Monday, November 29, 2010

Painting on Sunday

The weekend was pretty quiet around here and I had hoped to get many things done.  The Mr. had planned a fishing trip with his buddies so I planned to be home getting the house ready for holiday decorating.  My Sunday was set!  I even hoped to take time out to paint something for twenty minutes.  

The fishing trip was leaving from Freeport, NY, on Long Island.  Freeport is on the way to Jones Beach and very close, which was a plus to The Mr.  He's gone fishing out of Montauk on the south fork and Greenport on the north fork, and every where in between.  This trip was a short drive to the boat, but then the captain takes the fishermen out in the Atlantic Ocean for three hours to the spot.  Gear, food, and men were ready for a full day.  The boat was leaving the dock at 3A.M. Sunday morning and expected to return by 7P.M. Sunday night.  All day.

I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast.  Usually I'm the pancake lady on Sundays. Now I could sit with my little breakfast, my hot coffee and my newspaper.  A quiet morning is one of my best times.  If I'm pancake lady I'm so busy making them that my coffee gets cold before I can enjoy it. This time, nice hot coffee!   I daydreamed of the day ahead, what I would get done, and what I was interested in painting.  

Since I was invited to join a new blog The Little Art Club, I thought I would try the theme "Candy" in a twenty minute time slot.  It would be just enough time to paint something as a start.  Ideas floated around in my head while I sipped my coffee.   When I was ready I headed off to paint for twenty minutes.  Heaven, and it was still morning! Later in the day I worked on this another twenty minutes. 

(I tried linking to the blog for this post, but it seems it's unavailable.  I wonder what happened?)

Chocolate Wrapping (c)2010 Dora Sislian Themelis  7x10 Watercolor
Around 11 A.M., The Mr. called to say they were already back from the trip.  It seemed that another fisherman collapsed as they started casting their lines.  Frantically, the captain, his mates, and the other guys performed CPR to try and revive the man.  The Coast Guard was alerted and they tried to help, but unfortunately they were unsuccessful.  When the boat returned to the dock three hours later, they were met by the police, detectives, fire personnel, and ambulances.  The Mr. and his buddies had to give their names and statements.  Needless to say he was home early.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Back to the Future

When I was in college studying for my BFA in painting, my professor threw it out there that women very rarely become full time artists because they end up getting married and having children.  Oh great, thanks alot.  But really, when the time came that's what happened to me.

In the field of study I chose, I was able to do studio art, commercial art and art education.  I had worked for a studio doing paste-up work on fashion catalogs and electronics magazines, so I had that knowledge.  I liked the idea of art education, but hated the high school kids I did student teaching for.  Real cocky kids, not my cup of tea.  After I graduated I landed a full time position as a paste-up/layout artist where I stayed for a few years up until I had my first son.

Those days most women were still at home with the children and that's what I did.  Even if I had the idea to keep working there was no one I could trust to leave my son with, every family member I had was working.  Let me say I was thrilled to be at home with him.  No more jealous bosses, crazy co-workers and wild fashion magazine overtime.  No thanks!  I'll take my chances being at home raising my kid.  I marveled at how he grew and changed every day.  We played, sang, took walks, drew pictures and it was all fun for me.  When he slept I painted or did pastels, knit, sewed little outfits, cooked, cleaned, and did the things to keep the house.  I ran the roost.  I was the boss.  My son was my side-kick, my little helper.

Art had to take a back seat like my professor said.  Over the years I made my art in fits and starts, while my babies slept and later, when they were at school.   And as the time passed the field of commercial art changed so much that I couldn't go back.  The paste-up artists' bull pen had been reduced to one artist and the computer.  I missed that boat.  So it was back to painting.

Now I'm home having a ball watching my granddaughter.  Thank goodness I'm an artist at home or I wouldn't have this precious opportunity.  I am back to the beginning, painting while baby sleeps!  This time around I have more experience under my belt and I know how to get more art in.  That great idea of twenty minutes of painting was unheard of in my college days, but now it's how I roll.  Twenty minutes is working.  Even though I hit the brick wall of resistance a little bit ago, I'm back in it.

I am back to the future.  Life is amazing.

Maple Leaf (c)2010 Dora Sislian Themelis  7x10 Watercolor

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thought for Thursday

"A lot of Thanksgiving days have been ruined by not carving the turkey in the kitchen."

~Kin Hubbard

I'm very thankful for the great readers and commenters here. Thanks to all you for listening to my yapping! I hope everyone enjoys a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Knock Knock! Who's There? Oh, it's You..Again

Where have I been this past week?  Right here, at home, visiting with Resistance.  Yeah, it hit me again, that lousy Resistance, with a capital R.  Sometimes things go a little off track and lands me smack in the blahs of creativity.  Meaning no creativity.  Meaning resistance mode.

What's an artist to do?  Well, first I decided to lay off bugging and nagging my inner artist.  I gave in to resistance and took a nap.  Maybe it was well deserved.  Feeling off is not going to help anything, but dropping out of it can.  So I did.  That's all I could do on Day 1 visit with Resistance.

