Sunday, March 27, 2016

Is nine months later Considered Checking IN?

Smoke on Water

Now three months into this new year/life, having finished most of my "first I must" list, I'm back in touch and plan to stay that way. With new paintings finished and photographed, a new clay sculpture off to the mold-maker, and my website updated, this "I want to do it all" artist has moved quickly into "show" season. 
Breakout   18x30 ac/canvas
As some of you know, when I start an abstract painting, I like to have an "idea" in mind. My "seasons" theme has been recurrent for 12 years. I'm moving on to a looser approach this year, and titling my work before I begin. A title suggests colors, movement, shapes, even texture, and nebulous as this can be, gives me "content" for a work. The emotion-of-life process comes into the result and continually surprises me; I can see I’m actually entering the "blue" period of this artlife journey.

Let the Light In
On the Rise                    

The first anniversary of William's transformation lies at the end of April. Before last year's end, I made three paintings in honor of him before returning to my own work. Prints of William's Koi paintings -9 total -were made available on RedBubble in February. I had spent a month in the fall preparing images and uploading them to make his work available on demand as prints in various forms - the pure sumi as t-shirts, tote-bags, etc. Some wonderful sumi paintings - landscapes, cactus, canyons and now koi ponds - may be purchased as beautifully done prints. Some things don't change, and everything does!
Summer Pond II
Stay tuned to see what impact a "real" vacation has on this journey - I have a trip to Puerta Vallarta planned for mid-April,and am planning to scuba-dive in Mexico if at all possible! (Well, at least snorkle...)


Thursday, June 25, 2015


So here I am just on the cusp of a new chapter for the Hornbuckle half of Preston/Hornbuckle Fine Art.  As I said in a recent newsletter to collectors and friends:

"After two years of tight schedules, omitted tasks, and narrowed focus, preparing the garden for Bill's ashes and the house and food for his celebration at an unhurried pace was truly therapeutic, and I'm now ready to move forward. I miss him very much, but as I was thinking last night, never ever in my life as an artist, have I had all the time in a day to devote to my own art and life.  No shifting gears, no multitasking, no divided attention, no compartmentalizing, no distractions - now it remains to gather up my scattered self and see where that takes me!"

First thing I'm trying to do is review an on-line course, Content Marketing-Selling On-Line, that I signed up for before Bill went into hospice care.  I figure that is the logical path for a 72 year-old abstract artist who is also a Cancer (little yen for the road) to take - after 20 years with galleries here and there, I headed that way early-on (2003), and reports from art bloggers I trust are that on-line art sales are up 41% since 2014 as people are more "wired" and trusting. My other key elements are in place (FB, Pinterest, NL, websites, etc.) - they need tweaking to be more effective. I can highly recommend this meaty course from Corey Huff,  If he offers it again, it is worth the price!

A multi-figure family portrait © MHornbuckle 2013
On of my "streams of income" is watercolor portraiture and my next art project is to create a portrait of a 4 member family (from Florida) and their Bassett hound. Gilbert found my watercolor portrait website on-line, and I think, liking my style and close representation, contacted me for the project. He has sent very good material to work with, I have done the preparatory work and am ready to begin. (just awaiting  another photograph of the dog). Since watercolor was my initial medium professionally, I love the opportunity to spend some time there.

glowing bronze acrylic underlays the painting and gleams in both the hidden and unhidden areas
Summer 3 30x24 Acrylic on Canvas © MHornbuckle2015

Returning to the SFSA shows behind the 1st National Bank in Santa Fe this weekend, I'll enjoy seeing the response to this year's "body of abstract work" started last November, completed in mid-April. Twelve paintings, three per season, fully incorporate gleaming metallic paint (my painting goal for this series) to express my pleasure at the way the cycles evolve in a year here. Their images can be found on my website - the photos, though accurate color-wise, don't quite capture their shifting glow, so as always, you need to see them - they may be returned with full purchase price refunded if needed.

This all seems enough to launch into for now - gathering up my scattered self isn't easy since the possibilities are only limited by the launch choices some years ago! But first to the dump with the truck full of big cottonwood limbs that came down on the well-house roof in the wind on Monday while I was at my sculpture group! Guess this would be called a distraction...


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

LIFE AFTER LIFE: In the Garden

As I was clearing my little backyard flower garden which, responding to four years of neglect and plentiful spring rain here, had become overrun with grasses, I thought how much gardening is metaphorically like a career in art, at least in my experience. Most of us remember what the beginning was like - the tentative efforts, the unexpected responses, the acceptance in local shows, and the gradual increase of people who wanted our work. Much like any early attempt at gardening, there was lots of exploration, some failures, but enough successes to keep us headed in that direction.

With this mature garden of 30 years, my plan is to reclaim what is already there - to weed intentionally and thoroughly, feed the soil, mulch heavily, and hope the  grasses don't reappear.  It parallels my plans for life after life as an older artist here in New Mexico. 

Much will remain unchanged, like the perennials in the garden - these plants have established themselves and survived many years despite drought, neglect, crowding, lack of nourishment. A lot of things I planted, like my side-explorations in art, failed after a time. The plants that remain  are not astonishing, rare, hard to maintain plants; rather, they are sturdy mainstream beauties. Like those plants, my career direction is settled; both abstraction and figurative sculpture hold my interest, with two other side interests - watercolor portraiture and teaching adult drawing-coming into play periodically.  Like my garden plants, these seem unrelated, but spring from the innate interests and skills I have developed in many years of practicing my craft - the end desire being to create something beautiful, and support my life as an artist .

Bill never shared my passion for gardening  but he appreciated the results of my efforts, and I am pleased he wanted his ashes to go there. His studio window overlooks the backyard.  As a sumi painter his approach to making art was literally the opposite of mine - emotional expression comes first and is integral to the sumi painting process.That at the end, he saw emotional expression expanding in my abstract paintings is a source of pleasure for me now. Tending a garden for 25 years teaches patience and perseverance more than anything, but now letting go and letting it show may be an even better lesson!

This much needed gardening respite from elder-care, art-making, marketing, and showing my work on weekends, feels like a natural pause before LIFE AFTER LIFE resumes. In two weeks we'll have a celebration for my art and life partner of thirty-three years. After that, a more familiar life will resume, yet surely very different.