Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Gar Territory

I don't have much time these days to go out and sketch, and most of you know I do not work from photographs, preferring to interpret my sketches in my own way back in the studio. I have galleries to fill, shows to attend, commissions to complete and it's just too hot to be out there most days. But my spirit grows weak when I go this long without working outside.

Yesterday, I was all dressed up and on my way to a meeting when I glanced right and noticed the water in the sound, or lack there of. It's been some time since I've seen it this shallow, and with all the rain we've had I don't quite understand why it's like this. But the sand showing through the upper layers of ripples, and the light that is just beginning to shift to another season, and the Gar, oh the Gar.

So as you've guessed, I pulled over, grabbed my sketch bag and made my way to the water's edge in my favorite black dress and sandals. For 20 minutes or so I sketched and marveled, studied and absorbed. I saw a small Gar, no bigger than 6 inches, hunting for prey. I've never seen one in the process of feeding. He swam slowly by, stopped still and shot like an arrow to his target. Never have I seen anything move so fast.

I have learned to take those few minutes when something presents itself. I would never have seen that Gar and might never have that experience again. My soul was refilled with water and light. And my dress will wash clean.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

As artists, we all have favorite paintings we've done; the ones where we stand back and think, how the hell did I do this? And we swear we can never part with them because what if we never produce anything that good again? But of course we do, and then we wonder what we saw in the first one that we found so special anyways.

But every so often, no matter how much time has passed, there are those paintings that just touch a spot in us and we can't let go. Whether it's the painting itself or the subject matter, I don't know. But I have a handful of them.

I have come to the realization that I will do another I will love more, so after a short time together, I'm beginning to send them off into the world. It feels the way it did when you sent your last child off to college. The first one was tough but let's face it, we still had another one at home.

But that last one leaving the nest was hard.

My first painting to go was this dune painting, and then just last week my favorite sunflower painting went home with a long time collector. It feels good to know they will have a good home and be loved.

I will not try to do others like these. They never live up to the original anyways because you've lost that initial spark that started the love affair in the first place. I will do more dunes and more sunflowers but differently. And by working with the same subjects many times I will keep learning more and more about them. But just like your children; you can't compare them.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunflower Conversations

I rarely paint flowers. We don't have much to say to each other really. But over the last few days I've been watching my neighbor's sunflowers drop away their color, dripping into the air, while their sad heads begin to droop.

Did you know that sunflowers don't really follow the sun? That's a fallacy as is the theory that they nod their heads because of the weight of the bloom. They were designed to droop to ensure as large a scattering of seeds as possible.

So as the flowers continued to wilt, droop and drip, I thought I should listen.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Come Walk With Me

Take a walk with me on this summer morning.

It's quiet now. The regulars haven't arrived yet, neither two legged nor four.
I already hear the bullfrogs as I round the first bend, and up ahead I 
see lots of turtle heads looking for the little girl and her
grandmother. They know she'll have a bag of food to share.

The cattails are in peak form now, looking like fuzzy chocolate popsicles,
and the Sweet Bay bushes are thriving on the shady side of the pond.

The pond calls to me, or rather trills with birdsong, buzzing, 
water slapping and ker-plunking;
a cacophony of sound that reaches from one edge to the opposite side.
I try to capture in my mind what I experience each morning when I take my walk,
on each lap spotting something I had missed previously like the
mole cricket or the otter at the edge of the water.

Green herons, dragonflies, turtles, egrets, songbirds, fish; all contributing
to a lush experience. Later, when I get to sketch, I'll try to capture those sounds
or the flight pattern of the dragonflies.

Glints of silver shine from Bluet and Skimmer trails as they flit around a small spit
of land where all the baby turtles congregate. 
This grassy jut is only walkable if it hasn't rained 
heavily, otherwise it's a mini Atlantis populated by amphibians and fish.
Even on the driest of days, it's spongy and springy.

Some days a cool wind rushes over the pond's surface forming ripples that twinkle
with the sky's reflection or the cloudy dome above. I try to interpret that too.

