10" x 14" Watercolor
Retirement has been a busy time for me - a lot to catch up with after 11 years on the road, and I'm thoroughly enjoying my time!!! But sometimes in all this catching up, cleaning, changing, organizing, I long for a bit of timelessness.
It was in such a moment that this photo www.flickr.com/photos/dubonnet/7251639712 stopped me in my tracks, and brought me right to that quiet space of contemplation and dreaminess.
With Sharon's gracious permission, I created this interpretation of Sharon's beautiful plum blossoms. As I painted, I was transported from the heat-filled, sagging heat of summer, to the fresh, new, potentiality-filled moments of spring ... a time both refreshing, and rich with the season''s promises ahead. I used Unryu paper and watercolor to highlight the 'dreaminess' of the image that inspired me. Thank you, Sharon, for your kindness once again. (Please take a moment to visit Sharon's flickr stream to view some awesome work!!)
I spent the day with a friend yesterday making peach jam -- the first jam of the season - and luscious it was! We had a light lunch and hours of wonderful sharing and companionship. Afterwards I returned phone calls and began arrangements for teaching various classes in the fall. I'm excited about this opportunity to share with my 'home' community and begin to build new relationships.
I'll be off-line most of week and weekend as I'm planning to visit my sisters and Mom and computer time will be limited.
Hope your week is wonderful!
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
10" x 14" Watercolor
Sunday, July 29, 2012
10 1/4" x 14"
The bright, hot, HOT days continue, and though we've have rain accompanying the afternoon storms, the weather continues to be extraordinarilly hot, and I seem to gravitate to the coolness of blue. There's something mighty refreshing these days in that color - and I find myself looking for ways to wear it, paint it, or BE in it! Since I can't get to the beach, river, beach or marsh just yet, I'll have to settle on wearing it and painting it! LOL
We visited the farmer's market yesterday --- what fun! We got there early (to avoid the heat) - and despite the fierce sunshine, there were six different musical set-ups - all adding wonderful notes to the festivities. Vegetables were overflowing the bins (despite the drought!), fruits of all kinds, organic meats, flowers to delight the senses, a crowd that was laughing and happy-- an all together FUN event!
We brought home some fresh pork for lunch today, speckled butterbeans (YUM), pounds of tomatoes - rich, ripe, juicy -- some for sandwiches and most for drying for winter use, and the most wonderful bouquet of variously hued sunflowers. (More on that after I get those painted. I think the sunflowers are going to be a series! LOL)
We had an early lunch at a little cafe and by the time we left (around 12:15 pm) - there was a line out the door! So glad we got through early!
By then, both C and I were growing overly warm and called it a day. At home, cooled by blessed air conditioning, I sliced the tomatoes for the dehydrator, painted a bit, and readied a meal for company tomorrow. We even had a chance to watch a bit of the Olymics!
Today we rest, walk a bit and prepare for a busy week. I'm planning a visit to see my mom and sisters so I'll have limited posting time ...
Hope you have a cool, refreshing Sunday!
Friday, July 27, 2012
10 1/4" x 14" Watercolor
Hot days, hot nights, hot flowers!
There aren't many plants that have been able to survive and still look perky after weeks and weeks of 90F-100F temperatures. The unrelenting heat continues and today our heat index will reach 110F ... sweltering. So though the sunflowers are still living, I've painted these far 'perkier' than they are in reality.
The bloom time of most all of my flowers has also shortened, and already seeds are forming on my coneflowers and gailardias and rudbeckias ...the natural response, I would suppose, to so much heat stress: bloom, pollinate, form the next generation. I'll have to begin seed harvesting this week ....
The birds have already begun to peck at the seedheads, and I feel for the hummingbirds who are looking for some nectar -- there just isn't a lot of it in flower production these days.
I've also begun to notice more tree leaves dropping and turning yellow - yes, a bit early for fall, and definitely a result of summer's intensity.
I'll be doing a bit more hibernating until the we have a break in the weather ....
Meantime -- stay cool!
Friday, July 20, 2012
10 1/4" x 14"
Despite the heat and lack of rain, these bright, over 5-foot tall blooms of the Queen Anne's Lace are softening my 'wild' flower garden with white doily-like blossoms. The flat-umbled clusters of florets are a bee-favorite, and when I am outdoors I can hear their constant buzzing as they pollinate my plants for next year's floral display.
