Thursday, December 31, 2009
The last day of 2009 --- sunset on a challenging and most difficult year for so many people - our family included. I'd like to think of the year as a river - wonderful areas of growth and joy, areas of turbulence and challenge, and yet on the last day, bid it a beautiful sunset as we sail forth toward 2010.
This painting was done from a photograph by Aquagloria (http://www.flickr.com/photos/aquagloriacouture/) a member of a new group ASPR (Artists Sharing Photo References http://www.flickr.com/groups/aspr/). This group shares various photos for other artists to use in their artwork .... thank you, Aquagloria --- and thank you, Janis, for starting the group. I thought the image fitting for the last day of the year.
May today be a day of reflection - of looking back as well as looking forward. I LOVE the last day tradition I read so long ago in my anthropology studies of how some cultures would thoroughly clean their homes and each member of the community place a coal from their fires into one large commual fire.....On New Year's Day, coals from THAT fire would be shared with one another to begin the new year - each member participating in the ending -- and the beginning -- of the new year.
In my mind, each of you have contributed your 'coal' to the communal fire called FLICKR (mercy, now THAT's fitting! LOL) --and each of us have grown and benefitted by this sharing. I sincerely thank YOU for that ... and so let us continue through 2010 to contribute our 'coals,' take from the fire, and continue to keep the communal AND home fires burning.
Goodbye 2009 -- Welcome 2010 -- May it be a joyous, prosperous, creative, love- and peace-filled year for all of us ...!
We're keeping warm, indeed! Thank you for keeping our -- and my -- 'fires' burning!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
We've enjoyed the bright sunshine this week, but its warmth has not been able to penetrate the mighty cold that covers us in morning and evening ice crystals. The kitties huddle in their basket overnight, warmed a bit by two heat lamps that send a glow across the porch through the deepest part of the night. Though we know the days are growing shorter, somehow the darkness seems LONGER before the sun rises again.
This old craggy tree sits on my neighbors' property about 500 feet from the road. Its age shows in the twists and turns of the branches and must have been on the property when it was first farmed. When I drive home from town, I pass it, as it stands out among the tawny, cold grasses, spurring memories of a way of life now passed.
I went to see the grands yesterday, and caught up with their photo albums for this year. It took hours to choose photos for each grandchild, fix the contrast, resize, and then print them all. Then place them in individual albums and write a bit about their story. It's a project of love that I couldn't get to at all this year .. so catching up on FOUR albums was a milestone -- yahoo! Now, back to the bookcases!
The year is winding down and each evening the news channels cover highlights of the last year as well as this decade. As I watch each momentus aspect, I think of the changes we've seen and the passing of time. These last days of 2009 make me remember, put on another pot for hot tea, and offer thanksgiving for all our blessings ...
It's supposed to grow even colder later this week .. stay warm and safe....
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
My computer desk sits across the window with a view of my back woodlands. The sun rises to the far left of this view and as it makes its way across the sky, it beams its rays right into the window as it climbs over the treeline. In the evening, about an hour before it sets, the sun's rays shine through the woods highlighting bits of the tree boles - turning the entire scene into a pot of caramel and butter. What a golden, buttery glow!
I took several photos of this through my window ... the light changing with every second ... and that glow lasting mere minutes. It was a challenge to capture it in paint too .. but fun! It's amazing to me to watch the play of light across a particular location - morning through evening, season through season. The beech leaves are still holding as well as some of the burnt sienna oak leaves throughout these acres.
It's also been a sublime joy to have that elusive TIME to rest, to do those chores it's hard to find time to do ... and most of all ... to paint .. especially more complex scenes like this.
Today it's errand running and more organizing. Yep, it sure feels like I'm moving things from one corner of my house to the other with little 'change.' Oh well, I suppose the exercise is good after the holidays! LOL
Have a great one!
Monday, December 28, 2009
Last year, Wetcanvas offered a class on Easy Wash Techniques (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=475094) and with a bit of time this holiday, I thought I'd finally play with some of the ideas presented.
The paper is wet thoroughly, and rich, deep pigment is added horizontally on the paper. The paper is then moved so that the paint flows -- and then left to 'do its thing' and dry. After drying, you are encouraged to use the 'background' in some way related to the results you achieved. This was one of my results. I added the rocks on the left and right, and in the creation of the rocks on the right, it looked like tiny hotels .. reminding me of Italy or Greece. I added the reflections and left it as it was .... a bit abstract, a bit like the islands off Italy and Greece ... a bit sky and that wonderful terra cotta color.
The exercise was fun and encouraged 'going with the flow' ....
Give it a try ...!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I've never had the pleasure to see the Northern Lights, but photos of them intrigue me ....
We're not long past the story of the Star of Bethlehem, so I thought the Northern Lights, with the challenge of darks and contrasts, wet in wet and flecks of white for stars would be a good challenge. It was!
I posted a cropped version, which I think is a bit more dramatic ....but am uncertain which I prefer.
The sun didn't show itself much yesterday, but it warmed up sufficiently to plant five chestnut trees. I hope we're still around by the time those wee things bear fruit!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Though the day outside was bleak with rain, grey skies, rain, cold, RAIN, RAIN and even more rain, indoors was cozy, warm and restive. We were fortunate to not have to travel, and so Christmas day was celebrated with the peacefulness of being 'tucked inside' without any urgent obligations to pull us from the house. The kitties stayed on the porch out of the wet, telephone calls were exchanged, and the quietness of the day was truly appreciated.
We awoke this morning to more rain and more grey skies ... we heard a bit of thunder yesterday which typically predicts a snowstorm in about 10 days -- we'll see. The same thing happened prior to our snow last week ...
Today we do have a few things to get accomplished, so we'll have to don the boots and umbrellas and brave the weather. I sincerely hope those in the midlands and New Englad got through the blizzards safely.
Have a great day, everyone!
