Some days I have a set plan, other days I have no idea what I will paint, hoping something will present itself to me. Today was one of those days. I had homework to do for my portrait class, but wasn't sure I would want to post that. Then an opportunity presented itself. Oliver and I were taking our morning walk and we passed some guys doing fall cleanup in our neighborhood. In the pile of leaves were several gorgeous hydrangeas in a variety of colors. Since my hydrangeas didn't produce a single flower this year (why is that?), I couldn't resist collecting them and bringing them home. They are so lovely floating in this lovely aqua bowl. There is opportunity everywhere. You just have to look for it.
We visited Door County this weekend for one last time until Spring invites us back with fresh paintings and vivid spring colors. Many of the shops and restaurants were closed for the season, giving Door county a sleepy town feeling. The Gallery was hopping on Saturday night for the artist party with a vivid literature theme, including many very creative costumes depicting favorite books. Fifty Shades of Grey seemed to be a popular theme, with many people wearing a variety of paint chips in the grey scale. The people there, artists and their guests/spouses were friendly and the air was festive. It was a magical ending to my freshman year, and I am so looking forward to what is ahead.
This scene is one I look forward to every time we visit Fish Creek. As you approach the quaint downtown area, you drive down a steep hill and this is the view you see around the bend. I don't know what the island is in the background, but it is a beautiful scene. I hope I have done it justice.
After working in the yard all day doing Fall cleanup, and having recently painted many Autumn paintings, it hit me hard that winter is coming, which I dread. Maybe the subliminal wish for Spring, rather than Winter, moved me to paint this today.
I am constantly reminded to squint when I am painting so as not to paint harsh lines and fussy details, in fact, I recall with a smile that in one class, our instructor asked us to smear Vaseline on our glasses to blur the image we would see. It was a fun exercise. This photo (reference) was very blurry because we were clipping along in Door County. I just can't resist a photo op when I am in the passenger seat.
We spent the weekend in Door County, where the tourist season is wrapping up. Many of the stores, restaurants and galleries will be closed by November 1. The Fall colors were beautiful, even on the grey Friday, and the cold, rainy blustery Saturday. Sunday was beautiful with blue skies, a perfect day for a walk on the Sunset Trail at the Peninsula State Park. I took many photos from the car while in motion, otherwise we would have worn out the brakes.
On Tuesdays, I look forward to receiving a box of fresh produce from Springdale Farm. It is fun to see what's in the box, and I really enjoy setting up and photographing several still life possibilities.
Anyone who lives in my neighborhood knows EXACTLY where this scene is. I see it every day and approach it head on with this magnificent Ginkgo tree, a real beauty to behold. The other trees are in full Fall color now, and are so beautiful, but competing with the Ginkgo.
This scene is somewhere between Taos and the Albuquerque airport. I was attracted to the bright white stone of the mountain, and on closer look, the two crosses at the top, providing the imagination with endless possibilities.
This painting is on watercolor paper. I have conferred with another artist who successfully mounts her paper paintings onto hardboard or cradled hardboard, and will include that option if sold.
"709 Somewhere (Else) in New Mexico" acrylic - 8x10 in
There are a lot of things I could write about, but I will keep it short. This painting started out as something entirely different, though based on a very simple sketch from long ago. Little Sister had a prettier color dress giving her more importance, Big Sister had no bow, giving her less importance. Little Sister had red hair and pink complexion. I am happier with both sisters feeling special with red bows.
It took great restraint to abstain writing about my sister. It would have been a very different and very lengthy post. I could have told you about the time she...... but I won't.
This is another painting taken from a simple sketch found while cleaning out my work space. I originally planned to call it "Do-si-do" because I imagined a girl dancing at a barn dance in rural America. As I began painting and let my mind wander, I was taken back to my childhood summers spent in Streator, Illinois, where my Aunt Mamie was the Martha Stewart of her day, only she didn't have a staff. Typical Aunt Mamie, she would say on a whim, "Let's pick the cherries today, and we'll make jam," or "Today, we're going looking for cat tails for flower arrangements." She worked very hard to take care of the family, a large house, a beautiful yard that included her award winning roses and the most gorgeous gladiolas you've ever seen. Aunt Mamie never took a break--she cooked and cleaned and served her community, quietly and without a lot of attention or recognition. As I grow older, I realize what a strong influence she had on me.
The pose of this woman in the painting could be interpreted as a hands-on-hips reprimand, and certainly Aunt Mamie could be authoritative, but after all this sentimentality and reminiscence, I decided this is Aunt Mamie's alter ego, who breaks into dance in the yard on a beautiful summer day.
I recently visited the family home, and felt the same warm-fuzzies I remembered. I graciously declined a tour of the home from the current owners because I wanted every image of its interior to remain the same as in my memory.
I've been cleaning out and rearranging work spaces, and during this process came across a pile of simple drawings of people done in a long-ago class, probably from magazine or other photos. I was sort of enchanted with the sketch of this woman, and since I had no reference photo (other than the sketch), I thought it might be fun and challenging to make up the colors and background. I enjoyed painting it, and may attempt other sketches. It was a good exercise.
I am not a big fan of heights, but I was determined to walk on the Rio Grande River Gorge Bridge located about 10 miles northwest of Taos. It is the seventh highest bridge in the United States, and the 82nd highest in the world! As you walk 565 feet above the Rio Grande River, with hands clutched on the railing, you can feel the vibration of trucks passing you on the bridge. The view was so spectacular with all the various ridges and beautiful colors, and I was happy to be stable enough to take photos. Sadly, there are a lot of suicides from this bridge, and there is a button to push for you to talk to someone to get help, should you feel hopeless.
"704 View From the Rio Grande River Gorge Bridge" acrylic - 12x9 in
As I was conducting the first round of Fall cleanup, I just couldn't discard these sweet little survivors, scraggly as they were. I think they are charming in my new vase from New Mexico in a random sort of way. I'm such a sap.
This is the second painting started after the visit to the Taos Farmer's Market. I purchased the hand made vase from a cute store called something like Taos At Home or At Home Taos. I wish I had paid closer attention because I always like to give credit to the artist. I worked on this painting and yesterday's post simultaneously, but this was finished here at home.
I'm not sure this qualifies as a legitimate "floral arrangement" but the flowers had a mind of their own, so they were "free spirits."
Two Saturdays ago, the Art Ladies visited the Taos Farmer's Market with the mission to purchase items for our still lifes, which we later set up at the Hacienda del Sol courtyards to paint. It was interesting to see what the others purchased and even more fun to see their set ups. My stash consisted of these flowers, two eggplants and a beautiful bunch of green onions, some of which made it into this still life. Ha! I bet you thought they were leaves of some sort. The black and white dotted table covering is my scarf, and the container for the flowers is a sturdy coffee mug I purchased for my husband. Even more fun to see was that all of our veggie purchases made it into the next morning's breakfast, prepared by Chef Gerd. All in all, it was a glorious day.
When we visited Ghost Ranch during our recent trip to New Mexico, I completed my first painting and had a few minutes to spare before leaving this beautiful place. I quickly sketched another mountain scene visible from a quarter turn from The Pedernal, and quickly blocked in colors. I wanted to completely abstract what I saw, which was so magnificent that I couldn't imagine tackling it realistically. This is such a style departure for me, but I really enjoyed it---it was very liberating. I am sure there are more abstractions in my future. I would love to know what you think!
Here is the photo I took of the visita.
"699 Another View From Ghost Ranch"
acrylic - 9x12 in