Sunday, January 31, 2010
BRRRRRRRRRRRR! The snow finished falling yesterday, and the extremely cold temperatures have frozen the mounds in place. We have yet to make it to the garage - 10 feet from the house -- to reach the snow shovel. The steps are a solid mass of 8" ice ... and from the looks of things on the front porch, the cats didn't make it much further than below the steps. The sun never made it out yestersday, but as I'm typing, the first rays of yellow are making their way above the treeline. But it's mighty cold.
We're grateful to still have power - and so we've been snuggly warm and using the housebound time to acquaint ourselves with the new computer, cook, rest, and basically use the day as a 'found object' to truly do very little. I managed to paint this from a photo I took through the upstairs window early yesterday morning.
We've yet to see a car go by on the road, and since we live on a private street, there is no plowing of it unless we do it. I suppose today will be the day we attempt to shovel ourselves out. From the news last night, most everything is shut down - stores, many churches, airport, buses. Major roads have been plowed and salted, but since we live 15 miles from a major road, it's a 'do-it'yourself' with the neighbors kind of thing for us.
The storm kept us once more from our scheduled trip to visit my daughter for my granddaughter's first birthday -- and an exchange of Christmas gifts (that trip rescheduled due to a death in the family).... at the rate we're going, we'll have Christmas in July to be sure! LOL
Stay warm and safe whever you are!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Oh my -- it is SNOWING! And sleeting! We have six inches already and the falling sleet/snow mix is weighing down the trees. What I can see in the dark are my wax myrtles beside my back porch bend double over the steps .... The storm is still upon us and I'm hoping our power remains on! It's mighty cold.
This cottage was painted from a photo... the porch is falling down, and yet folks are living there, a fire warming them in the snow. I added the haybales ...
I must apologize for not doing this earlier --
I am wishing Bev a belated happy birthday!!! I am so sorry I missed your birthday last week Bev ... and so today, with snow at hand and all around (reminding me of your homeland!!) - I hope you and yours are warm and cozy -and that your birthday was most joy-filled and as wonderful as you!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEV!
I'll be taking pix once the light emerges through the storm ....
Stay warm and safe!
Friday, January 29, 2010
After leaving the office the other night, I was struck by the way the pink glow of clouds streamed across the evening's sky giving the entire ride to my friend's a wonderful 'pink' blush. I passed this small pond en route, and tried to recreate it from memory that night.
I had such a wonderful, incredible surprise last night when I got home! When I arrive home from out of town, it often takes me 30-60 minutes to unpack the car, load the week's laundry, wash the dishes I've brought back, organize my mail, and as the last thing, bring my art supplies upstairs to restock for another week.
When I got upstairs, I placed some work related files on my desk to work at home should we be snowed in. When I reached my desk, there were papers and wires and files and all manners of things lying around. Now, I have to admit that I was mighty tired -- it was a trying week at best. C came upstairs and insisted that I sit at the desk. Still a bit bewildered, he pointed to a screen in front of me .... and THEN I gasped! There's a wide-screen monitor, none of the old paraphemalia that WAS sitting in that spot -- a sleek, slim screen and keyboard. That incredibly generous and kind husband of mine, all the time I was gone, was working in a fever to set up a new computer he had gotten me!
Needless to say, my jaw dropped along with my tears! And even as I'm typing this, I am still in shock and wonder and misty-eyed. When I looked at C all he would say was how important he knew my flickr friends were to me, how much this 'connection' made me happy, and he didn't want me to fret another day from more frustration. My gracious.
We spent most of the rest of the night uploading things, checking the odds and ends of new computers and still have a few bits to work thru. The new printer/scanner he ALSO surprised me with arrives today ....
I don't know when such kindness has touched me more. I am truly overwhelmed ... and for a change, truly speechless.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Decided to do a bit of meditative painting last night and returned to a photo I've used before that reminds me of Italy every time I see it. This branch of olives brings me right back to that incredible grove of olive trees in Tuscany, walking under their gnarled branches, inhaling the sweet scent of early spring flowers that would, by fall, produce the fruits we all love.
