Good news and preparing to paint

This is a post about thinking / painting process.  (In other words, if you are here to see images of my artwork, just click on the word "dog" or "cat" or similar over to the right.  Otherwise - read on!)

A couple of weeks ago, I had an interview with the Point Richmond Art Collective and an offer to join!  I am so excited and am also experiencing some of the emotional turbulence of approaching something my heart so fervently desires.  But the upshot is that I'll be able to have gallery space in a beautiful spot right in downtown Point Richmond and learn a ton as a member of the collective too.  Pamela deWitt, who is the daughter of the established and gifted artist Jim deWitt, runs the gallery and coordinates the activity of the collective and I'm finding her the most encouraging, warm person, so I feel doubly lucky about this situation.

Pamela asked me what I wanted to put up in the gallery and I had to laugh because all my work has been on commission (in some ways very lucky), so I don't really have any paintings to display (in this one way not-so-lucky.)  She asked, in a tone that said "I already know the answer to this",

"So, do you paint fast?"

Again, I had to laugh and say yes, I sure do.  Thank goodness!  And it turns out that Jim also is known as a fast painter and we joked about having a "paint off" sometime.  She also offered that I could paint at the gallery itself during my days there, so that I don't lose painting time.  (Each collective member contributes a certain number of days per month of staffing the gallery.)

Gary Stutler (then my painting teacher) once reassured me, when I was doubting myself on that score, that my working fast was a positive and honest part of my process and not to worry.  Thank you Gary!

So while it's true that I do paint fast, once I get to the easel, I always seem to need time to settle on a subject, figure out what's drawing me to it, let it percolate, take photos and noodle about composition a bit.

I've started in on that for the first group of paintings that I want to put up at Point Richmond Art Collective.

There are so many interesting streets, houses and intersections right in my new town here in Point Richmond, so I decided to pursue that as a subject.  I'm keen to explore the territory anyhow, so it seemed a natural.  Also, I think it will be fun for locals to recognize their local views when they come in to the gallery too.

So, I took a really long walk with dogs and camera yesterday to start snapping potential painting subject matter.  I just love how there are so many weird intersections, steep winding roads, funny staircases leading from one street down to the next and the views of the bay that I could see between and over buildings were really enticing.  I think this is going to be really fun.   I even spotted two "Timothy Horn trucks" on my walk.

Here are all of my photos from yesterday:

My dogs didn't love all the stop and start, but hey, it was a bonus walk on top of their earlier dog park romp, so too bad.

As I saw all the amazing views that the houses on the bay-side of the hill have (as opposed to my "refinery side" of the hill), I did have some envy arise.  I may do a few paintings where all you see in the painting is just a peek of the bay between houses or over roof tops to speak to those feelings.  At one point, as I was walking along, I thought, "hey, I should do a whole series about how only the rich get any of this view and the rest of us are just peeking at it in these sad little holes... wouldn't that be so on topic with all the hoo-hah about the very rich versus the rest of us etc."

But as I let it all percolate a bit more, I decided that if I made that the whole focus of this painting series, I'd be doing myself too much harm with that kind of victim-y negativity.

I'd also made some comments about that envy in a Facebook post and a good friend reminded me to shake it off and be grateful just by re-framing the whole thing as "Aren't you smart to enjoy those views without paying hundreds of thousands?"   I love having friends like that!   I still have a little imp who feels unsatisfied until I am queen goddess in pajamas sipping coffee in my own water-view manse, but that imp will have to just suck it for now.

So back to painting (ahem), I think the focus will be on all the fascinating twists and roads and views and houses, with just a dab of indulging myself around the topic of "hey, you guys are rich. what does that mean to me?"

So, excited to get going.  Hope you enjoyed the view into the crazy tunes of the creative process and stay dialed to this bat channel for more as it develops!


  1. This will be a great series, Kate. I love to see interesting urban scenes and Pt. Richmond is such an unusual small community with such a rich mix. Now get out your brushes and GO!


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