Friday, December 17, 2010


Santa Fe Sun Series (1 of 11 5x5's)
Early this year, a well-known art marketing -teleconference coach told me she found my main website confusing. It includes both abstract painting (and monotypes) and figurative sculpture listed in categories with portfolios by year. Adding to the confusion is my homepage, which shows examples of both. She suggested that I separate them into two websites to be more clear. I haven't yet done that, as I have been bringing a third website, my watercolor portrait site, up to speed. I have collectors of either paintings or sculpture who have been confused by the presence of both genres in my outdoor show booth here in Santa Fe, and who definitely prefer one or the other, but not both, usually.
Commission-3 sister

Imaginary child(workshop)
Her confusion brings me to reconsider the idea that a mature artist (me) should have focused only on, become known for, one genre. Certainly numerous artists become very successful commercially doing that, but if it's not in you, it just isn't. To me, that one genre idea goes along with the idea that one should develop a career as a fine artist only through the gallery system. Generally galleries bring an artist in with a particular body of work, and expect the artist's production to remain focused on that one vision, particularly if the gallery is successful at selling it. Some artists find
security there and are able to maintain their interest and output, but for a certain kind of artist, that's very limiting, and exploring the next avenue of expression, though risky in terms of one's galleries, collectors, and livelihood, is irresistible. Sometimes, moving on (in genre, gallery, means of marketing, etc.) is a matter of circumstance, a combination both of  unforeseeable events out of the artist's control and the choice to explore and grow as an artist. Certainly the committed average artist ( not the superstar or shining light) who is actually trying to support himself with his art, and unable to rely on a spouse with steady and adequate income, will make different choices at different times in his career, and not always to his own ultimate benefit.
Liquid Graphite brush drawing
That said, and at this late point in my career as a self-taught fine artist, I find myself now having a number of things to offer those who love original art and want to have it in their lives - not because I have continually searched for the next best thing to present, or because I was trying to figure out what the fickle public might like (maybe when I was a much younger artist), but because my skills and interests have led me organically from one thing to the next. At this point, I think the best thing for me is to accept that this is who I have become as an artist and do the best I can with presenting it, within the accepted notion, or outside of it. Perhaps I should add the watercolor site to the abstract painting and sculpture site, and include a separate section for drawings? I continue to think that my potential collectors have enough intelligence to figure it out! and if you feel up to it, check out my painted pony on e-bay!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Knock at the Gate -Great teaching and Sumi Classes

 Yesterday, I put together a sumi e-mail encouraging interested students to schedule a three-hour class this fall or winter. In doing so, I began to think about what makes Bill's classes so exceptional.

Having talked to them about their interests, skill level, etc, before each class Bill prepares extensively for the students by  reviewing methods, preparing copies of lessons, thinking about their specific needs. The classes is very hands-on, as he observes the student, making sure each concept is fully understood and oversees practice of the strokes until the student has the experience to build a sumi-e vocabulary.
  Sharing resources, his own work, and material from his wonderful library gives the student marvelous insight into the vast possibilities beyond the traditional sumi-e.
 Many of his students have said the three hours was "transforming"  and they will never "look at (...sumi-e) things the same way again."  I say - this is what makes a truly great teacher!

See more work and class descriptions (guidelines only- you can ask to learn specific things) at
You can e-mail Bill at

