Magic Moments-Clouds in the Valley

Valley fog

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Two bells, 9 O’clock, followed me out the door to the car. Warming the engine I glanced down, 9:06 on the dash already. I’m always late it seems-always in a hurry. Fastening my seat-belt I curved out onto the Highway and across the top of the hill. The empty road dipped around a bend, cold and grey in the wet February morning.

Descending to my left the double yellow line abruptly disappeared into a dense pillow of white. The valley below was filled with fog. Breathtakingly beautiful from above the fog lay folded into the valley like a soft snow-white comforter. Then the vision was gone and I slowed to find the next corner. Turning off the highway I parked to rendezvous with a friend for a morning walk in the mist, destination safely obtained.

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What a lovely beginning to a wonder filled circuit past sugar woods, streams, marshes and ponds. This is the circuit I always walk. Just a little over three miles it never fails to delight but today was made magical by the mist punctuated by the clamor of geese returning home.

I realize that i have been very remiss in posting to my blog. There has been so much change in my life over the last several months and i have been badly distracted. I hope to return to my circuit and begin to post more of my art and more news of my art activities. There is so much to catch up on!

Holly

Magic Moments-einem goldenen wald und fee booten:

Here is the first fee booten painting which inspired me to give my walk a try even though i didn’t feel 100 percent. The woods are so beautiful.

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And my walk today was marked by beauty in spite of finding myself unable to complete my normal loop.  Part of the beauty was nature’s offering and the other the cheerful arrival of my husband to pick me up at the halfway point. The loop is only 3 and a half miles but today halfway was more than enough for my bad foot and leg. Besides i was missing my friend.

here are the Fairy Boats again in another painting. the sun is catching them. But they are beginning to sink.IMG_6594 (1024x768).jpg

 

I am working on the golden forest. Here are some photos from today.

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It is  the beech trees which are so glorious. But the oaks do pretty well too-IMG_6582 (1024x768).jpg

and make lovely boats.

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All Silver and Gold

Holly

Magic Moments- experiencing one day at a time

What began as a moody Monday of errands, a doctors appointment, a bit of tidying up in the garden,was lifted by a walk with a friend,  enjoying posts from so many talented, generous folks on WordPress followed by a bit of painting.

IMG_6408.JPG“Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue.”

from Henry James on the importance of experience copied from Gurney Journey:

IMG_6509 (1024x768).jpgThree photos by me- inspired by  Belinda Grover’s post today of a beautiful floating leaf photograph. My own photographic efforts down at the spring lot are just snap shots:

IMG_6499 (1024x768).jpgBut I was especially pleased to be able to take these without scaring the very tired wood duck who clearly wanted to stay the night. She was a lovely little creature. Someday I hope they will nest on the pond.

IMG_6516.JPGMy watercolor version of “Fairy Boats” on the spring lot pond. 14″x10″ Arches HP

 

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IMG_6514 (1024x768).jpgAn attempt at the Hollister House working from memory while trying to avoid “mud”.

 

Holly (no wings, walking out of the dust-think of the movie, “Purgatory”)

Magic Moments-“breath in, breath out…”

We will Paint again.

However, the last several weeks have been hectic. I am hoping once the memorial service for my mother is over things will even out a bit. But having been designated as the sibling responsible for organizing all the details for the service and reception (which are being held “out of state”) I am a bit frazzled. This isn’t exactly my forte.

And to keep me on my toes there have been several juried shows to enter and their respective openings to attend. At this point I am ready to retire to a convent or some quiet retreat on the coast of Maine.

Instead I have gone foreword with my quest for adventure and so i am once more following the path once set by My New Day. This has recently taken me to The Maine coastal Botanical Gardens, the Cloisters in NY City, to Storm King Sculpture Museum above the Hudson, and just today to Innisfree Garden near Millbrook NY.

I can’t possibly do justice to even one of these visits in a single post but I’ll try to give you sense of the experience connected with the place.

I’ll start with Innisfree.IMG_6315 (1024x768).jpg

Consider Keats poem and you can feel the ambience of Innisfree. A beautiful landscape garden of many acres which was  laid out mid century around a lake; Innisfree invites the visitor to stroll  from pocket garden to pocket garden along paths which cross bridges, climb slopes, emerge to overlooks, and branch with delightfully unending choice. The sense is oriental in detail and form but the landscape is derived from New England motives; tall pines, sparkling water, majestic oak trees, green slopes, reeds and running rivulets, stone walls. All along the way there are chairs and benches inviting one to sit and hold conversation perhaps catching up with a dear friend or just contemplating the scene in solitude. Imagine yourself there:

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I sat on the moss beneath a huge European beech and did a quick painted sketch of the serpentine garden below me. Then I moved off to shoot a few photographs and finish my walk around the lake before closing time. Like the rest of my month this was done in something of a hurry having to ride piggyback on dropping my husband off in Leeds NY to rendezvous with my son. He is helping him drive a truck and trailer of house hold furnishings from Vermont down to a new home in Richmond Virginia. (life does keep moving ahead!!!) Still I had wanted to get to Innisfree now for over two years and so I was thrilled to have even a short time there. Of course I looked at those chairs with longing and wished…But, I guess “we’re all just beggars at this ball”IMG_6339 (768x1024)

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Tomorrow I’ll post some more pictures and maybe a bit on Storm King and a sketch or two.

