Be Delighted

"Oh my my my my, what an eager little mind!"

Auntie Mame

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A Sense of Place, a Sense of Space

Since I did a painting last Spring of the fields near Levelland I have been exploring landscape painting, and especially textures, patterns, and colours of wild grasses. I have never particularly done a large series of paintings, except for my foxes and wild animals, so this has been a way for me to explore and develop my technique and my observation skills.

This was my first painting: Field Near Levelland, now owned by two friends. I documented its travails in an earlier post.

 This was followed by a series of small studies of grasses. I discovered it was very calming to hold a slender brush and make quick, energetic strokes to create layers and layers of grass.

A photo of an old tressel bridge north of Lubbock also inspired a painting:

Some watercolour paintings on paper as opposed to acrylic on board.

A painting called Watchful, done from a photo I took of an actual fox sitting on our front doorstep:

A trip to Dallas inspired this landscape from a photo I took while stalled in road repair in the town of Throckmorton:

An imaginary place yet still familiar, called Borderlands:

This one is called Roam. A friend bought it for her grown son's birthday.

Another painting called Riverbank needed a shot of colour so I put in a red canoe.

 I then created a pen and ink version on paper called River Grasses:

Each of these paintings have helped me evolve, but not only that, they have given me a sense of peace about where I am, in this moment, in this place. I am able to walk in beauty, to take it in, and reflect it back.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The City Different

I haven't kept track of how many times I've visited Santa Fe. Probably close to a dozen, beginning with our honeymoon in 1978, The beauty of the place is that apart from the inevitable sprawl it still retains a warm familiarity, a timelessness that defies the decades. At the same time there is always new art to see, new restaurants to try, and old haunts to revisit. I end up coming home with stacks of brochures, flyers, and postcards from galleries, to browse over and file away, mementos of a happy journey.

                                                                         Road trip!
                                                  Just west of Clovis, New Mexico.

                                               Classic Santa Fe house on Delgado Street.

                    Our AirB&B, Casita Corvo, just north of Canyon Road. Cozy and convenient.

                                                         The poppies were in bloom.

                                                         The Buddhas were blissful.

There were whimsical sculptures everywhere.

Glenn needed his coffee and Kindle time at The Travel Bug.

The wine was good

The gods were smiling.

                                       Our breakfast at Clafoutis Bakery was just perfect.

We had our traditional martini at the Pink Dragon.

And dined at La Piatta. Mmmm, heavenly trout.

We met with good friends, Toni and Gordon, at Rancho de Chimayo

And drove to Santa Cruz lake.

                                 We visited the Ortega Weavers and bought a lovely rug.

Here it is in our house.

Enjoyed a spa evening at Ten Thousand Waves, a hot soak, massages, then dining at the Izanami restaurant. My salmon was fresh and delectable.

                                                         Couldn't miss brunch at Pasqual's.

Or a visit to my favorite bookstore, Collected Works.

Or buying art supplies at Artisan. I probably spent more than Georgia.

Farewell, for now.

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Sea of Grass, a Pool of Tears

One day last February I was asked to come to Levelland, about 30 miles away, and give a presentation on Seated Yoga to a ladies club. (It was a delightful group, btw). It's a quiet, calming drive, a straight line through the plains without much variation in topography and lots of open sky. On this day the sky was overcast, the day was chilly, and as I approached the town I saw a farm road off to my right, and along its edges, waves of dried, bleached grasses and winter-dead shrubs. I was ahead of schedule so I took a detour a few feet down the road and got out of my car with my cell phone to take an atmospheric shot, as well as some close up shots of the grasses for inspiration. I worked a little Instagram hocus pocus and came out with these two images.

This isn't the first time I have been captivated with the texture of prairie grasses. A few years ago I painstakingly stitched this image from a photo I had taken on another country road near Wolforrth.

Later, while going through my fox phase I did this painting, which became more about the surroundings than the little sleeping fox.

 So I started out by doing a small painting of the Levelland grasses.

Then I started painting grasses just out of my imagination, in different colour palettes.

It's tricky catching the colour and depth on my cell phone. My daughter will take professional photos later.

Finally I prepped a larger canvas and went back to my original photo for inspiration.

It was met with great enthusiasm on social media. In fact I sold it even before I had added the final coat of varnish.

Which is when the unthinkable happened.
I was indeed adding that final coat of varnish, after having done three layers of glazing to create a warm, radiant effect. This was the same varnish I had used on the other paintings, and many paintings before but.....maybe it was the damp weather and the other glazes hadn't set, but before my eyes, the varnish and the glazes began to frost over then turn into a gelatinous mess. The more I tried to smooth it out the worse it got. I grabbed the painting, ran to the bathroom and began hosing it down in the bath tub, rubbing with a washcloth to get the varnish off before it set. Not only did the varnish and glazes come off but so did flakes of paint from sky and field. It suddenly looked like a 100 year old painting that had been left in the sun. I just stood there paralyzed. Now what?
Well, after the painting dried I took it back into the studio and for three hours tried to salvage it. I had to sand down and completely repaint the sky, painting right over the telephone poles and wires, then painting them back in. I then had to restore the fields, bring the faded colours back, and repaint grasses one by one. It was at least better than sitting in a puddle of tears.
So here is the second version of the painting over the first version. The sky is a bit different as is the left part of the field. Same scene, maybe as it looked ten minutes later, with the clouds shifting and the wind blowing a different direction. I hope I saved it. I hope my blood pressure is back to normal. I don't want to ever do that again so thus far I have re-glazed the surface three times but not added varnish. I am terrified of varnish.