Friday, June 19, 2020

A Note To Myself - "The Space In Between" - Artist Life

Slocan Lake View
Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard
6 X 12"

Note to my Readers: This post was written prior to my last finished colored pencil piece "Welcome Wellies" you can see it here.  At the time I thought it might never get finished. I wasn't quite sure I would share this on my blog as it's personal to my journey as an artist and adult but here goes....... 

The Space in Between, the skills in between the mastery or the sales.  The paintings in between or not yet finished, or maybe never finished.  Much like the Seasons in-between of nature, all have their place. The droning on of Winter’s chill and the awakening of Spring's warm temperatures.  My painting above gives me the feeling of the space in between.  If you'd like to see the post of this painting's story you can find it here.

We all need a period of rest, all plants and animals do too! However they never seem to need reminding.  A refilling of the well, rejuvenation of spirit, or re-found motivation, of new directions or purpose.  It all plays a part in the process.  The process of becoming and of creating.  I’m a stubborn sort, impatience I’ve written about before.  I’m also a perfectionist in many aspects of art, life and self.  However much I would like to release the perfection seeking, it’s part of me.  The “imperfection" of all this seeking is not lost on me.

Acceptance of “me” the real me and not the one I’ve read I should be.  It’s an elusive and lofty goal.  So right now I’m just working on the space between this goal and where I’ve been.  The right now moment where I sit, this current season of my life, the imperfect aging body I have - This space in between the artist I’ve been and who I want to be.  Acceptance of how far I’ve come.  Sitting in this space in between I can’t help to see possibilities of a future.  

So today I choose to accept the Space in Between.  Much like those first waking moments in the morning, between being awake or re-closing your eyes in denial of it.  It’s not easy some days.  The pull of staying warm in what we know like those soft blankets in our bed.  And opening our eyes to the bright morning light and risking the cool air to start our day.  

The vulnerability in those moments in between choosing can consume us and keep us from trying.  Although they can be exciting and full of energy if we let them.  Like the child on Christmas morning ready for the adventure of what may come.  

Sometimes we get caught up in the what’s next!  Rushing thru the check list, done, done, check mark!  We forget it’s the "In Between" days or stages of a project where we find the Joy of doing.  True it can be less exciting than the actual checking off.  But from what I know of artists’ block getting back into the process of doing (the In Between of completion), can be the hardest part.  Learning to enjoy this stage or find joy there is key for the long haul.  

So I sit in this silence of the In Between, I sit with where I am. Just like one can choose to go out on a mid Winter’s day to sit in the Season.  Drink it in, rest assured you are in the now. Enjoy the small promises of the sun peaking thru with the crispness of breeze in the air.  Learn to love the in between for there you will find the best of days in this space between.  

What is your Season In Between?  Where do you find the joy while waiting?  

I promise I'll get back to creating soon, but thought I'd add this new section to the blog for those who additionally need inspiring thoughts. If you'd like to see more of these make a comment and I'll try to oblige. 


Sunday, May 31, 2020

"WELCOME WELLIES" - My Salute to a much loved family home and downsizing.

"WELCOME WELLIES",  20 X 16, Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard
Setting up what was to be the last Still Life at our big family home, was more than just your typical set up. It was to be a fond farewell to the home where we enjoyed raising our boys and welcomed grandchildren. This painting was one I thought about composing for a very long time. Putting together a garden vignette scene which would tell a personal story, of joy in past days, family and a bright future.  

It showcases many generations welcomed in our home; my mother's circa 1940's red umbrella, my Welly boots, and my grandchildren's alligator Welly boots (all 3 of them wore these fun little boots), with our colonial welcome yard ornament at our Provencal blue door. The pair of blue garden gloves was added to soften the boot edge and to bring a repeat of blue to the composition. The bouquet of flowers I placed in a vase and into the tall back boot were to enhance our two story entry for the Open House we had when selling this home.  The flowers are a symbol of how the gardens there were such a part of our lives. 

When completing this painting I wanted to preserve the glow of sunlight through part of the red umbrella and where the light steamed under it. Textures of the aggregate and brick porch floor wasn't fun but not hard to create but time-consuming. Although the reflections on the shiny stripped boots were fun and are always the best part to accomplish. Love doing reflections!

Just looking at this painting makes me remember all the wonderful times we had at this home. From Spring Easter Egg hunts to splashing in mud puddles! ;)) So much fun, graduation to prom photos, garden swings, badminton games, and paddle pools. Downsizing from such a home toward a smaller one where life can be easier, simpler and which allows for more art, family and good times is our future.

Transferred Line drawing

Watercolor CP under painting stage. 
While the above photos just show the beginnings of the painting, line drawing transfer then watercolor pencil underpainting of the door, umbrella and background tones. Much planning was done before the line drawing like the many set up versions to the many many photos. moving the ornament from right side to left for composition reasons after the photos were taken. However I neglected in my moving brain fog to photograph all the dry color pencil application stages.

The painting from set up to competition took 11 months, not because it was so large or difficult but because life got in the way. The process of downsizing isn't for the faint of heart and certainly not for sissies. Going from a home we as a family of 5 grew into and down to a home for two empty nesters took perseverance and cut throat eliminating. donating and giving.  

Always hoping for more time to paint, healthy partners, and not having to move twice from home to apartment/storage while building to finally moving again into our new open plan one story home. I love this new home and it was so "just in time" before my dear hubby's total knee replacement.

More on the new place yet to come, and a studio tour is a possibility so stay tuned. Sorry to have been gone so long from my blog and you readers. So comment if you can: Have you downsized recently? Has life gotten in your way of creating? How did you get back on track?