It'll be another mad dash of meetings today with abrupt weather changes forecast. We're promised temps in the 60sF today with frigid temps to resume tomorrow and this weekend, and snow, ice, sleet and rain promised. North Carolina 'snows' often are the worst following days of warm weather. Again the old prediction of 'thunder in the winter means snow ten days later' seems to be holding true -- again.
In the meantime, I think I'll take a walk outdoors while I can ... and get to the grocery store before the crowds!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Just for fun, I painted this rural snow scene with WARM colors -- and the effect is so different from yesterday's cold-looking scene. Again, I am amazed at the FEEL different hues produce ... This could be North Carolina with with its sienna weeds and pastures and warmer-looking blue sky -- even in the cold weather and the snow. I really want to remember this lesson! LOL
It's been a week of back to back meetings and preparations for classes .. which means the everyday workload is compressed ... I've got to clear my desk for the next wave ... so I"m dashing ....
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
No -- no snow -- yet. But falling temperatures, rain, and winter settling in. In fact, we may get a dusting this weekend.
This scene is from a photo I took last summer of out buildings on a farm near my home. The photo shows goldenrod along the fence posts, bright green grass and tawny fields. I used my imagination to change the 'season' of this photo and tried to imagine what it would look like in the coldest part of winter covered in snow.
It amazes me how powerful colors are -- looking at this in the glow of bright office light (versus more subdued lighting at my friend's), the greens and purply blues really make this feel COLD! I painted another snow scene this weekend using different colors - and mercy, it was so much warmer.
I suppose I've known this aspect of color and have used it in my paintings before. But it seems snow scenes especially, perhaps with their white starkness, really brought that home to me.
Thank you for your kind comments about both my recent paintings and my computer. You have no idea how much they've cheered me during a most frustrating time! More bad news, however on the IT front. The computer keeps crashing - despite all attempts at resuscitation. One more attempt at salvation tonight .. and if that fails .. it's computer shopping and draining my bank account. SIGH. As Sue has so expertly said earlier, the computer is definitely my workhorse and my 'connecton' to family and friends I love and admire, inspiration and learning, and yes, work. So at least I have a day or so to 'bite the bullet' and wrap my mind around the possibility.
It's a busy week here at the office -- meetings and classes and planting seeds in a wonderfully warm greenhouse. Some of the plants from last semester's propagation class are really taking hold, and I saw a beautiful purple iris in bloom .... what a cheer!
Take care today!
Monday, January 25, 2010
We had a few errands to run yesterday, and this is what we saw -- rain clouds gathering, wet, damp earth, greens of pine and bare hardwoods. Patches of faded pastures between the hills, and the ominous skies.
It's very challenging to check the correct color and intensity of my painting on my husband's computer screen ... in real life this is probably somewhat darker than I'm seeing this morning as I post it. I had my own computer balanced so that I could replicate the original pretty closely ... so I apologize for any off-colors or intensities!
The heaviest of the rains awoke me at 1:00 am this morning, and now at 5:00, it sounds as though we've a break in the worst of it. Still, we are promised more rain throughout the day. It'll be a long drive to work.
Still no computers. IT identified a hardware problem in one of my drives and had to redo all installations -- sigh. I do tend to wear out a computer! LOL
Stay safe today -- the storms are fierce!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
My granddaughter turns one today -- HAPPY BIRTHDAY RILEY! Already, this wee redhead is walking and following her sister around the house - trying to keep up! We'll be celebrating her birth next week!
The darkness of the early morning bespeaks that the rain has arrived and the grey will be with us today and most likely tomorrow. I painted this last night as the last rays of the sun brightened the coming evening and rain was merely in the forecast.
