Open Studios

Open Studios

October? Already???

Oh my sweetums, I have been neglecting you. Truly I have. After thirty new paintings in thirty days, being a complete creative overachiever I went cold turkey on the blog.

But I had a good excuse, had to get ready for Open Studios.

This year I took full advantage of the studio patio, setting up a display outside


So I could free up the inside for painting demos. Lots of painting demos. That’s why the table’s a mess, ’cause I was working. Making art.


I’ve been doing Open Studios for a few years now and I think this was my BEST one. Had a decent turnout, great people, lots of good feedback and some solid sales.

Most of all, I had FUN! OMG, yes!!! So much fun talking with people, answering questions, demonstrating techniques. Open Studios feeds me–and no, Im not referring to the Halloween candy and oranges you see up above (although that too). It feeds me in that feels-good-spot in my creative soul.

Note to self: Remember this next year. Pluh-eeze. Especially the month before when you’re pulling out your hair and going batshit crazy and wondering why the hell you’re doing this again.

Ahhh… so yes, two weekends of positive social interaction. And painting. And money in the bank. All good stuff. And now I’m back to making more art. Here’s what I finished today.

mixed media abstract landscape

The Garden, Late Afternoon.
Mixed Media on Canvas 24″x24″
2014 Susan Lobb Porter

This started life as one of the 30/30 paintings, day 16. It was an ok painting and then I had this brilliant idea to glaze the lower half. But I used the wrong medium. Or maybe it was the wrong brush. It ended up looking like crap. So for one of the demos I threw on some gesso and tissue and began something totally different than what you see up there. No problem, it’s all about layers, right? Yesterday I pulled it out again and did a fairly representational view of my garden. And then, just when I finished last night, I stepped back, looked at it and said, “Ummm…no…”

Because I’m all about simplifying the image these days.

Before I could change my mind I grabbed a tube of Cadmium Yellow Medium and squeezed a big fat line of it it right onto the canvas. Then I took a squeegee and started moving it around. Made myself all kinds of happy. Finished it up today.

And Tuesday it’s going to the gallery.

Umm…life is good!

Until next week–




Life in Progress

Life in Progress

Do you remember a couple months ago when I was bitten by the Tidy Fairy right on my tidy bum? Bit so hard I actually blogged about it throughout the month, showed photos of the resulting spartan simplicity of my-life-as-tidy. Dining Room Do you remember that?

I kept up my little tidy spree until one day…LIFE happened. The Tidy Fairy was kicked in the corner with some errant dust bunnies when the it’s-not-the-flu-but-it’ll-knock-you-on-your-ass-for-a-month bug came a callin’. And as I slowly recovered from not-the-flu I found my tidy motivation was belly up under a pile of crumpled tissues.

I. Did. Not. Care. The rooms I dealt while drunk on the elixir of cleanliness have maintained–to a certain degree–their new found sense of order. But the long abandoned kids’ rooms upstairs along with my studio out back, those places the tidy fairy never made it to, remained magnets for clutter. 

In fact the studio became positively frightful. Things mysteriously appeared where there was no space for them to appear. Except for things I needed, those disappeared who knows where. And then the walls closed in. Overnight. Poof! Just like that. My once spacious studio took on the proportions and feel of a gnome hole in the side of a hill. I was ready to shut the door and walk away. Seriously. Take up knitting or something. But when I heard Alyson Stanfield was running her Organize Your Art Biz class again, I took it as a sign from the Universe.

Universe: Don’t quit painting. Clean your studio. Organize your art biz.

Me: Umm…okaaaaay!desk clean

After just a few days I can honestly say this class is where I need to be right now. Not only is my desk–including drawers–organized–they even close now!!!I had a major AHA! about the studio and how it functions…and how it can function MUCH BETTER!

Universe (via Alyson): Studio and office should be separate.

Me (thinking of the empty kids’ rooms upstairs): Riiiiiiight!

So in the next few days I’ll be moving all the non-painting, non-art making stuff out of the studio. Shipping supplies, matts, prints, books. Canvasses–yes, all those blank canvasses I buy by the case, especially those huge suckers that take up so much room. And the finished ones that aren’t sold or hanging anywhere else–all that will go to Firstborn’s room, my soon-to-be new office. Which means I have to organize that room first.

