Tuesday, October 21, 2014

If we wait until we're ready, We'll be waiting for the rest of our lives.

After all this many decades, I know myself well enough to recognize that if somebody ELSE wants me to meet a deadline, I will do so.  But if it's just me, I can procrastinate until after the cows (and sheep) have metaphorically come home, had a meal and gone to sleep.

My painter friends (and other interested supporters) have noticed that I haven't been painting much over the summer.  I want to paint.  I want to paint better.  I want to deserve to call myself a painter/artist.

But with daily medical appointments and sudden attack-maps, I felt neither ready nor able.

But this morning, I was.  Able.  Willing.  Ready enough. A quarter of a year had passed since I had lifted a paint brush.  Oh, I did some sketches for sanity's sake, but no painting.  No thumbnails, compositions, value studies, blocking in or detailing.

I was also pretty sure that I had left my "studio" in, um, disarray.  Okay, I'd left it in chaos. 
My traveling oil painting cart had been collecting dust in the bedroom.  I hauled it downstairs.
Then I went back upstairs to retrieve my acrylic painting supplies.
Carried that carton downstairs in spite of imminent danger of being tripped by the beloved cat.
As I unpacked the traveling oil paint cart, I realized I could probably sabotage myself for another week or so if I insisted that I pre-clean my work space.
So I didn't.  Sidestepping THAT big of procrastination was a miracle on the order of seeing Jesus's face in a piece of toast.

I could feel my nerve draining.  I knew that the longer I dithered at the easel before  putting paint on canvas the harder it would be.
Almost in a panic, I found a canvas panel, a putty knife (needed something bigger than a palette knife) and some acrylic for underpainting.

Squee!  Squirt!  Squish!  Spread around the read.  Ooze on some raw umber.  See if the Molding Paste jar could be opened and play with that.  After the paint and paste was spread around, I played with some textural tools and scrapers until I realized that I wanted to add more colors... but that even fast-drying acrylic doesn't dry THAT fast.  But I'd broken the ice.  Broken the log jam.  Got re-started.

There's a painting I really want to do... but that I don't have much confidence about.  I even started it.  So, in spite of really WANTING to work on that one, I thought it was only fair to proceed somewhat cautiously.

I found a barely begun landscape of a white barn in the pale green hills of Ohio.  I even found the print out of the reference photograph... which I took in 2012 on our late-winter trek from Texas to New Hampshire.

Remembering that I tend to over-worry and over work my paintings, I scraped off the old wads of paint from my palette, squeezed out a minimal number of hues and got back to work.
 Of course, even wanting to keep it loose, there's more to be done.
And I'm pleased with myself for being back on my journey of seeing, interpreting and sharing....

even if I need to take Ibuprofen for a few days to balance out the sore muscles from holding up something as small as a paintbrush.

Oh... and I've resolved to organize my painting area... and once it IS organized, to keep it that way.
But... no hurry.  I'll do it when I'm ready enough, but before I am perfectly ready.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Peak of the Season... (Peeping and the Princess)

Yesterday may have been the peak of the leaf-peeping season in Southern New Hampshire.  On my way home from a morning meeting, the colors were spectacular, in spite of overcast skies.  The field above has turned every color imaginable over the year, but the dusty lavender in contrast with the red and orange maples is particularly striking, don't you think?
 I bet the view from the little house in the trees is pretty amazing.  I also liked how the one leggy "weed" caught the sunlight.

Fall Fantasy (digitally altered)

For Sale.  Two houses and John Greenleaf Whittier's old school.  $488 K (Remax/Merrimac)
I hope this family has many strong sons to rake up all their leaves!

 There are few straight stretches of road in my neck of the woods... But when there is, and the trees are ablaze, it is beautiful... even through the car windshield.
 It would have been even more amazing with a bright blue sky (like the previous day.. but these almost radiate against the pale grey sky.)

This blue house comes as such a surprise... whether in contrast to the fall colors or the coming blanket(s) of snow.  New Englanders seem to really enjoy coloring their houses!  There's something to be said for using wood (or even vinyl) siding, because it either needs paint protection, or coloring so that it isn't just vinyl colored!

 Every turn is just a little different from the last.  It is like driving through a kaleidoscope.
 This is at the intersection of Hadley Road and Rt. 108.  It is a somewhat dangerous intersection (since all of the roads are curving as you get there), but it was nice to stop at the stop sign and just absorb the colors.

 This morning, I had the determination AND energy to take a walk.  This is the view East from our mailbox.
 And the view West... up the hill. 
 This is what you can see of our back yard from the road.  Do you think it is Hansel and Gretel that live here or the Witch?

 There's less red today than earlier in the week, but some of the maple volunteers are still doing their part!

Heading back down the hill, I think that 90% of the visible spectrum was actually visible!