Still, no computers. The IT fellow was working on them yesterday afternoon, so I'll check this morning for their readiness. Next weekend is mighty busy so I'm hoping we'll get them with enough time today to insure they're working correctly.
We'll miss that bright sundown today ...I'm finding that I'm definitely needing the sunshine this winter! Have a great day!
Saturday, January 23, 2010
We've patched a bit of an 'almost-working' system ... not sure how long this will last, but for now, it's working and I feel like I can inhale for a wee bit the inspiration I always find on Flickr.
We dropped off our two computers and several program discs to my son's computer wizard friend. He wasn't sure when we'd get them back, but hopefully sometime today. He's a good 45 minutes away and I felt like I was dropping off my children ... man, this computer addition is real! LOL
Despite the computer angst, cold, rain, and fatigue, I took the invitation of a friend to paint together yesterday morning. It was just what the doctor ordered! We chatted and laughted and had lunch and have set a few more get together dates to keep up our artistic spirits and creativitity.
We worked on these grapes ... a class we both took last November when Karlyn Holman was in the area. We laughed and giggled and shared stories. WONDERFUL TIME!
I was able to use my camera to get an image that, at least on this computer, seems close to the original.
The sun has come out at last -- but only for today. We're in for more rain tomorrow ... I wish it were snow!
Fingers and toes crosssed for my computers!!!!
Friday, January 22, 2010
It's been a busy time here - and my computer and scanner have given up the fight. I hope to get both to the IT doctor today so it looks like I'll be off line until things are repaired. I have limited access on my phone and a bit more with my husband's computer -- but we need to get some programs added to that machine as well.
It's raining and much colder -- a good day to paint ...
Have a super weekend - I'll be back as repairs are completed ..... I really HATE IT issues!! LOL
Thursday, January 21, 2010
No, I didn't paint this last night. It was after 9:30 pm by the time everyone left the workshop and I drove to my friend's for the night. I was able to manage 15 minutes on a landscape between curriculum classes, the greenhouse and visitors and then the soap class. We got some of our seeds planted, but we'll be back in the greenhouse on Monday.
This wee cottage sits across from a churchyard en route to our home. I've given it a red roof, though the roof color in real life is hard to discern since the building looks as though it's been sitting on the property for years. It's surrounded by farmland and a bit of woods, and I love seeing the evidence here of earlier times.
We're in for a few days of rain and a quiet weekend.
Hope your day goes well!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Ah, another day of gloriously warm weather - low 60sF ....sunshine ... makes one dream of spring and Italy -- and here, France.
I am enjoying Allan's step-by-step lessons (http://www.stepbystepwatercolour.com/sbsinter.html) .. especially as they are helping me learn a bit more about simplifying a scene. I am learning a bit more about simplifying more urban scenes, especially a complex village scene such as this. So thank you, Allan!
I couldn't get my colors quite right on my computer screen this morning .. the front foliage and the wall have more blue in them than I see as I'm typing this ...
It'll be a late night tonight. We've an herbal soap class I"m teaching and those usually go on until close to 10 pm ... I'll be needing infusions of coffee tomorrow morning!
Temps are also changing. By morning, we're supposed to have frost again as well as rain. But today, we plant seeds in the greenhouse -- so we'll have a small taste of 'spring' as soon as those wee plantings germinate.
Have a great day!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The warming trend we're experiencing for the next few days, sandwiched between the blasts of bitter winds and cold, reminded me of our trip to Sicily almost five years ago. This view of our part of the original hotel was on the side of the newly built, far more modern structure, was in Marsala. We so much more preferred the older side of the hotel with its plantings of olive trees, geraniums, Bougainvillea, and other bright plants all scattered among the luffa stones ...
I so hope to return to Italy next year. My memories of warmth, incredible light, food and people, make me homesick to return!
