Friday, December 24, 2010

Progress - Waterfall Painting

Well, I'm ready for the next several days of holiday activity ... so managed to steal a few hours to look at some of my works in progress.  I've been "stewing" over the waterfalls painting... and this is it to date.  Probably won't get another chance to look at this one until after the New Year.

In the meantime - enjoy.

Merry Christmas to all you who stop here to read this blog.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Plastic Christmas Trees

Why does everything have to be ‘bigger’, ‘better’, ‘super size’? Even Christmas beginning with the tree! Let me explain.

Just over five years ago I moved into an apartment …. And of course fire regulations being what they are cannot have a “real” Christmas tree.  It must be artificial. Difficult for me because I basically LOATHE plastic anything.

I searched and searched and searched! For just the right “fake” tree! Two days before Christmas and I still didn't  have one. With the assistance of my son we make another trip to the stores WHICH I ALSO LOATHE! And finally something that may be suitable…..the green isn’t too 'garish' - plastic but not too garish, plus there are little bits of brown colour along the branches supposedly to resemble drying needles….seven foot tall okay.

Looked fine in the store …. Standing up on its pedestal all decorated. Should have gone with my first instinct which was to scour the forests for fallen branches, secure them with plaster of paris in a pail and wind lights around.  This tree took up one-third of my living room (well, maybe not quite; maybe I’m getting ‘bigger’ and ‘super size’ on this).

It’s one of those assemble type of trees …. Inserting each branch into pre-designated grooves. Also known as an "excursion into ‘pain’".

And I have just this morning constructed this darned tree again.  It turned into a construction project five years ago …. And I think this may very well be the last year for this garish, gaudy hunk of plastic, shamefully called a “Christmas tree” .... next year it will be either a potted evergreen, depending on balcony weight restrictions or 'potted' branches.

I have eliminated a total of sixteen branches…..using none of the bottom two rows that stick out half way across the room……and interspersed the smaller ones….. leaving a more open feeling to the tree. I don’t believe the designer of these ‘plastic’ wonders have really walked a forest ….. an evergreen tree does not have to be HUGE and all ENCOMPASSING!  (Apologies to designer -- but these trees really are awful!)

Or maybe, I just miss the ‘Charlie Brown’ type trees of my youth.

Next, the lights…… and why is it that another strand put away working does not work this year. So off to the stores --- another string of lights!

Christmas is suddenly becoming mixed blessings!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter Wonderland

It’s all about winter this year …. Winter everywhere … snow where there never has been any …. Mounds of snow in places …. Lack of snow in others.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love winter.   Now I know for those of you in Ontario's snowbelt who are probably looking at four meters of the stuff at the end of this storm, you may not agree with me....however I do just love winter!

I love the softly falling snow as it piles and mounds in drifts….. I love the howling winds as it blows snow all over obliterating vision and closing roadways. I love the crisp cold …. The real minus zeros … you know down below the minus 20’s.  I love Arctic blizzards. I love to hear the snow crunch under my boots, to climb snowy hills and toboggan down on my backside …. And yes, I did just that a few years ago with my niece and her youngsters. They had toboggans I had my behind.   I love trekking frozen landscapes where access without frozen ground is not so easy. 

I love to shovel the snow and feel the exhilaration of exercise well won. Just love the way cheeks turn red, love to inhale the cold, cold air. Climbing up hillsides with the snow waist deep …. Building snowmen taller than we could reach. Cutting blocks from wind hardened drifts to build snowforts,  making snow angels, playing pie tag in stamped out circles on the snow.  I will always be a child in winter.

The range of blues, pinks and yellows found in snowy landscapes cannot be found at anytime of year …. And it all depends on the lighting and time of day.

I liked to share some winter pictures taken by my sister near Owen Sound last year after a one evening snowfall.  Nothing perhaps to what some of you are currently experiencing ... strictly for enjoyment.

 Twigs .... just twigs weighted down.  Truly a 'marshmallow world'.
 Looking out over the hillsides near Owen Sound  - You can feel the silence.
What can I say .... just a picture postcard.

Now how about this .... a leafless weeping willow tree in my sister's sideyard.

