Saturday, February 27, 2010

I Send You a Sandpiper...

Hi everybody. I've been busy, busy, busy painting and watching Canada break gold medal records. :o)  I'm so very proud of our country, our athletes and our people. It feels good to be part of National pride. As a people, we have until now, hidden our pride under a bushel. Not so much any more. This makes me happy. 

Anyway, I apologize for the lateness of my next post. I decided I'd add a filler post tonight and take the pressure off myself for tomorrow as I have a hockey game to cheer for and a couple of paintings to do. So, here's that wonderful short story I promised a few weeks ago. I'll post new art etc. in the next 48 hours, until then I'm sending you a sandpiper, to bring you joy. 

A Sandpiper To Bring You Joy

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sandcastle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

"Hello," she said.
I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.

"I'm building," she said.
"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not caring.
"Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."

That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.

"That's a joy," the child said.
"It's a what?"
"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."

The bird went gliding down the beach.
"Good-bye joy,"
I muttered to myself, "hello pain," and turned to walk on.

I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.

"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.
"Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson."

"Mine's Wendy... I'm six."
"Hi, Wendy." She giggled. 
"You're funny," she said.

In spite of my gloom I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me.

"Come again, Mr. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."

The days and weeks that followed belonged to others: a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, an ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater.

"I need a sandpiper," I said to myself, gathering up my coat.

The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared....

"Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"
"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.
"I don't know, you say."
"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.

The tinkling laughter burst forth again.

"I don't know what that is."
"Then let's just walk." Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face.
"Where do you live?" I asked.
"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages.

Strange, I thought, in winter.
"Where do you go to school?"
"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation." She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.

"Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd rather be alone today."

She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.
"Why?" she asked.
I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought, my God, why was I saying this to a little child?

"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."
"Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and-oh, go away!"

"Did it hurt? " she inquired.
"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.
"When she died?" "Of course it hurt!!!!" I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

"Hello," I said. "I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."

"Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies." "Not at all - she's a delightful child," I said, suddenly realizing that I meant it.
"Where is she?"
"Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn't tell you."

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. My breath caught.
"She loved this beach; so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..." her voice faltered. "She left something for you ... if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?"

I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something, anything, to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope, with MR. P printed in bold, childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues - a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird.

Underneath was carefully printed:

Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms.
"I'm so sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," I muttered over and over, and we wept together.

The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study.

Six Words - one for each year of her life - that speak to me of harmony, courage, undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color of sand, who taught me the gift of love.

{NOTE: The above is based on and adapted from a story originally written by Mary Sherman Hilbert}

I hope you liked the story. Every time I read it I cry. 
I'll post the latest art I've finished late tomorrow and don't forget, Tuesday is mosaic day! Ahhh, the art never stops. 
Have a joy-filled weekend. We'll talk soon, promise. :o)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Abstract & Realism

It's Mosaic Tuesday  with Artmind again. This week I'm obsessed about photos showing close ups of real flowers. I want to paint them all and I now have a folder FULL of amazing pictures. Where I'm going to get the time, I don't know. I just know I want to cover the walls with colorful painted flowers. Here's my mosaic for this week.

From left then top down:
  1. Double pink Fuchsia
  2. Powder Pink Moth Orchid
  3. Red Tulip in Pitcher
  4. Pink & White Tulip
Interestingly, all the photos that attracted me this week had some sort of "ruffling" or variegation to the edges of the flowers. The light and shadows seem to play so well over the undulating petals. I think it would make the paintings that much more interesting because of the suggestion of movement. 

One artist (I own one of her books) who captures the amazing play of light and shadow on petals is Birgit O'Connor. The book & CD of hers that I own is called Watercolor in Motion. It is visually stunning and immensely helps one understand how to create smooth transitions between colors and how to move water to your advantage. I highly recommend it.

