Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Doing Nothing with Mr. Resistance

What is it about time flying by that makes some of us want to just sit back and watch it? Just having that feeling to hang out, sit back, let the clock tick on without a care to do much of anything beyond the necessary is de rigour around here lately.

The to-do list grows faster than the grass in my yard. All I can do is watch and wait. The adage that says "when the going gets tough, the tough get going"? Not around here. My say is "when the going gets tough, do nothing". Some people say "go shopping". Me? I do nothing.

You can read all the books you want about fighting down resistance to creating and sometimes that nasty guy gets the better of us anyway. I know what to do but Mr. Resistance has me by my throat, that bum. I have many ideas running through my head and none of them appeal to me at the moment. The last painting I finished is sitting there waiting for me to free it from the watercolor block. I just don't. And knitting? Blahh. Maybe jewelry? Ugh.

Something clicked on the off switch and I'm out. That beach day we had that earthquake I fully intended to paint. Just twenty minutes of work. The ball started rolling downhill after I realized I ate my still life painting subject! And it was a nice peach too. Then the hurricane happened and didn't help things move along any better.

I spent today trying to make calls to repair people who are all tied up with hurricane damages of their current customers. My roof leak will have to wait. But while I do that, the sun is out and it's still hot, the dryness of the air reminds me that August is at it's end. Bummer.

I wouldn't call it a full fledged blockage, just a minor hiccup in the creativity area. This might be the second hiccup though, so measures might have to be taken to keep Mr. Resistance busy while I sneak out the back door to hide.

Who's with me?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fun With Hurricane Irene








We survived Hurricane Irene. Without power all day, we listened to our radio and looked out the window at the crazy weather.

We watched as one neighbor couldn't wait for the hurricane to be over to start removing the small tree that fell on his front yard. A little while later an ambulance pulled up and he went inside to have his vitals monitored.

What's with men and wild weather that they can't wait to get moving and doing? Even The Mr. was itching to get out to his business to look around. They don't care what's going on outside. Men are just plain crazy.

These trees fell around the corner from our house. Thankfully, all we had to do was clean up some branches, leaves and repair our fence. The electricity came on at 9PM.  Minutes later we heard an explosion and saw the street lamps go out, along with our neighbors' lights across the street.

So, earthquake and now a hurricane. All we're missing is a volcano. That'll happen next week, I'm sure.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thought for Thursday

"It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing." ~ Mark Rothko, artist

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What a Day at The Beach!


Tuesday was a beautiful day. Gorgeous was with the Princess visiting a friend and I was going to go to the beach by myself. I don't have a problem being alone at the beach. It's family friendly, peaceful and there's usually plenty of other lone people doing their own quiet thing.


I brought my travel watercolor set, fully intending to put it to good use. I also brought along a book to read before I felt like painting. I managed to remember to take a few photos before I settled into my inert position in my sand chair.


For a beautiful sunny day, this beach was practically empty. Fine with me. Empty beach almost all to myself is a wonderful thing. The few kids on the beach just had to play football right near me though. Of course I had to tell them to move down the beach and hit other people with their football. Geez!


I had my little lunch, read my book, and ate my peach when I realized I had planned to paint that peach with a few shards of sea shells. Oops! So I just kept reading and enjoying the scenery. I answered a call from my mom and while we're talking I felt a weird movement as I sat in my chair. I thought it must be the wind pushing me funny. 


My mom said her desk was shaking and she felt dizzy. I told her Wait a minute, I feel the same thing! I noticed other people began to stand up on the beach and look around, and said such to Mom. It was almost 2PM and I decided I am done here. Wait, is this an earthquake?


Texts were flying into my phone from Gorgeous, my sister, Son#2, Mom. Some of my outgoing texts would not go through. I couldn't access voice mail either. As I was leaving I asked some other women if their phones worked. They didn't. Well, everyone started talking about what was happening.


New York had a 5.9 earthquake yesterday and I was at the beach when it happened. Now that I think about it, what a jerk I was. I should have ran out of there as soon as I realized what was going on. Did I want to be in the middle of a tsunami resulting from said earthquake? Uh, no thank you. 

What kind of New Yorker am I? I was lulled by the beauty and peace of the beach into thinking I was safe. 

