Thursday, April 30, 2009

Backyard Treasures

Our backyard is our potential "secret garden," but somehow it's hard to get much of anything to grow and thrive. We live in a subtropical climate with lots of summer heat, the backyard is completely shaded from large trees, and the soil is pretty much pure sand. Definitely a challenge! But still there are pockets of beauty with a promise of enchanted forest gardens to come. Our autumn fern in the picture above is coming back strong this year, as are our oak leaf hydrangeas, which are blooming for the first time!
The previous owners of our house left a few of these old windows in the back yard and we love them. I think we are going to hang window flower boxes beneath them.
This St. Francis statue was given to us as a wedding present 19 years ago and has graced every one of our gardens since! Here, he is collecting Spanish moss in proper Savannah fashion...
We planted the ivy in our back porch flower boxes a little over two years ago and can't believe how it keeps growing. It has even rooted on the ground, which is wonderful and gives us hope for more green to come!
As you can see, we have pockets of lush green and hopefully much more to come as our garden becomes more established and we add more an more plants...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Angel - Revised and Complete

Thank you all for your very wonderful comments on my angel! Still last night, I took her and changed her. I took out the "heart" word and added "light" and "love." (Click on the image if you'd like to see her larger.) After that, she looked happy and complete!

It's interesting to me how a painting just doesn't quite seem "right." And when I finally (sometimes after Daniel's sage advice) change one little thing, the whole piece sort of comes together. Quite amazing!

Wishing you lots of light and love!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I've been working most of the day on this pretty angel and love how she looks, especially her sweet face. She went through many lives and color combinations before I settled on these colors. I haven't varnished it yet because I am not sure that she is finished (I am not sure at all about the "heart" word on the left). I'll let her sit overnight and see, but wanted to post her as is tonight. If any of you have any suggestions or if you think she is done, please let me know! I always appreciate your feedback as I am learning to paint!!

I did this painting on a piece of wood I found in our garage and was going to paint a really tall bird on. Instead I did the background and then felt like painting this angel instead. Funny how that works...

Aside from her, I am working on a piece that will be a special gift for a birthday in my family and prepared another image-transfer background for another painting I will hopefully get to work on tomorrow. I can't believe it took me all these years to start making art... Now I feel like I am making up for lost time - it's all I want to do anymore! So much fun!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Today's Garden Finds

Our amaryllis are finally blooming and aren't they magnificent?! This is the first time we've lived in a climate mild enough where we can grow them in our garden and we immediately planted these. The amaryllis was one of my mother's very favorite flowers, and I have to think of her whenever I see them blooming around here.

Now, the gerbera daisies in the following pictures were our biggest surprise so far this year. We had them in flower pots last year and thought they were done when they died back in the winter.

Well, as you can see, not only did they come back, but they are flowering brightly and filling our hearts with joy every time we catch a glimpse of them!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lady in Pink (& Illustration Friday: Theater)

Here she is, my Lady in Pink! She took off her mask and can feel her true self emerging! As she watches the dragonflies, she can feel her own spirit starting to soar...

I've also decided to enter my work (as often as I can) for Illustration Friday's weekly theme. This week's topic is Theater, and she still looks to me like she could be on her way to the Theater!

For those of you who have known me for a long time, you know that I am my own worst critic (an affliction I think I share with many others), and nobody is more surprised than me how much I like the art that I am creating. Or is it creating me? Probably a little of both...

I worked on a piece of watercolor paper Daniel didn't need (one of the benefits of having an artist husband is that I can do my "shopping" in his studio) with a combination of paper collage and acrylics.

I enjoy painting on different surfaces and seeing how they react. The more absorbent surfaces have certainly been more challenging for me. Next, I think I am going to try working on a piece of wood. Stay posted...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lady in Pink - Work in Progress

Ok, here's another first for me. My first figure painted with acrylics. She's not finished yet, but I wanted to post her as she is becoming.

Again, just like the pastel face (wow, faces are difficult!), she looks so serious - but also a little anticipatory. Maybe she's getting ready for the theater or a grand party. I used some sheet music (Schubert) and an old handwritten German cookie recipe for her skirt and love how they show through.

Something is still missing, but I don't quite know what. Some embellishment on her blouse maybe? Something more interesting in the background? I'll let her rest until tomorrow and maybe it'll come to me by then. If you have any suggestions, let me know...

And thanks to all of you for your wonderful encouragement and suggestions on my previous posts! I love it!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Two Firsts!!

Well, today I did two things for the first time and I can't believe I ended up with something that I can actually post. I fully expected to have a few practice pieces that would go straight to recycling...

