Working With My Favorite Knife

Working With My Favorite Knife Carolina Elena gouache on board 9X12 2017

 

Working With My Favorite Knife 2017. gouache on board 9 x 12

Sorry folks, no time to write. I have been painting, but other responsibilities and the wicked flu, that has been going around, have prevented me from getting on the blog. I am not so sure about combining my painting blogging with my cooking blogging. I will figure it out. You can always find me on Instagram @carolina_elena_

Until next time,

breath easy.

oops! almost forgot - what's my favorite knife to work with in my kitchen? The Wüsthof Classic 7" Nikiri Knife. It makes me sing while chopping vegetables.

Carolina

 

PS

A friend, via Facebook, was intrigued by the gouache I used. I wrote a long response to her. I thought someone else might benefit from what I wrote, so I am copying it here, below. Hope it is useful to you.

Thank you Sheri, Sherri, & Lara. I appreciate your comments. Gouache is a medium that I, too, am intrigued by. My first few tries at it made me feel like it was under the guillotine - I am serious. It was the death of me. The first few tries at it where 100% flat and dead on arrival. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING worked. I came to the conclusion that it was a medium for illustrators, fabric designers, etc. and that it was the gouache paint, itself, that gave their designs that flat 70's look. It was not a medium for me. Then I saw the work of Mike Hernandez (I now follow him on Instagram) and I saw, for the first time, gouache with luminosity. I was stunned. I thought- " It is possible? I will just go to the source and take a 2 day workshop from the man and have him show me how the hell he did it." Easy, right? Not so fast, little grasshopper. The workshop, itself, was not that expensive, but after calculating costs for flights, hotels, rental car, meals, etc., it was out of the question. I was stuck with my flat results and "shelved" the gouache in a box... but I kept seeing this man's luminous work. Again... how the hell does he do that? It would not let go of my brain, then I saw the work of an illustrator called PixelPChan (I also follow him on Instagram.) His work actually looks almost pixelated... it was like a broken down Mike Hernandez gouache painting. This got me thinking on how to treat each brush stroke as an individual layer and make each answer the "call" to what I was seeing. Was the color just a color, what value was it that I was seeing? How to do that, and NO MORE, was the challenge I was facing. I had to let go of the "shape," or, rather, I had to let go of trying to paint the shape, and only paint the value in the hue I was seeing. This forced me to "sculpt" the shape into existence, but remain firmly entrenched in the goal that the value/hue had a higher priority in my attempt than the likeness. And so, I kept at it. The paint dries so fast, that it can be layered easily, just like watercolor, but since it is opaque, I can "correct & sculpt" as I go along. This was a negative when I first started working with it... now it is a positive. The fact the paint, in my palette, can dry to a crusty lump and be brought back to life with a spritz of water, is very forgiving- there is zero waste.

Gouache palette www.carolinaelena.com

 

The fact that I can paint on any piece of paper or board is a Godsend when I am concerned about how much money I spend. These past couple of paintings with gouache have been painted on canvas art board from Canson ( essentially a compressed paper board that is meant as a practice surface for oils or acrylics.)

Gouache materials www.carolinaelena.com

These boards come in a pad that I can either paint directly on and remove the top layer after I am done (as I do when I am painting plein air, or I remove a board and place it on my easel when painting a still life indoors.) I really like that one surface allows me to paint in any medium I want; it makes me feel like I am not wasting the material, it forgives me if I screw up and want to switch mediums. The gouache paint I use is like all gouache paint- a water-based medium that is opaque. This means that, like watercolor, you use water to mix colors with and for cleanup. The brands I can usually find are Windsor Newton (Designers gouache,) Holbein (Artists' gouache,) and M. Graham (Artists gouache.) All three of these brands, in my opinion, are interchangeable as far as quality goes. The reason I choose these three brands is the density of the actual pigment in each tube is high (think luscious color!) I use fairly short handled brushes with a synthetic fibers by Escoda (Versatíl.)

Gouache paint tubes and brushes www.carolinaelena.com

 

I have two flats (sizes 16 & 18 nearly identical in case I want to switch colors with out washing the brush) and a cat's tongue brush in size 16 that gives me a bit of a point, also from the same brand. I have to admit, though, that I bought the three brushes not really knowing which one I really needed, but find that I can paint an entire painting with only the 16 flat. Those sizes are a fairly large brush ratio to the board size, this keeps me from getting too precious about the shapes I am trying to paint. Talk about a weight savings when I am out there en plein air. So the canvas board pad, the 16 flat, an old plastic peanut butter jar with fresh water in it, a cheap plastic palette that comes with it's own cover, and a handful of paper towels... where the hell was this when I was spending $$$$ along my path of learning how to paint? Going forward, as I learn to paint, I get the fact that what I am really learning is how to compartmentalize each brush stroke into a layer of color and to use those layers of color to sculpt the object I am trying to portray. Sherri... I hope this helps. The lack of a bazillion pieces of equipment is beginner friendly. All you have to do is get past the fact that the guillotine phase is normal. I am not like Lara, who has a talent beyond talents, but I am sure she would attest that her skill has come from repetition and not inborn ability... that is the how it is with most painters. I feel like I am on my way to being a "club member," despite not having anyone show me how it is done. If you can afford to take the workshop, by all means DO IT, it will get you "there" that much faster. If, like me, the money or the flexibility to fly off somewhere to take a workshop, just "ain't happening" for you, don't let it deter you from figuring it out on your own. Face the damn fear, and realize that there is, actually, life after the guillotine. It only takes acceptance of the fact that failure is an integral part of mastering this thing we want to be able to do. Good luck. Let me know if you try it.

My gouache palette set up www.carolinaelena.com

 

and like I said before... breath easy.


Pear And Cranberry Crisp

Ingredients for pear & cranberry crisp 2016 carolinaelena.com

 

YUM   YUM   YUM

Are you ready for something really yummy? As some of you (who follow me on Instagram) already know, I have been using my art supplies and working on pears lately. Pears are such a good subject to try and paint because they teach you the basics of form (i.e.. value.) The way light, whether natural or from a lightbulb, caresses those pears, lets you work on your painting skills at your own pace. Going at your own pace is critical to getting your head wrapped around the crazy thing you are doing - which is using mark making tools to fool your eye into believing that your two dimensional surface contains real three dimensional objects.

Well, the very same thing holds true when you are learning how to cook; you need to start with something foolproof. I chose pears, to work on for my progress in art for a reason - I have an AWESOME recipe for pear and cranberry crisp that will knock your socks off. Not only is it over-the-top delicious, but it could not be an easier recipe to pull off even if your cooking skills are at the absolute beginner stage. If you cook already, your kids could make this for you as long as they can handle working with a knife to peel the pears with.

Gather your ingredients and let the show begin! This recipe is so easy, and fast. Perfect for a chilly evening treat, and great timing in the fall or wintertime when both pears and cranberries are cheap and plentiful. You will need a package of cranberries. In the US, they come in a 12 oz. package at the supermarket; and one package is all you will need to make this dish. This time of year, you don't have to look far for them as most folks are busy making cranberry sauce for the holidays with them, but, soon, the cranberries that the market does not sell, will go into their freezer (look for them there if the fresh ones are gone from the produce section.) Once they are gone, that's it until next October or November. I buy a few bags and put them in my freezer until I need them. For this recipe, I don't thaw them. They go into the baking dish frozen rock solid... and the recipe works great. 

You are going to need 3 or 4 pears - get the bartlett pears. In the photo, below, they are the greenish yellow ones. The brown (Bosc) pears, in the back of the photo, are great for eating sliced with a good stilton cheese, but aren't the ones for this recipe. When you buy the pears, buy them green... they will turn a beautiful golden yellow in a few days time. If you want them to ripen faster, put them next to bananas on your counter. The bananas will cut the ripening time by a day or so.

Bartlett pears at the market 2016 carolinaelena.com

Don't wait too long before you use them. Once the skin begins to feel leathery to the touch, the pear will be mealy and not good for eating. Your pears will be perfect when they are golden. As you can see from the very first photo in this post, a few of mine had a bit of blushing red going on. This just makes them worth painting, don't you think?

Once you have peeled your pears, slice them, avoiding the core which gets tossed out. These cut pieces of pear don't have to be all the same, or even bite-sized, as after baking they will give easily to the slightest pressure from your spoon. The roasting pan I used is roughly 8 x 13 inches. A cookie sheet won't do, as you need higher sides to hold it all in there in a good 2 inch layer. If you only have a bigger baking pan, you need to adjust the recipe to fill your larger pan. Mix the pears with the cranberries, and also add the juice of a lemon and the maple syrup. give it a slight mix with a spoon.

Mixing the cranberries with the pears for the crisp 2016 carolinaelena.com

Then mix the oats and brown sugar with the the melted butter with a couple of tablespoons of all purpose flour:

Mixing the rest of the crisp ingredients 2016 carolinaelena.com

Pile this oatmeal mixture on top of the pears and cranberries. You are almost done. The hardest part of cooking this recipe is remembering the next step: that is to put in a preheated oven set to bake at 400° fahrenheit for 10 minutes, THEN lower your oven to 350° and continue to bake for another 25 minutes. That is it. I have made this exact recipe at sea level, at 7000' above sea level, and several altitudes inbetween. It works... deliciously. If your having guests over, your biggest dilemma will be not dipping your spoon into it before they arrive.

Pear & cranberry crisp 2016 carolinaelena.com

To print a copy of my recipe for this delicious dish, click on:

Download Pear & Cranberry Crisp

you are going to L-O-V-E it. I wish I could be in your kitchen to hear you swoon when you put a spoonful of the crisp into your mouth. YUM!

