Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sunflower Start

I just love sunflowers - they seem to be the joyful expression of summer at it's fullest. I ache to grow them in our garden but, last year, all five of the beautiful sunflowers my husband bought for me to bedeck our front porch were devoured by deer. Being told the deer don't like fuzzy textures, silly me, thought the sunflowers were safe - oh well.
So this is my love affair this summer with the sunflower - in pigment. She's going to be strong and big, measuring 21 x 20 inches. She leans in modesty, like all those quietly baring wisdom and beauty. I'm caputring her in our kitchen, resting in a vase with her smaller peers for background. I want to emphasis the dark lushness of her face with the brilliantly colored petals for her frame and splashing of white sunspots around.

The first image here is the start, where I have traced my image and have applied frisket to preserve the bold whites. I have learned, in the "trance" of painting big, dark, juicey pigments I will paint across those whites if I haven't planned ahead to save them. The frisket is my sure way to secure whites!

Next, you see stage two - where I have completed and dried a loose wash of Aureolin, Thalo Blue and Carmine over the entire painting. This gives a mysterious underpainting that whispers through the upper layers of transparent watercolor. I've also worked in my wax crayon, mostly in pale yellow and whites for this painting. It feels like I will use more crayon towards the end to highlight light areas or add zings of bright color.

And finally, in stage three, I'm developing some underwashes for bigger areas and laying down the background. With these started I can see how deep to go with my values and color compliments.

I'm off to continue my romance with my sunflower. Hope your summer days are filled with somekind of enriching alure with the Many pleasures nature and life avail us.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Befuddled Entry

Oh my . . . yes, when will I learn that 10:30pm is not the best time to begin a journal entry? But I did it any way, and the next morning I went in to finish up the sketch - ha - I painted it on the wrong page. Now it was out of sequence - and - couldn't tear out the page because it already had an image on part of the page (see image above).

Oh my . . . what to do??? Ok, I'll cut it out with my exacto knife, hopefully in a graceful, artist manner and "Yes Glue" it into the place it was originally supposed to be! Actually it leaves a kinda intriguing window - but - I think, to make use of the journal page I will attempt some inventive way to stitch in another piece of watercolor paper. . . soon.
For now, this is what the re-positioned image looks like - back in the place it originally was to be, to be in sequence. And I'm still studying, allowing that "Universal Creative Mind" to invent the solution to my remaining befuddled journal page.

Isn't it fun, to be reminded how human we are? I aim at turning these lessons into an "exercise in humility". So, for today, I'm w-a-y humble!

Happy creating . . .

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Feels like "Life on steriods"

Sometimes life is so abounding with amazing activities that I feel like I'm experiencing "life on steriods". But - believe me, that is NO complaint!

For the past several days I've been harvesting information for my upcoming "Women's Mexico Retreat 2009"! Between calling my Mexico contacts for lodging for my participants, my terriffic Co-Instructor, Damaris Pyle, to hone our content, presentation and locale, days have flown by. But hurrah!! Here you can see the results of my work:

This is the front portion and the back, when folded.

This is the inside portion.

I'm hoping you can clearly see the text of this double folding flyer. But if you can't, please contact me and I'll mail you an actual flyer - OR - you can check out the newly created (yes, another project occupying the last days) blogsite for more detailed information on the retreat! http://womensmexicoretreat2009.blogspot.com/

I've also been helping with a new and exciting event in Jacksonville, Oregon, my sweet lil' town. There are two men who are full of ideas and energy and have heralded wine tasting accompanied with talented musician performers. Their first event went wonderfully - 400 people in attendance. NOW, they are adding us local artists! I'm assisting with the committee to gather artists, their information for flyers and locate each artist at various businesses in town. With it being the first effort of this kind - some juggling of ideas and outcome are taking place. But I'm feeling very optimistic with business participation and artist's involvement. It will furnish a much needed networking of the community and artists. So I'll keep you posted on the details of the August 9th "Jacksonville's Wine and Art Festival", 12-7pm. Only 300, $20 tickets will be sold for this "attendance limited" event. Proceeds go to the Jacksonville Woodlands Association - so I hope we have plently of attendees to help out a great cause and have a delightful day in historic Jacksonville - and - maybe be astonished at the talented artists who live right in their midst! Call Jacksonville Mercantile at 541-899-1047 for tickets!

Well, whew, I'm sure you've read enough. Stay tuned for the next entry, "Befuddled Entry"!

