Edible Chestnuts and skull treasures
Southern Running Pine (Lycopodium digitatum) Evergreen
Trees on the pond. 9 x 12 Pastel on Pastelmat
We walked around the hidden pond on the Claytor Nature Study Center property Tuesday. The trees didn’t think about anything but the breeze, the leaves abandoning their branch hosts, birds cackling and the colors! Along the tight trail around the pond were these magical pine plants covering the ground (Southern Running Pine (Lycopodium digitatum) Evergreen) and sharp covered shells that stung when picked up. Edible Chestnuts! Those skulls were a gift from the Center when somebody dropped off a box of SKULLS! Treasure indeed.
Nature just keeps being. It doesn’t care about us people and our activities. Trees in the Muir Woods are between 600 and 800 years old. America hadn’t even been discovered in recorded history yet.
I didn’t care about people activities while painting on Tuesday. The fall colors were great and I painted like a child coloring with crayons. With abandon. This is in pastel 9 x 12 on Pastelmat.
I had my first solo art show last year and these are some of the piece that emerged for the presentation. These came together out of an experience and I’m ready to tell the story.
My Dad was sick and I needed to go home to Albuquerque.
Although I take my camera everywhere to catch inspiration, it’s a good place to hide behind. I took this shot of a plane being de-iced at the airport while heading out west to be with my Dad. It translated nicely to an encaustic on a cigar box.
December 26 getting de-iced
As life goes, my Dad passed and the night before the memorial service, we headed to Sandia Casino to drop my sons off for the night as there wasn’t enough room at my parents’ house. This is a shot from the Northeast Heights in Albuquerque where you can see the whole city below. Those guys managed to stay up all night and win $5000. They both felt like their Poppy was right there with them cheering them on.
To the casino
A month later I headed home. I made all of my connections and was stuck in the Dulles Airport where I was supposed to take a puddle jumper (literally, as the weather was bad) to Charlottesville, VA. My husband was waiting there for me. Oh, how much I missed him. They kept moving the flight, cancelling it, and finally we all boarded. Prop plane. In a storm. The lady I sat next to in the front row looks at me and says “we’re gonna die.” I answer “maybe you will, but I’m not dying.” So weird. We sat on the tarmac while being de-iced. Other planes next to us were getting their treatment. Ten minutes later…”This is the captain speaking. This flight has been cancelled.”
On the tarmac in the “death” plane January 27 – encaustic on a cigar box (sold)
Luckily for me, my son lives in D.C. where he rescued me from the airport. He drove us through that rainy night like a speed boat. I stayed behind my camera as I did not have on a life-preserver on. The next morning I took a train home. Pretzels and beer can be a complete meal.
The rescue from the airport – Pastel
We all have a story to tell and this one came out through my art. Who knew?
Alcohol Wash and vine charcoal drawing
Alcohol Wash of sky and vine charcoal drawing
The branches and back trees go in
The final version
Chinese maple close up
Well. This wasn’t the first time I ever painted outside, but it might have well been since it had been 30 plus years since my college days. It was the most satisfying and wonderful experience. The birds sang all day. The sun was shining through the trees. I was connecting with this Chinese Maple tree and its’ surroundings.
An interesting side note:
It’s funny, when you are an artist people say whatever comes to their mind. It’s as if you belong to them. They have no filter because of that. It’s as if you’re pregnant and everyone wants to touch your belly.
When other artists saw this tree, they said things like “I had no idea you could paint like that.” I’m on a journey and exploring encaustics on cigar boxes and painting night scenes with pastel. This is a good reminder not to judge others by what you see.
I painted this tree during the Paint Out Lynchburg in the Old City Cemetery this past May. I’ve been hooked ever since.
First Attempt Swirls
Swirls with objects
Beginning of Tadpoles
Texture of tadpoles
Texture of tadpoles
I drew and painted as a child all the time. I drew and painted in my art courses at college. Broadcasting got a hold of me and two or three television stations later and I stopped painting.
Twenty years later I picked up a brush again and didn’t know where to begin…again. The first attempt was to throw paint on the canvas making swirls and adding objects, it seemed so flat otherwise. The colors popped! It didn’t mean anything. It was happy, but just a bunch of doodles.
