Friday, October 29, 2010

Day Off Friday With Photo

Friday is my day off.  I had a lovely three days of babysitting my amazing granddaughter and can't wait for next week.  Of course, I think she is the smartest thing at only 6 weeks old.  She is alert as a whip, when she's not asleep, which is alot of the time.  You know, babies need sleep to grow, so that is cool.  She's adorable when she's asleep.  When she's awake her eyes are wide and steady.  She can and wants to raise her head and look around.  I don't remember my kids doing that this young.  She's a voracious milk drinker when she's hungry, but right in the middle of her feeding she nods off to sleep!   Then she's awake and looking for the rest of that bottle.  And her legs keep moving, kicking, pushing with a purpose.

She is very interested in her crib decor here at my house.  Who knew polka dots would be fascinating?  One side is lime green with dark brown dots, the other side is brown and white herringbone.  It's the dots that makes her excited.  She turns her little head to see the herringbone for a few seconds and turns right around to the dots.  Her arm extended, those little legs pushing in the air, she's all into the dots.  Her breath quickens and she starts to vocalize at those dots.  So I do too!  

Am I running off about this princess?  I might be.

I think helping to raise a child is a huge responsibility.  There is so much to learn about the world and themselves.  I am thankful to have the time to devote to her.  While feeding her I had Mozart and Frank Sinatra music playing.  We looked at shapes and colors.  We talked back and forth.  I helped her push her legs and flip herself over for a few minutes.  We took a walk in the carriage in the lovely fall weather.  I walked, she slept.

And during one of her naps I sat at the dining room table for twenty minutes to paint while Mozart played.  I had already set up a still life of the usual objects of late:  rocks, leaves and apple.  As I had pulled out the tomato plants from the garden and culled the small green tomatoes, I added one to the mix.  Twenty minutes was enough to keep me in the painting mode.  Twenty minutes and I was done.

I can't wait until this baby can hold a paint brush!

Green Tomato (c)2010 DST 7x10 Watercolor



Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day With The Princess

Day #1 is over. Well, it's been over for a couple hours, but I just had the chance to post here now. In fact, I'm writing this post on my iPad because I'm too lazy to go to the computer.

Needless to say I had an amazing day with my infant granddaughter here at my house. I felt terrible for Gorgeous, she returned to her job, so I took photos of the Princess with my cell phone and sent them to her. It's hard to leave that little bundle of cute baby and go to work, but things are what they are these days.

However, the luck is all mine! I get the chance to be with that adorable munchie most of the day and I loved every moment of it. The to-do list, errands, chores and painting can wait for another day. Right now is the most important time of this short period called infancy. Babies are babies for only so long so we need to make the most of it.

My mom stayed at home when we were kids. My grandmother lived with us, but when she wasn't at work she took care of us. Built in babysitting. As both parents work now, grandmothers are in high demand, and many of them are working too. Me, the artist, I'm at home. I never thought I would be so happy to step into this wonderful opportunity. Do you know that in some parts of the world it's not cool to be a young-ish grandma and watch the babies? That's just not cool to me.

Son#1 brought the Princess in the morning. I gave her the bottle, changed her diapers, put her down for a nap and pretty much looked at her in amazement. This infant is my baby's baby! It's like a dream. Where did the time go? How is it possible?

Want to know what the best part about this job is? I get to do it all over again tomorrow!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Equipment is Essential

Every job has it's essential tools.  As artists, we must have implements that help us do our job.  The right brushes or pencils, paints of all sorts, surfaces and surroundings, allow us to be somewhat successful at what we do.  We can get along with substandard equipment, but for how long?

What do I mean by substandard?  I know I can get along very well with non-professional equipment if I just think about the process of creating art.  Will I be thrilled with the result is another story.  As I go along this art journey I've learned that having the better supplies makes the journey easier.  Knowledge is power, as they say these days.  I know I should have signed up for those iMac classes when I purchased this computer, as an example, because using it wouldn't have been such an uphill climb.

Same thing with art supplies.  Except that sometimes we can over indulge and end up going overboard.  Like those watercolor paints I bought a while back.  I always used tried and true Windsor & Newton paints or Grumbacher.  The colors were what I expected in these companies, but I was lured to MaimeriBlu and now I'm not so happy with them.  Through the wonderful blog commenters I have stepped up to a better watercolor surface though.  Now I'm very happy using Arches papers.  I'm learning.