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall is Falling

Here it is October already!  The 17th annual Pojoaque River Art Tour was a grand success for us, given the blessings of Ganesh, and we met many wonderful people, enjoyed some cash flow, generated some opportunities, and generally had a really good time!  That's what showing up all the time is about, I think.  
  I re-sandbagged the studio door just now. After three flooding rains in August and September, the drive area which in a heavy storm receives much of the water from the road and hills just southeast of us is higher than the studio floor.The succeeding storms  deposited muddy water and debri into the studio, each time going back further on the slab.The last flood covered 2/3's of the 800 sq. ft with water and silt, so you might understand my concern.  In this storm, the heaviest cells seem to be passing west and east of us, as verified by the accuweather radar picture. (Computers have some great uses, and for me, this is one of them!) We'll have to have work done to improve the situation, but of course that won't happen until after these kind of seasonal storms are behind us.
Primary Variations I
Primary Variations II
Primary Variations III
   I'm pleased with three new small (10x10) paintings done in September. Titled Primary Variations I, II,  III, they feel to me like the movement from summer to winter that autumn represents here.  I love that we have actual seasonal changes (I grew up on the Gulf Coast, if you didn't know ).    Bill is working on reconciling his monocular vision with his studio set-up, having discovered recently that he needs to be over his paper and brush, rather than in front of it. It's full chamisa season now - a major hurdle for New Mexico allergy sufferers (Bill among them)- ending only with the first frost, which seems to be somewhat delayed this year (average date is early October).
  My friend Shawna Moore has some wonderful new encaustics at Rachael Darnell Fine Art through October. I think she's one of the best encaustic artists around, and you can see her work at
  The SFSA show season is winding down - the poor economy has impacted me negatively, not so for the many photographers showing with me. I'll be glad to hibernate and just work this winter!  Looking forward also to a short trip to Tucson later in October and am contemplating doing portrait busts of my grand kids as they each reach 8 years old. Only one has at this time - and I think 8 is great! (so are the other ages...)  
Right now Bill is looking forward to my absence, so he can enjoy using the computer (a new and recently acquired skill) and seeing what is going on the the world of sumi-e.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back in the Game

The Pojoaque River Art Tour, here north of Santa Fe, always the third weekend in September, one of very many studio tours (now) in northern New Mexico, is in its 17th year!  Bill and I founded the tour in 1993 by asking the 3 artists we knew then to invite any artists they knew to meet at our house to discuss the possibilities. Here we are, 17 years later, and I think it still offers possibilities!  For one thing, it's a yearly goal to show new work,.present  a fresh face to our friends, and the community, to meet new artists who've moved into the neighborhood, and to see what happens.
This year, Ganesh, my favorite Hindu god, of recycled materials, will preside at the gate.  Ganesh is the god of Abundance, and this is his festival time in India.  Too, he is the remover of obstacles, and given the realities of this summer , I evoke his blessings on this endeavor!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Two Artists Regroup in a Down Economy

Though I did put out a NL in late July (actually thought I had done a post then) just before the Loveland Sculpture show on August 7 & 8, that has now come and gone, with no sales, but results still pending.  Bill and I are rethinking what we might do to generate income given that his sumi dojos, my usual summer venues, and the sculpture show too, have not yielded the customary results.  

Until things (the economy especially) change, we'll not only be watching expenses, but investigating previously unexplored avenues for getting work out and making sales.  Bill's shop is finally up on Etsy (just sumi-landscapes for now), with cactus, and bugs to follow.  He is now offering 3 hour dojos, easier on the student's pocketbook, and on his own energy and eyesight. 

I'm starting to scout alternative possibilities for a solid body of sculptures, now that I have clarity about the work.  I wrote the following just before the sculpture show in Colorado:
" I make sculpture to express the special beauty of imperfect and unique individuals. in a culture where the ideal body is so idolized that many starve themselves, work out obsessively, and undergo surgery to achieve society's concept of perfection, the simple beauty of ordinary beings goes uncelebrated.  I work to celebrate the diversity of that beauty. "
In case you haven't seen the last pieces finished before August, here they are. View them in the round on my website. Meanwhile, please forgive the consistent misspelling of Rubens!
Ruben's Muse
We both have older work from other periods in our lives as artists - maybe a foray into e-Bay? There are many possibilities - we've spent intermittent evenings brainstorming ideas. In any case, we'll let you know what's happening and tell you of offerings of interest!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

June Review

Well, Texas was just plain fun! Between fishing with my brother, eating seafood and game, and seeing high school classmates-  it was actually grand.  I used my new Flip video camera extensively, recording for a dear friend who couldn't be there, and then for the first time had to find video editing software for my PC, and learn to use it!  After one or two ineffectual attempts, my first 3 minute movie is up for private viewing on YOUtube - pretty rough and only those involved would enjoy it, but look for future videos that may BE of interest - especially if you like sumi-e.  I want to also say the program I found was pretty good, not too hard to learn, and not too expensive - check out AVS4YOU software - it's fairly new I think, and you can try it for free (30 days?) and then buy it if you like it. Next thing you know I'll be inserting video in these blogs! Meanwhile, Bill fended for himself and kept the garden alive during what seems to have been the hottest days of the summer here in New Mexico - hardly fair, I'd say! Now it's back to the SFSA shows in downtown SF - will be there through July and then go off to the Loveland Sculpture Invitational, for the "biggest sculpture show" in the country - am working on the peripheral materials, postcards, business cards, etc. While on this topic, have you checked out for this kind of stuff? They do great work and have the best prices on the web.. 