Friday, December 25, 2009
While the child-focused celebration of Christmas Eve is almost behind us, today we settle into the tranquility and serenity of the holiday. The house is quiet, the rain patters the roof, the cats are fed, and the 'new' cat who has been begging for food and company, has finally been accepted by those cats who 'think' they live here. Like the couple long along ago who found shelter in a stable, our own mini drama has played out similarly ... and the new grey cat has found refuge, warmth and food.
May this Christmas be a safe, warm and joyous one for you and yours. And may your hearts and homes be open to those, on two legs or more, who may seek a part of the love that glows within .....
Merry, Merry Christmas!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I wish you - my Flickr family and cherished friends, a most joyous and wonderous Merry Christmas! May the peace of the season fill your hearts and joy abound!
I thank you, as always, for your encouragment and support - for sharing this awesome journey we call life - through words, through art - through your kindness. May you know how much your friendship is a blessing for those with whom you spend time, thoughts, friendship and love.
Be safe on your travels, be warm wherever you go, and know you are appreciated and loved.
Merry, Merry Christmas!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Ever notice a pink glow to an evening ... and wherever you look - trees, fence, weeds, sky, snow --- there's a crimson cast over it all .... This painting is to honor that pink state ... the rosyness of the sunset lingering in the blush of nightfall ...
We had a wonderful time ... my son and I ... a good lunch, a quiet time of shared talk and lives suspected from obligations to simple 'be' in the company of someone we love. It's been a rough year for this young man and so spending a bit of quiet time to simply relax was an absolute gift.
I got home in time to fry some of our traditional 'snowflakes' (rosettes), and today I bake our family's version of cheesecake. A few more packages to wrap and we'll be ready for our celebration tomorrow.
It's been a quiet kind of getting ready for the season this year ... and I'm eternally grateful for that. Frenzy seems to be the password for life lately, and this slowing down for a while has been a blessing.
Stay warm ... and may your last days of preparation be slow enough to savor.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Snow -- I'm afraid it's not hard to see how much I'm enjoying this wee snowfall! LOL Somehow it puts me in the mood for the holidays, fires my inspiration and apparently I enjoy painting it! LOL So I have to apologize for the same subject day after day ....! LOL It's almost gone from my property, though. Still it lingers as ice on my front steps, under the trees, over some tractor implements. As temps reach mid 40sF today, I'm afraid more snow will be gone, until by Christmas, it will all turn into the wet, rain event we're promised. Sigh.
My son and I have a date today - after my check-up, we'll have a leisurely lunch and do a bit of last minute holiday shopping. Our one- on-one lunches are as prized and infrequent these days as the snow. Work, children, obligations keep us from doing this more often -- but not today!
I can't think of a more wonderful and cherished gift than knowing our children as adults - when we change our predominent role as their 'parents' and become more of their 'friend' -- adult to adult. Talking, laughing, remembering ... that sense of a shared history ... all rolled into time spent together ... a blessing, a grace. It's been years since my daughter, 300 miles away, and I could do the same ... but perhaps next year ... we'll find a day when we can postpone obligations long enough to suspend ourselves in a few magic moments....
May you be safe today ... and may you too create a few minutes of grace with one you love ....
Monday, December 21, 2009
Today marks the Winter Solstice - the longest night of the year. It's only fitting that we as humans light a candle against the intense darkness that will seem to last forever. The snow still blankets the ground here, and the intense cold gives the remaining snowpiles a distinctive CRUNCH. The temps will rise as the solstice ends, and minute by minute daylight will lengthen as we move toward the spring.
It will be a week of holiday preparations as I begin the holiday cooking this morning. A few traditional dishes, our annual cheesecake, last minute errands, and a few more shelves tidied and organized (this chore will last throughout spring too I'm afraid! LOL). Our celebrations will be modified this year - the reality of the recession, family distances and circumstances being what they are. And yet, the solemnity and joy of the occasion remain.
It's Christmas ....a holy time.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I love the sound snow makes when it is falling .... the quietness, the hush of this soft blanket transforms the world it touches. The light alters, the ground softens, and the trees and shrubs, cars and fixtures all take on a mysterious shape.
This is a portion of of my woodlands during the early evening of our snowfall. My feet barely made a sound as they broke through the layers of flakes to catch this sight. The beech still clings to its leaves while the oaks and maples, tulip poplars and gum are bare. The rest of the woodlands form a haze in the background, and the beech seems to take center stage in the evening's fading light.
We had a bit more flurries yesterday and our four inches seem meager compared to the storm that pelted the northeast. Still, in my little corner of the world, this winter white is a bit of heaven ...
Stay safe and warm.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
There's a hush that falls along with the snow ... a soft blanketing of the sounds that we often take for granted in our busy days, but which snow seems to muffle into a silence I've rarely 'heard' any other time.
I sat awaiting our 'snow event' ... this painting done more from anticipation than from my window....
But she came ... snow from the south is a different snow most often than when our snow arrives from the north. Big flakes, feather soft - but cold, dropping slowly at first, and then engulfing us in a winter white. The scene outside my door was magical. Snow in our part of North Carolina is infrequent .. so its anticipation is eager for most of us .. but schools and businesses closed early since we deal with snow or ice poorly. But oh, to be home and warm and cozied inside with snow on the ground -- it's a blessed event!
I did manage to get one room organized. I had to laugh at Dee's comment yesterday. She said organizing was like losing the last five pounds ... you just keep doing it over and over! LOL So right -- DEE!! I thought about that all afternoon as I moved things from one spot to another, one box to a different one ... sigh ... endless ... like chasing dust. Still, the tops of my workspaces are clean enough to find my paint brushes!
It's sleeting this morning ... the sound of mini ice specks hitting the skylights isn't as nice as listening to the snow's silence and the ice on the steps and drive will need care to maneuver around .. and yet, that winter whiteness is still on the trees and ground, and I'm loving it!
Friday, December 18, 2009
THE SUN!!! THE SUN! As I sat at my computer the other morning, I was thrilled to see the inky tones of the sky begin to change. Sipping my coffee, I watched the darkness lighten, minute by minute, into streaks of ultramarine, turquoise, red, pink, orange, yellow -- until finally, El Sol made his longed-for appearance over my woodlands. I stood in front of my window in jaw-dropped awe as that brilliant light made the world golden once more. It was a Hallelujah moment!