To back up a bit: I ran out of paper in the travel watercolor pad I was using.  Bad move #1- I didn't shop for another pad.  I still have paper, but it's larger.  So, I decided to just use the larger paper for the next work.  I set up a small still life of the usual items and added some interesting agate stones I have for my jewelry making.  Maybe they were too interesting?  Make that Bad move #2.

As I was free from babysitting one day this week, which is another story I will have to tell another day, I sat down to paint this set up.  Remember, bigger paper.  I began to sketch in the objects with paint, no pencil drawing.  I had hoped to do twenty minutes.  Bad move #3-20 minutes on big paper with interesting items that had detail, lots of detail.

How did it come out?  Disaster.  Knock-knock, Resistance at the door!  Hi, how have you been?  Come on in!  It's been such a long time!

The next day I took that nap.  The day after that I pushed myself outside to take some photos of the Japanese maple tree with it's bright red leaves.  I wanted to post them, but Resistance wouldn't let me saying we should have a coffee together.  So I had coffee in my 'dream corner' of the living room and looked out the window at the back garden.  Resistance told me to just leave that horrible painting on the dining room table where I started it.  Sure, look at it every time I pass through to the kitchen, why not?

The following day I ran my errands and totally ignored the painting and anything to do with it.

Do you know how hard it is to fight the soothing call of Resistance?  I must say I've been lucky these last few months.  Keeping resistance at bay was a breeze.  It was smooth sailing for a while, plugging into creativity, staying in the mode with 20 minutes at a time, happy with the process and feeling good about the outcome of it.  Nice work.  I guess a visit with Resistance was inevitable sooner or later.

What did I do after all that?  I knit.  After I knit, I am going to ditch that painting.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Welcome to my redecorated blog! I started fooling around with the new templates on Blogger while playing with the iPad and decided to change it up a bit. It's almost as satisfying as rearranging the living room without the heavy lifting. But by no means is it easy.

What size typeface, which typeface, can I even change the typeface? And then which colors look good with the backgrounds, photo background, flat color, no color? Can I move this here or not? Will it fit, can I change it? So many choices and then not enough choices.

The template with a black post background is really interesting to look at but not so much fun to read white type from it. It made me cross eyed. Then again I didn't play with the options to change the colors. It can make one dizzy, so I stopped at this design you see.

The banner at the top is another story. I painted this watercolor a while ago and made the banner somehow and I have trouble trying to fit it into this set up to make it fit across the page. Okay, so I just added the color to clean it up and fit. I think it looks alright the way it is. I know it's just a blog, but it's like you are coming to visit my house. I would like it to be neat, clean, and comfortable for me and for you.

Now if I have time I might move the living room couch across the room for a different look there. Will it work? I'm not sure, but it might be fun to try it and see.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Fun

Yes, Friday is sometimes fun.  It's a busy day for me with lots of things to be done before the weekend.  One thing is food shopping.  Why do I always have to visit the fruit market or the big super market?  Why do we have to do all this eating, and cooking, and shopping?  It's too much.

So I did my running around and came home exhausted.  By the time I got myself together at home it was already afternoon!  Where does the time go?  I should, at least, be having a blast doing something I like to do.  And even that doesn't get a whole day!

Yesterday the town where we live had trucks out vacuuming the fallen leaves for mulch.  When I came home from my errands I found that one of my neighbors had blown all my leaves into the street for the trucks.  He's a nice guy, very energetic.  In the winter he plows the whole block with his snow plow in the driving snow.  Like I said, energetic.

A small, bright red Japanese maple leaf was poking itself up over the mounds of leaves as if to say Hi! Over here!  I took it out of the leaf pile and put it in my Artist's Way notebook to dry.

This afternoon I arranged it with my favorite rocks and painted it.  I did the twenty minute challenge thing so when the time was up I stopped painting.  I got a little watery with the rocks, which I didn't want to do, but the leaf looks good to me.  I will go back and work on the rocks after this dries so I can better define that area.

Red Leaf 7x10 Watercolor (c)2010 DST
I'm happy to say I've kept up with these twenty minute paintings.  It's never boring.  I like the process and I'm even comfortable with the outcome most times.  The challenge is helping me produce more finished work besides.

The hydrangea painting is waiting in the studio.  I think it hates me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thought for Thursday-I'm Just Not Ready for Christmas Yet

Today I had the day off from sitting with the Princess and I had some errands to run.  I'm not ready to run around with her in my car.  I don't have one of those car seat things yet anyway.  But she's still small and I'd rather be at home with her until she gets a little bigger.  So the days we're not together I do my own things.

While I was out I remembered I needed those flood lights for my kitchen.  One by one they blew out and I had no back up bulbs.  I stopped in a nearby store that once was a 5&10.  Remember those?  Dark and big with creaky wood floors, it was fun to look around and find just about anything you could think of.  Well, they renovated it and now it's all bright, shiny and new.  Rats!  They still have everything, but I liked the way it used to look.  It reminded me of being a kid and rummaging through Woolworth's.  Is anyone going to remember Woolworth's anymore?  Anybody remember the luncheonette counter at Woolworth's?  I do.

