The Gift 

Taken directly from my Artist statement.  ‘The best part of being an artist is the pleasure I get in sharing my gift.”

When we moved to Sarasota, my husband had just retired.  Paperwork was endless.  One of our new neighbors is a notary and willingly, graciously and happily notarized document after document for us. Always happy to visit her home as I would get a furbaby fix from her black and white kitty, Briggs.  Friendly and personable, I got to enjoy his purrs and antics with the tissue paper his owner so lovingly left in a spot on the floor for him to enjoy. Being petless is a new experience for me…..and I miss the critters.

The paperwork is finally finished, and as a thank you, we are having her over for lunch soon.  Last visit, I nabbed some pictures of her handsome boy to paint a special thank you for her giving so freely of her time.  

I am so excited to see her face when she opens the gift. Reminding me of the power of giving.

Have you experienced the joy of giving lately?  I can highly recommend it.
“Did You Art Today?”

Connecting

img_2612Another well-attended match at the Sarasota Polo Club.  Another beautiful action-packed day.  Polo gladiators the announcer emphasizes. We got there earlier than last week, so I could get some unobstructed pictures.

Using my camera viewfinder for sketching before the match and in between chukkers, I was reminded of how I love the art connection.  My bio states “For me, the best part of being an artist is the pleasure I get in sharing the gift.”

A group of young children waiting for their burgers were so cute.  “You’re really good?” “How do you DO that?” were some of their questions.  Trying to explain to youngens that I just follow the line, I’m sure didn’t have much impact.  But I did get to tell the one young woman that if she liked to draw and kept practicing, she would get better and better.

Another man asked if he could take a picture to send to his daughter.  She loved to draw and he wanted to encourage her.

When the woman came up behind me and praised my work, she asked me if I sold my art.  Reaching for a business card, I answered affirmatively.  “But would you sell that piece of art?” she asked pointing to my sketch book.

Visiting from out of town, she wanted a memory from the day, and the fact that I drew it while she watched made a connection.  Asking her if I could finish, I sold the sketch (there was another on the back) hoping it’s creation brings back memories. Knowing we are now connected by that moment in time.

“Did You Art Today?”

 

 

Dogs, Polo and Sarasota

A bit of a long blog today..or perhaps a rant.

The weekly match at the Sarasota Polo Club was packed this Sunday. We have been attending for years and normally get there about an hour early to get a front row seat.  But this week , due to the crowds, we were relegated to a seat a bit further back.  It was an exciting game, going into overtime to pick the winner.  As it was difficult for me to take pictures without people in front of me, I passed the time beforehand and in between chukkers drawing the myriad of pooches who came to watch polo.

Dogs (leashed) alcohol, families and outside food are welcome at the games.  Perhaps a reason the popularity has grown so much over the years. One of our favorite things to do in Sarasota, I have many a sketch, and a bunch of painting ideas from my photos for enough paintings to last a lifetime.

However, I often wonder about the dogs.  The little French Bulldog in front of us began snorting and breathing heavy soon into the day.  His owners had thoughtfully brought him a blanket, had lots of water, kept him in the shade and were very attentive, changing his leash to a more comfortable one when they went for a walk. I know these breeds are prone to this sort of thing due to the short snouts, but I couldn’t help but wonder if he was happy, as he figdgeted, and generally fussed.  Getting comfortable, only to be distracted, when another panting dog went by, or approached.

With one flipped down ear, the Yorkie mix was enjoying him/herself.  Hardly panting, but again, constantly up, down, laying down, sitting up, the owners picking this cutie up on several occasions as if he/she was interested in the action.

And the big brown Lab laid half in the sun, half in the shade, looking resigned as his owner ate some ice cream.

Most of the dogs were panting terribly, despite all having water and owners who provided shade.

Sarasota culture is very tolerant of dogs….not just service animals.  They are in the outdoor seating areas of restaurants, the banks, Lowes, in strollers in Home Goods, in the pharmacy. St. Armand’s Circle merchants generously leave bowls of water outside their stores.  Our last visit to a wine store next to a Petsmart made me wonder if we had gone into the wrong store.  They are at every festival we attend. Little dogs (being carried or in strollers to avoid being crushed), big dogs (their noses near parallel with food vendor trucks), mutts and fancies all together.  

I love animals, and this is the first time in a long time there hasn’t been a four legged critter in our home.  Maybe that’s why I find this all so interesting.  As you can imagine, all these dogs are not well behaved or socialized.  The encounter with the German Shepard and the Golden Retriever at Lowes near put two owners on the floor and me running for a weapon.  All the owners are not always responsible, allowing leashes to get tangled, dogs to jump on people (my instinct brings my knee into their chest) or other dogs.  Forgetting to bring water for this pet that is so beloved they can’t leave their home without them, but insisting a restaurant or facility provide the water for them. Using the word rescue to explain away bad behavior.

And the dogs themselves? Frankly, I have yet to see a happy dog at a festival.  Their body language is usually tense.  There is confusion as to where to walk, lots of panting, and at food festivals, the noses going a mile a minute.  Or they’re straining at their leashes trying to get to the other dogs they don’t know, impeding and confusing foot traffic.

Understanding the love for your pet. Knowing the unconditional love they give back.   Wondering if they are loving these outings?

“Did You Art Today?”

 

Another Commission

For us is finished.  Inspired by the light, bright and colorful sights I see every day in Florida, this painting will hang in our living room, next to the big sliders that look out on the pool and lake.

Really enjoying the use of Daniel Smith’s watercolor ground to bring texture to my watercolors.  After a quick and simple drawing, I apply the ground to the paper (Arches 140 lb. CP) in areas I want raised.  Let it dry overnight and start painting. Using my new QoR paints also.  Jury’s still out on these paints versus my go-to Daniel Smith favorites.

