Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Chairwoman

Old Blue
Acrylic on Canvasboard
I've been participating in a couple of online painting-a-day challenges. Finished 30-in-30 Challenge for January 2017 with Leslie Saeta --she's posted that she'll be hosting another such challenge in September 2017--and I'm now in the midst of another challenge of a painting each day for March--see public group page Today-Start Art on Facebook.

One would think I would simply paint something every day. Why the reliance upon a challenge to motivate me to show up in front of the easel?

I'm thankful that for whatever the reason I have, because I can see my painting taking on a recognizable style. This has been a revelation to me, as I've always been rather loose with my painterly approach. I know I wouldn't have gained this insight or self-realization if I hadn't daily been applying paint or sketching. My results are changing. I hope it's for the good.

In line with this most recent challenge, I'm finding I'm drawn to those objects that occupy home interiors, such as accessories, beds and most noticeably, chairs. Heretofore I've painted flowers, landscapes, seascapes. But with this most recent stint of painting chairs are making their way into my painting world.

Chairs. Is there a metaphor for chairs? I came across "empty chairing," which because of recent political connotation refers to leaving a chair empty during the course of a debate to indicate and embarrass the chair's occupant/candidate who chose not to participate. But I don't feel that's germane in my instance.

There's also the reference to ritual of leaving a chair empty during Jewish circumcision ceremonies, set aside for the prophet Elijah. Well, I'm not Jewish and I don't participate in such ceremony.

All references, though, seem to highlight the missing person. Am I acknowledging a person missing in my life? Am I the missing person that I need to find and take my chair?

Maybe there is NO rhyme or reason for the chairs. In any case, I think I'll continue painting chairs until something else shows up demanding to be painted.

Works for me!

Little White Chair in the Bath
Acrylic on Canvasboard 8"x 10"

Alfred's Red Chair
Acrylic on Gallery-wrap Canvas 3"x 3"

Preliminary Sketch
on 9"x 12" Gallery Wrap Canvas

Thursday, March 9, 2017

What Next?

There's always something old and something new, kind of like marriage. Kind of like life.

Although Little Dog Art Gallery is only one year old, it is going to become the something old. Not sure what I'll keep doing with it. The brick and mortar will close, no lease, no cleaning the floor and toilet, no interacting with gallery visitors and gallery activities. But the website and the blog will remain active. The website is set up for online sales. I hope there will be an ongoing viable path to represent other artists and their art.

I don't know YET what that will look like and how it will function. To be continued ...

In the meantime, nothing remains in stasis, everything is dynamic, always changing.

Even though I'm probably better known for my photography, I've been at the easel trying some new painting approaches. I want to take my images in a different direction, so I'm experimenting.

Results are rough and unformed. I seem to want to simplify my imagery. More conceptual? More minimalist? I don't even know yet how to define it. It's too early to define.

Even my color scheme is changing, becoming more earthy.

Something feels good about the direction.

Show of Hands Acrylic

My Doggone Dog  Acrylic

Daybreak  Acrylic

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Small Things ...

Sometimes the smallest things make or break a day.

This has been the hardest Spokane winter I've experienced since moving here in 2011. I'm told it actually has been a typical Spokane winter, and the other winters I experienced here were very mild. The ice has been challenging to my aging lack of balance and nonexistent recovery capability. Shoveling snow hasn't been on my list of fun things to do.

Admittedly, conditions are/were far worse in other locations. I suppose I should be grateful for what I experienced. And that's where small things have made my day. Today I didn't have to clean snow and ice off my car. I didn't have to shovel any snow. I was able to walk across the parking lot without falling on icy asphalt, and I was able to walk across the street without having to climb awkwardly over an accumulated berm of ice and snow. It made my day!

I safely and successfully made it to the gallery, where I've been working on the incoming March exhibit; the last exhibit of my LITTLE DOG Art Gallery, which will close the end of March.

I've been thinking about the year since opening the gallery. I had grand ideas. Some turned out well, some flopped, but I had a great deal of fun with all of them, with the artists, the gallery visitors, the neighborhood ... the awesome experience gained and lessons learned!

Long ago, a dear friend gifted me a lovely hand-marbled paper mobile she had made. After all of my moves and inconvenient locations, I finally found a huge window--at the gallery with its 9' high walls--in which to display the mobile. Every day I've enjoyed watching it move on the slight breeze from the gallery door opening and closing, or from the winter heat register just below it. The 1" brightly marbled paper circles have danced and entertained me.

Having the gallery experience was incredible and I'm sad that it is coming to an end, but those small dancing bits of paper made my day every day for this past year!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Inquiring Minds Want to Know?

Well, you'll notice there's a gap of about a year since my last post. Hmmm where, oh where has Kay West been?

Mid-March of 2016 an opportunity inexplicably presented itself, and I leaped on it! I opened LITTLE DOG Art Gallery, a brick and mortar fine art sales gallery in Spokane, WA, along with my silent partner sister, Mel.

