Friday, December 30, 2011

Wintry Landscape

Wintry Landscape by linfrye
Wintry Landscape, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

9" x 12"
Arches 140#CP

I painted this wintry landscape before I left to be with my mom. I was playing with some of my friend Doris' techniques ( and this was the result. It wasn't what I had hoped to post at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, but it sort of fits with the experiences I've had this week with my mom's illness.

She's suffering from Parkinson's disease, had a bad fall, a hip replacement, infection. Her condition seemed to be improving, but the roller coaster ride we've been on this week continues, and the optimism we felt yesterday, has been dashed today.

If I can use this painting as an anology, my sisters and I stand in the foreground, aware of the snow and the trees and the winter, and mom, sadly, stands in the magical light away from us - much like the etheral forest of this painting. At times, she joins us, othertimes, she's across a chasm ...

It's mighty sad, depressing, frightening, for us ... and more ... for her. We all deeply appreciate your prayers thoughts, encouragement. We'll all need the strength to endure this until the end, whenever that comes.

We know that we are not alone in this kind of challenge as we watch our beloved parents age and decline, and we lose them bit by bit ... physically and mentally.

Thank you for your patience as my family and I work our way through this...

I'll come home in a few days time to pick up the threads of my own life and my sisters try to fit this new challenge into their daily routines. I imagine I'll be making more frequent visits to see my sisters and mom and lend what support, encouragement and relief I can.

It's going to be quite a different new year than we had hoped for ...

But we're strong, we've got some wonderful support, and like many others, we'll come through this ... and we thank you for being with us through the long, journey ahead.

May 2012 be bright and surprise us all with miracles!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Illness in Family - Back Soon - Foggy Night - Morning Moon

9" x 12"

My thanks to TT_Mac ( for inspiring this painting!!!! THANK YOU TT! Please stop by to see some incredible photographs from TT!

It's been a roller coaster of a holiday for us. We've had some incredibly joyful times with our grands and visits with family.

But my mom has been ill. Just before Christmas she had a fall, fracturing her hip and requiring a partial hip replacement. She was doing quite well in rehab, but then fell ill with an infection. Just before Christmas Day, her infection worsened and she was rushed to the hospital. For a few days, we weren't quite sure if she would recover.

As of last night, she seems to be making a bit of progress - though it's slow going. I'm heading out of town to visit her for several days and will be MIA.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers on my mom's behalf. At 88 years old, these set backs take a long time to work through.

Hope your holidays were joyous ...

Stay well!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


9" x 12"
Arches 140# CP


May you be filled with peace and blessings!!!

We are sharing this day with our grandchildren - and thus have returned to the wonder of children and the delight of the holiday.

We pray for those who are ill, sad, depressed, lonely....that the holiday season may fill them as well with hope and with love.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! by linfrye
Merry Christmas!, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

Quarter Sheet
Arches 140#CP

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...
Just like the ones I used to know ....
Where treetops glisten
And children listen
To hear
Sleighbells in the snow......."

Yes, my dream as well for that soft blanket of white that hushes the world and carpets it with a momentary innocence and a feeling of hope....

That white that casts an incredible shimmer of light when darkness falls

That white that seems to amplify the magic of the season.

Denis Collette recently posted a photograph that inspired this painting ( and it fed the dream of white Cristmases that I hold dear. Thank YOU, Denis, not only for permission to use your photo, but more for the inspiration that continues to feed this holiday season and the white Christmases I love. Blessings, my friend!

I wish each of you a most joyous, memorable, peace-filled holiday season. And may you be surrounded by love, family and friends, and all good things....

Buon Natale..........May the peace and joy of the season fill your homes and your hearts!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gold Ornament - "Celebration" - Thank you, Ronah! Merry Christmas!

1/8 Sheet
Arches 140#CP

This painting was inspired by a glorious photo taken by my dear friend, Ronah ( THANK YOU SO MUCH for the inspiration!!! Please stop by Ronah's flickr stream for some amazing and glorious works!

