Finished – Children Playing

“Writing and painting are two disciplines that are difficult to teach to someone. They are personal crafts that need to be mostly self-taught — so you can make your own mistakes in your own sweet time.” – Neil Gaiman

Children Playing acrylics 10x10 birch panel

Children Playing
acrylics
10×10 birch panel

 

I forgot to post this piece finished. I think I might have posted it on my Flickr account and Facebook, but this blog is my history journal and I want to include this piece. A woman who has bought a few of my pieces (thank you thank you) wanted a piece that included children playing. She asked if I painted children months ago. I have never painted children.

My work is mostly intuitive and when I try and do a commissioned piece, I just over think it and I end up being dissatisfied and frustrated. When I paint, I respond to what’s on the canvas. Each layer informs the next layer. I know I may be missing out on sales by not doing commissioned work. But usually those requests sit in my subconscious and filter up sooner or later.

Anyway this is how the piece started. I hope she likes it.

Work In Progress acrylics 10x10 birch panel

Work In Progress
acrylics
10×10 birch panel

 

Irrigation lines have been installed in my garden. We still need to run the drip tubes in each bed and fill a few more beds with our ‘designer-dirt.’ Today I’m going to set-out some tomato plants. I have them at different sizes, so I can stagger the plantings to be able to eat fresh tomatoes all summer long. I’m also adding some companion plants to help with pollinating and to help deter pests. Growing up in the south, we always planted on Good Friday. Hopefully the frosty nights are history

“What does it matter what poetry is, after all? All that matters is the eternal movement behind it.” -Dylan Thomas

 

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The Bird Caller


“Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward; for there you have been, there you long to return.” 
-Leonardo da Vinci

The Bird Caller acrylics 11x11 birch pane

The Bird Caller
acrylics
11×11 birch pane

 

My front yard is lined with birdhouses Bob has made. Every time I look at them, I just smile, so I’ve been wanting to paint a piece that reflected that. They are old and weathered, but still beautiful. I’m never sure what magical thing happens at night while I’m sleeping. It’s that same feeling I had when I was a child. I just knew all of my toys came to life when I fell asleep. So even now, I still believe, so I always leave a water source hidden under the leaves for the sprites and fairies in case they visit while I’m sleeping – they will have a place to rest among the birdhouses and flowers.

“I want to be magic. I want to touch the heart of the world and make it smile. I want to be a friend of elves and live in a tree. Or under a hill. I want to marry a moonbeam and hear the stars sing. I don’t want to pretend at magic anymore. I want to be magic.” -Charles de Lint

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Ahhhh- Spring!

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.” -anonymous

 

I have been out in the sunshine for days planting seeds; adding to my front perennial bed; restoring my herb garden. In fact one day last week, it rained the entire day. I was just miserable staring out the window wishing for sunshine. This year’s warmth is more welcome than usual. We’ve had such a long cold winter and my raised bed garden is ready to plant for the first time this year. Plus I have my greenhouse – woot! I have lettuce, radishes, beets and kale already peeking up. And as you can see in the greenhouse photos, I’ve got seeds started – peppers, tomatoes and various herbs and flowers.

In our front yard along the walkway to our front door, I’m trying to establish a cottage garden. I think it takes years to create the fullness a cottage garden needs, but I’ve added quite a number of different perennials in the last couple of weeks. I want to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. And I love having a nice variety of flowers for a cutting garden. I can’t wait to see them all flowering in the next couple of months.

I’ve also been very busy with my Master Gardener volunteering. I’ve put in 35 hours in just this last month. I am meeting wonderful people and getting to see lots of plants and gardens. Our big project is creating a demonstration/teaching garden on our library grounds. I’m in charge of a committee planting the beds. We will have a blueberry bed, native plants and perennials, medicinal/edible flowers, annuals, herbs, tomatoes and trellising veggies. It’s quite a project. There are about twenty of us working on it.

I have painted a little bit. Here’s a work in progress:

Work In Progress acrylics 10x10 birch panel

Work In Progress
acrylics
10×10 birch panel

 

Hope it’s warm and sunny where you are today. I’m going out to play now. I’m not sure how much blogging or reading blogs I’ll be doing in the next few weeks.  May 1st we are off to celebrate 30 years of marriage (May 5 anniversary)!

“Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses — especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”  -Leonardo da Vinci

 

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Farm Talk


“There is a language older by far and deeper than words. It is the language of bodies, of body on body, wind on snow, rain on trees, wave on stone. It is the language of dream, gesture, symbol, memory. We have forgotten this language. We do not even remember that it exists.” 
-Derrick Jensen

 

Farm Talk acrylics & oil pastels 24x24 birch panel

Farm Talk
acrylics & oil pastels
24×24 birch panel

 

A lot of times when I’m working in my studio, I reach a point when I want to abandon my painting. I can be frustrated by many different things, but it’s usually because I am not getting the story right and I just need to walk away.

These paintings don’t get gessoed over, but set aside. Then without even trying, I will suddenly come up with the story I abandoned. I just see how to do it. I think the brain is fascinating. Why do some stories have to incubate for so long when others seem to gush forth? It’s as if some stories are only remembered in dreams. Why else would a symbol or gesture; a beautiful blue sky or a great laugh with a friend suddenly open the door to these old memories?

The above painting was actually abandoned twice. Here are my early attempts:

 

“No matter what a budding artist’s background, education, or point of view, he or she must ultimately go to a room and become an inventor. Only in quiet moments of struggle will both success and joy manifest themselves.” Robert Genn

 

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Sold!

“I am a series of small victories and large defeats and I am as amazed as any other that I have gotten from there to here.” -Charles Bukowski



The above pieces have all sold this past month and I am always thrilled that someone would purchase a piece of my artwork to hang in their home. It makes me feel as if I’ve made a new friend, because a part of me is in each piece I make. Thank you for allowing me to share your homes. It’s my best inspiration.

“The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing – to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from – my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.” -Clive Staples Lewis

 

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Without My Make Up On

“The work of art has always been to demonstrate and celebrate the interconnectedness; not to make everything ‘one’ but to make the ‘many’ authentic; to help illuminate it all.” -Gary Snyder

Without My Makeup On acrylics 10x8 birch panel

Without My Makeup On
acrylics
10×8 birch panel

 

There has to be a certain comfort in vulnerability to be an artist whether you write poetry, dance, play music or paint. Sometimes it seems, I live from the inside out – allowing my inner most thoughts to be revealed. Here I am without my make up on.

“The heart of the soul is where the inner world and the outer world come to meet. At this boundary, it is present at every point.” -Novellas

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Dancing on the Rooftop


One of the loveliest words in the English language is the word ‘
inspiration.’ It signifies the creative breath. It also has to do with spontaneity, with the arrival of unexpected image or idea in the mind. Inspiration is the flash of connecting light that suddenly comes from elsewhere and illuminates.” 
-John O’Donohue

Dancing On The Rooftop acrylics & oil pastels 16x12 birch panel

Dancing On The Rooftop
acrylics & oil pastels
16×12 birch panel

 

I haven’t had a chance to be in my studio in over a week. Good things have been happening, but not painting. My son celebrated his 23rd birthday. We finished the raised beds and built a greenhouse from a kit. I have been very busy with Master Gardener volunteer work. But today I got to paint. I turned the music up loud and just painted. The above is the result. It was lots of fun to do.

“I feel the image I am trying to capture, just as I feel the wind.” -Seiya Nakai

 

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That Darn Rabbit!

This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” -Alan Wilson Watts

That Darn Rabbit acrylics & Derwent Pencils 24x24 cradled board

That Darn Rabbit
acrylics & Derwent Pencils
24×24 cradled board

 

I posted this image on Facebook yesterday. I thought it was finished. It happens quite a lot. I will photograph a painting, post the image and then after looking at the painting closely, I see where some changes need to be made. And those changes are even more apparent to me after a good night’s sleep. The brain works in funny ways. So the subtle changes I made in this painting were to lighten the rabbit somewhat, add the fringe on the horse’s back and outline the fencing and the houses. Now I think it is finished!

Things are really getting busy with my Master Gardener projects. As a Master Gardener, I work as a volunteer for the Georgia Extension Service. Right now I am working with a team of other Master Gardeners on building (from scratch) a demonstration garden at our public library. All we have at this point is a plot of land on the grounds of the library and a lot of good ideas. We want to be planting by May first of this year.

I am also part of a class teaching about planting vegetables. My part is lettuce, spinach and swiss chard and I am also scheduled to go with another Master Gardener to look at a homeowner’s landscaping and advise them on how to take care of their plants. The Master Gardeners in this county also run the farmer’s market.