Here is my latest little painting:

Four Pears 2016 gouache on board, 8 x 10 Carolina Elena carolinaelena.com

Four Pears. 2016, 8 x 10 gouache on board

I painted it using gouache - an opaque water based paint that, like watercolor reactivates if, after drying, it gets touched with water. Acrylic paint, which is a water-based paint does not reactivate after it dries because it has so much plastic in it. I am new to gouache, but I am trying to figure it out. My hope is that I figure out how to layer colors well enough so that I can go out and paint en plain air with a minimum of stuff to schlep, yet still be opaque. The trick is getting your gouache to look luminous. Practice, practice, practice.

Let me know if you make the crisp... and if you shared it with anyone else!!

Until next time,

Carolina Elena

 


Little Belén

Little Belén 2016 Carolina Elena watercolor on paper 10x7


 

This is a watercolor painting I did of the daughter of a good friend of mine. As I understand it, Belén borrowed both the sunglasses and an iPhone, and took a most wonderful selfie. Her adorable smile and the strong sunlight falling on her was just begging me to paint this. I painted it on a 7"x10" piece of archival watercolor paper. I would love to paint this image in oils, on a very large canvas. Perhaps now, when I am without a studio, is not a good time to paint it large... so I will save this sketch for when the studio situation has improved! 

Until next time,

Carolina


My Little Pinterest Peeps

Recently, I made a list of the places I want to visit, or revisit, from around the world. My kids are almost out of the house and I am just downright itchy to travel. The list, though, was difficult to remember... and frankly just plain boring to look at, so I decided to go to Pinterest and pin a few photos of the people from the places I want to go to. Then I took it a step further and used those photos as inspiration to make a few watercolor sketches in my sketchbook. These are just little sketches: I did not take the original photos...but it is a great exercise to get my brush skills going.

This is what I have painted thus far:

Pinterest Peep #1 Litang, Tibet

 Pinterest Peep #1 Litang, Tibet Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest Peep #2 Burkina Faso, Africa

Pinterest Peep #2 Burkina Faso, Afica Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest Peep #3 Bhutan

Pinterest Peep #3 Bhutan Watercolor Sketchbook Carollina Ellis

 

Pinterest Peep #4 Paris

Pinterest Peep #4 Paris Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest Peep #5 Jodhpur, The Blue City, India

Pinterest Peep #5 Jodhpur, The Blue City, India Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest peep #6 Marpha, Nepal

Pinterest Peep #6 Marpha Nepal. Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

Pinterest peep #7 Mexico

Pinterest Peep #7 Mexico Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest peep #8 Tibet

Pinterest Peep #8 Tibet Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest Peep #9 Kichwa Woman, Ecuador

Pinterest Peep #9 Kichwa Woman, Ecuador Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

Pinterest Peep #10 Langtang Region, Nepal

Pinterest Peep #10 Langtang Nepal Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest peep #11 Africa

Pinterest Peep #11 Africa Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest Peep #12 Alaska

Pinterest Peep #12 Alaska Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest Peep #13 Morocco ( Morocco)

Pinterest Peep #13 Morroco (Morocco) Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest Peep # 14 Bunad from Setesdalen, Norway

Pinterest Peep #14 Bunad from Setesdalen, Norway Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest peep #15 Tibet

Pinterest Peep # 15 Tibet Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest Peep #16 Madagascar

Pinterest Peep # 16 Madagascar Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest peep # 17 India

Pinterest Peep #17 India Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

Pinterest Peep #18 Norway

Pinterest Peep #18 Norway Watercolor Sketchbook Carolina Ellis

 

That is what I have done up until now. I don't know if I will do anymore. I hope you like them.

Carolina

 

 

 


The Sky Is Something Else In Colorado

It does not matter what time of day it is...if I am up in the Vail Valley, the sky is something else. In the middle of the night, the amount of stars just blows me away. The sunshine at the middle of the day is a sure fire way to cure depression. The sunsets are on fire. My most favorite time, though, to notice the sky is either early morning, before the sun comes up, or after the sun has gone down... this is when I feel like the world belongs to me and me only. Here is a pastel painting I did of the Colorado sky.

Colorado Mountain Sky

 

Hope you like it,

Carolina


Sally Said Three Months

In June I took my first pastel workshop. It was heaven...then the skies opened and all hell broke loose...I had not painted since. Life can behave that way sometimes - it just dictates your days. The workshop I took was with Sally Strand. Not only can she really paint well (in oils, pastel, watercolor, you name it) but she can also teach very well. That is a rare find. She told us the turning point in her abilities came after spending three months at her kitchen table painting whatever was in the fridge.

That is three whole months, every day, same time of day...without fail. How hard can that be??

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Above is what I painted earlier today. It is 9x12 pastel on watercolor paper. I used my watercolor sketchbook (Strathmore Visual Journal, Watercolor 140 lb) for it. In order for the pastel to have a better chance of adhering to the paper, I coated it first with a clear grit "paint" from Art Spectrum called Supertooth Colourfix that I tinted with Yellow Oxide acrylic paint diluted with water. Then I used both pastel pencils (Derwent) and my new pastels from the French company, Girault. For those of you trying pastels, I must add that a few finishing touches were added with my soft pastels by Terry Ludwig.

The composition could use a bit more oomph, but it is is what is for today. in case my drafting skills are throwing you off - you are looking at a pepper, an onion and a lime. I gave myself forty seconds to just grab something and put it in front of me. I can't be dilly dallying on the perfect pic if I am going to get into this three month stint.

 

Until next time,

Carolina


Painting Colored Snow

My friend, Mari, asked me the other day, via Facebook, if I had been painting snow. Yes, I have. I have been fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of time out in the snow with my snowshoes on. But painting white snow is a whole different ball game. I have discovered that in translating the white snow I see all around me onto a two dimensional surface, it has to go through a transformation before it can make visual sense on the canvas. The snow can't be white on a two dimensional surface and look right. It won't have any sense of depth, or rather: you won't be able to tell what's in front, and what is in back. Your eye will swim about looking for clues that anchor it to what your brain knows to be "right." Below, you will see an exercise I did a few days ago.

I first made an ink wash to get the dark and light areas, aka the values, to look like the scene had some depth:

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Doing an ink wash first, gives me clues as to how to go about the painting... kind of like a road map.

Then, so as not to get too hung up on the level of my skill set, I painted the scene in oils, but did not use a brush. I only used one pallet knife and the paints:

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Using a pallet knife meant I couldn't get my panties in a bunch if the branch I put down didn't quite go in the direction I wanted it to. The surface, which was actually a gessoed board, was no bigger than 8 x 10 inches. The small size of the surface , in conjunction with the flat pallet knife, worked against perfection, but it also gave me the ability to only focus on color. This was when I realized that I was not painting white snow, but rather colored snow.

The next step I took was to do the same scene in pastel, on a sanded board that was no bigger than the oil painting.

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Keeping all the variables to a minimum teaches me how to deal with things more methodically. Doing this step by step, allowed me to see that all those little snowflakes on the mountainside are like little mirrors, all bunched up together, reflecting the world around them. The snow in the far distance reflected the light that was blocked by the clouds. The snow in the closer distance was reflecting the blue sky, above. The snow closest to my right had the most direct sunlight on it, so i painted that snow pink. See what I mean? Although it seems like a slower method, it allows me to have a depth of learning that my get-to-it personality desperately benefits from.

The paintings are called The Tree That Greets Me. They are of the first tree I see when I turn into the McCoy Nordic Park for snowshoeing and cross country skiing up at Beaver Creek, here in Colorado. It is a wonderfully weird Aspen tree in that because it isn't in amongst a grove of other Aspens, it's branches seem to have more freedom and personality. Once I make a turn at this tree, the downhill ski trails are left behind and the mountain becomes mine.

There are some things in the pallet knife painting that I prefer... like the life of the light in the clouds. The pastel painting for me feels better in the branch area of the tree, and also all of the shadow areas. I may attempt this whole scene one more time with a pallet knife, again, but on a large canvas. We will see.

Hope you enjoyed the little lesson I gave myself on painting white snow that, as it turns out, is anything but white.

Until next time,

Carolina 

 


The Moab Desert Left Me Bone Dry

No need to adjust your screen... it was dark, very dark. We had set the alarm for around three in the morning in hopes of making it to the Moab Desert, in Utah, just in time to photograph the first rays of light hitting the arches. Unacustomed to doing much at that hour, the apples and granola bar in my pack offered little assistance in shaking off the grogginess. In fact, eating anything at that unGodly hour holds little appeal for me. Some people "don't drive drunk," my husband does not drive without a double shot of espresso in him. So it was me behind the wheel... for hours... in the dark... total, black inky darkness. If it wasn't for the invention of GPS, we would not have made it. The entire ride was cloaked in black... aside, of course, from the glow of the dashboard. I kept myself amused (and awake) by imagining what the reflection of that dashboard looked like on the surface of my eyeballs. Questions like... "I wonder if everything is in reverse, like when one reads the word A-M-B-U-L-A-N-C-E on an emergency vehicle only to see it correctly written in one's rear view mirror," and "If something comes running out into my path, and I hit it, will it look like a squashed, mindbending, miniaturization of something catapulted directly from the dinasaur age, or will it look like the Road Runner from my cartoon loving youth?" Obviously, you can tell I was having a tough time staying awake. I kept checking the GPS, and saying to myself "you JUST checked it three minutes ago, you fool. What could have changed in the past three minutes?" The road was straight,  and it kept unfurling before our car. I had visions of the grill on the front of my SUV being a giant mouth swallowing up that road, like a fraternity pleby sucking down beer through a tube. My own yawns were adictive. Desolation ruled everything beyond the metal and glass boundaries of my car. When we finally did arrive at the gates to the Arches National Park, you guessed it: NO ONE was there. We just drove right in, the wheels just kept right on rolling as we followed that GPS as we had done so many times before out in the open ocean when we lived on the boat. This was different than the boat though. On the boat you follow the GPS all the while scanning the horizon for the tell-tale red and green lights on another boat.You watch your radar like a hawk incase some idiot out there has fallen asleep at the wheel. At least on the radar screen you see a 'pleep'... here, there was nothing. NOTHING. If I didnt stay firmly in the middle of the road, one swerve to miss a "silly Wabbit" and I could, unknowingly, be flying off the edge of a cliff. It COULD happen, my heart was in my throat. For heaven's sake, I kept thinking to myself, I have children to raise. By now my caffeine deprived husband was way past the head bobbing stage and fully awake. The GPS said we had "arrived". Really? I put it in park and we prceeded to take out all of the equipement in the back of the car. And then, out of nowhere, came the barely detectable glow of morning light. We rushed to get set up... hard to do when your only real light source to the foot path is the flashlight app on your iPhone. And then, with the same exact speed of an advancing storm, the light started to reclaim the desert and this is what we saw:

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 It was quite the magic show. My husband was still concerned about my whereabouts and kept warning me not to trip over the legs of the tripod- something I have been known to do... even in broad daylight.

