Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Finished with Comps

And even though I have several papers and a project due before the end of the quarter, I had to take a little time these last few evenings and do some painting. This piece will be called "Gone to seed" when it's finished. I've always loved the tall grass on the hillsides here, the way it turns golden in the summer and the little seed heads catch the light.

For more paintings, please visit my new site, www.stevengivler.com .

Thursday, August 24, 2006

D.C. Bound

I'm in the throes of my comprehensive exams for the Naval Postgraduate School's masters in Mid East Studies program. No painting or fun forecast for the next few days, and I've already preapologized to Susan and our kids for any exam-related grumpiness that might make itself known in the interim. There is light at the end of the tunnel though.

I'll be finished next Tuesday, and shortly after, (12 Sept) I'll be heading to D.C. for a book release party at the Library of Congress. This party is for the Random House book Operation Homecoming, a compilation of war letters and stories from Iraq and Afghanistan in which I have a couple chapters. I'll be staying with musician extraordinaire and great friend Keith Miller (Major, USAF) while I'm there, and maybe getting a chance to visit the National Gallery too.

It'll be right home the next day, but a quick trip should be a lot of fun.

My own book, Notes of Joy and Sadness, Letters and Paintings from Operation Iraqi Freedom is moving right along. The publisher has notified me that the proof is on its way, so it won't be long before we go to print. Of course, the proof (160 pages) will probably arrive right in the middle of exams and the publisher will want it back right away. That's the way it goes. I'll rest when I'm dead.

For excerpts, reviews, (There's a great one from Claudia Rosett, former books editor for the Wall Street Journal.) and a look at some of the paintings in the book, please visit my January archives.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Point Lobos, finished

Here's tonight's finished painting.

I get funny reactions from people sometimes, who question the way I paint with watercolors. Some have all but told me that if I don't splash the paint around and work mostly wet on wet that I may as well use another medium. I'm never sure what to say to that, except folks are welcome to paint any way they wish, and if somebody likes to do big splashy paintings I'm all for it. Right here and right now, though, I like using watercolor and I like using it this way. Sometimes a piece calls for the kind of effect I get working a wet brush over wet paper, but more often than not, I'm interested in something else.

Point Lobos

Here's a look at my current project. It's another view of the sea from Point Lobos, State Park, which is about a mile from my home. The masked out areas in the foreground will be logs and sticks. When I finish painting them in, I'll go back over them with blades of grass. I hope to finish this one tonight.

Book Happenings

Here's the latest news as far as my book is concerned. I've recently received a contract from the publisher, and I hear that I'll be seeing a proof in the next couple weeks. The new projected release date is Veterans' Day.

On top of that, 12 September will be the release date for Random House's Operation Homecoming, an anthology of accounts from Iraq and Afghanistan, which contains two of my stories. There's a reception that evening at the Library of Congress that I'm hoping to attend, if I can be permitted to take leave.

In addition, I've been hard at work painting, and I'll be posting the results here soon. Meanwhile, you can visit my new gallery site at www.stevengivler.com and see how it's coming along.

Friday, August 11, 2006

View Near Ghost Tree

Here's another painting I'm working on based on the same view as the painting below. At 12 X 18 inches, this piece is quite a bit bigger. I still have lots of detail to add, but it's been so long since I've posted that I figured I'd better get something up.

I've been pretty busy with school lately; we're coming into the mid-term stretch of the final quarter of my master's program. On top of that, I've somehow managed to break my right foot. I believe it's an old injury - old as in about 6 years ago - that has long since ceased to bother me, but it came to light in an X-ray taken because of a recently torn plantar facii, which is a fibrous tissue on the underside of the foot, kind of like a tendon or a ligament.

The tear would have healed itself over time, and the fracture had long since ceased to bother me, but my surgeon said it was the worst fracture of its type he'd ever seen. The bone in question, the sesamoid, was in 6 pieces, and he thought it would cause me trouble at some point in the future, so he removed them all. Now I'm hobbling around with my right foot in what looks like a deep-sea diver's boot. The worst thing of all is that I'm unable to drive. I believe I'm fully capable, but my surgeon, and more importantly, my wife, insist that I shouldn't. A sudden stomp on the brake could pop a stitch or two, and that would be a problem. I'm tempted to chance it, but the last time I disobeyed my wife I was struck by lightening, so I'm trying to behave myself and allowing her to drive me everywhere.

It looks like friends from the local art community are putting together a website to show my paintings. It's still a work in progress, but you can see how it looks so far at: www.stevengivler.com