Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Counted Blessings

You can bend with the wind or try to face it down. The cup is half empty or half full. Lemons or lemonade. It's all about what you choose to create. sometimes it's just about choosing.

I am polishing up my rose colored glasses. There are plenty of blessings in my life right now and I choose to focus on those blessings. Wonderful friends, a healed family relationship, more financial security than most...lots of warm fuzzies. I need to focus on these things and not complain about what could be perceived as lack in other areas. I am so blessed with the ability to paint, create and share those talents with others.

I attended a celebration this morning I had put a great deal of energy into. I was able to share my gifts with a group that was very dear to me and they were so very appreciative. I loved and was loved back. What more could be asked of life ? A gray day glowed with lovely life. A wonderful meal was shared. Gifts of love were shared. More blessings. I need to curl up with a cup of tea and nurse those images in my heart, feed the glow and let it be the Christmas glow it was meant to be.

It is a time of sharing...Yes ?..a time to open up and give. Sometimes that means doing things one doesn't particularly want to do...and do it without whining. That would be the hard part. Adding a surprise dinner to the schedule.....for someone one doesn't particularly like..someone noone particlualry likes. then I realize it is Christmas and so much generosity has come my be generous to someone I do not like. Oh this is the very basis of Christmas....of being it not?

So I will count my blessings as I drive home this evening..count the smiles of my dear friends and family...those who are so easy to love...and then I will say yes, any time is fine with me, I will prepare and serve a dinner for someone I do not like at all and I will smile and do my very best...and offer it as a gift.. a Chirstmas I count my own blessings.
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Friday, December 12, 2008


Right now it looks like a bomb went off, but generally this is what my studio looks like. There is a huge window looking out over a pretty big back yard with lots of trees. I can see some little bit of traffic on the road that runs by the side of the house. The bookcases are overflowing onto the floor right now and I have a funny little rocking chair that sits directly on the ground, This is my nest, my sanctuario. I am making some changes in there. I haven't been happy with the window treatment. I had a kind of three paneled triptych my SIL had made hanging up there, but I I really didn't like it or her, so I took it down. Bad energy. A dear lady gave some wonderful beaded curtains I want to play with in combination with some fairy lights and ribbons. I have contemplated painting the walls, but I really need them to be white so I can "see" colors in my paintings. I also need some sort of collapsible table top so I can have an extra surface to work on when I am doing larger projects.

I found the table on craigslist for $100. Seems a lot of companies that used to use drafting tables now use computers and this kind of thing is a fairly easy find. the fun part was getting it up the stairs and into this room. We had to literally tear it apart and then rebuild it. I should say the guy I bought it from tore it apart and then I had to rebuild it. DH bought me the chair, which is actually pretty as well as comfy. I like to take my second cup of coffee up here and sit and watch the sun come up and dream my dreams. DH bought the oriental rug, too. At first I thought it was a really bad idea to have a rug like that in a painting studio, but it gives a certain warmth to the room and really doesn't show the mess as much as you would think.

My holiday gift making is coming along quite nicely. I have been spending quite a lot of time in this room, gluing, cutting, folding, creating and enjoying the process. It is a very different experience than running to the mall and buying stuff. Much quieter. I pour a glass of wine, put on my apron and begin. This week-end I should be finishing, though there always seems to be a few more things I could put together. I cleared much of the makings away last night and rediscovered a sheet of watercolor paper with a waiting sketch, a primed canvas with a post it telling me what it wanted to be and a stack of thrifted canvases waiting for something to happen. Hmmm. My Christmassing will happen mostly on the 17th and the 21st. The Actual Christmas Eve service will be just that. no dinner, no gifts. Not much happening at all, which may be a better thing than I expect. It may be a gift of quiet time. Sanctuario. Contemplation. All of that has it's own magic.

This week-end is also a respite of sorts. Dh will be off hunting with his friends. I will have time and quiet. Funny how valuable that becomes. I was reading another blog where the writer contended that after a certain age we dreamed many dreams but seldom manifested much. She posited many reasons for that, focusing on a lack of energy as the main cause. I would say not a lack but a defusion of energies. Refocusing seems to be the main trick at this point in life. Constant refocusing, which means quite time and time to breath. This afternoon I will go off to lake and do my walk through the bird nice that they share theirs with me. Then some grocery shopping for things to bake treats with. No, I won;t be eating them, they will go off to be sold at my church fundraiser. Then the evening will be spent in this quiet room , finishing a hand bound journal for our minister and maybe the pixie face in a rosebud that is sketched out on that watercolor paper.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pointsettia !!!!