Next time, run you idiot.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vegetable Share Haul



The vegetable share has been interesting. Every time I pick up my share there's new and different items to try. Things I never saw before and things I'd heard of but had no idea what to do with.

This last pick up had more familiar fruits and vegetables: peaches, yellow zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce, a couple of ears of corn, a couple of carrots, different colors of long thin peppers, a small yellow mellon, eggs and flowers.

I am not so sure it's all been top notch. Yes it's straight from the farm and I guess that's the main idea, but if I was choosing my produce I would have chosen better. One ear of corn was half eaten by some animal, the tomatoes were over ripe, as were the peaches. Tasty, but over ripe. The two carrots were huge, as if they were left in the ground a little too long, forgotten maybe.

When I had a small vegetable patch I carefully watched for ripening. I know, this is from a cooperative farm, not my own backyard garden. I get what they grow, etc.

My tomato plants were not very productive this year, neither were the cucumbers, or the peppers. The backyard garden is all shade now that the trees on the property line have ground so tall. There is a little patch of hot sun, but it fades by 1PM. The front garden however, is all sun all day. I am growing some things in pots, but it's not ideal.

Next year I may give up more front yard to vegetables rather than all flowers. Might also be interesting.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's Finished When My Brain Says STOP


Yesterday afternoon, after the plumbers had left me with their bit of a mess, after I cleaned up their mess, put my things away, straightened out the areas they were in, I finished the watercolor painting I was working on.

I went back to it, but something inside me said This Is Done, STOP! So I signed it and declared it finished. So here it is. The top photo was taken yesterday at about 4PM. The bottom photo I took this morning by 9AM. The light of day seems to have changed the colors: the top is warmer, the bottom is cooler toned.

Pepper Stem (c)2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
12x16 Watercolor on Lanaquarell
Either way I am pleased with this painting. I have been using watercolors for some time now and I don't think I am using them in the traditional way. The books I've looked at seem to manipulate the paints different than I am. Maybe we all have our own way of getting paint on the surface in a pleasing manner.

Whatever works for you, do it. Must there be only one way to paint with whatever medium? I think not.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Something New While I Wait

Don't you just love those days when you have to stay home and wait for repair people? Yeah, love it. Not really, except when it's a must you need to have all your projects in order so they can have some attention. Once in a while you can peek in on the repair guy and see the progress, otherwise let them do their work.

My area of New York had ten inches of water in a couple of hours this week. People are pumping out their basements and the like. We had a leak in our living room ceiling, but that's not what the repair guy came to fix. I found a mysterious leak from one of our bathroom faucets which was causing havoc in our wall. Let me say it was not pretty.

Today was the day of the plumbers. If the weather was beautiful, which it isn't, I would not be happy, but it's not so I didn't mind being here for the repair. Perfect opportunity to work on my stuff.


I took some photos a while back of cut up peppers, if you might remember. One of the photos was calling me so I decided to paint it. I liked the mood, the darks against light, the composition, and knew I could play with color. 


I had to remind myself to stop after twenty minutes so I wouldn't ruin the work. It's not easy to stop once you have momentum going. My brain goes on autopilot and I could almost not see anything, think or hear anything. 


When I stopped I tried to also remember to take a snap of the work to show the progression. I have found the photographs to be helpful in slowing me down, and I can see my work better.

I'm still working on this. The last photo is not the finished piece. I added more detail, more color and blending, but it's not finished. Yet, anyway.



Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunflowers and More

Six Sunflowers (c) 2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
12x16 Watercolor on Lanaquarelle
I decided to paint these sunflowers one more time and from life, before I had to throw them out. They were getting really dry and ugly. I think I'm finally done with sunflowers. I sketched out the composition and tried my best to keep the colors light before adding darks. They don't excite me anymore. Not like when I first painted them. I guess it's expected.

On the distraction front, I am doing well! Isn't that how it is? 

I've become obsessed by the colors of beads and this knotting business. It's become addictive. These red beads look striking against the black of the waxed cotton cord and make me want to play with them again. I'll be putting these in my Etsy shop soon, along with the blues bracelet from last week. Yum.



The thing with this is that some beads have too small a hole to thread the cotton cord through and it becomes frustrating. I managed.

