Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Painting - finally - and setting limits!

Well, I've now been in my house on the Talpa Ridge just outside of Taos, NM for nearly 3 months.  I've managed to paint and complete 3 little gem paintings from Saussemare in Normandy, and have begun a 4 th from Glenfinnan in Scotland.  I began after being in my house for 2 months; and once I started, for the most part, its been simple.  But I'm out of practice in the art of keeping my focus despite welcome (mostly) interruptions!  We artists have to practice at keeping the intense focus it takes to delve deep into ourselves and let it come out on canvas (even if its a pretty landscape!).  I have intense focus, from the construction, but its different this time.  With the construction of my casa, it came of desperation to get the old place habitable (in the eyes of the county), so that I could finally stop sofa surfing after 4 years!!  The first 2 months were just letting go and getting rid of the exhaustion that was constant when I finally got my TEMPORARY occupancy permit...getting the Waltz Across Texas series moved from TX, settling my cat and dog after living with other people for a year, and finding my feet.  Still doing that - finding my feet -, because I am very easily shifted from the focus necessary to create and sell those creations to the many other things here in my home country that claim my attention.  I'll get there.  I am forcing myself to have several quiet days in a row, writing, looking at images, sketching, and just being alone, in order to corral the focus back  from all the other necessities of life. 

I can only imagine what its like (or remember perhaps is a better word) for young artists/musicians/writers coming out of school, getting hit with the necessities of working to pay off loans, suddenly completely responsible for your well being, and yet, the need to keep swerving back to your purpose.... for me, that's painting. 

Route de Saussemare, 8 x 10 in., oil on board, sold   (commissioned)

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Made it!!

Well, after three months of 7 days/week, full time construction, and nearly 7 days/week from December, I have finally satisfied all of the various County rules/regulations, and have my temporary occupancy.  This means I can live in and still work on my studio.  But more importantly, I can set up a studio and begin to paint.  I have spent the last 9 months attempting to consolidate my life in two places in the world:  Taos, New Mexico and Glenfinnan, Scotland.  From these two places, I'm hoping I can keep traveling the world to paint.  But right now, I'm setting up the studio, feeling the good feeling of a job well done.  Here is 7216 Hwy 518, Ranchos de Taos, NM!

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Nearly There!

I can taste it; the ability to stay in one place with my scottish cat, my husky dog rescue, and my paints!  Sooner than you think, I'll be living in my little 3/4 finished house on the Talpa Ridge and painting, hosting art classes, workshops, and friends.  This journey, to create a home space from which to launch myself once again, into the world, has tested me physically, emotionally and of course, financially!!  It's been like resurrecting a living, breathing sculpture.  Walls can't be finished yet; not until the electrical system has its' rough in exam...  What a process!  But I've got 3 floors down, a 4th ready to be screwed down and the bricks for the kitchen.  I am so tired, I can hardly move, let alone pick up a paint brush!!

I know I said in the last blog that I would begin to paint as soon as I have one floor down....but, in order to get into my house by early March, I must put all my energy into floors, and working with my plumber (soon as I call him) to get in toilets, a bath tub, the combi-boiler, two sinks, and right now, I need 3" screws!!  I ran out today. I will begin to paint in March, when I occupy my abode with my cat and my dog!

Sunday, 3 December 2017


First of all, I'm having a studio sale.....last time was 2008.  I'm offering 30% off anything in my website: www.gailwendorf.co.uk ,  which will NOT include framing, but will include shipping anywhere.  The page titled F. Wendorf Estate is NOT included in the sale.  For any information re the sale, pricing or the F. Wendorf Estate, please notify me directly gail.wendorf3@gmail.com  or thru my website so that I can apply the discount, rather than thru the website at this time. 

That done, now talking about exhaustion....  Since returning from France and Scotland in mid-September, I have been solidly focusing on getting my old adobe casita and studio occupiable so that I can once again paint!  I'm glad I actually am itching to paint once again!  It's been a long process to get there!  Because I don't have enough to hire labor to do the work, I'm having fun filling rooms with sand, laying floor joists, laying insulation, laying piping for the in-floor radiant heating system, filling in outside trenches (after first sifting the dirt of certain piles because it seems I live on top of an archaeological site!), and dreaming of what it will be like to occupy my home finally!

I work 7 days/week, and the level of focus is astounding - which I KNOW will translate directly to the easel once I have at least one floor down!  What is also is even more miraculous is that I still seem to have the energy to do the hard work....I was gifted with a very strong body, and its still there when I call upon it!  Incredible!  There is a race to get as much done before the single digit temps of Winter finally hit Taos....  I've two fireplaces, and electricity inside...so I think I can keep working and stay warm.  The trenches.... half full.  I'll get there. 

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Happy New Year!!!

I have just realised I'd not published this, and it IS a good read into what was going on for me at the end of 2015.  I don't know if it will publish in 2016 or now, but forgive the lateness or lack of timliness!  Happy 2016.....

