Monday, May 31, 2010

Morning At Great Pond by Mary Oliver

One thing we did before we walked Julie's labyrinth today was to have a ceremony of blessing. At the ceremony I read Mary Oliver's poem:

It starts like this:
forks of light
slicking up out of the east,
flying over you,
and what's left of night--
it's black waterfalls,
its craven doubt--
dissolves like gravel
as the sun appears
trailing clouds
of pink and green wool,
igniting the fields,
turning the ponds
to plates of fire.
the creatures there
are dark flickerings
you make out
one by one
as the light lifts--
great blue herons,
wood ducks shaking
their shimmering crests--
and knee deep
in the purple shallows
a deer drinking:
as she turns
the silver water
crushes like silk,
shaking the sky,
and you're healed then
from the night, your heart
wants more, you're ready
to rise and look!
to hurry anywhere!
to believe in everything.

from American Primitive: Poems by Mary Oliver

Labyrinths: 7 circuit

From the name of this blog you know right on that labyrinths are a special interest of mine AND of my daughter Julie. (shown here). Julie has been doing some reading and studying about them and come to find out their history is more than fascinating and goes back 3000 years! There are many many kinds of labyrinths. This one is known as a "classic" 7 circuit. This is a nice one to start out with although you could go with 5 circuits too I think to start even smaller. Julie worked for two solid days making this one...there is a lot of labor involved!!! This one came from a pattern in a book by Donna Schaper and Carole Ann Camp called Labyrinths from the Outside In: A Walking Guide to Spiritual Insight: A Beginner's Guide. This one fit well along the rocky shoreline of little Tippecanoe Lake in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin.

We are in severe drought here and the shore line of rocks you see here should all be UNDER WATER! We are somewhat distraught over this. But making lemonade out of lemons, Julie decided to give us something special with this unintentional space. What a lovely gift. The contemplative nature of a walk through a labyrinth is amazing. And to have it along a shore of a lovely lake is quite amazing too (I'll have to show a photo with the lake in it too as it right behind where Julie is standing.) We are thinking of placing a chair or bench in the very center so the walker can sit quietly in the center for awhile if he or she wishes.

There is a lot of history too of how the labyrinth and mazes are used as artistic decoration on pottery and on murals throughout history! I know jewelry makers have used them as well.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Home at the cabin

A beautiful day at the cabin. We are settling in now.
The weather is still warm although a cold front is headed our way and we'll be down to 65 by mid-week. That is normal for June in the north woods.

Today was Put-In-The-Pier Day. Big event. Our lives pretty much revolve around the lake front in the summer. My daughter and her family come up from Madison, WI to help with this every Memorial Day weekend. Tradition.

I did a few little sketches at the shore after lunch. But it was a pretty busy day! Cook out tonight. Lucky us.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Natchez Trace

On May 19 we spent the day traveling up the old Natchez Trace. This is a national parkway (like the Blue Ridge Parkway) except that there are fewer hills and turns. The Trace has an amazing history and it is worth it to stop in Tupelo, MS at the visitor's center to see the film and enjoy the exhibits.

One of the reasons we like it is that you can travel from Natchez, MS all the way to Nashville without a single stop sign, traffic light, bill board or strip mall! It's beautiful. There are many turn outs where you can stop to picnic or you can do short nature hikes. This one included a lovely spring and creek. While I sketched, Greg went off to hike the full circle hike (20 minutes) and saw the largest beaver dam he'd ever seen in his life! He also saw a few snakes! Both harmless but still startling! There are also historical markers here and there. I wrote about the Trace before as it is where Meriweather Lewis died (Lewis and Clark) under strange circumstances. His gravesite is along the trail. There is a lot of Indian history as well, as it was originally an Indian trail for the Chicasaw and Choctaw Indians. Once the steamboat was invented the Trace became obsolete and it was many years before someone thought to save it!

Sketching along the Natchez Trace

Friday, May 28, 2010

Stormy Skies

A final sketch I did on St. George was at the state park on the east end of the island. Again 100 degrees.

Dunes as far as the eye can see. There's a terrific RV park there with lots of beautiful trees. But the rest of the state park looks like this sketch. Wonderful beaches with miles of white sand. The far distance is actually Florida skyline. Then the bay, then the dunes. I am facing north in this sketch.

Laughing gulls and wind are the only sounds here. I took the photo of the sketch outside in natural light and forgot to crop off the bottom so you can see part of my shoes. Sorry about that.

Where is St George Island?

Think the armpit of Florida...On the map shown here you can see that the state is wrapping slowing around and heading west toward Port St. Joe and Destin. We drove up along the coast from the south. About 4-5 hours north from Leesburg. When we got to East Point we turned south and crossed the 4 miles bridge to St. George. While there our motel which was right on the beach, faced south. Something we had not realized. We thought we'd be seeing sunsets over the gulf!

The following day we re-crossed the bridge and spent the day in Apalachicola, a small rustic fishing village that is VERY charming.