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and then... sunshine. GOLDEN GLORIOUS SUNSHINE.... EVERYWHERE.

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 My husband's camera was literally "firing off on all cylinders."  Non stop. While I was fully absorbed in the Grand Awakening going on around me. The Moab was saying "good morning."

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I tried my best to remember the parade unfolding before my eyes so that I could recall later, at home, when I would be standing before my easel:

BEAAB9E5-E2CB-42CC-8C8D-EE680201DE79 copy

 Once the magic moment was past, and the sun was a little higher in the sky, we set off to see what we had missed on the way in.

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 Peaceful. Magestic. Bizzare.

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Overwhelming. 

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Contradicting.

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 Unbelievable.

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Engulfing.

Dwarfing. 

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 It didn't make any sense.

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Being in the desert is a weird thing. You feel utterly different. Small. Insignificant. Alone.

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 HAPPY.

The fleeting few moments I had in the Moab were... were...

NOT ENOUGH.

It left me feeling unable to capture the majestc quality that nature is. Nature has NEVER failed me, but I, in my feeble attempts before the easel, fail it. I had not been able to paint since. It is only now, months later, that I am attempting to do so once again. I need to go and spend a few weeks there... and  listen to what it says to me so that, in paint, I can do a better job at holding up my end of the conversation.

 

 


If It Is Sunny, Bring Your Umbrella

I never thought that, in Colorado, on a sunny day, I would need to bring my umbrella when I paint, but that is what I have to do. In other parts of the US, sure, you never know when a cloud is going to come out of nowhere and release itself over you. In Colorado, though, if you look out the window and it is sunny, you can bank on the fact that you will have more of the same throughout the rest of the day. I painted, down on the Miller Ranch trail again, and when I got home something about my painting was "off."

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I know it was a gorgeous day out there while I was painting... so what happened? Why did my painting look so... um... dull?

I did some investigating on the internet to find out what was going on. I knew that when I was out there painting, everything was looking vibrant and beautiful, both in my gorgeous view and in my painting. By the time I got home, my painting had turned dull and lifeless. Were my paints going bad? That shouldn't be since I practically forked over a limb to pay for them (FYI, some of my tubes of paint cost more than $40 a piece.)

Turns out, after a bit of digging, that your pupils dialate from all the crazy, awesome sunlight out there. When your eyes go from your view to your pallette, and then to your painting surface, your eyes are not able to adjust fast enough... odd, because I thought they were adjusting quite fine. This is what I was doing wrong: I would look at the view, mix the color on my palette, then add it to the painting. But, and this is a big BUT, if my painting surface was in shadow, as it was being that it was perpendicular to the sky, and my palette was in sunlight laying horizontal to the sky, then I had totally different light types on the paint. On my palette, where I was matching the color to what I was seeing, the paint was in total sunlight. My painting surface, though, was in shadow. I am not a good enough painter for my eyes to adjust quickly. To fix the problem I had to bring my umbrella:

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Bingo! This time I got the results I was aiming for:

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If you scroll back up, to the first photo in this post, I think that you will be able to see the difference. I went back to the exact same spot the next day. It was the same time of day, same kind of sun. The only difference was that I brought my umbrella that attaches to my tripod.

In case you are wondering, both the paintings, above, were done in oil.

I also still am working in pastels. Below is my latest effort, also from the Miller Ranch trail, of two little trees that always catch my attention when I am hiking down there. With so many gorgeous, outstanding tree specimens on that trail, these two little unassuming trees manage to pull on my heart strings. I could not avoid them any longer. They were begging me to paint their "portrait" and so I obliged.

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So next time you are painting out in the sun, either don't forget your umbrella, or find yourself a nice shady spot to stand in.

Meet you back here soon.

Carolina


Painter Of Dirty Skies

I have been wondering how you all are doing. Are you back into the swing of things now that the kids are back in school? Did you get your oldest one off to college? Have you been hiking the mountains pondering your next move? Well these are the things I have been doing. Image

I have hiked with and without friends... somehow, though, my chubby little self is ALWAYS last and lagging far behind. Makes for good photos, though. I spent the first couple of months blaming it all on the altitude, but I have come to face the music and realize that anyone, in my "well padded", chubby state would be panting along side me. Those kind of people don't seem to exist up here, so I just take my place at the end of the line and am grateful to be up there with the FFs (chubby girl code speak for the "Fit Folks.".)

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The other day I went up Vail Mountain... good thing I have a year round pass for the gondola... it would have been a very long day without it.

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Now, on some days, I will hitch my pack on and give it a good hike before settling on a spot to paint.

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But on this particular day, I am telling you about now, I only made it 50 meters beyond the gondola landing zone to where the viewing deck is located.

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Now, you have to understand, this view, from the viewing deck is spectacular. In the distance I can spot the peak where I nearly had a heart attack a few weeks back. Up there, looking out at the Sawatch Range, it feels like THAT is the view to paint. But it isn't. It is almost too daunting. Maybe some day I will tackle it. Anyways, on with the story. I clicked in the plastic buckles of my backpack and turned to begin my hike to find a more "reasonable" painting location. I think I took only four or five steps and stopped dead in my tracks. There it was- the ugliest part of the entire mountain, the top of one of the lifts, showing itself off to me in all it's glory. How many times had I dismissed this view? But I was unable to shake it. I walked a few feet more and then returned to my spot near the viewing platform, unpacked my gear and began.

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So what was so different this time? The CLOUD. I had to paint it.

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I made a sketch in my sketchbook and, when I got home, painted it with my pastels. As I told you a few posts back, I have fallen in love with the pastels. However, I must admit, it is a love/hate relationship. The pastels are heavy to carry with me on my hikes. That would be bad enough, but they also have another drawback - once you are done with the pastel painting, you just can't fix it and forget it. Spray fixative does nothing to prevent it from smearing if you rub up against them (or stack them, even.) so the ONLY solution is to frame them... read "EXPENSIVE". Being that this whole living-in-the-mountains experiment is only temporary, I can assure you that none of my artwork is going to get framed. Packing that, at the end, would be cumbersome to say the least. So I have started to do two things: one is to take my little sketchbook along with me (definitely lighter load) and then do the pastels back at the house, but... BUT... it is a rental... I would freak out if I ruined the floors so I have to be uncharacteristically careful when I paint. So the other thing I have been doing is learning how to paint with oils, en plein air, out there in nature, on the spot.
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This one, above, is oils done on paper (read:"cheap, cheap"), it is about 12"x12" and is of my favorite rock (don't you have a favorite rock?) If a rock could smile, I think this rock would have a really wide grin as the sun comes up in the east and warms it to the point of being hot to the touch, no matter how cool the day. Now I know that oil painting is not my "thing." My mother (bless her heart, I love her more than she can imagine) thinks I should just stick to what I am finally seeing some success in - that is pastels. My husband (I love him too) thinks my pastels "have more subtleties" to them. Granted. But what about the 80/20 rule?
The 80/20 rule states that you should do what you are good at 80% of the time! but that 20% of the time you should push yourself way out of your comfort zone otherwise progress is not only slow, but you risk screeching to a standstill without noticing it. This applies to everything. Cooking - 20% of the time you should be cooking something that forces you to learn something new, wether it is a new technique, a new cuisine from afar, or a simply new vegetable. If you are an athlete (I am speaking out of supposition, here, OBVIOUSLY), if you just run around the same track over and over again, you will get exercise, but your progress will be stunted. Changing up your routine just 20% of the time forces your muscles, and your muscle memory, and of course your brain, to LEARN... and that is what life is all about, isn't it?

Sure, we can say that life is all about those we love... true... but is that all there is to life? When we were little, we grew by leaps and bounds. I am not talking about physically. Everything we did, every moment, was a learning experience. We need to keep that up... until our last breath.
Ok. I am getting a little too deep, perhaps, let's lasso it back in to the title of this post - Painter of Dirty Skies. So, this morning I went out on a hike... backpack, easel, water bottle, & cowboy hat... all the gear my little pack mule self could carry and I risked all self conscious thoughts and painted down on the Miller Ranch trail. I must have had more than twelve people come right up to my easel and look between it and my view and then (hold on tight) ... comment on what I was doing. Tonight, in my prayers, I have to remember to thank God for making them all such gentle folk. Bless their hearts. At one point a pack of elementary school kids on an educational outing appeared out of nowhere. They were an energetic and inquisitive bunch, but oh so unexpectedly gentle.

