Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
This image is a bit lighter than the original, but I purposefully kept the feeling of the piece on the light side to represent the day we took the grands for a walk along this part of the Eno River. I am tending to get a bit heavy-handed and muddy lately, so I suppose I was trying extra-hard to have that NOT happen! LOL
The Eno River Association has as its goal to purchase all the land adjacent to the length of the river in order to keep the river healthy and non-developed. This particular part of the Eno is managed by the Botanical Garden at UNC-Chapel Hill -- and it's really lovely with its rocks and clear water. We saw quite a number of folks fishing it during our walk last week. My husband and I were married on a different piece of this same river, so it's especially meaningful to us.
It's been delightfully RAINING this weekend -- so I know the river, as well as this dry land and our water reserves -- is being filled once again. Thank heavens!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Yesterday, Florence (http://www.flickr.com/photos/inker1) and I met in Raleigh and took a leisurely tour of the Community College System's art display (yes, the same place as the reception held earlier).... but sans crowds and with a guide. We took the so-needed time and slower pace to really study each piece -- from quilts to pottery, to sculpture to oils to the few watercolors. I am amazed at how many pieces I missed earlier!! And there is always something added when a friend, also interested in art, joins you in the viewing -- somehow your vision is enhanced and both of you see more. It was quite enjoyable!!
We then ate outdoors, basking in the 75F weather, at a most wonderful West Indian restaurant, chatting and sharing and dreaming all the while.
After lunch, we took a leisurely stroll through the JC Raulston Arboretum, snapping 'reference' photos for both art, and for me, ideas for our own plant installations.
It was terrifically relaxing and so SO enjoyable to share what one loves with someone who loves the same things!! Thank you, Florence for the visit and the much-needed leisure!!!
I finished my redo of the Arboretum bouquet I did earlier this week in ink and wash. The bouquet I brought home to use to complete my drawing was pretty well drooped -- but I used it (and the photo I took) to judge color and placement. The double daffodills were still living -- and I could finally take the time to accent those incredible centers, especially the tri-color one of white, peach and yellow.
Our temperatures are MUCH cooler this weekend (these fluctuations happen each spring in NC), so I'm hoping that when I return to work on Monday the daffodills will still look as perky on the grounds as they did when I left on Thursday.
Friday, March 28, 2008
My home, like my work, commitments are pretty time-consuming these days, but I'm hoping to get out to the gardens as soon as I can for more inspiration and photo references!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
The push and pull from one obligation to the next makes the DESIRE to sit and paint and lose myself in the concentration of line and color and shadow nearly impossible to fulfil .... and I have to keep reminding myself that during the week, I must be satisified if I can accomplish a quick sketch and a dab of color ... but I so long for the quiet that painting affords!!! SIGH
Yesterday was an important meeting for us and we bedecked the meeting space with cut flowers from the grounds - bright pinky/purple azalea blossoms, several magnificent daffodills with centers like carnations -- the orange and white and yellow looking much like a bowl of scrambled eggs, and a sprig from the weeping cherry tree ... a cascade of white/pink petals ....
I tried to sketch a bit at lunch, but was interrupted with phone and students; stayed after everyone went home and was again met with more students, to arrive at the B&B with more company there ... so a pen and wash was about all I could manage without pulling out my hair! LOL
We're due for some cooler temps Saturday and Sunday and I've my fingers crossed to try this bouquet again ...
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Thank you all for your kind comments yesterday! The reception was truly lovely -- and more -- an hour program of the history of 'visiting artists' in the North Carolina community college system, which the outgoing system president (and others) would like to see resurrected. Performances were given by the grammy- nominated jazz singer, Nneena Freelon, followed by a reading by Joseph Bathanti, (whose recently published book "They Changed the State: The Legacy of NC's Visiting Artists 1971-1995" was given to each of us), and a banjo-accompanied folk song by Jan Davidson, president of the Campbell Folk School.
Artists whose work now bedecked the six story building on the North Carolina government complex, were acknowledged, as the president of the Community College System recounted the history of this annual event. He told us that the first such event he created when he took office eleven years ago, had him choosing from 300 entries (President Lancaster alone makes all the art decisions as well as their placement in the building); this year, he chose a total of just under 150 paintings, sculptures, quilts, stained glass, baskets, clay, etc, from 2,000 entries. (I was astronished!)
The visiting dignitaries, friends, and artists were then invited to tour the building to see all the art --and it was INCREDIBLE! From student work to instructor work to faculty submissions -- the variety, the talent, the BEAUTY was inspirational! I have to admit, I felt like such an amateur among all those professional looking, polished pieces ... sigh ... but more surprising to me -- there were only THREE watercolor pieces -- one of which, was mine. The other two ... one was actually mixed media with watercolor, and the other painted with watercolor pencils. AMAZING!
What I learned during this tour --- There is a tremendous amount of digital art and photography being taught in our colleges. There are pockets of traditional artisans ...for such work as quilts and pottery. There seems to be a preponderance of oil paintings, and for those in our community colleges, only a handful doing watercolors ......
