This and That, Here and There

Worked on this painting, based on a photo from New Zealand. First pass was ok, then too wet to continue working. Tonight I focused on correcting the colors by glazing on the hills and adding shadows and close texture. Hanging it up on the wall last night, I thought it looked pretty good and I can imagine seeing the gorse sprinkled hills again.

Then I started a new painting. I’d done a small sketch at the nearby pond yesterday and it had some good points and some meh-points. It’s 5.5x 8.5″ so not very big. I was working against the weather, trying to get it done before the rain.

Last night I started a new painting, trying to pay attention to the mush of trees and brush in the scene, trying to get the highlights and dark areas started. will go back and add more.

Home. Week One in Progress.

Got home the morning of Friday, after a long flight from NZ (and a short one to Auckland) and a long wait in LA (where I was glad it wasn’t the inner circle of hell as it was two years ago), a long red-eye to Philly and a short hop to Albany. There was only a little dozing during any of that. While I was not-sleeping, I was listening to Lincoln in the Bardo as an audiobook. Whoa.

I tried to stay awake because I had to sleep Friday night – because I had to go to work the next day. I dozed for about an hour on Mom’s couch and managed to roll over my glasses, squashing and breaking them. Now that’s a pronblem because I need them to drive and to work. I drive out to the place where I got them and miraculously they had the same frames and were able to pop my lenses into them.

That night I slept pretty good after dinner with mom and packing up the cats.

First day back at work… well.

Saturday night. No sleep at all until just before I would normally get up. Booooo! So I was pretty zombified the whole of Sunday. Nothing could have kept me from sleeping last night.

Woke up this morning when the alarm went off and was granted 45 minutes back in bed because some kitten – yes say it with me – SOME KITTEN – had reset the clock, probably by walking over it. Thankfully ahead not back.

Hopefully the worst is past on all that LOL. All that: worth every single minute of that whole trip. Tomorrow morning the kittens are going to the vets for the first time. All together now – awwww!

A good memory is one trained to forget the trivial. — Clifton Fadiman

Last day in NZ

I’m uploading photos and such while sitting in LAX airport – what better way to spend a long layover than enjoying the photos of your trip?

Our last day, Marge and I took a walk down to the beach. Started down the Goat Track and got a little whiff os something. Something’s dead, commented Marge. Sure were! All those gazillion velellas that had come to Wellington area beaches to no good end.

Besides the interesting houses and plants, there were views of the escarpment trail we took previously.

More photos starting here: (expect a little date order confusion as I moved just a few time zones!)

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Thursday in New Zealand

I have zipped my suitcase shut. Thus endeth my labors for this morning. 

This guy did not help me, lol.

Wednesday evening and the Garden photos

Uploaded some of the garden photos from Maple Glen Garden. They start here:

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Sunset photos from tonight’s dinner at the Fisherman’s Table:

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Wednesday we went walking

We went and picked up Gingernuts at the cattery this morning. This afternoon we went for a walk to pop a couple things into the mail and to look around. I saw where Marge catches the train into town and we looked for a community garden that’s in the works. Then we walked part of the escarpment trail, purely for the views and all the plants along the way.

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Tuesday – Wellington it is!

Went into Wellington to view some art – ending with the Splash 2017 watercolor exhibit and an accompanying exhibit of ceramic pieces. Very inspiring. Here are some of the photos from today, click on the photo for more

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Things that make you go – ah!

I found this little book in Adventure Book in Oamaru and was going to save it for the trip home but I knew it would be ok to start. Tolkien in his scholarly form tends to be… hmmmm… dense reading?

I got to the introductory page though and was sat back in my chair by this:

[writing about the two pieces in this book]…Also they were written in the same period (1938-39), when The Lord of the Rings was beginning to unroll itself and to unfold prospects of labour and exploration in yet unknown country as daunting to me as to the hobbits. At about that time we had reached Bree, and I had then no more notion than they had of what had become of Gandalf or who Strider was; and I had begun to despair of surviving to find out. — J.R.R. Tolkien, Introduction to Tree and Leaf

Monday in New Zealand

I’m writing you, gentle reader, from the Interislander Ferry as it bears Marge and me back to the North Island. It’s a great way to pass a few hours, have a bite of dinner, a drink, a cuppa and do a little reading and writing.

I’ve been flying the colors for NaNoWriMo today and have been reading my story so far. Made a few editorial changes but I’ve really been enjoying it. Come November first I want to dive into finding out the rest of the story.

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Today started out rainy and it spit rain here and there all along the way. We got back to Murchison in time for a bit of lunch and then back to Picton in time to see Marge’s friends before heading off to the ferry. You can see the photos from my phone today starting here:

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Of note was seeing a Weka, a large flightless bird who was visiting with one of the young women stopping traffic at one of the 23 construction stops we encountered along the way.

When all comes to all, the most precious element in life is wonder. Love is a great emotion, and power is power. But both love and power are based on wonder. — D. H. Lawrence

Beyond the Beyond

After the penguins at Oamaru, it was hard to imagine what would come next in our New Zealand adventure. The answer was Waikawa! We had a fabulous little cottage overlooking an estuary. There was another cottage and a lodge and perhaps another accommodation spot, a museum (which had a phone available for local calls), a firehouse and a lot of sheep and some cows.

So for two days we vegged and sewed and painted, went on some short walks and had a great time in our little hideaway. The view was always changing, with clouds and rain and sun and the tide. Saw some people and some birds walk across the estuary.

A brief note that en route to Waikawa we stopped at a lovely walk-in to Purakaunui Falls but we missed the Niagara Falls (of NZ).

Today we drove along the Southern Scenic Route and got within a stone’s throw of the southernmost point of New Zealand at Slope Point. We also saw petrified forest of the Jurassic Era at Curio Bay and a lighthouse. Most of that road was large gravel-covered and being widened. There’s not much out there but spectacular views and a lot of sheep!

When we turned northward, it was to find the Maple Glen garden and nursery where we spent a couple hours gawking at a most beautifully designed and maintained garden and grounds. Anything you’ve ever read about in garden design books – the beckoning vista at the end of a path, the ponds, the pockets of trees, the larger scenes which lead you onward, the small surprises which reward careful viewing – it was all there. Rhododendrons, azaleas, bluebells, narcissus, all sorts of flowers new to me, hellebores, passionflowers you name it. Everywhere birds were singing and bees were buzzing and people were enjoying the wonder of it all.

Photos to come as bandwidth permits! Here’s TeapotLand in Owaka: