Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cadbury's in Ice Cream? Are you kidding?!?!

Honestly, I deserve some kind of a medal for resisting this....Cadbury's in ice cream. Or perhaps a straight I crazy? I passed up Cadbury's in ice cream on the beach, on a sunny day in Ireland? I must be certifiable. Or desperately jet lagged! So we all are, but we are kept awake by the excitement to come.  Tom Mastaglio, our host's husband gathered us from the airport in Shannon, this morning for the long trek back to Valentia Island.  
Ah, so much to do, so little time! Surfing...I could've gone surfing, in summer, on a SUNNY day in Ireland? But we did get our feet wet. We just couldn't resist an invigorating dip (of our feet) in that brisk water in Dingle Bay, along the 

Well, too much fresh air and sunshine works up a mighty thirst for travelers. So between coffee, tea, and perhaps Guiness, we were revived.  Did I mention it tastes better over there (here in Ireland)? It's true, not kidding on this one. Once you've had it at the source, all the rest (that gets shipped to us in the States) tastes a bit like 'tree-bark-water'.
 So much to see along the way, but we finally arrived at our 'home away from home', our B&B - SheaLane B&B on Valentia Island.
I discovered there's a new baby in the "neigh"bor-hood!
I love getting to share this place with new friends, as we enjoy the view at Coarha Beg, with the skelligs and little islands in the background. 
This place holds more than a bit of magic for me. I've been enchanted by this part of Ireland.  After dinner, Barbara shares some wonderful stories....
and we are all held in its wonder and delight!
  Goodness, I've bent your ear for far too long tonight. We got some serious issues to tackle tomorrow..... like painting, and giants, beaches, ruins, and hey...there's a bit of the world's best chocolate involved, too. I need my rest to keep up!


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Friday, June 27, 2014

Return to Ireland!

6"x6" oil on archival panel
Click here to purchase.  

"Traveler, There is no path,  paths are made by walking."

- Antonio Machado 1875-1939
Traveling holds such great  delight for so many. We discover not only a 'new place', but a 'new place within us' as well. And this is whether we are by ourselves, with strangers, with friends or our spouse. Sometimes the 'taking on the personae' of being the tourist, helps me to see my own home town, and my own life in a different way.

On the 28th (tomorrow), I'll  be headed over to Ireland along with a few friends!  I'll be teaching Palette Knife painting and sharing techniques I've been integrating into my work over the last several years.  Our host is Barbara Mastaglio of "Art on the Ring of Kerry".
I'm thrilled to be sharing this wonderful place with new friends and old.  So grab your coat, boots and cane, and follow along!

There's always a fun adventure in store - as we'll travel around Valentia Island, and further out along the Ring of Kerry, make our way up to Dingle (did you know they have honeycomb ice-cream there?). For painters, there's boats, and colorful buildings, and ocean views. For shoppers, there's some gorgeous wool knitwear, and some truly fascinating pottery (who will ship back to the states for you, too!).

Heading south from the colorful fishing village of Portmagee, we'll make our way down to St. Finian's Bay for a morning of painting, followed by a stop at the Skellig Chocolate Factory (which has the most incredible hot-chocolate, and cake ever). 
Another day of painting the ruins along Ballinskelligs Bay followed by lunch with the best pot of tea, well, you can see I'm always thinking about food! It's good to be well fortified before a day of painting out in the open!

The coastlines are rocky and dramatic!

  Ruins on the beach at Ballinskelligs Bay (below), as well as the Ballycarberry Castle, with it's 2 nearby ring-forts, are great places to paint and explore.

Just a bit more to pack, un-pack and re-pack. Then I'll be ready to pull up the zip, and rest assured that all is prepared.  Just a quick flight over night, and I'll be there in Shannon in time for an early breakfast....before catching our ride to the west coast!

 So, shake your shamrocks, it's time to pull it all together, we're going to Ireland!


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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Stop! You're Making Me Blush!

6"x6" oil on archival panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here
or here.  
You're telling me these things that make me blush a little self-consciously.....Stop! You're making me blush! 