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They brought back good memories of my teaching days - children, of all ages, are so generous in their spirit.
So this is the painting I did:

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So why am I thinking I might someday be known as the "painter of dirty skies"? Because when I was finally done cleaning up and re- packing up my stuff...
I DROPPED THE PAINTING IN THE DIRT

Yup. I could have kicked myself. In fact, I am pretty sure all those sweet little children, who were by then quite a ways down the trail, heard the "painter with the cowboy hat on" cussing and swearing like a drunken sailor. GRRRR. You can't imagine how mad I was. All that glorious morning painting out there in heaven-on-earth ended in me cussing. The bad part, I must confess, is that this is not the first time this has happened. I have no idea why I was first in line when they were handing out the klutziness genes, but trust me, I was the first one up for the doling out. So here I sit, staring at my dirty painting waiting for it to dry so I can attempt to fix it. I don't think the worst thing in life is to drop a painting in the dirt after all that effort. The worst thing would have been to never try to paint it in the first place.

Love to all of you, hugs and kisses too.

Your painter of dirty skies,

Carolina

Finding My Way

I just barely have caught my breath after leaving my oldest at college this past weekend. Some of the parents were crying, for many it was bitter sweet. For me it was more sweet than bitter. My daughter is ready and so am I for the next stage. I have been getting things in order since my return. Below you see my first attempt since coming back. It is of a hiking path so right in the middle of the town, that I think most people might dismiss it and go for something "beefy-er" ... but no more beautiful. The blue green vegetation, in the background, is sagebrush. When walking alongside it, I can't help rubbing it between my fingers and taking in a big deep breath. It seems to clean the air. The yellow ones appear to look like Golden Rod, but it doesn't look like the golden rod back in Tennessee. The sky... well I fail you, there, for the skies, here, in Colorado are intense. I think if I stayed here I could spend the rest of my life attempting to capture it.
I have to go make dinner. See you next time.

Carolina

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Finding My Way 12"x18" pastel on sanded paper


In Colorado, Everybody Does It

So far, I have realized one thing that is for certain in Colorado - EVERYBODY DOES IT. Does what? Exercise. These folks are crazy about it. I haven't even had my first sip of coffee, at sun up, when there are folks cruising by my window in their hotshot biking suits. Bleary eyed, I wonder where on earth are they going so early in the day. Every direction, around here, is up hill... but that does not stop them. Out they go, like children running free in a massive playground. Those that aren't biking, hiking the endless trails, sending out their fly lines on the rivers, or playing soccer, are out with their favorite companions - man's best friend, their dog, on one of the glorious trails that seem to be everywhere.

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You know those trails are there, because they have this little yellow sign announcing the head of the trail. You just get on the trail, and in seconds, the traffic magically disappears and you are in another world. I love it. So much so that I painted the sign that is at the head of one of my favorite trails.

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Call me when you get here, we can go hiking together. You will love it.

Carolina

The Art of Learning A New Language

I have been trying my best to learn a whole new language since I was last here, on the blog. In fact, I have been learning two new languages. The first language is the language of a new medium; pastel.

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To make a long story short, last October, I found myself in the desert near Santa Fe, NM. It was supposed to be a second honeymoon of sorts. My husband had planned a vacation to one of my bucket list items - the balloon festival (Balloon Fiesta) in Albuquerque NM. As luck would have it, at the last minute, all our well made plans were derailed and he had to cancel his part of the trip. I found myself sharing the joys of it all with me, myself, and I. No worries. I enjoyed it just the same. At the last minute, before going on the trip, I added a box of pastels to my luggage. I had not planned on bringing art supplies on my trip at all, as I was supposed to be canoodling with my sweetheart. Adding painting supplies, with all the brushes, containers, paint tubes, liquid containers, and so on, was just too much too think about stuffing into my already full suitcase. Pastels it was, then, a fresh, still shrink-wrapped box of pastels and a few sheets of paper was easy to squeeze in between my well folded layers of clothing.
There was one miscalculation on my part, though, and I only noticed my shortcoming when I was standing out there, in the glorious desert, on my own, having just used my teeth to get at the tight plastic wrapping on the box of pastels. I peeled a bit off with my teeth and tore at it, like a kid opening a new present just retrieved from under the Christmas tree. What? No directions, that's what. I don't know what kind of short circuiting had occurred in my brain... but somehow I thought that a pretty box of brand new pastels that came in their own little box was kind of like an art kit one might get when one is a kid... and that a box like that would have instructions of some sort. No go. Nothing. There I was, in the middle of the desert, no reception on my phone to access the internet so that the ever dependent Google could help me begin a painting out there. There was not much left to do but begin... on my own... grab a pastel... make a mark. And make a mark I did.

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I followed the first mark by another, and then another, and it didn't stop until I was all consumed.

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I went back home and continued making marks with those little chalk-like sticks.

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I painted everything on "my" mountain.

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As you know, I deserted all blog writing.

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Other than keeping my head above water with my home and family responsibilities, I painted. With pastel.

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On cold winter mornings, I could be found painting the sunrise down at the lake.

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I stole any free moment I had, and would go out and paint.

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Just as I was starting to understand this new language of pastel, my world got rocked and we found out we had to move. AGAIN.

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My good friends, Kim & Lee, joke that with this next move they are now more certain than ever that we are participating in a witness protection program. What other explanation could there be for spending my life living like a pack mule. This move was number 26. TWENTY SIX. Craziness. I am sick of it, I tell you. It has thrown a major, stressful, wrench into my art plans. But like everything in life, it has come with a silver lining ... or perhaps something more akin to a rainbow with a pot of gold after a storm... you see, I have moved to Colorado. I am in the mountains. It is beautiful, really, really beautiful here. And so this brings me to the second language I am learning. Everything here, from my corneas out, is different. I don't recognize the plants, the ways the grasses sway, the patterns of the the weather, I can't name but one of the trees. I have to learn the language, the visual language, that is Colorado. This is what you will be seeing in the posts to come. Won't you join me?

Ask Yourself How Do You Feel?

One of my favorite stories from childhood was Hansel & Gretel. Perhaps that is where my addiction to sugar began. I also learned, in that book, that the woods are a scary place - a place to stay away from, a place to fear. I must say, the woods out my door has more than it's fair share of critters; slithering ones, middle-of-the-night-birdseed-stealing ones, turn-my-plants-upsidedown-looking-for-grubs ones ... and you can not imagine the cacophony that goes on as soon as the sun goes down. Despite all of that, the woods are magical. Lately I have been spending a lot of time in the woods.

A few mornings ago, I woke up and went out for a hike out my door. I wasn't but a few minutes into it when this appeared -

Frosting in the woods

It looked like the handy work of a pastry chef gone wild. It was every where. It looked like someone had put the star tip on the pastry bag, filled it with pink frosting and went on a major squirting spree. A squirt here, a squirt there.

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I thought it was mind blowing to see it up close.

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And then ... while the racoons were hanging naughtily from my bird feeders and I was sleeping ... 

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BOOM - all the Mountain Laurel on the mountain exploded open at once.

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Proof positive that magic exists.

Now that I am an adult, the woods hold a magic spell over me despite there being no sugar to be had. This is the view from my studio. I have lived in this house for almost 4 years now and I am constantly thinking that I want to paint the woods, but every day comes and goes and the sheer grandeur of the woods in it's crazy, haphazard perfection scares me off.

Woods from the studio

Not today. Today I stood up to the woods. I was determined to face my fears and paint ... the only difference between today and all those other days I was scared off running with my tail between my legs, is that I made up my mind that I would not paint one stroke of what I SAW, but rather my painting would be the result of me continously asking myself HOW DO I FEEL?

I set up my easel & another easel as a makeshift work station (I am too lazy to bend down to get my paints.)

Easel before the woods

Now that I have taken Flora Bowley's class, it is fairly impossible to fathom painting without my fluid acrylics.

5:28:2013

I did try to keep my paint choices limited - it can all get overwhelming ... actually, it can become a downright cluster in a matter of seconds when one is away from one's regular painting space - even if said painting space is no more than ten feet away.

5:28:2013 #2

I took a HUGE deep breath, looked at the woods before me, and asked myself "HOW DO I FEEL"? Now, I did have to ask myself this over and over again for the entire four hour painting session. Most of me wanted to default to my standard of painting what I see when I attempt to paint nature outdoors. But I kept at it, only painting how the woods made me feel.

Easel before the woods #2

When I look at the woods, this is how I FEEL.

How do I Feel When I look At The Woods 5:28:2013

 

The woods aren't so scary any more.

Carolina






 


The Past Eighteen Hours

The past eighteen ours have been extremely horrible and extremely beautiful at the same time. I made my yearly pilgrimage to Mary's greenhouse & filled the back of my husband's truck with all kinds of beautiful plants.

For those new to the blog - although it is called Mary's Greenhouse, she has 52 of them, enough to get lost in and for sure enough to deplete ANY savings you might have at the bank.

Mary's greenhouse

My favorite purchase was this flowering Quince. I planted most of my newly purchased plants, but I am still waiting to find just the right spot for this one. it needs to be close enough to the house so that I can, at a moments notice, run out there and sketch it. Isn't it glorious?

Flowering Quince

Just as I was admiring all the beauty I got sideswiped with the news of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. What on earth? Why? I am devastated by it. I used to live on Newbury St., no less than a block from where the first bomb went off, and I remember how my friends and I always gathered there to watch the runners making it to the finish line. I don't understand. I am left with only pain for everyone involved. My husband turned up the volume on the news. I had to leave the house. I left to find faith in this world, to focus on the beautiful.

