Got Milk?

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Been working in acrylics again because I’m getting ready for two teaching opportunities this summer.  This cow is a composite of several cows I found on the Internet.  I think animals are easier than anything, and acrylics are far easier than watercolors.  But as soon as I get all my plants in, I’ll be outside with my little watercolor box, painting some flowers before they turn.

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But this is….about art.

breeI have a friend who’s been very kind to me.  He’s a policeman in my small town, and he works the night shift.  He knows I live alone, and I see him drive by my house often.  He looks out for me.

And he has a dog that he loves.  Another of my friends who is his neighbor took a picture of the dog and I did the painting.  It was a struggle not making each side match.   The light source was very bright and the colors were difficult and not uniform.  It seemed like pieces were missing and some lines were too … linear … to be on a dog.  But this is what I saw, so this is what I painted.

I gave it to him tonight and he said his wife would be thrilled.  It is actually her dog.

It feels so good to be able to do something for someone who seems to always be doing something for me.

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This is not about art.

I don’t talk into my typewriter, and I don’t type onto my phone.  I have never sent a text because I simply hate the whole idea of it.  And while “hate” is a strong word, here’s my list:

  1. I hate the noises phones make when there’s a text in the queue.  It’s far too Disneyesque and startling at the same time.
  2. I hate the way the language of texting completely bastardizes the King’s english, and how this trend is now creeping into our emails, and, “OMG!” our cards and letters.
  3. I cringe when people can’t help themselves, even though they might be in the middle of a sentence in the middle of a conversation with me, thinking erroneously that the incoming text might be important when everyone knows that if it was really important they would be CALLING instead of texting.
  4. While I loathe the way what should be a 15-second conversation turns into a symphony of little pings and whistles and taps and averted eyes and apologies and explanations of who is texting and how they will deal with the “whatever and whoever” later, all of which takes a good THREE MINUTES, yet I am mildly amused by the insanity of it.
  5. But the thing I hate most is when I see the driver in front of me, or worse…behind me, with their eyes looking into their laps while they weave in and out of their lane, off to the shoulder, crossing the double yellow lines, and often careening over two lanes to avoid missing their exit that suddenly appeared when they eventually decided to pay attention to their own driving.  This is illegal and spectacularly stupid behavior, and so prevalent now that I can not remember the last time I drove a car and didn’t see someone texting while driving.

Yesterday I encountered at least three people who were obviously texting behind the wheel, all of them young.  I can’t think of anything less Christian than hoping someone dies, but how do you root for the survival of someone who is not only risking his own life, but yours as well?

My career was spent in the ICU as a nurse, but now I wish I’d chosen to be a state trooper.

Well now, that’s off my chest.  Thanks for reading.

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Chicks Painting Chickadees

Chicks with their Chickadees

Chicks with their Chickadees

When I left Virginia in 2004, I left many former decorative painting students behind.  While I knew I would miss them, and the fun we had in class, I was ready to cross  over to watercolor. But the immutable fact is that I’m just not good enough to teach watercolor, so I’m back to teaching decorating painting. Since I have dozens of prepared classes and samples painted, starting  over has been easier than I expected.

Our first class went three nights over three weeks for 3 hours each night.  Most of these students are true beginners, yet all of them grasped the stroke work quickly, and I believe all of them are happy with their pieces.  At least happy enough to sign up to another project, an acrylic sheep on canvas to start the end of March.last night painting

I LOVE being in a room of creative people, whether I am teaching or learning.  I really enjoy sharing what I know about this art form, and the camaraderie was evident at the introduction of the first class.  Everyone made new friends.   Painting partnerships formed.

