Tag Archives: Art

It’s Just a Small Update

Hello, chaps:

Sorry to have been incommunicado on here, but life got in the way. I’ve been receiving your comments – thank you – and your questions about my art and my writing. I’ve tried to respond to as many as possible. Today I decided I’d go ahead and give you an update.

I’m currently working on 2 paintings – both are for the same individual. I have another planned that I need to have completed before  July. Yikes! The Daily Gnus have sadly been pushed aside, but they’ll be back. If you’re interested in commissioning me – even for a Daily Gnu, please drop me a line. Let me know the subject matter, when you need it, and what type of medium you’d like. I’ll let you know my availability. In the meantime, feel free to peruse my artworks site at Denise Railey Artworks.

Furthermore, my writing’s taken a backseat recently, sorry. There’s only so much time in the day, and employment keeps me busy. I will get back to my writing, and deciding what to do with the oldest manuscript at some point in the coming months. Stay tuned! I really appreciate all your support and your gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) urging. The not-so-gentle people know who they are. Don’t worry, the characters will be unleashed to an unsuspecting public soon, never fear! And when they do, you’ll love them.

Likewise, I know many of you are hoping there will be another Twizzy someday, and I promise there will be – just give me more time. I do appreciate all the great donated prizes I had for my winners, and the interaction amongst players and the Twizzy stars. Great times.

That’s all for now. For those of you who follow me on Twitter on my SunnySoCal account or my Denise Railey Artworks account,  say hello. I always make time for Tweets 🙂

Officially, Let’s Make It Official

I haven’t posted about my new website(s) on here other than by adding a link on my homepage which reads “To View And Purchase My Artwork,” so I thought I should probably make it a little more official.

I know I’ve quite a loyal group of readers on here who have been sorely disappointed I’ve not been writing as much as I had been; I’ve been otherwise engaged. So now you can delight in (1) a new post, and (2) the OFFICIAL announcement. Thank you all for your support in my writing and art endeavors, it’s truly my friends and family who keep me going.

I have opened an art website to sell originals, prints (framed and unframed), canvases, metal prints, greeting cards, iPhone and Galaxy covers, throw pillows, duvet covers, etc. I’ll be continuously adding to the site as I complete various works. On the site currently you can find my original paintings and prints, as well as photographs, so feel free to have a gander. Each gallery has several pages, so scroll to the bottom for the next page link.

I’ve just recently completed an oil on box canvas of The Highlands of Scotland, and a watercolor and acrylic on paper of Audrey Hepburn at her most glamorous. You can find my website at http://1-denise-railey.artistwebsites.com/index.html

In addition, you can access my works through http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/denise+railey/all — though for that site you’ll have to keep scrolling to the bottom to see all works.

Enjoy. And smile, life is a wonder.


~ D.

They Say Change is Good

I’m currently sitting beside a rather large unfinished canvas; and no, I don’t mean my life. This canvas has been mocking me for months. Oh, I know what you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal? Either finish the painting or move on.” It’s the moving on part that has me in a bit of a funk.

The painting – like everything else I create or become involved in – must be perfect in my eyes before I’ll walk away. It must be the best I can do. I’ve walked away from relationships with that same thought, “It was the best I could do.” I haven’t reached the boiling point with this specific painting, so it sits here, greeting all who enter. “I see your mom still  hasn’t finished that painting” has been said many, many times in the last several months… Thanks, boys.

It isn’t the only painting I’ve started in that time, it’s just the only one that hasn’t been completed. I nitpick it incessantly, but it needs to be just so. Every new brushstroke gives me anxiety, so I take breaks. I’m afraid I’ll do something and change it, and the painting will warp into something indefinable and rubbish. “They” say “Change is good.” That’s a dodgy, unhelpful comment, isn’t it? Surely not all change is good?

At some point the painting – a portrait – will be finished. He’ll have a face and everything! But in the meantime, he sits with me, this silent, faceless companion watching this sea of changes come. I get the feeling I’m not the only one anxious about this.

“Pushing Jelly Up a Hill”

“If you find it that horrible to do paintings for other people, why don’t you ever do any for you?”

I don’t recall saying I found it horrible. I may have said I found myself horrible during the process of painting a gift for someone. There’s the added pressure (self-imposed) of making sure you’re not handing over something that will insult the other person. “Here, it’s your birthday, have this ugly purple blob of paint.” Wouldn’t it be awful to see the look upon their faces as they think, “Um, what the fuck?” Not that any of my friends would behave that way, it’s just the way my mind works. It’s part of my damaged bits.