So I looked in this store to no avail.  Plenty of light bulbs, not the ones I needed.  I decided to visit one of those huge and inexpensive hardware stores, Home Depot.  Plenty of light bulbs, not the ones I needed.  No luck.

Next door to this Home Depot is Marshall's, a designer discount store.  Also big.  Would it hurt to just take a quick look around?  I thought not, so I did.  Guess what?  I couldn't wait to leave!  I did a run through and I was done.  Why did I run out so quickly?  Christmas had exploded in that store!

I love Christmas, but not the craziness that comes with it and every year it seems to get worse.  If I had been out shopping in October and saw Christmas stuff out I would have to leave.  I'm not ready for it until after I see Santa Claus at the end of the NYC Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!  Don't show it to me months before.

The whole store was decorated.  The gift items were out, all red and green and gold and tinsel and Santa Claus.  You name it, they had it ready for gift giving.  But I'm not ready.  All I wanted to do today was buy those light bulbs and all I got was the anxiety of what gift to give who.  Yikes!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Princess' Visit

Tuesday is my day with the Princess. She's here and after having her bottle she fell asleep. I know I have said it before, but she is just an amazing thing to look at. I am just so lucky to be able to be such a part of her life. I am blessed.

A while ago, before the Princess was born, I ran into another grandmother with her charge in a stroller at the supermarket. We said hello and started talking about grandchildren in the aisle. She told me she has hers 5 days a week. I said I would probably switch off with the other grandma, at the time I wasn't really sure what our arrangements would be. This woman had retired from teaching and for her, being home with the baby was lonely. Oh man, not for me!

Being home with this baby is great! She's a good baby, with rarely a peep from her. I was able to be home with my boys. I was busy as anything, if I had a job I don't know how I could have handled it. And I need time to do my art. Besides, I like my own company and the quiet of my house. In other words, this is heaven!

Will I get to paint later? Maybe. Unless the baby is awake and feels like playing!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Quiet Sunday

It's a quiet Sunday.  I usually wait for inspiration and post to the blog on Monday.  As I have said before, Monday is a favorite day.  Unlike other people, I love Monday.  I know, we won't go there.

Today was kind of like a Monday because everyone was out of the house for a few hours.  To me that is bliss.  Since I've been having alot of fun painting for just 20 minutes I decided to get my little things done around here and then paint!   After all, what's 20 minutes? 

The great thing about this little travel set is that it's right in my path, along with these things I keep painting.  I never get tired of the rocks and the shells!  I guess they remind me of the summer and the beach.  I painted this at around 3PM with plenty of north light from the dining room window.  

The teeny travel brush in this photo is my favorite brush!  It holds just enough water and has a great point, but it's not an expensive brush.  I might have to investigate some regular size brushes that match the way this one works.  And I'm going to need another one of these spiral watercolor pads.  For now it does the trick, but I have only two pages left of this one.  

I can't wait to shop for art supplies!  With 20 minutes of painting so often I might need more supplies than I plan to get.  Fun!

Shell with Seaweed  (c)DST  7x10 Watercolor

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Don't Paint in the Dark

Where do the days go?  It seems I'm awake at dawn and suddenly it's time to sleep again.  What happened in the middle?  It's dark too early now, too.

My days with the Princess are done for this week.  As I have some things to do on alternate Thursdays, she'll be visiting her other grandmother tomorrow.  I will definitely miss having her with me.  She's such a comfortable baby, not a complainer at all so she is wonderful to watch her.  And she smells really good!

Monday and Friday I have off from sitting with her so those days I try to get my own stuff done.  When will I try to have an Artist's Date?  Who knows.  Some where in those off days if I plan it right.

Since I've been trying to keep up with The Twenty Minute Challenge I think that's the way to go for now.  So while the Princess takes a quick nap, I run to do 20 minutes of watercolor painting.

Yesterday was a day that she was awake for a long while.  We looked at dots, which she is fascinated by, talked to each other, had some tummy time, and had lunch together, sort of.  Wide awake and alert, there wasn't much time for me to paint most of the day.  After Gorgeous came to take the Princess back home I ran some water in a tub and took out the paints.  Just arranged the same items that are hanging around and started painting. Mind you, it was already 4PM!  By the time I got going the sun was on it's way down and I tried to work quickly.

Oh well, I did what I could in the twenty minutes I allotted for painting.  Too much water and not enough dry surface so the paints ran.  It's fine.  I told myself that it's the process that counts.

The Princess has left for the day and I decided to return to this painting.  Now that it's dry I tried to clean it up, make it neat, and worth showing.  Next time I need to paint earlier in the day because painting in the dark isn't much fun.

Pebbles and Leaves (c)2010 DST 7x10 Watercolor

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