Saturday, January 30, 2010
Framing.....never my favorite art chore. If I was rich and famous I'd hand them off for someone else to frame!!! Most of these paintings you have probably seen unframed in some blog before. But it's always nice to see how they look in a frame too.
Monday, January 25, 2010
One of the Butterflies
by W. S. Merwin
The trouble with pleasure is the timing
it can overtake me without warning
and be gone before I know it is here
it can stand facing me unrecognized
while I am remembering somewhere else
in another age or someone not seen
for years and never to be seen again
in this world and it seems that I cherish
only now a joy I was not aware of
when it was here although it remains
out of reach and will not be caught or named
or called back and if I could make it stay
as I want to it would turn to pain.
"One of the Butterflies" by W. S. Merwin, from The Shadow of Sirius. © Copper Canyon Press, 2008. Reprinted with permission.
Isn't it so? Pleasure, it can overtake you without warning and be gone before you know it's here! I love this poem by W.S. Merwin. To me...an admonition in beautiful music of words to "stay in the present" as much as is possible and recognize the joy of life moment by moment. Painting for me...captures moments of pleasure or contemplation.
The saying about the "color red" is a statement I have written several times inside my art sketchbooks. I am a Diane Maxey groupie! Do you know her work? She is out of Scotsdale, AZ and for many years she taught in the midwest circuit and I was able to "catch" her at least half a dozen times. If you go to her website you'll see a plethora of red red red. She loves it. When I painted "Madeline Island Ferry" I was thinking of her.
It took me about 5 layers to get that red just right and glowing. (Madleline Island is part of the Apostle Islands at the northern most border of Wisconsin in Lake Superior.) So it is that looking at this painting not only recalls the beautiful windy ferry boat ride to the island on a warm August afternoon...but my favorite watercolor teacher and the joyous hours I spent with her learning about color, shape, and composition. What an amazing teacher! If you ever have the opportunity...it's a great experience to paint with her.
Diane is teaching in Mrytle Beach, SC next November.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
To the Carib, the pineapple symbolized hospitality, and the Spaniards soon learned they were welcome if a pineapple was placed by the entrance to a village. This symbolism spread to Europe, then to Colonial North America, where it became the custom to carve the shape of a pineapple into the columns at the entrance of a plantation.
Seafaring captains used to impale fresh pineapples--souvenirs of their lengthy travels to tropical ports--atop the porch railings of their homes when they returned. It was a symbol then that the man of the house was home--albeit briefly--and receiving visitors.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
You remember that little pineapple that we had to harvest early because of the freeze? Well after I photoed it and painted it into my journal and we ate it, I couldn't seem to let him go. I emailed Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson and asked her if she thought it might be a suitable subject for a Paper Painting? She said "go for it". It turns out she's done a pineapple herself!!! Something about that texture is so intriguing.
This time when I painted my acrylic "pattern" for the paper painting, I decided not to plan a busy background. But then I decided to use a previously painted acrylic canvas board. It was mostly green anyway and had some texture so I went ahead an painted the greens over all the background. So it turned out a little busier than I intended.
The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. Public domain
I did this little sketch along a country road in s.e. WI at a nature/forestry center where my friend Kendra is the Program Specialist. It's called the Seno Woodland Center after a Dr Seno who donated the land. The town is Burlington, WI. It's a beautiful spot.
I did two freehand sketches that day (ink and watercolor/no graphite). As with all en plein air work, everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they were feeling when they did the art. I can still feel the warmth of the late September morning on my arms and smell the bergamot and hear the rustle of the corn nearby waiting for the harvest soon to come. Queen Anne's lace bordered the road sides there and pale blue chicory. It was SO quiet. Just a few bees buzzing.
I was reading this old and lovely poem by Robert Frost this morning and this scene of that country road came to me. The poem is a big favorite of my husband and me. We take a lot of back roads "literally" in our travels (remember Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon?) And the older you get the more you realize that the roads you have chosen "figuratively" make all the difference. I sometimes go into reverie thinking...what if? But mostly I think...Thank you, God.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Today my hubby and I attended a seminar for retired folks who are interested in avoiding a lot of taxes, protecting their assets and planning wills and trusts. VERY interesting. But a little long. I do think we have found a good attorney, however, for re-upping our long-overdue wills. That was a good thing. She did talk about how many people are out there to defraud seniors and to give advice that are not always in the best interests of their client.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Remember what Judi Betts says? "A painting is never finished. You just need to find an interesting place to stop." Hmmmmmmm.
It's the birthday of novelist Susan Vreeland, (books by this author) born in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1946. She grew up in California, became a teacher, and for 30 years she taught English and ceramics in the San Diego public schools. She wrote a book called What Love Sees (1988), based on the true story of her parents' friends, a couple who were both blind but who managed a ranch and raised children with the help of a Seeing Eye cow. But she was also busy with her teaching, and for a while she wrote occasional stories or articles, but not much else.
Then, in 1996, she was diagnosed with lymphoma. She had chemotherapy and operations, and for a few months she couldn't do much but read, and even that was hard for her. So instead, she paged through art books, and she especially liked Vermeer, whose paintings were so calming. She needed more treatment, and she had to take off another year of teaching, and so she started writing stories based on Vermeer. Vermeer only painted 35 paintings, and so Susan Vreeland imagined that he had painted one more, and she wrote a story about that, and then several more stories about Vermeer and the imagined 36th painting and the people who owned it over the years. She said, "My goal at the time wasn't to create a novel that would make it out in the big world. It was to have enough time left in my life to finish this group of stories and print out 12 copies, so my husband could give them to members of my writing group so they'd have something to remember me by." She did finish them, and she turned them into a novel, and a tiny publishing house in Denver agreed to publish the novel, Girl in Hyacinth Blue (1999).
Girl In Hyacinth Blue was a best-seller, and Penguin bought the rights. Vreeland got better, and now she had an audience for her work, so she wrote four more novels centered around art, including The Passion of Artemisia (2002) about one of the first influential female artists, Artemisia Gentileschi, and most recently, The Boating Party(2007), about Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Both novelswere New York Times best-sellers.
I reviewed The Boating Party earlier this month as a friend had recommended it and I was so enjoying it. Then today Garrison Keillor's podcast had a happy birthday for the author! When I read about the other books Susan has written and about her life, I felt moved to give her a tribute on my blog this morning. What a woman to overcome her illness with pushing ahead to write despite a dim prognosis and then a happy ending that she is loved and gets better and writes more! Go Susan! I am definitely going to read more of Susan's books!!! (Incidentally Racine, WI is just an hour away from where I lived for more than 20 years!).
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Thanks to my friend, Cheryl Jacobs, who spotted this on the front page of the Leesburg Florida Commercial Newspaper today! The banner I painted in November was one of those featured! I was really proud!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Obviously, from the title of my blog I am a fan of the labyrinth.
This is my second portrait class. The first class was where I was painting that generic child that no one knew. (In a previous post.) This time I picked one of my nine grandsons to practice on.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Learning a new skill is always a challenge. I took the photographs of this painting in two different places under two different lights. Thus the challenge of comparing these two. Sigh. But I think you get the idea. The little boy is just a generic boy that the teacher is having us all paint. I have a ways to go on it. Next week I want to try painting someone I know. It will have more emotional content then, of course.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I said before in a previous post that I have two friends who are photographers. This one is Mary Warren, from Wheaton, Illinois. Mary and I went to undergraduate school together (Beloit College in Wisconsin) and so have known each other for over 50 years. GASP!