Bring a little blush to your face, sans cosmetic!

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Peonies in the Sunshine! - Mentoring Mondays

12"x12" oil on archival panel
Click here for more information, or to purchase. 

Got to share another bouquet with a fellow artist on "Mentoring Monday", a class I teach at my home/studio/gardens. Here we dragged the table out into the sun, while we stood under the cool shade to paint. (Love this garden my hubby & I designed, all that hard work is paying off in fun painting time!). "Peonies in the Sunshine". New diagnosis: POCD....peony obsessive compulsive disorder. 

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rhythm & Blues Peonies

7"x5" oil on archival panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here.

This one was a little study of shapes, and yes, I did do it after the  large one on the prior post.  Just testing out some fun little ideas. These small panels and canvases are great for that- trying out new ideas before going on to bigger things. I think the little ones pack just as much punch as the big ones. (Sigh), I just can't get enough of these peonies!  

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Peonies and Pears (large)

30"x24" oil on 1.5" deep gallery wrapped canvas
For more information, or to purchase, click here.

The peonies have been heavenly this year! My only 'beef' is that they don't last long enough...especially if it rains! Right after they first opened, we had several days of of course I started cutting bouquets (trying to save them). Umm, yeah, several bouquets. Well, perhaps more than several. My husband was sure I had lost my mind. A neighbor kid coming around to get a petition signed, saw the table full of bouquets and asked, "Wow, are you a florist"? 

Okay, it's official - I am obsessed with peonies! Is there a support group?

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Geraniums & Pig Statuette, (Weds. demo for group class)

8"x8" oil on archival panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here.
This painting was done as a demo for a class I'm teaching on Wednesdays. The reference photograph was courtesy of one of the attending artists.  Using both brush and painting knife, wet into wet, using opaque color over a transparent layer. The pig is a little cement garden statue gracing the porch.    

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Peony Passion - Mentoring Monday Classes

12"x12" oil on archival panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here. 

Can you tell it's my favorite time of year?  I'm so excited once everything starts blooming. The peonies this year are BIG, abundant, and have a light, tender fragrance.

Perhaps it's because I have to wait so long for them to arrive that I appreciate them so much. This bouquet was the subject in my "Mentoring Mondays" class. Luckily we finished before the the rains set in for the day.  

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." - 
Marcel Proust

If you enjoy this blog post, please share it with your friends! 

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Brilliance and Meander - Variations on a Theme

6"x6"x1" deep cradled birch panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here. 

Variations on a theme...musically - something taken from an original idea and giving it a twist, shaking it up a little, trying it on in different forms.  From time to time, I find this a great fun way to explore in visual works.  From my original works done on location (en plein air), I'll do a similar painting in a different format, make changes, experiment - go smaller, go BIGGER - now we're really jammin'!  Above, is "Brilliance", since the day was like that- one of those truly enjoyable sunny days of late Spring (a gift for New Englanders).

 Below, is "Meander",  

(For more information, or to purchase, click here. )

....which the waterways in the marsh seem to do when the tide comes in. The have their usual path, but the little reaches from the main flow do seem to meander. It may seem sort of aimless, but at times we do need to allow for a bit of 'meander' time. Time to explore, investigate, renew our senses, breathe, and be 'in the moment'.  Give yourself permission for a bit of 'meander' time - could you spare 10 minutes of your day? 

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Morning Grace - Monday Mentoring Classes

8"x8" oil on archival panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here. 

I'm enjoying spending time with students in my 'Mentoring Mondays'-leading other artists on their own art journey. At this point in the year, the garden is bursting out with color, the weather is comfortable and a total delight for plein air painting.  In the mornings, the eastern morning light hits this part of the picket fence and the rock wall below it. It's funny, when we planned the garden, I knew the picket fence would be an important feature for me (I've always wanted a garden like this).  But one of the most intriguing things (for me any way) is representing light and shadow on white surfaces. Where they come together is an endless fascination for me.  This painting leans more to the abstract, yet I love the memory of the fuchsia blooms on this rhododendron crawling over and poking through the fence, and the magenta shades in the dwarf Japanese maple below. By the time a week passes, the colors and blooms will be different. The light in the summer sky changing just a bit each day.  I love to hear from other artists & gardeners about your own favorite gardens!

