Chicken Coop, Wheat, Crepe Myrtles / oil

chicken coop wheat crepe myrtlesIt was over a month ago when I went out to Cold Harbor and saw the wheat looked beautiful. I wanted to hurry and paint it before it got mowed.  I thought, this will be easy, then I had to go over it 3 times to get it to come out ok. The texture across the top looks velvety and soft. The 1st time I tried to paint the wheat, it was too spotty. So I tried again. The 2nd time I tried to paint it, The texture looked better but the color was off. Finally on my 3rd try, I liked the color and texture. I was a little concerned about finishing the wheat before it got mowed, but Barbara told me the man mowing the wheat was working his way down Cold Harbor Rd. mowing fields on the other side. She said her field would get mowed last when he came back mowing fields on her side of the road. So, even though I had some difficulty with painting the wheat, I got it in before it was mowed.

Then this painting was on hold for a month because I wanted to put the Crepe Myrtles in but they were late blooming. The Crepe Myrtles started blooming in Richmond about a month ago and these are still opening up.

I’m happy to finally see this painting finished.

Where You Should Be…

SUMMERS IN CONEY ISLAND

Coney Island – Wish You Were Here

A bloodshot sun is hanging heavy in the sultry sky.  There is no better time to draw seasonal inspiration than during these lazy, crazy days of Summer.

With perfect timing our current Lunagirl Moonbeam Design Team Challenge is Retro Summertime. Although it’s been cool and rainy here in Central Pennsylvania, we are now experiencing the heat and humidity of a typical Mid-July.

All the Lunagirl images are so tempting, but as soon as I saw the group of lovely ladies enjoying a day at the beach I knew I found my inspiration. The life savior with the words “Wish You Were Here” said it all.

I was lucky to spend my childhood growing up in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn, New York. Even though we spent our family vacations at Montauk, nothing says Summer to me more than Coney Island.  With just a subway ride away, it was the perfect place to find a bit respite from the city heat and humidity.

I couldn’t wait to get started. I recently visited a local flea market and discovered a Coney Island souvenir postcard booklet. Printed in the late 1950’s I knew it would be perfect for my mid-century inspired art. The digital collage came together quickly, as I easily pulled images from my collection of ephemera. But the finishing touch was from another Lunagirl image. The handwritten message was to the point: “This is where you should be for that rest you need. It’s grand down here.”

And for me, reminiscing about Coney Island is where I should be. The memories are more than the subway rides, or peppers and egg sandwiches, or the cooling Atlantic renewing me with each wave. It is as much now as it was then, a time of sharing the joy of spontaneity with my family. It is reviving the gift of a magical childhood.

Where should you be?

Virtuous, Corrupt, or Something In-Between…

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette – Digital Collage

Is anything ever entirely virtuous or corrupt?

I viewed the Lunagirl Moonbeam Upcoming Challenge List with  a bit of apprehension. We were to take inspiration from Marie Antoinette. Oh no…Marie Antoinette! As I am anything but a royalist, I feared this would truly be a “challenge” for me.

I knew of the clichés attached to her legacy: she was the teen-age Queen with a penchant for extravagant fashion and entertainment; of her flippant “Let them eat cake!” comment which according to sources she never did say; and the belief that she single-handedly caused the French Revolution culminating in her execution by her own subjects at the guillotine. Although she represented everything I found loathsome, I wanted to keep an open mind and began my investigation.

As I research her life, the caricature fell away and slowly I saw her as a flawed ruler cloistered in her world of wealth and privilege.  She saw her subjects simply as fictional characters in a performance.

The digital collage began with Lunagirl’s portrait of Marie. My heart was inspired by the October 1789 Women’s March on Versailles, and I knew I had to give them equal prominence in my work. The balance of the collage drew from digital ephemera in my collection.

As I completed the work I gained a new understanding of Marie. Looking at her life allowed me to view my own with a measure of objectively. How often do clichés replace facts making it easy to view a person or situation as wholly one thing or the other? As artists isn’t it our duty to search for the truth? And more often than not, isn’t the truth shades of both sides?

