Self Isolation: Day 306
So it's coming on New Years, they're throwing out trees... and I am ready to kick this year to the curb too. But it has not stopped me from living my best life. I suppose being an introvert has helped me, but even I am getting pretty tired of the same old walls for so long. No matter, I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year. Let's roll out these vaccines a little faster please.
I quietly enjoyed the Christmas holiday at home. I missed my family terribly. But I did enjoy tremendously the ornament sent from my tribe designed by another Choctaw artist Edmon Perkins. Celebrating the pottery firing, "a symbol of the warmth in the people's hearts". My tree is a celebration of our history and traditions. Also a shout-out of thanks to my niece who sent me this thoughtful gift of pen and paper for drawing! I haven't owned a fountain pen in...well, seems like forever. I look forward to using it. Perhaps a wood-cut print is in order, and I will use this pen and paper to draw it!
Accomplishments for 2020: I have completed 15 paintings and finished reading 43 books. I have not made anyone sick because of my actions. I'll call that a win.
So as 2021 approaches I think of the George Harrison song Here Comes the Sun whose lyrics (I paraphrase): "Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter; Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here; Here comes the sun; Here comes the sun, and I say; It's all right." Yup, that about wraps it up. Back to my brushes.
"The human quality Degas most admired was endurance." - John Berger
Self isolation - Day 259
Yeah, it's hard to stay isolated this long. I miss my family. Holiday celebrations together are cancelled. I continue to paint and have had some rewarding results with some of the things I have tried. I tested some new paper and some new paintbrushes, which is always grand fun. Hope you got a chance to see my painting in the 100th National Watercolor International Open Exhibition that was held virtually. If not you can see it on the NWS Facebook feed, or mine. Beyond that, the Marchvember landscape at my home is much the same. Wishing you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.
"Endurance is the crowning quality, and patience all the passion of great hearts." - James Russell Lowell
Self isolation/day 195.
If you would like to purchase the Visions Adjoin historic commemorative book you can purchase a copy through this link, or from the info listed above.
What have I been up to? I finished four small works and I have two new paintings that I will start to paint on today. Took awhile for me to draw them as they are both subject matters I don't normally tackle; but hey, after being isolated for 195 days I decided to turn my hand to some new ideas. Why not? Plus, I'm confident it will be fun. Who doesn't need more fun these days?
Also, for your reading enjoyment I'd like to recommend a book or two. Metropolitan Stories by Christine Coulson is just magical. Published in 2019 it is a quick read; but don't rush through them - savor them. If you have ever spent time at the Met, you will love the perspective. I enjoyed every story in this novel and it further verified some things from another book I read recently titled Stealing the Show by John Barelli and Zachary Schisgal (which I recommend as well). Back to my brushes.
"Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits." - Samuel Butler
Self isolation day 181.
I have two new series in production now. My usual inspiration route is to make a word sketch and then decide what to include in my still life paintings that will get the idea or message across to the viewer. I have a new series I call "The Signs" which uses this routine. But I also have another series started wherein I used a different inspiration which is highly unusual for me. I was inspired by a tube of paint color. I'm not usually inspired by any particular color - I love to paint with them all equally. But if inspired by a color it is usually a challenge like...do a red painting, or this works well for this subject matter. This was different. I first saw the color on a FaceBook post (you've seen them - the "guess what color" posts). But it stopped me in my tracks. This was it! It was the answer. If you paint you will know what I mean; you have something socked away but can't decide on the best way to produce it. "Hmmm, this would be better poured", or "That's not good enough. I'll hold onto it and use it later." So I ordered some of this paint, and I am happy to say I was not wrong. I have revisited some ideas I had only produced in miniature and thought they weren't good enough for a full-on painting. Now I am on my fourth painting and it has not failed to meet my expectations yet. So remember to keep your mind receptive. Don't just look; learn to see the possibilities. Back to my brushes.
