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..."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Time to Explore

I've been exploring new directions. A wise friend suggests that there are times when our art process must take us inward & must benefit from being private. In the meantime, it's nice to look back on a body of work...
 I look back to my old beloved home...
 on the edge of Casco Bay...
 And to my new home...
in such a beautiful area of the world... 
 I look back to my trips to France...Will there be another?
So where am I going with my art?
Picasso writes:
"Si l’on sait exactement ce qu’on va faire, à quoi bon le faire ?" 
My interpretation: 
"If one knows exactly what one is going to do, then why do it?" 
It's OK not to know for the moment.

Between my explorations & several projects with deadlines, it's  time for a blog pause. Have a great summer!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fast Sketches: Small Town Farmer's Market

I had a feeling the painting class that I'd been a part of for 2 days would be at the local Farmer's Market. There was the teacher, right in the middle of things, doing a brilliantly colorful demo. This market is much smaller than Portland's but it too is filled with health & joy & the arts. Again, I walked into a bit of bliss.. sights, scents, art, & more Celtic music....
...played by 3 young men on fiddle, keyboard & recorder...
Proportion & accuracy are off here, but it is for me a souvenir of a moment...
Student & assistant, Deb, from New Hampshire. One of the sweetest people I've ever met...Good energy all around! Thank you, thank you, thank you, I seem to keep saying to summer in Belfast.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Happiness: Fiddling & Sketching

The Belfast Bay Fiddlers welcome an audience to their weekly rehearsals. I thought I'd died & gone to heaven, attending for the first time. About 20 musicians played tunes like Saint Anne's Reel, Golden Slippers, Angeline the Baker, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Boys of Blue Hill & Reel de Montreal. I used to kind of play guitar & then tin whistle until a wrist injury changed things. And I used to contradance before my knees started creaking. But how I still LOVE to listen!!
Their stands were ipads on which they downloaded the tunes! The smiles on some of their faces as they played were like mirrors for my own feelings. A few of the slow waltzes made me cry. A roomful of joy, you see it, & you feel it vibrating deep in your core. Out the windows the trees were swaying to the music, & whole families of children were dancing on the lawn.
I was shy about taking out my sketchbook. Then, a regular audience member, wife of a guitarist, whipped out a Moleskine. So I whipped out my Moleskine. I almost exclaimed, "Look! We're twins!" As we shared our books we discovered that we are/were both art teachers. Then we hunkered down to sketching as the the fiddlers went on fiddlin'.
Fiddlers & sketchers, working out, practicing, immersed in traditional music...I became a part of a lucky group of people in that room that evening...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Coastal Maine Art Workshop

I just finished 2 days in a watercolor class right in my own town! Folks have come to this 5 day class (I only took it for 2) from California, New York, New Jersey Iowa, Louisiana, & elsewhere, to learn in person from Tony Van Hasselt, a teacher they knew from his technique books! Coastal Maine has so many workshops like this with visiting artists! This one was sponsored by Coastal Maine Art Workshops. What a great way to follow one's passion while vacationing. Tonight they all went to the lobster pound down the road in Lincolnville. 
After a talk in the studio, Tony gave a demonstration outdoors & then we painted. Sunny, pleasant weather was with us in a lovely public spot just on the edge of the harbor.

Painting IS different from drawing. You define objects by masses of contrasting colors & values instead of by line. There's a lot more to consider like lights & darks & patterns of colors & shapes.
Part of my pleasure, in any class, is making sketch-notes. (Here, 3 X 5" journal by Semicolon) I've been sketching a lot lately. Summer & all the festivals & events here provide me with opportunities.
Tony has a relaxed approach to painting combined with formal study. While he's painting he says things like,  "Why not try?" "I'm just going to have fun. If it works out, OK." 

Tourist to Mainer: "How do you get to Lincolnville?" 
Mainer: "My brother takes me."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Back to the Landscapes...soon...

This is an older landscape that I took to the shop on Main Street
to replace one that sold yesterday. 
Now I REALLY have to get back to the landscapes.
 In the meantime, I'm still sketchbook wandering.
Very scribbly, I must say...
Every Thursday in summer they close one of the Main streets for concerts. 
Last night it was an excellent local big band.
Young families & children were dancing in the street to the music of their parents' & grandparents' era.
I love these events that bring out the community, & perhaps
tourists & summer visitors too.
I added a little detail at home, but it's still scribbly...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

One More Abstract

I've been trying finish up my abstract wanderings
(just one more, just one more)
as I have some landscapes 
to get back to...