Gesso is an artists’ friend. Goodbye swirls, hello circles. Still…flat. Some of those circles looked like breasts with the objects in the middle.
As I am always photographing micro shots of critters, I posted these tadpoles stuck in a tide pool on Facebook and a friend inspired me with “You should paint them”. The colors were vibrate, the composition flowed. A 3′ by 5′ painting of tadpoles emerged. Right over all those swirls/circles. I experimented with pastels combined with gel medium. Acrylics. Overall, it was a satisfying experience. This is the journey.
Dandelion in Encaustic Wax
Dandelion side view
The Dandelion seeding
Cosmos side view
How the boxes start out with pastel
I love to take close up photos of flowers, mushrooms, and bugs. I translated some of these flowers onto the bottom of cigar boxes using encaustic wax. Encaustic medium is beeswax and resin. I heat up the beeswax and brush it onto the base. I also use a heat gun to fuse the layers and add pastels for the colors. My Flower Series is hanging at Magnolia Foods http://magnoliafoods.com/ until October 1.
I hope you like them as much as I enjoyed making them.
The beginning, no clouds.
The start of the “pile”
The infamous “pile”
Hello Mr. Face.
The finished product.
The Ugly, The Bad and The Good
Here is Week 11 of the Peaks. It was an interesting week. My inspiration had run dry. I decided to zoom in on Flat Top in my mind. It’s quite the evolution and this was the hardest to work through. The first one is as far as I got on location. The second one I added these ridges at home out of my memory. I felt lazy and did not want to add the clouds. I stepped back, squinted and called it good. I took the photo. Lo, and behold, it looked like a pile of stinky’ness left in the curb. Okay, Okay I say to the mountain, I’ll add your friends the clouds, while wiping away the “pile”. I put in shadows, purple and once again declared it done. I take a picture, email it to my painting partner and she sees a face in the middle of the mountain. I thought I was the only one who saw faces in things. ARgh.
The final one is faceless and doesn’t look like a pile.
This tree always seemed to be in the way of the moutain. I let it take center stage and it bowed.
Our Art Camp at the Claytor Nature Study Center
This was the ninth week of painting the Blue Ridge Mountains. Still painting from the same spot. The mountains decided to be in the background and I can feel them off in the distance. That tree asked to be the star from the beginning and I kept ignoring him. I think he’s had his day in the sun. Time for his bow. 11″ x 14″ Pastel on Sabretooth
The Peaks of Otter wanted to be purple
This was the eighth week of painting out doors. My children were visiting and we went to the D-Day Memorial and right during Eisenhower’s speech, a wasp flew up my skirt and bit me on each cheek. I could not sit on my allergic reactions. I was on the mend this day and still sore. Benadryl and Prednisone made for some tremulous dreaming! (Jimmy Buffet anyone?)
Everytime I paint at the Claytor Nature Center, I ask the mountains what they want to be painted. The Peaks of Otter were not giving up their secrets this day. I painted in the sun.When you paint in the sun, the painting will come out dark and those mountains were very dark. When I got home I experimented with purple and olive ochre. Not every painting is a home run I suppose. I will keep at it. 11″ x 14″ Pastel on Sabretooth
Rain Today on Sharp Top and Flat Top – The Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Mountains Week 7. Sharp top of the Peaks of Otter is the main character here. Creating art is a form of bravery. When it started to rain on those mountains and all the other scenery was punched forward it was a question of HOW to MAKE that happen in my painting. I had the mountains sketched in, they weren’t working. I could wait until the rain passed or….I could swipe over the mountains and make it rain. 11″ x 14″ Pastel on Sabretooth
My friend and I go out once a week a paint for most of the day. This was the sixth week of painting en plein air. I have studying the mountains from our vantage point but, the sky wanted center stage in this mountain view. I like to start at the top and work my way down, but in this case I worked on the mountains first. It was akin to saving the good bite for the last. I don’t remember adding so much pink. The painting is on display right now and when I see it again, I’m going to photograph it again. 11″ x 14″ Pastel on Sabretooth