Clean Slate


It’s been over a week since I’ve quit smoking now and they say that after the first week, you have overcome your battle with “physical” withdrawal. The rest is in your mind. I’m not sure how that works out since I’m on the patch, but I can say that I am starting to feel a little bit better. The cravings are less at the very least and I am back to painting, but just a tad. Nothing too ambitious or anything.

Remember when I said I was on a manic cleaning spree? Well, I kept on going and going, and since I got everything back from the gallery after Exodus closed, I didn’t know where in the hell I was going to put everything. I can’t believe I found a spot for it all, but I did! Now the studio is as clean as a whistle – or at least as clean as a garage can be.


It really gave me no more excuses to get back to work, so I’ve been working a little at a time on that weird painting that’s been sitting on my easel for the past few months, which I’ve been calling a “therapy piece” all this time, and I’ve been working on upside down. It seems to be coming out a lot more interesting that way.


Smoking was so incorporated into my painting process that it’s been a struggle to paint again. I used to take a lot of breaks and look at my work while smoking (not indoors, but outside the big garage door or I’d look through the windows of the house at whatever I had going in my watercolor space) and think about what to do next. Instead of doing that now, I am switching between paintings – the one I have going in the house and the one I have going in the garage. So these are not really breaks after all. You’d think I’d be getting even more done, but I’m not because I will also sit at my computer and mess around on the art forums too.

Last night I must have read 10 pages on a thread that had to do with paint colors. You’d think this would one to sleep, but instead I was fascinated with how many artists use a limited color palette. There are many artists that have learned how to use about three or four colors (plus black and white) since the beginning of their training. These artists are pretty masterful with mixing, something I’m not really adept at, I have to admit. Not that I don’t mix at all. I do a little bit (mostly greens, browns, oranges, and some blues) but I’ve only really mixed for the landscape paintings I’ve done over the last year. More mixing that I’ve ever done.

Then again, I’ve also used a lot more NEW colors, like Phthalo Blue and Nickel Titanate Yellow. I never used those before the last 20 paintings or so.

Once more, the artists on these forums know the universal codes for all of the colors as well as the names. For instance, the last color I mentioned, Nickle Titanate Yellow, is PY53. (And I had to look that up!) I would not, nor could not memorize these codes, ever. I don’t post in that particular forum because I would appear to be an idiot, especially since I have always used a twelve-color palette.


This has been my basic palette for years. They are all Gamblin oil paints, and the colors are:

Titanium White, Cadmium Lemon, Yellow Ochre, Transparent Earth Yellow.
Raw Umber, Sap Green, Cadmium Green, Cerulean Blue.
Cobalt Teal, Cobalt Violet, Cadmium Red Deep, Mars Black.

The only thing different I’ve done in the year is switch out Cobalt Blue for Cerulean Blue. I like it much, much better and I can always mix a deeper, colder blue with that sap green and the black (YES black). I keep reading about how you can’t mix any colors with black, but I do it all the time. There must be something “wrong” with me, but then again, I’m self-taught and I’ve come up with this stuff on my own and it works for me. I use black with mixes all the time.

speaking of being self-taught, for a long time I have toyed with the idea of taking all mention of that fact off my site. I do keep it off my resume, but it’s been on my site for a long time and over the years I have taken it off and put it back on again in a constant indecision because of stupid worry. (Can you believe that I’ve actually received email complaints??) Well, I decided to just keep it on there. I don’t care anymore.

I have only been thinking about it recently because my site is about to undergo yet another redesign! Yup. It only took me 12 years to resign it from the last time, and now it’s taking me three and a half years to redesign it again. Yes, I’m really keeping up with the program now. I’m starting to pay better attention and I finally got my head out of my ass. It’s been under construction for a little while now, so stay tuned because soon it will have a whole new look and a few new sections to boot.

I also mention “self-taught” because I’m going to have a “tag-line” on every page of the site and that will be going into the description. I’m working on this with mjp and we are trying to come up with exactly what I am: a Los Angeles self-taught visual artist, writer and musician. We just have to figure out a way to finesse that sentence.  Knowing me, I’ll probably change it a few times before I really settle on something catchy. I’ve always been opposed to having text on any of my paintings pages, but apparently if you want to be listed on Google, you have to have something written on pretty much all of your pages, although, I shouldn’t be telling you that. You should have figured that out yourself.

I’m all for giving out advice and secrets, but that’s a big one.

You’re welcome.

Speaking of advice, I was going to give some out about dealing with rejection, but I’m not sure I can now because I just found out that I got turned down for the Macdowell Colony residency that I applied for not too long ago.

In fact, I applied for quite a number of things recently and I am waiting on answers from all of them in the next few weeks. Some of them I am already pretty certain I am not going to get, but some I (stupidly) have high hopes for. I say “stupidly” because I just want them so badly and I figure my chances are as good as anybody’s. Why not? Then again, why? Who am I kidding?

Okay, wait a minute. This is not good advice to give to other artists.

What I really mean to say is that this path of being an artist is a hard one. But it’s not all rejection. It’s mostly rejection, but it’s more like a roller coaster. Maybe at first there will be nothing but rejection. It will seem that way at first, but you must keep trying. I have been at this for some 20+ years and I get rejected all the time. Maybe all you hear about are the good things. That’s called PR. What you may not hear about is the dozens and dozens of rejections I get in between the great rewards.

Do the great rewards make the rejections any easier? No. They do not. Rejection feels like shit any way you slice it. In fact, sometimes it gets worse because you can get turned down and dumped from higher heights – It’s a longer fall and your ego can really get shattered, but you know, it’s also good for you to pick up the pieces and try again. It makes you stronger.

The main thing though is that you can not let rejection stop you from trying again. You can not let it scare you from getting rejected again because guess what? You are going to get rejected again, no matter what. You have to expect that.

But I’m not going to be one of these people that tell you to have such low expectations that you should never get your hopes up — as if that will make it hurt any less when the ax comes down on your head. You can pretend all you want that your hopes weren’t up. I hate it when people say, “don’t get your hopes up.” As if you’ll be in less pain when you wind up getting hurt. I say, be excited and have your hopes up as high as you want them to go. Dream! What’s the difference? The pain will either come or it won’t. Chances are, it will.

However, if you know that you’re just going to get back on your horse again, then you can take some solace in the fact that you are a resilient person. And there will be an eventual pay off for this in both your character and, chances are, you will most likely not be rejected sometimes. Little by little, you’ll get where you need to go.

And hey, for some people, it’s not little by little. Some people get really lucky and everything great happens for them – one thing after the next. You can be one of those unappreciative mofos.  Those guys get really entitled and when something bad goes down, they don’t even know what to do with themselves. Be glad you’re not one of them or you wouldn’t even know how to wipe your own butt.

One thought on “Clean Slate

  1. Steve June 9, 2015 / 4:20 pm

    Wonderful musings, as always, Carol! I print them out and save them in a 3-ring (under the tab Exodus From Eden). You are honest with your feelings and emotions, and you express them with just the right balance of humor and wit. <3

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