Everything moved very swiftly and before I knew it I was scheduling upcoming art exhibits, hanging shows, arranging for in-gallery activities and artist receptions, lots of bookkeeping and paying out of commissions, meeting people, talking with gallery visitors, up to my eyebrows in art biz, et cetera.

It has been an awesome, invigorating, growth experience! I've met so many cool people and talented artists here in Spokane! Initially I was only showing other artists' work, but in the last couple of months I've started exhibiting some of my own paintings. You can check out Little Dog Art Gallery on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, plus our website at

Yes, I've continued painting and taking photographs. I had a dozen of my Bondo Series photographs in a summer exhibit at Liberty Building Art Gallery in Spokane. I was invited to exhibit work in a December group show at Marmot Art Space in Kendall Yards, Spokane.

"Red Lamp" in Liberty Bldg Art Gallery, Summer 2016

"Golden Nut" in Liberty Bldg Art Gallery, Summer 2016

"Frontal, Bondo Series" Marmot Art Space, December 2016

"Golden Curve, Bondo Series" Marmot Art Space, December 2016

Yup, Here I am posing in front of my displayed work at
 Marmot Art Space, Kendall Yards, Spokane, WA

I've pushed forward with my painting, so my work is becoming more loose, playing more with movement and pattern rather than realistic rendering a specific object.

It's been a fun year, with more growth and exploration to come!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Top o'the Morning to ya, Spring!

Adjusted my clocks around the house as I slipped into Spring mode this morning. I am already enjoying this change, as everything seems to sprouting a little bit earlier this year. Is it just my imagination or am I experiencing global warming up close and personal?

It was rainy and dismal most of the day, but I had picked up some daffodils at the grocery store--mine aren't yet up--and they provided just the energy lift I needed.

So, with a tip o' my Tam to St Paddy's Day, here are a couple iPhone shots of the green!

Happy Spring!

Featured by @jj_colorlove (Instagram) on 3/8/16 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Verbatim 2015: An art + text collaboration

It was a first for me, back in October of 2015; a collaboration of my photography with the poetry of Spokane's Christopher Cook. I was excited to be invited to participate in Verbatim 2015, an annual fundraiser for INK Artspace and Spark Center.

I first met Chris at the organizational meeting and found him to be open and receptive to working with me--my being a bit under the Spokane art scene radar--and to combining our respective talents. Chris is a long-time Spokanite, whereas I've only been here for about four years, and a rather reclusive four years at that.

He provided me with a lot of his published chapbooks and poems so I could get a feel for how he wrote, and he came on this blog site to see my photography. And so it began.

Chris is not only well-respected in poetry circles, but he also teaches at Gonzaga University and plays trumpet in the Spokane Symphony Orchestra. With his extensive background, he provided me with a list of visual resources from which to choose. He itemized places, which I then wandered around and photographed. Chris also pulled some strings, taking me through the Bing Crosby Theater and the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, where I sought to find some interesting behind the scenes shots.

This turned out not only to be great fun, but also an excellent means of learning how to get around downtown Spokane. Even though I've lived here for a time, I really had not explored much of the downtown area. Why not? Traffic is off-putting, so many one-way streets, abysmal parking, you name it. But, this experience forced me out of my shell, for which I'm most grateful!

It was quite exciting to work in this way. I am rather unstructured in what and where I photograph. This collaboration was awesome in forcing me to focus on the end product for a specific purpose.

I shared the photographs with Chris and he selected one grouping, a diptych of shots from The Baby Bar. This, as I understand it, is Spokane's smallest bar, located behind Neato Burrito on First Avenue.

Thus, the images were selected and the poet sharpened his pencil and went off to do his thing. I could hardly wait to read what Christopher wrote.

The evening of the gallery exhibit/auction and the corresponding performance of the written word came and went with great fanfare. Chris performed his farcical after hours essay, complete with musical accompaniment, and both of the photographs went to appreciative new homes!


Friday, November 13, 2015

What we experience along the way

I was returning to Spokane from a figure painting workshop at the Blanchard Community Center in Idaho and came across this really cool looking vacant/for sale church in Spirit Lake. Of course, I had to pull over and take some shots of the angles and lines it presented. Wouldn't you have done the same?

I love the serendipity of driving along and seeing some photograph-worthy subject matter I might not have had an opportunity to explore otherwise.

I realize I don't allow myself the time to wander just to be open to those happy happenstances. Winter is setting in and my forays into the mountains might be a bit limited for the season, but there are other places I can safely wander in the meantime. I simply need to fill the gas tank, make sure my camera battery is charge and block out time to go where the whim takes me.

Spirit Lake ID October 2015
Print information available on inquiry
I currently have eleven photographs on display at Park Place in Spokane Valley. They will be up for the rest of November 2015. The photo below is one of my prints on 14"x14"gallery wrap canvas.

Snowy Winter in the Country
2014  $100
Shipping Available