August 29, 2014

Learn, Honor, Create, Play

Learn, Honor, Create, Play (11x14 dry pastel)


Still life paintings need to mean something to me on a very personal level for me to enjoy the process of painting them. This one does. Each piece in this painting represents aspects I think are important in creating a happy and healthy life; Learning, Honoring, Creating and Playing.

It seemed only logical to start with the strong foundation that is required before beginning to build anything. With that in place I added the apple to represent our early stages of learning. 

Next, I placed the lifebowls and it is significant to me that I chose bowls gifted to me by a dear friend to represent the lifebowls. I especially enjoy that they are handmade and not perfectly symmetrical because whose life is?

Balancing one’s lifebowls can be a bit tricky at times.  Mine seemed to stabilized quite nicely once I placed the origami crane smack in the middle of it because, after all, where would we be without honor and loyalty (the traditional meaning of the origami crane)?

With a good foundation (be it family or religion or both), learning underway and loyal friends, creativity has a chance to thrive. Enter the kitty. Having created her from clay (after my own lovely cat), she seemed perfect to represent my idea of creativity for this little play. And, she had the added benefit of exuding relaxation/vacation which I know is part of a good balance in life. 

The mouse is probably quite obvious but after watching my cat for years, I know how important playtime is!

All of this is topped off with a huge, red, apple juicy enough to bite into and it is intended to represent our blessed learning that continues year after year that is so absolutely delicious.

August 18, 2014

More Serendipity

Abundance at Marymere Falls (10x8 oils, SOLD)

Last year I was invited to attend an inaugural plein air event on the Olympic Peninsula (in Washington State). The event is headquartered in Port Angeles, Washington, and is known as "Paint the Peninsula." Since I had recently fallen in love with plein air painting, and anything associated with it, I jumped at the opportunity. 

If you have attended such events, you likely know that the back of the substrates you plan to use during the competition are stamped before painters head out in all directions. This assures that all paintings are, in fact, done within the confines of the event. I got my substrates stamped and headed out to see the world.

My ever-loving husband, Larry, accompanied me for the event and was always willing to be my sherpa (not to be confused with a shar pei :). I don't recall which day it was when we decided to hike in to Marymere Falls. It's not a long hike; just under a mile from the trailhead but Larry was nice enough to carry my gear for me.

When we got to the falls, I unpacked my stuff and realized I had forgotten my stamped panels. Larry, as always, came to my rescue and hoofed it back to the trailhead to get them for me. Now, he had three miles under foot as he returned. I had my panels. Yay! I could paint. I went to retrieve my painting tools and, believe it or not (I am typically a very organized person) I didn't have my painting tools either!! I was not about to ask Larry to go another two miles because of my mistake.

After a few minutes, I thought to pull out my credit card and started painting with that. I rather liked what was happening so I continued until I felt the piece was done. I wiped off my credit card, later hung the piece for the event, and was shocked, thankful and amazed when it won a special "Juror's Award!" 

Since then I have done quite a few more paintings using my credit cards (swiping took on a whole new meaning for me). 

July 22, 2014

Embracing Serendipity

Forest Gypsies (36 x 24 oils, gallery-wrap canvas)

Racing waves in the sea by day
And wind by night
Time captures hoof-prints in the sand
The spirit of the Forest provides

One of the great joys of painting is the connection between my subject matter and my heart. Plein air (outdoor) painting is one of the ways I eliminate interference when applying art to my canvas. 

On this particular adventure, I was on my way to the west side of Whidbey Island because there are a few beaches there where I love to paint. On the way, I thought about which beach I would land on and how I might portray the scene that is so familiar to me. Driving across the island, I took a shortcut through a housing complex that quickly turns into rural area. Just past the houses, I happened to look to my left and my heart jumped to my throat when I spotted a small family of horses drenched in the only sunlight within a mile of where I was!

I made a u-turn in the middle of the road and had my painting gear set up within minutes. My connection with animals is a gift I treasure beyond words. 

Throughout the course of my painting stay, I was visited by each horse in what seemed an organized progression. Each came close enough to see what I was working on, and then gave up its turn for the next one. I felt so privileged.

The painting at the top of the page, Forest Gypsies, is a result of embracing serendipity.

February 23, 2014

Now, Where Was I?

Ah, yes, back to Deception Pass. This time with pastels and a slightly different angle. I love this park! It's no wonder there are over 2 million visitors annually. Let's not even count the number of people who then fall in love with Washington.

I thought I would show you the box I made to carry in my backpack for plein air painting. I wanted something super-light and just the right size to fit in my pack. I found that one of my (saved) Sennelier Pastel boxes worked wonderfully for this project.

 I covered it in scrapbook paper (and couldn't resist some stickers).and then covered the entire top with clear packing tape to give it a little extra protection.
Then I added a few strips of velcro so I could a) velcro the box closed and b) velcro the two halves of the box together to place on my easel butler.

So far, this is working out really well. I'm not sure how long the box will last since it is made out of cardboard but so far, so good.

It's almost time for me to head outdoors to paint and I am more than happy to do some more testing.