Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Aspen leaves.... take me away!

              Aspen leaves in watercolor

Yesterday was rough..... economically and emotionally.  The US of A is in a real pickle and it's going to be quite a while before we dig out of this mess.  Don't forget to vote!  Let your voice be heard.
This is when I like to lose myself in the painting process.  I know..... it's like putting my head in the sand.... but, right now, there isn't too much that I can do until I can vote my choices, so I prefer to paint the aspen that I picked up on the trail.  I have quite a few to choose from, but after I finished these four, I sort of liked the way they sat on the page.  So, I think I will scan them and create something fun (cards perhaps) out of the quick painting.  Any ideas?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wish you were here....

Quaking Aspen at Caribou Ranch

These are days when I wish everyone could be out enjoying the last great display of Nature, before it sleeps for the Winter.  We took a short hike at Caribou Ranch on Saturday and the groves of Aspen were just 'prime'.  When the sun popped out from behind the fluffy clouds, the wind would 'quake' the aspen and they just shimmered along the trail.  We knew that this hike would be a beautiful one, with it's open fields, and many groves of Aspen, but we were even more surprised than we expected.  

Yesterday, I started to paint the Aspen leaves... in their changing state....which I will show sometime this week.  Leaves are forever a challenge for me....but I had quite a bit of fun with these.  Yesterday, on a walk, I found some wonderful leaves, as well... which I am also trying to paint, before they curl up and dry out.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Friday Journaling at the Ponds

This is my attempt to journal at our local 'pond'

I have been attempting to journal outside at a nearby 'Pond".... actually, three ponds that were initially mined for gravel, and then turned into a nature preserve with walking/biking trails.  It is in constant use and is so perfectly located in the city, that it has become one of the great gifts to our community (the Land was donated by a local family).  

Now, about my ability to journal.  I laugh, because the work that I do is so precise that  sketching freely and using watercolor pencils and a niji brush, are sort of 'loose' for me.  It's a good thing.  My first week was a disaster... this week was a  bit better (which is the reason that I can share this).  

I am journaling (or sketching) with two other woman, and it has proven to be a delightful outing each week.  We hope to continue at different locations.  

Next week.... my house.... to catch the pumpkins growing in the garden.  I promise to share.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Step 2: Pencil drawing.....

pencil drawing to explore shadow and form

Here is the completed pencil drawing.  I will revisit the drawing in a few days.... make changes, and then,  make a 'cartoon' or tracing, to transfer this image to watercolor paper.  I will then chose to paint it... or work out the drawing in colored pencil.  I love both mediums equally, so I will often do one of each.  

A bit of Politics...... with the chaos in our Economy, and the endless Presidential race, I find that art can take me 'away' from it all.  Not, that I choose to run away, because my choice has been solid from the start, but with so much negative news and negative noise, it is nice to take a break from it for a bit each day.  I am so ready for November to be here.... to VOTE!

So, take a break from the news and the noise today.  Go outside and breathe the air, look at what surrounds you - I hope it is beautiful.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The process of painting....

When we were hiking, I also found this wonderful mushroom growing out of a Birch tree.  The juxtaposition of the colors caught my eye.  The mushroom is sort of a beige color... non-descript, as mushrooms go, but popped against the wonderful "darks" and greens of the tree and lichen on the tree, it made me want to paint it.

Okay, so I am in a National Park and I want to grab this tree and mushroom and bring it home.  Well, first of all, the Airlines would have a fit; It's quite illegal to take anything from a National Park, and it just isn't feasible to walk around with a mushroom in my pocket, anyway.  

So, I took lots of photos (for reference) and then sat and sketched the size and shape, as best I could.  Now, I have some references to work from.  I am currently working on the pencil drawing.... which I will post tomorrow.... then on to the painting.  It's all a process.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's tricky to travel .... and paint....

Changing leaf in Maine.... painted in 15 minutes (then worked on in studio)

I always travel with my journal and paints, but finding the time to fill the journal, when we are hiking, or traveling is hard.  I see so many blogs that have amazing sketchbooks and drawings done quickly - on the fly.  It is a continuing challenge for me.  The above leaf was painted in about 15 minutes, during a hike in Acadia.  You can see my photo up in the corner of this blog - my profile (taken by my sweet hubby) while I painted.

Last week, I started journaling with friends.  We went to the local "ponds" and painted for a few hours.  I will show you the journal tomorrow.  It's truly horrid.... but I had so much fun doing it.  Okay, so I am starting .... with the goal that not only (hopefully) will my drawing improve, you will actually be able to tell what I am trying to draw!  The other purpose is to get outside during this wonderful Fall, and to speed up the process of my work.  I tend to get lost in the details (can you tell?????)

Today... step out of your box.... challenge yourself..... try something a new way.  Tell me how it worked for you and have some fun with it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall is now officially here...

The boo pumpkins are looking good!

Fall is arriving in Colorado.  Slowly, the trees are changing, the boo pumpkins are changing color and it's time to harvest the herbs.   The temperatures are still warm and it is lovely to be outside, but there is a crispness to the air in the early morning... and the evening.

I checked out the 'boo' pumpkins yesterday, and there are about six of them... all, still in the 'yellow' stage.  I can't wait to pick them, once they turn a deeper color.