Lastly, I must must must!!!! paint larger!
Thank you again, for your kindest well wishes and for all your generous encouragement!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I have to say it looks so much better and brighter in person ...
I used ink to help define the statue and lost her at first to too much shading. I reclaimed the white in the statue with a bit of Indian ink.
Back to work today -- Today is also the reception for the artists displaying their work at the Community College System office ...! My first participation in such an event!
Monday, March 24, 2008
But spring is making itself known every day. I spotted a few early wild irises on my property ... and this one, drawn last week but painted yesterday -- is from Rebecca's yard ... the same species as those I'm finding here. I used my iris colorings to paint Rebecca's larger flower ....
Sunday, March 23, 2008
This early spring azalea really caught my attention .... I spotted the bright red/orange blooms, so vivid against all the pinks, yellows and purples and lime greens of this early spring, growing in a small grove around one of the school's lakes. I also found the leaves, so very small compared to the other azaleas we grow, also intriguing.
I snipped a small branch to sketch from and saved the painting until today to post.
We have the grands this weekend and spent yesterday, walking along a river -- that finally!!! and thankfully!!! has some water in it. Emily and Nick threw stones into the water, we watched a few early butterfies, lots of birds, and even a sunning turtle. Then off to a children's play park for swing, slide, see-saw, climbing bars. Then home for egg-coloring, dinner, and collapsing!
Today we'll have an Easter egg hunt (the plastic, filled with candy and surprises kind), their mom and dad for dinner -- and then a bit of rest for C and me....
My daughter called last night to say her day was similiarly spent with Tayor ... it seems everyone enjoyed the warm weather.
Today turns cold again, but the blooms are remaining bright -- as are the spirits!
May this Easter be most blessed and joyous!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I took this page from my Raffine sketchbook. Since the paper is 100# and not watercolor, I wasn't sure how it might do. I filled a basin with water, submerged the paper, and using a sponge, gently removed the paint. As Keith said, I was left with a faint image.
While it was still wet, I added the sky, some of the mountains and a bit of foreground. When dry, I redid the trees and shrubs.
I like the lighter tones in this, though I lost a bit of the original tree types (my haste, I'm afraid!) ....still, it was an interesting experiment and one I'll use again.
Thanks so much, Keith for the smart suggestion!!!
Friday, March 21, 2008
I find the landscapes of Italy, from the beaches of Sicily to the high, mountains of the Dolomites, and here, Tuscany in particular, so evocative of my dreams and longings for places I wish to know better and experience again and again.
These magnificent lands (and the people who live there) seem to hold magic for me -- inspiration, warmth, the cradle of what I feel as 'home' ... a return perhaps to lands of my ancestors that I've been too long removed ... They represent for me that 'other life' I suppose we often wish for ourselves -- a slower pace, a closer tie to the land, family and friends less far flung across the globe ...and I hold these places as such. I am soothed by the special place I hold them in my heart as I try to paint that love and mystical quality I have for them ....
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Redbuds are one of my favorite trees. Their bright spring flowers are so cheerful in their early opening -- they seem to brighten the woodlands! An added feature to this wonderful tree is that the flowers are edible -- and if lightly sauteed in oil, they taste just like spring peas! The young pods that follow the flowers are also edible....
If you try these 'wild foods' -- just be certain about identification AND that the trees have not been sprayed for pesticides or herbides.
PS -- This is best seen by clicking on the photo and then clicking "all sizes."
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Though this morning's temperatures are in the 30sF, spring continues to unfold as each day we find more and more blooming plants.
Here, our Anise Tree (Illicium) is in full bloom with light yellow flowers tucked in a lot of bright foliage ...
And best of all, more rain is expected tomorrow!
A question came up concerning whether this anise tree is responsible for the anise flavoring we use in cooking -- unfortunately, the use of common names often produces misconceptions ... so I apologize for not listing the species.
The species pictured here is Illicium anisatum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illicium) used to produce incense. But the green industry in NC uses this plant for its beautiful evergreen foliage.
The star anise, which we use as a spice, is Illicium verum (see http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/staranis.html) . And the anise or licorice like flavoring is a different genus all together (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anise).
This kind of misunderstanding why botanists have decided to use a worldwide Latin naming system for all plants.
Sorry for any confusion!
Monday, March 17, 2008
I thought I'd redo my sketch this week of the roses and river and put it on watercolor paper. It's done on a quarter-sheet of Arches 140#, Winsor-Newton paints ... it's larger than my scanner could encompass so this is a majority of the finish painting.
Back to work in a short while .. the weekends go by far too fast!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
The 'prize' for all of her hardwork is a trip for two and a week at a luxury resort in the Bahamas! This includes room, meals, spa, activities, pool, beach, all of that in the glorious sun .....
We both wish her dear husband could be home in time to enjoy this gift ...
Since it seems he will be out of the country a bit longer, Michelle has generously offered to take ME to the Bahamas with her!!!! I am over-the-top!