I drove down the road to Wayne's farm. His new colt was born the night before last. I can only understand about 1/3 of whatever Wayne says to me - his southern accent is that thick. From what I could make out, this little colt is a mix between a horse and a mule? The unbelievable softness of his coat began to soften the blow of Boston. 

Wayne's horse:mule

This morning the Boston cloud still was hanging low. I did not turn on the news for I knew that doing so would not help to ease the suffering of all those beautiful people, in Boston, who are looking to the heavens looking for answers. What is wrong with this world?

I do not know.

At all.

I can only know, without a shadow of a doubt, what is right.

I went down to the lake this morning as soon as the girls were off to school.

Being down at the lake let me see what is right with the world.

Although I fumbled with my lack of skills, I attempted to paint the beauty before me.

Down by the lake 4:15:2013

When I was done with one attempt, I painted another. I need to come back here, again. To remind myself, again.

Down by the lake 4:15:2013 #2

I headed back up to the studio and pulled out a fresh, white canvas, and propped it up on my easel. I thought it might be a good idea to video tape myself painting so that you could see how I go about it. I looked back at the videos ... mmm... I kind of hate the way I look in them ... really hate it. Not sure if I should share them. Are you interested in that kind of thing? We will have to wait and see.

Back at the studio

The beautiful sunshine is quickly becoming a storm, I can see it coming across the valley. I must run out and fix that pursulane that I had planted yesterday that some critter over turned during the night - it reminds me of how I share this earth, this world, and can not escape into oblivion.

Storm coming in

I guess that is what this blog is all about. Sharing this world with you. I am grateful. Still.

Carolina

 


Self Portrait

The words in this post are ones that I have copied directly from a posting I did on a group Facebook page where I shared my most recent painting with my fellow "Bloom True" students. I am not posting all the tons of comments & thoughts they had, but it was really great to get loads of wonderful feedback from them. I am including, here, the steps that the canvas went through so that you can see just how many "booboos" and  redirections a painting can take you through. Hope you enjoy it. These are the exact words that I wrote:

This was difficult to paint, but it is even more difficult to share. I decided to do a self portrait, not of what I look like, but rather of who I am, or better said : where I am. I chose to include words in my painting. The words cut through the middle of the canvas, separating what was once, and what is now. They are of a poem by A.R. Ammons. It is only one sentence long, without any difficult words to look up in a dictionary, but in just one sentence (the entire poem), he encapsulates it all for me. I will rewrite it, here, for you, incase you can not see it well enough in the painting.

The spring
in

her step
has

turned to
fall

Self Portrait 4:2013

 

Spring  trees

Self P. #1 4:2013

Self p. #2 4:2013

Self p. #3 4:2013

Self p. #4 4:2013

Self p.#5 4:2013

Self p. #6 4:2013

Self p. #7 4:2013

Self p. #8 4:2013

Self p. #9 4:2013

Self p. #10 4:2013

Self p. #11 4:2013

Self Portrait 4:2013

There is nothing on the canvas for the purpose of decoration. The left side of the canvas is the before; more youthful in treatment of color and shapes it represents my role as mother (both the location of the seed source in the flower & and the nod to a "Madonna" type "headdress.) She, the younger one, looks at me now (right side), from behind, as if placed in the background in the "what once was", but because "she" looks at "me" it is a play on how I go back and forth to being her, the younger me is still in me. On the right side (me, now), the flower, & seed source, has been moved to my head for it is from there that all new creations, for me, are coming from. I had a chemical accident when I was living on a boat, about ten years ago, and we were caught in a horrific storm at sea. The chemicals got into my left eye and I am left with no externally visible scars, but I can see with that eye as if looking through celophane - a major pain in the neck if you are trying to become an artist. This "bad" eye, that I have is the blue one that is a sad thing I deal with and yet what is even more sad is that even with a bad eye, I can see all the suffering that goes on in this world. Having said that, one is left to wonder why is the "good" eye, then, covered? This is because I am trapped behind a wall whereby I do not have the skill set, in art, to express well enough what I want to express. It is almost as if I can "see it" in my minds eye, but it is not accessible for clear viewing. Yes, this painting is full of deep emotion for me, some of it quite unsettling as I recognize myself getting older. However, I must point to the two bright areas in the canvas - in both sides, the before side & the now side, there is glorious light in my head - that is the constant. It is not only the constant, but it is also what I choose to focus on. So if, as the poem alludes, beauty is something that slips away from us, is it not only on the outer surface that it slips away? I believe so. As Wren pointed out, just as we depend on the sun coming out the next day after the darkest night, then so to, when there is a fall it only comes as a preparation for the next spring - in all senses of the meanings of those words, fall & spring. I am luckier than most, for I am clear about who I am and where I am at - a solid platform for the years of future dedication to attaining that somewhat elusive skill set. It will be a good day when those skills catch up to all I have to say.

 

 

Until next time,

thought you would enjoy a snippet of what I have been up to,

 

Carolina




Let Nature Give You The Answers

This is my latest painting.

I titled it "Let Nature Give You The Answers."

 

Painting Let Nature Give You The Answers

Before we begin let me add a shameful disclaimer for the quality of the images. Aside from trying to take photos with messy, paint covered hands while painting in the studio, the light, this week, has been gloomy. We have spent the better part of the week cloaked in an unbearable "penumbre". What follows are photos that I took on the fly, but thought might help to tell the story. This post, then, is an explanation of how I began using Flora's process, and then how my thought process and my intuition took over, making my own process take hold.

So let's get to this.

The canvas was, again, a big one at 4'x4'. It all started out good and well. Flora's process of letting go on the canvas is so freeing, just so unbelievably connected to the way we did art as children, that it is now difficult to imagine starting a painting session without first letting go, watching the lusciousness of the color have it's way on the canvas.

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The really dark rectangles you see on the above photo are actually pieces of fabric. When I was setting up my canvas on the easel, I could see that there was the tiniest little pinhole in the canvas. I didn't take two seconds to fret about it - I knew that the tiny pinhole had to be a direct result of all the house moving we have done whereby I have schlepped my canvases and art supplies from state to state in what would appear to be a never ending conveyor belt of moving from one house, turned into a home, to another house, a mere collection of walls, windows, and doors that needs to be turned into, once again, another home. In a former life, I am quite certain that I was a pack mule, and a very good one at that. A tiny pinhole? A minor incident compared to making friends and then having to leave them when I move again.

I gessoed the fabric onto the canvas with Liquitex Clear Gesso. There was only one tiny pinhole, but I decided to fly with it and added several large pieces of fabric. (A note to all fellow "Bloomers" out there - this fabric added to the canvas thing requires further investigation and play.)

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On with Flora's process which I now just call FUN, because it is no longer a struggle to "let go."

It does get a bit messy.

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But the results can't appear without the mess. With every stroke of the the brush, my hands, the bubble wrap, or whatever I use, there is absolute magic appearing before my very eyes. Layers and layers of magic that would be impossible to reproduce methodically.

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On one video this week, Flora held her hands up to the canvas, cupping her hands around different sections of her canvas to more clearly "see what was working" and then it hit me like a bolt of lightening. I actually got a sensation of being taken over, occupied, if you will. I have been waiting - more patiently some days than others, trying to figure out how to express something I experience regularly. Seeing Flora cup her hands up to the canvas gave me the answer I have been hoping for.

As most of you know, I live on a mountain, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by endless nature.

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From every window, all I see is nauture. Even from my downstairs studio, I see the path that takes me on my hikes.

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In good weather and in bad, I go hiking. I have endless trails at my disposal. When I am hiking, my brain is in "full operation" mode, completely engaged. As my eyes jump from one visual delight to the next, the thoughts in my brain not only keep pace with the ever changing view, but at times, most times, they actually out run what is before my eyes. My brain is flooded with images, both real and imagined. Creativity seems to pump through my entire system. I have always wanted to express that sensation - of images popping up out of nowhere while I am hiking -  in a painting. 

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I decided to take Flora's words quite literally and I "framed out" the best parts on my canvas that were bursting in imagery, just like my thoughts while I am hiking.

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Then I proceeded to isolate them completely.

This was tough. Isolating the shapes was a whole lot more complicated than I imagined at the onset of this journey ... and I must add very un-Flora like. I wished for a masking fluid type product like they use for watercolor painting. I had none. If there is one and you know about it, I would be superduper nice to you, forever, if you shared the name of it with me.

Painting at this moment

This is the point where I really had to have a a little chat with myself. Literally. It sounds kind of crazy, but there was an internal battle going on in my head between voices that were telling me to "flow-Flora-free", and other voices to put Flora's method on a holding pattern and accept the gift of a vision that I had been given. "Paint the painting", "do it now", "you have been waiting for a way to paint the creativity that flows during your hikes". This conversation lagged for days as I meticulously covered the non-saved parts of the canvas surface.

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And then I had to suffer through a major bout of:

"AND NOW WHAT?"

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How on earth am I supposed to go from here? I hate to confess this, but in the spirit of sharing, I will. What did I do next? I grabbed a spoon and a jar of Nutela and sat in front of my canvas. Chocolate - my go to answer.

Two or three spoonfuls later, I put the Nutella down, and pulled out my sketch book.

This is the point where the art was created.

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The rest is history - the rest of the work was done in the service of the canvas.

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Like a massive submarine coming to the surface, I would come up for air to make a meal, grab another load of laundry, answer the door, or vacuum a few more square feet in an effort to maintain normalacy for the rest of the members that share the living space under this roof with me.

Every time I would plunge back down to the studio, it felt like the bubbles of air rippled up my arms as I my feet barely touched the treads on the stairs. I would leave the lights on in my studio, just so the painting would welcome my return ... as if it had to forgive me for leaving it.