But, for now, it's a return to work and an exceptionally busy week with formal classes, herbal soap crafting classes, and preparing for the Gardening 101 class we are offering. It seems there are a lot of 'new' gardeners in the area, and even more wishing to grow their own vegetables this year. It'll be fun to share some tips and experiences with them as we all begin the preparations of our spring gardens.
Have a great day!
Monday, January 18, 2010
What a rain-filled day yesterday! Gray skies, warm temps, and constant, heavy rain. We spend the day indoors and I had a chance to rest and paint. The week's activities and long drives made me appreciate the restive time.
My sweet husband set up another work station for me with HIS computer and printer, attached my scanner and other computer needs so that I could continue to work until my own computer gets repaired later this week. Made me cry with his kindness.
Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Day and our school is closed in his honor. There will be parades and speeches as we remember his message of freedom.
May we all take those words to heart and honor one another with the respect and kindness we wish to be shown ourselves.
From his most famous speech:
"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
Each of us have a dream ...let us work together to make all our dreams a reality. Let freedom, in all its manifestations, ring ...
Sunday, January 17, 2010
It's warmed up - but raining, and raining, and raining. As I look out my window now, the rain is coming down in torrents, and even the front porch, protected by an overhang, is soaking wet.
This image is based on a photo taken by my dear friend Guy (http://www.flickr.com/photos/10422334@N08/). His photographs never fail to inspire me! Thank you, Guy!
The conference was terrific, but I am so glad to be off the road. I hope to rest some today - it's been a mighty long week.
My computer crashed yesterday morning and a good friend of my son's spent most of the night with us reinstalling programs. It's still crashing on me, so I hope he'll have the time to come back and fine tune things. Mercy ....
Thank you all for your most kind comments yesterday! And I sincerely hope you have a great day today! If I'm absent a bit, know it's computer issues.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
This is another lesson offered by Allan Kirk (http://www.tarnincolour.com/sbsnew.html). If you check his website, he's offering some wonderful images of France and a method of paint application that is quite fun.
I had to bring my car for its scheduled service yesterday, and the kind folks at Toyota allowed me to use one of their desks so I could paint! Wonderful people, good service, and I was able to use the time well!
We're off to the last day of the conference, so I'll catch up with everyone tonight.
Temperatures were in the 60sF yesterday -- and we're in for a bit more of the warm weather today. It was so nice to shed the down jacket for a bit!
Have a great day!
Friday, January 15, 2010
I have been home long enough to be able to watch the news. My heart breaks for the tragedy, terror, catastrophe and sadness experienced by those in Haiti. Today, three days after the horrific earthquake, worldwide relief efforts and assistance are working to make order, feed, shelter and doctor those in a most confusing and urgent situation.
May we do all we can to add to these heroic efforts with our prayers, thoughts, and whatever assistance we can give.
I pray for life-giving mercy
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I got home late last night -- conference going well, and I'm dashing back this morning. It's a two-hour drive both ways, which makes it a mighty long day indeed.
I was leafing through my photo references and ran across this one. It's not a subject I paint very often, but I thought I'd give it a try. I'm happy with my rocks and building, but I'd like to practice oceans a bit more. The reference photo contained a 'splashier' water -- but in the interest of time and fatigue, I settled for a quieter 'splash'....! LOL
Have a great day!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
This is from a lesson from Allen Kirk (http://www.tarnincolour.com/sbsnew.html) . I've had several of his PDF lessons for over a year, but came across this one yesterday and knew I had to try it. The scene reminds me of Italy with the warmth of the sun and hillside with its small cluster of buildings. It fit my need to keep warm after our temperatures never made it out of the low 40s!
I'm off to an out of town conference for the rest of the week, so I won't have access to the 'Net until late tonight. I'll do my best to catch up on Friday.
Meantime -- stay warm and have a great day!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
It's warming up!! I left the house this morning and I wasn't even shivering on the walk to the car! It's in the mid-30s and going to warm this week to the 50s! WOW!