 

Greenhouse With Wildflowers / oil

greenhouse with wildflowers

This painting was on hold for months. I painted it in the spring and wanted to wait for the Wildflowers to bloom. All that time, I had it against the wall where I can see it, along with the other paintings in progress. And I wasn’t sure if this one was working out or not.

The thing I wasn’t sure about was those Evergreen trees in the foreground. I painted them a little too big. They covered too much of the hill and path. So today I decided to work on the hill again and put in the Wildflowers. Now I like it more because the viewer can see the way between the trees to the paved path. Also, now I have more space for flowers.

That’s one thing I like about oil paint. If there’s something you want to change, you can easily paint over the bad part, and no one knows, unless you tell them.

Dream With Wild Abandon!

Expectations

Outgrow Your Shoes – Digital Collage

If you allowed yourself…just once…to dream with wild abandon…where would your dreams take you? Would you be on a wistful journey, meandering through experiences at your own cadence? Or would you rather give up all control and fly unrestrained towards a destination that only Fate can dictate?

The latest Lunagirl Moonbeam Design Team Challenge centered on “Shoes”.  The challenge is shared with Vicki Romaine’s challenge Blog, The Cheerful Stamp Pad.

Thinking about shoes brought me to one of my favourite sayings by Japanese writer and poet, Ryunosuke Satoro: Let Your Dreams Outgrow the Shoes of Your Expectations”. Lunagirl’s images are inspiring as always. I chose a shoe and began my work.

Travel is my sanctuary and the act of my putting on my shoes was always the prelude to a great adventure. I never knew what to expect, but I wandered, ever hopeful that I would experience something different and wonderful.

By allowing my dreams to outgrow my shoes my life, and art, grew in directions I never thought possible. I wouldn’t trade those experiences, the great and the not so wonderful, for anything!

So, fellow Artists and Dreamers…the call to outgrow your shoes is beckoning you. Will you take the dare?

Rose Garden ’15 / oil

I faked in the flowers! hahahahhahahahahaha

I faked in the flowers! hahahahhahahahahaha

When I started this painting a few weeks ago, the roses were in their 1st bloom. The scent was intoxicating! I think the 1st bloom is the best because all the colors of roses bloom at the same time.

I have to work on the background 1st. Working from top to bottom on the canvas and from background to foreground, I want to be sure all the elements of the painting look right compared to each other part. so I’m building up layers of paint in glazes, correcting as I go. I can only stand to be out in the heat for a few hours in the morning, and when it rains, I have to wait for better weather.

Then the rain took out over half of the flowers before I could paint them, since the flowers are on top and needed to be painted last. DANG! Then some friendly gardeners pruned off the rest of the roses, leaving not many. One man told me they bloom every 4 to 6 weeks, so I decided to wait for more flowers and started working on another painting. But the next painting is also waiting for some different flowers to bloom, and I decided to mix my colors for the roses using the few flowers open this week. That’s how I faked in the roses.

Is Looking Through Someone Really Looking Through Yourself?

LOOKING THRU YOU JOURNAL

I’M LOOKING THROUGH YOU – Collage

Change is the only constant in life. How often have you pondered this quote? We welcome change when we feel we are moving in a direction that is good for us. We resist when we are uncertain of what a change hold for our future.

“Looking” is the theme of the Journal sent to me as part of a round-robin Journal exchange. When it arrived, it was like opening a jeweled treasure. The completed pages were incredible, glowing with colour, vision and creativity.

I knew the Journal was on the way to me. Prompted by the theme, The Beatles song, “I’m Looking Through You” kept playing in my mind. The lyrics tell the story of Paul McCartney’s relationship with actress Jane Asher. At the time, they were growing apart, each following their own path. They didn’t see eye to eye on how the relationship was to move forward.

The substrate for the page is heavy white paper. Working my way through a few fashion magazines I had at hand, ripping out photos I liked, I arbitrarily glued them down to the Journal page. My Muse was with me, and everything just seemed to “fit”. I got out an alphabet rubber stamp set in a font I really like. With indigo coloured ink, I randomly stamped the lyrics to the song. Stenciling metallic acrylic paint over the glued images completed the page.

Change. When we become aware of a transformation in others, doesn’t it mirror a shift we are experiencing in ourselves? For good or bad, change will always be with us. How do you recognize the winds of change?

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