A Marvelous Trip

Our first stop along the way from FL to the north woods of WI was St. George Island, FL near the panhandle. The weather was close to 100 degrees the day we chose to walk the island. We ate at gulf side restaurants. The fish was fresh and delightful. We worried as we walked the white sand beaches what might happen if (and when) the oil spill makes it to this island. It is famous for it's oysters and indeed all the back roads are paved in oyster shells!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Traveling Time Again....

It's 90 every day in central Florida right now. DON'T forget a hat!

I took the photo reference for this watercolor in Key West a few years ago. The hats were stacked on a hat rack outside a funky store (isn't everything funky there?). They just said Key West. It's larger than I normally paint...a half sheet.

I wanted to leave something bright and fun on the blog now as I will probably not be posting for a few weeks. We leave Fl Sunday morning and head north slowly...stopping at St George Island to sketch on the beach for a day. Then up the Natchez Trace in AL and MS and up toward Nashville. Paducah, KY and then Wisconsin. Visiting family for a week in southern WI and then hitting the north woods cabin for Memorial Day weekend. So it may be June 1 before I am back to blogging. I will miss everyone. Please don't desert me. I'll be reading YOUR blogs along the way. See ya soon.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

This is my mother and me on Mother's Day in 1981. 29 years ago.

The background tells me we had taken her to McHenry Illinois Country Club for brunch that day. I think one of my daughters might have caught this pose.

Even though she's been gone now about 13 years I think of her more often each year. Funny how that works.

So here's to our mother's and best of all the memories. I continue to be grateful to her for all the love and encouragement she gave me and my sister. And I do what I know she would have wanted...I pass it on.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kentucky Spring

An interpretation of a photo by Deb Ward (with her permission).

11 x 15 watercolor on 140# Arches stretched.

(note that there is only one window in the small building because I think that two exactly the same look like "eyes" and detract.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Certificate of Authenticity

A few years ago back in S.E Wisconsin, my art league there (Lake Geneva Art Association) had in an attorney to speak about art. One of the things that came up was the problem of art being either "copied" from the original (thus you might hang a painting in a gallery and then see it re-painted by someone else!) or someone who reproduces your art and sells it without your permission.

The attorney suggested that we put a certificate of authenticity on paintings we sell or hang in galleries to sell.

Whether or not this would hold up in court or not I don't know. But it might give someone pause before trying to copy it!

You should be able to click on and enlarge the image shown here but in case it won't enlarge the words say: "this certifies that the above mentioned art was designed and executed by the artist, Ginny Stiles. The artist further verified this art by retaining a photograph to document authenticity. The original may not be altered in any way and permission must be granted from the artist to reprint the image in any manner. The artist hereby certifies the appraised gallery replacement cost of the above mentioned art to be________________."

The last part is also added as a precaution if the painting were stolen from a gallery or
there was a fire. The artist should attach a copy to the painting and keep a copy themselves along with a photo of the art work.

This certificate was designed by me and using my own words. I would be very interested to know if anyone else out there does anything similar or if you have had an experience with art being copied or stolen.

Thanks SO SO much everyone!

Painting # 1 from the last post will be the first choice for the Winter Garden Show entry. I am not posting it again (see last post). But the second choice for the show was harder.

For 2nd choice, I felt # 3 got the most votes, but Durinda had a good suggestion on #3. She felt if I darkened the trees more behind the tents (as I had in #1) that the tents would pop out more and I would have more different values. So this is before and after. I think she right.

I very much liked the more abstract painting choice but I am going to go with the prevailing vote.

So now I need to tweak just a few little places. Then take them outside and spray them both with 2-3 coats of Krylon. They will then dry for a day or so before I frame them (no glass).

Sherese is coming over Friday morning to watch me demo putting dust covers on the back.

Thanks to EVERYONE who helped me with this project!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Please vote for one!

Turns out, paintings done at the Winter Garden "Watch Art Happen" plein air event on April 10/11 are now going to be displayed in the Winter Garden City Hall for the summer. June 10-August 31.

There will be a reception on Friday June 11 from 5:30-7 pm. And they plan to do some advance promotion and print up posters. They have asked for one of MY images for the poster!!! How cool is that?

So before May 4 I have to choose which of the following images would be the best for the poster. I have put them in order of strength, I think. The top image being my first choice at this time. That one also actually has the words "Winter Garden" in among the signs as well. But I just thought I'd toss
out the 3 images and see what you think? You can leave a comment below in the comment section or email me at

ALSO I have to pick only two of the 3 images to submit for the exhibit.
So actually I'd like to find out which one you all think I should hold back.

I have a little longer to decide that as Ann is not coming for the paintings until after May 12. All 3 are 11 x 14 watercolor on canvas board.

I am sad that I will not be here for the reception as we are heading back north to WI for the summer on May 16. But it was a total fun day in Winter Garden as you can see and every time I look out the window here at Mango House in Leesburg, I see my two orange trees (a Valencia and a Honeybell Tangelo) that my hubby bought there that day!!

It'll be 93 here in Leesburg today with a humidity index making it feel close to 100 degrees! HOW did people live here before AC?