Now I'm on a mission to use leather instead of the cotton cord. I made myself dizzy searching the online shops for both leather cord and more beads. Yeah, more beads. Beads with some sparkle. Beads with a larger hole so I can play some more. Like I said, addictive.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thought for Thursday

"Art is everywhere, except it has to pass through a creative mind." ~Louise Nevelson, sculptor

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Veggie Haul and Something Extra


The veggie haul last week was plentiful. I found a baby watermelon, 15 apricots, 3 peaches, peppers, purple basil, 2 onions, one green and one yellow zucchini, purslane, and cherry tomatoes. Very nice, and smelled great.


And another bunch of nice, big sunflowers. I have been busy with those sunflowers!

Another distraction from painting was happening too. I made this knotted bracelet of ceramic round beads, chalk turquoise, and a couple of metal beads. The knotting takes time, but it's great to get my mind on something other than the waiting painting. And I knew it was waiting for me.





I like the colors of beads that I used. They are calming blues and greens that remind me of the ocean. Like I said, it was a distraction.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunflowers from Underneath

Under the Sunflowers (c)2011Dora Sislian Themelis
12x16 Watercolor Lanaquarelle paper
Here's a different view of  the sunflowers, from the underside. I thought this was a different angle with different color scheme. Not the typical full face of flowers. I like to shake things up with composition once in a while. Not really into the ordinary or the typical.

Whether this works or not doesn't really matter. Remembering it's the process that counts, I painted this with those words in mind.

Process, baby.

Yes, in between I had my distractions. Who doesn't need a distraction now and then? I most certainly do. Otherwise I could head for the lounge chair in the garden and just gaze at the world. That would be nice, if I didn't feel guilty to do that.

Painting is work. Lounging is not, unless I call that thinking. So I paint.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Photos for Friday-Action!

There's usually not that much excitement going on in my neck of the woods, except for this week. Nassau County Court House in Mineola, New York on Long Island, was host to a movie crew and famous actors. Al Pacino was filming a movie about the music legend Phil Spector, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend. He was known for developing what was called the Wall of Sound.

Anyway, the movie people seemed to think our main court building looks like California. They even brought palm tress for out front. I never saw Al.

I was just going to the farmer's market which is nearby and saw all this action. The farmers were saying they hoped the actors would just stay in their trailers and leave the market alone. Maybe they did, or didn't, I don't know, but I drove by and snapped some pics of the action.

All kinds of movie stuff was there, trailers, extras, and the local news vans. And me.





Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thought for Thursday

"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken." ~ James Dent

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cut Finger, or Not I'm Painting Today



Like I said, I have to paint whether this bandaged finger is in my way or not. Maybe it's the summer time, but I just don't feel like doing anything important around here. Who wants to do inside things when the weather is so nice outside?

I do have some things I need to get done, but painting has to come first. Too many days without painting, even the distraction of other creative pursuits, and I get itchy.

This is the last of the sunflower photos and I took my paints out in the garden to paint them. I decided to take a different look with this piece and try to be a little looser with it. I did draw in the composition, but tried using more brush strokes and color changes.

Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn't. I had to stop before I made mud out of it. I thought I used a little too much water than color. Some how taking the photo of the painting is helping me to see it better. I'm pleased with what I see here rather than the actual work. Maybe it's just me.

It's not finished. Another session and it may be done. Now that I've painted I think I can go do the things I've been putting off. My artist brain hates to do accounting stuff.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Just a Distraction

Rather than paint I got myself involved in jewelry for a couple of days. I needed to distract myself for a while and had wanted to try making knotted bracelets. Many of us in the Greek culture wear a similar style bracelet called Monk's Knots, supposedly made by monks with black cord, beads, and prayers. 

I've seen these in fancy stores made with semi-precious stones and other high end beads. I figure, why not try my hand at it? With some inexpensive materials I had at hand, here is my knotted bracelet. I used glass beads and hemp cord. Not bad for a first time.



I enjoyed myself that day. The next I was rolling along, doing my thing, errands and what-not and look what happens..


Let's just say I hate taking my empty bottles to the recycling thingy, because look what can happen while there. Is glass known to bounce and jump? I watched a bottle jump out of my bag and break on the ground at my feet. Next thing I see my hand full of blood. How, why, what I can't remember! Never saw it happen.

No knotting, no painting, no nothing after that. Ouch.