Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I've been using Flickr and View From the Oak as my visual and daily diaries, recording the progress of my learning to draw and paint, a bit about my life and what's on my mind. I have been blessed with the kindest, most generous encouragement and incredible friendships through these recordings, and I am ever humbled by such blessings. I thank each of you for your continued support and encouragement....and most of all, your friendship.
I reviewed my art goals for 2008 as well as 2007 -- and found them identical. I read my entries for this day from both years -- and, found them similiar ... painting flowers, sadness that the holidays were ending, hope for the future. And today as I write, I could copy and paste the same sentiments! LOL I'm down with sinus congestion, Mom leaves in 2 days, I've painted flowers!!! Talk about the Circle of Life! LOL
After all the contemplation, though, I wanted to choose one painting that represented my 'year.' So I scrolled through more than 265 paintings ... and, naturally, couldn't choose. There were so many lessons learned, styles and subjects attempted ... and I concluded after all that, for me, the last painting I paint (at least the last one I'm most happy with), would have to be the most representational. In essence, that last painting would/should represent or culminate ALL the lessons, ideas, struggles and joys of the last year --- and in this painting, I think I can claim those very things. So I choose THIS one to represent 2008 --- new lessons from Karlyn Holman, my love of flowers, painting light and form, learning more about negative painting, paths of light, the seasons of my life.
Which painting would you say represents YOUR year?
Art Goals for 2009 -- simply a repeat of 2008 ... with an emphasis, I think, on speed (in other words, QUITE FUSSING SO MUCH AND LET IT ALONE!!!), letting go of trying to 'control' so much, and trying to ACCEPT and work with those 'accidents' that plague us all:
My Art Goals for 2009:
* Sketch/paint daily – It’s the only way I know to improve!
* Practice more faces and figures – I’ve been reluctant to do these – they take more time and thought than I usually have but I really need to tackle this subject, for doing faces tells me when I’m really SEEING and SKETCHING what is in front of me!!
* Practice more landscapes – with my involvement in several plein air groups, I’d like my plein air paintings to improve
* Sketch the everyday - Learn to SEE and PAINT as an artist would – not simply to render the scene – but the feeling and drama of what I love and what I’m painting …
* Continue to work through the many art books on my shelves!
* Practice more values and perspective
* LOOSEN UP!!
* Increase my economy of line and sketching speed - In order to do this, I will have to focus on SKETCHING during the workweek and PAINTING during the weekends when I have more leisure time. I noticed these last two weeks off, that I really NEED that extra time to let the paint dry between washes, THINK and PLAN what I’m doing, etc., and I just don’t have that kind of leisure during the workweek…. So I’ll have to TRY to be satisfied with practicing my sketching and quick paintings at work and spend time on the weekends for more polished paintings.
* Continue to use richer colors – especially DARKS.
* Sketch more things of meaning – and WRITE more in each of my journal entries.
* Study more art theory such as composition, the things that make a painting more dramatic or eye-catching, what makes a good still-life, how to increase the light in a painting, etc., etc.
* I don’t want to focus on particular subjects to paint, but would rather leave that open to painting those things that are ‘meaningful’ in some way.
*And no matter what, get in as much EXERCISE as SKETCHING!!
* And as always: PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE
Here's to 2009!!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
A quiet day yesterday. Mom watched "Under The Tuscan Sun" last night -- I can't believe she never saw it -- and of course, the scenery just mesmerized me .... and so, this practice piece.
I kept the buildings light, even with the shadowing simply to emphasize the abundant sunlight of that amazing country.
Today we dash out again for another hair appointment for Mom and some 'look-see' visits to some shops.
Tomorrow we have the grands and plan a very quiet welcome to the New Year.
The temps have been warmer than usual, but for someone who lives in Florida, the outdoors is still rather cold for Mom ... so much of our time is spent indoors. She has become enchanted with the cats, though. I often find her at the door or window watching their antics and laughing over something they're doing. They're getting so big, they're almost as large as their mother!!
Where is the time flying to?
Monday, December 29, 2008
We took down the Christmas decorations, and I have a few errands to run today. I'm feeling a bit guilty for not finding the time to do the work I brought home from school ...Mercy, returning to work is going to be mighty hard ... meantime, I'm planning to paint during my last week of vacation as often as I can -- it's become an obsession!! LOL
Sitting at the dining room table painting with my almost 3 year-old granddaughter, she's busy painting 'flowers like Nonna" ... she counted my flowers, added flourishes on her own for each member of her family, cousins, friends .. and any thought of paying attention to what I was doing went out the window as I enjoyed our conversation and all the giggling that was going on. My attempt above will always remind me of those precious moments shared with a beloved granddaughter.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
This is another sketch I completed before leaving for SC .. It's from one of the photos I took last year from the Greensboro NC Arboretum riverside trail...
