Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunflower Drama - Tah Dah!!!

Don't worry, I haven't been idle . . . I've finished up the final piece for my upcoming Rogue Valley Manor Show. This coming Tuesday afternoon, I will be dropping off 25 pieces (I'm not sure that they will have room to hang them all but, I'll let them choose that) and then doing a talk of 20-30 minutes about my art and process the following evening. The show runs for the month of October - but is open only to the residents of this exclusive retirement home.

Now, that may sound e-a-s-y and fun to some of you . . . but for me, who used to drop out of classes that required public speaking, this is big for me. I'm surprisingly feeling kinda confident about it though . . . all I'm doing is talking about what I love to do. But I'm actually putting off writing the presentation right now, as I type this! :)

Anyhow, I'm pleased with how our sunflower girl finished up. I waited til the last minute to determine whether my focal point would be up in the upper left area or in the lower right petals. But as the painting was coming together, I just loved the textures and colors and patterns formed in that lower right table/shadow area. So I kept the strong white of that green leaf, just suggesting a hint of the sun-backed leaf and then, softened some of the sharper details up around the second sunflower in the upper left. And - tah, dah!!

I did have some difficulty photographing this image and would take any suggestions for future similar situations. The very dark sunflower center has some really dense, thick pigment, almost like oils. And when these areas dry . . . they can form patterns that reflect even the slightest light source when you are photographing. Some of that deep blue in my brown center of the sunflower is really reflection - not blue pigment. The watercolor was shot with only diffused natural light during the late afternoon . . . and I don't know what else to do to solve the challenge. Anyone, ideas?

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Oh my, can it really be a month since my last posting? Apparently so ... I apologize yet it's been an active and awakening 30 days.

From August 26th through September 2nd, I was in Colorado for my High School Reunion! What an adventure!!! First I visited some dear friends (actually previous 'family') way down by the Sand Dunes in the San Juan Valley. The place they receive their mail is Oak Grove nestled there in the high dessert. The vista in my journal is the last evening sun creating colors against the eastern range. This amazing couple bought some 80 acres, built their own barn AND Deltec home - yes - all by themselves. And they are still married too! I met the three mules they have raised and got a feel for the country when Karen and I hiked around behind their home, up to a ridge with this delicious rock and gnarley Juniper (I think) trees. We also visited the small spiritual community of Crestone. I was touched by the individual statements like "Love Gardens" with gems and stones honoring different archangels, Buddhist shrines and a pristine north Crestone trailhead. It was hard to leave my "ole' family" but, I headed back to Denver for the reunion.

There were activities all weekend to celebrate our South High School, Year of 1968! The reunion began with a gathering at our ole' high school offering us alumni a tour of the clock tower (forbidden territory in our youth). Name tags with our high school photos next to our names helped identify us all. Views from the tower were magical especially at sunset. The Sunday afternoon picnic in Washington Park, a large city park adjacent to our high school grounds, more my style, was held in the boathouse overlooking the northern lake.

After an afternoon of reminiscing and updating old buddies on my current life, I headed back to Greeley with my dearest high school friend, Brenda and her hubby, Scott. After years and seemingly centuries of working on my personal demons, I at last felt comfortable with who I am and how I've grown these past 40 years. I left that reunion really experiencing joy and gratitude for the paths I've chosen and the mentors, teachers and loves and hates along the way. What a relief to be at ease with the person one is.

Seems almost silly that one has to travel so far to realize the reality of one's life situation, doesn't it? But after a couple more days relaxing with Brenda & Scott, checking out galleries and sampling the National Louisville Art Show, I flew home to the open arms of Roland and my furry child, Cody. God it's good to be home, but it was good to be away too.

Remember Dorothy (you may not know that is my real first name!), there's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home!!!