Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I've been working on a couple of paintings lately that seem to have stalled, so I decided to begin working on a brand new piece. This is a relatively new thing for me, something I just started doing a couple of years ago. In the past I would start a painting and if I hit a brick wall, I'd just leave it alone for a while...but I wouldn't immediately start or work on anything else. This process proved to be extremely unproductive for me. More often than not the painting would remain stuck and eventually get classified as "perpetually unfinished", and I would fall into a funk because I felt bad about not doing anything for long stretches of time. When I get stuck now, I just start something new...and that always feels exciting and fresh to me. The working break seems to help the overall fate of the "stuck" painting, because I'm able to look at it with fresh eyes and I'm usually able to approach it in a different way. If that doesn't work, I can bring it to the Art Guru! Jeremy always gives great advice.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

calm out of chaos

I have been doing a lot of painting painting, that is. Terry and I are painting the inside of our house and we have a fast-approaching deadline of August 7th...that's when our company arrives, my dear friends from high school. I know they don't care what the house looks like, but I care and I want it to look good (not just for them, but for us as well). Anyway, the other day I started painting the kitchen and I found myself in a bit of a frenzy. My mind was racing: Will we ever get it done in time? Why am I not faster at this? Why doesn't it look perfect? I was starting to panic and I could feel myself starting to unravel. I was afraid to stop for the day, but Terry convinced me that pacing myself was crucial, so I stopped.

I went upstairs to do my daily "paint-every-day-that-I'm-home" discipline, but I didn't feel like working on any of the pieces I currently have going. I grabbed a piece of primed paper, picked up a brush and just went for it, with no plan or preconceived notion. I expected that whatever would come out of me at that moment would be high-energy and jumbled. What did come out had a very gentle, peaceful flow, with lots of curves and softness. It resembles an abstract female form with her arms raised overhead in a joyful, receptive posture...and it made me feel better instantly.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

a different sort of artist

I haven't been keeping up with my once-a-week-blog goal lately, but it's for a good reason. My father, Frank X. Castellano, passed away on July 2nd (about 6 weeks shy of what would have been his 88th birthday). Since then, my mind has been flooded with memories of my dad...some have made me cry, all have made me smile. He was a great storyteller and he always made his captive audiences laugh. One of the things he would love to say to me was, "You know, I'm an artist too." Then he would lean in conspiratorially, grin, and whisper, "A bullsh*t artist!" We would both have a good laugh and then move on to the next story. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I have to respectfully disagree. My dad was not a bullsh*t artist. Rather, my dad was an artist of life. He approached life with joy, faith, and optimism...not in a Pollyanna way, but in a very matter-of-fact manner. He was kind, generous, brave, honest, loving, funny, compassionate, and supportive. He touched so many people while he was here with his sense of humor, his good advice, and his giving spirit...he even saved a few lives as well. He made the world a better place and I will always be grateful for him. I miss you, Dad. I'm proud of you, and I love you so much. You were a true bullsh*t.