Today is the first day of winter .... the solstice has passed, and now, ever slowly by bits and bits of time, with each circle of the earth our days will begin to lengthen. I know, I know, it's hard to believe, when in the northern hemisphere, the cold, damp, freezing temperatures have really set in, and the deep dark of night seems longer than ever. A trick of perception perhaps ...the cold making those jet black nights seem longer than they are. For most of us, we'll rise in the dark, travel to work in the dark or just at daybreak, and end our workdays -- in the dark once again.

Another reason, I think, for the wonderful emphasis on "light" during this special season. The twinklings on the tree, starlight, candles in the windows, flames of fireplaces, Advent wreath candles, the shininess of gold and silver -- all offer that mystery and magic of light than can illuminate even the densest, deepest dark...

Let your light shine this holiday season! Let's make merry!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rainy Winter Day

Rainy Winter Day by linfrye
Rainy Winter Day, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

1/4 Sheet
Arches 140#CP

In the denser air of grey, brooding clouds
I smell the coming rain.
Muted autumn colors are saturated, yet
Dulled without sunlight’s bright touch.
There’s a somberness to this winter's day,
A foreshadowing of the season's advance, creeping
ever toward us
As the earth slides away from center.

We've seven days of rain predicted for this last of the pre-holiday weeks. It's warmed up again, with temperatures in the mid 60s - and tomorrow, we're to reach 70F! Though I welcome the warmth - I really dislike being cold - there's something un-Christmasy about it.

Each Christmas when I was a girl, my father, who also disliked the cold, used to take our family from the frigid, damp New York suburbs to the sunny, warm sands of Florida. We'd wake up Christmas morning to swim in the Atlantic, while we bathed ourselves in bright sunlight. After a week, we'd return with our holiday 'tans' ...

While it was fun and felt good to be warm in the middle of winter, the palm trees and Santas in airplanes instead of sleighs somehow made us long for snow and cold even more! (go figure! LOL)

I suppose I am still that little girl longing for 'chestnuts roasting, sleighbells and white Christmases' .... and if it's going to be damp and wet and grey, it'd be more enjoyable if it were white and snow! LOL Guess I'll be painting my own, this year!

Today is my last day at work before holiday break. Already the students have left for a couple of weeks and most of the staff and faculty will leave after this evening. The campus is quiet, and it's a good time to get a few of those 'never can get to' things accomplished.

Hope your day is terrific!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Pond

The Pond by linfrye
The Pond, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

The Pond

1/8 Sheet
Arches 140#CP

The cold has finally come - at least for a short while - but here in the piedmont of North Carolina, no ponds are frozen, and there is an unlikely chance that we'll have snow for Christmas. I suppose I'll just have to make my own -- on paper, at least! LOL

After such a party-filled workweek, it's been a far more quiet weekend. I've prepared our Christmas spaghetti sauce (traditional for our family) and a few other things, and all that remains is the cheesecake from my mom's recipe om and handed down to all her children and grandchildren.

We drove around a few towns last night to view the Christmas lights and beautifully decorated homes, a display of decorated and lighted tractors (so much a part of our rural life), big Santas and snowmen, Crèches, candles in windows, snowflakes -- a wonderland indeed.

What struck me most, I think, were the lights .....those bits of brightness against the mantle of black sky.

Each tiny bit of illumination seemed to defy the cold depth of the dark - offering a glimmer of optimism and promise against the deep vastness of space ...

Ancient peoples worshipped the light, the sun - and knew the power of a tiny spark, and how that one glowing ember could light the world. These days, with lights and warmth at our fingertips, we tend to take them all for granted...and forget the miracle that they are ....

But driving around in the cold, ebony evening, those bits of light glowed their messages of hope ..

And isn't that what this season is all about?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pink Poinsettias

Pink Poinsettias by linfrye
Pink Poinsettias, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

9" x 12"
Arches 140#CP

Poinsettias - the icon of the holidays! The greenhouse program at our college (run by Johnston County Mental Health as horticultural therapy) grows HUNDREDS of poinsettias each year. A walk through their greenhouses is a visual delight - poinsettias in all styles, colors, sizes - pink, speckled, ruffed, red, marbled and more!