I believe this is Bittersweet.  A pretty but HORRIBLY invasive vine with berries.  Fortunately, this isn't MY yard! Apparently it came from Asia in the 1860's and has been making itself right at home, ever since.  The vines can get heavy enough to topple trees... and with all those berries (i.e. SEEDS) birds and animals spread it far and wide.

The road I HAVE taken... right to my mail box.

When I first saw this rock (unearthed during the Workshop construction), I thought we might have found a skull.
The rain spawned a tiny, very FLAT mushroom in our lawn.  It was only about 3/8 of an inch across.  I wonder if our grub digging skunks like mushrooms?

And then there was yet another birthday celebration last weekend.  This celebration was actually for Gramma D, but anytime the Princess and her parents come visit it is a celebration of family and affection.  HRH wore one of the many "princess" outfits she got for HER birthday, a toasty flannel nightie... accessorized by her mother's childhood quilt (kind of like a royal cape or train).
HRH is trying out her actress poses and facial expressions.

Even her mom was amazed by her whirling dervish routine.

Her nose is from her Mom and her Dad's Mom's family.
Nobody is admitting that they're the source of her coquettish ways!
 But I am smitten no matter what.

Friday, October 10, 2014

(Leaf) Peeping and belated Princesses

 Today was my penultimate radiation treatment.  YAY! 
So I celebrated by toodling to a couple of galleries in Newburyport.  First,  I had breakfast at Angies Food.  I had my first Loukaniko   (Greek Sausage) omelet.  Then I went next door to Annie's (where I didn't take any photographs, but mentally added quite a bit of jewelry to my "I would wear THIS!" list.  Then I went to the Walsingham Gallery.  High class, high prices.  I rediscovered the wonderful paintings by "American Treasure," Liz Gribin.  (I still didn't have my camera out... so check out the links!)

But finally, as I was leaving the gallery, I realized there was this aqua building looking quite Hopper-esque.  Can't wait to paint it.  Should I leave the truck in?  What about the giant, contrasty traffic cones?  The Gallery sign?  The Real Estate sign?

This sheep, by Lucy Sander Sceery, was at the Chameleon Arts, which, sadly is going the way of the Dodo in December.  After 20  years, the partners want to retire and do something else.
Then I drove the long way home, pulling onto the shoulder of the road and craning my neck and shoulders out of the window to capture what I thought were the best of the October colors.  It was SUCH a beautiful day today.  (We're supposed to get rain tomorrow.  Fall colors against gray skies are a totally different experience and hot hues against a cerulean sky. )

 This Merrimac farm house with outbuildings is for sale.  Perfect if you want horses and some extra land.
Probably a bargain at $594K.  The listing says:  Bring the crowd! Invest in two separate homes, each nicely updated and well maintained, plus garage space for up to 11 vehicles, shop buildings, fabric barn and 12 mixed acres, including 4 acre+ hayfield. 56 Birchmeadow: Antique (formerly JG Whittier's schoolhouse) enlarged and renovated with metal roof, vinyl siding, newer systems and a multi-faceted suite for au pair, in-laws, boomerang kids or a home office. Property also includes 2 bay garage, drive through shop, woodburning furnace, ample storage. 2 Flinn Ln: Cottage of 5 rooms, built in 1996, with detached garage and car port. Back 12 acres has a fabric barn, 4 acre prime hayfield, woods and stream. Priced as a package, well below assessed value. Easy access to commuting routes in every direction, Merrimac is an often-overlooked community with much to offer, and this expansive offering will serve you well, whether looking for a viable investment or room for a crowd! 
 Below is the edge and surface of a marsh/pond/beaver habitat.  The staghorn sumac was completely glowing.

 There's something delightful about the geometric, boxy houses of New England in contrast to the organic shapes of the trees and land.

 And the wind was whipping up some premature clouds into wisps.

 These photos would need some judicious editing before I painted from them... but what fun it will be to use so many saturated colors!

 I especially like the fall colors with the blue sky contrast.  Will have to think about how to paint it with out getting "mud."

 I don't have exact understanding of why some trees turn so much brighter than others.  It has to do with species, moisture in the ground and in the air, and how suddenly the temperatures change.  As much as climate change makes me nervous, SEASONAL change makes me happy.

I like how the back door of the home below is protected by the exuberantly colored leaves of their maples and sycamores.

 If I paint either of these images, I'm pretty sure I'll take out the power lines!

 And here are the very few photos I got of Her Highness's birthday party before my camera batteries bit the dust.

Every Princess needs a crown... and sometimes you just get to  make your own.  There was more than sufficient glitter, "jewels," markers and glue.  Remember Queen for a Day?
 These are HRH's cousins.  Ella the Queen and a loyal Knight!  (He was pretty cute to watch when lifting his visor to eat his cupcake and goldfish!)
And the talented, creative, loving "Queen Mother," helping one of the guests with her prizes... there was princess make up, princess paing, princess jewelry, and princess candy.

Who wouldn't love a mom who proclaimed "Happy Thoughts"?

Many Happy Returns, and thanks for reading.