Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Next Two Months

Very early yesterday morning I dropped off Mike and great-nephew, Daniel, at the Eugene Airport. That was the beginning of their travels for the next two months. They flew to L.A. to join the crew sailing to Hawaii and back. After a few days loading food, checking out the readiness of the boat, they will sail out on May 3. This is Mike's chance to live out one of his dreams and I hope it is wonderful.

In the meantime, I am here at home on my own. It isn't that I'll have trouble staying busy, it is just an internal struggle of self-discipline. It is so easy for me to spend time in lethargy, watching TV or sitting at the computer. I fear I could spend many days wasted, without working toward any art goals, pulling any weeds, or keeping up with the housework.

So today I was presented with my first full day on my own. I walked myself to the post office, 3 miles round trip, instead of driving. As I walked in the rain, I started out with irritation about the spray that hit me with each passing vehicle. But as I continued and got into the rhythm of my walk, I started opening my eyes to find many lovely things. First, the droplets on my raincoat turned incredible colors when the sun hit them. Next I saw movement in the ditch next to the road; as I looked closely I saw a hummingbird feeding on the wild bleeding heart blooms. Then I saw more blooms off the road which were the illusive calypso orchids. Soon my mind went to painting ideas. As my mind floated along, I realized that my trip was nearly over, and the overdrive I'd hit got me there and back.

After lunch I got out to the studio to work on the two paintings I'd taken to my critique group on Friday. I tried to follow my own instincts, while following my group's suggestions.

As silly as it may seem, I feel that these two acts are minor victories and a good start to being on my own.

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Mollie, 20 x 14

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Watercolor Weekend and Spring Break

Last Thursday through Sunday I was in Brookings, Oregon at the WSO spring convention. It was a great weekend of reconnecting with friends, Seeing art, doing art, and getting critiques and demonstrations from expert painter, Stephen Quiller.

A group of us from the Eugene area rented a house high up a hill, where we had a fabulous view of the Oregon Coast. Since I got there with a camera, but no memory card, I can't show you the view! It was a very fun crowd that shared not only an interest in art, but also good food, drink and lively conversation.

One of the paint-ins I participated in had a model, so I got this done in the morning session. I went back several years to an Al Stine workshop and finished it quickly with a cruciform.

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After getting home, I decided to try to finish it in a more arterly fashion.

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It's crazy how I could whip out this fairly nice figure in a morning, but I have agonized over the background, and I don't feel I did it any favors. However, it was destined for a drawer, so I decided to buck-up and do something with the background. I'd love to have some comments/help on this one.

The other thing I spent some studio time on was my large "Rogue Heron." After Mr. Quiller's critique, I followed his suggestions of darkening the upper right hand corner to push back the pattern pieces. I also just barely darkened the light part of the shadow under the heron. Is it improved? The changes may be hard to see due to the photos and monitors.

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Rogue Heron 22 x 30

Prior to this past weekend, Mike and I took our younger granddaughters on an Eastern Oregon road trip. We saw rock gardens, painted hills and toured the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. We also dug for fossils and thunder eggs. Probably the highlight was riding horses on the Wilson Ranch Retreat near Fossil. Here are a few photos.

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The girls at Peterson's Rock Garden.

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Viewing the Painted HIlls. (Angelica is wearing head-gear.)

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The girls on horseback.

Tomorrow I'm off to Disneyland for 3 days! It will be a quiet studio for a few days.