I chose to paint PINK this year - perhaps influenced by the unseasonably warm weather we've been having. For our holiday parties yesterday - the temperature reached 70F!!!! And here we all were with Santa, jingle bells, bright red, holiday fashioned sweaters and scarfs! LOL

We had one wonderful, incredible day yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!! It began with our Plant a Row for the Hungry volunteer breakfast--- oh my gracious -- the tables were bowed with the bounty! Breakfast foods, candies, sweets, cookies, cakes, veggies, dips -- holy moly! What an AWESOME - and DELICIOUS feast!

And to add to the flavor -- these over-the-top generous individuals brought gifts -- for everyone! Wrapping paper was flying, gifts were admired, giggles drowned out the talking, the recipe books we put together were examined and ooohed and ahhhhed over! There was more food, calendars, ornaments, hugs, laughter...I tear up just thinking of the heart-filling JOY and friendship of this small group of women and men. But those hours together --THOSE to me, were the essential spirit of Christmas .... amplified by the smiles and good cheer of folks who thoroughly enjoy one another, the work they do, and the enthusiasm them demonstate! What a blessing!!

After eating more than any one wee, short woman should do, this delightful time was followed by our annual college luncheon ... another scrumptious feast! Every employee, staff, faculty, board of trustee member, past president, retiree, council member -- all squeezed into the auditorium lobby for some of the best holiday music performed by our chorus, mouth-watering food, laughter, years of service recognition and more. I was recognized for ten years of service yesterday - the time sure has gone by quickly! And more gifts - and at each table - a marvelous poinsettia! (I didn't win it - but it was great to SIT by the beauty!!! LOL)

By the time I got home last night and unpacked the car (truly loaded down like Santa's sleigh), find a place for everything, feed the cats and catch up on email and flickr ... it was after 11 pm ... and I turned in.

But the day replayed in my dreams last night...
As I lifted again a heart filled with thanksgiving .....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ice on the Lake - Thank YOU - Denis Collette

10" x 14"
Arches 140#CP

When the day begins with frost on my windshield, and the darkness of morning seems deeper and denser than any ink,
When day breaks with a mere changing of the grey,
and clouds gather even more closely,
When sound echos and arrows through the cold air
is a day that I so hope
for snow.

But here in the piedmont of North Carolina, even with days that begin with such promise, by afternoon that bright El Sol seems to win the battle of the sky, temperatures rise, and no snow falls.

But it is most often then, that my Northern friends on Flickr, provide just the inspiration to fill that longing -- and one of these dear hearts, Denis Collette inspired and filled me with joy with his image "Rivage sur glace...!!!" ( Thank you Denis -- not only for permitting me to use your photograph for this painting -- but for bringing me that longed for SNOW that sends my heart singing!!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Driving into work this morning, I saw a shooting star -- another rare event for me so made me smile!

We have our 'eat-a-thon' today - our volunteer brunch and our college annual Christmas luncheon ...The day will be filled with holiday music and laughter, the joy of folks coming to celebrate the season, and for those of us in higher education, the close of a fall semester. We are all ready for a small break.

There's no snow in the forecast for the next week - but I'll keep hoping. And thank Denis, and those of you who are fortunate enough to have some, for sharing that part of the season with me!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Swag

Christmas Swag by linfrye
Christmas Swag, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

9" x 12"
Arches 140#CP

Everywhere I go, the homes, rooms, restaurants, towns, buildings, stores, even PEOPLE - are bedecked for the holidays. Red and green are the predominant colors, and Christmas carols and music, specials on television and radio, have taken over the airwaves.

The newscasters give daily countdowns for the number of days until Christmas, and the lines at the Post Office and UPS stores are as long as those at the food kitchens.

The weather has turned cold - no snow predicted - yet (fingers crossed!) - and frosty mornings envelop the fields, and windshields need scrapping.