Classes got off to a good start, and we're off to a conference for the rest of the week. Today we finalize things before being out of the office for the week -- so I'll be in an out ...
Hope your day is grand!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
What a long day ....! Good class and a lot of fun with Nick. We'd never been to this new playhouse -- and it was enormous! We all arrived around 5:30 pm last night (me straight from work) - and the first thing to greet us was the noise! LOL Video games, a HUMONGEOUS play gym that reached 20 feet to the ceiling that Emily and Nick could about get lost in, a 'drop zone' like those at the fair, lazer tag and more. The bumper and go carts were outdoors, but with temps in the 20sF we didn't venture outside.
Still my sweet son INSISTED I do the 'drop' with Emily and Nick -- mind you, I NEVER go on roller coasters nor do any kind of 'rides.' I LOVE the quiet places .......!!!! Anyway, Nick grabbed my hand and said with those enormous birthday blue eyes "Nonna, come with me" ... and well, what would YOU do?! So 'DROP' I did ....whew! Thank Heavens I kept my dinner down!
Then, my sweet son insisted that I join Emily and Nick on some fantasy ride where you're buckled in a small vessel watching some 3-D movie while it bucks and kicks and you FEEL like you're on that roller coaster I avoid at all costs... and after that, when I finally got OUT of it and my knees were shaking ... we played calmer games the rest of the night!
After teaching all day and being frightened all night, is it any wonder I needed something calming?! LOLOLOL
Anyway, it was fun, and the grands had a ball ... and I'm thankful I made it through with only screams of fright for the kids to laugh at! LOL
Have a great day! Me, I'm resting!
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Jona and I met on the Internet a few years ago -- she in Slovenia, me in North Carolina -- but the artwork we were learning spoke us and we chatted back and forth. We found we both loved Italy and she was kind enough to send me some of her photos of Italy to use for painting references. Last May when I returned to Italy, we met in person, and together explored parts of Venice that were so much fun and since she spoke the language, we could have better access. Such a talented young woman - she paints, speaks several languages, and is so much FUN! And her Italian helped the art group we were with get through some confusing situations!
I was browsing the Wetcanvas reference library and saw this photo of Slovenia - and I immediately thought of Jona. She's told us how beautiful her small country is -and I can see through this one photograph, that it must be an absolutely marvelous place!
So Jona - it's under 20F right now, and I"m thinking of warm Italy and our time there, and hope you like this bit of Slovenia..................
I'm off to work and will be teaching all day. Tonight we celebrate my grandson's fifth birthday at an indoor fun park .... so I'll be gone until late tonight. Stay warm.... and I hope to catch up tomorrow!
Here's to warm places ...!
Friday, January 08, 2010
Stay warm, and please, stay safe.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
It warmed to 30F yesterday, a virtual heat wave since this bitter cold has arrived. But that will feel balmy this weekend as we plummet again into the teens. Tonight, we're promised a dusting of snow, which for us, means resultant ice, which means traffic nightmares. Mercy.
We continue readying for classes - all begin today. Today too is my grandson's birthday -- HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY NICK! Gracious how the time goes by far too quickly.
Stay warm everyone -- the entire US is under a deep freeze ...
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
I painted this while I was home over the holidays - my initial attempt to put more light in my florals and work toward more lost and found edges. I don't think it worked as well as the tulips, but I like it for its winter look - as though the holly were under snow or ice ....
Which, truthfully, could happen tomorrow night. This painting was done from a branch of holly off one of the trees on our property. It's covered with berries and the birds are enjoying them especially during these frigid days when food (and warmth) is scarce. I can't imagine how those tiny, wee birds generate sufficient heat to help them through such icy nights and day ... miraculous.
Busy time at work, and late evenings. Classes start tomorrow and there's much to prepare ...
Have a great day -- stay warm!
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Returning to work and returning to the routine of being out of town sure makes a difference in what one can do in an evening with limited light, space, and equipment. I got to my friend's house yesterday and we caught up with holidays and work obligations ... by then, painting inspiration had fled, and so I borrowed one of her small creamers to get in my daily practice.