We'll leave late next month (after an insane month of obligations for both of us ) -- and fly out for some sun and 'girl' time --- We'll take her daughter with us too -- I am absolutely HONORED! And I have the utter privilege to share even more in her hard-earned award.
I decided I'd better practice my sea and palm tree sketching to ready myself for this unexpected, generous gift!
And I thank my dearest, sweetest daughter ... I am doubly proud and most humbly grateful for the trip .. but more ...for YOU, Michelle!
This week she received official word that because of her excellence in selling and being one of the top saleswomen in her company, she has been selected for the coveted "President's Award"!
And to make me even more proud, she also WON of the top "Sales Women" of the Year awards from her company.
(I 'think' I have these titles correct?) --
In any case -- she has won TWO awards for her outstanding saleswomanship ......!!!!!
I suppose the part that makes me utterly tear up -- is that she did all this while her husband is overseas serving our country and she, with a VERY active almost-two-year-old -- kept a magazine-beautiful home, her daughter in the most precious, IRONED and glorious clothes while the two of them played and learned TOGETHER each day, she visited places and people and family, is dedicated to her faith and church and family, and retains the most positive attitude I've ever seen.
Am I proud -- You betcha!
Congratulations, Michelle -- you deserve all the very best --- I am ever so proud of you!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
(WN paints, 140# cp Arches)
I can hardly believe that 1,000 days have passed since I began posting my work on Flickr ... I checked my blog yesterday (http://viewfromtheoak.blogspot.com) and realize that I posted there almost three months longer.
As we live the daily-ness of our lives, I'm grateful for this visual record of what we've been up to, a showing of the things, events, views, people, nature that we value, and, as importantly, the friends who have made that journey with us through their comments.
HAPPY 1,000TH BIRTHDAY ... and thank YOU for being such an important part of this journey!
Friday, March 14, 2008
While I had read something similiar recently, seeing her fine work, and the suggestion of my coworkers, prompted me to begin giving this idea a try as it relates to Arboretum gardens.
Last year, our newly installed perennial bed was still 'filling out' with the many flowers our students planted. I snapped some photos for our reference collection and this is my sketched attempt. From left to right are patches of pink/white gaura, verbena, ornamental grasses and cone flowers. One of the neighborhood churches takes center of interest in this view.
I see where there are some improvements needed in this rendition, but I think I'll
Thursday, March 13, 2008
This scene, done from a photo reference and in my Raffine sketchbook, gave me a fit last night! Sometimes I'm able to work easily with that 100# sketchbook paper -- other times, like last night, traditional watercolor paper methods such as I'd use for creating rippples in the water -- simply won't work and wind up messing up the scene. SIGH! But I preservered and kept 'adjusting' ...
I'd like to try this again on watercolor paper in a larger format ...
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Back at work and making the daylight savings adjustment to an hour less sleep -- ugh ....
Meanwhile, working a bit on North Carolina lighthouses for a WetCanvas invitation to paint ...
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
(I apologize for the photo -- I do miss my scanner!! LOL)
We spent the day shopping for my daughter's workclothes yesterday -- got in rather late ...so sketching while tired sure influences the outcome! LOL
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Hope the weekend is wonderful!! And .... we've had rain yesterday!! My newly installed rainbarrel is overflowing -- and there's a bit of water in our parched lakes ...!!! YAHOO!
Quarter sheet, Arches 140 CP, Winsor-Newton paints
Friday, March 07, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
We'll celebrate this weekend when I head back to South Carolina for another visit!
May this year be the very best, my dear heart!
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
There is a good chance I"ll have the fantastic opportunity of traveling to Tuscany with an admired art instructor next year -- my fingers, toes and all else are crossed!
Meantime, I thought I'd begin practicing some landscapes of those wondrous old hilltop towns, fields and narrow junipers ...
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
My reference photo (I live four hours from the lighthouse!!! LOL) showed a sunny summer day, so I thought, also fitting for our predicted showers today, to add a bit of a storm approaching.
I'd like to do this again on a larger sheet of paper so I can extend the lighthouse. I tend to be more relaxed about my daily practice sketching, and tend to freeze up a bit when I attempt a 'painting.' I'm going to have to think a bit of ways to change that!! LOL
Monday, March 03, 2008
C and I worked a bit outside trying to ready the grounds for the upcoming season --- we pruned a bit, C installed our much needed rain barrel, we trimmed the winter-dead blossom heads from some of the plants, cleaned out the bluebird house, and generally BEGAN the heavy process of winter clean-up. We have a lot of plans this spring for de-cluttering, general tidying-up, painting and more ... so my own pleasure painting will have to take a less prominent role in my weekends very soon.
Meantime, I'm working on a landscape that I've attempted twice now, with dreadful results --- I hear this is happening to a number of us --- maybe our muses are out getting ready for spring too? So here's the rose I painted Thursday -- trying for a delicate pink color. I do love roses -- they always remind me of my mom ...