Nature caught in watercolor
A balancing act in spontaneity and control while remembering to breath .
I have always been inspired by nature; its forms, colors, textures, and especially by the play of light over and through the subject. When I can catch the fleeting effects of ambient light it is a magic moment for me. If I can also catch the essence of my subject; its mood, character, fragility, movement, or stability then magic has surely occurred. I love gardens and have always been a gardener, creating gardens wherever we have lived. Many of my paintings are of landscapes or garden details. I show and sell originals and hope to get them posted here soon.
Retirement from teaching in 2013 has allowed me time to work in watercolors. I work “en plein-air” whenever possible and at other times from memory using photos only for reference. My painting is evolving slowly as I gain confidence and experience and has recently begun to include figure studies. I am also working on developing a line of note cards with a garden/bird theme which will eventually span the four seasons. Continuing a love of ceramics I design and paint glazed ceramic tiles. I have done custom work; creating tiles for kitchens, baths, and other installations. These designs like my note cards are based on details taken from nature.
I am excited to be able to share my work with you and others through this blog.
Thank you, for taking a moment to “catch the magic”.
Angel in the dust
Tomorrow i must pack. On Friday I leave for Monhegan Island, a wonderful Mecca for artists off the Maine coast. I came back from there last fall miraculously still in one piece and with a sketchbook of watercolors and drawings. This in spite of having totaled my car the day before I was to leave for the island. There were moments when the air below the cliffs drew me in but I painted them instead of giving in. This time I’ll have a body guard in the form of one very caring husband and my only concern is will I be able to paint at all? For my connection to that life force which gives happiness to endeavor waxes and wanes and often falters entirely. I’ll stay back from the edge.
I am blessed by having found three other artists who will be coming out with me. They and their spouses will share the cottage with us for the week. It should be fun. Particularly since one of the men has volunteered to be chief cook which removes a big concern of mine. Each couple or individual has their own bedroom. Now all we have to do is find a rhythm for using the bathrooms and other common spaces to meet every one’s needs. We’ll be 7 altogether. Best of all it looks as though we may get pretty decent weather. Let’s hope so! Watercolor in the rain isn’t much fun. And, I am planning to head out to those cliffs again and also into the woods or maybe the village itself. There is so much there to explore and paint to. Who knows what will ignite a fire?
I’m gathering what the four winds may scatter to live my life between then and now. Nothing-and Everything-matters. I am embracing the New Day and turning toward the morning. I want to find that confidence I lost and with it the happiness I know can be. There is a light within me. If I can find a way to embrace it with my heart i can let it shine out.
Perhaps if I really try I’ll be able to shut down my conscious mind and hear my truest voice. Most of all let me concentrate on painting and then painting some more.
After spending a morning in court, wither I had gone to support a friend, the victim of a tragic act by an irresponsible driver and drug user, I made my way down to the river to paint. There God’s world gave me a gentle welcome in stark contrast to the human misery we have created within our societies and which is played out daily in our courts and jails.
Greens, golds, blues and the rill of moving water washed over my soul. Fishermen hobnobbed on the park benches or quietly waded out through the reflections among the rocks while their wives sat and read on the shore. Six red-headed mergansers dove and skimmed the surface driving the trout together to be flipped into upturned bills. Later two more came gliding down the sun-dappled brown water. I have never before been privileged to see so many redheaded mergansers in one spot.
I painted one small watercolor sketch looking across the river and did a few quick pencil sketches of the fishermen catching and releasing and of the mergansers ganging up on the fish. Then I headed up to the Riverton General store for an ice-cream eaten alfresco in the lovely outdoor dining area they recently created.
It was a lovely afternoon. I am grateful for those who have encouraged me on this path to plein-air painting. And, next time, I’d love to have some artist buddies join me to enjoy the scenery and the good food.
Tomorrow i think I’ll play with my new Chinese mop brush. Only doing diving mergansers in grey and rust.
Guard the Flame of Creativity that lights our path.
As I have been struggling with waves of depression over the last year and a half or more, I have come to realize how fragile our creative souls really are. It is hard enough to be creative in the normal chaos and distraction of living our lives; it becomes a challenge to find the will to even try when lost in depression that won’t lift.
The Christmas cards from 2014 and 2015 were a joy to paint
I’m hoping someday to even mount another show and that this year I may once again design a Christmas card for my friends as I did in 2014 and 2015. Last year I couldn’t even do a card design let alone mount a show. But, I sure am not giving up.
So guard the light of creativity and let yours shine. It lights the way for all of us and we are so grateful.