The down side is that now I have plenty of MaimeriBlu paints and I would rather paint from my teeny travel set of Windsor & Newton half pans.  I love how the former paints look on the paper, but the latter colors are exactly what I expect.  Alizarin Crimson in MaimeriBlue is not the same hue or strength as in the other company's paints.  Okay, so I'll just have to live with it for now.

Which leads me to my new venture.  Tomorrow is Day One and I think I have the equipment I need.  Take a look at this:


This is the carriage I used when Son #1 was a baby.  Twenty eight years ago there was no sparing any expense for that precious newborn.  Remember Perego carriages?  Who uses this kind of thing today?  Nobody!  I used it for a while with Son #2 and then that was it, we went to those little umbrella strollers.  This carriage is a classic!  It's practically brand new the way I kept it covered up and put away.  I wish my mother could have kept my carriage.  Now that was a piece of equipment.  It was so big that my mother would go food shopping with my sister in it and have room for bags of groceries.  You can't find those anymore, but I kept this one.

Tuesday is the day.  Our princess will be with me a few days a week and with her other grandmother a few days a week so Gorgeous can return to her job.  The weeks flew by and things are what they are.
If the weather is good we'll be taking a nice walk.  I've got the equipment!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Shaking up the Week-Friday Photos and More



After I posted to this blog on Wednesday I decided to try to upload these photos once more before I hung it up.  Voila!  One of the photos of the painting I did popped up.  Go figure.  The second wouldn't upload again.  Maybe by the end of this post it will work.  So I'm writing this Friday Photos post to take advantage of the uploading.

Can you tell I'm painting on the dining room table?  Yes, that's been the spot for the 20 minutes paintings.  The light is good from the large window and casts great shadows on the subjects.  And it's close to the kitchen!  I've been getting to the painting late in the afternoon which cuts into cooking time.  People around here need to eat!

The studio in the basement is okay, but the hydrangea painting is down there and I just don't want to look at it for a while.  My large watercolor palette is there too, but I'm having too much fun with the travel set, even though it's supposed to be for painting on the go.  Good thing I purchased plenty of half pans of Windsor & Newton paints on sale because I'm going to run out soon.  The large palette is filled with the MaimeriBlu paints.  Something about the colors with those paints, but if I really should use them.  Next time.

Dark Red Apple (c)2010 DST 7x10 Watercolor

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Still Hate Computers

Why do I always have to encounter problems at the computer?  Huh? Why me?  I'm going along my merry way, checking my pages, shop, blogs, surfing around reading interesting things, and when I'm ready to write up my blog post BAM! I can't upload photos.  Nope.  Not happening.  Why why why?!

(Stomping my feet and holding my breath).

It's okay, what can I do about it?  Absolutely nothing.  Just like the weather, all you can do is talk about it.    So that's what I'm going to do, because I can't upload to this blog now.  Lovely Blogger is disabling uploads for two hours due to maintenance issues.  It's supposed to begin at 5PM Pacific Daylight Time.  What's that got to do with little old me here in New York?  Am I wrong, but isn't it 5PM here before it becomes 5PM over there on the west coast?  Huh?  Is it me?  What?

Besides the weather turning cloudy and cold, my day was pretty quiet.  Couple of small things on the list. Like yesterday, I decided to add 'Paint for 20 minutes' at the end of the list and that's what I wanted to do.  It felt so good yesterday I thought about painting all day today.

Again, I had a plan and followed through.  Pretty good for me!  Had my leaves, my rocks, added my apple and set the timer for 20 minutes.  When I was done I took a couple of photos to upload here.  No luck.  Server rejected.  Waaaahhhhh!  I tried again, and again the same notification.  Now, I think I'm in time before the maintenance thing begins, but no, it won't work.  Blah.

Just take my word for it, my little watercolor painting came out nicely.  I feel good about it, but I can't show it to you.  One more time for good measure....nope, no good.

I'm sorry.  I was so happy I painted something and finished it.  Maybe I gave myself the evil eye, a jinx, a canary?  I will try again tomorrow.  Get back to you then...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Twenty Minutes to Success

Time is such an important commodity that it's a terrible thing to waste.  How can you get back wasted time?  You don't.  That's it, done, finished, kaput.  Once it's gone, there's no running after it to stuff it back into the clock.  Maybe we don't want to call it "wasting time."  I call it daydreaming.  I think daydreaming is useful, and we can say it is time well spent.  I do alot of running around in my head, painting, redecorating, organizing, gardening.  I try to think things through to completion in my mind and decide how I like the outcome.   Much of that thinking seems like wasting time, but it's work!  Many times I can't see the end result.  Then it's wasted time.

Today I was impressed with myself because all the little things on the to-do list were done.  I've been working on it.  Another week and my new job begins.  All that thinking-things time must become useful-doing-and-accomplishing-tasks time.  Babies need attention and thinking isn't going to help when they need a diaper change!  So yes, I'm working on it.

Today I planned the route of all my stops and crossed each item off today's short list as I finished.  Last on the list was this entry:
"Paint for twenty minutes."
That's exactly what I did, too.  Why waste time thinking about it, just get it together and Do It!  The important part of it was that I had the idea and a plan.  The tools and subject were in my head (thinking again).

I read a blog called The Twenty Minute Challenge by artist Teri Casper.  Some of my blog/artist friends were posting there and I decided to take a look.  Talk about not wasting time!  This idea of spending only twenty minutes on a painting resonated with me.  After the times I spent at the beach this summer and painting a quick painting, I came to realize two things:

  1.   I very much enjoy painting from life rather than from a photo.  
  2.   I think I painted a better work in a short amount of time.


As I said I had a plan.  A task in The Artist's Way was to take a walk and collect different leaves representing a sense of abundance and fulfillment.  The theme at The Twenty Minute Challenge was Autumn.  I added two plus two together and got a painting out of it!  The rocks were out, I found the leaves I had pressed in the Morning Pages notebook, took out the trusty travel watercolor set and went at it.  And twenty, perfect minutes later I had painted a small still life and was happy about it too.


Dry Leaves (c)2010 DST  7x10 Watercolor

Monday, October 18, 2010

Decorating Old With New


Sometimes I jump start my creativity by cleaning up my art space.  The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron, suggested re-arranging a room to spark ideas.  Doing something methodical like vacuuming a carpet, or mopping the kitchen floor can release pent up energy and while doing the repetitive motions the brain can trail off and daydream.  Why not?  Works for me!

As you can see by my photo I've been very busy redecorating.  It's kind of freeing in a way, my brain can get away of thinking about the art process, how/what/where/ to paint, or not, and the guilt with not.

So maybe after it's all said and done I'll feel like getting back to that painting I've left behind for the moment?  Not sure.  But looking at fabric, colors, shapes that are pleasing to me has had it's wanted effect.

This was such an enjoyable project!  Where and what is this?  Well!  I have set up my sons' crib, which I kept, in his old bedroom.  On a shopping trip to the baby store with Gorgeous we picked out this bumpers and sheets set that blends nicely with the existing furniture in that room.  And, it's not Pepto Bismol pink!  Comfortable colors and shapes on this set make it a cozy haven.  I know my granddaughter won't have a clue, but it's comfy to me!

I'm ready to receive my precious one.  And I had better get organized or I'll find myself scrambling!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Time Out From Busy

Did I say busy?  Yes, really busy doing all sort of things on the never ending to-do list.  Trying to cross things off the short list takes forever.  What about the long list?  Fuggetabottit!  That's NY-ese for forget it.  Not going to bother.  The long list can take a long hike off a short pier.  And in these times, the long list is never going to see the light of day if this keeps up.

The short daily list is about all I can focus on.  However, there are alot of things on this "short" list.  I know I complain all the time about no time, but what else can I do?  Who cares if I have lots of things, everyone has things!

Today I had to double track because with all the things I had going on yesterday, I left some important things off and they just had to be done today, like hitting this blog.  Mind you, there are plenty of things, but Surprise! they're not going to get done because, well, I think I might want to ignore them.  So there.  Hah!

Besides the usual errands, I need to arrange Son #1's old bedroom to accommodate his new baby's crib!  Now THAT I don't mind doing, it's a fun thing!  I get to purchase new baby bedding and such, for when Gorgeous goes back to work and I get to babysit.  Fun!  So you know the to-do list is getting shuffled around to accommodate the fun stuff.  Who needs to make doctor appointments and other phone calls, fix the light in the studio, call the dishwasher repair guy, organize the computer desk, shred old papers, etc. Who really cares about those things?  I'm hunting around baby items!

