Binoculars Watercolor

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

 

This could be the first Richard Taylor project from a book that I can’t recommend.  The instructions were not great, and the illustrations were plain wrong.  He kept changing the view and angle as well as the size, making it hard to follow.  All those ovals were difficult anyhow.  This was a very early book of his, so I guess he too improved as he progressed.  I believe I just read somewhere that he has 15 books out, and a couple of DVD’s.  To buy new is to pay in Sterling, so I’ll have to keep my eye out on Ebay.

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Morning Flower

Last pink of 2014

Last pink of 2014

 

I was in the garden early this morning and noticed this lone fall rose peeking out from underneath a vigorous Knockout climber I planted last year.  I might have left it for the neighbors to enjoy, but decided it was probably the last of the pinks (the reds are still going strong), and brought it in to spend the rest its natural life enhancing mine with its lovely aroma.

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Carving Out Time

Sail Loft Door

Sail Loft Door

Someone I greatly admire recently wrote a post (HERE) about not having enough time to paint, and then feeling like she forgot her rhythm, lost her colors, and felt life was getting in the way of her creativity.

Her work is extraordinary, and to my mind everything she paints is exemplary.  But I get what she’s saying.  I’ve had so much going on in my garden, in my house, in my life in general, I feel I’m losing my grip on not just my desire, but my painting acumen.  I’m forgetting fundamental principles.   The brush isn’t comfortable in my hand.  My lines are too jerky or too straight. The papers seem rough. The colors appear so dull I am ready to throw this palette out.  Something is wrong in my watercolor universe.  I think it is my commitment.

English Village

English Village

Even the fastest project takes time.  But I need to carve it out of every single day or I will never progress.  I post these two not because I am proud of them, but rather to remind myself that without that commitment, I’ll never be happy with myself as an artist.  I may never anyhow.

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Sailboat on Shore, Watercolor/Sketch

Inspired by the cover of a ’70’s Yankee Magazine, I couldn’t have painted this any faster.  I spent more time cleaning my brush between colors than actually painting.

Painting the Sailboat

Painting the Sailboat

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The Royal Paintbox’s Paintbox

Queen Victoria's Paintbox

Queen Victoria’s Paintbox

Last night was a surprise.  PBS aired a film by Margy Kinmonth entitled The Royal Paintbox. Prince Charles narrated much of it, and while I saw little in the way of his watercolors that impressed me, what was intriguing was his passion for art.  There is a long line of artists in his family tree, and the program was more of an overview; nothing in-depth like the Whistler program that preceded it.

What really caught my attention was Queen Elizabeth’s watercolor box. Tubular and full of small compartments, I will watch this program again just to see the Prince open it.  I am curious about how it actually works and think I might pay anything to have one like it.

In the meantime, if you are interested in royal art, this program will whet your appetite for more, and the Internet is a good source.  Cheery-Bye!

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Looking for a Challenge: Sketch a Day or Week

Exquisite Corpse

Exquisite Corpse

I took a very circuitous route, but finally found a challenge that I didn’t have to join.  Some that I have been interested in require you to be a member of Facebook.  If you’ve read my blog beyond the art, you know that I’ll never join Facebook.

One of my “likes” had a link to a list which had an easy-to-understand warning of “Do Not Copy,” and I will comply.  There are 328 prompts or challenges on this list, and I think this will help me (and possibly you) with the always daunting task of deciding what to paint.  I will be motivated to set up vignettes as well as go out and look for something specific.  That’s the challenge; it may not be so easy.

The most recent is “something that has buttons,” and I plan to do this before the end of the day.  Join me!  Or join THEM.  Choose your own media, and please link to me so I can see it?

This sketch has nothing to do with this post, but Halloween is around the corner and it is a charcoal sketch I did in one of my many classes long ago.

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September 11, 2001: Where were you?

REPRINTED FROM 2011

NPR has been hosting one In Memoriam after another.  “Where were you?”  “What’s your story?”  “How did it change your life?”  These themes are omnipresent in the media.  It’s like an attack all over again.

I personally try not to think about 9-11.  From the moment of recognition of the event, I had a spontaneous growth of a new lobe, perhaps hemisphere, in my brain. It’s where I keep all 9-11 information.  I can retrieve the tiniest piece of data in the blink of an eye, like it happened yesterday.  The rest of my brain should work as well.   I keep hoping that I’ll forget some of it someday.  But so far I can still see the spectacular blue sky as it appeared from my backyard; smell the toast beginning to burn in the toaster; and feel the pain where I’d spilled my piping hot cup of tea as my hand started to tremble along with my son’s trembling voice.

