Monthly Archives: May 2013

Smooth Sailing

I am currently in the process of brushing a thick coat of gesso over an in-progress acrylic painting. I had high hopes when I set sail on this particular piece, but it just wasn’t working.  I loved the subject, composition, and colors, but my lack of control with the medium kept me from capturing the detail I wanted.  I was sailing on rough waters that left me feeling moody, frustrated, and seasick. I had no choice but to head back to port.  Nothing compares to the glorious control I can get from a pencil or watercolor brush, but acrylics give me the bold, vibrant color and texture that I love.  So what’s a girl to do?  I could continue working with my acrylics in an attempt to successfully navigate those waters, but tacking and gybing can be a lot of work. I prefer a cruise ship to a sailboat when I travel on the ocean, so I think I’ll take the easy route and demand vibrancy from my watercolors.  That’s my goal this summer—to create the bluest blues and greenest greens I can from my watercolor tubes and pans. If I can combine bright, bold color with meticulous control, I’ll finally feel like the captain of my ship.  I’m an optimist, so I’m counting on clear skies, calm seas, and smooth sailing. 

“Smooth Sailing”–Prismacolor Colored Pencils on Bristol Board

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Master Multitasker

I’ve always considered myself to be a master multitasker. I often find that I’m on the phone, while sitting in front of the computer, going through a stack of mail, and tumbling a load of laundry in the dryer, all while waiting for the oven timer to go off.  There simply aren’t enough hours in the day –I have to multitask.  If only I had eight arms like an octopus—just imagine what I could accomplish!

“Master Multitasker”–Watercolor–from my sketchbook

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Warming Up

When it comes to the weather, I’ll take hot over cold any day.  I feel the same way about food.  I’ll take the warm apple pie, but hold the ’al a mode’.  When it comes to visuals, however, I do a total 180.  If you walked into my closet, you would find a lopsided rainbow of cardigans hanging over a rack of clothes organized by color.  The cool end of the spectrum far outweighs the warm.  Even in my art, I gravitate toward greens, blues, and violets.  When I do choose reds and yellows, I tend to use the cool versions of those hues.  Today, I decided it was time to give the ‘spicy’ colors on my palette a chance to play, and I’m really warming up to the results.

“Chili Pepper”–Watercolor–from my sketchbook

 

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The Magic Bullet

In order to create, I have to feel well, so I exercise every day, eat a vegetarian diet, and practice yoga. Lately, though, I’ve been bombarded by advertisements, infomercials, and well-meaning friends who assure me they’re selling the most miraculous ‘diet’,’health’, or ‘fix-all’ product on the market.  As far as I know, there is no secret pill, shake, wrap, or drink that will result in optimum health, the perfect figure, or an incredible level of fitness.  There is, however, a magic bullet.  We all have access to it.  It’s free, it has no side effects, and it contains three simple, safe ingredients: knowledge, action, and willpower.  You want to be healthy and fit?  Stop wasting your money on hollow promises made by unethical companies and empower yourself.  Do your own research.  Eat whole foods.  Lay off the junk.  Get off the couch.  Get moving!  Your health is in your hands.  All you have to do is pull the trigger and see what that magic bullet inside of you can do.  Salute!

“The Magic Bullet”–Watercolor–from my sketchbook

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Hello, Summer!

The calendar says it’s still spring, but I’m already celebrating summer.  School is out, the temperatures are climbing, and the sun doesn’t set until nearly 9:00.  This is my season–shorts and flip flops, evening bike rides, and no alarm clocks in the morning.  It’s a time to relax, to reflect, to breathe.  Hello, summer.  Welcome back!

“Looking Up”–Watercolor–from my sketchbook

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Secret Window

There is something almost magical about spending time in a museum or gallery.  For me, the museum visit is a surreptitious look into an artist’s soul. I am a voyeur, sneaking a thrilling peak through a secret window.  I approach the paintings quietly, respectfully, and study them with genuine regard.  I take note of the subject, color choices, composition, and most importantly, the brush strokes.  My mind is a thirsty sponge, soaking up inspiration as I study the length, direction, and weight of each stroke.  I clasp my hands behind my back, resisting the temptation to ‘touch’, as all of my senses long to be engaged in the experience.  These stops on my Artist’s Journey leave me eager to get home and pick up my own brushes to create a work that will hopefully, someday, be appreciated by someone else.

