Monday, August 26, 2013

Along the Way

Last April I went to California for the first time over spring break. It was on a walk through Golden Gate Park, in search of buffalos and windmills, that I noticed these trees that had beautiful stripes of color--a variety of eucalyptus tree (blue-gum or rainbow). I was smitten! Over 100 pictures came home with me and I began to paint. I found freedom in creating paintings of small sections of these trees. They are abstract, and yet, they are not. The paintings are true to the trees that stand in the park as they were on a sunny spring day. I am able to focus on color, line, and composition without being tied to the preconceived vision of lemon or beach. 

My studio is quickly filling with tree portraits and I am pulled to the easel to paint at every possible moment. I am grateful for the long walk that led me to these trees--and to finding joy in painting. When walking with an open mind and a camera, who knows what there is to be discovered!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

It all started with some trees...

I have long been interested in painting, but up until this summer I have not stuck with it beyond a week of watercolor at Ghost Ranch or a few acrylic paintings here and there. Two summers ago I spent several days in Georgia with my aunt who is an avid oil painter. I have long admired her work and thought that it would be fun to paint with her. It was a deep and wonderful time and it seemed that perhaps I would continue painting when I got home from that trip. I gathered the necessary equipment and did a few paintings, but didn’t find the pull to paint compelling me to pick up a brush. I struggled with conveying my subject with oil paint in a manner that would match the vision I had in my head. When painting a lemon, I wanted the end result to say lemon. When painting the beach--beach. So, the easel sat in the corner of my studio and waited for me to visit San Francisco. It was there that I found the trees...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Living Words

As an artist, I find visuals--both found and created--help me to make sense of the world around me. They often also serve as reminders or touchstones for what I would like to do or be. Last Friday I found myself sifting through the many hued colors in my extensive collection of paint chips. I gathered words that speak to the qualities I wish to take in to this new year: true blue, mindful, flexible gray, and grounded to name a few. My hope is that when I stop in to my studio room to pick up my bags for school, I can also pick up a few words to live by for the day. 

Monday, August 19, 2013


No New Year's celebration would be complete without a resolution or two to take into the coming days. As this school year begins, the one resolution that I would like to focus on is to intentionally make space each day for art. In the past I have found it to be quite easy to get caught up in school work or exhaustion and arrive at the end of the week without so much as an artistic thought. This year I want to commit to at least a few moments of art each day. I think that the time given to art will, in fact, support my success and well being in all areas of my life. When I looked at the word resolution as I began typing tonight, the word 'solution' jumped out at me. Art is often an answer or solution for me in my life. I hope that this is one (re)solution I can keep!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Year's Eve...again

Unlike most people, New Year’s Eve is not a holiday that I celebrate just once a year. Sure, I  toast the ending of one calendar year and the promise held for the next as December rolls into January with everyone else, but that is not the only time of year that this happens for me. I am a teacher. In June, on the eve of summer vacation, I pack up my classroom, reflect on the accomplishments of the school year, and bid farewell to my students. And summer begins. 

Today is the next New Year’s Eve. School starts for me tomorrow. The boxes will be unpacked, the desks readied, and many of my waking hours will once again be filled with the care and feeding of second graders. It is hard to give up summer’s freedom, and  teaching is my vocation. So, with resolutions for a year of depth, wonder, and efficiency in hand I dust off my lunchbox, pick out my clothes, and pack my book bag for the adventure that this new year holds! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

And so it begins!

Today is the day that the first item in my etsy shop hits the road for a new home! One of my little snowman pins is heading north. It was an exciting morning finding a box and making a package for the post office. May it be the first of many!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What a difference the gray makes!

I have just finished loading new pictures on to my Etsy shop. As hoped for, the gray cloth provides a more polished background. Removing all the glare is still a challenge, but the pieces do sparkle which is part of their appeal! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

One Shade of Gray

Opening an Etsy shop requires a lot of attention to detail and work that does not feel like art. While it may not feel like art--the details are actually very much about art. Photographing my pottery was a challenge. I found that the best background on hand was the hammock. The background was seamless and the pottery could relax a bit as long as I kept it from swinging too wildly. The photos are adequate, and allowed me to meet my goal of opening the shop, but they do leave room for improvement. So, off to the fabric store I went today to search for a new option. This shade of gray is a beautiful suede that was on the clearance rack. Hopefully, the pottery will like relaxing on this as well as the hammock, and the photos will be more about pottery and less about the fabric. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lightening and Lightning

Arriving home from nearly two weeks of being away brings with it a need for lightening. Many, many bags have been unloaded from the car and unpacked. The laundry is underway. A menu for the week has been planned around a need to lighten the weight from vacation eating. To assist with that plan, all of the contents of the refrigerator have had to be tossed as a result of a lightning strike which caused a problem over the weekend and lots of warm food. Fortunately, the freezer in the other room was unaffected and the house itself seems fine. So, today I restocked the fridge with choices more aligned to my lightening plan! A visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater over the weekend also speaks to a need for lightening. It is said that he didn't like to include garages, basements, or attics in his designs as they tend to make people hold on to clutter. He often built furniture into the rooms or walls so that it could not be moved to reduce the 'need' to add more to what was deemed adequate in the original plan. As I reestablish myself at home this week, I hope to look around this space with an eye towards bringing additional lightness.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Marsh Mornings

While it has rained in the afternoons, the mornings have been beautiful! Early morning bike rides are a spectacular way to start the day.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ocean Afternoons

The ocean is getting more full by the minute as it has rained the past two afternoons. I, too, am filling up with the joy and stretching that come from afternoons spent painting.