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my good sweet boy
The Best Most Wonderful Cat

oil painting by Alexandria levinThis is a post I wish I never had to write, but it was important to me to have a permalink to the essay I wrote for my beloved cat, and part-time muse, Jupiter, who passed unexpectedly recently. Please click here for the post on Daily Kos.

I did not expect The Best Most Wonderful Cat post to have such an effect, but, well, if you need a good cry, it's there. Nearly 200 people commented, telling me stories about their own cats (and a few dogs). So many beloved pets, and it seems the piece I wrote for Jupiter has been a balm for many. I am honored. It stayed on the "trending" list for well over 24 hours. I just wanted to honor my boy, but he continues to do good.

Painting to the right is Fish Boy, ©2019 Alexandria Levin, oil on panel, 10x8", collection of the artist (not for sale).

Things shift, stuff changes, we pivot

I am looking at my sincere well-wishes for last year's new year from the post below, and um, uh, oh well... Oops. We all have stories, and we will each have many more, and I am simply fighting exhaustion most days, and so I will leave you with a highlight or two here and now. Otherwise, I am keeping my painting site at up-to-date.

Coming soon, and in a spectacular pivot, Portland Open Studios 2020 is going 100% online and virtual for the weekends of October 10 & 11, and October 17 & 18. My page is here and the PDXOS home page is here.

I have been on Instagram for 10 months now, still learning the ropes, but posting on average once a day, most days, with a focus on creative work. That's another way I am keeping things fairly up-to-date.

And finally, in the nothing-like-a-pandemic-to-learn-new-things department, I now have a YouTube channel, beginning with a PDXOS requirement – an introductory artist video. There will be many more videos coming, and they will be better, hopefully, as I continue to learn.

Stay as healthy as you can. We need you. Each of us is necessary. And vote blue in overwhelming numbers. That too is necessary.

Snoozing away

This poor blog has been on hiatus for quite awhile, but my creative output has certainly not been...

Painting: Never going to stop painting. Nope, never gonna happen. Over two dozen new works from 2019 will be added to my relatively new site, hopefully, by late January. I'm proud of that site, redesigned last year in the newish CSS Grid Layout method. Yes, I do custom sites. Bother me about that.

Artist News: After years of stuff I am getting very tired of writing about, but still need to finish processing and recover from... My painting career is ramping up and getting back to where it left off when I left New Mexico in 2002. Click here. Things are getting busy.

Books: I finally wrote my third book, a collection of lyric poetry, Songs in Search of a Tune, a collection of lyric poetry from a time of exquisite longing. This and my other two books for artists (pricing artwork, developing unlimted creativity) can be found at A second book of lyric poetry is in the works for 2020. I have also begun to do poetry readings and other spoken word sorts-of-things. So, that's happening too.

Instagram: New as of December 2, 2019... Unlike my personal FB page, where I not only post art-related images and events, but also photos of my cat, my opinions on various things, scenes of local scenery, assorted headache announcements, and occasional displays of sweet crankiness... My Instagram account will be purely for art and other creativity purposes. Click here: alexandrialevin

I'm wishing all of you a good winter, however you may define that, and a most wonderful 2020, despite all that we are dealing with in this world.

yay for no-window basement studio
I think I can, I think I can, oh wow, I really could

When relocating, along with finding new doctors, a good hairdresser, a vet who will care for your critter, all of that, you must also find a new photographer. Now, things have changed significantly since I last needed to hire a fine art photogrpaher. I had someone I adored in Albuquerque, did great work, affordable, really nice guy... But this was back in the days of slides. In the interim, in Philadelphia, my dear brother took my painting photos, and then I did all the adjustments in Photoshop. That worked.

Now across the country, and nowhere near my brother, and with a new body of work ready to go out into the world, I really needed high-quality digital images. But I could not find anyone who was both affordable (for me) and did good work. The thing is, half of what I was going to be charged for was the Photoshop half, and I was already a pro at that. Plus, I wanted the RAW images of my work, and no one was going to give them to me. So, with the money I would have spent on a photographer, I bought a DSLR camera.

studio photo shoot A little stress, some studying for a week, along with a few sessions of trial and error, and I now have images that are good enough for my website, submitting to calls-for-entry, filing for copyrights, and for printing cards. And if I should ever need a large-scale format for printing posters or something, well, then I will hire a professional. But I'm a picky kitten when it comes to my work, and what I was able to do is as good as anything that has ever been done for me before.

And now I have a really good camera, as well as the images I needed. You might be able to do this too.

Settings: Aperture Priority, seven bracketed f-stops between 5.6 and 11, ISO 200 (best for Nikons for some reason), slooooooow shutter speed (but still no more than one second), and 10-second shutter delay... Also, a polarized filter, a soft-box light set, and a borrowed tripod. Yum!

still here, but now over there
Nearly three years and 2900 miles later...

Buoyancy by Alexandria Levin I've been settled now for almost six months. I remember telling myself, three years ago, that once I've been settled for six months, my life will finally restart.

I thought I was moving back to Boston in 2015. I was even accepted, from a few states over, into the Boston Redevelopment Agency's artist housing program (as a former resident and with enough credits to be considered an alumnus of Mass Art, I had something of an in). But it was not to be, due to the lack of availability of live-work space at that time. I am still partially in mourning for what could have been.

It was something of a journey, 2015, one of those turning point years. I've written about it extensively in lyric poetry, and painted about it some. These things take time to process. There will be more. The material is rich, and some aspects still need deeper expression.

Portland, Oregon is now my home. Well, actually, my residence is outside of Portland, but my painting studio is well inside the city limits. For the first time in over 20 years, I have a studio space in a studio building, and it's heaven. I've been working in this building since the Fall of 2016, but in my current space only since last August, and I've been painting whenever possible since the tail end of 2016. A few weeks ago, with much trial and error, I taught myself how to photograph my own work. Last week, I updated my painting site for the first time in three years, with 25 new paintings.

One of those new paintings is featured in this post, titled 'Buoyancy'. A larger version is on this page.

At the beginning of this year, I did another thing I have not done in quite awhile. I made a list of all the things I wanted to do, with realistic expectations. One was to post in here at least once a month, even if only five people end up reading it. Oops. I missed January. I'll make up for it this month.

It's good to see you again.

Painted Jay Publishing, offering books for artists and other creative folks, by the author of this blog. Available in print and ebook formats at
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