"I have to say I’m not sad to see the back of 2015, even though 2016 means I’ll be 59!  To have made it through the whole difficult year, and to be able to pick up the brushes again by the end of it is, in my mind, a feat of passion.  Passion to paint, that is.  Recovering from the loss of a parent takes time, and I venture to say, we never really do – recover that is - , we become used to the idea that we’re orphans in the world!  I’m surprised that I was able to begin work as quickly as I did – though by the time I did start, it had been nearly a year, for other reasons, and I felt like I would explode if I didn’t start to put paint on canvas somehow!  Luckily, I still had a little bit of my commission to finish….it was the perfect solution.  That is, something I HAD to finish, to create….and there was such joy in doing that little bit of creating that I was disappointed that I had to stop again for the holidays…Thanksgiving right through to 2016.  Now I’m back; and trying to tell you about it all! 

I was able to do one of my favorite Christmas activities this year – for the first time since I began to go to Scotland actually, some 18 years ago!  That is, I was able to spend a few hours after dark on Christmas Eve at Taos Pueblo.  They have a service in their chapel on the Pueblo just as the sun is setting. Then, at the end of this service, the entire congregation takes all the statues out of the building, and there is a parade around the plaza between the two ‘houses’.  There are farolitos (bonfires) of different sizes….small personal ones in front of a home or places to warm yourself, dotted around the central plaza, and two, massive towers of pitch wood that are lit when the doors open to the church.  At the start of the procession, are two Pueblo elders shooting their deer rifles off at an angle, then the liter with the Virgin, and dancers, drummers, singers, a guitarist…..I missed the lone fiddler who once accompanied it all from the back.  Its magic, and it was lovely to see that despite the expanded crowds, it still was magic, if you chose to allow it to come forward.  I think this is where I’m going to begin my work this year….capturing the memory of this night.  No photographs, no sketches, no phones,….just being part of the magic, taking it in.  All you’ll see today, are the sketches…. But wait for it!  "


As I sit in Glenfinnan, waiting for several "possible" sure thing visits from people, saying they'll come buy my car, my art, etc., I realize that one thing we artists become very good at is waiting, trusting.  We have to, or we'd never paint. I KNOW somehow that the person WILL arrive to buy the painting, that the car will sell, that the person who wanted to purchase a painting in September will remember, now that its September.  Today though, it feels a lot like the game of chicken.  These people have their own lives, and will come when they feel they can.....me though, I'm just waiting; because today is the day.  Or perhaps it will be tomorrow.....

Thursday, 17 August 2017


“the best laid plans of mice and men…..”  I had a vision of this time in Normandy, and as is usual in my life, if I make a plan or have expectations, I have to review and change. 

Many artists (myself included) need quiet, security, and sanctuary, in order to open themselves up on canvas, show their inner most person to the world (whether it’s in music, on film, on canvas, painting realism or abstraction or something in-between).  I find that if that sanctuary is absent in my life, where I am in the moment, that I cannot work.  I found myself in such a situation, and had to change most of the outcomes of my first month abroad.  I expected respect for the reasons I came on this working trip to France – a small solo exhibition in a small town, to paint in the time off from sitting in the gallery – communicating, in an interesting conglomeration of English, Spanish, French and charades, with people who came from as far as Holland, Spain, the UK, and decided to step into the gallery.  I found the opposite; and had to change accommodation, and to decide ultimately if I could even afford to stay in Normandy or to cut my losses.  As a result, I can’t paint even as I write this, and that was half of my purpose for returning to Normandy this time.  Since my work has been more upmarket than locally in Normandy for awhile now and I really can’t change the pricing, sales, while welcome, were never the big expectation from the early conception of this show.  Life’s challenges in New Mexico made it more important to sell….but I still held no illusions on that front!   The work here will go to other exhibitions in the UK. 

I expected to focus, to feel only my art, my creativity, feel that rush of pure creativity….living, breathing my art….like I did before I returned to the US, or last winter when I stopped working for others to concentrate on my painting for the exhibition.  Life is never completely absent for sure, but it’s necessary to be able to keep it at bay.  And what I do as a professional artist is just as committed and focused as any other career!  So many people just don’t get this! As a result, I found new digs thanks to new friends;  but no painting – although I can take photos and sketch  a bit – and had to decide, with my organizers, if I could afford to keep the show up til August 15!! We had to analyze the fall out if I pull out half way through versus the fall out if I keep up the show (emotional and monetary fall out).

Ultimately, through the generosity of friends new and old, we were able to keep the exhibition open; and I’m so very glad we did!  It ultimately surprised us with attendance – each day the gallery was open I had 20-30 visitors from not only the village and surrounding countryside, but from farther afield in France and into the rest of Europe and the UK.  I’ve made new, lasting friendships; one painting sold; and everyone who came through loved the focus of the exhibition on the coastline and kept talking about how “strong” the paintings are.  I am so very grateful for the chance to have met wonderful people, to show and talk about my work, and to spend time in a very quiet, lovely part of France.