I’ve interviewed at the new Hobby Lobby in Statesville and have been hired to teach all-day Saturday classes of my choosing.  The jury is out on the Hickory store, and I’m still waiting to hear.  But in the meantime, I’m putting those classes together as well; one class for two stores; one half the prep work.  Got to love that.

last night paintingI’m in a “window show” at the local record store on Main Street for the month of March.  I have photos and will post about this soon.  But the biggest news is that I’ve decided to take some private lessons from a very seasoned artist in Asheville by the name of Jason Rafferty

I have asked for still life instruction, with a focus on composition and drawing.  I could also use more color theory as I find in my own work the most difficult part is finding the right colors.

Check out his website, especially the “Heirloom Tomatoes” and “Farmers Market Gourd” that you’ll find if you scroll nearly to the bottom of his first page.  It was these two paintings that attracted me most.  Wish me luck!

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A Week of Bliss: Lian Quan Zhen

I schedule these classes a year in advance; you have to because they fill within days of being offered.  This past week could be considered the best art instruction I’ve ever had.  Lian Quan Zhen was at Cheap Joes, and I got there early enough on Monday to get a front row seat.  And it was worth it.

If you are an artist you already know this.  Continuing education is paramount to keeping up your skills.  The costs can be daunting for the five days, but they do provide tasty lunches.  And all of these classes, without exception, are rolling advertisements for products, “highly recommended” and available right through those adjacent doors.  Of course many of Zhen’s originals and prints were displayed on the walls around the classroom, begging your attention and money.  But if you can resist all the temptations and simply concentrate on the demos of the class, you will learn so much from this man.

I did three paintings, none of which I feel happy enough about to put up here, so instead I’ve displayed one of his that is similar to one we painted during class time.  And therein lies the best part.  While many instructors have you sit in uncomfortable chairs watching them paint, whistle, and occasionally make a remark about what is good or bad about that last stroke, Zhen paints quickly, noting each color often, each stroke and how he did it, AND reiterates often to get his point across.  “Change color; change shape; …. Never put dark next to dark…. Hold your brush like this…”  His demos were short and we were back at our painting tables applying what we just learned.   Several students agreed that many instructors should take Zhen’s class to learn how to instruct.”  And I agree with them.

The first two days were Chinese painting with Chinese tools and paints.  I have a new appreciation for the art form and will continue to learn it.  The rest of the week was conventional watercolor, but several of the Chinese painting techniques crossed over easily.  Zhen paints a lot with his fingers.  He uses spray bottles, straws, and a variety of items to remove paint when things get too wet.  He throws paint on the paper and watches it do its own thing, or coaxes it to move and blend.  It’s almost like magic, and I wound up referring to him as the “Go-Go-Gadget of Watercolor.”  I should have taken notes, and I regret I didn’t because at the end I found myself buying several of his DVD’s for reference.

The moral of this post is to recommend his class.  There wasn’t one moment of boredom or confusion.  He’s a great teacher, a fantastic watercolor artist, and even if you don’t have an interest in painting like him, you will still learn volumes that will enhance your own style to a measurable degree.  Check him out.

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First Sheep…acrylic on canvas.

Baaaa....

Baaaa….

 

I’m selling this one in the art co-op.  It’s 18″ X 24″ and the first of, hopefully, many sheep.  The background, which is dark enough to confuse my camera, is deep purple.

Thank you everyone:  Cobs, Dale, Averyclaire, Karen, Donna and Cindy for your kind words and support, and to everyone who has “liked” my recent paintings.  I’m just taking a very small break from watercolor, but I’ll be back to it this fall at a week-long seminar with Lian Quan Zhen.  Very excited.

 

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What is more difficult than painting a black dog?

NOTHING

NOTHING

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And so it goes…

It’s finally happened.  I’ve crossed the threshold of being too busy to write this blog.  With the house renovations in full swing (I finally found a contractor who knows what he’s doing) and my garden taking shape (and all my time), and my art and rug hooking, and these wonderful women from Master Gardener group, and all these little towns in the Western NC mountains that need visiting….I just don’t have it in me any more to keep up with writing.