Short lived, I'm afraid. We're expecting several days of rain with the chance of snow and ice accumulation. OK, if it's going to be grey, LET IT SNOW! LOL
I simply HAD to paint the sunrise, but instead of paining my woodlands yet again, I added the sunrise to one of the old barns C discovered last week. There's been a lot of property clearing in the neighborhood, and this structure was revealed after one such cleaning. I too removed much of undergrowth and fallen trees that surrounded the barn and brought the two events together in this painting.
Plans have changed for my family this weekend, and so I'm thinking it's time to begin my own 'cleaning and organizing.' There's much to find new homes for - books, craft supplies, etc. and even more to straighten out ...I think I'll need some more coffee for fortification!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The sun finally cleared the weeklong grey and rain .... and temps rose to almost 40F! I took advantage of this seemingly rare event and walked outdoors, getting my vitamin D from the sunshine instead of a tablet! I also ran some errands and spent a bit of time among the store's display of roses - pink, yellow, melon, red ... the scent was almost intoxicating!
I came home and pulled out an old 'loose watercolor' lesson from Wet Canvas... and painted these from memory using that 'swirling' approach.
I've been attempting different approaches to flower painting these last weeks - not very successful to be honest - but studying alternative methods to rendering some of their softness and ephemeral qualities that make flowers such an attractive subject. I tend to favor the expressive qualities I see in others' work...and yet, when I pick up a brush, the botanist in me seems to automatically take over and it's a petal-by-petal result. I'm hoping that with sufficient practice in other approaches to flowers that my own work will bear a bit of a change I'm longing for ... at least I'm hoping .... meantime, I'm enjoying the playtime ...
A few more errands and I think we'll be ready for my daughter's visit this weekend. We're celebrating an early Christmas with her family ... then another celebration next week with my son ...Makes me think of the 12 days of Christmas .....
Stay warm! We're expecting a bit of snow tomorrow .... woooo hoooo!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
This is my view this week as I step out of my home and into the dense, grey fog. A few trees show bits of sienna-tawny leaf remains, the ornamental grasses, heavy with dew and/or rain, show thick in the scant early light, and my woodlands, those bits that can been seen in the early morning, show bits of green and blue. Monday's fog was so dense that I was tempted to upload a grey sheet of paper ! I could hardly make my way through it enough to see the road!
We're promised a bit of sun today, though colder temperatures. I'm hungering for color and brightness - and since the conference is now over, perhaps I can find a bit of time to visit the flower shop. The college is on 'optional' work days this week, holiday time next, and additional 'optional' time before New Year's. I've opted to take the time and catch up on some house organizing and resting. These last few months have been pretty demanding, and our spring obligations are a bit more so. And though I'm home, I'm missing our greenhouses - the warmth, the color, the scent of growing things. I think it's time to start the holiday baking ...if I can't have flowers, let me have cookies! LOL
More errands to run today ... and my fingers are crossed the weather predictions are right. I'd love to see El Sol!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
It was a long day of sitting yesterday. Good conference, but sitting that long, even in a bright room with windows, tends to dull the senses and numb the body. By the time I got home, had dinner, fed the cats, my mind was as numb as I felt and painting was a struggle. I did this simple scene 3 times and still find it a bit too dark for my liking ...but I do love the fairytale quality of the mushrooms .... with the rains we've had and more in the forecast, I'm beginning to see so many of these pop up throughout my property.
Back to the conference today. The density of yesterday's fog will be repeated this morning. I tried to photograph a bit of the morning's fog before I left the driveway -- the only thing I captured was deep, wet mist! LOL
Hope your day is grand!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Ever find yourself unable to paint anything else but what is right before you? The weather apparently has gotten into my bones and eyes this weekend, and rain, cold, and fog seem to flow from my paintbrush despite other attempts. This started out as a landscape in fog, our weather this morning, and before long turned into rain ...the weather of the day. Ah well ... I may have to find a way to spend some time at a florist so I can find pink and green again on my pallet! LOL
This 'painting that comes from somewhere else' is new to me -- though I've often experienced it when I write ... very interesting ...
Things are progressing for Mike and he sounded better yesterday, though still uncomfortable. C's jam went well, and he was surprised at the crowd that showed up -- some of his friends he hadn't seen for a while due to their other obligations ... what a merry sound they made ... the house was dancing!
I'm off to a two-day conference today in preparation of a grant we hope to write ....it's icy and very foggy outside so it'll be a slow go ....
Sunday, December 13, 2009
MIKE'S HOME!! YAHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And though he's in pain as he continues the healing process without the strong pain meds he was receiving in the hospital, his COMFORT level for being at home is enormous! He left the hospital early afternoon yesterday. C and I did some holiday and grocery shopping for ourselves and for Mike, and by late last night, we had his cupboards filled. His girlfriend picked up his meds, and though he was struggling with aches and pains, he was feeling very relieved to be home.
This painting was inspired by all the freezing cold we've been having. I don't do well in the cold and tend to hibernate as much as I can. We were out in the bustle and freezing temps yesterday, and I longed so much to be warm again without down jackets, gloves, car heaters and all that STUFF! LOL
I awoke to rain this morning, so I'm grateful we did get so much done yesterday. C's friends come for dinner and a jam session ... and with Mike at home resting, C playing music, and one more day home before a two day conference, I think I'm going to find a corner of the upstairs to rest, paint, and maybe nap. It's been a looonnnnggg number of weeks!
Have a restive one!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Winter is DEFINITELY here! The water in the cats' bowls has frozen, the trees have lost 95% of their leaves, and the temperatures leave me shivering even in down jackets ....
