Calling it done

I’ve been working on this most of the week, on and off, and I’m calling it done. I learned a lot doing it and I’m pretty darn pleased with how it turned out.

Watercolorists at Work

One of the books I brought home today was this: Watercolorists at Work by Susan Meyer and Norman Kent, 1972. Norman Kent, when editor of American Artist had asked twenty-five artists to contribute to a book showing their process. His successor, Susan Meyer brought the book to publication after his death. What a book it is. Each artist, in alphabetical order, has several pages of photos and text showing a work start to finish.

Tonight as I was spending time with the book I turned a page and there was John Pike, known to me as the creator of the palette I use, developing a fine ocean scene.

NaPoWriMo Day Twenty

I think there’s a little more of this but tonight my words seem all pushed away…

Laying paint film by glaze by blotch
reveling in the occasionally brilliant stroke
seems to have pushed away all the words.
Driving home, I admire the fields golden
still and at the edges overlaid with
a bluey sort of lavender greyish
the difficult white shrub the glowing pink
and in my mind I see the paints mingling
on the broad palette yielding to the brush
reviving with a drop of clear water.

Tuesday, A day of doing stuff and more stuff and paint.

Got up early this morning to deal with car stuff. When they did a recall a month or so ago, they broke my cruise control. I’ve just been busy. Anyway, Saturday, the “check engine” light came on so today was the day to deal with it. I was waiting, gritting my teeth, wondering how much this was going to cost… Did my NaPoWriMo poem, did a little comouter housekeeping.

Finally the guy comes and tells me that my car’s just about done. And that the recall part had failed, apparently causing the warning light. And that the warning light apparently made the cruise control go off. Um, no. Recall done, no cruise control, warning light, in that order. He stressed several times that they’d send the bill to FIAT. OK, I don’t mind not paying but the recall fix failed? This recall was to do with the clutch pedal… ummm.

OK, still hopefully fixed. For free (minus a few hours…) I leave thinking about what to do while I’m in that part of town. So I go to Arlene’s and buy not one but two tubes of yellow paint. One transparent, one semi-transparent.

Then I decide to bite the bullet and look for a new vacuum. The thirty year old Kenmore canister is about dead. I was willing to look at a new one but when I went to Sears it would be at least a few weeks of waiting and I’d have to pay up front. No. Sort of creeped me out.

I stopped at a long-standing local business, Lexington Vacuums, and met both the owner’s son and the owner who showed me all the ways of the Miele canister. Little more expensive but many good features. I decided I couldn’t make that decision on an empty stomach so I went and had lunch at Westgate and then I went back and bought one. The owner sat down with me and put it all together while showing me all the fine details and giving me tips. Paid and then he helped put it into my car. As I drove off I felt good about it. And then I realized that there was no big box and packaging going home with me. Just the vacuum cleaner and a box of bags for it. How cool is that? I’d even made room for a big box in the back.

Came home and of course played with it upstairs. It did great. Molly was nervous but did not become invisible so that was good. When I was all done trying out the new vacuum and yes I did play with all the attachments, I sat down to work a little more on this rather serious watercolor piece. Here’s how my messy palette looked when I was done.

I’m working on doing a rendition of my daffodils out front. Trying to keep it loose. Sketching it in with layered colors. And now, like the apocryphal story, I’m painting out everything that’s not daffofils. (I looked this up and there’s no evidence that anyone said “oh sculpting is easy you just chisel away all the parts that aren’t venus/david/an elephant” but it’s a popular saying anyway.)

Don’t worry about the light green stripes at the bottom. I needed to indicate where the lighter leaves and parts of leaves would be so I could paint in the darker bits under the flowers in the center.

NaPoWriMo Day Sixteen

Quilting and painting both – love hanging the day’s work up and sitting to look at it. Really helps with the process – what comes next. With paintings, I really enjoy my gallery wall with my more favorite paintings, I wonder if Vincent did that? Writing isn’t so easy to hang up on the wall, but I guess it’s that pleasurable re-read before writing starts again.

The pleasure of painting
at the end of the day –
hanging up the work
and looking at it. Maybe
it feels good, maybe
it taught you something
even if you didn’t really
want to learn it right then.
Relive the struggle or the joy
that little bit of color that
turned out just right
a happy surprise, secretly
there’s much there that
resists explanation which makes
the “I did that”
as sweet as rain in the night.

NaPoWriMo Day Fifteen

Nature forgiven
in an april afternoon
look – the daffodils!

The wind plays with them,
the daffodils brought today
in April’s madness.

Warm yellows cool greens
generations of leaf brown
today, daffodils.

NaPoWriMo, Day Eleven

Today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo was to write a Bop: “The invention of poet Afaa Michael Weaver, the Bop is a kind of combination sonnet + song. Like a Shakespearan sonnet, it introduces, discusses, and then solves (or fails to solve) a problem. Like a song, it relies on refrains and repetition. In the basic Bop poem, a six-line stanza introduces the problem, and is followed by a one-line refrain. The next, eight-line stanza discusses and develops the problem, and is again followed by the one-line refrain. Then, another six-line stanza resolves or concludes the problem, and is again followed by the refrain. Here’s an example of a Bop poem written by Weaver, and here’s another by the poet Ravi Shankar.”

I have to say that it was a beautiful day. I fixed two plumbing issues. I stripped the bed and did laundry. I finished a landscape which was sort of meh, and did a quick little still life of my favorite brushes. I looked at two watercolor-related books. I shook my head over the news. I watched the daffodils start to yellow up. I opened the bedroom window. But the words… been a hard few days.

A Reminder of Ideas, Just in Case

Before the month started I wrote down this:
A reminder of ideas, just in case –
For those days when words didn’t flow from me
When there’s fresh laundry that needs my folding
and everything looks better than the page.
the list of ideas that might be useful.

Oh spirit of writing, where have you gone?

Practice, perseverance, daily commute
The work of dailyness, the clouds and sky
sonnets and haiku and some limericks
Taking time to look, A box full of paint
No ideas but in things. Just do the work.
Beauty. Coming home. Walls full of paintings.
A wall full of my paintings. Hold to joy.
The color of a lake. The length of days.

Oh spirit of writing, where have you gone?

Tonight this list is a whole universe
tonight the words are somewhere in between
Today I painted, I’d say with success
a still life of my brushes. And I fixed
the washer so it works. I folded sheets.
I reviewed the reminder of ideas.