It was a good thing for me, though ... It's been a while since I worked on my drawing accuracy and the creation of simple shapes and forms. I may have to dedicate the rest of the week to sketching practice ....
Today is registration and I have back to back students from early morning until late tonight ... Maybe 'tomorrow' I'll catch up! LOL Look at this, second day at work and already behind! SIGH ...!!!!
Have a great one -- STAY WARM!
Monday, January 04, 2010
Last week, just as the sun was getting ready to set, C and I drove to see the property that was just cleared and some of the uncovered old farm buildings. Behind the downed trees, scrub and weeds, sat this old barn. The entire site was bathed in the pink glow of sunset, giving an almost dreamlike quality to the scene.
As many farms are abandoned and even more farm buildings lose their purpose, I so hope to capture them in photos and in watercolor before they all return to the good earth. There are several more structures on this same property...but to capture them, I need to walk the area to get around much of the vegetation. Perhaps I'll get a chance when the weather warms.
For now it's single digits and frozen water bowls and the heater running full blast. I return to work today for an all day conference, then all day registration tomorrow. I hope to catch up with everyone later this week.
As grade schools reopen as well, it'll be back to routine ... I wish everyone a safe return and a most warm one!
Sunday, January 03, 2010
IT IS SO COLD HERE! BRRRRR!! Single digit temperatures have frozen so much around me ... our ponds, the water bowl for the cats, the early morning dew ... snow still eludes us, but we have a slight chance of some later this week...
Cold confines me as well... I truly have an intolerance for low temperatures and find body parts numbing even with layers of clothing, hat, gloves and the like. BRRR... When I get too cold, even with a fire burning, I get on my treadmill for a mile or two to warm up ....hmmm.... winter's push toward exercise!
This painting was inspired by a photo and my imagination... I'm finding myself doing more and more paintings from my imagination ..... taking scenes I've viewed from my travels and working them into a painting. I couldn't do this before a few months ago ... for instance, the color of the house reminds me of the color of the bricks of a church near the Arboretum, the mountains are definitely made up, and the trees are those I pass along my own roadsides.
Today is the last day of holiday break. January is incredibly busy with school registration, classes starting, a conference, and working two out of four weekends. It's been sheer grace to be home for two weeks ...and though I haven't completed all my reorganizing, the three boxes of books I donated to the library yesterday felt good and the recipients were thrilled. I've much more to do .... but progress will be slower.
Stay warm today ... and enjoy the last bit of the holiday.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
* Work more expressively
* Leave more white space
* Retain looser look - more wet in wet
* Add people to my landscapes
* Learn new techniques
I have been extremely influenced by the work of Heather Withers (http://www.heatherwithers.com/) and hope to learn more of how she achieves such light in her work.
This is my second attempt and I like it better than my first.
I've not quite achieved that 'flow' I'm hunting for -- but I think I'm getting closer.
I return to work on Monday which means experimentation will have to wait until weekends -- and those weekends I"m not working ...but I look forward to seeing how these new ideas will influence my own paintings.
It's turned bitter cold here .. and we've a week of frigid weather ... mercy, if it's going to be so cold, let it snow! Meanwhile, I'll warm myself with spring and summer flowers ... and look for snowflakes!
Have a great day!
Friday, January 01, 2010
I prefer to see snow today, and so I've painted my New Year in Winter White. I left the painting predominently open … like the New Year ahead …
the sun with its promise,
the snow with its purity,
the path untrodden, ready for our footsteps …
the sunshine and the future…
moving us ever forward ….
on the path of our journey….
On the path of our lives.
May 2010 be filled with all the joy, love, peace, prosperity and creativity one can ever hope for ….
And I pray that I’ll see you often … on the path … moving forward …
HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR! MAY IT BE WONDROUS!