OK, fine, I may slightly recall saying I found it horrible… But by the same token, I don’t care to do any for myself. I began one last year that I haven’t touched in at least six months. It’s a large monstrosity that keeps getting moved about my house because my college son needs the space in his room when he visits, and, in my infinite wisdom, I chose to begin a painting that’s massive. The canvas is behind me as I type this – shouting, “You’re a bit of a failure as a painter, too!”

My last painting was a gift. I had written about it previously.  I finally completed it, and, stupidly cut it close. I’d decided I would hand-deliver it to my friend when I met her in NYC last month. The problem began when I decided this shortly before my trip. As it was oil, with thick strokes, it took that much longer to dry. The subject was a beloved pet, and, as such, it should actually resemble the creature. You can’t fudge something like you can when it’s a landscape. The eyes kind of need to go in the proper spot. Bushes? Meh, you can move those around. Eyes? Not so much. Days before I was to leave, I decided the bird’s beak wasn’t quite right, so I picked up the painting, and stuck my finger directly into his wing feathers. What? Why were they still wet? NIGHTMARE! I won’t go into details but by the time I got done messing with the bird’s beak, the painting sat on the floor in my room with direct sunlight and a fan blaring down on it for days.

It all worked out in the end – which is such a rare occurrence for me. I packed it in a shoe box and, days later, had the extreme pleasure for only the third time in my life of hand-delivering one of my paintings.

So why, then, don’t I paint more? I’d imagine for the same reason I don’t work on my manuscripts more. I begin, see my work, get disgusted, and stop. When I paint for others, it has a purpose. To please them. To let them know for that amount of time I was thinking of them, they’re important to me, and I’m grateful to be a tiny part of their lives.

This large canvas behind me is for me. It seems like a strange gesture to paint something for me. What is the point of letting me know I was thinking of me when I spend far too much of my time contemplating me as it is? It’s absurd, when you think about it. I’m not too terribly grateful to be a part of my life.

Oh, don’t worry. I’ll finish the canvas because I feel it’s important for my boys to see that their mother is capable of finishing things still. The first manuscript that took 5 years (the one resting comfortably with my agent?) hasn’t completely broken me.

I’ll finish the painting because I want my youngest son to have a reminder of our wonderful Scotland trip.

I’ll finish the goddamn thing so I have a piece to hang in that weird half-wall space in my living room.

I’ll finish the bloody canvas because  I don’t want my Del Mar painting (which is everybody’s favorite) to be my last big work. It touches me that so many of my friends like that one. It’s the most important piece I’ve ever done. Completed and shipped in 2009, it was the one I had most wanted to hand-deliver. Ironically, the person who always droned on about how I needed to “compartmentalize” and how getting me to do so was a bit like pushing jelly up a hill, would be proud to know I’ve succeeded in some small measure since that day. You see, I no longer have anything to compartmentalize. My compartments are empty. Clearly, the only time I’ve ever traveled light…

I will finish this fucking painting so I have something to stuff in one of my compartments, how’s that?


And so it passed:

The birthday of the friend I watched die. It was last week. I didn’t go to her grave this year. I’ve stopped doing that. The last time I’d gone, her grave had slid down the hill because of torrential rains. I had to report that to the office there at the cemetery. Of course it would be me. Her own family doesn’t visit her grave.

And so it passed:

Without me shedding a tear. I think my son expected it. He watched me a few times that day waiting for that or for me to withdraw into myself. I didn’t. I had an art project, a gift, that was occupying my time. I was busy agonizing whether the portrait I was doing actually looked like this person it was meant to or whether it looked like I painted it with my toes whilst high on crack. That was easier to focus on than to remember the shuddering sounds of a body shutting down against its will. It’s a long process, that shutting down.

And so it passed:

Without me thinking about going in day after day, week after week, to sit there and watch as her husband deluded himself into believing that her eyes were much more lively that day. Couldn’t I see it? Look, she’s responding.

And so it passed:

Without me thinking about those three beautiful children coming in a few days in a row to “say goodbye to Mommy.” The head that had previously resided on the ceramic angel on the table there suddenly snapped off on its own and rolled across the surface and onto the floor during that final goodbye. It needed to be done. And soon.

And so it passed:

Without me dwelling on how those three beautiful children will not remember how warm, funny, gracious and talented their mother was. How much she loved and doted on them.

And so it passed:

Without me damning myself for being there. For being the only one there. For having the courage to remain while everyone else crumbled and left her alone in that room to take her last breath. No one deserves to die alone – let alone someone you love. It’s a final gift to remain there with them.

