Lessons IV – Faith – Working in the Dark

Watercolor 9 x 12 $125.00
Watercolor 9 x 12 $125.00

Inspiring my students while working on painting some papers to use for an upcoming collage class turned into a lesson in faith for all of us.

Prior to class, they were told to a chose a theme and two colors. When they arrived they had to choose two or three brushes, several “tools”  – palette knives, calligraphy pens, pottery tools, sponges and whatever else I could pull out of the studio. They had no idea what they were doing, so the choices were spontaneous and intuitive.  No wrong choices here. The comment “working in the dark” was mentioned several times by several students.

Demonstrating what I was looking for with pink and turquoise, I felt like a child finger painting. Explaining my choice of brush strokes, use of tools, and color choices, I kept in mind my theme of “Sarasota Vacation” and mixed,  splattered and conducted away.  When it was their turn, they stood facing a large piece of blank paper, with nothing to paint.  I reminded them to remember their theme, and put that paint on the paper.  Pretty soon, I sensed a change.  Not so bad after all.

Sparkle, texture, rubbing out, stamping, swirling, they all eventually came up with something they liked.   Even if they weren’t sure what they were going to do with it!  We made a delightful mess in painting “nothing”.

Their assignment this week is to gather objects, pictures, ribbons, or anything that fits their color scheme and theme.  Synchronicity will take care of providing them what they need.   When they left, I started to put away our toys and passed over a piece of paper that had some yellow and green paint on it.

The magic of my gift and the intuition that had been awakened during this “play” saw a daffodil.  If I used some of the tools I was trying to put away, maybe I could make my painting look like a collage?  Even if I didn’t really collage anything.  I’d never done that before….. I didn’t have a plan, no value study, no sketch.  I, too,  was working in the dark.  And then faith took over.  “Listening” to my gift is imperative.  It’s not so much bravery, it’s just pointless not to listen. I’ll wind up in my studio at 3:00 in the morning if I don’t.

So nothing got put away and out came the wall board tape for resist, sparkle paint, some stenciles, some swirls.  All the while, keeping in mind the fresh beauty of that first Spring daffodil.  It was fun, refreshing and I may incorporate the concept into some other paintings.

We may have all felt we were working in the dark that day.  But, I’d like to thank my students for their gentle reminder of the bright path of faith.

Have you done anything lately to allow your faith (whatever it might be) to shine through your life, your artwork?  


Signs of Spring

Watercolor 8 1/2 x 11 1/2" $175 framed
Watercolor 8 1/2 x 11 1/2″ $175 framed

This painting will be on display at Palmyra Cove Nature Park http://www.palmyracove.org/ from March  3 through March 29, 2013.  Reception will be held on March 13 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The park, the nature center and the reception are all  free to the public.  ( I will unfortunately be unable to attend the reception due to prior commitments.)

This Nature Themed art event is sponsored by the Burlington County Art Guild and is very popular with those who are supporters of this wonderful gem of a park in Burlington County.  Lovely building, lovely view of the classic Tacony Palmyra Bridge, and it’s a great venue to see some inspiring work by some of the area’s best artists.  Welcome Spring with a combined visit to Palmyra Cove Nature Park and an art show.  Nourishment after hibernation for your mind, body and soul.

Winner of the People’s Choice Awards

Winter Finches

“Winter Finches” took First Place in my People’s Choice awards for my work done in 2012.

Thank you so much for taking the time to review my work and make your selection from the pictures in my previous blog.  The comments were encouraging and added to my knowledge about the selection of art.

There were eleven nominations and 32 people voted.  Second place was the painting that won first place in Medford, NJ’s annual plein air contest.   Obviously a crowd pleaser for my local collectors.  And in third place, a commission I had done of a delightful Old English Sheepdog.  That was a surprise to me….I would have thought any commission would have been too specific to one animal to have general appeal.

Interestingly, none of my favorites got more than one vote.  Those were: Good Day Sunshine and  the Bluebird painting.  Perhaps the stories behind those paintings are what made them special.  At  least they showed up in the nominations.

All of this was a reminder of the personl nature of art.  Not just for the person who creates it, but more so for the viewer.   They see a story in art which speaks to them.

For those who voted, the winner of the random drawing was a Facebook fan.  Ironically, she turned out to be a neighbor.  Had it not been for social media, we wouldn’t have met.   Glad we did.  Below is the Artist Trading Card presented as the prize.

Artist trading card for prize winner

Again, thank you to all who voted.  We’ll do it again next year.

Bits and Pieces

Beach scene Dancing Devil Rays Siestabeach2013 Southlido12013

Just back from Sarasota after more than two weeks of amazing blue sky and warm weather.  Always rejuvenating, always insightful.  Especially wonderful this year as it was shared with family.

Blissful beach walking. Turquoise water, brightly colored parasails, tropical flowers and neon birds. Gem-like, bright, balmy and spirit lifting.  A great contrast to the grey cold of winter in the Mid-Atlantic.

Soul warming weather prompted vacationers to search the beaches for the perfect shells to hold their memories.  Prodding with a foot, bending over, examining, tossing, moving on to find  just the right one.  As Sarasota is so familiar, I long ago stopped collecting shells. My sketch book contains my impressions of “The Pretty Place.”

But I find it’s the pieces of shells that hold me spellbound.  Bright burnt sienna stipes on a large piece of shell.  Imagine the size of the original.  The mystery of the missing.  What happened on it’s journey to leave that particular portion of what was once whole. Broken spirals are especially delightful.  Looking into the souls of perfect shells, exposed and abstract.  Allowing me to focus totally on the beauty of the curve,

A perfect piece of shell.  They’re all perfect.  Like a found feather from a bird.  Standing in it’s own beauty, but part of something larger.  Just like each and every one of us.

Ahhh, sweet Sarasota. Your bits and pieces certainly contribute greatly to my year of joyful living.