Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Accordion Book with Watercolor Circles

Several years ago I cut up a painting that I didn't like into circles & 
attached them to an accordion folded paper strip
with adhesive & embroidery floss. 
 Flip the pages &  the arrangements change.
Is it a book or a toy?
When I taught, I often used the brainstorming game with young children, 
holding up a simple shape, asking: "What is it?" 
The diverse number of responses always amazed me!

So: "What is it?" 
A balloon train? 
A fruit parade?
A broken beaded necklace? 
Planets at a party?
Other ideas?  

The end. 
Or maybe not the end...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Morning Sketch Meditations: Changes

 Morning Meditation means loading my backpack 
with my drawing tools & wandering with my sketchbook.
(This one is new, a tiny, 51/2 X 31/2" Paperblanks.)
Oh! The gifts of stopping to see! A sailboat, 
so slightly turning to & fro in the morning breeze...
Slight movement, but with the early morning light, 
shadows & reflections, & my tranquil frame of mind, 
I  experience them as great, miraculous changes.
My little boat is now big 
in relation to a shore bird neighbor!
 Early morning by the harbor means greeting others who are also welcoming the new day. 
They are mostly walkers & I love sharing their fresh energy. 
Morning seems to open us to health & happiness.
 Drawing/meditation can happen any time during the day.
Here,  Moose Point State Park, a pause after walking the
sweet shore & woods trail loop on a late afternoon. 
No fantastic mountain summits, just quiet serenity at ground level.
Drawing/meditation frees me up from preconceived ideas.
I returned another morning to the harbor thinking I'd be looking at more boats. 
But what immediately caught my eye was a lily plant full of seed pods. 
They are little sculptures that I often overlook in relation to their springtime blossom counterparts. 
Stalks were in different stages of aging & dying, from full green pods to withered, shriveled, brown ones. 
One lily even had all this as well as her vivid yellow blossoms! 
The change of seasons & life were displayed by
a single lily plant!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Zen of Mother & Child at the Lake

Oh, the pleasure, & perhaps luxury, of the young mom & her child, together in a sort of Zen reverie at the lake. They sat on their towel, they explored holes in the sand. They met a dog & some older children. They picked up stones & twigs & a few toys. They chatted now & again in a mother-child language.  They dipped their feet in the water. They did all this slowly & sometimes they were just still, seemingly doing nothing. They appeared to be in an unhurried trance, the mom following the pace of her child. 

There are many families in which the parents work all hours, where the children rush all day from activity to scheduled activity. There are others where the adults have little time or interest in their kids. Honestly, it warmed my heart to watch these two, so slow, so engaged with one another & with their surroundings. It was a little bit of Zen Magic which seemed to be filled with a lot of Love.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Shakespeare & Company Revisited

 A new version (9 X 12") of a drawing that I'd made several years ago. It was a pleasure to "re-visit" this book store in Paris where I had had an enchanted experience. To see the original drawing, story & photos, click Here. Most of my France & Paris drawings have now sold. To see ones I've posted on this blog, click on "France" in Labels. When you reach the bottom of the posts, click on "older posts" for more.

I told a friend that most of my French images are gone.
"I guess it means you have to go back to create more," she said.
For now, it's not possible, but I will continue to dream & draw...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Morning Meditation Sketch: Cormorant

Yesterday I attended a lecture at a Rockland gallery by painter & teacher, Bjorn Runquist. He reminded me why it is that I sketch. I stop, I observe, I get to know something, I stay with it, I am present, I am engaged in a moment of life...

Runquist showed a series of small sunrise paintings that were for him morning meditations, his way of greeting the world each morning for a year. 

So this morning, first thing, I found myself on a bench by the harbor of my little town, enjoying once again the pleasure, the process, the meditation of drawing, of sketching, for no one or no reason except to pass a little time in a little piece of the world. Un petit coin de paradis...

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Dock in the Lake

So much depends upon 
a wooden dock
floating in the lake...
(especially if you haven't been swimming in years!)