Back in the studio and out sketch journaling, at a safe social distance of course ;))

Friday, April 5, 2019

Trees, ancient, towering, majestic and awesome!

Entwined - Charleston's Angel Tree 12 X 24, Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard
For some time now I have had a fascination with trees. My first son even works for the Dept. of Forestry.  I live on a wooded lot in rural VA surrounded by some amazing specimens. And that doesn't always mean towering giants, twisting branches can be full of artistry and character even in the smallest of Japanese Thread Leaf Maples.  The image above "Entwined" is a partial section of the upper carriage of The Angel Oak Tree, near Charleston SC.  

"Angel Oak is a Southern live oak located in Angel Oak Park on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina. The tree is estimated to be 400-500 years old. It stands 66.5 ft tall, measures 28 ft in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet. Its longest branch distance is 187 ft in length. Wikipedia"

I have been on a personal mission to visit with and witness as many of the truly historic, amazingly large and unique trees on our planet.  Click the Wikipedia link above to read more about this wondrous tree.  I have photo references for many here in VA that are in my "Must Paint" file.  And during my Pacific Northwest & Canada trip last Sept. I photographed some really amazing trees.

When I decide to draw the Angel Oak I decided to focus on the entwined branches and the resurrection ferns that grew on the branches - instead of the leaves. Per one of my favorite  blogs that just happens to be in Charleston: Art Food Home: "Resurrection ferns when dry turn brown and appear to be dead. When it rains they’re rehydrated and turn a lush green without a speck of brown. Apparently there is a special protein the resurrection fern has called DEHYDRIN which allows it to become lush and green only hours after receiving rain/water! These ferns last up to 100 years!" You can read more on her blog.
One of the many reference photos I used.
Concentrating on the branches of this tree was easy because I had so many photos from our trip back to Charleston just to find this majestic beauty.  With all the other trees in Angel Oak Park and their greenery which isn't the prettiest in early March, kind of dull/sparce, BUT the sky colors reminded me of the humid dusky air present the day we were there. This inspired me to do the background in warm dusky colors of the late afternoon.  A little Greyed Lavender, Dusty mauves/pinks/peach and warmed blues moving across the background.  The light that played on the branches I kept warm but still hinting at the greenish Spanish moss and green cast of other mosses on the branches.

Although I often live up to the "Crazy Artist" reputation in my family - the day we were at the Angel Oak I felt a kind of "hum" or lets call it an energy that seemed to surge from the ground into my body.  Something I have felt in the presence of 2 other Majestic Trees since then.  I'm not sure what it is but it leaves you knowing you have been in the company of nature's time aged wisdom.  

Can you feel it? Next time you're in the presence of a natural wonder take time to feel the energy. After all who doesn't need more energy?

Look for more of my tree series to come, but now there's a still life on my drawing board.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Travels, Art Journaling and Plein Air Colored Pencil Paintings

Slocan Lake View, BC, CA- 6" X 12" Plein Air,  Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard
Available For Sale

As life gets back to normal after traveling for almost a month in September.  I'm playing catch up on all things art related and business related.  But BOY! did I have fun! For an artist who gets recharged by traveling and being on the road, seeing the Pacific Northwest (specifically the Oregon Coast and up to British Columbia, Canada) made the top of my list for my 2018 travels.  I'm an east coast girl so I know it pretty well, north south and mid Atlantic.  Although I've enjoyed previous trips to Washington State and Montana, getting to enjoy the PNW for 3+ weeks as an artist and spend time with my sister was a joy.

I travel journaled for most of the trip and those images will come in another post, stay tuned.  I still need to put a few finishing touches to a couple pages :))  Journaling is always a great way to get the feel of a place for me art wise.  Observe the lighting, atmosphere and vibes of a place. (And the afore mentioned are so different than here in VA.)  Travel journaling kind of gives my head time to adjust to actually making art on a trip. It also gives this "name challenged" brain of mine a place to write location names, places and people I see along the way.  The dates on photos correlate to the dates in my journal so I know where I was on each day.

The scene above was of Slocan Lake's south slip, where ferry boats would come into Silverton in the early part of the 20th Century bringing supplies and miners families to town.  My sister has a lake house there and her view of Slocan Lake is beautiful also.  So many photos to paint from so little time! My reference photo taken for a few tweaks after I returned to Oregon is below.  While the photo is close to what I saw, the camera greatly changes the tones on the far mountain range I observed.  They were not the very blue as seen below.  While pretty I wanted to capture the actual view.
Photo of Slocan Lake View for reference

You see the human eye can see so many more values and colors than the camera. Which clones major darks and cannot see the subtle tones our eyes can.  Plus for this morning out it was really about the fog that still settled in the highest mountain ranges and the lightly dusted glacier of Idaho Peak seen in the distant right.  With some editing of the scene, (removing a couple small trees that interfere with the distance focal point) I hope I can give just a little of my experience of a moist, foggy day to the viewer.  The dew in the grass and shear quiet of the location.  While it was only mid September the tourist season was ending in Silverton.  The campgrounds nearby emptied in the few days we were there and brisk high 30 degree temps hit in the mornings at lake level.

I took so many photos while in British Columbia of the scenery, mountains, rivers and lakes  I will have no shortage of landscape images to work from.  If anyone is from that area who stumbles upon my blog I hope you feel I did it justice.

Of course the piece is for sale and you can contact me at my email: if your interested.  All of my Colored Pencil works on Ampersand board are created using artist grade lightfast pigmented colors, and are protected with fixative and 6 light layers of archival UV Acrylic Varnish.  

Now off to frame this little guy!

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