I turn to a bit of late summer in today's painting ... that rampant undergrowth that often accompanies abandoned barns and sheds. A hint of wildflower colors, fall on the horizon... but oh, it would be MUCH warmer outdoors! LOL
Driving around the county this time of the year emphasizes the loss of foliage and thinning of undergrowth that highlight these abandoned buildings in stark contrast. Their weathered wood, rusted roofs and littered land are all so apparent now. I snapped a few photos en route to the hospital yesterday - the old barns set against overcast grey skies ... a bit sad in that setting, and yet beautiful in their aging honesty.
Again, thank you for your most generous comments. Mike is now hooked up only to saline, is eating semi liquids and is on only oral pain medicine. The doctor said his progress has been so good that he may be coming home today or tomorrow ...yahoo!
We have a ton of chores to do today, including a bit of holiday shopping. Our past weeks have been so full and obligated, that it's been challenging to try to squeeze in holiday obligations ... but they're fast approaching .. and we'd better get to it!
Stay warm! It's absolutely FREEZING outside!
Friday, December 11, 2009
As I drove to work early yesterday morning, I was struck by the blue cast of the landscape - from the sky to the fields to the trees themselves, everything seemed to be a shade and tone of blue. I tried to memorize what I was seeing during the two hour drive ..
The 'blue' stuck with me... and after working another two hour trip home and my visit with Mike, I tried to recall that 'blue' morning before the sun came up....
In my drive, there was no snow ... just wet fields and hazy blue trees ... but the lateness of the hour and my own fatigue somehow produced snow with the blue .. so I left the painting .. partly from memory, partly from imagination.
Mike's recovery is going well. I was able to get to the hospital early enough to help him take his first walk and watch him eat his first bowl of soup ... so again, thank you for your continued prayers and good wishes.
I've a few things to get done before returning to the hospital ...so I'm off to get an early start on another too-busy day ...
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Beth (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bethnery/4150168848/) has posed a challenge for the "Watercolourist Painting With Light Group" and while helping Mike yesterday at the hospital, I had a chance to paint it. The fruit has been identified as a 'star fruit' -- and looking at my painting this morning, it looks as though I've left them floating in the sky! LOL
Again, thank you for your good wishes for my son. He continues to improve. His pain was kept at bay yesterday, though by last night, he was incredibly uncomfortable. He didn't sleep well and dosed periodically during the day. He'd be chatting to me, then get quiet as he dozed off mid sentence, and yet in less than 15 minutes, he would awaken. I'm hoping he got through the night with a bit more sleep. Today he will be encouraged to get up and move around. I must get to the office for a little while today, so I'll be dashing back to help him walk the hallways -- always a difficult, painful time, especially juggling IV tubes, oxygen and the other supporting equipment he needs during his recovery.
The winds howled most of the day and night last evening. In fact, when I dashed home to get a meal, our power was off, and so I had to turn around and go back into town to find something to eat. I fed the cats by candlelight.
Power was restored by the time I got home from seeing Mike ...thank heavens.
Hope you day is terrific!
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Yesterday morning dawned frigid and dark with a sun almost as cold as the daylight. Before leaving for the hospital, I painted this from my upstairs window - the sun coldly glaring through a break in the clouds, the woodlands and trees midnight blue to deep violet, bits of pink edging the breaks in the trees. BRRRRR.
Mike made it through his surgery very well. The operation took an hour longer than expected, and the surgeon told us his recovery will be longer, more painful as well. Still, when we were finally able to see him in the ICU unit, his color was better than after the last surgery. It took several hours to get his pain meds regulated sufficiently to keep him comfortable enough to rest. His spirits were good, and we left his room for the night a bit more comforted that he would actually rest.
I return to the hospital today. I so remember his first day after surgery two months ago - it was a 'go and fetch,' 'comfort and talk' kind of day, and I wanted to be there for him today as well. As wonderful as our hospital is, and as caring as are the nurses, I firmly believe in patient advocates -- especially the first few days after surgery.
A fierce wintry storm has made its way to our area - it's been raining heavily and gusting winds, thundering and flooding since last night. Often when it thunders during the winter, it predicts snow -- so we'll see. But the ferocity of the storm will make driving very treacherous today - I'm so glad my drive to the hospital is short.
Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and kindness ... I am convinced that all of these have made this second surgery successful and have kept and will keep Mike buoyed through another number of weeks of recovery. Blessings and heartfelt thanks.
Stay safe and dry today .....
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
There's a storm brewing and we're expecting more rain. It's been cold, damp, raw --- and I'm thinking if we're going to be THIS miserable with the weather, we should at least enjoy the white fluffy stuff ....But it doesn't look like we'll get snow any time soon. Rain, even thunderstorms, are predicted this afternoon ... so I suppose if I'm going to see snow, I'm going to have to paint it!
Mike spent a miserable day yesterday preparing for surgery, and we drive to the hospital later this morning. I'll be gone all day with his surgery. I'll be back and forth from hospital to work the rest of the week so I suppose it's just as well the snow holds off a bit.
I'll check in as I can ... meanwhile .. have a warm, sunny day!
Monday, December 07, 2009
Ever have one of those weekends when you have the time but just can't paint worth a darn ....! Dang, I really HATE those .. Hope the week improves! LOL
I've painted this scene before, but thought I'd try it again using different brushes. I love painting fog and with our constantly changing weather, it's what I see most mornings ... that bit of cloud sitting on the horizon, trees poking through it like wisps of green spears, the moisture obscuring sight and sound ... there's a bit of dreamlike quality to those mornings, as though the full thrust of reality is being held, like a breath.
This is the last week of classes. I'll be driving back and forth to work this week (a 3-4 hour commute) while my son is having his surgery. There'll be precious little time to sketch ... though I hope to get in my daily practice in some way. But 'net time will certainly be curtailed until Friday.
We're in for more rain again ... do wish it were snow!
Have a great week!
Sunday, December 06, 2009
It was raw, rainy and so cold yesterday. We did some running in the morning, and then hibernated in the afternoon. We've gotten some of our gifts for the grands wrapped, a few decorations up, but all the while we seemed confined to indoors, I was hoping for snow! Didn't come though .... not even a flake, and so I thought I'd brighten the grey day with some flowers .....