At this point I hit a fork in the road. I wanted the trees to be pink. Yes pink. But I also wanted the trees to be a quiet element in the image. The idea of pink had to be put aside for another canvas, the word "quiet" was stronger. Sometimes it is as easy as stopping to listen.

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So I needed to make them brown. How? What do trees look like? I know what trees look like, but I had to actually go out there in the woods and stare at them for a bit. If anybody had been driving by they would have seen a woman, standing in the middle of a forest, in her painting clothes, paintcovered apron, little red shoes, and paintbrush in hand, getting up close, standing nose to "nose", with a tree trunk. I ran back to the studio to paint what I saw... but I failed. I started to paint what I had seen, but quickly realized that the road I was on was the wrong one.

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Out came gobs of white paint... and so did a few little words that mommies shouldn't say.

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 I kept going and going, painting and painting, hoping that I wouldn't, by accident, cover up one of my "thought shapes."

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As you can see, I totally bagged the idea of making the bark look like what was outside my window.

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And now it is finished - it has vacated it's turf on the easel and temporarily is next to my bed.

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The last painting I showed you, here, is already on to another life. It has since been sold at an auction to benefit children in my area ... I can't think of a better place for it to "bloom" forth. This new painting, I will hold on to for a bit, even though I realize it is now no more than one more mile marker on my journey. I know that others will get their own meaning from it that might have nothing to do with my thoughts. For now, though, I want to relish in the thought that I have paid Nature back by acknowledging how many answers she has provided for me.

"Let Nature Give You The Answers" - it is a good tip, see where it takes you.

Carolina

 

Painting Let Nature Give You The Answers


An Accurate Perspective Is Oh So Valuable

OK, so, before we go any further, and we look at the results of my latest efforts in the studio, I want you to do me a favor. I want you to watch this short video. It is the third part of a four part YouTube video series whereby Ira Glass, of NPR radio, gets interviewed on what makes good storytelling. I think we can apply what he is saying to all the arts. You name the art form: writing, sewing, painting, music, drawing, cooking; it does not matter, what he has to say is something we need to perk up our ears to, and take notice. It is vital that as beginning artist we expose ourselves to material, such as this clip, that cushions-the-blow, if you will, when our pieces of art don't quite hit the mark. We need to have an accurate perspective in order to make valid assessments of where we are in our journey to becoming better at that which we have chosen to spend so much effort on.

Watch the video.

 

 

This is called Flowers and the Red Vase. It is 2'x5', again very large.

Flowers and the Red Vase #1

I like the mark making. I am in love with the color I find in even the tiniest little bits of the canvas.

These are closeups of the canvas surface:

Flowers & the Red Vase close up #1

Flowers & the Red Vase closeup #2

Flowers & the Red Vase closeup #3

Flowers & the Red Vase closeup #4

Flowers & the Red Vase closeup #5

Flowers & the Red Vase closeup #6

Flowers & the Red Vase closeup #7

I need to remember what Ira Glass said in the video. I need to remember it, over and over again. I need to keep an accurate perspective  - it is the most valuable component to my improvement as an artist. Without it, I would stop.

Flowers & the Red Vase

 

Carolina

 


Drop In The Bucket

Phew! I have been cranking it out! As you know I have been working on several ongoing projects. Tomorrow I have my second quilting class and it just occurred to me that my quilt top is going to need a quilt "back". I haven't even begun to look at that, so that is what I have left to do today. Therefore this post will be a quickie.

I have always wanted to learn how to paint and you have been gracious to put up with reading my posts that deal with my attempts at painting. Thanks for looking at them, by the way. In looking back at my paintings I noticed that most of them have been done in watercolor. Why is that so? My studio is chock-a-block full of supplies and there are plenty of other kinds of paint kicking around that I don't use.

Why?

I think I am afraid of waisting paint.

You know - that much expensive paint should be "reserved" for really good paintings ... like, for when I REALLY know how to paint.

Enter Flora Bowley.

I don't want to BE Flora Bowley. I don't even want to PAINT like her. I don't want my paintings to LOOK like her paintings. I must add, here, that I would not mind owning one, or several, of her paintings. What I DO want is to be able to let go, really let go, like she does. 

This is her book:

 

Flora Bowley's Book

 

I am taking her e-course, it is all about letting go with paint. Let me rewrite that. It is all about LETTING GO. I need to let go if I am going to get over my fear of waisting paint. It needs to not matter if my painting looks like "anything". It needs to not matter if my painting is "pretty". It needs to not matter if my painting is liked by anyone, including myself. I am working my way through her book and her course. When I found out about her method, I thought it was "a little out there", but I don't think her concept of "letting go" is out there at all. This concept of letting go, with paint, is what I am working on.

Flora Bowley

What matters is letting go. Gulp. Below you will see the progression of my letting go on a very large 4'x5' canvas. That is a very big canvas for me, but I knew that on that big of a surface I could not paint tightly for long before having to face the music and just paint. Prepare yourself. There are a lot of ugly stages that I am going to show you. Gulp. I am nervous about showing you any of this.

Drop In The Bucket #1

At this point I was CONVINCED that I am a total idiot - the wasting-money-type-housewife-that-needs-to-get-a-life type of idiot.

I persevered.

Drop In The Bucket #2

Still convinced of my idiot status. Added more color ... thought that might lighten the mood, if nothing else.

Drop In The Bucket #3

Fell in love with parts of it. Just small parts of it. Thoughts of "should I cut the canvas up?" circled their way through my brain. Still felt like the rest of it was waisting paint. I did love the colors though.

Drop In The Bucket #4

I had to let go. Way more difficult said than done.

Drop In The Bucket #5

Ouch!

Drop In The Bucket #6

Double OUCH!! Had to keep going despite the fact that there wasn't any whif of "zen" going on.

Drop In The Bucket #7

I swear there was steam coming out of the studio. I worked for several days straight. I only came up for air when the family needed a feeding. Many, many unphotographed attempts later, this is what I have:

Drop In The Bucket on the mantel

This painting is me. It is not a painting of my trying to paint like Flora Bowley. It is a painting in which I pushed myself to use her method of letting go. Obviously, it is not my typical style of painting, but I did put aside the fear of waisting paint ... and for that, it is a success.

Now there is ONLY ONE THING that I could do at this point that would be very, very wrong. It is the very worst thing one can do when learning how to paint. I could stop.

Even taking a break is a bad idea. The slightest crack and the little brain demons will take over like a cancer. I must not waist time looking at the painting on my mantel. I must keep going and paint another one. The subject matter is inconsequential. The style does not matter. Even the type of paint is irrelevant. I must tattoo "Let Go" directly on my brain, on every cell of my being. I must let go and keep going.

I must hurry ... run, if I must, to the next painting. Any lollygagging around could be fatal.

Carolina

PS. BTW, I have aptly named this painting, "Drop In The Bucket."

 

Drop In The Bucket painting


Three Paintings From The Past

We have had a patch of rough weather - tornadoes, driving rain, and the unit that heats my studio and the rest of the bottom floor has gone on the blink. I had done everything in my power to insure that Sunday would be a sewing day. I had cleaned the house, top to bottom, on Thursday, I had gotten all the food shopping and errands done on Friday, I had a cooking marathon all day Saturday so that there would be plenty of leftovers, and all in all I was ready for my sewing jaunt on Sunday. Now I am sitting in my studio writing this, I am dressed like I belong inside Dr. Zhivago's house. I am waiting for the little portable heater to heat up the room, every possible light bulb is on, and we have put in a call to the heating people. I thought I would share some color with you today since I so enjoyed my Sunday morning spent perusing your blogs. Below you see three paintings I have in my "stash". 

This is one of my daughter, Nica May, the egg shaped rock above her head was a recurrent them in a series I once did. The theme was based on issues of being born, or rather reborn, into who you will become. The painting (30" by 40") sits on one of the shelves now of my studio. I like to see it every time I leave the studio.

 

Nica May

 

Next up is a three piece painting ( it is about 8 feet tall) on motherhood. I often feel that as a mother and artist, if I may be so bold to call myself that, you are split, physically, mentally, and emotionally, but you must still walk forward towards the light. You feel like your creative self (represented by the bowl) never gets filled and is in a permanent state of being empty. 

Mamahood

 

FInally I am showing you a painting of the tea accoutrement and my pencil box that I used to keep in my studio when my studio was not located in my home. I loved this little painting (24" by 20" if I remember right.) Somebody bought it and gave it as a gift to a friend who was dying of cancer. The friend died a month later and I wondered if the painting ended up in a garage sale some where. I take solace in the fact the painting was most probably one of the last gifts they got to open in their lives, hopefully it brought a little smile to them.

 

Golden tea pot

All this cooking and driving I have been doing makes me miss painting. Of course, I can't just blame it on the cooking and driving. Maybe one of these days I will burst and go back to painting. For now there is a sewing project waiting to be tackled. I am going to go sew.

Have a good Sunday.

Carolina


An Accurate Perspective

Yesterday brought more storms. We have had more than 24 hours of rain, it is akin to putting your house in neutral in the drive-thru car wash and letting the jet sprayers do their thing while you, like a sitting duck, stare dumbfounded out the window as your house just goes through it. More tornadoes made an appearance as well. Sadly some people where not as lucky as I was. So far early this morning, they have already counted over 200 people that had died from the tornadoes. The cloud formations that came from the horizon were stunning. Although we had swirling formations on my road and the trees bent like sticks of soft gum, most of the worst tornadoes leveled areas 2 hours south east of my mountain.