I have had this box of Prismacolor NuPastels for a long time and occasionally I open it up and look at all the pretty colors and then close it again. Pastels intimidate me -- they seem so fleeting and so hard to control. But today, I took a little piece of sample paper (not a good one for pastels, really, but it worked ok) and drew my very first face ever - with pastels! She looks a little serious, but I really like her!

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This 'n' That

Take a look at some of the locally grown, organic bounty that arrived at our house on Monday! It's all of incredible quality, and because so many of us are ordering together, the prices are better than the conventionally grown produce at the grocery store. I am so happy about this!! And perfect timing with Earth Day being today!

Yesterday I baked some more whole grain bread with cracked wheat, sunflower and sesame seeds and couldn't believe how beautifully it rose. It truly doubled in size!!
And the finished loaves are beautiful...and delicious!
Also yesterday, I went to a great panel discussion on creative blogs organized by SCAD Style, featuring Katie Runnels of The Constant Gatherer, Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge, and Carrie Nieman Culpepper of Culture Fix. It was hugely informative and I learned a lot! It's a whole new world for me...

And now I leave you with some photos of nature in our little neighborhood - pouring rain, wildlife and a couple of flowers.

Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Egret Preening

This is my second painting in the egret series. If you want to take a look at the first one, you can do that here. This one is preening and I think he turned out quite well. It's definitely more challenging for me to paint the image rather than doing an image transfer, but it's also immensely satisfying! I did use image transfer for the background, which you can check out here.

Yesterday I spotted some pieces of wood in the garage and am thinking of using one for another bird painting. I have never painted on wood before and am quite eager to try.

Last, but not least, I want to thank all of you wonderful readers for your kind and encouraging comments! It means the world to me!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Never Alone

I love this picture of my dad and his sister when they were young. There's another version of it where they are smiling, but I really like this one! They were close growing up and have remained friends all these years. Actually, we are all really close and I feel extremely lucky in that.

Here again, I did an image transfer (can you tell I am enamored by those?), but this time onto a sample pad of Strathmore paper for acrylics. This was my first time working on an absorbent surface, which brought with it some surprises. The final piece makes me smile...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Perfect Evening

After our great day yesterday, Daniel made a fire in our chiminea on our back porch and we spontaneously decided to have a simple dinner of hotdogs grilled over the fire (of course, Winslow was hoping one of the hotdogs would fall off the fork for him...), and then to sit and enjoy the mild air, the birds singing and the sun going down.
It was the perfect ending to a perfect day!!

A Perfect Day

Today was a day of neighbors, planting, sharing, and baking bread. The weather was simply gorgeous and everyone was outside in our little neighborhood, which meant we got to catch up on what's been going on. Several of our neighbors have started ordering organic fruit, vegetables and dairy and Daniel and I joined their group today. We will get our first delivery on Monday and are so excited!

Have I mentioned that we have the best neighbors ever?! Last night, one of our neighbors and a dear friend brought over a huge piece of the most beautiful (and delicious) strawberry rhubarb pie. And today, another neighbor shared three different kinds of wheat berries with us.
I immediately ground some of the hard red spring wheat and made two loaves of bread, one to keep and one to share with this neighbor and her family. (Did I tell you she also gave us some "real" organic butter? Yummmm!)

Add to that a gorgeous walk in the sun, planting of vegetable seeds, painting a little, and spending time with Daniel -- the perfect day! I hope yours was just as wonderful!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Little Background...

I am enamoured with backgrounds at the moment! Almost more so than with the actual finished art. I like the process of it and with the image transfer method I learned here, I really enjoy the element of surprise. Here's my latest experiment. The colors came out really bright (even brighter than in this scan). I am working again on a 5x7 clay board, but this time it's textured, not smooth.
After I looked at it for a while, I went over it with some color, painted, wiped, blotted and even took off some of it with alcohol and this is the result.I like it! I like the texture, the abstract shapes, and the colors blending and shining through. Now, I am going to sit with it for a while and see what it wants to become.

I've operated most of my life from a left-brained and logical perspective, always thinking, always trying to figure things out logically, rationally. In the last few years, I've really worked hard to develop my intuitive and creative side, to achieve some balance, and unlearn many things I had accepted as true over the years.

And this is how I am working with my art - I am approaching it from my intuition and my emotions and I love the results. There's not much planning from the outset. A color gets my attention, an image comes to me, I suddenly think of paper to use, my fingers seem to know what to do, and when I am done, I am in awe of this creative process...