We've had overcast, misty, rainy weather here -- though it's been rather warm -- 60sF -- it's been really too wet to be outdoors. T is riding her tryke around the house, but is anxious to try it with the big kids outside!
We did a bit of shopping and took advantage of the sales, and even got Nick his birthday gifts for next month. T and I have been 'painting' together, so I have a afew sketches to scan once I get home -- I can really tell the difference in my work these days when there are other things competing for my attention!! LOL GOOD attention, though! LOL
We leave for home later this morning. It's always hard to leave those we love to be separated by distance and work obligations ... but I'm imagining I'll be back shortly for a new arrival! Still, after spending so much time with T and my dd, I wish we lived closer ...
Saturday, December 27, 2008
The trip yesterday to SC went well, if a bit slowly ... a bit of rain, TRAFFIC!, and waiting for over an hour to eat lunch en route ... but we ararived safely...
Such joy to see T again .. to watch Christmas unfold once more as a 2 year old opens gifts and wants Nonna to play and see and do ....
My son-in-law looks grand, and my daughter -- radiant! I think our new grandchild will be born in a few weeks judging from the way my dd is carrying right now ...!!
A very busy day, one filled with joy and laughter and the fatigue of travel. I sketched a bit just before falling into bed -- but I'll have to post those when I get home. This sketch was done before leaving home ...
I hope everyone has a most restful weekend! We're planning another busy day ... there's much to get done before the n ew baby arrives, and we still have a few gifts for T to open .... I DO LOVE these looonnnnggg celebrations!
Friday, December 26, 2008
I typically prefer the clamorousness of big family get togethers for the holidays that include my sisters and their pets, all my children under one roof at the same time, friends dropping by and the commotion of so many people squeezed into a modest home -- but this Christmas with its phone calls, romping cats and peacefulness was a joy in its own right, especially with the challenging weather, economics and job demands being felt around the globe.
My friend Diane posted several photos of the snowstorm she was experiencing up north and kindly allowed me to paint from one of them -- her neighbor's horsebarn. The painting is 9" x 12" on Arches 140#cp, done in watercolor and white India Ink (Oh how I'm enjoying that ink!! LOL). Funny to be painting all that snow when our own temperatures were in the mid 60s! LOL
Today, mom, my son and I travel to SC to see my daughter and celebrate Christmas with her family later tonight. We'll be gone for a few days, so my Internet activity will be spotty. C will be taking care of the cats and a few obligations at the homestead...
I hope everyone's Christmas was joyous and filled with love, joy, friends and family.....!
See you soon!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
And to thank you once more for your support, encouragement and kindness ...
May you and yours be filled with the love, pease and blessings of the season!!!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
With the last minute preparations and readying the house for today's celebrations -- "Santa" arrives with the grandchildren in a few hours -- I had less time to paint, so I decided to try something a bit more free form.
I found this wonderful image of grasses and weeds (LOL, I know, I know!! LOL) and decided to try to create a wintry monotone in the midnight blues that I so remember of late night snowfall when I lived in New York. This snowfall, coming in the deep indigo of evening and followed often by moon and starlight, was so cold, and yet, I was most impressed by the hush that fell upon the earth. To me, this dark, deep, rich silence epitomized the spirit of Christmas. The glint of light on the whiteness of the snow, the still, hush around me, the deep, dark night --- I always hear two songs when I think of those special nights: "There's a Kind of Hush All Over the World," and "Silent Night." And I hope a bit of the magic I feel when I remember those magical times comes through in this painting.
Because in 5 hours, it will be pandemonium here! Santa arrives for Emily and Nick, and our Christmas will be in full swing.
Our 'quiet' celebration will be tomorrow ... and so, May this Christmas --- and your celebrations, be most joyous and blessed.. and thank YOU for all your encouragement and support!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
We used to see a lot of nuthatches around my house, especially during this coldest time of year. And now that the cold seems to keep the cats away from the bird feeders, I've even spotted a few cardinals landing on the feeders for some much needed winter seed. I'm so glad of that.
I found this reference photo for the nuthatch and turned it into a snow scene with a bit of sunrise for warmth. I originally used goache to enhance the saved whites and for the spattered snow, but it seemed to disappear in the dark colors, so I added a bit of white India Ink.