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Garden as Muse- She Sings With Color! (Come tour this artist's garden!)

This artist's heart is in the garden. I've been enjoying the blooms and the gorgeous days in-between the ones that Mother Nature throws in to give us New Englanders a little humility. Or perhaps a sense of humor? or is it to develop patience? Whatever!  :-)  I'm still smiling!  Every so often I'll get out there with my garden journal....rather than the oil paints.  Certain days the muse calls for certain things. 

Since May we've been busting out in color here at Steed Studio Gardens- when one flower fades, another variety is ready to go on with the show! We never get tired of it. Let me show you what's been going on over the last many weeks:
  Pull up a seat in the front garden, I'll share some fun from  my garden journal and some from my photo album as well. 

Sometimes I like to makes little vignettes of the current flowers, and leave space for notes about what's going on in the garden at that time.

My garden notes will sometimes compare this years blossoms with last years, and dates when they show up. This year they are late (shame on Mother Nature for her games!).

When the tulips finally show up winter is finally over (at least in our minds!). The work that we undertake in the fall really pays off with this blast of color! This year we chose a more intense variety of orangey-coral and pink-fuchsia colored tulips. If you plant them in a solid mass, they can be oh-so-breath-taking! 

It's always a nice thing to see the bumble bees making their way from flower to flower. Humming-birds find their way here, too - and delight in the flowers. They returned this year even though there are no "feeders". There's plenty to keep them occupied and happy. The hummers are particularly in love with the hot red honeysuckle vine on the side garden trellis.
  The lavender buds are ready to open soon! This will keep the bees happy and humming...and dancing their tumbling little lazy bee dance as they roll through all well as the Eden roses on the fence above them!
The Eden roses have a nice soft fragrance, but others we've planted since then are more fragrant. I can hardly wait until they open!! Just a few more days! The anticipation keeps me running back out there to check, "are they here yet? how 'bout now?"...
Peonies are poppin'! By this weekend, they'll be big and fluffy. Most are a big pink variety, but one shrub is a creamy white, with yellow stamens inside...and it is fragrant- oh to have a perfume made of it would be divine! I would certainly bathe in the stuff!
Sometimes a simple lunch of salad and bread-sticks is enhanced by 'the atmosphere' of being in the garden.  

 I paint every day, whether it is "just a sketch" or be it an oil painting, small or large. The muse can lead me in a few different directions

But color- oh she always sings with color! and texture, and oh yes, fragrance...and here and there, some for taste! I hope that each day you remember to include the things that make your heart sing!  

"The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring". - Bern Williams

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." - Margaret Atwood
Thanks for coming along on my garden tour. My next two "Mentoring Mondays" will be plein air in my garden (weather permitting).  Contact me for more information. Last week was quite fun! I'm gearing up for my workshop in Ireland at the end of this month- but have no fear, hubby will be tending the garden solo while I'm gone. If you've enjoyed the tour, please share this post with a friend, or follow me on Facebook, or sign up for my "Cheer Factor - Thoughts on Art & Life" newsletter.  You can check out the last edition here.
You'll want to be first to get information about next year's workshop in France! 

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Osprey Landing aka Great Day for Fishing

8"x10" oil on linen mounted on archival panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here.

They're back! Those sunny, brilliant days of late Spring in New England where it's a delight to be outside! The air is clear down by the shore.  The wilderness has whispered my name, and I answered the call.  The tide was definitely IN when I showed up to paint the other morning. It's actually nice to hear that gurgling water sound, that washes up into the marsh grasses. 

So many birds are migrating through at this time of year. I don't know them all, but I did spot an osprey overhead. A birder that was walking through that morning confirmed my observation! As luck would have it, he landed on the big oak I was focused on, the big one with the sun illuminating the trunk and branches. He didn't stay for more than a moment. After all, it was a great day for fishing. 

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