There's a lot of negative painting in this and it took a lot longer than it might seem ... but the concentration needed to find shapes and colors was fun and took my mind off the dampness.
The sun is almost up and the day promises to be a bit sunnier ...Have a great one!
Saturday, December 05, 2009
I just couldn't get that full moon out of my mind yesterday and just HAD to try to paint it. It took several attempts to come close to what I 'think' I saw ...and I'd like to try several more 'night' scenes. I love sunrises and sunsets, and there's a certain wonder I feel when I watch a moon rise up from the earth's rim, through the wispy bare branches of my trees, and take it's place among the stars. Capturing that 'magic' is going to be interesting! LOL
It's raining already, and the cats have been nestled in their bed on the porch. Pre-op chores are done and today it's working on holiday decorations and preparations. I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around Christmas being mere weeks away!
Stay dry today -- and warm! If it's going to be another grey, cold day, I'm wishing for SNOW!
Friday, December 04, 2009
I arrived home very late last night (long day) ... but as I was driving, this HUGE ORANGE BALL slowly emerged from the earth -- I almost drove off the road trying to get a better view of that incredible globe! The moon rise last night reminded me of a harvest moon - so large and orange and absolutely illuminating the sky and much of the earth beneath. All the way home I kept imagining how I would paint it ---
But, by the time I unpacked the car, fed the scrambling cats, brought in the mail, put on the wash, etc, etc, I had hit the wall and couldn't even finish painting the sketch I made over lunch yesterday.
So I'm posting this painting I did a few months ago. It's bsed on Janet Rogers unusual method of loosening up her flower paintings ... I have yet to master her technique - but I so love how she achieves such tones and freedom in her work.
This early morning it's dashing around helping my son with his pre-op requirements. And, one of my generous students gave me a deer last night, so I will be taking that to the butcher early this morning to cut into venison roasts, cube steak (my son's favorite) and sausage.
We've also discovered that one of our cats is gone ... Target, one of the larger males, seems to have disappeared. We've also had one of our neighbors move in the last three weeks. They were the original owners of my cat's mother, Boots, so we're hoping that perhaps they fell in love with Target's spots as much as we did and took him with them when they moved.
I hope today is a bit less busy and I can return to my art table. We're in for another storm tomorrow, with the tease of perhaps a few snowflakes ...
Have a great Friday!
Thursday, December 03, 2009
The storm arrived early yesterday, and after I had arrived at my friend's home, the heavy rain torrents, winds, and tornado warnings all pelted the trees, homes, cars, and whomever was in its way. At home, we had a power outage and today we're threatened by area flooding.
I sat at my friend's table and painted what I heard but couldn't see .... she too lives in a grove of trees, and I was ever grateful for arriving just a few minutes before the worst of the storm. This painting is based partly on a photo reference of storms we've experienced at the Arboretum and my imagination.
I saw a full moon this morning as I drove in, so today's weather should be a bit better. It'll be a late night with meetings and a long drive home. My son returns for his second surgery next week, so again another busy time.
I hope you all stay safe and dry ....!
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
It was another late night returning to my friend's home, an so I had only a short time to sketch something for my daily practice. This image of Florida palms at day break was quick to do and reminded me of the dawn's we didn't have during our rainy week!
We're in for a fierce cold front and rain today, so I hope to leave the office at a decent hour and get to my friend's without too much trouble seeing in the storm.
We finished decorating our Christmas Tree yesterday and we joined the other 52 trees beautifully decorated for the Festival. There'll be ten days of singing and music and beautiful sights - free for the community to enjoy ....
Can Christmas really be merely weeks away?
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
9" x 12"
Arches 140# CP
Walking toward the county park while in Florida, we came across a wonderful marsh area. It was bathed in foggy light and the greys of rain.... At home, I decided to turn the scene into more of a fall coloring ... On my work screen, the colors of this painting seem a bit off to me -- at home, the light and marsh are more yellow - like the golden color of sea oats....
It rained here last night - buckets and torrents of wind - I got to my friend's house in the dead of dark ... creeping along rural roads trying to see beyond meager headlights -- whew. I was ever relieved to get indoors - warm and dry. We're in for a rainy week it seems ...
We're also scheduled to decorate our holiday tree for the Festival of Trees ... our colors this year - silver and blue -- festive in all this grey rain ... and mostly decorated with natural materials - pine cones sprayed silver and metallic blue, ornamental grass plumes, ivy sprayed silver ...
Hope your day is sunshiney!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Arches 140# CP
The only chance we had of taking any photos during our visit was Thanksgiving morning when my sister and I went for a long walk/run -- I walked -- she ran! LOL Like every day we were there, it was grey, rainy and overcast, so all my photos that I plan to use for sketch material need quite a bit of imagination to bring in some sunlight. This scene was taken walking from my mom's apartment to a local park along the Gulf. It rained soon afterwards.
I used a credit card scrapping technique to etch out the rocks and am continuing my experiments with larger brushes. It's been fun!
It's back to work today for two long weeks of winding up the semester and holiday preparations. It'll certainly be busy. But we had a very restive weekend -- much needed and for which we're ever so grateful. We even got a few rhododendrons planted! We're in for some rain this week, but today promises to be sunny and mild.
I hope your day is great!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Challenge - Belle Tout to Birling Gap
We're still catching up on chores and rest - but ever so glad to be home.
I spend a bit of time trying to get in some painting yesterday. I thought I'd give Bill's Belle Tout challenge a try. I can see where some things went well, others could be improved ... but it was fun trying all those cloud formations!
We're supposed to get a bit of a warm-up temperature-wise today, so there's a few more 'winterizing' things I need to do in the garden.
I hope your Sunday is wonderful!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I painted this during our stay in Florida -- more of a wish painting than a reality since it rained every day we were there except the morning we left! Fog, rain, grey skies, damp and humid - we wished for a bit of famous Florida sunshine. The morning we all left, the sun finally made its way through the haze and damp .....