We're off to the hair dresser's for mom and a bit of shopping. The temps are supposed to warm to 30F .. if one considers that warm ...! I don't! LOL
Tomorrow the grands come for our celebration of Santa and Christmas. I know we'll be enjoying the quiet today to rest up for the pandemonium tomorrow! LOL
Monday, December 22, 2008
The snow and ice continues to blanket most of the northern part of the US, and mercy, if we here in NC are going to be miserable with cold, at least we could hope for a snowflake or two -- but that's not expected this year. So in homage to those folks struggling with record snowfall and for my own wish for a white Christmas, I found a photo reference for snow scene that I just had to paint. If I can't have the real thing, I'll have to settle for painting it!
But more seriously, I am hoping everyone affected by the snow will stay safe .. it has been a most challenging time.
Yesterday was pretty peaceful. I managed to make -- what else -- snowflake cookies (no pun intended) --play cards with mom, watch a movie, finish up some chores. Today we dash outside for scheduled car maintenance and a few other obligations. But it should be a rather quiet time. The cold bothers mom even more than it bothers me (apparently I get my cold intolerance from my mom), so we'll be spending a bit of time before the fireplace.
Stay safe and warm everyone!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I also received a note from Karlyn Holman (www.karlynholman.com) with more 'get ready' notes for the trip to Italy with her in May -- including info about our stay in Venice -- so yesterday was really filled with dreams!!!
Today will be much quieter - cookies to bake, cards to play, and more rain ...
Mercy, the country has been hit with some kind of icy storms and freezing temps. Our warm days will be gone too by later this morning as the cold dips into the south .. so I can see where the fireplace will have a big role to play.
Thank you too for your kind notes .. and especially about the kitties. I was asked if I'm keeping them all ... lolol .. well, I find it hard to break up a family ..
(I know, I know -- SUCKER me! LOL)
Stay safe everyone -- and warm -- fingers and toes crossed for the power to remain on across all grids!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Haven't they grown!!!!! When they dash across the front of the property I hardly know they're mine -- I keep looking for KITTENS!!! LOL
Watercolor and Ink
Busy times -- but so fun! Yesterday I emptied the closet where we stashed all the gifts accumulated for the holidays ... it took several trips up and down the stairs (and yes, I'm counting that as exercise!! LOL) to bring them to the living room for wrapping. Mom and I watched movies while we cut, taped, labeled and placed them in groups for each grandchild. Though not as gift-mountainous as last year, there's a significant amount of 'economic stimulus" we added to!
I sketched this poinsettia from the depths of the sofa -- there's something very 'challenging' about having inadequate light and the firmlessness of a lab that makes wonkiness a sureity! Still, climbing stairs is pretty difficult for mom and with my artspace upstairs and mom downstairs, my art table time will be limited for a while.
As I'm typing, I glance out the window to see the sky a deep purple/pink that has me jaw-dropped! There's still fog wisping around the trees .. .mercy, what an incredible sunrise!
Today, it's cooking and a bit of shopping. C is home for two weeks as his business has closed for the holidays as well. Mike came by yesterday for a quick visit, and we talked to my daughter ... oh how I relish these family times!
I keep trying to capture some photos of the kittens-cats -- but mercy, I can't get them to stay still long enough!!
I haven't seen the news yet, so I'm hoping the storms predicted for the northwest and northeast didn't pack as bad a blow as first thought.
Time to get things on the stove! Enjoy the day!
Friday, December 19, 2008
With the holidays upon me and Mom's arrival yesterday, it seems my leisurely time to paint is somewhat 'challenged' ... so I'm going to try to work on hastening my daily practice sketches ... this is one attempt.
The sketch, from a photo I took last year of the spillway of the Eno River, matches the days we're having -- a bit of cloud, damp, rainy. I wanted also to return to my Raffine sketchbook to try again that 100# paper. After working only on Arches 140#cp, I found the Rafine too smooth and not as forgiving ...and I couldn't work as wet as I'm working lately ... so this quick practice showed me that I really need to continue using the Arches, even with their additional expense.
Mom looks great! Though at 85 soon to be 86, she's slowed down considerably, needs an arm to steady her walk, she is still as cheerful and delightful and spunky as anyone who has reached such a milestone can be! My son joined me for lunch and surprised mom with his presence at the airport.
Today it's wrapping gifts, preparing foods for next week, and if time permits, a bit of shopping.