Work remains intense as the list of 'get done by this week' grows as long as those other lines. And in between the push for the year's closure, are the celebrations of food, gift exchanging, and visiting.

And all the while ...

I wish for snow

and that quiet cloaking,

so the frenzy of the season can slow a bit,

the white, peacefulness

still the racing and the madness,

and the world return to center.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunset - Thank you Taru!

Sunset - Thank you Taru! by linfrye
Sunset - Thank you Taru!, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

10" x 13"
Arches 140#CP


Day's end - the putting down of a rushed, intense busyness that marks this time of year. The last glimmers of an almost 'celebratory' completion of a day filled with cooking, wrapping, preparing, planning, and more cooking.

My Friday.

My Saturday.

And then -


That soul-lifting, heart-jumping joy of 'finished' - with a kitchen that still holds the aroma of the day's work. The amen and halleluhah of a good day of labor followed by sundown and the satisfaction of a long night's rest.


This painting began with a challenge posed by my friend Doris with permission from Taru to use her incredible capture ( to inspire a painting that both Doris ( and I would do. A most special thank you to Taru for the inspiration and the jaw-dropping beauty of her work! THANK YOU, Taru!! Please take a look at Taru's wonderful flickr stream! And check out Doris' alternative and spectacular approach! A really interesting aspect of imagery - to see the same scene through different eyes!

I began the painting after a two-day marathon of holiday baking and gift wrapping and completed the work yesterday. I took a more moody approach to the image, trying to capture that rosey, sienna light that marks the kind of sunsets I love best.

In writing my comments this early morning, with the last glint of moonlight in the west and the sunlight just rimming the east, the sense of celebration did indeed inspire the work ... as it truly marked the ending of two long, long days. It was indeed - my sunset - felt through every tired muscle! LOL I LOVE when life comes together like that!

Hope your Sunday is filled with celebration and all good things!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Winter's Coming Landscape - Thank YOU Andrey Salikov!

9" x12"
Arches 140#CP

One should be careful for what one wishes. Our warm weather has disappared, and the freezing morning temperatures have arrived! And though I throw on an additional article of clothing -- it FEELS more like the season -- and I can begin to ready for the holidays with a more spirited soul.

My thanks to Andrey Salikov for inspiring this painting! Thank you Andrey! Please see his awesome flickr stream! Andrey's view is of a frozen winter scene - and it looked so much like the view of my neighbor's farm that it begged to be painted! Thank you again, Andrey!

Here and there beech and oak leaves linger on the trees....but for the most part, the woodlands are bare save for the evergreens that seem to anchor the landscape. While the mornings are frigid, the afternoons warm to a wonderfully pleasant 50F to 60F. There is often fog in the morning, and often sunshine in the afternoons. Yesterday was one such marvelous day as we took our Plant a Row for the Hungry volunteers to see the Christmas decorations at our state's capitol and Governor's Mansion. What a treat!

There was a small crowd queing to go through the metal detectors before entering the stately home, but we moved quickly - and oh was it worth the wait! The main floor was decorated in high style - enormous Christmas trees from various North Carolina counties decked in different styles. Some were gold, some old-fashioned reds and greens, others, like the one tree in the sunroom and dedicated to our state's military, fashioned with children's drawings and ornaments in red, white and blue! Carolers were singing in one of the rooms and chandeliers, walls, doors, stairways were all swagged with our native greenery! Eye candy to be sure.

Our own wreath-making class the night before - see!/profile.php?id=100002973201572
made us even more aware of how rich our own woodlands and properties are for collecting an incredible variety of different greens and berries and using our native plants for decorations and wreaths.

We had a warm, talk-filled lunch, did a bit of holiday shopping, then returned to the college to finish out the day. A grand time for everyone - bringing this kindred group of generous volunteers even closer.