Can’t wait to start my next commission!

“Did You Art Today?”

Shake It Up

Finished my third, fourth and and fifth commission for our home today. At least two more planned, and there could be more

These three paintings were done for our “Florida” guest room. To contrast with the serene “Jersey” guest room (filled with items from our New Jersey home), I wanted this room to feel more tropical.

And, in fact, I actually planned these paintings.   More of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants artist when painting loosely, I really, truly, did some preliminary work in my sketchbook before putting paint on my brush. 


Add to that,  I plastered watercolor ground over the shapes on the paper, making me have to wait 24 hours for it to dry before I could start painting. (A killer for someone with the patience of a two year old.) If that wasn’t enough new, I used some of my new QoR watercolor paints made by Golden, a US paint company. They are brilliant, even if a bit more “spready” than my trusty Daniel Smith paints.  For my final shake it up,  I painted them all at the same time.  Something else I’ve never done.

They liven up the room, and all that experimentation certainly added a bounce in my step today.  What have you done lately to shake it up?


“Did You Art Today?”

Single Shell Game


My second commission for myself.  There are at least five more planned.  Three for the Florida guest room, and at least two for the living area.

Which brings me to my workshop yesterday.  Attending a free demo put on by a major paint manufacturer at Art & Frame of Sarasota, a great, locally owned candy stor……oh wait, it’s an art store, I was impressed by our presenter.  Staying to participate in a workshop in the afternoon, I found the class interesting, but don’t see using the image transfer process useful for future work for me.

 A pro, who makes a living through his art, I liked his work.  Near the end of the workshop, one student asked if he exhibited locally.  He doesn’t do that kind of art, he smugly responded.  He doesn’t do work that matches the sofa.  Therefore he believes his work won’t sell in an area filled with tourists and snowbirds.  Implying what I wondered?  That all tourists and snowbirds are incapable of appreciating or understanding his art?

Contemplating his comments,  I chuckled. Wondering what he’d say if he knew I were painting to match my guest bathroom.  

“Did You Art Today?”

Shell Game


Commissioning myself to do some fun art projects for our new home.

The high ceilings with good hanging space, bright light and tropical flavors of Florida, seem to be calling for some different art to hang on the walls.  Already repurposed a soft and subtle sunrise/sunset painting that hung in our bedroom in NJ and added a big colorful palm tree for one of the guest bedrooms.  

This shell painting is for the guest bathroom, and mimics the design found on the shower curtain.  Started off as an acrylic on canvas, didn’t like where it was going, added some watercolor ground on the seashell areas, and painted those with watercolor.  I’ll add an acrylic coat to seal it from the moisture in this room. Plan on doing a similar square format painting with a single shell using the same process for another piece in the same room.

Kind of fun painting what I need for our new space.  While they don’t always come out as I’d envisioned, I’m always up for the game.

“Did You Art Today?”

We’ll See

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It is my custom to do a year-end recap at Wallace Studios.  As my art is so much a part of who I am, it’s hard not to do a personal review at the same time.

In between selling a home, relocating 1,200 miles, and two months later selling a condo and moving again (only four miles this time) and the various, never-ending things to do in order to accomplish that, I was surprised to learn, I did art last year.

When asked myriad questions about studio space, my business, my plans, etc., my mantra became “We’ll see.”  It afforded me space to breath, and decide as life played out. It also helped calm the melt-downs…..at least most of the time.

My work this year consisted of 8 commissions, a personal painting for a family member, donated three paintings, sold a painting to England and Australia, was featured on Doodlewash’s blog and participated in a 30 painting in 30 day challenge sponsored by the World Watercolor Group, a group started by Doodlewash.  Those paintings were all small sized and turned into cards sent to the Bring Smiles to Forgotten Seniors group.

While that’s a far cry from most years, IIWII (it is was it is).

That doesn’t count the sketches that kept me grounded.  When painting wasn’t an option, as was often the case, I turned to sketching new-to-me birds and scenery.  The above watercolor sketch of the Buddha at Selby Gardens is one of my favorites. (A subliminal message, I am sure.)

It’s hard to do a recap without thinking about the New Year.  Already signed up for a workshop, hoping to paint with one or both of the plein air groups down here, and thinking it would be fun to gather some people to do field sketching at The Celery Fields where I volunteer.

But life IS different in Florida.  Jim is retired, the beach, and weather call for play more often than in NJ.

Rather than making  goals and plans this year, I think I’ll stick with what worked last year.

“We’ll see.”

“Did You Art Today?”

 

 

 

 

The Right Light


My African Violet and Prayer Plant are the only plants that made the cut when we downsized (only to upsize shortly thereafter) and moved from New Jersey to Florida.   The prayer plant has a superstitious associated with answered prayers, so I know why that one made the trip.   But I’m not sure why the African Violet made the cut.  It had some pretty leaves, but the only color it ever shared was the flowers that faded quickly after I bought it. 

On today’s chore list was to repot this plant which now sits on my windowsill in the dining area of the kitchen.  Spilling pinkish flowers constantly, I am amazed at how pretty and full it has become in the five months since we moved into this house. Proving the right light is essential for growth and flowers.

As life has settled after our relocation and move, I am looking to get back to painting more.  Realizing laying color on paper is my light.   Do you know what your light is?  Do you have the right light in your environment?

In any case, before tackling the messy repotting job, I figured I’d paint the pretty thing first in case there were any unforeseen accidents.

Think it might be time to also repot the overflowing prayer plant. It’s newfound gigantic size tells me it, too, loves the light here.

“Did You Art Today?”