The rain is supposed to clear later today, but it appears the snow and ice is going to create havoc for some folks across the country. Prayers for their safety and warmth!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I'm continuing to work on the fall farmhouses from our photo tour, and here's another. I've done this one several times before I was satisfied enough with this one ... the trees gave me the most trouble, trying to capture that 'green as it's turning red' aspect ... and I'm not sure I've gotten it yet.
Mom arrives this afternoon, so I'm in the throes of preparing for her visit. It'll be somewhat busy since I'll want to take her shopping, see some sights and the like. We'll also be spending a few days preparing our holiday meals and desserts.
I simply cannot believe it's only 7 days until Christmas!!!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The Christmas Luncheon yesterday was the 'official' end to the semester ... grades turned in, a bit of clean-up, all else placed on 'hold' until the frenzy begins again in January ... but for now, merriment, food, and song sent us on our holiday respite ... and I did my traditional yearly thing since I began working away from home-- I unpacked my ENTIRE car and my ENTIRE suitcase!! I know, it's a little thing, but for me, living out of my closet for 2 weeks instead of a travel bag is sheer heaven! LOL
I also began my holiday tidying-up, getting to those tasks that I need a bit more time to complete than I have on a weekend... so though I'm home, the busyness shifts from work to homestead. Still, I don't have to set the alarm and my cats all got hugs this morning! LOL
Olives ... I painted these from a photo I've used to paint olives before... I love how the leaves twist and turn, their blue/green against ripening fruits. Someday I hope to participate in an olive harvest in Italy ... I always think of Italy and olive oil when I see them.
But these days, and in this season, perhaps I was thinking more of the need for 'peace' and the olive's symbolism for that most precious gift. In the world's turmoil, the economic strain, job loss and stress, perhaps peace, above all, is what would bring the season to each heart and each soul.
May it be.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I got to the B&B last night just before Rebecca's dinner for 20 -- Oh how beautiful the house looked -- poinsettias,Christmas mood lighting, soft music, the scent of baking, candles, laughter and talk -- what a delight to see so many people enjoying the rich hospitality and delicious food. I painted this while the party/meeting took place, and Rebecca encouraged folks to drop bt my room to visit the 'artist' ... I was honored by Rebecca's incredible support ... (and I was ever grateful that my muse stayed around long enough for the guests!!! LOL
It's been HOT here -- Last week our temps began in the low 20sF and ended in the 60s --- yesterday and today will reach 70!!!! So the fog this morning is as dense as butter and equally difficult to drive in!
We have our Christmas luncheon today -- and then I'm off until January! YAHOO! Naturally, I'm bringing work home with the hopes of making a small dent in it so January doesn't overwhelm me too much, since my daugher's baby is due then and I'll be dashing to South Carolina to be a 'nonna' again!
Stay safe in all this weather!!!!!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Adding to th 'food fest' this weekend, Charles brought home one of my favorite fruits - persimmons. My family has enjoyed these sweet orbs during Thanksgiving and Christmas and I remember the teasing we'd give my mom by 'hiding' these beloved fruits from her. Apparently, they weren't selling as quickly as they might have, so there was a fabulous sale on them, and if I'm not too piggish, there may be a couple left for my mom when she arrives on Thursday! Mercy, they are delicious -- and I'm so glad we planted a persimmon tree in the kitchen garden at the Arboretum!!!
As I looked over the series of paintings I've done lately, there seems to be a dominance of 'orange.' Hmmm.... so I've looked up its symbolism wondering if I"m trying to tell myself something ... From Wiki:
"Orange is a color that represents Autumn . In western culture this color is often associated with Thanksgiving and Halloween.
Perhaps a more common representation, orange is a symbol for energy and fire. Orange also represents spiritual energy and healing, it is an empowering color to wear.
Orange is considered to be a "happy color," raising the spirits and invigorating the observer.
The second chakra, which is orange, is located near the womb and is therefore associated with creativity. " Elsewhere: As a warm color orange is a stimulant — stimulating the emotions and even the appetite. Orange can be found in nature in the changing leaves of fall, the setting sun, and the skin and meat of citrus fruit.
Culture of Orange:
Orange brings up images of autumn leaves, pumpkins, and (in combination with Black) Halloween. It represents the changing seasons so in that sense it is a color on the edge, the color of change between the heat of summer and the cool of winter.
Because orange is also a citrus color, it can conjure up thoughts of vitamin C and good health. (http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/colorselection/p/orange.htm) ...