I got home late last night and began this weekend's busy commitments. Next week is the last workweek for most of our college employees (not me, sigh), and so it will be filled with gift exchanges, luncheons, and the like. I must have all my gifts, recipes, lunch items ready to take on Monday - so I'll be in the kitchen cooking, baking, and then wrapping and mailing gifts in order to get those delivered in time for Christmas. I won't have much painting time, but the house will smell divine! LOL

I hope your weekend is wonderful and filled with those memory-making scents of the holidays!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Rose Hips Redeaux

Rose Hips Redeaux by linfrye
Rose Hips Redeaux, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

9" x 12"
Arches 140#CP

Fickle weather this week -- for the last three days, we've had temps in the mid 70sF, sunshine and mild winds. The plants too are confused - and though they all need cutting back and readying for winter, here and there these same plants are sending up new shoots and blossoms!! YIKES! We have a cold front moving in tonight with rain and cooler temperatures -- and though I am the LAST one who wants to see -- or feel -- the cold - this lingering heat spell just seems out of season!

I suppose it's where one spends most of his or her time that determines what 'feels' like a normal seasonal weather. Growing up on the East Coast of the US, I'm used to four pretty distinct seasons -- winter, spring, summer, fall. Even when I moved to the South, I could still have a winter season -- milder and shorter, perhaps, but a winter - cold, grey, wet, and snow every once in a while. I like this sort of weather -- albeit for a short time -- but enough to be called 'winter.'

Winter for me is a calming and slowing down, a contemplative period when the sun doesn't quite beckon me out of doors, when the plants and animals can be left to slumber and hibernate -- and in a way -- so can I. Winter for me is a time of planning, a time to consider the year and activities ahead. And even though at work we hold classes all winter long, that frenzied feeling of spring and summer activities just isn't there. Quite truthfully, I need a bit of winter to recuperate from the activities of the past year, and rest up for those to come -- don't you? Right now, I am longing for fireside cups of coffee, cuddling up with a good book, retreating to my art table for more than a few minutes at a time... and winter seems to provide just the 'excuse' I need to do these things -- bring it on! (ahem ... but only for a short while doesn't take me long to miss the sun!! LOL)

So that brings us to rose hips. There are still some lingering on the bushes ... provider of vitamin C, bright berries for the birds, and wonderful color amid all the sere foliage. I painted this view of rose hips a while back and the painting found its way to a new home. I enjoyed painting it and so, with warm weather still around me, I repainted the view .... adding a bit more leaves ....perhaps my bit of a nod to the unseasonable weather ... and making the painting as bright as the sun has been this week.

Today we make our wreaths. The workshop has been sold out for weeks and we've a full house. I'll be glad for cooler weather coming later this week - it will help keep our fresh greens brighter and longer lasting. AND it will feel more like winter...!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Holly - Time to Gather the Greens

9" x 12"
Arches 140#CP

Already the first days of December are behind us, and the days seem to shorten as cold returns and daylight disappears. It's after 7:00 am Eastern Standard Time before the first glimmer of sunlight breaks the cloak of dark and merely 4:00 pm EST when the sun begins its decent and evening begins to creep back. Add to this scant bit of 'day' the hustle and rush of the season.... the frenzy of preparations, decorations, purchasing, cooking, finishing up, closingup of the year ... and the days collapse into seemingly mere moments of time.

While it's true that daylight is shortening with the winter solstice is only weeks away, it seems that the FEEL of time is shortening as well. I took an incredible Anthropology class when I was an undergraduate - "The Reckoning of Time" - and how different cultures around the world sense and calculate time. Fascinating. And there's that marvel of a book "Einstein's Dreams' by Alan Lightman where ever few pages, time is being lived in different ways -- like we do - from past to future, or perhaps like in the movie Ground Hog Day - repetitive, etc. etc. Again -- fascinating and imaginative.

But think about it ... each of us lives the same 24 hours - but does every day FEEL the same way? For me, when I'm sad or disappointed, the same hour seems to DRAG and the clock click so v e r y s l o w l y. But when I'm in the flow of painting ... the same hour FLIES by! So .. time... and its reconing .. and its FEEL.

All this to say - it's that holiday "time"....

