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.