The Wine Festival at EstrelladelNorte was fun, and pretty successful for the first time out of the gate - I enjoyed showing, with Bill,  all that we do here at home - paintings, sculpture, sumi, t-shirts, and we met some  interesting people, especially the couple, she, a writer, he a graphic designer, who run Burning Books, primarily a collaborative art books venture.

Bill had a lovely sumi-e student (an art teacher) from North Carolina last week who came to him through our Santa Fe Creative Tourism connection, I think.  Janet took the last "full day" class he will give - he is shifting to shorter half day classes (3 hours), having decided the intensives are intense enough without the length, and his eye will welcome the shorter time span.  She was an "eco-tourist" foodie and also took a tamale-making class while here (her husband played the Black Mesa golf course while she was at our house - he said it was really tough!).
Everything was in bloom for most of the month, peonies, poppies, roses, daylilies, clematis, daisies, larkspur, overlapping one another, and now the best hollyhocks ever.  In review, I'd say it was a beautiful June, balanced, restful, relaxed..... and things that didn't get done, well, can't remember exactly what they were....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tying up the Loose Ends

Whenever I'm about to travel, I become frenzied about finishing up at least some projects, so I won't have to face them immediately upon returning - things like going to the dump (yes, here in Pojoaque we deal with our own garbage-creation, storage, and disposal), preparing the newly planted tomatoes and seeded annuals to survive five or so days of benign neglect, and getting the last of the weeds pulled, or mowed/hoed. And that's just in our maintenance department.
The marketing department has to address some tasks delayed until my grasp of their mechanics is steady enough to address them - i.e. the newly added e-mail subscription suggestion on this blog. As a webmaster/blogger who barely understands the in and outs of all this, but is willing to try, one of my favorite sources of how-to (for-try-to-do-everything artists) in this department is - with easily accessible articles about many areas of virtual marketing and great links that are just what you need to know when you need it. The last thing in this area is to create a Facebook event and send it out for the P/H/Fine Art Fan Page. While at it, marketing COULD reorganize the sculpture pages and create a DRAWING page on her website.
           The art department has to clean up after a sketchy, somewhat haphazard week-long monotype session, put the waxes somewhere where they won't melt as a June morning heats up the studio, finish and photograph some of the  drawings that will accompany the sculptures in her display at the Loveland Sculpture Invitational and finally, leave her studio table in the house clean so the other artist can do some matting and framing for the EstrelladelNorte Wine and Music Festival coming up 4 days after her return.
Two more days, and the social department  is off to Texas for a 50th!!! class reunion, fishing with and visiting her twin brother, and a respite from maintenance, marketing, and art-making. She knows she should stay another day, and do some ART business in Houston or something, but six days is one day too long to be gone from her interesting life here!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Where Have We Been Anyway?

Could  a month have passed since I last looked at this?  Time to blog again and lots to cover but will try for succinct! With two chilly art shows behind me, and tomatoes planted and row covered, off  Bill and I went to Arizona, Canyon de Chelly, and then Phoenix, via the Salt River Canyon, for respite and inspiration (with a three day car trip and 1300 miles, not for relaxation). I'll show, not tell.   

The following sumi Bill painted on returning:                      

A search for blooming cactus almost failed, till we landed at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Globe, AZ, east of Phoenix (thank you Google!) which is at the northernmost edge of the Sonoran Desert - finally  we had come far enough south, and low enough, to find cactus in bloom!
Canyon Flight - 19x18" Sumi-e
  and the resulting sumi/Chinese watercolor-
After dinner that evening with an old friend in Phoenix, we whipped back home on the third day in time to celebrate in succession Mother's Day, our 28th anniversary, and 3 days later, Bill's 80th birthday, a very sweet and small affair, which required as much preparation as any huge party - perhaps failure to clean regularly?  It finally had warmed up and what we call grass here (foxtails and cheat grass) had grown a foot everywhere, including flower beds, and needed aggressive action. 
I dressed waxes for delivery to the foundry guys, down from Colorado -