I look out the bedroom window
Smoke curls from chimneys in the air
Winter sun just rising with a pale
Glistening glow... everywhere.
I watch the myriad snowy diamonds
change from blue to yellow to white
I watch the snowy colours twinkle
To emeralds bright with evening glow and night
As I ski through forests silent
Surrounded by mountains of white
I stop and listen to the silence
And allow it to lighten my spirit
This winter landscape
Pristine and pure and bright
                                                        Winter snow

It engulfs my very being
Absorbs my very soul
Fills me with wonder and awe
I am blessed to share this silent world
My senses newly awaken to
the wonders that surround
Alone in this boisterous wintery world                                                     

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Painterly Approach

 Can you define painterly for me?  What exactly is painterly?  As I understand it 'painterly' means being able to identify the artist's hand on the work of art.

I've been advised that art buyers are attracted to the 'painterly' works of art and that perhaps I need to become more 'painterly in my approach. 

Okay so here I am trying to get painterly. Without too much success at the moment I think. Are large gobs of paint on the canvas considered to be the best painterly approach?  I tried that and didn't like what was happening so smeared those about.  All right then .... how about direct applications of colour in quick swabs?  I tend to mix colours on the canvas better than on the palette so the quick swabs weren't quite working either.

Perhaps for me the answer is the palette knife, something like the second painting included here. 

I will struggle with this a bit more.  I prefer to meld all edges and colours on my canvas; that seems to work best for me.  However ... an afternoon of 'painterly' in pursuit!

Anyway, another work in progress ... trying to get painterly!

Don’t know. What is painterly?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter - Luck of the Draw

I've been receiving emails and reading blogs from our European artists.  Many of them are enduring a winter such as they have never experienced.  And I do wish them well and good luck bearing through their winter encounters.   It must be terrible having to cope with a situation like a freezing winter and feeling inadequately prepared.  My heart goes out to them.

However, I may have to soon move to Europe to enjoy the winter I am hoping for …..the attached picture is the amount of snow received here.

Standing with a store owner this morning at 5:30 we were debating which country could best use the services of a snowplow going down our road. Visualize this if you will - The snow in the middle of the road had been blown aside from passing traffic …. So there was no snow to be removed. Yet down the road goes this snowplow … hell bent for leather with a blade at least 7 to 8 feet wide and deeper than I am tall at 5’4”. But, yes we are prepared and waiting, oh, how I am waiting for snow!

They are snowed in to the north of here; roads are treacherous , snowed in to the east and west and south …. Even Buffalo is recovering for an avalanche of snow.  But no, in this little pocket of ‘banana belt’ where I live … this is it …. A half a dozen flakes.

And it is indeed the luck of the draw because I so appreciate fourteen feet of snow, howling arctic winds and –minus 20 to 30 degrees....or colder!

Perhaps on this side of the pond we know what challenges winter can blow in and we are well prepared. I have always delighted at being ‘snowed in’!

One of best ‘sleep overs’ with my children was when our hydro went down. We lit the cast iron Franklin stove in the recreation room and hauled out our camping cookware and sleeping bags. Meals were cooked on the stove top and coffee brewed. With a freezer full of food and plenty of firewood we hunkered down for the two day duration … and at night we curled in our sleeping bags, lit candles and by the firelight glow told ghost stories. Now who could ask for anything more!

My sister lived in the Bruce Peninsula area and for those of you who live near Highway 21 you will know what winters are like along the shores of Lake Huron. My brother-in-law had a backup generator which had occasions to use. One winter he had to climb out his window in order to clear snow from doorways. That same winter my niece took ill and the community organized a snowmobile run to take her to hospital as the snow plows were stuck and could not clear the roadways.   Although the run was abandoned when a nurse in the village, who couldn't get out to work, was found and she administered the medical aid needed. 

So to all you who are snowed in, I say take a moment to enjoy…in time to come you relish the memory of your ‘worst winter’ and relive the moments of being close together with others and sharing with those in need.  It is truly amazing the open armed assistance one will encounter during disastrous times ... and also amazing at how many lovely memories one can store up for remembrance.