So, giving myself energy, a good dose of Vitamin C and change .... hmmmm. What colors have YOU been painting??
Sunday, December 14, 2008
And the fun extended to yesterday's gathering! The plein air group I paint with once a month had a 'mini-show' and luncheon at Elodie Farms. There were over 20 of us for a sit-down, incredible!!!! luncheon served by Dave, Elodie's owner .... lots of goat cheese, a melt-in-your-mouth pork roast and garlic mashed potatoes, and a 'forget-the-diet' pecan pie that was out of this world!!!! Added to the awesome meal was the opportunity to see the work of the other artists who are, like I am, typicaly absorbed in their painting while we're together, and the only one who really has time to 'visit' is Charles, who tends to stroll and strum and sing among the working artists. I cannot tell you the glorious work I viewed! WOW! And Dave, wonderful, wonderful man, has so many of OUR paintings in his home/restaurant/meeting facility -- selling them for us to his dining and meeting patrons. Blessings -- all!
Today Charles' jam group meets for a lunch as well. As I'm typing, C is downstairs putting the fnishing touches on the stew he is making for his group. It's in the 20s here and cold, so the stew will be a terrific prelude to their afternoon music-making. I'll be able to enjoy it all as I tuck myself in my room to paint!
Enjoy the day!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I carried a reference photo with me of such a scene (hunch?) and so during the morning of our get together, I painted this view. Wisps of fog were evident in my drive as well, so I thought the painting fit the morning too well not to paint!
Later in the afternoon, we each returned to some of Karlyns' techniques, and I should be finished with what I started at the meeting this afternoon.
It was a wonderful, wonderful time. A quiet, well-lit artspace, good company, good food, shared experiences -- what a restive, restorative time in this season of frenetic hurrying. I can't wait to get together again!
BTW, did you notice the full moon last night? It came up over the horizon like an enormous pale yellow wafer that stopped me in my tracks!!! AMAZING!
Today, my plein air group meets back at our beloved goat farm, Elodie Farms, for a holiday lunch and show and tell of our artwork .... then back home to hit the wrapping and chores!
Temps have plummeted and we're in the 20s .. so I don't see painting outdoors today -- my fingers and toes get numb if temps fall below 50F!
Stay warm everyone!
Friday, December 12, 2008
When I got home last night and after spending a good amount of time unpacking (all those holiday events at work); I sketched one of the sprays. To give this watercolor a closer resemblance to the original, I added some 'gold roxx' -- a type of heavy glitter I used during my days of collage work. They sparkle in the light and really make the watercolor a mixed media ... but fun.
Today the group of local Karlyn Holman workshop attendees are getting together to paint .. so I'm off to play - yahoo! Sure need it after this week!
The rain is still with us, though the threat of severe weather remained nothing more than a threat, thank heavens, and cold temperatures have returned. Mercy, I did so enjoy temps in the 60s! LOL
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I painted the oranges a while back, but they looked so forelorn that I thought I'd try to add a few things I learned from my workshops last month. I"m not sure it worked or not -- but here it is ...
We're winding down and I"ve a pile of papers to get through before next week ....we're also expecting some severe weather -- rain, thunderstorms, high winds, so since our offices are in a mobile unit, we may have to vacate this afternoon if things get as bad as predicted ... if that's the case, I'll check in tonight if I have Internet service at home .... fingers crossed!
Have a great day!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Yesterday began before 7 am and the work day ended amost 13 hours later. It seems with the winding down of the semester, grades, billings, final accounts, holiday festivities, end of year meetings, budgets, etc., etc., there is a SHOVE toward getting everything done PRIOR to the school closing for the last two weeks of December. And yesterday, between meetings, phone calls, drop-in's emergencies, and the rest, my ears were ringing like holiday church bells.
So at noon-thirty, I closed my office door, walked out of my building, and baracaded myself in my car with my sketchpad and absolute SILENCE! AHHHHHH!
I looked out the windshield and drew what was right in front of me -- the corner of the mobile unit garden. On the side of the unit that houses our office space, is the xeric garden designed and installed by our horticulture students 2 years ago. Today, the zebra grass (yes, the blades of grass are STRIPED in ecru and green) is almost as tall as the air conditioning units that cool our offices, and the sienna colored plumes dance in the wind, slightly brushing the side of the building. Delightful ... and blessedly peaceful ....
So I drew the scene from my car, but then, knowing what was waiting for me on my desk, left the solace of my auto to return to the fray and painted this later at the B&B from memory and when I finally made it home.