And for me it's marked with evergreens and berries. My holly trees are chockful of bright red berries and the shiny, pointed, prickly leaves that seem to mark the season. Today we 'gather in the greens' - holly, red cedar, wax myrtle, pine, cryptomeria, juniper, spruce, fir, boxwood, magnolia, ivy, hemlock, bay, boxwood, arborvitae, and pods, cones and berries such as pyracantha and holly berries, and more as we prepare for our wreath making class on Wednesday.

The time will fly as we stalk the woodlands and gardens seeking those plants that will decorate our doors. We'll be noting the wonderful fragrance of the evergreens and the bright berries that will brighten our eyes (and wreaths) with joyful color.

'Tis the season -- and time to gather the greens! But hurry --- time is aflyin'!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Winter in the Country

Winter in the Country by linfrye
Winter in the Country, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

9" x 12"
Arches 140#CP

Nope, still no snow -- but THINKING about it as the holidays approach.

The cold welcomes me each morning, and though the temps rise nicely during the day, by 4:00 pm, the cold returns - seemingly even more frosty than the morning with the sudden drop. Still, I favor a bit of cooling these days, as it seems more 'holiday-ish.' I find it difficult to sing Christmas carols when I'm in short sleeves and flip-flops! So, I dream of snow, and imagine that the morning frost is really an inch or two of the white stuff, and the fleeting frozen dew stays on the ground long enough to create a winter wonderland. And what's even more fun ..... as picture-makers -- we can paint what our hearts see ... and not just our eyes! LOL

We begin our holiday cooking today as well, and a bit of decorating. My chores, except a few for work, are about done, and so the weekend can be filled with holiday preparations.

The sun is shining, the frost is quickly disappearing, and the clock is moving swiftly ....

Hope your day and weekend are wonderful.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Pair of Teasels

Pair of  Teasels by linfrye
Pair of Teasels, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

1/8 Sheet
Arches 140#CP

"The color, we say, is gone, remembering vivid October and verdant May. What we really mean is that the spectacular color has passed and we now have the quiet tones of Winter around us, the browns, the tans, a narrower range of greens, with only an occasional accent in the lingering Winter berries. But the color really isn't gone. The meadow is sere tan....the bronze curve of the goldenrod...the cinnamon seed head of the pungent bee balm....the white parentheses of the stark birches...bronze tuffs of one-winged seeds...of the box elder..." (Hal Borland - 'Sundial of the Seasons'

One of my most influencial nature writers - Hal Borland - was once a columnist for the New York Times. He died in 1978, so his books and words have been keeping me company and helping me 'see' the world around me for many, many years.

I like to start my day (when I'm home) with one of his 'journal' entries, In his book 'Sundial of the Seasons' these entries are daily and mark the progression of the seasons day by day as he saw them in his Northeastern home. Some days, like today, his sentiments echo the words I'm searching for, the observations I too have made - his pen far more eloquent than my own.

When I finish one of Hal's passages, I find myself a bit more aware of the world around me, better able to approach a new artwork with a heightened sense of 'seeing.'

Do you have books or music or words to inspire your paintings and creative work? I'd love to hear them ....

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Fall Flowers - Almost All Gone

9" x 12"
Arches 140#CP

December 1 -- and yet here and there in my own garden and at the Arboretum, I can find flowers that have not yet succumbed to the frost and cold. A few knock-out roses, some of my red verbena, clematis, and here and there, since it has been so warm during the day -- a few IRIS have been fooled into blooming!

These fall flowers were painted more in memory than in reality - as all of my daisylike flowers are slumbering for the winter. I wanted to paint something somewhat soft while using my splash and splatter approach. These remind me of some of those wonderful Thanksgiving bouquets that bright such cheer to the season.

Our soap crafting class was a BLAST! Oh my gracious -- so much going on - great creations, wonderful scents, herbs, ideas, and everyone went home with gifts for the holiday. We've been asked to hold another class so we'll probably do that in January. It was a late night, as expected, and so I'll be dragging as we weed the Plant a Row beds this morning and collect more of our cole crops for the hungry.

Hope your day is terrific!