"In creating, the only hard thing is to begin: a grass blade's no easier to make than an oak." - James Russell Lowell
Self-isolation day 147. I have finished another painting! I cannot put into words the measure of joy I feel at finishing this particular painting. I have wanted to paint this subject since 2012. I have tried on three separate occasions to do it, but although they were "okay" I was not satisfied with the results. I tried in 2013. I tried in 2016. I tried in 2018. I considered them each to be failures and set flame to them. I figured now was a good time to try again. To be honest, I had no reason to believe that it would be successful this time but decided to try again anyway. I chose to make it a little larger than a standard half-sheet this time, use a different paper, use different techniques, and switch up my palette. I considered that a failure wouldn't feel quite so devastating if I didn't waste so much on the cost of supplies. It was a straight-up gamble. I played it with the failures at the front and center of my thoughts. Let's be clear, that is a hard way to start anything; but it is a good way to move forward since I knew what I wasn't going to do. I focused on this painting solely for over a month. There were times I wanted to rush a segment but successfully tethered my anxieties and persevered. Let me be candid that it wasn't till near the end did I feel any confidence about this painting. When I thought it was complete I set it aside and did something else. I found myself picking it up and working on it about five times a day for the next three days. Finally I decided enough is enough - it is done. I signed it and took it off the board. What did I learn? Sometimes you just have to give yourself the time to mature and grow as an artist. I accept that my ideas will not always succeed. When you analyze your own failures the point is to rethink the equation and try again. The pivotal unknown is how much time that will take. So I am happy this particular painting was only eight years in the making. Cheers! Back to my brushes.
"Experience does not err. Only your judgements err by expecting from her what is not in her power." - Leonardo Da Vinci
I just wanted to take a moment to let you all know that you can take a virtual tour of the Watercolor USA 2020 exhibit at the Springfield Art Museum. Press the following link and you can enjoy the exhibit from your own living room! For those of us in self-isolation, (Day 124), this is a real treat. Link to Virtual Tour. Just use the arrows on your screen to virtually maneuver through the museum. Enjoy! Back to my brushes.
""I have chosen to create things that can make people's everyday life richer and more beautiful." - Bjorn Wiinblad
Something I really enjoy doing is taking the time to get my paint well-mixed. Yes, I have said before that it is a rather zen-like occupation. But, let me take a moment and share that the best way I have found to add water to paint in the wells on my palette. It is by using this: A condiment bottle. Yep, spend a whole whopping 99 cents and purchase one of these see-through bottles. Fill it with distilled water and voila! - the best money you will spend on supplies for the foreseeable future. Let me share that many years ago I started with a spray bottle. My own experience is that it was messy and inconsistent...not enough control, therefore I was not satisfied. I moved on to a small squeeze bottle that I found at a local craft store. Much better, but the size was too small. It only held enough fluid to go around the wells one time before I had to refill it. So one summer I was standing in the check out line at the grocery store and noticed a see-through condiment bottle. Not red, not yellow, but clear. It is perfection. I hope you will give it a try and you find it enjoyable too. Now go mix up some color. Back to my brushes.
"Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions." - Pablo Picasso
Yes, that moment. The one every watercolorist loves. It just delights your eyes and sends tingles up your spine. It is just so beautiful and out of control. Yup, that moment when the paper has been prepped for that touch of color...and it takes off going who-knows-where. It is such a delight to the eyes and mind. It is one of the reasons you choose this medium. The surprise of watching your painting do its own thing. So on Self-Isolation Day 105 thought I would spend a moment just writing about the beauty in my life. Back to my brushes.
"I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of beauty." - Edgar Allen Poe
I have been working on a small painting which I completed yesterday! Hooray! I titled it Seeking Tranquility , which is rather self explanatory. (It is 2020 after all). So now I have the opportunity to start another small one while I work on a larger one. I have about six ideas I would like to test out, so I'll pick one and see how it goes. One I tried previously seven years ago and just couldn't pull it together, so that idea is definitely in the running. The weather here has improved and we have enjoyed some sunny days for a wonderful change. Hot, but just beautiful and sunny. As far as the coronavirus goes our numbers here continue to rise. Few people here will wear a mask, so I must remain at home. I'm sending a shout-out to Cynthia who left a comment on my last post. Sounds like she has a great system for storing her art supplies! I always enjoy hearing how other people store all this stuff. And thanks for the encouragement too. Sounds like you and I are in the same boat...just different places. I will be sure to post the link as soon as I am aware of it. Back to my brushes.
"Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly." - Morticia Addams.
I am still dealing with a hurt back, but recovering slowly. So I haven't been painting for the past week. We have had some sunshine, that was a pleasant change. But even with that, the ground is still saturated. Luckily, tropical storm Cristobal didn't impact our area too much...just clouded, rained a little, and blew away. So, pandemic-wise numbers are worse here, unsurprisingly, but on the upside my cooking has improved! AND we got yeast!!! Yes, bread is comfort food. That's it for today, I can't sit here anymore. Back to my brushes soon.
"The clean tongue, the clear head and the bright eye are birthrights of each day." - William Osler