Dark day with tornadoes 4:27:11
It kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it? We can whine all we want about the reasons we don't get down to the work of art making, but in the face of not having an opportunity to create ever again, all our whining seems childish and insignificant. Yesterday, with the power out, I pulled up a chair to the window and began to read Art & Fear by Bayles and Orland after I had finished making my daily painting in my sketchbook. I had had difficulty on this simple little painting of my bread box. The mental demons were, like tornadoes, swirling around my head telling me to give up. "How hard could it be?" I heard them say. "It's a box." "Really, the idea of taking a virtual class on keeping a sketchbook is sweet, but you won't be able to keep this up if you can't draw a simple box." You can not imagine the relationship I developed with my eraser. The simple perspective lines baffled me and my untrained hand could not follow what my eyes could see. Had Dali been in the room, perhaps the warped box could have been interpreted differently. I, however, only judged myself against EVERY OTHER ARTIST, DEAD AND ALIVE, THAT HAS EVER EXISTED IN THIS ENTIRE WORLD. Talk about pressure.

I think that the key to life, as in art, is having an accurate perspective. That is a big statement. I will let you ponder it a bit while you look at the much worked on and finally finished painting I did yesterday.

Bread box & accurate perspective

Did you ponder the statement? How many times have I had to weigh my view of a situation at hand, only to realize that from outside my own head it might not actually match up - at all. Having an accurate perspective means really analyzing the reality of whatever situation you are in, whether it be a natural disaster, a relationship, a conversation, or your art making results. In just the first few pages of the book I came away with a few thoughts. The most important thought I had was that learning "how" to make great art will only come AFTER I have learned how not to quit. My goal, then, needs to be to figure out how not to quit. On pg. 10 the authors say "Quitting means not starting again ... and art is ALL ABOUT starting again." Every single time you assemble your supplies it is about starting again, facing the demons, and not quitting. My good friend, Alicia, just posted this wonderful drawing of sparrows she did a few years back. It remained in her studio and was added to "the pile". The pile, that I am talking about, is the kind of pile we all have ... they are attempts that somehow, with our inaccurate perspective, we label as "not enough", or "unfinished", or "short of my expectations". The trouble with it all, is that she can not see it from my perspective. The drawing stands , all on it's own, as a PERFECT example of what we should be doing everyday - that is making art of what we love. Alicia loves nature - it shows through in every piece she does, whether it be in fabric or paint. If I could, I would do a blog intervention on her so that she could benefit from an accurate perspective. Her life,  like mine, is filled with non art making activities, or rather responsibilities. Our problem though, is not that we lack time to squeeze in art making. Our problem is that we choose to weigh down the side of the scale that makes us judge our own work, therefore ending our art making growth before it even has a chance to attempt flight. There is nothing wrong with judging our own work to see where it needs improvement, but the piece should be allowed to stand on it's own as an example of what we attempted that day, an example of how we did not quit that day. If we are truly lucky, in our lifetime, perhaps there will be art made by us that is appreciated by those who don't know us.

My husband and I were discussing the beauty of a 2500 year old Greek sculpture the other day. It dawned on me that it's maker never dealt with the wealth of images to compare his work to that the internet provides us today. (The internet, and the exposure it provides us to wonderful art can be downright intimidating to the budding artist.) This sculptor had made the sculpture for the pure beauty of it. He learned his craft through practice. His thoughts were not on how the world would view him 2500 years later in a me-centered world. He loved his materials, he loved his muse, and he was willing to work hard to express his love for his muse and make it eternal. We are not privy today to all his clumsy attempts he created when learning his craft. We just know that when we are in front of his work all that beauty and all that love is obvious, his perspective was accurate.

I leave you, then, with the thoughts that are in my mind. Hopefully you, too, might have these thoughts while you are working to stay on the path of not quitting.

Carolina

 

Bread box & watercolor supplies


A Storm Makes Me Paint Eggs

 

Lately, the name of the game here at the Ellis house on the mountain is that we all get up around 6, load up into the truck, and go to the barn and work out. I hate it. Every minute I am there, I spend counting down how many minutes I have left. The only machine I get along with is the stretching machine. Today was so bad that I left early and started walking for home. It was cold and drizzly. Because we had taken the truck I had left my jacket at home, I only had my sweatshirt on. I hadn't gone but a mere 100 yards, after leaving the barn, when I started to feel the full effect of my stupidity. The gusty winds easily found an open gap at the neckline of my sweatshirt. I had two choices: return to the barn (this option would have only cemented my stupidity in everyone else's minds as well), or do something to warm up. I actually began running. Well.. running is kind of a big word for what I was doing. To anyone else it would have been obvious that I wasn't just walking, but perhaps if they had had a visual dictionary with my picture in it the word "running" would have been absent from the entire page. I was huffing and puffing none the less. I actually got to the point were I couldn't tell if the dampness around my neck was from the light drizzle or from my very own sweat. Trying to encourage myself to get to the top of every next hill that seemed to get steeper with every step, I played mental games with myself. "To that tree"... "to the big overturned stump that appeared since last week when we had all those tornadoes"... and so on until I made it to my driveway. The site of "home" never looked so good.

So yes we have had some pretty bad storms in the past couple of weeks. Sure my house didn't go flying through the air a la Wizard-of-Oz style, but at one point I did put the girls in the all cement storage area that we have. It is odd to be thinking that the whole house might fly away at any minute and that you are no more than twelve inches away from all your holiday decorations and that might be all your left with after the tornado has finished it's business. While we were in there I saw all the easter decorations as well. I, of course, started to get a hankering for chocolate eggs. I kept remembering the blog I saw the other day of a  french water colorist . She had painted the most amazingly beautiful Easter eggs. Between visions of colorful foil wrapped eggs I would feel the house shudder and shake from the violent winds outside. I decided right then and there to paint some eggs of my own.
Once the storm passed, and we were left without power, I grabbed my painting supplies and set up next to the living room window where on this dark and dreary day there was just enough light to paint by. Thank you Helene for inspiring me.
Easel by the window

Watercolor palette 3:10:11

Eggs #1 on 3:9:11

Eggs #2 0n 3:9:11


 


One to One

Below, you will find a part of an email I wrote this morning.

 

Hi Melissa,

Well, I guess a "good morning" is in order. Last night's storm was ferocious. We have seen many fierce wind storms up here on the mountain, but last night was so fierce that I actually went to bed with my bathrobe on. My husband thought I was being silly, but my bedroom is built like a tree house, up in the air, on 4 pillars, I was certain it would be the first thing to go flying through the woods. I didn't want people to find me the next morning and my girls being embarrassed because "Mom was indecent". I can laugh about it now, but last night it sounded like a train was coming through. 

All day yesterday was ugly here. I worked on a little project yesterday with that recipe you inspired me to do, but, since there was no sun, my pictures are a little flat. I may post it anyway today. It felt REALLY good to get inspired, and not let 24 hours go by before following through on the inspiration and completing the project.

 

And this is the result of that inspiration:

This is a corner of my kitchen, it is the place I have chosen to begin learning how to draw. When we built this house, the idea was that it would be a vacation house. It has a very relaxed feel. There aren't any closed cabinets, everything is out in the open. This way, anybody who is visiting can find what they need quickly. I recently, finally, got my cutting boards on the wall.

 

Foto de mi cocina #1

I used  these magnetic strips with these hooks from The Container Store, to hang my heavy cutting boards, pizza paddles, and my "breakfast" pans for making Ebelskivers and waffled pancakes. Both were gifts from my mom - although they keep me chubby, Mami, I can't live without them. The entire hanging apparatus for both rows cost me about $50 - and I can move the hooks around at will. They hold an enormous amount of weight for how slim and inconspicuous they are.

Close up, hanging things in kitchen

I have been meaning to write all of our favorite recipes in one book for my girls as a Christmas gift. Every Christmas that goes by I think - "there goes another year & I still haven't written the recipes down for them". Most of my recipes have been jotted down in a hurry, slipped into a plastic sleeve, and then added into a big, cumbersome 3 ring binder that never seems to close properly. It never fails that all the little holes in the plastic sleeves just will not all line up perfectly as I snap the darn rings together. The recipe, below, is in one to one proportions and works perfectly EVERY time I want to make waffles, Ebelskivers, pancakes, or waffled pancakes. I put all the ingredients in one bowl, mixing as I go. Note* that is a HEAPING teaspoon of double acting baking powder - think "Mountain on a spoon"

Recipe for waffles, pancakes, etc.

I triple the recipe when I make it, cooking the entire batch and freezing any cooked leftovers, although there rarely are any. Ebelskivers are like little pancake "balls" filled with warm, oozing jam. If I didn't have a man and I "needed" to get one, I wouldn't waste my time on any other tactics; I simply would make him a plate of Ebelskivers and watch him drop to his knees asking me for my hand in marriage.

 

Ebelskivers 2:22:2011

So here I am, years later, without a cookbook of my recipes, having learned how to cook but wanting to learn how to draw. I am beginning to learn how to draw right here in my kitchen. The cutting board wall has been calling out to me, so this is where I have begun. It all seemed so easy, the simple shapes of the things I use every day so clearly visible in my mind. You can't imagine the brain squeeze this has been to actually put it all on paper.

 

Drawing #1 2:24:2011 kitchen wall

My first drawing (above) nearly had me giving up. I heard every one of the voices in my head laughing at me in unison. I did the mental equivalent of "flipping them the bird" and pulled another sheet from my drawing pad. "THIS is hard" I kept hearing the voices say. "Maybe you should work on photography". "How much time is this going to take?" "Was that thing THAT big the last time I looked up?" "Where does that pan begin?"

