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.

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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!

What to read? What to read?

Mom and I like to order from Dover Books now and again. Often she’ll want coloring books, bookmarks and such and I’ll look through the catalogue and fill in the order with things to give us free shipping or use of a coupon etc. It’s a happy joining of purposes.

This time I ordered two books I hadn’t spotted before and now, well friends I hardly know where to begin I am so enamored of both!

The first to jump into my cart was the book by John Pike on watercolor. My home palette is by John Pike and I knew he was a Woodstock NY painter. This is a reprint of the 1974 edition of his book, originally published in 1966. Here’s an illustration of the palette, still in production and still a favorite of many.

Fortunately, we needed a little more for this order and I found another book I’d not seen before, The Welsh Fairy Book by W. Jenkyn Thomas, a 2001 reprint of the original 1907 edition. There are a few familiar tales and one that revealed one of those happy coincidences – I’ve named a family in my NaNoWriMo story Gadarn which is just perfect for them.

Guess I’ll just have to read both at once!

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.

Tuesday, the 14th of NaNoWriMo

Yesterday, I had things to do – wash to do, trash to get ready, you know – stuff. And last night was a big show on The Voice. I think it was in a short span between doing laundry and getting ready to go write words that I felt a need to sit down and throw paint at paper. (The paper wasn’t too cooperative and I realized later it was because it was the second to last sheet of paper in the block. So it wasn’t really attached to anything. OK, but I still like taping my watercolor paper down more.) This is what came of it.

I was off today. I was off Monday. I am off tomorrow. I am grateful to whatever caused that to happen. This morning I was up bright and early to get three cats to a meeting with destiny, I mean, the vet. That took some pre-planning yesterday and some trickery this morning but we all got there and back and as far as I know, no one got hurt or bitten.

The kittens are now vaccinated and won’t have to go back until probably January when it will be time to deactivate their reproductive systems. They’re in fine shape and didn’t even seem thrown by the two shots today.

Anyway the mission was to get them there and back and then to find some way to get some words written. And that happened too. I got a few hours where I wrote a big scene. Not exactly sure that is how it went down but there’s something and I’m moving on. Yesterday was harder writing because there were five different groups of people who delivered blessings for the newlyweds and those are in poem form. Today I was writing a coronation speech but the Queen is a pretty good inspirational speaker so not as hard. Ended up with more words than this and there might be a few left in me.

Halloween 2017

The sun was shining and I was out and about to look at it. Quick stop at Bucky’s Bagels in New Lebanon for an egg salad on pumpernickel to go, and to find out that next week they start with Tuesday Turkey Dinners! Woot! Then a swing by Stewart’s for gas for the fiat and some coffee for me. Then off to The Clark.

They’re in between special exhibits and I’ll be going back soon to look at The Impressionist LineFrom Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec (November 5, 2017–January 7, 2018) and then in February, I’ll be back to see Drawn to Greatness, Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection (February 3–April 22, 2018).

But today, I was propelled by the notion that soon enough it will be mighty hard if not impossible to stand outside and paint. Not sure what will happen then. Hmmmm. Here are my photos of the day. You can see my watercolor album here.

31 October 2017//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Then it was home and doing some laundry, some yummy leftovers for dinner and in about 45 minutes, the start of NaNoWriMo!