I am so thrilled to finally have QAL in my garden! Late last summer, I stopped along the roadsides and clipped the clusters of ecru/tan seedheads from the masses I saw. I strew these seeds everywhere in my garden -- didn't scratch them into the surface at all -- but merely tossed them hither and yon. Early this spring, I noticed their delicate leaves, and as the season progressed, the plants became more numerous. With the early rains we had, these beauties grew and grew until now they are taller than I am. I'll do the same seed collecting this year, and toss the seeds over more garden areas. I really love how their white airy blossoms 'lighten' up all the purple cone flowers and gaillardia and rudbeckias!
I had a great time with the grands yesterday - but today I KNOW I've been exercising. My neighbor and I are doing daily mile and a half walks, and yesterday I added 90 minutes of roller skating (I haven't done THAT in 10 years!!!) and bowling. This morning I'm a wee sluggish and my morning exercise will be a tad forced!! LOL
It's been raining all around us - but none on our garden. I'm hoping today, the predicted 'scattered' showers will somehow 'scatter' over my property and relieve the parched look of everything.
Hope your weekend is wonderful!
Monday, July 16, 2012
10 1/4" x 14"
I rarely believed retired folks when they said that they became so busy after retirement that they didn't know when they had time to work ... well, I'm singing a different song now. Either I'm slowing down significantly, finding more to do, or am more distracted - but the days seems to whiz by in a blur of motion, and I fall into bed each night and think "where did the time go!" Perhaps it's a bit of all of that that has me as busy as I was before, though I've exchanged 'work' obligations for home and family obligations. I'm finally spending a bit more time with my grands, getting some VERY much needed things done in and around the house, and my social life has picked up too. All good things -- and I have to admit, busier than I had anticipated in any of my retirement imaginings.
I painted this 'splash and splatter' simply for the colors .... I hadn't worked on a S&S for a while - the method I enjoy when I want to focus and find something recognizable from a page of freely tossed water and paint. I find the method relaxing, challenging and fun ... and so, anemones...
My garden tomatoes have gone gangbusters -- but the 5 vines I have are all the salad type tomatoes - especially Juliets and cherries. I have found over the years that the Juliets (those 2" grape shaped tomatoes) to be the very best for surviving North Carolina's extreme summer heat and humidity and most of all, semi-drought conditions. These last two weeks, we've had significant rain, and the vines are now over the porch rail making picking a challenge - it's like finding the jewels in the jungle ....
I've been dehydrating some tomatoes and mostly enjoying a simple meal of tomatoes and onions sauteed in butter and olive oil, flavored with basil, and served over spaghetti. My summertime favorite for a quick, light, easy to fix dinner or lunch.
We matted a few more paintings this weekend for an upcoming festival in August - a one-day event at one of my favorite retail nurseries. This is a first time event for them as well as for me, so we'll see how it goes.
I hope you have a super week!!!
Friday, July 13, 2012
10" x 14"
My current state of retirement can be defined in visual terms in this painting, inspired by a fabulous view by Ruby Ferreira
Thank you Ruby, for the inspiration and permission to post this!!!!! Please stop by Ruby's incredible flickr site for some outstanding captures!
Views like this and the feelings they engender -so exemplify my feelings these days - these days of bright possibilities - days filled with opportunity and promise; days that are free and ripe for creating memories and moments and maybe, bits of magic. (Thank you once more, dear Ruby!!)
It's been a busy week - but fun. I spend a day with a youth gardening group talking about squash. We harvested zucchini and together made chocolate-chip, orange zucchini bread -- YUMMMMMM!!!! And to watch those children enjoy and eat bowls of veggies made my heart sing!
Then I joined the folks at the Arboretum for the daylong wine tour of wineries in Johnston County -- fun, incredibly educational (who KNEW who much chemistry and horticulture went into a bottle of wine!!!), and yes, delicious!! And then took my grands to see Spiderman! Let me be honest here, I rarely get to the movies. I saw more movies when I was staying with my friend Amy while working out of town then I saw in the last 20 years! So going to the movies was indeed somewhat novel. But oh my gracious -- what a FABULOUS movie!!! When parts of the movie got intense or scary, I would hold Emily's hand, and she and I would scream together! But brave Nick, he didn't even flinch!!! LOL Yep, a chip off the shoulder of his father!!! Such a good time!
