Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Illustration Friday - Pattern

I've been busy painting again - finally! - and have painted a number of small women portraits. My goal was to paint fairly quickly, going with the flow and not over-thinking things. That's how I love to paint best - from that place of intuition and connection.

For this painting I didn't use molding paste. Instead I found myself applying a pattern in paint, making it perfect to enter for this week's Illustration Friday theme.

I hope I'll have time to visit your blogs tonight! I've missed you all and am so grateful you stop by my blog even if I have neglected yours!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Was Face to Face...

...with one of my biggest fears today, because today Daniel and I took a kayaking lesson! We live on the water here in Savannah and it is Daniel's big wish to kayak more often in our estuaries. We've kayaked before, but never really learned all there is to know in order to be safe on our own.

And as you all know, I am generally pretty cautious, but that's nothing compared to my fear of falling into and being under water. Now, mind you, I am not a bad swimmer, but there's something about finding myself suddenly under water, maybe losing my bearings that has me quite scared. So, reluctantly I agreed to kayaking lessons with Nigel at Savannah Canoe and Kayak, who was just wonderful!
One of the first things we had to do, after learning about the kayaks and how to paddle, was capsize and get out of the kayak - my biggest fear! I mean BIG! I was assured that nothing could happen and finally, with my agreement, Nigel helped me capsize in three feet of water. It was disorienting, I got some saltwater up my nose, it suddenly reminded me of a childhood memory of being overpowered by a huge wave and my dad hanging on to me for dear life, but I bopped up immediately, thanks to the life vest, and - after some coughing and sputtering - all was well!
After that, everything else seemed comparatively easy - well, except maybe the rescue operations, standing up in the kayak and turning around in it so we were sitting backwards. All of those things were designed to help us get used to the feeling of being in the boat and also to make sure we can get back in should we fall out. And we did all of them!

Aside from the exercises, we paddled across the Bull River from Tybee Island to Little Tybee Island into the marsh there - it was stunningly beautiful and the feeling of sitting right on the water was amazing! At one point Daniel said: "Dolphins!" and when I turned around there were four dolphins right by my kayak. It doesn't get much better than that!

Needless to say, aside from being under water, I loved it! We didn't take a camera because we knew we'd get very wet, so all the pictures you see above were taken three years ago when we did a fantastic kayaking trip to Little Tybee Island with my cousin, her friend, and Nigel (he's in the sleek black kayak).
Now a couple of other photos I wanted to share. Remember the day my egret print sold? On my walk with Winslow that morning, we saw this beautiful egret posing for us at the neighborhood pond!
And a couple of flowers still blooming in our yard. Fall is not quite here yet, but we are hopeful!
And finally tonight, when I let Winslow out, we had two little opossums visiting our flower box! Winslow was very intrigued, but left them alone after a while.
Today was a momentous day for me. I've been thinking a lot about deep seated fears that are out of proportion with what is actually happening. And this is my big one! Every day, I strive to live a more fearless life and approach everything from a feeling of love and curiosity, but sometimes it's harder than others!

I know I'll probably never throw myself into the water with total abandon like Daniel does (he actually likes it), but I am hoping that I will gradually learn that there's nothing to be afraid of.

I guess my hope is that I will learn to be comfortable with the thought of capsizing, knowing that I know everything I need to in order to be safe and get back into the boat, and that I'll be free to completely enjoy the gorgeous scenery we have here, sharing those moments with Daniel, and observing the birds, fish, and dolphins to my heart's content.

Have you had to overcome any big fears? And if so, how did you do it? I'd be interested in hearing about it!

P.S. Just because I haven't said it lately, I love all the comments you leave on my posts! They make me smile and warm my heart! Thank you!!

P.P.S. I am working on a new painting and hope to have something to show you really soon!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Much Is Happening!

It seems that there is a lot of movement suddenly - Much more activity both on eBay and Etsy. It seems to go in waves. So here's what's happening.

Last week, I sold a print of my egret, a painting I just love! It is on its way to the wonderful Tessa of AnAerialArmadillo in the UK. If you want to see incredibly colorful art and gorgeous photography mixed with beautiful words, make sure you visit her blog!

And today, I sold this lovely lady to a dear, dear friend in Texas. This painting is one of my very favorites and I am so happy it's staying in the family, so to speak. Looking at it again, it reminds me to add more texture to my paintings!
Also today, we sold one of Daniel's illustrations! This is an illustration he did for a spooky story in Spider Magazine (perfect timing with Halloween right around the corner). If you'd like to have a peak at some more of Daniel's exquisite illustrations check his eBay site here or his website here.
Daniel was out of town this weekend and I felt the need to knit and crochet warm scarves. I guess I'm trying to conjure up cooler temperatures. I love fall and summer just lasts so very long here! I've listed them in my new Etsy store for my knitting. I decided to keep my paintings and knitting/crocheting separate. I haven't transferred everything yet, but click here to take a look!

