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Sunday Dinners, Love & Ashley Neese

Every Sunday of the What’s Love Got To Do With It? residency, the lead artist Ashley Neese is making a home cooked meal for all of us.  Lucky us!  This was what she made last Sunday: Vegan carrot and coconut soup, spinach salad, gluten-free corn bread.

Banff Sunday Dinner - Week 1

Ashley Neese is a multidisciplinary artist from Atlanta, Georgia, who now lives in Portland, Oregon.  Her work looks at the theme of love, and I especially related to her pieces about her family.  During her artist talk the other day, she played a sound recording of her mother reading a list of things that Ashley would want her mother to know, things that she would want someone she loved to know in case the worst ever happened.  She made lists for her brother and father as well, but she only played the one of her mother reading.  I don’t know if it was her mother’s voice, which quivered at some points and sounded like she might cry or was crying, or my own thoughts about what I would say to my own mother, but I was very close to tears listening to the audio piece. Quite a few of my fellow “Love” resident artists were also nearly moved to tears.

One of the interesting discussions we’re having during this residency is about the theme of love in art, and how many in the industry don’t see it as a serious enough theme to make work about.  We’re having our first reading discussion group tomorrow afternoon, and I’m sure this topic will be touched on and it will be interesting to hear everyone’s opinions, especially as everyone in this group creates work that is related to the theme of love in one form or another.

To see and hear some of Ashley’s work, please visit her website at www.ineedyouso.com

Love & Loss

Buddy (1997 - 2010)

On Friday evening, I went through the hardest part of being a dog owner – having to say goodbye to my dog, Buddy.  In the 13 years he spent with my family, he helped us through some of the most difficult times in our lives and brought us much happiness and comfort.  Whether it was through sad times of illness and heartbreak or happy times of celebration, he was always with us, and for that, we will forever be thankful that he found his way to us.  My mother used to say that it was fate that Buddy became our dog, because when we first went to pick a puppy, we had chosen a small female puppy, but when it came time to picking up the dog to bring home, the breeder said that someone had returned a puppy, an unwanted Christmas present, and that’s when we first met Buddy, a rambunctious little Maltese that we instantly fell in love with.  He was a cheerful addition to our family, and we couldn’t help but smile whenever we saw him.

Buddy - The Maltese with attitude

Being a part of the family, it was only a matter of time before Buddy made it into my paintings.  I sometimes think he steals the spotlight in my self-portrait, She wanted to do more than just pass, which I think captures his character and attitude very well!

Funny Buddy, you will be missed…

It’s amazing how much love one can have for a dog and how much pain one feels at the loss of a beloved pet.  While the feelings of grief are difficult, I am so grateful for all of the memories I have with my little Buddy and I will cherish those always.  Rest in peace, Buddy…  You were the best dog in the world, and I love you.  See you again, someday.

Little Big One

I thought it would be fun to show the difference in size between the last couple of paintings I have been doing.

Here is the little sister big and the big sister little.

Little Sister, Big Sister
Little Sister, Big Sister

I love being able to work in different scales.  I find I get to exercise my different painting muscles when I work on paintings of varying sizes.  I’m moving toward some larger work for my new series, which I’m really looking forward to working on.  I’m in the very early stages of planning and testing out some ideas on a study at the moment.  There will be elements of my “The Way You Were” series in it, but I don’t want to say or give away too much at this point!

Three Generations

I was able to find photos of some older portraits of my sister, my mother, my grandmother and me.

Grace (The Pacific), Oil on canvas (2003)

Rosy (The Pacific), Oil on canvas (2003)
Portrait of My Mother, Oil on canvas (2004)
Paintings & photos of my grandmother, in my London studio (2007)

I think I will start posting more of my early works on this blog.  I was going through my files on my computer and found a lot of older works that I really like, but I’ve consciously chosen not to have them on my main website, just because the work is so different from what I’m doing now.  But I would still like to share the work with you so I’ll be posting more in the upcoming weeks.  It’s strange to think that I’ve been painting portraits with oils for 12 years now…!

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