26 May 2014

Nothing going right? Go left!

Taking a break from painting. Taking a break from writing. Well, let's face -- I'm just taking a break from lots of things! The family gathering is over for the holidays; a great time was had by all. Today is quiet and the weather is changeable -- cloudy and cool, then the sun comes out and the humidity rockets. But I'm not complaining after the long winter and cold spring we've had here in New England.

I returned to my interest in digital photography and, more specifically, digital scrapbooking. I've been reading back issues of Digital Studio, as well as the current copy, and am intrigued by many of the digital artists and their works. I've tried this before but was always in a bit of a rush, so my attempts usually went bust. Also, although I have Photoshop Elements, I'm used to my old Jasc Paintshop. Not as powerful but it's a question of comfort. Someday I'll transition over.

With this image I was trying to work with my photos of flowers and was hoping to achieve a kind of mosaic effect that Donna Goar creates, which are awesome, but ran out of time. Still, I'm quite happy that I got this far -- at least for today.  The plumes and scrolls are from Anna Aspnes, a custom brush I created (compass), and a paraphrase from Georgia O'Keeffe.

When we try new things, there's always a learning curve; sometimes the curve is steeper than another.  And then my concern is, especially with digital images, that they are truly ephemeral, likely to disappear into cyberspace if we're not careful.  I think images like the one above would make a wonderful note card to send to someone you know who loves flowers and gardens -- and who does take the time to see a flower. 

*   *   *

When in the fresh mornings I go into my garden before anyone is awake,
I go for the time being into perfect happiness.
Celia Thaxter (1835 - 1894)

16 March 2014

Collaging with color

At a Glance

Taking advantage of the fairly mild weather -- no digging out from under snow and ice -- to get back to something more creative. I had begun these collages for an annual invitational, but never was able to reach the point where I wanted to inflict them on others . . . 

Not that I'm a big fan of pink but after looking out the window at white for weeks on end . . . well, you just want to see something invigorating for a change from gray, black, white and brown.

I've used these papers before, taken from Italian at a Glance (1920). The pages are quite brittle and the cover has fallen off, but I try to salvage the pages themselves.

The scrap of mathematics is from a child's primer from about 1910, and the pieces of fabric are scraps from old quilting projects.  I like them because they're soft and wrinkled, but when the acrylic gel is applied, it smooths them right out.

Earlier today I pulled out some old  paintings on birch panels and decided to 'upcycle' them into something a bit more abstract.  

I tend to be influenced by what I'm reading and yesterday I pulled a book off the shelf that I had forgotten about:  Barbara Rae Prints.  Talk about being hit by color -- Rae's monoprints and etchings are fantastical, surreal, dream-like.  

But now it's a race against time as the gardens will be screaming for work by mid-April -- and on top of all this, I've gotten back to writing again.  I'm hoping to have a manuscript (or two) ready for submittal by early May.  Well, at least that's the goal.  However, every time I set a goal, someone keeps moving those goal posts!

Here is the meaning of the happy moment:
color and I are one.     

Paul Klee

02 January 2014

A gift of life

New Year's resolutions.  Isn't it odd that most of us go through this little ritual every January?  We sit and ponder what we need or want to do to improve our life in the coming year; we contemplate the failures and successes from the previous year and hope for the best . . . 

But usually by spring some, if not all, these resolutions seem to fall by the wayside, to drift away with the spring rains and melt entirely under the blaze of a summer sun.

So why do we do it?  Is it that sense of a clean start to the year, a tossing out of the old with the last blast of a party horn toot?  

Who knows.  Maybe it's in the DNA.  Or if we had grandmothers and nuns in our early lives, there was always that tradition of clearing out the kitchens, placing coins and salt and bread on the doorsteps to welcome good luck -- (I'm not really sure what the nuns did, but I'm sure they did something similar.  Fresh rosaries, perhaps?) --

So let me share some of mine with you.  I'm sure some may be familiar . . . 

1)  To stay focused.  Oh, this is a hard one, believe me.  The temptation to wander off the planned route is strong, at least for me.  My daily work life is so structured that my free time is exactly that -- free!  It doesn't matter that for more than five years I've been working on writing a mystery novel (actually there are about three more in the process) -- I also paint, knit, crochet, garden (that's a big one as I love to be outside in the spring/summer/fall in the garden), read, quilt, walk . . . so many things, so little time!

2) To spend more time with my family.  My children are grown, the youngest in his senior year of college; my husband works part-time but his schedule is almost the opposite of mine.  The daily life, Monday-Friday, just doesn't leave much time for anything else.  But a concerted effort is my resolve, whether it's simply going for a walk together or food shopping together -- to make the time is important.

And 3) is a familiar one for many -- to get health(ier), to eat healthier, to be gentle with oneself because today's world is no longer 24/7 but rather 72/7!  We pack so much in, thanks to technology, that it's a wonder we don't implode at some point -- or maybe some of us do?

Last week during a little break while waiting for folks to stop by I visited Leslie Avon Miller's blog, textures shapes and color.  Her entry from earlier in the year struck me in all it's simplicity and beauty (see it here) -- and the image you see below absolutely struck me dumb, yet seemed to capture the sensibility of what I was seeking . . . 

egg shell drawings by Leslie Avon Miller
Our lives are fragile things.  We should treat them as a gift that is ours to cherish each moment, each hour.  So easily we lose sight of that.   This image is going to be posted at my desk so that each working day, I am reminded of my resolutions, of this gift of my life.

What image would you choose?  Why not share --

Peace to all in 2014 --

14 October 2013

Autumn Haze

Columbus Day weekend, that lovely 3rd day off at the height of the autumn season -- a wonderful time of year! Today a haze of gold -- I can't think of a better way to describe it -- has softened the sunlight and the gardens and pathways are dappled with the leaves that are falling each moment.

Going through some sketches from the past months, I found these -- simple watercolors, no great detail or angst went into them. But I tend to like them, as their "sketchiness" seems to match the season. 

Small Pond, New Hampshire

As I travel back and forth to work or on a weekend jaunt, I pass so many ponds and small lakes, not to mention the beautiful Connecticut River. In the late afternoon on my way home, I drive the back roads to avoid commuter traffic, passing farms and old barns, even a vineyard or two. 

I love the way the sunlight hits the side of a farmhouse, striking the old, worn sideboards in a dazzling white against the autumn maples and dark green pines. 

Berkshire Barn

And then the sun begins to dip below the treeline. I know in a few weeks I won't even be able to see the sun on my way home, as it will be twilight by that time. 

So, for now, I relish that lovely dusk sky, flooded with rose and peach and lavender, when the light is riding the rim between day and night and all seems hushed.

Dipping Sun, East Weatogue

In nature, light creates the color. In the picture, color creates the light. 
Hans Hofmann

*   *   *

in just one breath
last leaf falls
skies open wide

[haiku by artist]

22 September 2013

On the cusp of two seasons

Today is the first day of autumn. A welcome change but a bittersweet moment as I gaze at my garden and see the blooms fading, drooping, dropping. 

But at the same time the skies are that clear, bright cobalt blue and the air is crisp. Above the leaves are shifting to gold and amber, ruby red and wine. So odd, standing on the cusp of two seasons.

Images from earlier in the spring and summer, sweet momentoes -- 

Anna Magnolia


-- and my favorite of all flowers, the rose -- 

Last Roses

Two Roses