This is a blog about everyday life. Food, gardening, photography, and nature. What you won't find are pictures of lots of people.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What Is In A Name?

I am sure everyone is familiar with that quote from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  I was just thinking about when I started this blog a couple of years or so back.  I had become bored with my job and was craving a creative outlet.  Writing has always come easy to me so I thought I would share my writings with the world via Blogger.

Perhaps I should rename my blog "My Life as a Painter".  I hesitate to call myself an artist.  Well, yet anyway.  I'm a fledgeling.  I like that.

This summer when I painted it was an escape.  One afternoon I picked up a brush and made strokes that felt good.  I  made more strokes and more.  I inadvertently left the painting out in the yard next to the gravel driveway.  That night it rained.  The paint had bubbled up in places and collected gravel dust in the ridges left behind.  Mother Nature decided to help me out.

I have always loved abstracts.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Have a great day.  Create something.

Monday, December 1, 2014

My Inner Jackson Pollack

While I was painting my porch I stumbled upon some dollar samples of  pastel paints and I decided to go all Jackson Pollack on my black mailbox.  The mailbox had been kicked around the bottom of the steps so my postal carrier didn't have to skate up the icy steps in the winter.  He'd suffered some scrapes and the loss of a handle so I gave him a new look.

I, personally, wanted to put some crimson on the last layer but alas, my better half said nope.  It's done.

My inner Jackson Pollack, however, was not done.  I grabbed my latex house paints and went to town on a piece of plywood.  I dripped with a random stick I picked up.

There is something delicious about dripping layers of paint and watching the randomness blend.

I'm particularly fond of reds and greens.

And yellow!

One of my painting classmates doesn't use yellow and I'm constantly telling her to add yellow!

There is something I really like about action painting.  Next spring I'd like to get out in the back yard with a tall easel and attack a large piece of plywood with color!  It is exhilarating spontaneous creativity and it makes me joyous.  It is the kind of joy I remember experiencing as a child playing and not knowing what might happen next.

Friday, November 21, 2014


As the next challenge I decided topush myself even more and paint another "thing".  I wanted to take full advantage of having an artist as a teacher and learn as much as possible.  I liked this picture because the fox is running.  He looks happy.  The challenge, as always is to paint a "thing".  This also has shadows.  I thought it would be a real challenge and it was!  I proceeded with the value painting but this time I used green and orange.

The first thing I learned was green and orange trick the eyes.  My values were deceiving.  I kept painting and with help I finished the value painting then I made my next mistake.  Struggling with shadows I painted Gangrenous Fox.

As you can see I am doing fair with the value with the green areas.  The shadows on the fox are awful.  With some more help and advice  I painted on...

I made the nose bigger, added some teeth, did some work on the legs and got the shadows working!  I have been looking at Running Fox for nearly a week.  I want a block of time alone that is peaceful to paint uninterrupted.  It hasn't happened yet.

Painting is becoming a passion for me and I am happy when I paint.  It doesn't matter if I am good, or if anyone likes it, this is something I must do for me.  I don't understand how or why my life takes such turns as it has.  I don't understand why I end up where I do but somehow it is all interconnected and at the time I make a decision it always seems right.  24 years ago I left the arts.  I lost the muse.  Just as abruptly she returned.

I think it is no coincidence that the first painting the muse selected was a fox.  The fox is sly and cunning and can get around tricky situations where a direct confrontation would mean disaster with stronger larger animals. 

For example, I was once dog sitting for my brother and his dogs raced up and down a fence row on our walk.  Back and forth they went again and again desperately thrashing through the brush in the same area over and over again until their tongues hung down and they slowed to a lope.  I called and called and they refused to obey.  Suddenly I looked down the road and a grey fox trotted from the ditch onto the gravel road.  The fox turned and looked at me then trotted away. 

I haven't painted in a week.  I had too many other obligations.  I have looked at my fox.  I have dreamed about a fox.  It just seems right in a very new age way.

With a few more layers I hope to have Running Fox finished.  I will present him to you then.  The holidays are coming and I hope to have lots of painting time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sunrise Bird

Remember this picture?

Photo Credit: Don McClure Havre de Grace, Maryland

At my first painting class my teacher instructed us to pick a landscape that had some meaning to us.  The first painting she wanted us to paint a landscape because they are relatively easy.  I picked my friend Don's picture because it had a "thing" in it (a bird) and I had been playing with blending colors.

The first class we did a value drawing like the old masters.

Value Painting

Next I started to add colors.

Then I lost the bird.

But after many layers I was pleased with everything but the bird.  However, Sunrise Bird's new owner declared it finished and I condescended to her wishes.

Had I "finished" it I would have made the bird a bit more like the picture.  But all in all I am very pleased with the result.  Kudos to my painting teacher Christine Kuhn.  She is amazing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It Has Been A Year!

Hello Everyone,

I can't believe it has been a year since I last blogged. 

It has been a long year with so much loss I can't even recall all the losses in one sitting.  I have had a lot of anger and sadness this year but mostly sadness.  I do not handle anger very well.  For me anger manifests as anxiety.  I am not an anxious person by nature and I'm ill prepared to deal with it.  I'm lucky to have someone that helps me along the way during those times.

Sunrise Bird at Havre de Grace, Maryland
photo credit: Don McClure
Since I have grieved the loss of my career I have done a lot of soul searching.  I reached the conclusion that I am a person that thrives on self growth.  When I reached the farthest I could go in my career I began exploring other options for learning and growth.  I wrote, I tried sewing, and a few other things until I happened on painting.  I dabbled and the muse left me.
July 4th in the midst of severe anxiety over an unsolvable life issue I started the process of painting my porch.  My poor porch had peeling paint from a previous owner and was in awful shape.  It was incredible!  For the first time I felt like I was in control of something that would turn out very very good.
Pressure Cleaning Said Porch

I was able to get so involved in this project my mind was blank.  It was lovely to be calm and peaceful.
Finished Porch

I didn't pick the color.  It was a mistake but for the better!  The first mistake I've made in a long while that worked out better.  I was such a painting fool I painted the old table and chairs too.

Table and Chairs on Said Porch

 Painting is therapy for some people so I went to Lowe's and bought different colors of sample paint and picked up some scrap plywood for free.  I went home and started to paint.  I wanted to turn all this sadness into anger.  I couldn't access the anger.  That was the plan anyway.  I got so much pleasure from the porch project I thought I'd give actual art a try.
Next I will show you some of my therapy.