Ok, so not to look like I'm a complete jerk, leaving important things off the list of to-do's I found time to paint yesterday afternoon.  The opening in the day was there, the rocks and broken shell waiting patiently, arranged as they were on the dining room table, yes-not in the studio.  Out popped the travel watercolor set and a half hour of freedom!

I think I'm on to something with this "no time" business.  Things seem to get done and I find a small window of opportunity to paint.  This must be an omen, or a directive:  have still life items strewn around, the small travel paints and paper pad out and available.  Is the small set with mini brushes and paper less intimidating?  Maybe.  The long to-do list certainly is intimidating and possibly costly.  All the better to ignore it, my dear.

Rocks and Broken Shell, (c)2010 DST, 7x10 Watercolor

Monday, October 11, 2010

Always Busy Doing Something


When I was a kid I was always busy doing some thing.  I could amuse myself quite well.  Being the first born and alone, until my sister came along by the time I was five, I had drawings to do, daydreams to have, a special imaginary friend, and a grandmother with her own creative and imaginative spirit.

My grandmother lived with us.  She would draw pictures, make her own dolls, sew and knit clothes, and tell me the stories of her life.  We were a lot alike that way.  She taught me how to use a tiny crochet hook to make lace doilies with french crochet threads I can barely see with glasses now.   She told us stories of when she was young in Greece, how they made their own toys.  Her brothers and sisters were older and she had to amuse herself, too.  Later, when she came here to the U.S., in the middle of the Great Depression she had to make do with what she had.  Many times a dress she knit that she no longer favored ended up being reknit into a sweater, and later on, a blanket!  She'd just rip it out, untangle the skeins and knit a new item.  Talk about reuse, repurpose and recycle.

I always have many projects going on at once.  This time I finished a couple of things!  The new baby was welcomed with two handknit blankets.  The teal item I showed you here a little while ago was a pretty, knit lap sized baby blanket with a wavy border all around it.  The second was a crocheted afghan in a fun shell pattern, large enough for when she gets older and has a big bed.  Covering all the bases here!  The fact that I finished two items was an accomplishment.

Above are my projects at the moment.  Three pairs of socks, one of which is just for me.  I think I deserve a pair of handknit socks, too.  The pastel thing is a baby sweater I started when I first picked up knitting after years of not knitting.  I chose a baby sweater because I thought it was a nice small item that I wouldn't have to really size to a regular body.  I had knit scarves before, and crocheted plenty of blankets and doilies, but not a garment.

What did I learn from knitting a baby sweater?  I learned that the yarn is thinner and so it takes longer to knit!  Great.  And, since I hadn't finished putting it together, needing to knit another sleeve, I realized my gauge was off anyway and ripped the whole thing out.  I took it apart and reknit the front, the back, the little pocket and the one sleeve.  Now that I have a baby to give it to I would like it to look right.  When gauge is off baby, it's not going to fit anything, anyone, even a baby!

See those rocks on the side up there?  I took them from the beach when we went on our excursion to Greenport, NY.  My plan is to throw them together with the sea shells from Pt. Lookout beach near my home and paint them.  Next up, quick still life.  Umm, I'm ignoring the hydrangea for now.  Doing alot of that lately.  Yes, I'm busy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Need to Schedule Time

Taking my time doing things here today.  Had a list and needed to stick to it.  Posting here early, which I really would rather do, just was impossible given the length of the list.  To-do lists are never popular things around here.  Rarely do I cross off everything needing attention.  As time goes on, I'm going to have to stick to the list as my services will be needed "elsewhere".  How exciting!  I can't wait!

So I must be prepared and organized every day.  Don't laugh.  I'm trying to keep it together so my things get done daily.  And maybe now is a good time to develop that schedule I've been thinking of making.  Time for everything and everything in it's time.

But the sun was out today again, and the warmth felt really comforting on my face, if not just a little windy.  You know how I feel about a warm sunny day?  The one thing I had left off the list for today was to paint that hydrangea painting and get it over with.  Finish it and move on.

When I returned home, having done the required things, I noticed the Montauk daisies in the front garden.  They were twinkling in the sunlight.  Wednesday I took photographs of them and wished it was warm enough, and dry enough, to sit out and paint them.  After putting away my things I thought I would take a walk outside and think about what I could do.  No, it was just too cool with the wind to stay out long.  However, idea!  Get the photo out and paint from the camera.  Just a quick sketch, twenty minutes maybe, at the kitchen table, without my reading glasses on so the photo is sort of fuzzy.  And away I went!

