Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunlit Cove - Pastel on UART Paper

This is a recent ATC that I did in pastel on UArt 800 sanded paper.  I like the sanded papers as a general rule because they hold so much pastel (or colored pencil) but I'm not overly fond of this particular grit.  I bought a package of this when I attended Jerry's Artarama trade show because the UArt rep said that it was very good with the pan pastels.  However, I wish I had chosen a paper with a bit more grit to it.  Live and learn!

Lots of things went on this past weekend including the fact that a couple of girlfriends and I went to Greensboro yesterday to an Arts and Craft show at the Coliseum.  We went early enough that it wasn't horribly crowded so were able to see the art very well.  There seemed to be quite a few craftspeople there along with photography booths but there were also a few painters.  I always enjoy looking at any art work but one booth in particular caught my eye - that of North Carolina artist Susan Crouch.  Her watercolors seemed so light-filled and, probably because her subject matter reflects my own preferences, I was totally enamored of her work.  While her art looks good on her website, it was gorgeous in person.  I could see that "glow" that watercolors are supposed to have and I long to paint like that!  She does offer workshops from time to time but I don't know if I could ever work up the courage to take one. 

I tend to fall all over myself when painting in public - sort of like someone trying to speak in front of an audience.  I knock over my water, I get flustered trying to mix paint and everything I already know flies right out of my head.  To top it off, it's as if my painting hand gets almost paralyzed and if there is any movement at all, it's choppy and jerky instead of the smooth, fluid strokes that are needed! 

OK, so now you all know my "dirty little secret".  Does anyone else feel this way?  If so, how do you get around it?  I've seen several workshops that I'd like to take but feel that I'd be too nervous to get much out of one.  I guess like every other fear, you just have to confront yours and do it afraid until you get past it!  Anyone want to go to a workshop with me?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Back to Ordinary Life

Well, the Easter holiday is over.  The kids and grandkids have been fed a holiday dinner and my DH has gone back to work!  Of course, with all the activity, especially my DH working in the yard and garden, there's a lot of cleaning to be done - AGAIN.  But, I guess that's life.  I just wanted to be able to go into my studio and do a little painting since I spent a good bit of last week cleaning and cooking, the weekend cooking and entertaining, and yesterday as support for my husband's efforts in the yard and garden!  It seems as if it's been a month since I've been able to paint or even do any sketching!

We went to a couple of garden centers on Saturday and I did get some really nice photos of flowers.  We're between blooms as the daffodils, tulips and such have finished blooming and the azaleas, little native iris and lilacs are just beginning.  We haven't gotten any bedding annuals yet as it's still a little early for the warm season flowers to be planted.  We'd seeded some flowers a few weeks ago and did transplant them into larger containers though.  We'll plant them out in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, we're getting lettuce, asparagus, arugula, spinach right now and hopefully some radishes, broccoli and snow peas soon.  The cool season stuff is doing great even though we've had 90+ degree weather lately!

Poor Bon is miserable as she's shedding and being as dark as she is, the heat really bothers her.  I brushed on her for about an hour this morning and got a couple of 5 gallon buckets of loose hair and it didn't look as if I'd even made a dent in what she needs to lose!  She's so itchy that she let me brush her way longer that she'll usually let me so I know it was a relief for her to get that stuff gone!

We also have bluebird pairs in all the bluebird houses (5 houses, I think) and some house finches kept trying to build a nest under the porch eaves.  We put bricks in the corners to discourage them as they built under the porch last year and it was a mess.  Not only that but the nest was right outside the kitchen door and the poor mama bird was constantly getting scared and flying off the nest.  We have a glass storm door and any movement in the kitchen would startle her off the nest.

So, life goes on out here in the country.  The wild turkeys are out in force and I'm sure the coyotes are mating also, if they haven't already given birth.

Oh, I have to tell you what happened the other night.  It was about 2 am when I heard a huge thud from the front part of the house (the bedroom is in the back).  I jumped up to see what it was and saw a huge Canada goose sitting in the side yard just out from the kitchen.  It would alternately sit or stand and wobble a bit but didn't move more than an inch or so and didn't try to fly away.  I watched it for about half an hour or so but finally went back to bed.  It was gone the next morning.  I wonder if it somehow flew into the side of the house and knocked itself silly for a while!  Fortunately, nothing got it that I could tell as there were no feathers scattered about the next morning.  My DH who has always been a light sleeper and says he can hear a gnat peeing on a cotton ball at 100 feet slept through the whole incident!  Maybe we should go get his ears checked!