Tuesday This and That and the Other and Words

Today was my day off and I’m sure I could have found a lot of useful things to do, but oh well. I got some coffee and then I found a place to sit and sat and wrote for a long time. I piled up a lot of words. I was pooped at the end but I got a lot of story told.

Then I came home, and having gotten a new postcard, I sat down to add it to my little pile of postcards and to put a tick by the senders name. I’m not all weepy about getting or not getting cards but it’s always nice to get one and being that I check off my own cards as I send them out I just do the same for the incoming cards. Anyway here are the cards in the pile at the moment:

Monday at work, while waiting for someone to show up for a class, my coworker handed me an iPad Pro and said here, draw something. So I did.

This was the sky I saw tonight.

And finally (see what happens when you spend too much time stringing words together?) awhile ago I bought two of these fine Palamino Blackwing pencil sharpeners. They’re designed to put a looooong point on the working bit of the pencil. The bit that’s known as “the lead”. The second one I bought the nice young woman at the art supply store told me, very excitedly, about how the inside held two more blades. Now I don’t really know where I’d easily get more blades but I’ll worry about that when the time comes and I have to start replacing blades.

However, when emptying the trimmings of my fine pencils (I sharpened all my drawing pencils from HB to 6B the other night) tonight I noticed this message inside. I don’t think it wants me to stop sharpening my pencils… but now I might have to do a little more research.

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Busy Monday – kittens and watercolor

Today was the day the two kittens (now six months old) went to the vets to be neutered. Got there messy and stinky, even though I tried as best I could to clean up the carrier using some paper towels I had and the doggie clean up bags outside the office… Anyway, lots of paperwork and then I was off.

Drove the same road I went down the other day and took a few more reference photos of the hills and barns that I like there. The brush and grass was covered with a light coat of ice so things were quite sparkly.

Cruising For Clouds 29 Jan 2018//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Then I got a bagel and coffee and headed to Hand Hollow. What the heck – it was 42F so I sat at a picnic table and painted awhile. Gotta say that ice covered pond still eludes me. It’s openings are dark – no – filled with color, yes but dark, grey areas – no white. And of course like water the colors change with the light. Ack.

watercolors //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Oh well, painting that didn’t quite work is better than no painting at all, right? Learning through failing. Got it. Mainly I get that I need to re-find my darks – which I had, but they seem to have vanished. Also wishing i had a palette with bigger mixing areas. Hard to mix up enough on the tiny watercolor box. Hmmmm.

The kittens came home around 3 pm and were wobbly and funny and no way were they going to “be quiet”. Now we’re all ready for some sleep.

Underpainting

Sometimes I just really need to paint. I knew that was true this morning when I heard the price of something and my brain did a painterly conversion: that would be ten blocks of watercolor paper. What would give more pleasure, for longer? Puts everything into perspective, doesn’t it?

Anyway this needs to really dry before doing the dark distant trees etc.

the inspiration:

Sunday Off

I had breakfast and then drove home the long way through Chatham, enjoying the sun even if it was in the teens. Felt warmer. Stopped for gas at the Stewarts in Chatham and cleaned my windshields and put the end of the wiper fluid in the car hoping it might warm up the front nozzles (and it did). I did a little (emphasis on little) vacuuming with my cute little yellow vacuum cleaner. The cats didn’t think too much of that, even though it’s much quieter than my old vacuum.

When the cats returned to their perches (purr-ches?) I admired Harry’s ability to spring back from vacuum-induced-panic.

I did a little painting:

And now I’m writing. All in all a good day off!

The inner game

Forget shoulds and experience is. — W. Timothy Gallwey

Great letter from Sara Genn about the inner game of art.

Let your muscle memory do the technical heavy lifting. Think of your practiced, mastered skills as an insurance policy against self-doubt, but also as a set of wings for heightened expression. If you want to be a painter, you need to know how to paint. This mastery frees you to then slip into an automatic mode of play and communication.

Back to Work

There’s always a little pause after NaNoWriMo during which the desire to keep writing (even not at that pace) is overwhelmed by fatigue and the rushing stress that is December and the holidays. Some of that fatigue was also being sick which turned out to be a stealth sinus infection.

But now – a brand new year!

In the past few days I’ve done some writing and some painting so we’re on track for a good year. So far the temperatures are definitely not conducive to anything like plein air work but I’m going to try and convince myself that car-sketching is a thing.

First I sat down and did four small quickies.

Yesterday I treated myself to a “Paint-along” with my via-Patreon-tutor, Alan Owen. These often don’t go as planned because as he’s filming he gets to turn off the camera and let things dry. I often miss the skip and keep painting and then have to either go back later or figure out how to fix what’s going on. Still a good learn. To me, his trees don’t look like my trees. Around here most of the trees are bare and so the tree line is a brown/grey with a lot of pines mixed in. (Sorry for the iffy screenshot but it is enough to show the trees. Also many brit trees have their trunks covered in thick vines, which he also shows here.)

Here’s the photo I took while it was all still a bit damp.

And then another when quite dry.

Robert Siegel – All Things Considered

Last night I had the pleasure of listening to Terry Gross interview Robert Siegel, about to retire from years of hosting All Things Considered on NPR. Robert and I go way back, and many people can say the same I realize, but in 2015 I wrote about an experience I had with Mr. Siegel in 2003. I was on my way to my parents’ home on Christmas eve after working in the mall on Christmas Eve day. I was done and suddenly there was Robert Siegel talking about one of his favorite pieces of music, Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, the second movement, Allegretto.

As I listened I began to cry and finally I had to pull over. I described that a couple years later in a blog post and it continues to be true that I re-listen to that segment from time to time. You can read about it and listen to it here.

I thought it was fabulous that he took time to write me. Maybe he doesn’t routinely make women weep.

So listen and then listen to him talking about what it’s like to think about doing something else after doing what you love for many many years. Thank you Robert Siegel and Terry Gross!

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/572263140/572628143