Doesn't life just keep getting better and better!?!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fourth of July Hike

For a few weeks now, we'd had a Fourth of July hike and following barbecue planned with several friends.

So around 8am we drive up Highway 5 towards Grants Pass and exit, headed in the Galice direction. The morning is quiet and cool. We are the first to arrive at the Grave Creek Bridge and park. I love the shadows early in the morning and notice swallows pirouetting as they dive under the bridge. Their white silhouettes against the dark shadow make me smile.

The next carload arrives and we gather ourselves for the two mile hike. We have chosen the south side of the river to hike - for the shade - and are grateful for it later! The beginning of the hike trails along a steep wall of rock and then, softens to hills and fern forests. I was captivated by the colorful Madrone trees twisting bizarre angles with their branches as they reach for the sun. And often found myself lagging behind - me and my camera capturing Madrone postures. A small creek cascades down the hillside about 2/3 the way to Rainey Falls - a chance for our Golden Retriever to lay belly down cooling off.

The Falls appeared quickly, taking me by surprise. Usually waterfalls occur where a valley is narrow and there is a giant drop - but these falls reside in a wide part of the valley and are a jumble of tiers at a wide mouth. More playful than jaw-dropping for me yet, powerful and beautiful.

We spread out like little ants across the rocks looking for the best vantage point or a particular angle from which to look. More downstream, one can see the width and fullness of all the cascades, closer, the thrill of the dropping water and the raging white swells. Most everyone settles near the exciting falls and chatter while watching rafters and kayakers navigating the different pathways. I land a little upstream, more near a little cove with a sandy beach. There I pull out my sketchbook and begin a brief sketch as I nibble on my Luna Powerbar. Cody and Roland wander the shores and the sandy beach is a safe, fun place for Cody to wade and drink.

While combing the shores there, my dear, observant husband chances upon tiny lil' shells upon the rocks, nearly 3 feet above the water line. He comes to me with three of them "for my Journal". Can you see why I love him? So here you see the yellow Ochre-colored shell for which I carved out a window in my journal. Since I'm at the near end of my journal this presented a challenge - but heck, why not carve out a bit of the journal cover. So that's exactly what I did, and cut out windows with my Exacto Knife to protect the height of the fragile shell.

It seemed all too quickly our friends were picking up packs and heading back along the trail - homeward. Oh yes, I'd completely lost myself in sketching and forgot about the barbecue later. Food! Fun! Conversation! Ok, ok, I'm working on coming back from my right brain! Roland & I share a nectarine before trotting off after the rest of our group. The hike back seems farther . . . and that little toe seems to be talking to me too! Ouch! This might be the last hike for my ole' hiking boots and I'm relieved when we get to the cars.

On our drive back the wind blows around the car cooling our hot necks and Cody is sound asleep in the back of the Subaru. Suddenly we see a large dark shadow drop out of the woods on our right and lop across the road. What!?!? As we slow the car to let it cross the road we realize - it is a bear! How exciting . . . glad we saw her here rather than on the hike! As we near Galice packed with holiday rafters we notice the soft-ice cream sign and Roland is quick to respond to my inquiry, "Ice-cream?" We stop and relish a cool cone and nod, giggle and chat about a great hike.

Just another wonderful slice of life. Hope your holiday was just as much a "celebration of life". Cheers!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Around the Corner ...

Last Saturday, one of my chores was to drive to Grants Pass to retreive the piece I'd entered into the Southern Oregon Art Show at the Firehouse Gallery. We made it into a family adventure as Roland, Cody (our sweet Golden), and I piled into the car. The drive up was green and pleasantly wove us into downtown Grants Pass. The boys waited in the car while I ran in to gather up my painting.

I'd not been able to go up to the show reception since it was when we were on our camping trip to Trinity Alps area - so I arrived early to catch the majority of the show before people took home their pieces. I paned the room and discovered my piece in the first corner - AND - dangling from the corner of the frame was - a second place ribbon in the watercolor catagory! Oh my, I was so thrilled!!! Touring the remainder of the show I was impressed with the quality and variety - even more humbled to have received the 2nd place ribbon. Proudly, I carried out the ribbon and my painting, "Gnarled Silhouette". It's a piece I'd long wanted to paint as it's the view out my studio in early Autumn. Now I know someone else enjoyed the view too!

Goes to show you, you never know the joys just waiting around the corner. So don't be afraid of rounding those new corners! Happy trails!