We lived 30 miles from the Pentagon.  My bags were packed and locked.  My ticket, passport, emergency numbers and information, and all the minutia one takes to Europe when traveling alone, was stacked and ready.  All I had to do was wait for my husband to come home from work, drive me to Dulles, and I would be spending the next 10 days in Lyon, France with a girlfriend.  We were going to party like it’s 1999.  I already had rollers in my hair, and had just gotten my first cup of tea when the phone rang.

It was my son, uncharacteristically calling me from college.  He was trying to catch his breath; trying to speak through what I recognized immediately as hysteria.  Then I panicked.  I  too couldn’t get enough air.  What had happened?  Was he hurt? Was he in the hospital?  Who was dead?

The “Oh My God” that barely made it out of his mouth told me that whatever it was, it was serious.  But then he said, “You’re HOME”, the “om” part of the word trailing off from lack of air.   And at that second I knew that it was his worry about me – that it was his panic for his mom – that he was the adult that had one foot out of his dorm room, ready to come help his dad in the event my plane had already taken off.

He knew when my trip was scheduled, but not the time.  He thought I might be in the air when he heard about the planes.  An overseas plane out of Dulles would be the perfect vehicle, full of jet fuel, to crash into the Pentagon.  Crash into the White House.  Crash into anything, even the World Trade Center.  At this point that plane had not yet been identified.  But my flight was scheduled for a 9 p.m. departure, not 9 a.m.  And that Tuesday flight was chosen specifically for its price, a slow traveling day, a light plane belly, and perhaps an easy upgrade at the gate.

The next sound I heard from him was “Turn on the TV.”  It was at this moment I learned you can have four people on call-waiting, and then they start to disconnect.  My friend in Lyon, my friends at home, anyone who knew of my flight plans had picked up their phone to call me all at the same time.  It was chaos.  I calmed my son, deleted all the waiting calls, and called my husband whose cell phone was still functioning. I told him what was happening.  I told him to turn on WTOP.  I suggested he take the beltway to Alexandria and then double back down 301 and come across to I95 heading north, TOWARD D.C., to get home – Had he not done that he wouldn’t have made it home for 10 hours, as I95 South (out of D.C.)  was at an expected standstill.

We watched the tragedy unfold before our eyes.  I saw the live coverage of the towers falling.  I didn’t eat a thing or even think about my trip for probably 12 hours.  I’d heard everything was grounded.  There were several more calls from my friend in France.  Her husband had called her to say he’d be at the office for the next month, probably sleeping there.  He knew details because he worked for Interpol.   We both worried he knew more than he was telling us.

And the rest is unremarkable.  I stayed glued to the television for a week.  It took over a year for Air France to return my money, but only 6 days for them to start dunning me to reschedule my flight….like I was going to leave my home and take a vacation any time soon.  My twelve-hour fast was followed by a twelve-week eating binge while glued to the television.  The world had changed.  Of this there was no doubt.  It was the first time I’d ever flown an American flag in front on my house – once I finally found one to fly.

I have been to Europe since, three times in fact, but always flying with a companion. Flying alone is my new fear – a residual from 9-11.  I’ve since learned that there can be days and weeks and months, even years, that make the events of 9-11 pale in comparison. But those days are muddied in my mind.  That personal tragedy, and all that surrounds it, is in a place so deep, to this day it seems unreal.

9-11 is as crystal clear in my mind as the sky was blue above New York City. Total clarity to be remembered forever.  Where were you?

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Teeth Rocks, A Journal Sketch

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Click to Enlarge

Sometimes I have to laugh at myself. When I’m painting it’s like I zone into certain things and inexplicably go blind to others. Tonight’s barn looked great, and it took awhile so I was ready to stand and clean up.  But after doing so, I went back to the painting and saw those rocks which looked more like teeth jutting from under that stack of whatever that stack is.  It was like a different painting; nothing looked the same, and I lost a lot of satisfaction for my work.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll flip back to liking it.  Does this happen to anyone else?

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Guinness Anyone? Sketch in the Journal

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Click to Enlarge

 

Still working on Taylor’s three books.  They are packed with ideas and good instructions.  I thought this might be too dark and dull to make a good composition but I find it interesting.  Doors are not easy because of the multiple planes.  Adding all these windows gave it character and lightening them in the center of the door added the invitation to step in for a drink.  Only regret was that I might have changed the “bar” to “pub.”  Next time…

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Fishing Sketch

CLICK TO ENLARGE

CLICK TO ENLARGE

At first I didn’t like the colors, or the lack of them.  There seemed to be only two or three, until I started painting. This was an easy sketch, and even easier watercolor.

The journal pages are so small, nothing takes very long.  I like this aspect, but wish I had better control over the pages while painting.  I hold it down with one hand and paint with the other.  Normally I would paint with my right hand and have a rag or tissue in my left.  I’m sure I’ll get used on-the-fly way of painting – pun intended.

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