I signed up for a mystery holiday tour with a tour guide who has gained some reknown for excellent local tours. As I am still a stranger in a very strange land, I grab onto these things every once in awhile. This one started out with a fairyland of reds and pinks. MILES of reds and pinks. It was amazing. Every variation you could imagine and then some.
Some looked as if they had been splashed with enthusaiastic splatters of paint, some were artistically edged in contrasting colors. You could certainly play interior or exterior designer to your hearts content. My own heart was won by a tiny red lovely with whirled and and deeply folded hearts called "winter rose" that did look more like a rose than a pointsettia. The tale was told that these were Southern transplants from faraway Mexico. I remembered seeing them growing outdoors in huge bushes in South Texas and thinking how wonderful they were. Last winter I received a few as gifts and thought how sad they looked trapped in pots. Like me.
They appeared pretty darn impressive in the green houses. RED just seemed to go on forever. RED seemed to fill your eyes and heart. One of my most favorite scenes in a play was in a production I saw in Santa Fe in a play about my beloved Georgia O'Keefe. In the scene, she is hacking away at a huge canvas in her studio, working the paint. REALLY working it. Steiglitz comes in. She steps back and he wanders in front of the canvas. she collapses into a chair, wiping her hands on a rag. She looks at him, looking at her painting. He is silent. Finally she asks him what he thinks. He says "Well. it is very RED. Why is it so RED?". She stares at him like he just arrives from Mars, shakes her head, straightens her spine and head and answers (you know I LOVE this) " It is RED because I was feeling RED"Of course he looks astounded. She hardly painted at all when she was at his upstate NY home, she had to escape to New Mexico. I UNDERSTAND !!!!!!!!!!

So I escape when I can and paint when I can and these babies are calling for cadmium red, alizarin crimson and all the quinacridone colors on my palette. Bouncing all those reds off some yellow greens and deep rich blue greens. Ahh, good enough to eat. Well ,it will keep me from eating. Look at those creamy white ones. Yummmmm
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wild Woman with a brush

People always ask what I paint. I paint what I like. The day I painted these wonderful juicy trees, some dear friends invited me a sailing on there dream boat. It was a magically luminous day that glowed autumn colors. My camera clicked away. when I got home, I printed out the photos and arrnaged them across my work table. Then I squeezed out some paint and began to play. No, not one of those photos had an orange sky or turquoise trees, but my heart did and so the paper did. I gave the painting to my friends as slightly over sized thank you card. They seemed to like it. I want to paint another one like it and keep it for myself, I think.
Now this one is different, n'est pas ? I do enjoy still life..very much like landscapes, but tiny, tiny, tiny. I built this one on my work table. My husband wonders where things disappear to. the letters are part of a sign that says "Imagine". The bird is part of a collection of toys birds that live in my studio. the very lovely teacup I inherited from my Mother in Law. She collected them and the collection was divided between the siblings and this is one of the very lovliest of teacups. I have sketched and scribbled nearly all of them and now I am working on doing all of them in watercolor. some are becoming very abstract. This one remained very well behaved. I think the birdie kept everyone in line and well arranged.. I love the shadows in this one. Shadows are my new friends in still lifes. You can really dump a lot of color and composition in shadows. The gold trim was fun to do. I loved looking at gold things in Rennaisance paintings. they made things really look so golden without using any real gold. It's all about high and low lights.

From the detailed to the simple. In this one I wanted it to be all about what I left out. How simple could I be and still say all I needed to say. The little figure was pretty simple to begin with, but the shell was pretty complex. Colors needed to be simple. shapes needed to be simple. Light, simple. I studied Oriental painting in NYC for years. I loved Japanese scrolls, Sumi-e, the utter elegance of black ink painting. I literally scraped pennies together to pay for my lessons. I still love the elegance of those compostions. I can sit for hours in the scroll rooms at an art museum just soaking it in. I really like the concept of simple living and at times have aimed for it, but my love of books and art making and cooking and... and..... and....well, all that seems to come with stuff. The very nice thing about art is that on that wonderful pure sheet of paper you can create whatever world you want..a simple elegant haiku, a jazzy colorful song or a shadowed elegance. It is one of the many things I love. Lewis Carroll Knew well that Alice could find so many worlds down her rabbit hole. My rabbit hole has paint and paper and brushes and says "paint me".
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