and several waxes of a colt for a fellow painter who has taken up sculpting. They'll be back in June with the "metal",the first of the editions of Reuben's Muse, and Passing Time and hopefully my guy Brian will have his shop up and running for chasing and patinaing so these are ready for the Loveland Sculpture Invitational in August.
Meanwhile, we'll be getting ready for the 1st EstrelladelNorte Wine and Music Festival in Nambe on June 12-13.  Bill and I will share a booth, show something of everything that we do, including his newest T-shirt, dubbed the "Bee T" , and are looking forward to a great time! After travel to Texas early June for a class reunion and some great salt-water fishing, the wine festival, and some more weeding and watering, I'll return to the SFSA shows in downtown Santa Fe in late June.  The grass is out of most of the flower beds, and meanwhile I've got a (maybe) great run of monotypes going! Guess there's good reason I haven't blogged in a bit.....

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Always, each spring, I think it will be different, and somehow, no matter what I've done to manage, rearrange, pre-organize (is that a word?) it's really just the same.  Torn between all there is to do, I jump haphazardly from the middle of one thing to the end of the next, or the beginning of something else, abandoning, adapting, reviving and renovating in turn in no particular order -planting, painting, weeding, sculpting, cleaning, showing - my own private annual anarchy. 
After a false start monoprinting (it usually takes 3 focused days to even begin to get somewhere)a second mold arrived, a particularly challenging 5-part one, and cleaning up the ink, I cranked up the wax pot again.  Next weekend brings the first outdoor art show of the season here in SF and I'll be there with new sculpture, and a good number of new paintings and some waxes to work on for the next foundry run.  
The last painting completed is called Cere's Dream, and is about the return of Spring after(for me) a long, focused, productive winter. If you've forgotten(or never knew) your mythology, Ceres(Demeter) was the Goddess of the Harvest  - Her daughter Persephone disappeared, and for six months Ceres wandered the earth mourning, while all the trees and plants withered and died. Learning she had been taken to the Underworld, Ceres begged the gods to rescue and return her to earth. Unfortunately Persephone had eaten a few pomegranate seeds while there, so in compromise she was allowed to return only for half the year - thus we have Spring and Summer.
I love Spring, and I'm always torn...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Running in Place

Much is being accomplished, but with so much to do, it feels like running in place! These three paintings are 16x16, Empyreal Zephyr I, II & III, my annual tribute to Spring!  and an additional two words increasing my vocabulary...  There's a fourth larger painting, 24 x 24, but I'll save that for another time.  Spring always brings new energy, and the activity to match. After finishing the fourth larger painting,  the mold was ready a week ago today for a new sculpture I'm titling Reuben's Muse and a wax had to be made in time for the monthly pickup for casting (Madd Casting, Berthoud CO) comes to SF mid-month to deliver "metal" and pick-up waxes (this past Saturday).  While waiting for delivery of a second mold, what to do?  Clean up the yard some more, plant some pansies,  compose and send a first Newsletter for Bill and his collectors, start on a new group of monotypes - yes, all of the above! Aries'energy is both strong, and abundant - thanks, Aries!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Around in Circles

 Now that I've given up and will find some other way to blend blog and website, I'll backtrack and catch up a little.Here are the two other sculptures that should have been posted in February.
With the first piece of each of these now ready to show, it was time to move on. Two more clays were finished and went to the mold maker. Now(early April), the molds are almost finished and soon it will be wax time again. If they are to be ready for the 19th Annual Loveland Sculpture Invitational in early August, they'll have to go to the foundry in mid May.  Wish me luck on that one! The gaps in the process were spent painting, with 6 smaller works,  and one larger piece, just finished yesterday. I'll post them all in the next blog.
Amidst all this, my husband/sumi painter William Preston, had a very successful showing at the Santa Fe JIN's fourth Matsuri (Spring Festival) which I assisted,(and it was absolutely great fun), and I determined to expand this blog to include his doings (since they are part of my process as well). His new work is presented on his website,  and he has a wonderful new t-shirt, which we call the "Bee-T",  or "Circle of Bees" available in S,M,L and XL.
I've created a Preston/Hornbuckle Fine Art Fan Page on FB , if you'd like to follow us. You can do that by finding our badge on the page,  and clicking on the Become a Fan link at the bottom of it.  I often post photos of newest work there before any where else. The image for the Fan Page Badge looks like this.
 Somewhere in all this we signed up to show together at a local wine festival in June in Nambe (the next little community to the east). More information here ( go to Events)- it's a beautiful spot and should be gorgeous in mid-June! Enough for now!                                                         

