Summertime Wane

Watercolor 10" x 14"
Watercolor 10″ x 14″

After spending the weekend at the beach with dear friends, this morning broke gray and chilly. Our summer days are numbered. And despite calls for high temperatures and higher humidity later this week, the change of season and movement of time is prevalent in my thoughts.

For several friends and family, it has been a difficult summer as far too many souls have passed.  Far too many from serious, and long-term, devastating illness. Changes that bring grief to the hearts of loved ones, have all too often brought freedom to those who have suffered. On some days, my reflections have been sad and tear filled.  As we age, these passings become far more numerous.  An explanation mark on thoughts of mortality.  Thankfully, my happy soul knows how to find it’s way back to the light. I pick up a paintbrush.

For my class this morning I concocted a light and breezy lesson. We used my limited palette of four colors (Daniel Smith’s Cadmium yellow, Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Sienna, and Pthalo Blue) thinned with water and put in spray bottles. Stencils, doilies, wallboard tape and anything else that would make a negative painting did the rest. Leaving a rectangle of white by covering it with a matboard, we sprayed, dribbled then allowed our paper to dry. That done we pondered where to put our drawing on the paper we had just created. Breaking boundaries and painting over our original creation.

Some artificial lemons, a colorful pitcher, and a spunky plastic glass with a straw made up our still life. Lemonade. The quintessential summer drink. It, too, seems to disappear, with the end of summer.

My normal saturated colors were overpowering the lovely background I created, so I quickly diluted to a softer version of my normal. The under painting (or under spraying) came through and left light and luminosity. Just what we needed to brighten the mood, to help us enjoy the gift of the day.

“Summertime Wane” feels ethereal, ghost-like, quiet, yet in it’s softer color, it shimmers. To one accustomed to saturated colors slinging from my brush, it is a bit of a respite.  Summertime is waning, but this year, it’s memory has been put to paper.

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Take the Present

We had terrible, nasty thunderstorms this morning, complete with flooded roadways, so I cancelled my normal Tuesday morning drawing class.    Less money this week to buy art supplies, but a whole morning I could spend in the studio!

Three commissions sit “On the Board” in my studio.   One has a great start, but I needed the computer in order to check the direction of the sun on this pretty property.  My recent “touching” experience including computers and thunderstorms is still a bit fresh, so I decided that wasn’t an option.

Yes, I could have started the next commission. But, bouncing around had been this idea for artwork for my bathroom that started with the Rose of Sharon bush blooming by the back porch.  There were even two perfect frames waiting for this personal project to get off the ground.

The logical side of me said to get started on the second commission.  The creative side told me this morning was a gift.  So I took the present!

The benefit:  With the “nagging” gone, I’ll be able to focus my full attention on the commissions!

Did you give yourself a present today?

The “Declutter 5” Project

This is a great idea. I’m on board. How about you?

Change The Code

Defeat Clutter Forever

Do you have some decluttering that you need to do but feel a bit overwhelmed at the thought of taking on what seems like a monumental task?

I am sure that there are quite a few of us out there who feel this way.

The problem with most advice on clearing clutter is that it runs on the assumption that people actually have enough storage space in their homes. I am 100% sure that anyone who saves closet space by rotating their winter clothes out of their closet to make room for their summer wardrobe isn’t storing their Christmas sweaters under their house in the crawlspace.

So what I am proposing is a challenge called the “Declutter 5 Project”

The premise is simple. Each day find 5 things that you can do without and get rid of them.

Do this every day for 30 days.

Need help…

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Blue Jay Combo

acrylic on paper - private collection
acrylic on paper – private collection

Recently, my sister was the recipient of a cardinal painting she had admired.  When she needed another to go with it, I did a bluebird painting.  She hung them together on one side of her television.  But the wall on the other side then seemed unbalanced.

Last weekend we dined together with our spouses, The four of us are an easy going combination.  We enjoy each other’s company, we enjoy a lot of the same things and a lot of different things.  I talked to both my sister and my brother-in-law about another painting.    Gave them my idea, showed them some sketches, some reference pictures, discused whether they’d like two bluejays or three.  A frame I had would work perfectly.  Over dessert, we laughed, discussed possibilities and settled on two blue jays.  The painting fell off the brush, and I delivered it yesterday.    My brother-in-law commented he liked the fact the group of paintings  was balanced.  One frame – two birds; Two frames – two birds.  A  good combination.

I live to paint and teach, My reward is putting the paint on the paper and watching people explore their creativity.  And whenever I’m engaged in either activity I am in pure happpy.  But there are some differences.

Commissions are extremly specific.  Given a picture of an animal, I’ll often arrange to meet the pet in order to get a feel for their personality.  If that’s not possible, I ask for three words to describe the furbaby.  They’re planned,  painted accurately, and require concentration with a dash of soul to capture that spirit. The delivery of the painting brings another aspect to the sharing of my gift.

When I paint for my soul, the subject matter’s a whim. An idea, photo, perhaps some value sketches. There’s a riot of activity, and the calling to put memory or inspiration to bed by transferring it to the paper.  And a hope that the painting speaks to others in some way.

The Blue Jays were a lovely combination of both types of painting.  Input from the intended collector:  subject matter, size, number of birds.  And output of my creative energies: composition, color choice, placement of the mark.

For me it was an extremely nice combination.

What combinations work in your art?  In your life?