Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Are We There Yet?" (Lambs, Valentia Island, Ireland)

18"x14" oil on canvas

"A man must learn to endure patiently what he cannot avoid conveniently."
- Michel de Montaigne

Some points of motherhood are universal to many species. I'm so sure of it, I'd be willing to bet my "mom handbook" on this one. When you allow yourself to just sit & observe another group of animals- such as sheep in this case...I can hear so many little scenarios playing out, "Come on, keep up....and quit making that face at your brother. Don't dawdle around, there could be a wolf around that rock...or a tourist!" "Mom wait. There's a resting rock! Can we stop here?" "Hey she poked me" "Well he stepped on my side of the grass". "ARE WE THERE YET?" hehehe. I'm sure I saw that poor mom roll her eyes! Yeah, I know the look, doesn't matter what species!

Some good news on the radiation treatment front: Friday I am at the mid-way point of treatments. 'Only' 17 more weekdays after that. I'll be glad to be on the other side of this adventure!....heheh - "Are we there yet?"

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Side Street in Dingle Town (Ireland) - sold

8"x8" oil on gessoed birch panel

"You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him."
- Leo Aikman

Todays painting is "Side Street in Dingle Town"(Ireland). Just around the corner from this little street is an ice-cream shop that we went to a couple times (was it a couple times in one day?). Best tasting stuff ever. Yes, it was a delight just to wander about town that day. This is just a bit of winter 'escapism' for me!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Crisp Morning Late Autumn New England Barns/Show News

"If you leave the smallest corner of your head vacant for a moment, other people's opinions will rush in from all quarters."
- George Bernard Shaw

Here again is "Crisp Morning, Late Autumn New England". Painted en plein air at Harkness Park before our snowy weather set in, it was chilly, but nice to be out painting. This piece will be in the members show at the Mystic Art Center. The opening reception is this evening, (Friday), 5:30 - 7:30pm. For more information about the show & directions, click here. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pre-Warmed Irish Wool

6"x6" oil on gessoed masonite artboard

"Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today, because if you enjoy it today you can do it again tomorrow."
- James A. Michener

Todays painting is "Pre-Warmed Irish Wool". Perhaps this is why those Irish wool sweaters feel so good & work so well to protect you from the weather! A bright spot of summer sun-shine!

I finished this little one Friday, and am also working on a larger one (20"x20") that's been on the easel for a while now. If you've been following this blog for a while, yes the radiation treatments have started this week & are going well. No big troubles yet, other than it's a hassle to get to the hospital every day. Yes, everyday. I didn't think I'd get tired of it so quickly. And Thursday, yes- I did get walloped with a heaping helping of deep fatigue. I really wasn't expecting it, looking for it, thinking about it. So when it hit, it was a double surprise, and disappointment. It was on the one day that the temps had risen above 32 degrees, was sunny with no wind. So I thought I'd get another 'snow-painting' day in. I had all my gear loaded into the car, so I could dash over to Harkness Park and set up for a small painting in the afternoon winter sun. I did get there, walked over to the spot I had in my mind to paint, but was hit with this wave of 'tiredness' ....enough to want to lay day & take a nap. It just wasn't going to happen.

Friday I decided my afternoon painting session would return me to my comfort zone, for the time being. And I will go easy on myself (or try to). My husband came in & saw this little lamb & remarked, "Wow, I wish I were laying in some bright sunshine like that little sheep." Me too, yes, that is where my mind is wandering lately, to memories of sunny places.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Mug Shot Taken Every Ten Years......ndp

Ten years, that's how long a passport (and it's photo) is good for before it officially expires. Being that mine expires soon, I had new photos taken today over at AAA. The last one, I was ready to have it changed as soon as I received it. I had the photos taken right after "the worlds worst haircut". I've even had airport officials look at it in the last few years, then stare at me in the face saying, "That doesn't look like you" My only response is, "Yeah, thank God!". What can I say, much has happened in the last ten years. I dare say I AM a different person than I was back then. Now, before anyone asks, no you are not allowed to use shots like the one above! Although, for painters, wouldn't it be nice to have a passport photo of you "doing what you love to do best"!? Just a thought!

