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Tid-Bits of Wisdom from brains soaked in turpentine…

Wisconsin smells a bit like cow poop.  I should be used to that, but there’s something about the humidity that gives it an extra aromatic punch.  Still, it’s quite pretty here, and when the wind picks up it just smells…earthy.

I’m here for another workshop. I’ve been painting forever it seems, but with far too little direction.  After years of thinking I knew what I was doing, I realized that I didn’t.  So I sought help from artists that I admire. And I challenged myself not to let much of anything else get in the way until I had accomplished this self-absorbed desire to understand oil paint.

Here are the tid-bits I’ve picked up from my favorites over the past few years, left here with the utmost respect and appreciation for all of them.

Simon Kogan – “paintink, not drawink…dat is shit, wipe it out and start over, don’d west my time.” Followed by “keep workink beautiful, you are a gret communicator.”

Kim English – (about my friend and fellow painter, also named kelly) “she’s a good painter, you should keep painting with her…..oh, oh, aaaahhhh, you’re a good painter too, I mean, you should keep painting with each other…

Scott Christensen – “it’s all about relationships and value”…

“But what if I am generally disagreeable, and not very good at relationships, and I only value myself…?   Would that still work out???” I asked.   “Good luck with that” he replied.

Sherri McGraw – “the figure must be observed with sensitivity, allowing you to judge what needs to be shown, and what can be left out”…

“OK, I’ll leave out all the hard parts and just work on the back of his head…” If I had verbally laid that out as a viable solution, she would have smiled sweetly, let out a kind chuckle, and followed it with very good advice on how to how to paint the back of his head.

David Laffel (no website to link you to, he’s a great dinosour) – “Simplify, be more subtle…look, look, simplify, be more subtle…”  “But I don’t understand what you mean….subtle,” I pleaded – “Do it anyway” he said.  “Maybe he has some Jersey in him too,” I thought.

And the current mentor at hand…Robert Liberace… “you have a very painterly style, it’s bold and attention-getting,  but you might want to reign it in a little bit,… just as an exercise.”

Well, I’ve come a long way!! -From “Dat is shit, wipe it out, “ to …” reign it in, just as an exercise”.  Though apperently, I still suffer from an inability to be subtle.

Still, this is good news for a devote like myself, as my list is getting short.  I’m scheudaled to study with one more painter this year– Carolyn Anderson, and I hear she doesn’t mince words. A women after my own heart… I can’t wait…

As for the (as of yet) less famous, but wildly fun and full of talent artists that I’ve met along the way… I will remember your nuggets of wisdom as well…

“you’re an artist, you should be able to live on booze and pills”…. “I’m a vegan, but I have to feed my snake live mice every night”… “be happy, you could just get syphilis and die”… “tuna and cadmium does not a good sandwich make”… “muddy color beaten with more muddy color, just makes me want a shower”….and  “I want to paint better, but I need better paint…”

I am blessed with the adventure, and I welcome its unfolding.  In the end, I would raise my glass to the smell of cow dung, as long as I could wash it out with turpentine.

work in progress… we’ll see how she turns out tomorrow after I ‘reign her in’ …


7 Responses to Tid-Bits of Wisdom from brains soaked in turpentine…

Sounds like you are having a great experience and meeting really interesting people. I love your style and boldness! Travel safely and keeping up the wonderfully entertaining blogging 🙂

Posted by Jenn · via · 130 months ago

Hi Kelly,
Great blog, you are funny, witty and talented! You are living the dream, girl!

Posted by Teri Cunningham · via · 130 months ago

Kelly, Great article. I agree with Teri – you are living the dream. Are you trying to tell me that my cad yellow med. and tuna sandwiches are not good for me?… Margie

Posted by Margie · via · 130 months ago

Your blog is funny and outspoken, just like you.

The paintings from the workshop are strong, well drawn, and dimensional. But to my eye the backgrounds are competing too much with the figures–you’re using the same assertive brushstrokes to describe space as to describe form. What if you knocked down the texture to give more of a feeling of “air”?

Party on,


Posted by will klemm · via · 130 months ago

Kelly, More wine will help you reign it in,, right before you pass out notice it best wishes ,rick

Posted by rick hodgins · via · 130 months ago

We’re going along down this road. i’m enjoying watching your steps and I love your first painting (on your blog post today)

Posted by mimi · via · 130 months ago

Hey, thanks! Jen and Terri, yes – livin’ it sista’s… Margie – no tuna and cad…Will – yes, you are correct, thanks…Rick – I’ll give that a whirl tomorrow – and Mimi – someday we shall paint together. Cheers all – it’s happy hour now and I wish I could share this great little wine bar with you. I’m the quite dork in the corner slamming vigorously into the keyboard. Peace…

Posted by kelly · via · 130 months ago


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