Doing The Work, The Learning Process

Tuesday when I went over the hills to the east, I did two paintings at the Clark. The first was smaller, 5×7″, and my intention was to try sketching, color and value while trying out the plein air “thing”. My paper and board tried to blow away, my water tried to blow over, my brushes fell into the bottom of their travel bag. You know. Juggling in the wind. Meanwhile I was sitting on the cold ground with my little beach backrest hoping it wouldn’t suddenly dump rain on me.

The second I did I moved to my 8×12″ sheet of arches and started from the covered but still breezy Crystal. Man those colors did not want to cooperate. I saw pinky orange, bright yellow-green and dark trees and well. Part of it I know was impatience. I know I should let things dry before adding more color, filling in darkness but for whatever reason it wasn’t happening and so it didn’t work out all that well.

[Note to self- this is why you should bring a thermos and a snack – to divert yourself while letting things DRY!]

This really bugged me so I decided yesterday I would NOT do a scene but work on hot press paper which isn’t my favorite just on trying to get those colors. I didn’t tape down the paper – just stuck it with water to my table. I stopped before I got fiddling with things. Like the bluish color of the main distant hill better. Like the trees more but… meh still not quite it. Will try a different approach next.

On to the next!

The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well and doing well whatever you do. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

and keeping on keeping on!

NaPoWriMo Day Twenty-six

Daffodils slowly extinguishing
hope released, now fading
the forsythia have bloomed
sturdy and sunny and
along the house shy Fairy Wings –
paler yellow, briefly flowers
until its leaves fill
the side garden with hearts.
The one clump of bluebells
pale blue and pink cups is
finally taller than the
daffodil spikes but they’ll both
go down to hostas and day lilies
so turns the garden’s year./blockquote>

NaPoWriMo Day Twenty-five and My Tuesday

rain on a Tuesday
wind makes it chilly
tree buds just showing color
below a swatch of ski-slope
more rain tonight
but driving home
forsythia
splattered against
hedgerows and yards
splashed across
the wet pavement
and still-dark woods.

Today I went to pick up three books I won at auction at the Milne Library book sale. Then, the plan, weather permitting was to paint on the hill overlooking the Clark. If the weather didn’t permit I figured I could always go inside to the two exhibits I missed last time. The weather held – no rain at least – so I trudged up the hill and set up and started to paint. It was very windy. I had to make a few adjustments to batten everything down after my board with paper tried to fly away. I finished the first landscape and decided to try the Crystal by Thomas Schütte – an installation which is inspired as I recall by New England-y sheds. I walked up the path and found a double door on the back and there I was, inside looking out through the opposite opening. And, conveniently there’s a bench along one of the other walls. So I set up there thinking it nice to be out of the occasional sprinkles and a little more protected, when a burst of wind blew through the opening and pushed out through the two doors. How very exciting. There were two couples that wandered up the path and through the Crystal too but they weren’t anywhere near as exciting as the wind.

View from the Crystal by Thomas Schütte

By the time I started down the hill again I was pretty darn cold. I dumped the painting stuff in the car while wondering if the museum cafe was still open. As soon as the hatchback of the fiat closed, I knew the keys were inside. Started AAA on the way, found out the cafe was closed, warmed up a little inside the building and then went out to wait. Young guy showed up in his big tow truck and had the front door open in no time. His first Fiat, he said.

Drove home. Ordered a few more watercolor supplies. (That’s it. I’m done unless I run out of something. Seriously. No more!) Watched The Voice. Write my NaPoWriMo poem while drinking some peppermint tea. Now I’m going to heat up the bed and go finish The Martian.

She Wins!

This morning my phone indicated a call from Williamstown and the nice voice said I’d won three books. One was particularly exciting but I can’t say what it is because it’s –ahem– my first holiday gift for 2017.

So here are the other two, quite exciting in their own right:

NaPoWriMo Day Twenty-four

This image hit me on the way home.

driving home

the houses run through the trees
to meet those driving home.
they may not know the journey,
carefully matching the
straight and turning pavement
with the lean of the car
but they bide and welcome.
the yellow eyes in the woods
unblinking, watching, waiting
can they call out the
one set of tires, the
singular motor,
the muffled radio
knowing the one they seek
The houses run through the night
lights weaving through the trees
then back to its normal perch
and it opens a door, come in!

Tools and Thankfulness

There’s nothing like going down the road of “researching” something – maybe a tool that might be useful in what you’re doing. More like a deep hole than a road, where occasionally you wonder – do I really need this thing? Need… Want… You know what I’m talking about. You read about something on one website or see it in a youtube video and then it’s everywhere. Seems useful.

Suddenly I was seeing pochade boxes everywhere. But seriously, couldn’t I get it all there with my big tote and a few ziplock bags? Of course but… And couldn’t I maybe just make a tripod-mounted painting surface… sure…

Anyway I went far enough down the road to start comparing various brands and reached that predictable point where I had some serious questions and a lot of confusion. In a moment of clarity I wondered if the manufacturer had their own website. Turns out – YES! And a well-organized and easily explored site. And there it was, a “seconds” listing. “*Note: “Seconds” are fully functional products with minor cosmetic blemishes.” I can deal with that.

So I ordered the box and a few of the basic accessories (for less than I expected to pay just for the box!). Today I got an email saying I’d ordered the wrong extension, not to worry, they’d put on the right one and give me a refund for the difference. How nice. Saved from my own confusion.

So, since I left my small tripod in Wales, I ordered a new portable tripod with quick release mount. Oh and the funky little “stone hammock” that helps lower the center of gravity and weigh the whole thing down. Thanks B&H.

Thanks everyone for helping me out! take my money! fix my flubs!

NaPoWriMo Day Twenty-three

Thirty-three degrees
Night rain glass beads on car door
Late April morning

Still dew illuminated
Fog flowing soft over hill
weighted by stillness

top step creaks with frost
Morning, chill fog expanding
gold floods the hillside.

hidden birds waiting
quiet hillside wrapped in fog
trees golden with sun