After spending days helping my mom go through her rooms, closets and memories, I returned home to find the same chores need to be done here. My workspace alone is covered with ephemera that needs organization, closets and bookcases are all overflowing and must be given a good cleaning. I'll be off for holiday break in a couple of weeks, and my task will be to reorganize and de-clutter the rooms and closets upstairs -- starting with my craft and art supplies! Just the thought gives me chills! LOL
Outside the long week of rain has stripped the trees of their leaves. Sun up this morning shows wonderful tree silhouettes against yellow, pink and azure. We've in a cold snap and the warm 70s we enjoyed 800 miles ago is now a mere memory as we finally hit the freezing mark.
Still -- it is SO DELICIOUS to be home! By the time we unpacked the car, organized some of the items we brought back from my mom, cleaned out the refrigerator and went through the mail, the day was gone. But the rest of simply being in one's own 'home' cannot be exaggerated or underestimated. I enjoy traveling .. but as Elaine said yesterday "There's no place like home!' ... and we are grateful to be here.
Friday, November 27, 2009
HOME!! Thank heavens for a safe 1500 mile journey. We are sore, tired, achy, but grateful the trip went well .. and SOOOOO very glad to get out of the car.
Mom is safely in NY, the Thanksgiving dinner with the grands was wonderful, but HOME never felt so good.
I sketched this during my short break from packing Mom's things ... It's from a photo reference from the Pumpkin Patch event we took Emily and Nick to in mid- October -- but it could have easily been sketched from one of my mom's apartment windows -- the view of her creek and lone deciduous tree dressed in late fall greenery.
I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful ... I'm off to unpack and organize the boxes we brought home, do laundry, and I pray, take a much needed nap!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Though our official Thanksgiving is tomorrow, we'll be celebrating it today since Mom and my sis leave for NY early tomorrow morning, and C and I begin our long trek home. We'll stop again to see my grands, but the 15 hour drive will take another 2 days.
We've gotten another room packed, and today we'll finish the last closet, run some errands, prepare dinner, and pack suitcases and cars. We'll squeeze in dinner while we finalize packing. It's been a busy time. Moving a lifetime of memories is not only physically draining but even more emotionally involved.
This painting, from a photo reference, is NOT what we've seen this week. We've had overcast skies and rain .. probably good packing weather.
Still, we are grateful for a safe journey here, family, good memories and one another.
May your Thanksgiving be filled with the joy and gratitude of the season
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A busy day yesterday. My sister arrives and since we haven't seen one another in over a year, it was a fabulous catch-up -- in between the helping mom. We chatted as we worked and caught up -- a joy to be together again!
The water was turned off all day as new connections were made several miles from mom's apartment. So our cleaning, packing, cooking and the like were all curtailed a bit -- but we managed to get in a bit more shopping for Thanksgiving, one room entirely packed, and after 7:30 pm, the dishes and the floors washed. Why is it that once you know you can't have any water, you grow even more thirsty? LOL
These roses were painted enroute. I have to admit that I'm pretty dependent on photo references during our long drives as inspiration to paint, especially if we're on the highways. Sometimes there's little to see except other vehicles.
Without a scanner and under artificial light, the coloring of this painting that I see on my screen varies somewhat from the real painting ... I know that the table, for instance, is far darker brown in my sketch then is showing on my monitor. I did manage to get in a sketch yesterday, but I can't get the colors correct under artificial lights, so if the sun comes out today, I'm going to try to take a photo outdoors in between our packing.
Hope your day is great!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
WE MADE IT!! Thank heavens for the safe drive through three states, blustery winds, rain, and bits of fog and car spray. Driving in such conditions was a bit trying, but we made it safely, thank HEAVENS, and arrived at Mom's to find her looking good, if a bit tinier and a bit less steady on her feet. This is a vew we saw - when it wasn't too badly raining!
We stopped to see the grands en route -- and they were wonderful!! Riley is already crawling at lightning speed and will probably be walking by Christmas. Taylor and I painted this morning ... if briefly .... and then we had to hit the road.
Tomorrow my sis comes in and we'll be doing all-day packing, as we help Mom prepare for her move, preparing for Thanksgiving, and just recuperating from 2 days of driving.
Thank you all for your incredible comments the other day .... I sincerely appreciate your awesome generosity.
I'll have internet service periodically, so I'll check in as I can. Meanwhile, it'll be busy, and I do hope to get in a sketch in a STILL environment! LOL
Have a great week!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
9" x 12"
We're off! I hope everyone has a fabulous Thanksgiving! I'll be away from the computer for the next week - but I'll check in and post as I can.
Thank you all for your kind comments this week -
I sincerely hope that you stay well, enjoy the holiday, and remember all those graces for which we are every thankful ...
HAPPY THANKSGIVING .....!!
Friday, November 20, 2009
This painting is dedicated to my dear friend, Guy, not only because his photo inspired it, but more so in hopes that he feel smuch better today!
Thank you, Guy, once more for allowing me to use one of your images!! (See www.flickr.com/photos/10422334@N08/4113926411/in/photostream).
I posted both versions of this because I wasn't sure which I liked better. What appealed to me was that rich golden, sienna color of the leaves ... and my own reluctance to see fall finish. Here in NC, there are still patches of bright leaves scattered among the woodlands - yes, more leaves on the ground than on the trees. But their brightness against the blue, clear sky is such a joy to me -- I really don't want the season to end!
It's a chore-filled day today as we ready for our short trip. I'll be taking in all the woodland colors I can ... and I'll be carrying those colors behind my eyes. This season, and this particular year of it, has really spoken to me. Wonder why this year especially?
Hope your day is filled with joyous color and the smell of fall's bounty!
This painting is dedicated to my dear friend, Guy, not only because his photo inspired it, but more so in hopes that he feels much better today!
Thank you, Guy, once more for allowing me to use one of your images!! (See www.flickr.com/photos/10422334@N08/4113926411/in/photostr....
Thursday, November 19, 2009
There is such a difference in painting from a computer screen, real life, and a printed photo. And being back to working in my smaller journal, limited light, space and time, all are clearly event in how I find myself painting.