There are numerous 'drop-ins' and office parties between now and next Wednesday as well as final exams and grades to post, so it'll be as busy as ever. I hope though to find that elusive butterfly we call time to spend a bit more of it in that 'zone' we love when we paint.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Ah time - nothing like it ---Sure am missing it! LOL
I worked on this still life after work yesterday and though I found it valuable for exercises, I wish I could have worked on it in the morning when I was fresher, had more time to work on it, and didn't feel so scattered. There are things in it I like -- the curtain for instance, but I think tonight, if there's that ubiquitous thing called time, I want to work more on the shadows of the fruit and see if I can deepen the inside of the bowl a bit. I was reluctant to post this since it's not quite done or at a place that pleases me.. but again, I'm out of time and racing to yet another meeting. SIGH.
Hope to have some of that "T" thing later this week!
Monday, December 08, 2008
I suppose we each paint, draw, photograph those things that fascinate us or that we love ... and roadsides (some call them wasteplaces) are no exception. There is something so symbolic about this last bit of virtually untamed land that seems to draw my eyes and my heart. I love the juxtaposition of soft grasses and determined flowers against the hard, stable rocks, and the way 'weeds' find a way to grow in soil that cannot sustain more 'fussy' plants. I like the way the grasses survive the cold, wind and oftentimes traffic fumes, and how the rocks or small boulders seem to hold everything "rock"-steady.
In these crazy times, roadsides are metaphors to me .. giving us by example their steadfastness (rocks) while remaining hopeful, yet acting flexible (flowers) through the buffeting storms and changing times.
Yep, I do love the roadsides and wasteplaces ..
Sunday, December 07, 2008
I take a delicious sense of joy when I open the front door before sun up and find all six scrambling cats pawing the door waiting for breakfast. I'm met with eager abandon -- and when I do manage to get the door open to retrieve their food bowls, the six pour into the house like black and white liquid. I need to step carefully so I don't fall over them or squish them in my attempt to ready breakfast! What a hoot! They're beginning to circle my feet as I fill their bowls. Pepper and Boots are quite comfortable in the house, and Blackie, dantiest of them all, is getting more so ... but the others walk around the downstairs with a bit of anxiety ... and any noise has them dashing for cover, paws slipping on the floors! They are enchanting!
All this activity means less birds, I'm afraid. The feeders are still full from my filling weeks ago, and I do worry that the bluebirds who've made their home in our box for five years won't feel comfortable enough to return. I don't know what I'll do about that since the cats are roaming to the furthest reaches of our acreage.
I painted this in anticipation of the snow we didn't have last night.... lol .. but we did have cold rain and I was WISHING for snow --- and yes, a few birds .. I am missing them, too.
Watercolor and India Ink (white)
THANKS so much for the correction, Teri! Next time, write AFTER coffee!! LOL
Saturday, December 06, 2008
This painting, based on another generously loaned and beautifully captured photograph from my friend, Jona (http://jona-sunnydays.blogspot.com/) takes in all those things I love best! Thank YOU so much again, Jona!
It's been mighty cold again with rain and possible snow flurries predicted for today and tonight. C and I have a 'date' to visit a relatively new coffee shop for some local music, and I hope the weather doesn't snag our plans -- we rarely get out these days just for a 'date!' LOL
Stay warm everyone!
Friday, December 05, 2008
I feel the effects of not enough sleep this morning, however! LOL Still, after feeding the cats this morning, I am looking forward to a quiet day with a few chores and the simple pleasures of time.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
I just ADORE the size, the shapes -- the COLORS .. and so I sketched it Tuesday evening and finished it last night as we sat by the warm, crackling fire sipping tea and chatting.
Now THAT'S the way to spend an evening!
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
The mistletoe, Phoradendron serotinum, is a parasitic plant, meaning it obtains water and minerals from the host plant (the one it’s found growing upon), yet is capable of photosynthesis and can manufacture its own food. The Cherokee Indians called the mistletoe by a name that recognizes the close association between mistletoe and its host plant that means “they are married.” Mistletoe has thick leathery, roundish and oppositely arranged leaves and bears small, whitish flowers that turn into the light colored globe-shaped, waxy-looking berries.
Mistletoe has been associated with magic long before myths were made, and one Scandinavian myth explains how kissing came to be associated with this plant. (Read the complete story here: www.johnstoncc.edu/arboretum/ ).
