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.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Field of Souls - chosen from Bill's studio ©2014
After almost thirty-three years, and many adventures as artists in the Southwest, one of the two artists, William Preston, moved peacefully to the Field of Souls (as I call it) on April 26, 2015. This blog now becomes Two Artists Together:Life after Life. 

I remain to carry on what was surprising, challenging, and joyful, truly "an art life", dedicated to making art, and adapting to the changes as they came - the art world, the outer world, the cultural expectations, the "marketing" expectations, and so on.  Much else has changed in my thirty-five years as an artist - less so had in Bill's.  He continued as a traditional artist, seeking and supplying galleries and those relationships, and I, ever curious, jumped into the new one, developing new computer skills, new approaches, seeking and  using as much of the new information as seemed to apply - scatter-shot and sprinkled with many mistakes.

This blog then, is about that, as best I can make it. It has been almost a year since I posted.

Sitting at a table with friends over dinner on Memorial Day, (all younger than I, without exception), I sat silently and listened as they regaled each other with their stories, of Haight-Asbury, of Woodstock, of the war protests and flower-children of the 70's, of the Hashish Trail, of their relationship to the Grateful Dead, of crashing on couches from one end of this country to the other as young people.  They are without exception living alternative life-styles now, pretty common here in Santa Fe, alternative to that of most baby-boomers, as have I, a "war baby". 

Later I thought about why I found nothing to contribute to this entertaining mash. All simply timing, it turns out.  The cultural expectations for "educated" women (pre-1964) were radically altered in the next 5 years, and then of course continued.  Expectations were radically altered for everyone who rejected conventional paths. Think about it! I'm not a cultural historian, merely a visual artist, whose own life diverged from early expectation in the mid-seventies. I am standing at the opening of the next chapter, LIFE AFTER LIFE, musing and curious about what happens next.  My current work is all about my mysteries and passions, and curiosity.  Maybe this is a dinosaur speaking?  I figure I've got another 10 years to make the most of things - feet, don't fail me now!
Winter I - Acrylic on Board - Marianne Hornbuckle 2015

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