I fell in love with a photo from my dear friend, Guy (http://www.flickr.com/photos/10422334@N08/4108459287/in/photostream/ who has kindly given me permission to use it for my painting). I printed out a copy so I could paint it last night after work when I got to the B&B. The printed copy lacked all of Guy's incredible pink highlights, and, not memorizing that particular point, I painted an interpretation of his work from the copy I had. In checking my computer this morning, I noted this what a vast difference in tone and highlight.
I suppose what I"m trying to point out (and REMEMBER!!! LOL) is that these differences exist and can affect one's work or interpretation of it. And last night's experience is merely another case in point. Since I will be traveling by car for several days next week, I'll be relying on photographs to practice my painting... and yesterday's 'lesson' will be a reminder to do more than rely on the photograph alone.
Thank you once more, Guy, for your generous permission to use your photograph for my painting inspiration. While this interpretation doesn't come close to the beauty you captured in your image, I do hope you like it nonetheless.
It's been raining here again. Our grounds are so sodden that students are unable to work outdoors to complete some of their semester projects.
Still, I found my desk under all that paper yesterday -- and literally rejoiced!!
I hope your day is grand!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Getting a chance to practice what I've learned last week has been exceptionally difficult with my return to work. Between meetings, changes, classes, late night events, and moving toward a new semester, registration, final exams and final projects, I feel like the pace of life has been on warp speed. Add to this leaving this weekend to drive to Florida to help my mom pack up her home as she prepares a move across several states. I suppose all this activity is better than being bored! LOL But it does make it difficult to get in the practice and application I'm longing to do while techniques and demonstrations are freshest in my mind.
This was painted over the weekend as I attempted to continue practicing what I learned in Sterling Edward's class by using his large, flat, bristle brushes. I must admit that using flat brushes is unusual for me -- I began painting watercolor with rounds and seem to gravitate toward them despite the subject. So I'm still learning how flats are used, how best to use them -- and now, how to use bristle brushes to the best of their capabilities. I do love how they easily create distant tree shapes -- far easier than with rounds!
Back to the workshops -- Judy and I took two additional classes. For me, I didn't have any painting success with either - though they were enjoyable. I took a 3 hour class from Tom Lynch - and try as I could to wrap my mind around first washes and cutting in to create the image, I just could not do that with any type of success. I have his books and wanted to participate in this workshop to try to overcome this particular block, but I do believe fatigue and the hurried pace of the workshop just didn't work for me.
My last workshop, a full day with Lian Zehn (http://lianspainting.com/) was an experience just to be there! Watching him pour paint, swish the brush ever so lightly to achieve such luminescent results, watching the ease and joy with which he painted -- was something I was so grateful to see! I purchased his DVDs and book just so he could sign his work -- and his signature included a original miniature painting! WOWZA! I have so much to learn here - -so much to admire! And probably the rest of my life to even come close to learning! But Wow!
The entire week was absolutely amazing -- and yes, very tiring. I think my strategy next year will be to try to take the hardest, longest workshops FIRST while I'm freshest ....
Anyway, I'm dashing to yet another meeting ... hope your day is wonderful. And once more, my deepest and most humble thanks for your incredible kind words yesterday. You're the BEST!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
There were 3 things my family told me NEVER to do: give directions (still applicable), sing (oh my, VERY applicable), and draw. But how I really wanted to keep one of those watercolor nature journals I loved!
On my bookshelf were all those wonderfully illustrated and written books about nature journaling - especially those by Cathy Johnson. "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" was a book I had owned since the 1970s!!!! And I still had not opened. But after passing my 50th birthday milestone, I figured if I were EVER going to draw, I'd had better make the plunge.
And so, 4 1/2 years ago, I picked up Betty's book and not only read it, but began the exercises, one by one. Never having art lessons either as a child or as an adult made for a lot of intimidation. I was always writing, but drawing? Nope! So I studied the book, faithfully did the exercises, and when I got to the 'turn the image upside down the spaces' exercise - and my attempt RESEMBLED the drawing -- I finally had a glimmer of hope that I could possibly learn to do this. And the passion was lit....
I kept drawing on and off for a few months; took Cathy Johnson's wonderful on-line classes - watercolor, sketching and more. And, encouraged by my friends on Flickr --- I began keeping a daily journal on line and sketching every day, no matter what. Though there are some gaps in my posting - like when I was overseas or away from home, I always sketched -- something.
And so today marks four years of doing so. Folks ask me if I ever got tired or bored or just too busy -- and I say -- 'yes' ... but having so many years behind me and far fewer in front of me before I leave this good earth -- the only way I believed I could improve my work was to devote a lot of time practicing.
I'm not nearly where I would like to be with drawing or painting - or writing for that matter. But I'll continue picking up the pencil, wetting the brushes, and learning as much as I can.
That "P" word -- PRACTICE -- well, from experience, I can only say -- it takes that -- often, frequently - and consistently.
But it also takes YOU, my Flickr friends - who have been encouraging me for these many years. And I offer this gentle rose in thanks for all you have helped me through - with your encouragement, kindness, generosity and suggestions.
My heartfelt thanks for being there with me - along this most intriguing and exciting journey!
Here's to another year! Wet Brushes -- Get Painting!
Monday, November 16, 2009
We came home to collapse, again, and have squeezed in 2 more workshops - for me, neither as successful painting wise - I think the go-go-go-go-go of the last few weeks and intensity of this week has caught up with me.
Judy leaves early this morning. It's 4:39 am right now, and we leave in an hour. I've an intense, stressful week ahead - but these workshops have given me a chance to take my mind in another direction, and will provide the much needed inspiration and 'go-to' place when things get over-the-top.
I teach all day today so I must apologize if I don't get to catch up until later this week. I do hope your week is fabulous and restful!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Arches 140# CP
In real life, there is a bit more purple in this piece, but photographing the painting late last night under artificial lights just wouldn't give me the proper colors no matter how many adjustments I tried to make. It comes close, but the real painting is far more red/purple.