I'd be interested to hear how you work. Do you put much planning into your art or do you start somewhere interesting and see where it takes you? Or maybe a combination of planning and spontaneity?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Postcards from Europe

I am extremely lucky in that I have a wonderfully supportive family, and even though we live far apart from each other, we mange to stay close thanks to the wonders of modern technology. But what means the most to me are the photos my dad sends on a regular basis. When he goes anywhere, he never goes without his camera and as soon as he gets home, he sends me pictures of anything from family celebrations, my sweet nephews at play, my sister, dear friends, his garden in bloom, their dog doing tricks, to frequent trips to the market (which is one of my favorite places in the world!). So, yesterday, he and my sister went to the market and he sent these pictures of Daniel's and my favorite stands: the Dutch cheese stand (above) and the Mediterranean stand (below). In can almost smell the perfume of olives and garlic (I am not quite so fond of the smell of the cheese)! Mountains of white asparagus, cut that very morning - ahhh, we are missing another season of asparagus and freshly picked strawberries! My mouth is watering as I write this! Actually, I am almost drooling...
And as if the photos from my dad weren't enough to make us dream about a visit, our dear friend, Raina, sent us these stunning pictures from Amsterdam showing off their legendary tulips in full bloom!

I feel so grateful for our family and friends in our "other" home across the Atlantic who share their experiences and photos and therefore never feel far away!

Little Girl Dreams

I love the way this turned out and it has special meaning for me. My mother died many years ago when I was 21 and I often wish I had been able to know her as a woman in my adult years. I recently came across this photo of her when she was a little girl - a photo I always loved. I wish I had been there to find out what she was dreaming about in that moment.

With gel medium, I did an image transfer of it that worked great! I combined that with some snippets of her handwriting (taken from my favorites of her cookie recipes) and a little music because...well, because there should always be music!

The finished art is something that tugs at my heart and fills me with tenderness.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Many Layers

As I am working on my next painting on a 6x6 canvas, I am completely enamored by the painting of the background. I used to think that background was not as important as the "actual" painting, but I am finding that preparing the background is incredibly satisfying to me.

I love working with all the layers and seeing what emerges and develops. There's an element of planning, yet also many surprises every time. And every time, I feel like I am painting the many layers of my own self.

This is by no means finished, but I already like it so much in this stage that I wanted to share it. I have plans for this piece, but we'll see what plans it has for me. Can't wait to share the finished painting with you all!!

I also want to thank all you lovely people and artists who come and leave encouraging comments on my blog. That's something I didn't expect when starting this and it warms my heart every time!

And last, but certainly not least, I am so thrilled that my dear artist friend Linda Rae has started her own blog. Her art is beautiful and her insights inspiring! Be sure to visit her here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Do you remember this image transfer background I had posted a few days ago? Well, today, I worked on it some and came up with this little 5x7 painting, which I truly love. I can't believe I made this...

I am calling it "Poise" as I always admire the poise and grace of the egrets around here. I've been seeing lots of them lately and must be - as my good friend, Beth, commented on an earlier post - in my egret phase. So, be prepared to see a few more. They fascinate me with their graceful beauty...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Little Treasures

I am usually a big picture kind of person, which can be a real gift. However, I so admire people (like my very talented artist husband, Daniel) who notice the beauty that lies in the details, the little things. So, yesterday on a walk we took with Winslow, I tried to pay attention to little treasures and here is some of the beauty I noticed...

A tiny little weed
A dash of color
Gnarly beauty
A lizard greeting the warm sun
Soft love in a rockA heart on the ground
And a patient vigil
Now I am going to head back to my studio to find that same beauty in the art I create. Hopefully, I'll have something new to post very soon!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Wishing you all a wonderful day filled with family, friends, love, celebration, and good food!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Beautiful Walk...

We had a warm and sunny day today and even though we were both very busy all day - I baked two gorgeous cakes (well, one is gorgeous and the other I had to cover up with chocolate glaze...) and Daniel worked in the garden all morning - this afternoon, we packed Winslow in the car and went out to Fort Pulaski for a walk.

As is so often the case, we saw so much beauty and also some great wildlife! This egret posed for us beautifully in all kinds of spots...

It was great to feel the warmth of the sun again!
A mystery plant we finally got close enough to (Daniel had to cross some muddy water on a log to get to it) to take a photo. Does anyone know what this is? (I think we figured it out - looks like it's a Solanum Linnaeanum of the nightshade family. It has little thorns all over and is apparently quite toxic.)
I love Daniel's hand shadow in this photo. Looks like a little shadow puppet show...

I loved all the colors on these old bricks.
I've been having lots of dreams about dragons and my sweet sister-in-law, Patti, pointed out how alligators are very dragon-like. This one was definitely enjoying the sun!!

I hope the warm rays of the sun reach all of you on this beautiful Easter weekend!