Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sketching, an Airedale and her human, then photoshopping to compensate for forgetting my "real" camera.

 After satiating ourselves at the Portsmouth, NH Barnes and Nobles (books AND panini purchases!) we took the very long way home down the coast through Strawberry Banke, New Castle (island), eventually pulling off after passing Odiorne Point State Park.  What a lovely series of coves.  Scalloped, shallow, sandy with mostly smooth stones, minimal seaweed, and at the dinner hour on a cool Sunday evening, quiet and uncrowded.

 It's been too long since I deliberately got outside in a new place to draw.  I can easily imagine these sketches turning into abstracts.  IF I had remembered to bring my "real" camera from home, they might have turned into more representational paintings.  Not sure that I have the imagination or talent to turn my phone's photos into anything inspiring.

There was a gulp of cormorants settled on sand bars about 50 yards out... The sand bars (at least at low tide) were walkable... by others who intuitively left their marks by erecting stone cairns.  With my eyesight, I needed my binoculars (which I DID remember!) to separate the birds from the rocks. 

My husband was most fascinated with a huge driftwood tree.  It's placement made it seem more likely it had washed up... than fallen down from the nearby woodlands.  Surprisingly, it had thoughtful graffiti
and carvings.  There was a nicely lettered directive:  dream a beautiful dream.

For the less intrepid, or less likely to try walking on water (or sand bar) there was a stone stack at water's edge.  The tide must have been coming in, because it had toppled by the time I left.

At right, the "lumps" are mostly cormorants rather than people or rocks.
A photoshopped version of me and my shadow.
 I met a beautiful, aloof Airedale named Sheena and her human, Ben.  While Ben and I chatted, Sheena found parents with toddler sons who threw a stick for her.  She could not remain aloof near a stick throwing playmate.  With Ben's OK, she also chased sticks into the waves, swimming with happy confidence.

   Can you tell I am partial to Airedales?
I am often surprised by the colors my computer filters find in my photographs.  I think this would make a nice acrylic impasto abstract.
I hope I will draw, chat, paint and photograph more.  Soon.  It is such a barometer of how things are going.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Belated 4th on the 5th and then a little drama.

 It's a bit of a drive from our son's house to our house, so we decked it out as festively as possible when they said they could come for July 4th inauguration of our Weber Kettle.  Flags and petunias and plenty of sun.
The awaited arrival!  YAY!
 Mom promised HRH that she'd only need to pose once... and this is what I got.  (I snuck in some other shots, but while she is wonderfully photogenic, she's a bit camera shy.)

 We'd found a wading pool at Play It Again Sports.  The water was COLD!
 But HRH was happy to try it.
 Her parents had a super deluxe pool they'd gotten for a pirate party last year.  It had a slide!  A palm tree! and shallower water that got a little warmer a little faster.

 Grampa made sure the tree stood up straight.
 Dad doesn't actually have a bird feeder on his head, but he didn't follow instructions to move to one side or the other. 
 The slide was a hit!
We had hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salad, cole slaw, pasta salad, cake, beer and soda.  It was a good time.  I'm quite sure that HRH was asleep before they hit the Massachusetts line.

On Monday I had an appointment in Newburyport and got to visit Sisters We Three artisan gift shop afterwards. They have consignments from over 200 New England Artists.
I coveted this stained glass wreath.
 And these delicate quilled paper beach images.
 And some funny signs.
 On my way home I visited our town library.  It had been YARN BOMBED!!!!
 Are you old enough to remember Guido Sarducci on Saturday Night Live?  He had a gag called "Finda Da Pope in Da Pizza."  The picture below is in his honor and called "Finda Da Cat in Da Clutter."
 She apparently likes to be near me, even if there isn't much space.
 I painted my nails "Safety Orange" for the 4th of July... I was feeling playful in the extreme.
 Sadly, I had to removed it Wednesday because I had to have surgery Thursday morning.
Lumpectomy #2.  It's been 9 years since the first one... seems just like yesterday.  I guess I should hope it will be at LEAST 9 years before I need another one... or any OTHER kind of operation.  The staff at Anna Jacques Hospital was awesome though.  I won't know for a couple of weeks whether they recommend radiation for a woman of "my" age. 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Liking Me Some Ribbons

I've made friends at the Nashua Artist's Breakfast Club and a high percentage of them are paid members of the Chelmsford Art Society.  The CAS seems to be a fairly small but pretty enthusiastic group of artists and art lovers.  I haven't met all of them, but I've been to a couple of their monthly artist demos... (Paul Pedulla and Stapleton Kearns), both of which were worth the 35 mile trip and gas mileages.