Her artwork in watercolor is absolutely amazing. The fluidness that she captures in the petals of the flowers reminds me of silk fabric. (Please click for larger images)

"Angel Dance" "Anenomie" "Dancing Tulips"

Angel Dance - Birgit O'Connor

Anenomie - Birgit O'Connor

Dancing Tulips - Birgit O'Connor

And finally, as I mentioned the other day, I am going to be doing my first abstract soon. Because of this, I have been looking at some abstract paintings, just to gauge where I might want to go. I put another mosaic together, it seemed appropriate. :o)

Upper Left Moving Clockwise:

  1. "Abstract Watercolor"A.E. McDraw
  2. "Color Spot 03", Victoria Kloch
  3. Ted Scott Graphics
  4. "Greater Love", Elizabeth Chapman

I'm so attracted to color and these artists embrace color with enthusiasm. Elizabeth Chapman has done a series with hearts as the theme. I love them all but was especially attracted to this one because of the clear, brightness of the paint. I love how she slaps the paint around. It makes me think of the juxtaposition of happiness and violence. Only in art is it good to be violent. ;o)

Victoria Kloch has also done a series of Color Spot watercolor paintings. She has  great sense of balance and also has learned the difficult technique of editing herself. Of knowing when to stop. I haven't learned that yet and have messed up many a painting. In A.E. McDraw's work I love the straight lines paired with the bleed of color, light to dark that stops dead. It reminds me of stained glass. 

Have a great upcoming week. Talk to Y'all later. Promise. 

P.S. For those of you who signed up for the Postcard Giveaway, I'm just finishing up all the 5x7 painting postcards now. They will be mailed as soon as I find envelopes to fit them. Thanks for your patience and for joining up, it's been such fun creating art for you!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hit One Out'a Da Park!

Hi all. I've been a busy little bee the last few days. No, I haven't cleaned the house, bird cage, parrot tower, my bathroom, the kitchen, I haven't even made dinner... much. I have been painting, though. :o)  And, as the title suggests, one of them is AWESOME. Am I allowed to say that about my own artwork?  Probably not. Well, I don't care.
Without further ado, I present, in all it's awesomeness...  "Red Rose #1"

Ya, I like it too. :o) I have also done four other paintings in the last 48 hours. As I mentioned, I haven't done much else. And my arm hurts now. It's just so much fun and so enthralling to watch something start to come alive because you add color to paper. I'm certainly addicted. I think I've slept maybe 8 hours in 48. Prolly not so good for the health, to say nothing for my left arm.

I only have three of the other four photographed, so you'll have to wait for the latest one (finished it at 1am this morning, ya, I'm crazy to also be blogging this at 2:14am... see above eye-roll again.) 

"Fuchsia" "Night Sweetpeas" "Night Crocuses"

Fuchsia Watercolor

Night Sweetpeas Watercolor

Night Crocuses Watercolor

While mom was photographing these for me and also the tulips we have in the house (so I can paint them), we noticed that Berkley (my African Grey Parrot) was looking for attention. Mom turned the camera to her and she started POSING. Oh my gosh it was hilarious! She knows what a camera is for! I know Grey's are known as the smartest parrots in the world, but wow. She figured out that "when Granny looks at you and holds the square think you gotta stand all cute and hold still 'til it clicks." She kept posing and holding, then posing again. Here's a great shot, she kept twisting her head around and looking right at the lens. She's a nut but so darn cute, it's impossible not to lurrrve her.

One final thing. I'm going to try my hand at my first abstract. While perusing the web I came across a blog where the author challenges her readers to "interpret" a photograph she uploads to her blog. She does one every month, then those who participate can post to her site, their version of the photo. Although it's late in February already, I'm going to try and still do this month's challenge. Here's the photo we are to interpret. I don't like the outbuildings at all and think they don't add anything to the picture, so they're out. I like the foreground, and the footsteps. Therefore...
I'm going to do a study of the dead reeds and sky. I don't know if I'll add the footprints or not, I'm not confident about being able to make them look like footstep. We'll see. I want to capture the feeling of the reeds and also, somehow come up with a viable sky, without doing "blue". Not sure what will happen, but it's worth a try.  Anyhoo, once again it's beddie-bye time for me.

We'll talk soon, K?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pic Spam.

I've completed a few new 5x7 paintings and repurposed a few older pieces. I also added pen & ink to everybody and re-photographed them all using an actual camera, not my macbook's webcam. :o) I think it made a huge difference with all the changes, so I decided to have a "slumber party" with all my smaller art being invited, once again, to show up. So, here we go...
(All pictures are clickable to Enlarge)

New Paintings:

"Garden Sweetpeas" "Cherry Blossoms" "Peas Please"

Garden Sweetpeas Watercolor

Cherry Blossoms Watercolor

Peas Please Watercolor

New Postcards:

"Garden Riot" "My Valentine" "Together"

Garden Riot Watercolor

Together Watercolor

My Valentine Watercolor

New Backgrounds & Tweaks:

"Home" "Java" "Wine Country"

Maple Leaf  Watercolor

Java Leaf Watercolor

Wine Country Watercolor

"Love" "Wild Geranium" "Autumn"

Rose Leaf  Watercolor

Wild Geranium Watercolor

Autumn Watercolor

"Chocolate" "Birdsfoot Ivy" "Ginkgo"

Chocolate  Watercolor

Birdsfoot Ivy Watercolor

Ginkgo Leaf Watercolor

...And for those of you who have requested a postcard, I photographed the back of one of them too, just for fun. :o)

That's it for tonight because I have to get to bed. I have ten more paintings already drawn out and I'm gonna paint all weekend. Yippee! There's an owl,  daffodils, a close up of a rose, more sweetpeas and there's...  Oh, and a crocus! My uncle photographs the new crocuses for me every year, he knows it makes me happy to see the first blossoms that herald Spring. I have an entire folder full of beautiful little crocuses that bloom in Beacon Hill Park. That one's for Bob, 'cause he's sooo special. Thanks Bob. :o)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

No Laryngitis Here.

It's Tuesday once again, therefore "Mosaic Day" with Artmind. As I continue painting I'm finding my voice. I thought this would be an arduous process, winnowing out just exactly what kind of artist I want to be. Actually, I don't even think it's a choice. Before I started painting 6 weeks ago, I would have put large sums of money on the bet that I wouldn't want to paint flowers. And that if I did paint flowers, they would be impressionistic in nature, not detailed. Well, I can tell you I would have lost that bet like a Lottery addict buying yet another Powerball ticket. My greatest joy is painting BIG flowers with lots of leaves and grasses. I also revel in detail work, I can't just leave it naive.

Deciding to trust my own inner judgement and voice has always been a difficult thing for me. I'm a people pleaser. If people who loved me gave advice or, even worse, if I asked for advice, which I do often, then I believed I should take it. I mean, they only have my best interest at heart. I'm finding now, that I am quickly learning how to listen to ME and not feel guilty for that, especially when it comes to MY art. The cold porcelain paste I worked with (to decorate my wedding cakes) worked differently than sugarpaste (most cake artists use sugarpaste to make the flowers) and so I had to find my own way. I didn't expect that "lesson" to transfer so easily to watercolors. But it did, in a big way. What took almost than 6 years with the cakes has only taken 6 weeks with painting.

I can hear my artistic voice just fine, no problem. I've learned to take advice or seek advice and if it doesn't work, then move on and do it your way. I am beginning to trust and believe in my own instincts. That it's happening so easily is what's wonderful. What was such a struggle for so long is now ever so much easier. :o)

My Mosaic this week is all about the amalgamation of color, form and background. It's the whole package. Doris Joa is an amazingly inspiring, brilliant artist. She paints both in watercolor and oil. Her flowers are stunning. I'm so inspired, I can't even express it adequately.  Everything I've discssed in previous posts, backgrounds, color saturation, negative space, placement of subject, randomness in space around that subject, clarity, she captured to perfection. Just beautiful!

From the upper left going clockwise:
  1. "Red Rose II"; Artist: Doris Joa
  2. "Blue Hydrangea"; Artist: Doris Joa
  3. "White Rose III"; Artist: Doris Joa
  4. "Blue Hibiscus"; Artist: Doris Joa
Find more of her art at her Etsy Shop.

I'm still taking your requests for a hand-made postcard. If you want me to send you a free 5x7 painting just go to my February 14th post and click on the big orange "Postcard Giveaway" button and fill out the form to email me with your request! I'd love to send you one. Besides, who doesn't like getting snail mail? :o) The Postcard Giveaway is now closed!

I just watched Canada's Alexandre Bilodeau receive our first ever gold medal on Home soil. :o)  We'll have to talk later, I'm gonna go celebrate with coffee & chocolate. Cheers! 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Great Postcard Giveaway!

Postcard Form
The Postcard Giveaway is now closed!

I decided the other day to do a fun giveaway, since I didn't get to participate in the Postcard Swap with iHanna. Would you like to receive a fun and free little painting in the mail? Of course you would! I'm hosting the Just Add Water Silly's First Annual Postcard Giveaway!