Most of my blog followers know I love to visit Ireland. It has been a true delight for me to be able to travel and paint over there. But I also have other places I've been to that I'd love to return to again (someday)....and yes, paint! But until I get back to some of these other places (France, Italy, Singapore among them) I'll share a blog link you might enjoy! It's been almost twenty years since I've been to Paris - and what a breathtaking, beautiful city it was! My daughter introduced me to this blog & I've been a fan ever since:
New Yorker Carol Gillott paints in watercolor, "Paris Breakfasts". Whether you are an artist, a foodie, a travel or fashion junkie - or just love seeing wonderful things, this blog is indeed like taking a great journey with each read. Enjoy the tour!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Always A Rascal - sold

5"x7" oil on gessoed masonite

"I have found that if you love life, life will love you back."
- Arthur Rubinstein

The day that I took the walk down to Brae Head on Valentia Island, so many groupings of sheep were in the high pasture. From the lane, you look across the pasture and the channel over to Portmagee. The land formations are so distinctive there, it's part of what I love about the area. These three sheep had me grinning though. As a mother of grown twins, I always notice other twins (of any species!). Is it my imagination or does it seem that one never wants to nap at the same time as the other. One is looking to make mischief, while the other one naps. And poor mom- trying to sleep with one eye open, her ears turned to the little rascal behind her! Yes, that little one trying to charm the photographer!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Snowy Dusk Over Mystic Valley

6"x6" oil on gessoed masonite artboard

"One kind word can warm three winter months."
- Japanese Proverb

Today was colder and windier than yesterday, therefore I painted from the window. I do like the view over this valley - through out all seasons of the year, the color varieties and atmospheric changes are really wonderful. Today, as dusk began to fall, the most wonderful color of violet blue contrasted the snowy rooftops on two neighboring houses.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Snowy New Year


oil on Belgian linen mounted on archival board (Raymar)

"In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."
- Albert Camus

I did it! I painted outdoors IN THE SNOW! I rarely ever paint snow - and when I have, it has always been done from the comfort of a room with a decent view to the outside. Which is fine, but does have its limitations. I got interested in expanding my 'plein-air season' after reading Stapleton Kearn's blog entries about 'Snow Camp'. I knew a good part of my problem fell under the 'comfort & safety' category. How does a self-respecting Florida transplant do this without freezing to death? I had initially signed up for Stape's 'Snow Camp'- knowing this would be the key to unlocking all these cold-weather secrets from a pro! Unfortunately I had to withdraw when I learned that scheduled radiation treatments (which start up this coming Tuesday) would conflict with the workshop schedule. Bummer. (No, I was not worried that I would cause regional meltdown & ruin the fun for everyone. It's not supposed to work like that anyway).

My daughters really liked the idea of my new venture...'learning' to like the snow. I got myself some decent water-proof snow-boots this winter. I was gifted with some nice gloves & hat that have actually been pretty effective on my outdoor walks, it was time to put them to the painting test. Today was just above freezing, probably around the mid-30s. You'd be surprised at how good that feels after you spent some windy days in the teens & twenties (brr). So, things were starting to melt a bit, I could hear the crackling of ice falling through gutters, down roof-tops, off of the trees. There was a very unusual bird-call in the woods right in front of me! I stared out to try to find who was singing at me - a big woodpecker! Beautiful! For a "gray-winter-day", my surroundings were actually alive and beautiful! While the sun never quite came out, the lighting did change the variety of grays through out the day. I continued to look for relative contrast, starting my painting the way I always do - by laying down the darkest darks first. Even in very subtle light conditions, the warm light will be 'warm' relative to the cooler tones. Reminders came back in my head from my painter friend Leif Nilsson, "get that canvas covered, right off the bat, tweak it later". When the weather is this cold, you do indeed want to make your decisions and get on with it. "Tweaking" can be done in the studio if necessary. Leif had reminded me the essentials of getting those first masses of paint laid on, it's the basic road-map for everything that follows. "So that if you're chased by a bear, or a hurricane blows in", (whatever catastrophe) you've at least recorded your initial impression of the scene before you.

So today was a good day for one that I would have previously classified as 'dreary'. It was vibrant and alive, and I was glad to be out 'in it'. That said, there are still things for me to grow in the learning curve; getting used to painting with gloves is the biggest thing. Since it was over 32F I painted without gloves for a while. I hated the thought of getting paint on new gloves, but quickly got over that, since that's what they were meant for. One of those 'little kid' saucer sleds would be handy to have for laying your gear on & hauling it over to where you want to set up. I used a big "muck tub" (one of those big gardening buckets with a rope handle on each side) to haul my stuff to the back yard woods. I look forward to my next winter plein-air long as it's not windy and 20 degrees! ACK! - at that point, I'm sure my eyeballs would freeze up!

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