Holly

Magic Moments-Quiet today

Except for the occasional scream of a blue jay, the woods and edges of the marsh were quiet today. 24 gregarious but quiet birders walked the paths under warm grey skies. There were no unusual birds sighted; only some white throat sparrows, a chipping sparrow, a thrush or two, geese, crows and a pair of ring neck ducks. i found solace in painting a little sketch of one of the several ponds. It’s amazing how much painting helps one to feel at peace..IMG_6313.JPG

I’d forgotten to replace the flash card in my camera and anyway the battery was low. But, Painting was better than taking photos. Birders walk very slowly and i travel fast so it was no problem rejoining the group when i finally finished painting.

Holly

Angel in the dust

Magic Moments-there is no failure

-Just steps closer to success.

Well success maybe decades away for me but gratitude for these words from  Anne (Anica Art) is very close to my heart. Finding them on her blog brought me back to my current motif, that of a marsh i saw last week while out on a birding walk. Further conversation with her (isn’t the internet an awesome thing-Anne lives in Australia!) has given me resolve to do more with this tomorrow and work more deliberately.

i need to do individual studies of the birds and marsh plants as well as work on pigment choices. i tend to get carried away. Marshes here in Connecticut become a riot of color and texture in the fall.

Here are the 4 i’ve done. When I’m painting -When I am able to paint- the world briefly gets to be a better, happier place.

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The bird walks are fun. Our leader, a member of the local Audubon chapter has introduced me to many different and previously unknown preserves. Venues all within striking distance of my home. And going out with knowledgeable people who can identify a bird by its song or flight pattern as well as by its markings is a wonderful help for this novice birder.

Now i’ve got to turn in! as there is a walk tomorrow bright and early!

Holly

(angel in the dust)

Magic Moments-revisited

Today my friend and I hit the HB trail for our tri-weekly morning walk. Finally after weeks of rain the weather was sunny and cool. This is a very special area with a micro climate that favors a vast array of spring ephemeral flowers. They had struggled into rapid bloom early in the season trying to survive the extreme drought which we were experiencing for the third year in a row in New England.

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Now following weeks of rain everything has greened up beautifully and the water table is approaching normal levels.  Only the hemlocks are gone due to the adelgid and one can hear a steady rain of chips from the canopy high overhead as the gypsy moth caterpillars defoliate the oaks. But, somehow nature always seems to spring back-don’t we all?

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So although I promised myself only to post watercolors-here goes- I’m going to post photos from our walk this morning. It was so much fun to find colonies of the plants now doing well which although no longer in flower felt like old friends. Of course there were new flowers to identify too, and a few that I have yet to catch in flower. One tree, a giant forest Tulip, dropped a flower at my feet. I hope to paint that soon.

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now huge leaves of wake robin
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herb Robert in seed
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viburnum gone to seed
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dead hemlock
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colony of stemless yellow violet
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curious fruit of the bear berry

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y

holly

 

 

 

Magic Moments-a grey morning

A rather dark one for me but a cool invigorating one for the ephemeral spring flowers.

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Although I have been sketching in watercolors my painting is neither free nor precise. Instead it is –well embarrassing. However, I can show you some of what I have been privileged to be a part of as the weather has cooled down and given us a little much needed rain.IMG_3324 (768x1024)

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The leaves are soft now but the torrential rain we got diverted the stream down the path so the going gets a bit tough as one goes higher up the hillside

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These snap shots are from that special hillside I mentioned in a previous post and are all taken within a few steps of “my” Throne. The forest floor is carpeted with spring beauties and trout lilies as far as one can see.

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These are stitched down with red trillium (wake robin), golden stem-less violet, Dutchman’s breeches, and many other little ephemeral s-too many to name here. One might feel they have IMG_3366 (1024x768)stepped into the hunt for the unicorn tapestry.

IMG_3330 (768x1024)     IMG_3370                      Angel in the dust

 

Magic Moments-looking up

the Red maples are in bloom everywhere turning the hillsides into layered clouds of silver and pink. My friend said stop and sketch from here and so i did.

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Stillman & Birn sketchbook 51/2×81/2

I should have used Alizarin Crimson instead of my old stand-by Vermillion. I don’t think i’d really woken up yet or connected with what i was seeing. i did switch to Cobalt and Aureolin at least. The truth is that when one looks at the flowers up close they really are close to vermillion only distance adds the blue.

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same Stillman & Birn sketchbook, Tombow pen and colored pencil

thought for the day:

“…The circle of love is deep and strong. It can forgive mistakes and cast out error. It can foster greatness and bring forth new life.

…This is our function in each other’s lives: to hold the space for each other’s beauty, that our beloved can leave us and we still feel in his (or her) absence how beautiful we are.”

Marianne Williamson from A Woman’s World

 

And a painting in words just for you-

 a  New Day

 

Shards of silver break like glass

Slender black and bending boughs

Spring free of snow and icy mass.

Held down, imprisoned up ‘till now

They shake; stretch out, to greet the sun

Raining brilliants down upon a day begun…

 

Slowly Summer claims her own

Dense drifts melt back to sparkling rill

Ephemeral flowers crown her throne

Dark pools sustain a peeper’s trill

A thrush sings softly in the wood

Two ferns emerge where once

 

We stood

Angel in the dust

yh