Another busy, busy, very late night - so though I sketched well past my usual bedtime last night, I'm posting the mistletoe I painted Monday for the article on our webpage ... hope you enjoy it!
Monday, December 01, 2008
Keeping the 'path of light' in mind again, I simplified the scene making the foliage more abstract against the firmer, more realistic steps. I fuzzed out the background and I like this much better than my original plein air attempt. Now to try to do that while sitting in front of an entire garden!! LOL
It's back to work again -- and truly an overwhelmingly busy week. But we're on countdown until the end of the semester -- and the holidays! Yeah!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Got in a bit more shopping yesterday and finally did a most unusual thing for me -- watched a movie! Sitting still doesn't come easy; somehow I've been born with an innate restlessness (probably from my dad) to keep 'doing.' Yesterday though, with greying skies and chores about completed, I sat for 2 hours and enjoyed a movie ...! Really nice!
It's raining this morning and promises to do so all day and into tomorrow as we return to work. It looks like a quiet day ... who knows -- maybe another movie?!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
We bit the bullet yesterday and bought our family a new camera for Christmas. It's a Canon A650 IS and I'm loving that swivel viewfinder. NOW I can find a way to stand ABOVE my paintings to take entire photos of them and won't have to rely so much on the scanner!
We're off to finish a bit more shopping today ... and we have our 'final must gets' for the holidays. Yahoo --- the end of the tunnel looms!
Friday, November 28, 2008
We had a great time with family yesterday, and as most folks, I suppose, we ate too much. But the weather was warm -- in the 50s -- so we took a nice walk with the grands as they ran off all the desserts they consumed!
We even got in a bit of 'sale shopping' late last night -- so today, we'll concentrate on resting!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I did a quick pen and wash of it late last night and share it with you as you and yours celebrate this day of gratitude.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Many of the foods we typically eat at our Thanksgiving celebration remain those that were growing in the Americas at the time of the Pilgrims’ settlement: corn, rice, peppers, squashes, and pumpkin. Nuts such as black walnuts, butternuts, hickory nuts and pecans; beans such as snap, lima, green and yellow; and berries such as blueberry, cranberry, raspberry, strawberry, cherries, and grapes were all native crops and were being consumed by indigenous populations. In addition, native peoples enjoyed passion fruit, pawpaw, persimmon, plums, pineapple, potatoes, sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, tomatoes, and may have even flavored their foods with such spices as allspice, chili and cayenne peppers, cocoa, maple syrup, spicebush leaves, vanilla and sassafras.
(To read the complete article - click here: http://www.johnstoncc.edu/arboretum/blog/ ).
We've been experiencing computer issues at the Arboretum, so the painting above, which was supposed to accompany the article, won't show -- but the article is there with a few hints at some 'Leftover Gardens' you can create with Thanksgiving remainders.
There are so many holidays I thoroughy enjoy, but Thanksgiving, perhaps, is one that I really take to heart. The idea of a day spent with family and friends giving THANKS for the bounties given, where food and fun are shared, where people come together to remember the gifts of this blessed earth -- well, for me, that spirit of gratitude is what 'it's all about.'
With a full heart of appreciation, especially as we begin our preparations for tomorrow's day of Thanks, my heartfelt wish is a blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours -- and more, a resounding THANK YOU for your kindest remarks, support, and friendships through life's journey.
May we all continue share our bountious gifts and remember the blessings we have been given -- and do whatever we can pass them on ...
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Passing by the roadsides these days is a journey into a forgotten season. Seedpods, spent grasses, cones, nuts, dried leaves all abound in tones of burnt sienna to umber to chocolate to sepia. Against burnished fields, morning hoarfrost, rare snow, or even sand, these bits of fall's bounty absolutely delight me.
Lately, my eyes have become extremely red, burned and strained, and so last night's practice was playful -- an imagined scene of roadsides I've been viewing from my many roadtrips. I'm also learning to play with a pallet knife -- and that has been a lot of fun, too.
I must admit I prefer having a scene, photo or object in front of me to paint ... but I suppose this exercise will stretch my imagination and memory.....
Meanwhile, while you're out driving or walking, enjoy this 'forgotten' season ... close up examinations of those seedpods will find them almost as spectacular as when they were filled with colorful petals.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The painting above is based on a photo reference, and I painted it using last week's techniques so that I can keep reinforcing the lessons I'm learning. I kept the scene a bit more simple than those done earlier to focus more emphasis on the goldfinch.