I don't know how all those people draw so well. All I know is that I am going to need to draw every day for several years to get even close to what they do. 

 Drawing #2 2:24:2011 kitchen walls

Below you will see what I am hoping to put together with my "One to One" recipe in the cookbook for my girls. Little by little I am going to write down and collect the recipes for them. 

Drawing 2:24:2011 for recipe book

Let me know if you try the recipe - it is a keeper. I leave you then, hoping that tonight I can sleep without my bathrobe on.   Carolina


My Excuse

Alma
 

I don't ever do this, but I just had to this time. My excuse for not putting anything in here that I created is because I just had the week fly by - just like your week. Do me a favor, though, and click on "my excuse" above and see it through. You will be glad you did. I wasn't going to post at all, but I wanted to call somebody and share this with them ... but then that would have left you out. 


Bottle Project Homework #2

Progress on my homework project has been slow to materialize due to my time constraints. I have been thinking about it, however, and what you see below is phase two. I colored one of the bottle inspirations from last week.

Looks like snowflakes bottle homework project 

I have had Christmas on the brain quite a bit lately. I am not quite sure if coloring the above drawing made me think of Christmas, if the cooler weather did it to me, or if I can blame Melissa P. for sending me into a state of shock by letting me know that Christmas is less than thirteen weeks away. However it came to be ... I have Christmas on the brain and have been eyeing my stash of Christmas music. I am still holding out on the music, but the bottle bottoms made me think of snowflakes. Here is my first card

Card #1 homework bottle project
 and that led me to this

Card #2 bottle homework project 

In a way, the last one is a true reflection of how I feel about Christmas. It is a quite, gentle time that blends both my love for the magic of Christmas and my latina roots. I think I "kinda" like it.
 


 
 


 

Procrastination In Action

A Forest Of Stories book cover 

Welcome to a peek at how I procrastinate. I am the QUEEN of procrastination. As you know, I am supposed to be making the back of that quilt. Do you see a quilt here? No, of course not, that would be out of character. I am in the midst of doing what I do best - pushing aside what I am supposed to be working on. My friend, Alicia, sent me this wonderful book, A Forest Of Stories . In our facebooking back & forth I filled her in on a quest of mine to see ten trees that I have on my "bucket list" before I die. She saw this book and thought of me. 


Border book:Forest 

Both the story & the illustrations are captivating and magical. Even the borders are beautiful. So beautiful in fact ...
  

Blue border book: Forest 

that I had to copy them. I folded up the quilt and carefully placed it on my husband's pool table - I knew it would be safe there. I pushed aside my quilting supplies and made room for my paints. I haven't painted in a LONG, LONG time. I had to reacquaint my self with my supplies. No worries, though. When one is procrastinating any extra work is no work at all, as long as it doesn't have anything to do with the project I am avoiding.
  

  My copy of orange border 

I had so much fun. I kept right on going. I expanded a bit on the border and ended up with this:
 

My design inspired by orange border

Which then, of course, made me do this: 

Carolina: green poncho 

Can't you just imagine an ultra thick polar fleece green poncho with an embroidered 3" ribbon down the front? And while we are at it why not get those boots and legs like the ones I drew on her?

As my fellow procrastinators in this world know, it never ends there. It is like a bacteria that keeps on growing.


Beyond copying the border
  
 
 
 
 


 

For Brandy

Desk, white

Brandy wanted to see the finished white desk. Here it is, Brandy, and I can't properly describe how happy I am to have this much desk space. All I can say is - what took me so long? The fix was cheap & quick so I don't have an excuse for not getting it done sooner. It is kind of like cleaning the house - I gripe about it for days, when I finally get around to cleaning it I feel so content with myself. But, like a patient that has suffered memory loss, I completely forget that feeling when the house gets dirty again and I go right back into the pattern of complaining & procrastinating. Having this much desk area gives me enough space for the IMPORTANT things in life - like this bug I caught outside the other day.

Bug in a jar 

Although it was dead, I had visions of it coming back to life in the middle of the night and crawling into my craft supplies so I made sure to put it in a jar with a tight fitting lid. I unscrewed the lid off the other day to show the bug to my kids and I just about was blown away to the other side of the studio. The stench was putrid ... & POTENT. Apparently it has been decaying - YUCK - but I can't bear to throw it out, you see ...I love the bug.

My desk area also affords me the space to keep other things that don't belong here like these peppers.


Green peppers on a plate 

They too are in a state of decay at the moment. They are Habañero peppers. The old man at the dump, Ron, gave them to me. I guess he figured by way of association with my Latina background I would use these. These peppers are so hot it would make it impossible for me to speak after ingesting them. Do you think, Brandy, that he is trying to tell me something?

I like how my studio is coming along. I keep Alicia's painting in amongst my brushes as a reminder that she is painting just about a painting a day. (Alicia- YOU GO GIRL !!!). I have been starting to paint a bit myself. Most of it is the kind of stuff only my mother would compliment.

Alicia's butterfly painting & brushes 

I thought, Brandy, you might want to see this too (below). Although I have an embarrassing 72 linear feet of shelf space ... somehow it was not enough. I took these super colorful bags that are being sold in all the bookstores now, and hung them up from hooks on the wall. They are holding everything from embroidery hoops to popsicle sticks ... you know ... stuff that never sits on a shelf well.


Colorful bags for crafts supplies on wall 

And so here I am, finally doing my work & homeschooling the girls in an organized environment. It almost feels surreal. I like having all my things around me. I have finished piecing the quilt top, but I will have to wait to reveal it. I am hoping to get the backing done before I take pictures of it all. I can say with a great degree of certainty, though, that you will have to wait until NEXT YEAR before you see it actually quilted. Lord knows what I was thinking when I decided to make the size it is turning out to be. Hope you enjoyed the tour, Brandy. If you are ever in Tennessee, do stop by. I promise not to serve you anything made with Habañero peppers & I will do my best to sweep the porch free of bugs before you arrive.  Carolina

Studio:Schoolroom with white desk


Watching The Paint Dry

I thought I was all set with my studio desk. I made it, organized it, posted about it, and went upstairs to make dinner feeling pretty smug and accomplished. When dinner was done and the family was getting ready to settle in and watch a movie, I declined to join them and told them all I was too excited about my new desk top and was going to go work in the studio. Giddy, like a child, I walked into my studio feeling like I was getting the better form of entertainment for the night. I flicked on the lights and waited for them to adjust. Those super duper energy saver lights - the CFO's (compact flouresent) take a couple of minutes to "bloom" as I call it. While I waited I admired the grand expanse of workspace I now had. Pause. My table had a greenish tinge to it, I waited for the lights to come on full power and for that greenish cast to dissappear. Big, long, pause... still waiting for the lights ... still waiting ... green, Green, GREEN ??? The lights fully "bloomed", but my desktop still had that green tinge. Apparently, at night, that was the way the lights were going to make it look. Well, I would have none of it. I put some fabric swatches on it to see how well I could judge color, but it was a no go. A sleepless night ensued and the next day I was the proud owner of yet another power tool, a palm sander. 

Since then I sanded all the coating off - I needed the palm sander so that I would only take the clear finish off and not go right through the plywood. The belt sander I had would have been too much. Does it sound like I am quantifying my purchase and the addition of yet another power tool to my arsenal? You "betcha". Now that I had the egg yolk yellow sawhorses screwed into the plywood, I got to test the movability factor of my desk top. It was "no problema". Most of my week has been spent, then, on this desk. Sanding, 2 coats of priming, and many coats of paint later ... I am just watching the paint dry.

In an effort to give you something more creative to ponder, I am going to include 3 images of bridges I saw in Maine while we were on our summer road trip. Since this post is about my greenish hued desk top I think it's a good time to share these images with you. They are a bit "out there" on the color. I think it is important to push the envelope, if you will, with color. It makes you see things differently. Hopefully my desk will dry soon and I can get going soon on my other projects. See you then.   Carolina

Bridge going into Maine 

Bridge at Fort Knox over the Penobscot River 


Bridge as we left Maine
  
 


Koda- CHROME

Truck photo 1

I love my husband, but one of his best features is also one of his worst. He is the kind of guy that doesn't dilly dally, he doesn't just sit around waiting for things to happen - he gets it done as expeditiously as possible. Most of the time that is a great feature to have but we just took a family road trip and I was privy to the other side of the coin - he didn't want to stop on the highway so I could get a picture or two for my blog.

Truck photo 5
 

Now , you must understand that he did pullover to let me take pictures whenever I wanted, whenever we weren't on the highway, that is. On the way to Maine I was busy stitching the quilt as it was part of our wedding gift, on the way back I had to find a way to entertain myself. Hence, the photos you are looking at.

 

Truck photo 3 

But just look at those shadows. I couldn't help but notice the lovely patterns the shadows made. Many a trucker gave me an odd look as I stuck my phone out the window of our overly stuffed vehicle. I am sure I am not the first one to do that, but I am pretty sure I am one of the oldest.

I love all things girly,colorful, with a dose of vintage. But I gotta tell you these trucks are too beautiful to not notice. Don't you just think "quilts" when you see them?

Truck photo 9

Personally, I couldn't get enough of them. I find there is so much beauty in our world and it is not all found in nature.

  Truck photo 7

From now on, if I am not driving, I will be taking pictures out the window with my little phone & loving all the patterns and reflections that are out there, and the love of my life will be happy that I didn't ask him to pull over for me.

Truck photo 2 

Do you remember the Kodachrome song? It is right up there with American Pie for a road trip song. Do you feel the need to sing it full out?  Come on, I have sung it twenty times already. Jodi? Remember doing karaoke together in Aruba? Come on, click here and lets sing it together.
 

Until next time,  Carolina