And so this too shall pass:

My friend told me a few days ago that I’ve done “a damn good job” of “freezing” chambers of my heart, one by one. That I’m in danger of becoming numb. I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about. He’s English. He can’t help it. All I know is that her birthday passed and next week another anniversary of sorts will pass. A time when I walked away from a friendship that cost me more to be in than it gave in return. I gave a final gift then, too. A painting. With the humor the universe possesses, this painting seems to be everyone’s favorite in my catalog of work. No. I won’t make you one. Next week, as my friend says, I shall be “impenetrable.” And he says this with no sense of irony. Personally I think he’s full of crap. I passed a dead bunny in the road yesterday and it made me weep. Poor little fuzz ball.

Blah Blah, Just Do The Best You Can…

The boys are both off at school now – the eldest at college, the youngest just started his freshman year at high school today. According to my husband, this should be a time of “relaxation” for me. Ha. God, it’s like he doesn’t know me at all…

I have this painting sitting beside my desk. It’s small and inconsequential. It’s also not finished. This 10 x 10″ canvas is plaguing me. I’m tempted to box it up and shove it in a dark corner in the back of one of my closets. I’m not sure when I began to feel hostility towards the painting, but it’s there now.

Don’t get me wrong. The painting hasn’t slighted me. It didn’t forget to call when it said it would. It didn’t spit in my eye. It didn’t look at me as I passed wearing a new dress and say, “That’s a bit tight, isn’t it?” No, the painting hasn’t done anything except not live up to my standards, and in that respect, I cannot fault the painting as much as myself.

Yes, OK, I’m mad at myself. Does that make you feel better now? You’ve winkled it out of me. I’m disappointed in myself for the expectations I haven’t met with this latest work. My God, it looks like I’ve painted it with my toes, whilst blindfolded and three sheets to the wind. Grrr.

If you’re a regular reader, you know the painting is not for me. They very seldom are nowadays. It seems once I started working with oil on canvas, I stopped creating just to create, and created more to give joy or peace to someone I loved, or someone who was suffering. These days I paint to let people know I care. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have these grandiose plans of creating a large canvas for the living room, I even have the subject picked out:

But whether I get around to doing it is another matter entirely. That’s my youngest, by the way, at Loch Shiel (Harry Potter’s “Hogwarts” location) in Glenfinnan, Scotland.

Anyhow, the latest canvas sits and mocks me with its unfinished edges, its rudimentary lines, I’ve even decided I don’t care for the colors. I’m really displeased with myself – and that, right there, is the problem. I’ve not sat down and told myself what I’d tell anyone else in my place, “Just do the best you can” or “Why don’t you put it away for a while and then come back to it with a clear head?” Is that human nature, do you suppose – to be so hard on ourselves, and yet so loving to others?

This painting is for someone I haven’t met in person. Someone I only know virtually. Someone who has gone through some pain this year. I was hoping the simple act of creating this for them would take some of that pain away, and let them know someone out there empathized with them. Instead, I’ve made a mess and haven’t accomplished anything. It looks as if I’ve given the brush and paints to a temper tantrum prone toddler after shutting off the TV in the middle of a Dora the Explorer episode. I’m talking epic fit. Alternatively, think moose locked in a small space with a brush attached to its antlers. That’s how bad it looks, OK?

Be that as it may, I don’t like quitting. When I get this tenacious, my eldest boy calls me “DOS Lady.” It stems from an episode when he was in 4th grade and I was trying to load a game for him on the computer but it kept slipping into DOS mode. Hours later he’d given up and wandered off, while I sat at the computer screaming a blue streak and damning every part of it to a fiery ever after.

“Mommy, just give up. I don’t even want to play that stupid game anymore.”

“NO! I won’t! It says to do this and I’ve done this so I don’t understand why the bloody thing won’t bloody work when it says it’s supposed to. What’s wrong with it? Why won’t it work?!” I wailed for the umpteenth time.

He squinted at me as if to gauge my mental acuity. Had she finally gone crazy? Was this all it took? “I don’t know,” he said, “but it’s time to give up. Come on, DOS Lady. Just give up.”

I gave up. It still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. To this day, I feel a sort of panic come over me when I see a computer in DOS mode…

Will this be my DOS Lady painting? My DOS Lady swan song? Who’s to say. All I know is when I’m done, I’ll have set out to do something kind, and given my best, and that’s all I can ask of myself.