“Ready and Waiting”–Watercolor–from my sketchbook

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The Real Deal

I am the first person to cry foul when I think a photograph in a magazine was touched up, photo shopped, or softened with a filter.  If you looked at my shots of the ocean in the Bahamas, you might think the photos were altered.  They weren’t.  The water really does shift from amazing shades of blue into surreal greens, to an almost crystal clear.  I could stare at that water for hours on end.  That’s just one of the many reasons Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, is my happy place. I love to lounge on the sugar white sands of the beach while a balmy breeze dials down the hot Bahamian sun from scorching to ‘just right’.  I didn’t have the correct hues in my travel palette to capture the captivating colors of the sea, so I had to work with what I brought.  I hope Mother Nature will forgive me.  

“Bahama Mama”–Watercolor–from my sketchbook

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What’s Your Mantra?

Yesterday, my massage therapist, who I think of as a true healer, came over to work on my uncomfortably tight lower back.  After she inspected my sacral region, her questions shifted to my mental and emotional health.  As the chaos of the previous weekend spilled out, I started to make the connection.  A large part of my discomfort had been brought on by stress.  She asked if I was still practicing yoga, to which I proudly replied ‘yes,’ but then she asked me a question I wasn’t prepared for: “What’s your mantra?”  Suddenly, I was a kid in school who hadn’t done her homework.  I didn’t have a mantra. I wasn’t even sure what a mantra was, or what I was supposed to do with one. Luckily, my therapist is a great teacher, too.  By the end of our 60 minute session, my pain was gone, I had a mantra, and I knew how to use it.  At least once a day—and any time I feel stressed—I am to breathe in deeply while thinking “I am at peace,” then exhale slowly while silently reciting “My creativity flows freely.”  I am confident that my new mantra will help my body and mind to function more efficiently and peacefully.  I think of it as a decadent piece of dark chocolate that I can pull out of my pocket any time I need a little something to take the edge off—only it’s calorie-free. Namaste.

“Namaste”–Pen and Watercolor–from my sketchbook

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The Key to Creativity

I own countless brushes, pencils, and palette knives, but the best tool in my artist’s studio is my imagination.  Many artists paint from life—or paint life the way it is.  I prefer to paint life the way it could be.  The key to creativity is tapping into one’s imagination.  For me, creativity tends to strike when I’m engaged in mundane tasks—showering, driving, vacuuming, riding my bike.  The ideas start to flow—lightly at first, like a spring sun shower. That light shower quickly becomes an all-out flood that I try to outrun as I rush for the nearest pen. Once the idea is on paper, it’s mine.  Next week, when I’m sunning myself on the white beaches of Castaway Cay, I have a feeling my creativity will be racing like a runaway river.  I’ll be sure to pack a pen so I can catch every precious drop.

“The Key to Creativity”–graphite and watercolor–from my sketchbook

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I Wanna Go Home!

I love to travel.  I’m always thrilled to experience exciting new cities, posh hotels, and amazing restaurants.  I usually find myself saying “I wish I could stay one more day” at the end of every trip.  Last weekend, things didn’t go quite so well.  When I stepped off the plane in Charlotte, I was enveloped in a thick blanket of foreign pollen that inflamed my sinuses and set my throat on fire.  Things went from bad to worse when I arrived at the hotel.  The queen-size bed felt more like a double, the thermostat wasn’t cooperative which caused me to oscillate between freezing and sweating, the GPS in the rental car routed me through congested construction zones, and something from the hotel’s breakfast buffet left me in desperate need of Pepto-Bismol.  It was the perfect travel storm, and I was a fish out of water—floundering on the dock.  I was less than 24 hours into my trip and all I could say was “I wanna go home!”    I couldn’t wait to get back to my own king-size bed and my kitchen, which is stocked with organic goodness—and Pepto-Bismol.  When I finally made it home, my inner artist needed solace, too.  I pulled out my watercolor tubes and brushes.  And to me, that’s just as comforting as a warm blanket and a grilled cheese sandwich.  It’s good to be home.

“Fish out of Water”–Pen and Watercolor on Arches Aquarelle

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