This delightful workshop with Jeanne Carbonetti (The Tao of Watercolor) was great fun. It was a playful time - and yet, just like Jeanne herself, the entire three hours was filled with serenity and calm. The workshops, tradeshow, crowds and excitement tend to be a bit on the exuberant and tense side, so this workshop was a wonderful change of pace. And even though the workshop was calming, it was ever so playful ....
I am thrilled beyond measure for being able to post anything I've painted during a workshop. Typically, and I cannot say this enough, I spill my paint, paint backwards, add the wrong colors, do EVERYTHING BACKWARDS (and a lot of that happened yesterday! LOL) - but these three workshops seemed to be a real gift - not just in information - but in my being able to focus and learn, and more than anything - have FUN!
Jeanne's methods, playful, bright, centered, a bit dreamy, calming - all appealed to me in her semi-abstract, representational approach to a subject. We used a photo of a vase of poppies for a 'jumping off point, LOTS of paint and our imaginations -- letting the painting 'speak' to us as to what it needed and the direction we should take. I rarely paint this large or this bright - but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience - very freeing, indeed.
The sun has finally come out and the weather warmed up a bit. After our morning workshop yesterday, we were a bit too tired to do much sight-seeing, so Judy and I came home to rest, reorganize our materials, prepare for an early flight on Monday (for Judy) and work (for me). C fixed us a scrumptious dinner, and we were able to paint a bit before collapsing.
We've a full day again today - we'll be throwing and pouring paint and generally having a great time.
I've tried to focus my workshops on the direction I hope to go with my work. It will take a while to reinforce these ideas and finally make some of them my own. I can't wait to get started!
Have a great Sunday!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Arches 140# CP
The workshops have been absolutely outstanding -- but the days are running together! LOL
Thursday's class was with Sterling Edwards - and I LOVED it! (This painting is too large for my scanner, so I took a photo - so I apologize for the quality of the capture.) We had the best time! Sterling offered four classes - this one, a more traditional approach to watercolor, a class that moved into semi abstract, and classes in abstract painting. I find myself on the 'rim' of moving toward less realism, but oh my heart sings with traditional methods! Still - his approach, using his signature large bristle brushes, a lessening of detail, and a 'direct approach' really appealed to me. I really want to do more paintings like this - they went quickly, had the variation I love, elliminated the 'fussing,' and yet just enough detail to make me happy! I was so excited to finally learn how to let go of my small brushes, that I painted another scene yesterday morning so I could reinforce what I was learning!
He was offering another class I really wanted to take, but I was called to a Board meeting and had to miss it. I've invested in a few of his DVDs to keep moving in this direction, and I'm really excited about it! I understand he has a book coming out later this year by Northern Lights.
We spent yesterday -- all day -- at workshops, and crawled home, thankfully without the pounding rain, well after 9 pm. Our class today begins at 9 AM, and it's an hour ride to the workshop. The week has sped by, and I will be sorry to see the workshops end and Judy return home.
I saw some of my Raleigh friends at the Trade Show - everyone with armsful of paper, paints, brushes, canvases - and their talk filled with new ideas. This week has been a huge gift.
I'm off to shower and get on the road ... Have a grand day!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Arches 140# CP
On the second day with Karlyn Holman, we painted in a more traditional style of capturing the shadows first in cobalt and permanent magenta - then painting OVER the shadows in local colors. This is a view of one of the abbeys in France. I thought I'd try painting a landscape from somewhere other than Italy! LOL
The idea behind this lesson, also taught while we WERE in Italy, is to capture the shadows as quickly as possible, especially while location, since they are changing minute by minute. Once this is done, the constantly changing light isn't a factor is the result of the painting - since the shadows were established FIRST. I believe Karlyn has published this idea in her last two books. It was fun, and truly by doing the shadows first, the painting almost painted itself very, very quickly.
This two-day workshop ended far too soon - but oh did we have a grand time.
Yesterday, we began our classes at Art in the Carolinas -- and guess who was the first person we ran into? Karlyn! LOL
We're still encased in clouds and rain - so being indoors has been a blessing. After our class yesterday (more on this tomorrow), we dashed down to Smithfield for a long Board meeting. They passed our budget (THANK YOU!) - but the almost two hour drive home in the rain and dark made for a very long and tiring day.
We return to Jerry's today for another two classes. There is so much to absorb in such a short time --- and I'm running into folks I haven't seen in years! I so hope to find a way to be able to take more classes throughout the year. Condensing my art education into one week a year sure can be tough!! LOL
Have a great day!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Arches 140# CP
A workshop with Karlyn is an experience in expanding one's horizons, thoughts, creativity. She is a bundle of enthusiastic inventiveness, always finding new ways to use old materials, or finding unusual materials to use in different ways.
In this lesson, one of Karlyn's most noted and noteable, we used grape leaves as stencils, wax paper grapes for resist and textures, Unryu paper for texture, stretched gauze for lines, and lots and lots of paint. (For those interested, she's explained the techniques in her second book "Searching for the Artist Within" -- and no, I don't receive any discount! LOL).
We enjoyed another scrumptious meal, and despite the dismal day of rain, wind and cold, the workshop was filled with glowing light and warmth and the kind of creative energy that is renewing and inspiring. I cannot say how very grateful I am to have had this opportunity.
It was GREAT fun ... but most important to me -- the lessons that Karlyn teaches are extremely practical and transferable to other paintings and work. At the same time, she stretches our perspectives and creativity to embrace the POSSIBLE!
We worked on a more traditional project yesterday .. with equal fun and ideas.
In between project pieces, Karlyn shared other ideas for approaching a work, her use of different materials, and some parts of her upcoming book (due out later this year). And she'll be back in Raleigh NEXT year -- and we've already signed up for her two-day class!! YAHOO!
We're off to Jerry's today for Art in the Carolinas. Karlyn is teaching there as well and her classes are almost full.
After our classes, I have to head back to work for an evening Board meeting -- so the day will be exceedingly long.
I'll be back on the 'Net as I can ... meanwhile, get out those paints and PLAY!