(ode to Love That Dog by Sharon Creech &
"The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Friend's Farm Garden

Here, one of those first drafts that didn't need a 2nd. I worked out a few details on scratch paper & then, with ink & chopstick, spontaneously sketched images on a 9 X 12" watercolor sheet, from photos I had taken on a friend's farm back in mid-July. I'm sure her garden is very different today, & I hope to make another pilgrimage to her & to her garden soon. It's always filling to my soul, even without actually eating some of her organic, delicious produce!

It's September 1st & changes are accelerating in the rural landscape. Each day there is something new to observe. I must remember this. 

More on that "Draft Process" (previous post): The "Evil Twin Critic" verses "The Wise Editor." The country landscape was a response to "The Wise Editor". I liked reflecting & putting into practice what I've been learning. Perhaps one of the drawings was not "better" than the other, but one felt more expressive of my response to what I had seen & felt.

Happy September First & all that that means to you!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Maine Country Drawing: Before & After

Above: A new version of yesterday's drawing.You can compare it below or with the previous post.

What's New:
• A lighter touch, expressing more movement.
• A larger format giving more freedom to vary density
• The house with its contrasting red is more off-center. 
• The horizon line could still be lower, but ground & sky aren't fighting as much for dominance. 
• Use of aerial perspective (fading colors in the distance)
• No yellow, which had made an artificial atmosphere
• New composition giving more sense of distance & vastness,
the house now more a part of its surroundings.

I knew the 1st drawing didn't feel like a total expression of what I'd seen. It felt more stiff than what I usually enjoy. After some reading of the The Watercolor Painter's Solution Book, which features  problems (befores) & solutions (afters), I analyzed the first & then created the 2nd.

I sometimes want to just do one spontaneous drawing & be done with it. Lazy Daisy. Sometimes a 1st drawing works. But more often, like a writer, I need drafts. With oil paints, one can revise & add & subtract right on the same painting. With watercolor & ink, for me, whole new beginnings are often in order. The trick is to not lose spontaneity & simplicity.

To those of you who left supportive comments yesterday, I so appreciate them! The voice of encouragement, especially when something seems off, is lovely. I'm training that voice in myself too, but again, thank You for Yours!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Maine Country

While the lakes sparkle & stir,
Maine farmland calmly relaxes under August sun & clouds.
My little drawing seems like one a child would draw. 
When I was a child I dreamed of living on a farm.
I longed for the peace & quiet of the country 
as opposed to the noise of my big city & suburbs.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Maine Lake

 Being by a Maine lake 
on a breezy August day is beautiful, yes.
But the movement of rippling water,
dancing leaves & clouds shifting
also fills the body & soul with great energy.
Being by a Maine lake
on a cloudy August day 
makes you want to run & shout & swim & twirl,
the way you did when you were a child.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dancing Sunflowers

 I can't seem to get enough of them...
They call down to
 me, a humble, tiny human...
They dance in festive costume. 
They sing, "Look at us!" 
I am in love with them.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Gift of Sunflowers

It was a time of Celebration,
marked by a surprise gift of flowers.
Happy, Thoughtful Sunflowers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Art in the Park

 The above photo is from my display at Art in the Park, 2011. This year I had nowhere near the variety. Most of the above had sold, & this year I've been working in some other directions. I went this year to visit my old home & friends. I did sell some works, and it's always a delight to know that they make people happy. I loved seeing my friends and it was fun to meet some new folks too!
Thanks, Portland folks for the visits! 
See you again soon, I hope!

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Watercolor, 3 X 4 inches
It might have started out as a landscape...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Meditations on Color

I'm wandering down paths filled with jewels of Color
I play in layered fields of Color! Gone for now are the small 
ink landscapes (though they will be there Saturday at
Art in the Park, Mill Creek, South Portland.)

An earlier journey into Color.
Epiphany by Robert Natkin, acrylic on canvas.

 This painting is from Sister Wendy's Book of Meditations which  serendipitously jumped out at me from a bookshelf at the library the other day. Her meditations are all on fine art paintings. In the chapter, "Meditation on Silence", she writes about Natkin's painting:

"Only the abstract artist can attempt to show us light in itself, free from any material context. This is pure silence, the experience removed from the concrete & celebrated as a transforming peace. Epiphany is a Greek word meaning manifestation, a revelation of glory. We are not meant to understand Natkin's picture, any more that we are meant to intellectualize during our silence..."