GALLERY ZOO ART Portfolio on Fine Art America

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

And From the Playroom...

Had to share this with all you moms out there.

In the midst of writing my previous posting, I had to change my son's training pants from perhaps one of his most expansive bodily expulsions since he was an infant. It went...

Everywhere. Out went the jeans and the pad to the changing table. In came the Glade, which I practically napalmed the house with (and mind you, I worked in animal barns for seventeen years. I am not a princess when it comes to being inundated with scent.)

We are still perfecting the "potty learning", which apparently is the politically correct term these days. Heck, if we are being that word conscious, why don't we just call it what it is--Operant Conditioning To Increase Mommy's Clothes Shopping Budget.

Preparation for Holiday Shop

These past couple of weeks have been a swirl of holiday activity and preparations for my first "in person" sale venue. Fortunately, my creative juices have been fully cooperating, as has my two year old who has been incredibly self-sufficient with occupying himself more often than not to allow me to maximize my productiveness. As any mother of a toddler knows, this is no small feat and nothing short of a miracle--so this would be one item to check off in the "what am I thankful for right this minute" column. (Well, that and my morning cup of coffee--apparently fuel for both my creative soul and current state of mental health.)

What am I creating for my "in person" holiday shop? Well, not only are there items available in my online stores, but there are also wildlife themed art cards not currently posted online. I am also making some jewelry pieces as well, both beaded necklaces and bracelets on both leather, silk cord, and a combination of the two. Even my husband has added some things to the mix: small leather pouches hand-sewn from deer leather with beaded edges and a zuni bear--hand crafted from pipestone--featured on one of the necklaces. Most prices range from $12 to $49.95, with the exception of a print or two from my Sold wildlife paintings.

All of this activity is in addition to painting larger pieces for my online galleries, and I am amazed at my energy level. My multi-tasking skills, honed from years of do-it-all-and-you-get-more-to-do, are finally paying off. I must be absorbing toddler exhuberence via osmosis. But hey, I'm not complaining.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mandarin Duck Abstract

At what seems like long last here is my lastest piece, Mandarin Duck Abstract. It has a contemporary feel to it--a bit of modernism mixed with a bit of impressionism and expressionism. Ducks are just fun birds; who can't get into a good mood when watching a duck? And Mandarin ducks are so exquisitely colorful that I felt compelled to go wild and play with the pallette a bit.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

No Small Affair With Paper

I absolutely adore paper of all kinds--crisp brilliant white; slick, shiny YUPO; brown Kraft; fancy, textured fine art--the list is endless. Whenever I find myself seeking a creative spark, nothing jump starts it faster than browsing the scrapbook and fine art paper section of my local art supply store. There are so many color combinations, patterns, textures, and thicknesses--from whisps of tissue thin rice papers to chunky woolen fiber papers--that the closet door to my inspirational creativity is ripped from its hinges and the contents of its infinite possibilities are scattered about for my choosing.

One of my favorite ways to use fine art paper is as part of a mixed media painting. Fine art paper contains visible fibers such as yarn and cotton, and often uses natural items such as leaves, flowers, and tree bark to enhance pattern and texture. These patterns and textures lend themselves to unique backgrounds and provide interesting depth and dimension to pieces. Often, the paper itself inspires the subject of the piece, rather than serving as a mere addition. Though I am just beginning my exploration of mixed media in larger paintings, my art cards (5" x 7") illustrate the use of fine art paper in smaller mediums.

Even my art photography is touched by my obsession with paper. Did you know that aside from being printed on canvas that photos can be printed on museum quality velvet fine art paper--a cotton fiber paper that lends a marvelous texture and visual quality to the image? This paper looks and feels professionally luxurious, and is a great surface for creating prints of my original paintings. When framed, the paper elevates these prints to a unique and professional artwork in their own right.
The beauty of fine art paper is that the creative uses are as limited as the imagination. Fine artists and photographers may use it for mixed media, art mats, or frames, while others may use it for book covers, gift wrap, or even as a way to enhance a piece of furniture. Who knows--maybe one day my paper obsession will lure me completely away from acrylic painting. But for now, I will keep my options open.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Snap Out Of It

For those of you looking for humor, sorry--this one's not it.
It is so typically human of us to get caught up in our day to day routine--to be slammed into a tunnel vision so encompassing that everything else falls by the wayside.

Kids have a way of taking you there and then at the moment you least expect it, snapping you out of it. My favorite, however, is when I have my own Snap Out Of It Moment.

When we got to the park today after our typical run-to-the-park-with-the-stroller, I heard a call that immediately nabbed my attention. High in a cypress tree was an absolutely gorgeous red tail hawk, calling. She launched herself out into the clearing and flew, low enough to see the whiteness of her belly and underwings. She continued to fly and circle the park around the playground--sometimes in wide circles, and other times smaller ones, vocalizing most of the time. It was incredible to watch, made more so by the fact that we live in the city. My son was equally enthralled, for about the proper amount of time expected for a two year old to pay attention to anything.

I continued to search out the hawk the entire time we were at the park. It is easy for me to get lost watching the rhythm of the flight--the patterns, the calls, the beat of the wings. It reminds me of how simple life can be, and how with practice, repetition, and perseverence I can have an impact--just like the ripple in the pond. No matter how small, I count. I want my son to learn this too. And if he learns it from a hawk, so be it.
Painting is Egret In Flight by Catherine Jeltes, 2008, GALLERY ZOO ART.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


It is easy to believe in myself as an artist and mother when things are going well. On the other hand, believing in myself when things are less than stellar takes some effort. As an artist selling solely from online galleries, it is important to consistently produce new work to attract potential buyers and maintain the interest of current collectors/customers. Along with this comes the need to market, market, market...not to mention photographing and editing all new work and listing it for each online gallery.

Now in my former "regular" day job career, all of my work resulted in a steady pay check. Easy, right? We are raised to believe if we work hard and do good work, we can get paid and thus make a living. Naive me, I discovered that it is necessary to change this mentality when self-employed. My own self-discipline and drive to succeed constantly motivates me to work towards my artist goals. When buyers are few and far between, or I've entered juried competitions and my work is not selected, it is a challenge not to turn that energy back on myself and question my choices. Am I any good as an artist? Can I provide for my family doing this full-time? And then the big one...Am I being a good mother if my self-imposed work ethics are compromising my energy to be the parent my son needs?

Each day I contemplate these things, and each day I laugh with my son and try to reflect upon how fortunate I truly am. And then I face the easel again.

Monday, November 3, 2008

New "Scape" Photograph

Today I added a new photograph to my "Scape" Series. This photography series celebrates the detailed minutia that comprises the whole--the ordinary that we take for granted when our eyes place it as merely part of a larger whole, instead of a part of that larger whole. Captured in this form of abstraction, these details become the landscape of the subject--hence, the name "Scape" series.

Cranescape (2008) is the latest in this series, detailing the dramatic placement of an African Crowned Crane's feathers in sun and shadow. I love this photograph because it epitomizes the grace and beauty of this bird in its creation of dramatic abstraction. I did minimal editing in the digital darkroom, as I prefer to leave the image untinkered with in its elegant simplicity.

Check out the entire "Scape" Series at