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back to Square One

After struggling now for a week to have my blog and website show up together (and the instructions seemed so clear and simple, and the techs at GoDaddy were helpful!), I'm giving up and will try some other way - that is, after my website leads back to the original pages, not in a circle with the blog, and my blog just leads to my blog. I'm telling you this on my blog, because typing any version of the website URL takes you here. If this can't be rectified soon, guess I'll be blogging a lot and linking to that.
Frustratedly yours, 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Figurative Sculpture to the ForeFront!

Juggling two concurrent threads in my art life is challenging and fulfilling. Though current thought says "multitasking" is inefficient, I probably won't stop anytime soon. There are gaps in the process of creating a bronze - after a clay is finished, time when the mold is made and delivered, again after the wax is cast and goes to the foundry, and again after the "metal" is delivered, time for chasing, patina and mounting. Since the "gaps" can be as long as a month, they are a perfect time for me to move forward with painting.

I delivered the bronze above to her new home last week. It was a commission, and I will be able to make an edition as well. Their baby is now three months old, and her mom sat for the piece at six months pregnant. (From the initial posing to the final bronze takes about 6 months). I'm not bragging, but the parents were really blown away and thrilled about the outcome, and I completely jazzed by their response. Though they had asked to see two new paintings, and kept one, they just called and have decided not to buy just yet- oh well there is always another day! The painting pictured is the last painting of that size (I've used all the panels!) of the Pond Series - perhaps a square "Pool" series is next!

When is a painting Finished?

After a week or so of looking at one of the Pond paintings, I began to see that something was missing - the painting was too much in a middle value range. One of the problems with working with orange-red/blue-green complimentary colors is that of all the complimentary pairs, this combination is closer in "value" than the other pairs (yellow-purple, orange-blue, etc.) and though beautiful mostly cool neutrals were created and juxtaposed against their accents, the painting still was in the mid-value range. What was missing was some real darks(and/or lights) to set off the neutrals. To the right is the end result of further painting - if you look back at the last blog, the before is shown. What do you think? Isn't it better?
As I last said, next up is (finally a better title than "six months pregnant standing nude") - "Lady in Waiting" or "In Waiting" or "Mother-to-be" - what would you choose? When the sky clears and light returns, I'll photograph her and post it,,, "Day-Dreaming" and "Reading" -my working titles -are in the rough chasing stage at my guy's shop and should be out soon too..

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Following the Impressionists' path with Abstracts

In a post this fall, I described pursuing a painting direction inspired by Shady Lakes(lily ponds north of Albuquerque called by another artist the Giverny of New Mexico), and showed you the first painting of a new series, Pond I. The series explores a more Impressionistic palette, each painting limited to 5 colors + white. Here are three more of said series(the 3rd may not be finished yet) using basically the same colors - what I find most appealing in this process is the creation of delicious neutrals using compliments, near-compliments and white, and of course, the experience of working with more subdued, less "Southwestern" colors.
Next post will be the finished sculpture of a pregnant young woman who has since had her baby, a little girl, and a red-head at that, I hope!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

art Chickens come home to roost

A wonderful and amazing thing happened today! An old and rarely remembered art-debt was acknowledged and is being paid! Probably 20 years ago, I agreed to a reduced price, and sold a fair number of early watercolors from my AWS days, done ten years earlier, to a dealer from a town nearby, receiving payments for some years, then none for a good while, and finally, as it would come up mentally yearly (or when economically stressed), forgetting about it mostly, the w.c.'s being in the past, and my having moved on (in my own art work and life). Said dealer died recently, sadly, and his partner contacted me today via e-mail (a time to have gratitude for the expansion and complication the internet brings into our lives) to ask about and settle the debt - how honorable and wonderful of her, and for me - an affirmation of faith in the integrity of many of those we deal with in this art life.


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