Now Daniel is back home and I have my little family together again. While I am typing this, we are watching the Ken Burns series on our National Parks and am eternally grateful to be living in the midst of all this beauty and to have seen so many of the parks already! Actually, there are many, many things I am very grateful for tonight - among them all of you!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Canoeing in Okefenokee Swamp

I had a few comments yesterday about the Okefenokee (don't you just love that word?!) Swamp canoeing trip Daniel and I did in March of 2008. So, I thought I'd post a few more pictures and a couple of videos.

Now, those of you who've been reading my blog for a while know that I am pretty much a chicken (no offense to chickens everywhere). I grew up in a country where people are very cautious and in a family that was more than cautious. Which means that I am not only a worry wart, but also have the uncanny ability to always imagine the worst possible scenario, which can make me very fearful.
So, who knows what possessed me when Daniel suggested we canoe in the Okefenokee Swamp to see the alligators...
What struck me most was the calm and quiet of the dark waters. It made for incredible reflections, which I took pictures of at every turn.
We saw many alligators sunning themselves, all of them very docile and some of them coming quite close. This next one was so close that my hand was shaking a bit while taking his picture. He couldn't have cared less.
It was the perfect season to be canoeing there - still cool, but sunny, no mosquitoes yet, but hundreds and hundreds of butterflies. It was magical!
Now, at first I seemed to have trouble with the paddling. In my nervousness I mixed up how to paddle to turn right or left. So we landed in the bushes a few times, until Daniel figured out what I was doing. After that it was smooth sailing...
We did see lots of frogs, dragonflies and alligators, but only one tiny snake. I was imagining snakes hanging from the branches in bundles, so I was a little disappointed!

I loved the big and tall cypress trees!

Here a couple of videos for you. This first one is just the quiet of the little canal we were paddling on. It was so peaceful.

And in this next video you can actually see a gator swimming for a bit before it quietly disappears under the surface.

Even though I was nervous at first, I relaxed a ways into the trip and ended up really enjoying the six hours we spent on the water. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life!

And - in a weak moment - I committed to going again! (As I was just looking online about camping in the swamp, I came across a great article in the New York Times about just that. Click here to read it.)

I've had a busy couple of days and not as much time to check on your blogs as I'd like! I will be back soon and can't wait to read what's new with you! In the meantime, thank you so much for all your wonderful comments! You make me smile every day!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Joy Diet - Chapter 1

Today will be a little bit of a different post. I decided to participate in the exploration of the book The Joy Diet by Martha Beck, hosted by Jamie Ridler on her blog The Next Chapter: The Joy Diet. We explore one chapter a week and then on Fridays blog about our experience. The book's title really spoke to me as I try very consciously to life a joyful life and to spread some of that joy to others.
This weeks topic was "Nothing," discussing the importance of doing nothing for at least 15 minutes a day. The idea is that when we quiet that chatter in our mind for just a little bit, we might be able to finally hear our souls speak to us. 15 minutes a day sounds easy, right? As someone who used to meditate frequently and still does so at times, I thought: "Piece of cake!" I couldn't have been more wrong.
I sometimes have phases where I can't seem to find my place and this week was one of those weeks. I couldn't settle down, felt restless and pulled in a million different directions. And that feeling got me even more agitated, being totally counter productive.
But then I noticed something important ... when I pick up the paint brush and paint, I enter that space of silence. For that hour or two or three, my ego takes a break and I enter into a space that is silent, colorful, intuitive, inspiring and incredibly energizing.
I dip into my center where everything is calm and inspiration while a painting is taking shape on the outside. I've said this many times since I started painting, but it is a most mysterious process that I cannot (and don't want to) analyze with my rational mind.
Some people feel that stillness when they sit and enter into silence, others feel it when in nature, when running, petting their cat, looking at a perfect flower, working in their garden, seeing a sunset, or entering into the creative spirit! To me the ways to connect with that deeper part of us are endless, what 's important is that we each find the way that works for us!

How do you get into the space where all is still, where inspiration speaks to you?
(All photos were taken at the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia where Daniel and I canoed with the alligators in March of 2008)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An Interview and an Award

Finally!! I received this award from the lovely Deborah of Midlife Poet (make sure to visit her beautiful blog) while we were on vacation and I just hadn't gotten around to posting about it.

Thank you Deborah! I feel so honored to be getting an award for creative blogging!! And, because I am pressed for time today and have such a hard time choosing amongst you anyway, I pass this on to all of you! Your creative blogs are my daily inspiration for my creative life. Thank you! I appreciate each and every one of you!!

