Archive for 2020

“2020 Wish List”

This has been a year to remember – and get through! Many good aspects along with the tragic and frightening. The first that comes to mind is how technology has contributed to the general welfare: zooming, FaceTime, texting, Netflix.

Online shopping and home delivery has kept us out of stores. Masking and social distancing is improving at year’s end.

Free vaccination for all will help us remember 2021 as the year we started to feel safe again.  Good wishes to you!

… with the River Arts Alliance of Winona, Minn. I discovered this active group by accident. It’s been going for twenty years, but I’m one of the new members.  The River Arts Alliance is a multidisciplinary – music, poetry, visual art, education – organization.  Their web address is:


You can see presenters’ images on RAA website.

I sent these ones in.  For a closer look, highlight each image and scroll:


Warming up.

I believe my left hand IS like a musical instrument; it needs to be warmed up each day in order to hit the notes in the way that looks specific to me.  If I’ve been away from the studio, it can take me two weeks before my eye/hand coordination is back. So I’m always looking for ways to warm up my hand.

Pets: Ellie, Ted, and Petey have been my warm-up subjects over the years.

Ellie, was a beautiful black princess, dressed in Laborador mix clothes.  She was a stray that ASPCA came across in downtown Madison, Wi, at the end of a college term.  Pregnant, starving.


Then, Ted, a miniature poodle.  He was my good buddy and studio companion for nearly fifteen years.  I painted the last piece shortly after  he passed away.  That was where he rested quietly while I worked.  When I painted the large Arboretum Walk show, I laid the paper canvases across my studio floor with six inch pathways.  Ted walked the pathways as deftly as a cat.

And now, Petey, a Havanese.  Americans pronounce this name as if it were “PD.”  That’s Petey’s real name.  History.  For 48 years, we lived north of Hwy PD; now in our retirement we live south of PD.  Petey’s forefathers came over from Cuba in 1959-the year I was there for my senior year in high school.  His AKC name is Spanish for “prairie dog” (Perro De las Praderas)

There were the times when pets had enough of my requests to sit still.  No problem.

In the early nineteen eighties, I had been saving a large box of soft dolls and toys that our children had grown out of.  (That is, I was saving them to give to our four when they became parents.   I was thinking grandkids would enjoy knowing what toys their parents had when they were children.)  So these toys and our pets were two sorts of warm up subject matter when my husband was out of town.   I could fill a huge venue of warm-up portraits of Dave and then fill it up all over again with portraits of myself.  (I won’t be doing that.)

Some of the warm-up drawings became paintings, but the real goal was “warm-up!” LAMB evolved into an acrylic painting from several Ebony pencil studies.  I can’t remember all of their names and maybe some didn’t have names.  Can’t remember.  Long ago.

I didn’t work in a linear way.  Some days I browsed sketches of toys and got out my acrylics or watercolors for more finished portraits.

I’m going through everything I’ve done over the years, organizing and choosing, labeling and framing. My plan has been to have a retrospective at the very large space at Commonwealth Gallery in 2021. I will be eighty years old and it’s time! Well, it’s time for the retrospective but I can’t enter that enclosed space even long enough to hang an exhibition. So I am gathering what I can for an internet retrospective. Not entirely thought out yet, but this is the plan.
No need for my parents to keep my little kid artwork; I stored representative pieces in boxes. I carried them off to my college dorm when I left home and into marriage and then shipped them here to Wisconsin in 1964. The oldest that I have is a drawing of a person who is crying so long and so hard that the tears extend below the lower edge of the paper. I see that little drawing as my springboard into as honestly depicted a life as I have been able.
I’ve said many times that a studio artist’s personal times become the energy of professional expression. Hmm, I don’t think I’ve used those words. I’ll find my exact words and add them in.

Here they are: “In the art world, we become accustomed to blurred lines between what is personal and what is professional. We make objects from the energy of our deepest feelings and then share them with human beings we may never see. Objects that were created with a playful attitude take their places in professional settings and public art collections.”

Oh, I’m reading this post I started last winter – before Cov 19 hit. What I can do is speak to what we are going through now. I have a series started that I call “Social Distancing.” Only some of the paintings I’m working on now have to do with that. I’m letting them come to mind as they do.

c virginia.huber “No-Sew Mask” – watercolor – 8″ x 11″ – 2020.