Friday, May 22, 2009

Sunset on Mudflats

pastel on archival sanded paper, 9x12 in.

Lately, I've been busy trying to reclaim my neglected garden and ready it for planting, deal with a broken sump pump hose (flooding said garden), and other domestic pursuits. Evenings, I've begun sorting through boxes of old photos in an attempt to organize and label. My love of landscape began long ago, so there are lots of photos of places I spent time at. Some were of a place I used to take my kids to camp, on the Oregon Coast, near Cannon Beach.

Daytime, mudflats at full ebb can look pretty drab. But there are times that bring out the astonishing beauty that mudflats have: days with light mist, sunsets, moonlit evenings. In the summer, the Pacific Northwest coast often has stupefyingly brilliant sunsets. I found several photos I'd taken of one particularly stunning sunset, and began to visualize a pastel painting. Yesterday was too hot to work outside, so I got out my pastels for the first time in nearly a year. I wanted to try to express both the brilliance and the serenity of this place at that particular time. I think I came close.

Esoterica: for the last two weeks, little bitty black ants have been trying to establish a nest in my mailbox (an old-fashioned rural box on a post). Leaving the door open worried them enough that they would scurry to remove all the eggs and larvae, but then the next morning, or the next rainy day, they would be back.

Day before yesterday, after they had finished evacuating, I sprinkled geranium oil inside (it works to deflect skeetos). This morning the box is empty. I don't know if it was the oil, or if it was because yesterday was 90 degrees and the mailbox is a black oven. Hope it is the oil, as it is cooling down, and, frankly, it is guilt inducing to realize I have assumed the role of natural disaster in the ant universe.

This is not something I am likely to paint. Or maybe...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Shoals of Vermont: finished

oil on stretched linen, 20x16 in.

I didn't make any real changes in this one, but I did correct some details, and did another layer of paint along with a bit of glazing and scumbling over the sea to give it some substance. I may go back later along the horizon, but this one is otherwise finished. To see it in its earlier stage, go here (which is actually just two posts down).

I've been working on another painting that is in the middle somewhere. It led me in an unexpected direction (I am getting used to this) and then stranded me. So so it is resting quietly up in the drying room until it gets around to letting me know what it is. Whatever it is, I like it so far.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Some weeks are like this...

blank canvas, 20 x 16 in.

What more can I say? Sometimes that's just the way it is.

I had gotten several paintings out of holding pattern, and in the drying rack. And made up a CD of paintings to be juried.

Then the SUN actually shone, the ground was finally unfroze, and, with help from my family, I spent a week catching up on cleaning up the yard and getting my garden ready to plant. I even managed to plant an arborvitae hedge 40 feet long and 18" tall. With such little plants, you'd think it would be easy, but remember-- this is Vermont. Digging holes means acquiring a small mountain of rocks. That was a day's work in itself. Then it rained again.

THEN... one of those life events that leaves you reeling with 360 billion emotions all at once.

Two weeks ago, a person I last saw as a 9 pound 2 ounce baby boy suddenly reappeared in my life as a full-grown man. My son. Instead of painting, I spent days emailing and facebooking him and getting to know him and telling him about his birth family and calling all my friends and journaling and either dancing through the house or walking around dazed. He brought up the part about feeling 360 billion emotions all at once, and that pretty much covers it.

Ironically, the day I first heard from him, I had just sent an email to my youngest daughter on her birthday, and his message to me came in the download.

I've been nuts ever since. Today I heard his voice for the first time, when he called to wish me Happy Mother's Day. I can't talk about that yet. Tomorrow is his birthday, and for the first time I can wish him Happy Birthday. We live on opposite coasts, so now I have one more very special relative to visit when I go out west this year. I can hardly wait.

What a special Mother's Day. My daughters and my son.

This calls for a special painting, and one is starting to take shape in my mind. I am going to use one of my new wood cradled panels.

Must paint. Must paint.