trying to be easy on myself because I recognize that I'm still healing, and being very frustrated because I feel like I'm falling behind. Behind what? Not really sure. Behind expectations maybe? I'm also frustrated because it feels so hard to focus. The fog is starting to clear, but I'm easily distracted from whatever task I set myself, and my intentions crumble at the slightest breeze.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Advent begins

Advent 2008 altarpiece

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year and the season of spiritual preparation for Christmas. The photo above is my third Advent altarpiece (you can click on it to get a larger view). This year I let my ideas expand to encompass more than the altarpiece and the nave by decorating the narthex and the outside doors as well. You can find more photos of the Advent art, and some of the process that went into creating them here.

Vesper Light, acrylic/collage on canvas 8" x 8", ©2008 (sold)

In other news, two of my paintings (Vesper Light and Mapping the Depths) have been accepted as part of the "Light of the World" online exhibit from the ECVA (Episcopal Church & Visual Arts), on display now through early 2009.

Advent is a very important time of year for me, and I really wanted to have something profound to say about it for this post. Unfortunately, I've also managed to catch a cold and my brain is not functioning as well as I'd like at the moment, so for now I give you a video that my husband made of Father John discussing "What is Advent and why is it important?"