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.

Advertisements

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.

Happy Birthday J.R.R – and Happy New Year to Us All!

Happy Birthday J.R.R.!

…the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.

~~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, Book II, The Land of Shadow.

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be a Tolkien kid and have the shaper of Middle Earth read you a bedtime story? This Brain Pickings Tolkien post has two separate recordings of JRR reading aloud!

The Force

What’s happiness? When a totally nerdy, pop-culture iconic movie character says the exact same thing that every freaking thing you’ve ever read or been told by someone speaking to you about writing and art.

There were more than a few times last night that I felt tears well up and that might have been the biggest. I am guilty of reciting the “there is no try” bit. And I’m able to apply that and last night’s messages to more than art-making.

And ain’t that the whole hero’s journey -and the artist’s, to keep going, to learn from everything – success and failure, and to be true to yourself.

Thanks for the reminder. I needed that.