But envisioning the studio as a fully functioning work space is all the incentive I need. Room to move around. Throw paint. Teach classes. Shoot video. Ohhhhh, I am positively swooning! Come back next week to see how this goes. There will be photos. Maybe even a swoon selfie…. As always my sweetums, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments below. And by the way, has anyone told you this yet today— blog_sign2   Well, you are! xosusanWEB

Kickin’ Back

Ahhhhhh…. The boots are off.  The narrow toe, high heel cowboy boots that I wore ALL day TWO days  in a row…on concrete Are. Off.

My feet have died and gone to heaven, heaven in this case being the top of the coffee table. They are officially nekked, except for the thickest, fluffiest socks that make them feel truly loved. Truly. Beyond truly.

The 2013 Open Studios Tour is over.  Two weekends of welcoming the public into my workspace. Explaining what I do. Demonstrating. Talking about art. And life. And whatever direction the conversation leads us. Trust me, it went off in some crazy directions. Good crazy. And in between all of that, all that talking and demonstrating and hostessing, I sold some art.

And ate some chocolate. And was validated a hundred times over by people signing up for classes.

And looked two inches taller, twenty pounds lighter in those damn boots.

So now it’s officially exhale time. Five, ten minutes. Maybe a day. And then it’s time to put on the marketing hat and figure out what to do with all the remaining paintings, all fifty gazillion of them. 

And plan those classes!

Meanwhile, my best best BEST beloveds, remember this:

Love You THIS Much

Love You THIS Much

I love you THIS much! Mmmmmmmm-whaaaaa! (That was a BIG kiss)

Now go show your love and say something in the comments below. Smiley face here.


Buh-bye Summer

Buh-bye Summer

Autumn is here. Blew in a day early, when summer was just on the way out. Came in with rain and wind, lightning and thunder. She who wears flip flops all summer now wears thick socks. Hoodies. Tonight I heard the coyotes yapping somewhere out in the forest beyond the back fence. It was early. Not early as in 2 AM. Early as in 7 PM … and it was almost dark.

So long daylight, see ya next summer….

But even more than the turning leaves, more than the mice moving back into the pantry, more than the extra blanket on the bed … the biggest sign of autumn for me is Open Studios.

To be more specific, the frenzy before Open Studios.

O. M. G. Breathe…

She who has more than enough paintings always feels she needs to make more more MORE. Like da Muse is on steroids. Somehow she is not called upon to clean the studio, not until the day before  last minute.

But in the end it will all come together. Paintings will be finished (or not). Prints will be printed (or not). Matted (or not). The door trim I’ve been meaning to paint since last year will be painted (or not).

Did I ever tell you this is my FAVORITE time of year?

And now for a work-in-progress peek behind the process. I almost want you to close your eyes and don’t look at this first photo because it’s so b.a.d. but that would defeat the purpose of the rest of the post. So go ahead and look at it and know we all make mistakes.

blog 9_30 1

This was a sucky painting. Oh, indeed it was. That’s because my head entered the picture. Said, hey do a river scene for the Open Studios. Ka-ching. Ka-ching. A nice abstract river thing that someone will B.U.Y. Because everyone loves our river.

So I did this thing of turbulent water and boulders. Cold wax and oils and it looked like shit not what I envisioned.

So the next day I went back and eviscerated the sucker. The top layer of oil and wax was still tacky, easy enough to remove. There was no moving the earlier layers but I liked the way they stained the plaster. This is on a plastered cradled board, BTW.

blog 9_30 2

I scraped it down to the nubbins. All except an arbitrary triangle of gray that said Oh no! Not meeeeeeee!

blog 9_30 4

When a painting talks, you MUST listen.

This bears repeating.

When a painting talks, you MUST listen.

And then, since I had NO IDEA where this was going, I began scribbling. Pardon moi, making marks.

blog 9_30 5

Because marks are my creative breathing space. This is the point where the music and the physical movement of the mark making take over. I’m singing loudly, most likely off-key. I’m dancing around and frantically scratching into the painting with pencils, skewers, a scrub brush…whatever’s handy and GET DOWN with da muse.

blog 9_30 6

Sunrise Over the Mountain
Susan Lobb Porter

This is where it stands now. Is it finished? Bets me, probably not. Am I happy? Oh my sweetums, I am indeed.

Blatant Plug #1: If you’re anywhere in northern California the first two weekends of October take a nice scenic drive to the gold country. Because really, what else are you doing when you could come and see me. There’ll be chocolate. And art. Lots of art, my own and that of 73 other artists all tucked away in our mountain studios. It’s free and if you didn’t already click on the link above you can download the map here.

I can only guarantee the chocolate at my studio.

Blatant Plug #2: This January I’ll be launching my first e-class. Holy crap, YES!!! I’m doing it! YAY!!! I’ll tell you more in future posts.

As always, I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments below.


Fresh Paint

Fresh Paint

These days Studio Grande (AKA Stu-day-OH! Gran-day) smells delicious! OMG, yes!!! Smells better than fresh baked bread. Better than cookies in the oven. Better than basil and garlic.

And trust me, NOTHING smells better than basil and garlic.

Except the magical olfactory top o’the tour scentsation of…oil paints! And lindseed oil! And fresh drying plaster!

Oh. My. Yesssssssssssssss!!!

Pause here while I compose myself. Big breath. Okay, better now.

Studio Grande smells so wonderful because I’ve been cooking…positively cooking lately when it comes to making art. Believe me, nothing lights a creative fire under my butt faster than an upcoming show. And Western Nevada County Open Studios is happening the first two weekends in October. If you’re anywhere in northern California and want to have a fun weekend come on by. You can get all the info and download the map here

Right now my focus is on oils, juicy juicy oils. So rich and delicious I just want to roll in ’em like a dog in a dead thing. But don’t worry, I haven’t given into my inner canine in quite some time, not since I got spanked for biting the mailman.

He was delicious. And so was the spanking.

Sometime this week, after I wrap up the current works-in-progress, I’ll switch to acrylics and mixed media. Things with a short drying time. And I suppose I should clean the studio as well.

Here are a few of the things I finished this week, although you know what I say, nothing is truly finished until it walks out my door. These all happen to be landscapes. All oils.


Susan Lobb Porter

This puppy is oil and cold wax on plastered cradled board. It’s 24×24 inches. It’s one of the cradled boards I wrote about last week.


Late Summer
Susan Lobb Porter

Not sure of the size of this one. Think it’s 16×20 inches. It’s on a wood panel but not cradled. The texture comes from recycled painting underneath, something I got tired of before I even finished it years ago. Recycled paintings make the best, most interesting surfaces.


Susan Lobb Porter

Another cradled board. Smallish, 11×14 … maybe. I should write these things down before I sit down and blog about ’em. Really, you’d think I’d know.


Spring Rain
Susan Lobb Porter

And yet another landscape. I have a few more of these in the works as well as another vessel series and some abstracts. Next week, you’ll see them next week.

As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. And if you like what you see, please share with your friends. I’ll eat chocolate cake if you do. Because I’m willing to go that far to show my appreciation for my best best BEST beloved readers.


She’s in Painting Mode

I love living in the country. Really do. Except for one thing…my internet connection SUCKS. Like a Hoover. Little problem with connectivity. Any static on the phone line and that’s it. By the time they send someone to check it out, and we’re talking an estimated fix-it time of weeks, well by that time it usually ends up fixing itself. 

Can you hear me now, AT&T? 


We’re in one of those … phases right now. So I’m going to keep this short. Do a little show and tell, let you see what I’ve been working on. Open Studios is coming up in a couple of weeks and I’ve been in painting mode.

Seriously, check out these cradled boards (24×24 inches). These are just some of the ones Mr. Spouse was kind enough to whack together for me yesterday. Here they are waiting for their coat of plaster. 

monday boards

monday plaster

Mmmm…such a yummy juicy texture to paint on! 

Plaster? I haven’t worked on that for awhile but it’s been calling to me again. Here’s one I finished today, still on the easel. This one’s 24 x 36 inches. Oil, oil bar, some pencil.

Meadow  Susan Lobb Porter Oil on plastered board

Susan Lobb Porter
Oil on plastered board

Here’s a couple of close up details so you can see the layers and texture.

detail Meadow Susan Lobb Porter

Susan Lobb Porter


detail Meadow Susan Lobb Porter

Susan Lobb Porter

Western Nevada County Open Studios 2014 is the first two weekends of October. If you’re anywhere near northern California come on by and say hi. You can pick up a map and check out the preview show at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley.

Ahem, CFA … you gonna update the info on the website? Just askin’…

As always, if you like what you’ve seen here please share this post with your friends. I PROMISE I will do a backflip for EVERY like I get on FaceBook. A double for any shares. And then I’ll post the address where you can send flowers while I’m in traction.

MMMPH (big kisses here) xoxoxo