All of this is happening while I’m trying to plan our own garden and plantings. Here’s the latest photos of our enclosed raised bed gardens. All of the beds are built, the greenhouse has been ordered, the dirt-mixture for the beds is here and after filling the beds, we’ll need to finish installing the drip irrigation before we can plant.

In the second photo you can see a hose/water source and that’s where the greenhouse will be. It’s 8×12 with polycarbonate panels and comes as a kit. I am so excited. I have wanted a greenhouse for probably 40 years. YAY! And thank goodness Bob can assemble it.

We are planting a mixture of veggies, herbs and native pollinators. I want it to be beautiful as well as functional. I am also creating a cottage garden style bed for the front of my house. Don’t you just love spring? I love the quote by Margaret Atwood – “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

I hope to squeeze in some time for painting. But I am just as inspired and fulfilled working in a garden as I am in my studio – both are sacred spaces to me.

“To have a sacred place is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so, where you do not know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody or what they owe you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.” Joseph Campbell

 

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On My Easel – Friends – they always watch out for each other


“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” -
Anais Nin

 

They always watch out for each other acrylic & oil pastels 24x24 cradled board

Friends – they always watch out for each other
acrylic & oil pastels
24×24 cradled board

 

I have two girlfriends that I have known since high school. We have shared more than most – sorrow, joy, children, and secrets that we have not told anyone else. We are all still very close and see or talk with each other as much as we can. I love my family – my husband, son, sisters, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters-in-law – but these women – they are part of my very being. I wouldn’t be who I am today without their love and counsel all these years. This painting is dedicated to them. Thank you both for enriching my life.

I am happy at this moment in my artistic journey. When I first started painting, I was thrilled to just get something down. But as I painted more, I became increasingly frustrated because I could not get the image from my heart onto my canvas. There have been days when I thought I should just quit. But I knew that I just hadn’t developed enough skills yet, and the only way to learn how to paint would be to just paint.

And over the last three years, that’s exactly what I’ve done. I’ve painted nearly every day and now – just recently, this hard work is starting to pay off. Yes, I’ve sold a few paintings. That’s not what I’m talking about. What excites me the most is I’m starting to have a few of the tools I need to communicate what’s happening deep inside of me. I have finally developed enough skill that I am able to do some of the things I dream about. And that is the very reason I paint. I have always wanted to paint and always thought some sort of magic dust got sprinkled on a lucky few — that if you weren’t born knowing how to paint, you never would. But what it really takes is first the desire and then lots of work. I still have lots to learn, but I hope my experience will encourage others who want to achieve something but don’t believe they are talented enough. Believe in yourself and believe in your dreams. Just do it.

“Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.” -Langston Hughes

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New Studio Space

“But every land should be a holy land. One should find the symbol in the landscape itself of the energies of life there. That’s what all early traditions do. They sanctify their own landscape.” -Joseph Campbell

I always like to peek into other artist’s studios. Don’t you? For the last year and a half, I have worked in a spare bedroom. It was adequate, but small. I also had my computer, printer, work tables and various other supplies in the same space. There wasn’t a lot of room to actually work. I also do yoga in that room which meant re-arranging everything every morning.

Over Christmas, we finally set-up our garage studio. In 30 years of marriage and many different houses, we have never used a garage to park our cars. My husband is an amazing woodworker and he’s always had a woodshop (i.e. our garage). Then I started with clay and he gave me – oh maybe, a quarter of the space to start – many years ago. I’ve gradually moved up to almost half of the space! YAY!

With this garage, we added insulation and a small heat pump for conditioned air (heat/cool). The lighting is better, the workspace is larger. I can paint and work with clay in this space. You can see in the pictures, clay tools and underglazes are shelved right along with my acrylics. After the garden is in, we plan on wiring the kiln. I still have my slab roller and hope to do some hand building soon.

Bob frames all of my 2-D work, so those big work tables and saws are a main part of the space. We also have a great sound system. I work without any music a lot of the time, but lately I have (re) fallen in love with Loreena McKennett. She’s such an inspiration.

I don’t know about you, but (for now) my studio is my holy land and I hope my Muse approves.

I wish everyone would post photos of their studio spaces.

“When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.” -Steven Pressfield

 

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