I have actually been drawing a bit this past week.  I was and have been distracted by a temporary mess in the basement, due to recent rains when we were gone... and a wayward golf ball in our drainspout.  The water decided to go anywhere it could which meant into the basement, between the walls.  Not a huge mess, other than the fact that it was my 'creative corner' in the basement.  This meant moving everything out of the way, cleaning carpet, and drying out (which is taking longer than I thought).  Obviously, I didn't get to paint or draw too much.  

Tomorrow, I will share a quick sketch done on our trip.  Hopefully, there will be more time this week to draw.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fairie garden....

These are the Fairie Gardens at the Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens

I wanted to show you the special place within the Botanical Gardens, that people of all ages (not just for children) could come and make a Cairn or create a 'fairie Garden'.   Some were quite elaborate, others were quite simple, yet all were special; made with imagination and love.  
I plan to create a small fairie garden in my own back yard.  What about you?  
One is never too old to let imagination fly.  Even if you live in an apartment, you might find a small place around your complex or in a nearby park, that you can create a surprise for some one else to discover...   might even be some very special fairies on the look out for a new home.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A "Wyeth" coastal view

Wyeth's capture the true colors of the coast in their watercolors.

Again, we had the good fortune to spend a morning at the Farnsworth Museum, in Rockland Maine.  It is north of Portland, ME, and worth a stop.  If you love N.C, Andrew or Jamie Wyeth, you will have an opportunity to see their work along with other artists from the area.  I love to describe these smaller museums as "Jewels".  They don't have to be big to shine brilliantly.... and this one does.  I put the photo in, because so many of the landscapes in the Wyeth paintings are from this area of Maine, and I never quite believed that the evergreens could be this 'blue-black" in color range.  But, it's true.... there is a definite difference in the light and landscape, and the trees seem even darker and more elegant than our proud Rocky Mountain evergreens.
When time permits, I hope to do a water color of the memories of the coast and these wonderfully dark and beautiful trees.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

beautiful sculptures pop up on the paths, as you walk the gardens

We had the great good fortune to visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, in Boothbay, ME.
You can find more information on them at Mainegardens.org.   This Botanical garden is in it's early stages, but don't let that fool you.  They have an extensive collection of plants from Northeastern United States.  The gardens are set on a meandering path which leads you around an outstanding selection of plants, indigenous trees, incredible sculptures, granite specimens from the area, and a delightful 'fairy garden' (which I will put in a future blog).   We spent several hours, (wish we had more time) in this very special place.  It is a 'must visit' if you are ever in the area.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Buzzzzzzz....y bees

                              buzzzy bees at Stonewall Kitchen garden

On our way up the coast from Boston to Maine, we stopped at a wonderful place called "Stonewall Kitchen", started by two partners, who loved jams and jellies, and proceeded to create amazing combinations of treats for toast... as well as, Chutney, mustards, and every condiment that comes to mind.  We couldn't get over the gardens there, filled with unusual plants, and some beautiful zinnia's as well.  The bee's were still humming all about and barely noticed their 'photo op'.  It was one of the handful of sunny days, when I captured this photo.

We loaded up the car with yummy treats, and continued up the coast.  If you are ever roaming up the highway... this would be a fun quick stop for lunch.  My husband said that he had the best sandwich ever.... from the 'kitchen'.

Eat something delicious today - creativity for your palate.  

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Maine thing about vacations....

It's always nice to go on vacation; to get away from the daily grind; refresh your senses and awaken your creativity.  I surely needed that.  Though, I had little time for painting on this trip, I was able to take lots (no, tons) of photos of the Maine coast and even a bit of New Hampshire.

I am 're-entering' as I like to say... which when coming up to a mile high after sea level means a severe headache, and some general misery..... so I won't be drawing or painting for a few days.  Instead, I will pop on some great photos of the sights, and of  the beautiful plants that we saw in Maine.  I have to give great 'kudos' to Booth Bay and Bar Harbor (Acadia National Park) for a beauty that is truly unique and awe inspiring.  We loved it very much and do hope to go back there again, at some point.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Farmer's Market signs of Fall...

Wonderful produce is filling up the Farmer's Markets all over the county.  The colors of Fall start showing early here.  It is still warm and summery - weather wise, but the warm golden colors of Fall are here.  I think that I enjoy this season the most.  I like the feel of the sun at this time of year; the colors, of course; the variety of flowers and produce; and the scent of that 'crispness' in the air; plus the crunching of the leaves underneath my feet.  All of my senses are heightened, just before winter sets in.  

I am taking a break for a bit... heading to Maine with my husband.  I am looking forward to being refreshed with new smells, sounds, tastes and sights.  I will return mid-September.  See you then!

Monday, September 1, 2008

"Morning" Glory!

I love the Morning glories...   they have been growing wild in a corner of our garden, winding their way around the remnants of the iris and grasses  that surround them.  This year, I made a little tepee for them to climb... actually two tepees!   They have been happier than ever climbing and then re-climbing the poles, with wild abandon.    

I hope that you are enjoying this labor day.  I think of all of the flowers that labor all summer, just like the morning glories.  They work so hard, climbing up the ladder, fighting off the bad stuff, happy to be pollinated, sometimes showing off in a flourish of color.  Well, today is their day, just as it is our day.  The Morning glory stands for all of those who put their time in and help to make our world a better place.  Today is their day to shine.  Your's too!