Here's what you have to do to get a handmade postcard:
  1. Click in the sidebar and "Follow" me.
  2. Click the big "Postcard Giveaway" button at the top and email me by filling in your name & mailing address etc.
  3. Wait by your mailbox!
Oh, so you'd like to see what you just might receive? I think I can accommodate you. Don't worry, each 5x7 little painted postcard will be in it's own envelope to protect it's awesomeness. ;o)

Don't be shy, sign up! I'll keep taking requests until I run out of paper, lol. Also, if I haven't added at the bottom of this post that the "Postcard Giveaway" is closed, then feel free to request one! Hopefully, I'll hear from all of you. Oh, and if you're an artist/crafter yourself and would like to trade postcards, just add a request for my mailing address when you sign up (click Postcard Giveaway button above).
The Postcard Giveaway is now closed!

This post took me so long to finish that it has become a two-parter. ;o)  My first TWOFER post! (twofer=two-for-the-price-of-one)

Happy Valentine's Day!! 
(I hope you all have a beautiful day with those who love you best!)

Here's someone I love.
This is Berkley, my African Grey parrot.

Now, for some fun. Another blogger (Petty at "Pen & Paper") suggested that her readers do a post with these Questions and add their own one word Answers. (Only one word?? From me?!?? I can hear all my peeps laughing now.) I thought this word association game was appropriate for today, you can get to know me better and maybe i can make you laugh a little. :o)

YOUR HAIR? - Unfortunate
YOUR MOTHER? - Awesomeness
YOUR FATHER? - History
YOUR DREAM/GOAL? - Watercolorist

YOUR FEAR? - Drowning

MUFFINS - Mmmmmmarvelous
WISH LIST ITEM? - Boyfriend ;o)
YOUR FRIENDS? - Steadfast
YOUR LIFE? - Changing
YOUR MOOD? - Joyous
VEHICLE? - Legs ;o)
FACEBOOK? - Confusing

Ok, that's all folks. I'm sure I'll hear from you soon. I gotta go make art... and clean the kitchen... and feed the parrot... and make dinner... and learn how to sell on ebay... and paint my nails... Sheesh, I'm tired already. We'll talk soon, I'm gonna need a break anyway... either that, or drink! ;o)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not...

Just as I promised, I finished a new watercolor painting. I'm fairly pleased with it. Strange, I had been worried about "capturing" the petals, as they are mostly white with so little shading. I thought I'd have trouble making the depth show in the different layers of petals. It ended up being the center of the daisy I'm not as happy with. I like the one in the distance but the large center is too naive. I really love the way the grass came out though.

Aptly, the title I'm giving the piece is "Daisy Petals". I actually have another daisy painting planned; I'm going to paint the thinner petaled daisies and have one petal fly off and name it "He Loves Me....". Yes, I know what you're asking,

Question: "Then, why name this blog post as you did?" 
Answer: "Because I wanted to." ;o)

I'll do that painting in a few weeks, I have a U-haul full of postcards to paint first. About that... I don't get to participate in the Postcard Swap with iHanna. :o( She sent me a very nice email saying that she was really sorry but the sign-up date had been moved up a day or so (unbeknownst to me). I'm a little sad but I decided what I was really excited about was making my own postcards and sending them to someone! (Ok, I was really looking forward to getting 10 little original, handmade postcards from a bunch of "new" friends but I can follow through with my part and still make 10 people I know now feel special.)

Oooh!! I just had a terrific idea. If any of you want a hand painted postcard made by Yours Truly just email me with your particulars (mailing address & name, silly!) and I'll mail you a personal postcard just for YOU. Yep, it'll be all about YOU, YOU, YOU! All you have to do is click the Postcard below and fill out the Postcard Giveaway Form to send your request. How's that for a deal? Everybody likes free stuff, right?!?

The Postcard Giveaway is now closed!Postcard Form

See, now I feel just terrific! I'll do my own Postcard Swap, just without all the swapping. ;o) It'll be a Postcard ROAK(define: Random Act Of Kindness)... The first Postcard ROAK! Cool. They'll be like a late Valentine's Day gift. Awww, will Y'all be My Group Valentine? Hehehe. This is gonna be fun! Unless no one signs up, then it'll just be sad and lame. :o(

Well, I better go to bed, I have a bunch of little postcards to think up and paint tomorrow... and the next day... and the next day... lol.

G'night all. I'm sure we'll talk later. Right after I get some well earned sleep.

Hey, I turned off the lights... it's time to GO To BED! Go on, GIT!! Sheesh.


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