An amazing thing happened yesterday.  A woman was walking up my street while I was in the garden, and she said that she purposefully walks this street to see my progress.  We chatted, and she came in for ice-tea, and I know she’s going to be a good friend.  We found we had so much in common, but as I waved good-bye, I realize over an hour had passed, and I needed to hurry to get through my gardening list.  More to do, less time to do it, and no time to write about it.

I’m not taking the site down, and will reevaluate next year.  I’m still reading your posts before I go to sleep, even if I don’t comment, and I have found that some of you are also taking some time off.  So as Arnold would say,  “[eventually] I’ll be back.”  Enjoy the summer.

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It’s been so long…..

….I forgot my password.  Seriously.

Finally a studio: 1780 sq. ft. that's all MINE!   Click to Enlarge.

Finally a studio: 1780 sq. ft. that’s all MINE! Click to Enlarge.

I received so many “where-are-you, I’m-worried” emails, I had to get over my guilt and embarrassment and just post.   Now here I am with much to say, but little energy or creative thought with which to do so.  It’s been a long three months.

My IPhoto indicates that I drew those animated figures on February 7th, and posted them them that day.  In the meantime I had the illness that blew through my social circle soon after, and it was a full six weeks of hell and high-water to get through it.  Some antibiotics, prednisone, three bottles of cough medicine, an inhaler, and copious amounts of sleep did nothing to hasten my recovery.  In fact, I’m still having pain where I am fairly sure I either popped a rib or grew a hernia from the stress of coughing.

Filled with feathers, this is my napping place.

Filled with feathers, this is my napping place.

I somehow managed to graduate from the Master Gardener Program and I am now obsessed with putting in my garden.  While I’ve always had a passion for plants, the knowledge I gained in the program has me doing things right, and I’m already seeing the results.  Roses should be fed once a month while blooming!  Who knew?  I do now.

I hooked a complete rug runner, (My design.  It’s goofy like me, but definitely a one-of-a-kind.  “The Colorful Crows of North Carolina.”  72″ long and done with strips of recycled, over-dyed 100% wool, #8 Amy Oxford punch on Monks cloth).   Had several day trips, numerous luncheons and read several books.  Got a new television, finished the basement studio, created many watercolors, and took more instruction in my favorite art form.

Plenty of light, room, and entertainment while I hook.  Click to Enlarge

Plenty of light, room, and entertainment while I hook. Click to Enlarge

The adage is this, and you’ve heard me say it before: If I have time to write, I have little to write about.  If I have much to write about, I have little time to do so.  The latter is the case at the moment, but I am very touched and my heart is full from all the nice emails.  Thank you so much.

Scroll down to see THE RUG…

I’ll post some pictures of the garden next time.

Six feet long, the only thing left is to add the braid around the edge and backing.  Click to Enlarge

Six feet long, the only thing left is to add the braid around the edge and backing. Click to Enlarge

Posted in Needle Punch, Needlework, Painting, Punch Needle, Textile Art, Uncategorized, Watercolor, Whimseytopia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

A Craftsy Class: Sketching in Motion (#1)

The guest room renovation took most of my energy and all of my time, so it was soothing as well as mesmerizing to watch Marc Taro Holmes swirl his pencils, pens, and brushes across the paper, and like magic create what I long for: an illustrative watercolor.

I’m taking his class called Sketching in Motion, and while it looks simple when he does it, it’s far harder than I ever imagined.  He wants “fast.”  I want “fast.”  But it is a mystery to me how he can work that fast and produce such intriguing and attractive little watercolors.

I’ve watched the entire program a few times, and it was only yesterday I felt I could produce something that indicated movement.  They’re all smudged and not even close to being the contour drawing he requires, but at least I got phase one on paper.  Tomorrow I’ll be pulling out my ink pen for phase two.

So in an effort to encourage (patsye-speak for embarrass) myself into sketching every day, I am putting these feeble attempts out there for your amusement.  Each day they’ll either get better or worse.  Time will tell.

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Click to Enlarge

Scan 41

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