I finish my walk so I head to the car to grab my sketchbook , hoping to freeze 
a few moments of the pond's day in my book.
All too soon I must head home, to the stuffy studio where my impressions
will reside between sketchbook pages until I can release them with
watercolor and pencils. But before I leave, I do a rubbing of the Sweet Bay leaves.

Tomorrow I'll come back to the pond to see what changes have 
occurred in the past 24 hours.
Come walk with me.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Feelin' Groovy

It's summer. I am incredibly busy with shows, commissions, filling galleries, all those things that take a lot of time to do properly. I haven't been out sketching in ages and have begun to feel my spirit dissolving bit by bit. I need to be out in nature. I cannot function in the rest of my life without getting my fix on a regular basis.

So I promised myself this morning I would take a few hours off to go walk and sketch at the pond. My Green Heron was waiting for me, watching me as I completed each lap. But when I finished and went to get my sketch bag, he flew off, laughingly squawking. No way was he going to pose for me.

Every so often I see these creatures at the pond and have wondered what they were. Today I actually had my phone with me and took a pic. After contacting a knowledgeable friend I learned this is a mole cricket. This is just one of the reasons I love working in the field. I learn a lot.

So I did a couple of sketches which I'll work from later on a piece of Yupo. And I got some exercise and learned something new.

Feelin' Groovy.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

They Do Exist!

They do exist! I have seen them myself lurking along our shoreline on the Outer Banks!

Thought you'd enjoy a peek at some of my creatures from my latest line of Sea Monsters.

* These are my original designs protected by copyright. They may not be used or reproduced in any way without my permission.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

True Love

Everyone knows about my love affair with Alligator River Refuge. This love of mine treats me well. It is always happy to see me, tells me secrets no one else knows about and offers me exquisite gifts every time I arrive for a date. It doesn't care what I'm wearing or if I have gained a pound or two. It is the perfect love.

You also might know of my fondness for antique maps, and after years of looking, I have finally acquired a map of my beloved. So the first subject just had to be my newest acquaintance, the alligator I met not too long ago.

I wanted this drawing to be soft and non-threatening, just as he was the day we first met. Alligators get a bad rap as do many of the other animals I love. So I have rendered this drawing in pencil and neutral colored pencils. The pencil and brush addition on the bottom left of the finished drawing is simply an acknowledgement of my addiction to this enchanting wonderland. Alice would so love this place.

Step One

Step Two

Step Three

Finished Drawing     Copyright E.M. Corsa

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sometimes We Fall

I've been stumbling lately. It's not because of any major event. It could be the fact my oldest is once again relocating, to the west coast this time, even farther away. My other son also lives far away, and I miss them both. Or maybe it's because of lagging sales; it's summer after all and people don't shop for paintings as much this time of year. They are more interested in trinkets and souvenirs. I'm just feeling a bit off kilter.

I know if I allowed it, this could turn into a major fall, the way trees will eventually give up and topple over, worn out and lacking the physical and spiritual strength to go on. That can be a tempting option, one we have all felt at certain times in our lives. Luckily this isn't one of those times.

Now many of us would head for that gallon of ice cream at this point, spoon in hand and ice cream container in the other, and I would too if I had any in the house. But since I try to keep healthy food in the pantry, and let's face it, a piece of fruit or a carrot isn't going to help, my next option to get out of my funk is to grab a friend with a kind, open heart. And that's just what I did.

That was all I needed to get right again. This time I didn't fall. Here's a favorite quote of mine by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik.

"Oh the comfort - the inexpressible comfort
of feeling safe with a person.
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words - but pouring them
All right out - just as they are -
Chaff and grain together -
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take and sift them -
Keep what is worth keeping -
And with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away."

Thank you Mary Ann.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Weather Reports, My Way

We artists are a quirky sort. While going through some old sketchbooks this week, looking for some Alice in Wonderland references, I came across these "weather reports" that I used to do on a daily basis. I have no idea why I did them; perhaps a type of warm-up exercise, a little doodle, before getting down to the serious stuff like rabbits with cabbage leaf umbrellas. Or maybe I just wanted to put my work day off for a little while.

Anyways, I thought you might get a laugh out of seeing some of them.