Painted from a tiny sketch scratched on the back of an envelope in the dark; here is Mahlers 2nd symphony as experienced in the Tanglewood shed this summer.
It was a moving experience and I can still hear the glory of it all. I see the the sound baffles as clouds of green and gold above a rapt audience. the choir silent in black and white rising as one to sing and the soloists flanking the conductor with perfect voices. Harps, timpani, bases, cellos, brass and woodwinds; one beautiful rich sound building to the next..
the chorus like one voice over 150 strong and the two soloists beyond compare. Andris Nelsons’ interpretation new but completely fitting and beautiful….A lovely evening. And one I’ll have to try painting again. But here is a first try.
I don’t know were this week has gone…Well yes, i do: It’s gone to worrying about friends (I know, i know-“worry never made a sailor.” But i have been worrying.) Followed by one day in court to lend support to another friend-(the victim in a criminal case), one day furiously matting and framing work for the Peach Festival, one day volunteering at Hollister House Garden (we had 50 visitors in 4 hours!!) One day at the festival surrounded by friends while still trying to sketch-foolish me- and today yoga and Gallery work, picking peaches plus these little exercises.
I’m pretty happy with the results.
And i even peeled some peaches for a pie.
Thanks to Shari for the inspiration that got me drawing and painting this evening instead of just peeling and pitting. After all there is always tomorrow…
Life has gotten bigger than me and I am scrambling to catch up. A friend just gave me some tiger lily bulb-lets; they need to be planted out right away and the peach trees are dripping peaches. There are 3 shows I should be entering; I”ll be lucky to get work ready for even one. I think for the next several days I’ll be focused on canning peaches when I’m not helping out at Hollister House Garden, or Gallery on the Green (yearly maintenance) or working the Art League tent at the Peach festival.
Here is one painting I recently finished which i hope to get matted and framed. There are a couple more figure studies that I’d also like to show. For sure, “I’m traveling faster than my soul can go….”
“Life’s a twinkling but its such a fine thing” (Carrie Newcomer)
Holly PS how many of you noticed the Cobalt Teal Blue in the painting above? Debi’s right; it really is a cheerful color. Now i just need time to experiment with it!
“Yes!” the best word in the universe. Answering life’s questions with a positive attitude, approaching each new adventure with enthusiasm is the magic we all need to live in the moment. Too often we are met with the cautious, guarded response and sometimes even with, “No, i don’t…” While caution built on knowledge and applied responsibly is a very good human attribute, alone it makes a poor opening to gaining new experiences. Enthusiasm balanced by caution and thoughtfulness allows magic to happen. When confronted with something unknown or new i like to respond with an enthusiastic, “Yes”, lets go see, let’s try it out.
so out i go with my card and magnifying glass to view the eclipse myself. This should be fun.
So I went down to see closer and met Robert Siegel who was projecting the image using the telescope his dad built. He and his wife Judith have opened an alternative School called True North located below the bike bridge in the Collinsville Mill complex. He pointed out the sunspots visible in his projection. We had to keep moving the scope because the sun travels so fast. i wish them well in their project! Kids need enthusiastic people like this.
-A satisfying end to the day although this little sketch falls far short of what i want. Hopefully i’ll find time to paint this again and get it right. If I do I’ll post it.
Live each day deliberately, and laced liberally with enthusiasm and love.
And even better to do some more figure drawing at both ALNB and at G on G
While I have been blindly experimenting with various papers and drawing instruments more seasoned students of art are admonishing me to become systematic-fat chance!
However, I will try to limit my experimentation in the future.
I find I am gravitating toward expression through flowing contour lines and lines which describe movement ant tension.
When I do work in pencil it is with a very light touch.
Working in the company of many other artists one sees all kinds of approaches to the figure. Often modeling and working with shadow and light to create volume the other artists work mostly in pencil, charcoal or conte’. Or they may abstract the figure into geometric planes or focus exclusively one part of the figure. This is all good practice in which i need much much more!
I, however, find myself fascinated with ink and watercolor.
So much to learn!
I frequently go back to studies and work them up in more detail or create a setting. Time with the model is terribly limited.
Here is some of my work (unfinished) from this week.
This last week i have been pretty much focused on figure drawing and have been enjoying rendering the studies in watercolor and Tombow pen. the first is very touchy requiring the lightest possible washes of color. I use raw sienna, ultra marine blue, and vermilion with some sepia or vandyke brown.The latter is rapid fire and rather scary as the ink can bleed all over the place. I also have many pen and pencil sketches from the week. here are a few-rather poor photos-forgive me, please.