It was a nice idea and by using the small watercolor pad I use for the beach trips, I could get away from the hydrangea and just doodle in color on something new.

 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thought for Thursday

 
   “Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.”~Winnie the Pooh

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Thankful for a Sunny Day




What a relief the sun came out today!  I was really worried winter was here already.  Thank goodness for autumn, at least it's a warning that the cold weather will be here so get it together!  If it wasn't so wet and soggy in the grass I'd go sit out there and paint.

The white Montauk daisies in the front garden are blooming nice and big among the lavender asters and pink Knock-out roses.  I usually don't cut down the liatris, echinacea or black eyed Susan's so the birds have seeds to peck at.  The purple chrysanthemums are starting to show off now too.  I've noticed that people buy new chrysanthemums every  fall, plant them, only to pull them out of the ground before winter sets in.   Why is that?  I plant these and every year they come up prettier than the year before.   They're perennials for goodness sakes!

People are weird, and don't we know it?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Time of the Crazymaker

The weather has not been cooperative here lately.  Rain, clouds, cold, more rain, so not to my liking.  Someone I know said something about the weather being "crispy."  Nope.  Crispy weather is hot and humid, the way I like it.  People like New York in the fall, and the winter time, but my favorite is a New York summer. You know, you can keep "Autumn in New York."  I like the way Frank Sinatra sang it, but I just don't want to think about what's coming around the corner.

So I'm having a tough week.  Annoying watercolor painting and lousy weather, a horrible combination.  To top it all off, the Crazymaker has made an appearance again.  Not gonna be fun.

When I was reading The Artist's Way course and Walking in This World, there was the mention of the Crazymaker, how to deal with him, and keep fighting resistance. Those courses helped me stay in creativity mode and to remember it's the process not the result.  But there are those that upset the proverbial apple cart, the individual who can throw you off your art path.

The Crazymaker, the Opportunist, makes your life not your own. One spends time with them and not working the creativity.  Sound familiar to anyone?  They act supportive, but it's a ruse to usurp your talent.  If you mentioned it they would balk and say "Who me?"  A whole day can be ruined while on a wild goose hunt.  The pay-off is you don't work and remember the things you wanted to create that day and didn't. They are not your good mirror.

It's been a long while and my brain has been quiet, happily so.  My time is my own. No running, long phone calls with nothing being said, or wasted time.  Time away turned into artist dates with myself.  I chose whom to spend my time with or be alone.  I breathe.  I am creative on my own terms.  Had it continued I would not be as creative as I have. I feel good. I feel strong. Privacy is a good thing.

There was a reason and they appeared.  I could ignore or give in. If I pick up again I'd be the stupid one. There is no way I'm going backwards at this point. Moving forward is the only option. When you taste freedom you just don't want to go back to jail. I'll ignore.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just Not Feeling It, So I Plod



Here's a look at the hydrangea painting as I plod along on it.  What is it about working from my own photos that just brings me down?  I seem to like the photo more than I do the painting.

Maybe that's the trick.  My eye sees what it needs to see while composing the photograph.  Is it then not meant to be a painting afterwards?  I just see too much in the photo and my brain tries hard to replicate the details in paint.

I'm starting to get annoyed with this thing.  The colors I'm using are annoying, the way I'm applying the paint is annoying, the composition is annoying.  There's nothing I am happy about with this piece.  That's happened to me before so I keep plugging at it.

I did a watercolor in the spring of the daisies in my garden.  Yes, I painted it from life not a photograph.  Anyway, I wasn't thrilled with the result, but I kept thinking in my head "It's the process."  I was going to ignore the result and move on to the next thing.  Well my DIL, Gorgeous, loved it and wanted it for the baby's room.  That cemented the idea that maybe I don't know beans about my own work.  So I plod through this watercolor too.  Push to finish it and think about what's next.

Fighting resistance every step of the way with this painting, I plod.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Photos for Friday


It was a very stormy morning today here in New York.  We had the remnants of Hurricane Nicole dump buckets of water on us.  Rain, wind, and flooding as you can see.  The thing I don't get is that drivers think their cars are boats, or tanks, or something.  Why would they fly into a deep puddle of water like that and keep going at top speed, making a wake not unlike a speed boat in the ocean?  Are they idiots, or what?  Or are they just brave?  Aren't they afraid to get stranded in such deep water?  Even a couple of inches of water can cause a car to stall out and float.  I've seen it happen.

I don't get it.