Today, I am resting. It's been such a dashing-around week, that I haven't spent enough time at the painting table -- but today -- that's the plan!
Filing and weeding will wait - though I may take a talk or two ...
And dream about another day of sun through the trees and the promise of tomorrow.
Monday, July 09, 2012
Oh yes -- I AM DEFINITELY enjoying retirement; though I have overcommitted myselfff and am as busy as I was when working (surprised??? LOLOL)
I'll be working with a group of youngsters tomorrow as we learn about squash and zucchini and make zucchini bread. While that's cooking, I'll lead them in a painting exercise. Should be deliciously fun.
I also agreed to help with a trip we'd planned from the Arboretum since my former assistant will be out of town -- I'll be taking two vans of guests on a wine tour of our county --- including one winery that is presumed to be haunted!!
So to get in the mood, I've been painting grapes ....
Though I like both versions, I think I prefer the cropped version -- but you decide ...
We're still expecting a cooling down of temperatures, but as of yet, it's still in the mid 90s and the promised rain hasn't made an appearance .... so maybe tonight?
Meanwhile - I hope you have a great week!!!
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Ah retirement! Folks warned me that once they retired they were often more busy than when they were working. And am I finding that to be true! All of a sudden, I have obligations and commitments that seem to be taking more time than my 12-hour days at work!! Go figure!! LOL All I know is that I seem to have less time to paint than I did before -- and I really need to change that!
This is another view of the dilapdidated Oxford barn I painted earlier. I can't seem to keep a barn for myself as they are well liked and, gratefully, are selling well. I'm also working on a 2013 calendar of area barns and I need at least two more paintings for that collection. I've taken the photos of some marvelous old barns I wans to include - now I just need to stay home long enough to paint them!
I got to see my grandchildren earlier this week... a gift I've been hoping for for a long time. We've also set a movie date next week - and promises of individually-planned activities for each grandchild. I am thrilled to finally be able to do this! I've made plans to see my mom and catch up with her, and now to schedule a long weekend with my daughter and my granddaughters. And yes, fit in more of that much needed cleaning and reorganizing.
I still haven't felt that "nothing to do" feeling, but I know it will come eventually. Meanwhile I'm enjoyed all those things I've had to put off ....
Our weather has been insanely hot -- days upon days of temperatures in the 100sF with equal humidity. I go outside early in the mornings to water some of the plants, then stay indoors so breathing is possible. We've not had a lot of rain, but next week is supposed to bring a cold front and some precipitation (fingers crossed).
I hope the rest of your week is terrific!
Monday, July 02, 2012
10" x 14"
These morning glories were done as a suggestion for a larger commissioned work. The final painting will be a half-sheet (15" x 22"). I presented this to my client for color and composition and was given the go-ahead. I've been working on the larger work this weekend.
The weather has turned blistery -- for four days, we've been in the 100sF with equal humidity, making being outdoors very challenging to breathe and impossible to work. So instead of playing outside, my first weekend of retirement was spend indoors getting my book cases organized and making space for get togethers, craft workshops and an upcoming vist by my plant a row friends. I've tried to get to this project for MONTHS, and having 2 days without the obligations of work, finally made it happen!
I'm so excited about this upcoming get together - I am beside myself with joy! We've scheduled a 'crafts day' for the last week in July -- to include a covered dish and card-making, collage session. I've now got the room ready, and I'll spend the next week or two organizing materials and finding something very special to cook. To think of these marvelous, generous, fun-loving friends coming to my home makes my heart soar ...
With the last weeks finalizing at work and retirement paperwork and procedures to put behind me, I haven't been working on watercolors with any haste. I've found the need to 'nest' and make my home "mine' again my priority. Cleaning corners, organizing space, tossing out extraneous papers - are all part of the process for me. I've a lot more to do, but for now, this major project says to my soul 'You're HOME!'
Painting is definitely on tap for this week ... as is an already a scheduled mid-week dinner with my son and grandchildren.
Friends, family, TIME!!!!!! to paint, play and connect - are such blessings - that again, I am runing over in tears of gratitude ....
I so hope your week is wonderful ....