Also, I was recently interviewed by Nathalie of Snowbell Jewelry. Nathalie is a very talented jewelry artist. We met on Twitter and I am so glad we did. Her blog is so much fun and quite informative, not only featuring fellow artists, but also books, recipes, travel photos and much more! If you want to read the interview, click here. Thank you, Nathalie!!

Ok, this is all for today. I have to get painting again so I'll have something new to show you, but first I have to finish the fingerless gloves, which are such fun to knit!!

I hope you are all having a good week so far!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Painting done!!

Well, friends, the commissioned piece is done and Joanne really likes it! It is a portrait of beautiful Joanne and her wonderful and unusual cat, Zigsa.

Because Joanne is a very talented illustrator (you can see her wonderful pieces on her blog), I was a little nervous about doing this painting for her. Ok, whom am I kidding? I was a lot nervous, but still when it came down to drawing the sketch and painting the final piece, I got so into the process that I forgot all about the nerves and just enjoyed it.

I did have a photo of Zigsa, but no photo of Joanne, just a wonderful elfin self-portrait she did of herself. I knew about her wavy hair, the color of it, the green of her eyes, and her bangs. I just went with that and hoped I'd somehow capture her look.

The first iteration of it had a solid dark blue background because I wasn't sure how much texture Joanne would like. Also, it seemed pretty busy already, so I didn't want to overload it. But Joanne was wonderful and said that she'd prefer one of my "halos" around the figures and some circles in the background. So, I got to play and really enjoyed that! I also added some light molding paste to the background to give it some texture.

I love it! Joanne loves it! What do you all think?

P.S. I know I said I'd blog about an award I received and will still do so. I also was interviewed on a blog today and will post about that as well. So much going on! Tonight, I'm in a little bit of a time crunch, so I'll bid you farewell for now. When I get a minute later, I'll visit all your inspiring blogs!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What I've been doing today...

I've had a request from one of my eBay customers for some fingerless gloves to match the scarf she just bought. So, I've been playing around trying to come up with a pattern I like. I have to knit it with much smaller needles, but still wanted the lacy look that the scarf has and I think I've achieved that.
The problem I am having is that the yarn has no elasticity at all. I have to make the glove big enough so it slides over the hand, but then it needs to be snug on the arm so it doesn't fall and bunch around the wrist. So far, no luck. I've ordered some black elastic thread to knit into the end of the glove, so it will be snug and I might decrease a little more through the middle.
Do any of you knitters out there have any suggestions?! Still, this is the first time I'm knitting something without a pattern and I've had the most fun experimenting with it!

Tomorrow, I'll have an award to pass on (I have been very remiss in that) and maybe I can show you the commission I've been working on. I hope you are having a great weekend!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Art again! (IF - Infinite)

As she gazed into her future, she realized that the possibilities were infinite!

I've been working on a commission and experimenting with some fingerless gloves at the request of someone who bought one of my scarves, so haven't been painting all that much that I can show you.

So, today, I sat down and painted all day. I am almost done with the commission, which I'll share as soon as it's done and I know that Joanne likes it. And I also painted this dreamy lady. I used lots of light molding paste (love that texture) on an 8 x 10 canvas.

I entered her into Illustration Friday for this week's theme of "infinite." Tomorrow, I'll have her available at my Etsy store (maybe even tonight if I can find the time).

Thank you all for your fun comments on our beach outings. I was especially amused by the comments about my accent in the video - I can really still hear my German accent, which most people don't detect at all. But when Jo suggested I had a southern twang, I told Daniel it was time to move away from here. Just kidding...we aren't going anywhere in the foreseeable future!

I hope you are all having a wonderful Friday!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

An Evening Stroll

Suddenly tonight, Daniel asked if I'd like to go to the beach for a little walk. At first I thought: "Oh, no, I have to make dinner and this wasn't at all what I had planned for tonight." I couldn't believe how hard it is sometimes for me to be spontaneous and I think it's getting worse as I get older.

So, we got in the car and, of course, had a wonderful time. The sunset was spectacular, the tide was very high, there were very few people at the beach, the air was perfect and the water warm.
Driving along the marsh toward the beach, we realized just how very high the tide was tonight!
Happy Daniel with his feet in the water...
A sandpiper walking with us much of the way.

Pelicans flying overhead.
Hilton Head in the distance.

I loved the detail on this old and battered shell.
Happy, happy...
And, as our good friend Beth says, our photo sets wouldn't be complete without one of our long-armed self-portraits. The wind always does weird things to my hair and the salt in the air makes my hair stay that way even after we get back in the car...
I've had a busy day running lots of errands and haven't gotten to visit your blogs or paint at all. Being back from our trip and Daniel starting to teach again this week has had us both trying to get lots of things done. Tomorrow I hope that everything will calm down and I'll be able to spend some time with you and with my paints!