Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Governors Project

Two more messengers off to Governor Hutchinson of Arkansas and Governor Brown of California.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Tree's Wish

I love it when I stumble upon a new product and fall in love. That's just what happened to me this past week. I tried Fluid Watercolor Paper, hot press block and lost my heart to this product. I have been using one brand of paper for many years, but I have to admit, I am switching to this brand. If a tree had a wish, they would want to be this paper.

It's made in the US by Global Art Materials. The color is a soft white, and though it looks like satin, it can take some rigorous treatment. I have used all these mediums on it with great success. AND it's affordable. I don't usually promote a company but when one produces such a wonderful product, they deserve a pat on the ... block!

Here's a few examples where I've used graphite, colored pencil, ink, watercolor and pastel.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Governors Project

I have been taking a bit of a break, a few health issues plus an incredibly busy schedule. So I thought with this first return post I would tell you what I'm up to. I wrote the following paragraphs and posted them on my Facebook page just after the Las Vegas horror:
From my Facebook page:
I try very hard to keep the posts on this page about my work. But tonight I can't stop crying. I just saw my son's photo on the news again, his eyes filled with tears, as they recapped all the terror of the past including the Pulse Nightclub shooting where my child provided comfort and care amidst chaos. I am sick of seeing symbolic ribbons, tired of promises and prayers that things will get better. 30% of the world's mass shootings happen in this country. Why is that? Nothing changes and nothing happens after all the promises by politicians that it will. People say they feel helpless, but we have more power than we realize. Do more than just post your ribbon; contact those with the power to make changes and demand they do so. This is not a political statement, it's a human one. Do one nice thing for someone today. It all matters.
Two days later I posted this:
Yesterday I recalled something my son said during Orlando's dark days. He had the pleasure of meeting Governor Rick Scott and was impressed by his response and efforts after the shootings. I have been told my art brings joy to people so that's the format I will use to try to make a difference my way. I will be writing to every governor, my heartfelt thoughts and suggestions which I deem valuable. I won't be sharing my letters here since they are for the recipient only, but you've read my feelings over the last couple of days and most of you know how I feel. I also will include a small painting of their state bird, since birds are considered to be divine messengers from above, as an offering of joy for those days when governors must make tough decisions. I hope my letters and art make a bit of a difference, prompting each governor to pause for a moment and consider his or her actions and how it will affect all of us. I am doing this alphabetically and it will take time. Some will receive letters long after the initial horror of this week has dimmed. But I will keep writing, So here's a look at the first birds that have taken wing. The text has been carefully selected from antique poetry books. I hope each of you will take some action no matter how small to make a difference.

Alabama - Yellowhammer
Alaska - Willow Ptarmigan

American Samoa - Many Colored Fruit Dove

Arizona - Cactus Wren

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Little Break

This is peak show season for me so I need to take a little break from posting. Please bear with me, and you can keep up with my news here:

Monday, September 4, 2017

Addicted to Love ... of Minis

I thought I had kicked all my bad habits. I rarely drink, maybe a beer once in while when Ted comes to town, I try to eat healthy unless I'm anywhere near a bake sale, I exercise most days, try to watch what comes out of my mouth especially around children, and I no longer work till two in the morning. One at the latest. But you can't go this long always being good. And I have found my new addiction - painting minis.

Three artist friends and I went up to the big city (for us, that's Virginia Beach) and stopped in an art supply store. There, tucked in the shadowy back room, I spied the most beautiful package of gallery mats with a 2 by 3 inch opening. I grabbed three packs, 10 to a pack, along with some pastels, colored pencils, a few sketchbooks on sale, and some brushes. Do not judge. You would have done the same thing.

Arriving home I just had to try one of these little beauties. So I grabbed a sketchbook and found an image I liked and went to work. One image led to another and I was hooked. When I tried a watercolor painting on Yupo, the joy of pushing that paint around in such a confined space felt like creating magic.

I now realized that the number of mats I purchased were not going to sate my appetite, so I got online and ordered more, three times. They were on sale through the online store so it only makes sense right? Addicts can justify anything.

So now I have amassed a huge number of these minis for my upcoming show this week. Hopefully they will sell. I wonder, will I ever be able to break free?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Still Standing

They are everywhere; those things in nature that just won't give up or give in. Algae keeps creeping back into the water no matter how many times you remove it, mosquitoes never quit using you as an appetizer or evening meal and water bugs are always found scurrying across the deck after darkness falls. You must give them credit for their tenacity.

Trees too hang on for all they're worth, providing homes for forest creatures, fairies and subjects for artists to ponder and paint. Snags happen to be a favorite subject of mine to explore. (In forest ecology, a snag is a standing dead or dying tree. In freshwater ecology it is a tree, branch or other naturally occurring wood sunken in rivers or streams.)
For they are still standing, proud with their knotholes and wrinkles, stripped bark and bent posture. They are still beautiful, maybe more so as they share their life experiences. They expose themselves yet retain traces of what they once were when sap ran lustily through their veins.

Inevitably, they will fall one day as will I. But I will have captured their memories within the pages of my sketchbook, available to visit with them whenever I feel the urge. And my boys will one day find me within those very same pages.

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.