Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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Monday, December 29th

The art of subtraction

Aaron has gone to the East Coast to be with his son; we couldn't both afford to go so I'm home alone for the first time in a loooong time. I hurt my back last night trying to move a couch so I can't shovel out my tracker from the last big snow dump so I'm staying put for awhile.

I've been puttering around the house, listening to music, reading, taking hot baths, sleeping in, drinking coffee in bed, staying up as late as I can watching movies and painting, napping on the couch... all of my very favorite things to do when I lived alone.

And yet...

it's not as glorious as it used to be. I feel lonely and a little stir-crazy, and I miss him so much. It scares me a little, how much I miss him. The fact that I can't seem to thrive on my own the same way I did before we met. I'm not used to feeling, what's the word? Dependent.

But I guess I couldn't have picked a better person to be dependent on, someone who has never let me down. Below is a photo of the gorgeous flowers that he hand delivered to me at the library on my birthday, above the window are the paper lanterns he also surprised me with...sigh

birthday-flowers-and-paper-lanterns (86k image)

One thing I'd like to continue doing when my back feels better, is get rid of "stuff". We still have far, far too much stuff. We've been carting it away to Goodwill, box by box over the past several weeks. I have a goal to take something away from the house every single day. I feel lighter and happier with every load I haul away. Soon, we will only have what we really actually need. What I'm discovering, is that the only thing I *really* need, is my sweetie.

I guess I'm feeling a little sentimental, but there are worse things I could be feeling.

Elise on 12.29.08 @ 01:22 AM AK [link]

Tuesday, December 23rd

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is a happy day. Today is my birthday, I turned 39 years old. I was able to book tickets to Dallas to see my baby sister graduate with a Master's degree in nursing and to visit my dad. Also, my honey brought me beautiful flowers and hot cocoa to work; everyone I know practically has called or emailed me to wish me a happy birthday, not to mention the big screen HDTV Aaron was able to buy me with a generous Christmas/birthday check from my dad. I have been wanting one for YEARS but we waited and waited and Aaron was able to pounce and negotiate an unbelievable good price for the perfect TV, probably 1/2 what it cost even 6 months ago.

But today is also a sad day. Today Aaron's ex-wife, the mother of his young son, passed away. It all happened relatively quickly. She was fine, and then she wasn't, and then she the space of a couple months.

They lived on the other side of the country, and soon (we don't know how soon, but soon...) his son will come to live with us for good. Those of you who know me, or have been reading this blog for awhile, know that kids were never really apart of my "Master Plan". I'm struggling right now with how this is all going to work out. I know that it will work out, I just can't *see* it yet.

We are reorganizing the house so I have a small room to go to that I can paint in. That has made a huge difference to my peace of mind. I hope that I will do right by this child, he is a good kid who is going through a terrible, tragic situation. One thing he has going for him is his father, who loves him with all his heart and soul. I know that I will grow to love him just as much.

Elise on 12.23.08 @ 05:11 PM AK [link]

Friday, December 5th

Not up to my standards!

The holiday spirit has swept me up! For the first year in I don't know how long, I am not planning a trip "home" to Nebraska for Christmas this year. I am sad because I won't be seeing my family, in particular my grandparents whom I haven't seen in going on two years...but on the other hand, I don't have to go through all the stress of holiday season travel. AND, I get to go all-out with Christmas decorations.

Last night I helped Aaron finish up his
Elise on 12.05.08 @ 03:03 PM AK [link]

Tuesday, December 2nd

Compare and contrast

So, it's taking longer to get my stuff organized online than I thought it would. Last night I took a bunch of time fixing my style sheets so they work better with Firefox and then updated several of my galleries (the "in progress" photos were from 3 shows ago!)...

Anyway, I tried to shoot some photos of the changes that I made to older work etc. tonight but it's too dark. I'll post them below anyway to give you an idea but I'll need to reshoot them in daylight to get better color.

This photo is of me just starting to work on my painting titled "The Blue Tatoo" from 2006.

blue-tattoo-start (43k image)

Below is the same photo as it looked when I displayed it at the Two Crows studio (the show where I met my husband!). Below it is the painting as it looks now. I was always bothered by her eyes in the original, which seemed too close together or a little cross-eyed...and by her hand. So, I fixed those (including painting out the large ring) and also added a little shadow to her inner thigh and fixed her feet and some other highlights here and there, including the addition of the hair hanging in her face. I also added highlights and shadows to her tattoo, which seems very flat in the first version.

blue-tattoo-original (85k image)

blue-tattoo-revised (95k image)

I think she looks rather menacing now, almost like she's looking at something over your shoulder. Aaron thinks her mouth makes her look like a vampire which is exactly the look I was going for (but without being too obvious) I really like the affect. It's amazing how a few relatively minor changes can alter a painting's vibe so much. It went from being one that bothered me, to being one of my new favorites!

Anyway, this painting is 16" x 20", you get a feeling for scale by seeing the photo with me in it. It is an original oil painting on wood panel. I was selling it for $300 in 2006. I was going to try to sell it in Anchorage for $325 (at the gallery that closed right before my opening), but I think I'll price it at $275 at Annie Kaill's, since the economy is tanking so badly.

Below is a smaller painting done for the same show as the The Blue Tattoo. The first version has summer colors, where the revised painting has less brassy, more subtle fall colors. I also added the spirals in her hair, mirrored by the spiral on her pendant necklace (which I still intend to lightly outline once it's dry). I also repainted her face and neck, toning down the reds and I painted out the bright pink flowers that were in the background of the original version. I need to re-sign this one after it dries.

An even older version of this painting was used as inspiration for an online poetry contest some time back. A few of the poems were OK. People are always lifting images from my site for various things and usually I don't mind, and in this case I was pleased to stumble across the site while googling myself (naughty!).

It was originally for sell for $175 dollars but I'll sell it now for 135 framed plus free shipping. It is 9"x12", original oil painting on wood panel.

flowing-hair-original (32k image) flowing-hair-revised (31k image)

In the next two images it's harder to see the changes because I could only find this little thumbnail photo of the original before the changes. I actual fixed a lot of problems with this one, the feet, both hands, I added more definition to the hair and made the color more subdued. I straightened and thinned all the lines, and added the wings (which I still need to add a small amount of outlining and finishing details to) I also fixed her face, which was at a slightly weird angle in the first version.

Her skin tone is not as pink as it appears in the most recent photo, that was just a problem from taking the photo tonight in the dim lighting, I plan to shoot better photos of all of these soon.

Anyway, this painting is 11" x 14", original oil painting on canvas. The original price for this was $200, but now it's $150, framed with free shipping.

fiddlehead-figure-original (25k image) fiddlehead-figure-revised (69k image)

Similarly, I couldn't find anything but a rough thumbnail of this painting from my exhibit at Annie Kaill's Gallery.

If you look closely, you can tell that in the original painting the woman had blue hair, the cat had it's eyes open, and the figure was totally nude. I didn't realize I did it but Aaron said to me after seeing my changes "you made her Hawaiian!"...I guess I was inspired by my recent trip!

I still think I will subtly change the color of the mountains in the far distance but other than that, I'm really happy with how this one turned out.

wetlands-original (15k image) wetlands-slumber-revised (75k image)

She is also an original oil on canvas, 14" x 11" originally priced $200, but now $150, framed with free shipping.

Still, if you're interested in any of these, email me and I will send you a better photo of it, including detail shots. Remember that the 25% off sale with free frames and shipping etc. is only through the end of December and that free shipping is for US and Canada only.
More to come!

Elise on 12.02.08 @ 10:56 PM AK [link]