Well, one of the whing dings I heard about from last summer was their July 4th Show.  First of all, you have to understand that Chelmsford does 4th of July like they invented it.  Granted the town is pretty near Lexington and Concord, but just the same...!  Residents start claiming parade seating with lawn chairs on the 1st of July AND NOBODY MOVES THE CHAIRS.  What a nice community tradition, don't you think?

Their parade is on the 4th and there's a carnival... and in the past the art show.  This year the brilliant Co-Presidents decided to have the show hung and judged  by July 2 so there could be an adult reception  on July 2... and you could actually get to it!  (Having lived in Pasadena, California for almost 30 Rose Parades, I can tell you that trying to cross a BIG parade's route on the day of the parade is pretty near impossible.)  Chelmsford's roads clearly developed from crazy cow paths, so the traffic is even more challenging.

Anyway, I picked some paintings, got them framed and ALMOST didn't enter them.
Art shows have a pick-up dates and it is bad form not to pick up your paintings on time.  Well, as it turns out, I have some medical issues and an appointment which was going to interfere with picking up the submitted works.  But I listened to my enthusiasm and approached a Breakfast Club Friend and asked if she'd be willing to pick up my paintings.  She said yes!  And so I submitted the limit:  3 paintings.

And yesterday I got a call to encourage me to go to the reception because I'd won something.
When I arrived, I found out I'd won two somethings. Surprised and totally delighted.

Second Place in the non-professional pastel category for "Wild and Woolly"...

 Third Place for The Good Rooster (Crows Everywhere) in the Oils/Acrylic category.
The irony is that the one I liked most (titled "Attitude) and the one that elicited purchase inquiries, didn't win anything.  Must remember that prizes and what I like aren't necessarily related... although I clearly DO like prizes!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

500 bad paintings minus two...

There is an awful lot to learn in these "little" 6x6 paintings:  Color mixing (and matching), brush work, shapes, strokes, shadows, proportion, composition, etc.!  Good grief.  For how little the paintings looked like the reference set-up, I was surprised that the colors matched at all. I guess with a small painting, the errors are proportionately BIGGER.

 I bought a sunflower for a fresh start.
Even with so few colors, the variations and brush strokes seemed impossible to get "right." Now I understand why so many people say you have to do 500 bad paintings to get a good one.

Surf and Sand Sculpture at Hampton Beach

 Two weeks before July 4, Hampton Beach trucks in tons of super fine sand and holds a Sand Sculpture Contest.  Last Sunday was clear but chilly, so we thought we might have a chance of finding a parking spot AND seeing the sand sculptures.  The Chamber of Commerce insists that it's just "regular" sand with only an exterior coating of water and school glue for "permanence," along with spikes on the tall parts to keep birds from landing on fragile parts.
"Together we are One" by a man from Canada won first prize.

 Out of the depths was pretty evocative. I liked the tree people, and got a picture of the Frozen "Elsa" tribute.

 I didn't think so  much about "Who pushes the buttons" or "A mother's protection."

My personal favorite was the combined eagle and dragon.  It won second place.
There's nothing like a color wheel umbrella to make a beach pretty.

The watermelon umbrella was a fun addition, too.  Oh, and there was plenty of skin on view as well.

This is the ocean side of the Chamber of Commerce building.  The boardwalk side has an ampitheater for nightly musical acts.

The ocean was reflecting all sorts of blues and greens.

 The gulls were pretty nice about sharing the sand.

 Wicked Willy's had a good "Philly" Cheese Steak sandwich.