I'm not seeing many of these at my feeders these days. I suppose having 6 rollicking cats around doesn't make the birds feel welcome -- or safe. Makes me a little sad as I've enjoyed their company too. Maybe, once the kittens get older, we can all reach some kind of truce.
Have a good week!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This sketch was done from a photograph taken in the summer -- I changed the colors and a bit of the scenery to reflect more of falls warmth...
It's been cold enough here to freeze the cats' water bowl, so during our many errands yesterday, we bought a heated bed for them ...yeah, I know ...still last night when they were curled up in it, all toasty warm, I could sleep much better too knowing they were as snuggly as me! LOL
Temps are supposed to rise a bit today -- thank heavens!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
A few things I'm working toward following all those workshops -- a bit more wet-in-wet work, an attempt to work the painting instead of slavish adherence to the photo, and trying to paint a bit more expressively, and still remain true to my own vision that focuses a bit more on line and realism. Right now, as I continue practicing, I find this 'dance' a bit of a ping-pong game in my head with constant questions instead of that incredible 'flow' one gets into while painting ... but I think that 'incorporation' I"m looking for will come over time.
Meanwhile, it's back to the daily practice, and, with the holidays approaching, a bit more time and energy getting ready for the holidays.
Friday, November 21, 2008
The techniques used here were the same as those used for the sunflower -- finding a path of light, free splashing of colors around the path of light, bits of unryu paper added to those washes to help darken areas, color sanding to connect the areas around the path of light. When dry, drawing my image INTO the path of light, then using negative painting, darkening those areas to make the lights 'pop'. More painting - light against dark, dark against light, the addition of pieces of stamped unryu paper. Fun, spontaneous, a bit of abstraction and a bit of realism. I am so excited to know that her new book (due out next year) will focus particularly on these types of techniques. Can't wait!!
Like any vacation, the end of the Art of the Carolinas this year was even more diffiult to leave --- some of the folks who, like me, took multiple classes from Karlyn, became friends and wished for more time to play and explore, paint and as an essential part of her classes, laugh and have a really good time. Since so many of her workshop participants came from all over the country, I'm imagining we'll see one another NEXT November when Karlyn returns to Raleigh for next year's event. I'll bet her classes sell out even more quickly next year -- just as they did this year.
We're supposed to have light snow flurries this morning -- fall turning into winter. I am still dazed that next week is Thanksgiving week and I'm just THINKING of a menu! Geez, it'll be Christmas before I even think of decorating!!
Better get crackin'!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Thank YOU once more for your suggestions, ideas and comments on my abstract piece yesterday. I've begun trying to put some of these ideas into my daily practice, and will post those once I finish posting all the workshop pieces. It is going to be a HUGE challenge to work through some of these new ideas to incorporate them into my own.
The Arboretum was given a huge gift yesterday - sad in some ways, incredible in others. One of our local farm supply companies, after being in business for over 50 years, is closing their doors. They will be missed by many, including us, as this piece of history and community involvement changes. They've donated their large remaining inventory of supplies, chemicals, pots, seeds and the like to the Arboretum -- a gift worth thousands of dollars -- and for us, especially in these days of exceeding shrinking economics especially for consumable goods -- a most incredible, overwhelmingly appreciated gift.
I'll be gone for the rest of the day inventorying, packing, unloading and repacking these items - not only for our own grounds, but also for the teaching opportunities they represent for our landscaping students. I spent a good amount of time last night in sheer disbelief, humble gratitude and tears. In the eight years I have been here, we have received no larger gift, and in no more urgent a time. As I'm typing, I"m struggling for words to express the magnitude of this gift and the humility I feel ....I can only offer my heartfelt thanks and vow to use these items wisely and to pass along to others the same or greater degree of generosity.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I have another one of these 'not quite successful' pieces .. and I"m waiting for it to 'speak' to me for the next step ... Thus far,all I'm getting is silence! LOL
It snowed a bit yesterday -- merely flurries and the 'teasing' of those dark, heavy clouds amid sunshine and bright pink rays ... absolutely beautiful skies! But mercy, I don't think my hands have thawed out yet!
Stay warm everyone!
The is a 'missed' technique that I tried to recreate following one of Karklyn's workshops .. the attempt here was a combination of stamping with watercolor with the back of leaves, placing additional leaves on top of those and color sanding (sanding watercolor pencils into wet paper) OVER those so that one 'paints' negatively around the stamped leaves -- and the look is layered. You can see a BIT of success here and there throughout the piece ... but hers were masterful ... I'm going to try this again ... but for now, I wound up with this .. and then moved on.