Tuesday, March 30, 2010

One Year!

Today is my one-year anniversary of blogging and painting!

The two go hand-in-hand for me and have changed my life in ways I find hard to put into words. My blogging started last year with this post and my first four encouraging comments that sent me on my way...

But there are not many people who know the story of how I suddenly started making art and today I want to share it with you all. I've been living with Daniel, a brilliant artist, for 25 years and while I sometimes wanted to be more creative, I never thought I wanted to paint.

In March of 2009, I was talking with an art professor at Daniel's school, who asked me if I was also an artist. I replied: "Oh, no, I'm not." The moment the words were out of my mouth, I knew they were not true for me anymore. It was that sudden and it totally surprised me. The very next day, I raided Daniel's art supply closet and started painting my blog banner, which was my very first painting.

At the same time this sudden urge to paint and create was born, I also KNEW that I had to write about it and to do so publicly. I wanted to start a blog to document my creative journey. I was as surprised by this as my friends and family must have been. In fact, I was sure some of them would think I'd lost my mind, which is why I didn't tell most of them about my blog until it was well under way and had a little bit of momentum.

I thought I'd blog to simply record my journey. Here is what I didn't expect:

❧ that my blog would become an integral part of my day
❧ that I'd forge deep and lasting friendships through my blog
❧ that I'd find such an incredible community of mutual support, love, and encouragement
❧ that I am able to write in a way that people like to read
❧ that my dad would become my No. 1 fan (aside from Daniel, of course)
❧ that some people dear to me hardly ever read my blog and others I never thought would be interested, check it every day
❧ that I'd start looking at everything differently, always wondering if it would make a good picture to share with you all or an interesting subject to post about
❧ that you are always on my mind, that I'd care so deeply about your lives, and that I'd happily share in your joys and keenly feel your pain
❧ that I'd be so affected by the death of one of our dear blogging friends
❧ that I'd learn so much and find so much inspiration from all my new friends around the world
❧ that our house would slowly start getting filled with not just our art, but also yours
❧ that I'd inspire others to start their creative journeys or to start blogging
❧ that I'd have so much fun both with my art and blogging and that the two will be forever inextricably linked

To say I am grateful to you would not fully describe how I feel about this year. I am humbled and deeply touched by your friendship, your love and the support you have given me in the over 5,000 comments you have left, the e-mails you have sent, the notes you have mailed and the gifts you have bestowed on me. I feel immense love for all of you!

Since my blogging and my art are so firmly connected, just a little bit about my art this last year. Since I started painting one year ago, I have created 83 pieces of art. Of those 83, all have of have been extremely fun to make, but the following seven paintings changed the way I view myself.
They seemed to paint themselves ...
and my soul in the process.
With each one of them -
I am showing them here from the most recent to the earliest -
I started considering the possibility that I might have a talent.
Now, when someone asks me what I do, I don't hesitate when I tell them that I am an artist.
Thank you for your constant encouragement, support and love. Thank you for accompanying me on my journey! And thank you for allowing me to accompany you on yours!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Savannah and New Projects

Yesterday morning was simply beautiful (the afternoon turned out a bit stormy) and we decided it was a good time for an outing to historic downtown Savannah. We packed Winslow in the car and off we drove...
We wanted to see what was blooming already. Downtown Savannah is always a little ahead of us who are living closer to the coast. We found wisteria,
lady banks roses,
and a pretty little rock garden.
Savannah is filled with gorgeous squares, perfect to sit and look around, to read or to eat your lunch,
beautiful garden or passage gates,
weathered doors,
well-cared for house fronts,
romantic historic homes framed by majestic live oaks,
and carriages pulled by grand looking horses.
Our ultimate destination yesterday was Forsythe Park.
I wanted to get a look at the new concert space and cafe, housed in the newly renovated fort. It'll be a perfect place for outdoor concerts!
In Forsythe Park, a few azaleas were already blooming,

as well as this little shamrock,
a beautiful pink bush I don't know by name,
ornamental cherry trees,

and redbud trees.
The park was filled with families with children, people walking their dogs, or some just sitting on a bench,
or lounging on the grass.
Winslow thought it was time to visit the new cafe. We sat outside, chatted with numerous people and knew instantly that this will be one of our new favorite places to visit...
Ok, change of subject! Look at those books I got at our public library the other day.
Now, I am waiting for some of this
and some of this to arrive and I foresee hours of fun new projects!
Some people like to focus on one thing only forevermore. I need variety, even in my creative endeavors. How about you?!

But don't worry, I'm still painting, knitting, crocheting, cooking, and baking. There's time for a little bit of everything...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Let There Be Cake!

Ta-da! The finished Chocolate Cherry Angel Food Cake! It was (and still is) delicious!!
The lengthy recipe is from the Moosewood Book of Desserts (wonderful cookbook!) and I actually found the recipe published online here.
It was my very first angel food cake and I was quite nervous that it wouldn't turn out, especially since I only had a bundt cake pan and not the traditional angel food cake pan. It came out of the oven looking perfect.
Then the most scary part! Turning the pan upside down (I was so afraid the cake might fall out and I'd have to make chocolate cherry trifle) and allowing it to cool on the neck of a bottle.
The cream cheese and cherry filling was easy to make and delicious and the final assembly fairly easy.
However, the glaze made from melted chocolate and cherry juice sort of globbed on, which is why we had to prettify the cake with pansies and violas. They sort of distracted from the brown in brown look...

Next time, I think we'll use a little more cherry juice in the glaze to thin it just a little. And, if we make the cake only for adults, we thought it would be good sprinkling the bottom layer of the cake with just a little bit of kirsch. I guess it's because the taste of the cake reminded us of Black Forest cake...
I had fun decorating the dinner table with a few recent finds from the thrift store - the pretty embroidered table cloth and the silver candle holder.
I love that tiny vase with the violets, and the shells from the beach.
Dinner was delicious and the company delightful!
I hope you are all having a restful weekend! I am planning to visit your blogs in the next couple of days...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Garden Developments

This is the time of year we are constantly walking through the garden to see what's growing and what's starting to bloom. Here are yesterday's updates:
Our fig tree is growing new leaves and perfect little figs,
Our ornamental pear tree is growing leaves, but the flowers are still quite pretty,

our azaleas are finally getting ready to bloom, about two weeks behind schedule,
and our huge bushes of rosemary only have these few flowers. For some reason they grow like weeds and smell oh so good, but rarely bloom in our garden.
Now, here is the other side of our spring here in the South: falling leaves! We still aren't used to it looking like fall in our backyard when it's actually spring. But as soon as the live oaks start growing their new leaves, they lose their old ones. They are always green, but cycle through leaves nonetheless. So, come spring I still get confused. People will start burning leaves in their yards and I start dreaming of the coming winter and getting hungry for soup. I keep having to remind myself that we are heading for summer, not winter!
And now a little peek into our wren nest. Mama wren had flown off and I took a quick photo and discovered four perfect little eggs. How sweet is that?!
As I am writing this (yesterday afternoon), the cake is not yet completely done, so I'll show you the photos tomorrow. I've tasted a little of everything as I was making it and it's going to be delicious!

Thanks for all your visits and comments, which are, as usual, highlights of my day!