Friday, January 31, 2014

Self Portrait (cont.)

I've been doing some more work on my charcoal self-portrait (you can see the beginnings of it here). This was done from life - looking in a mirror. There were some parts where I had to trick my mind into being quiet. When it came to the ears, I caught myself thinking: "Oh, no, ears are so hard to draw." I actually wished I still had long hair to cover them...
But ears are no different to draw than a mouth or a book or a cup. It's just shapes of shadow and light. Actually I worked on the ears a little more last night and changed them slightly, but haven't taken any more photos of the drawing since.
I think I'm done with the charcoal part of it. I think it even though it doesn't look like me exactly (I think it looks like a younger version of me), I can tell it's supposed to be me.
I drew this on canvas and sprayed it with fixative so that I can now add some color to it and turn it into a painting. I'm not yet sure how, but I think once I get started, I'll figure it out. And of course I'll share my progress with you all...

Wishing you a color-filled and happy day!


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Baby, it's cold outside!

Dear friends! We are cold here in the South! Not really THAT cold, but we aren't used to it. And some of us Northern transplants aren't used to it anymore! Add to that houses that aren't built for the cold and outside heating units that don't like the freezing rain and you can understand that we are ready for warmer weather again.
Yesterday I gingerly crept outside in the front yard (our back porch was and still is a sheet of ice) and snapped a couple of picture of the little icicles hanging from the plants. It was a weird sound when the wind moved through the trees - as though they were made of glass. Luckily, today it will start warming up a little and by the weekend we will be completely thawed out.
And while we all (in this part of the world) wait for Spring, I thought I'd show you some more pictures of places we encountered on our last cruise, where it was very warm and beautiful!
Where the waters were clear and turquoise.
Where the colors were beautiful and inviting.
And where the wide open vistas were inspiring!
I always find that going to different places, taking a voyage, even a road trip clears my head and fills it with new idea. And with possibilities.
I had that thought last night right before falling asleep - one has to allow the possibility for new things to happen.
Last week someone mentioned to me that they couldn't draw a stick figure if they tried. Six years ago, that we me saying that. And when you believe it, it is absolutely certain.
One day I found a blog of someone creative and that changed everything for me. She was a crafter and an artist, and seeing her creative projects, I thought: "I think I might be able do something like that."
And that was it. The tiny space that allowed for the possibility of new things to happen. And what happened after that and during the last five years has been amazing for me.
Being in the portrait class now, I was watching the teacher do a demo on the first day and I thought: "I can do that - just follow the shadows." And when I tried it, I could. It wasn't as good as the teacher's, but it was a fantastic beginning for someone new at this skill.
And now that I've experienced this phenomenon on so many levels, there really is no end to what could be possible.
I have recently made the allowance that maybe I can write after all. Not just that, but that I actually enjoy it. After years of saying to myself: "You can't write. You are a numbers girl," I find that suddenly the words are pouring out of me.
I find myself writing stories in my mind and on the computer. If they ever amount to anything, who knows, but they were there and just waiting to be invited to the creative party.
It makes me realize how much I haven't allowed into my life because of blanket statements of not being able to do certain things. Some people say that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I'm starting to think that that is true.
I still catch myself seeing something beautiful someone has made (the other day it was a gorgeous quilt) and thinking: "I could never do that." That's not really true. I have a sewing machine, I can learn, I have an eye for color, I love fabric, etc. I could do it. But I don't want to invest the time right now. That's much closer to the truth.
And it's a statement that allows for the possibility of new things coming into my life again and again.
Ok, enough with the deep thoughts. Weren't these photos gorgeous?! Daniel took all of them. This sampling was mostly from Curaçao, a place we have now been to a couple of times and could visit again and again. There are many more pictures and I'll share them little by little as the year goes on.
Oh, look at that: capris pants. As I sit here bundled up with the heater going, the humid heat of the Caribbean is sounding pretty good right about now...
I hope some of the warmth in these photos reached you and made your day a little brighter!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Yesterday was a cold day! Blustery, gray, rainy and promising to get colder and worse. So Winslow and I headed out to Fort Pulaski knowing that icy conditions would make it impossible for today.
We were the only ones out there and it was beautiful
Winslow loved it! The colder the better.
And I kept having to stop to snap a picture or two.
I love this kind of dormant landscape.
The colors of winter in the South where the green never goes away fully.
By the time we got home, I was windblown and wet from the rain... and fully awake!
Later in the day, I received a used copy of this cookbook in the mail - it is excellent! I've made a few recipes from it (tried it out from the library first) and they were all delicious - and healthy.
I also decided I needed some new colorful dishcloths and knitted those two while sitting by the fire. It was beyond cozy!
I started the fire with pinecones from our yard and tried to get a picture of one of them that still kept it's shape, but was all burnt out and just glowing. I couldn't get it into focus (it was too hot close up), but still like how it came out.
Today, we are expecting sleet and even some snow (very unusual for this part of the country!) for most of the day, which means another cozy day is on the menu chez Powers...

Wishing you much warmth and coziness. Stay warm, everyone!!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Of Cookbooks and Good Meals...

For a long time now I have had a love affair with cookbooks. And with cooking. And baking for that matter.
I am one of those people who actually reads cookbooks. I can read a recipe and I know how it will taste and if we'll enjoy it. I also know when I read it how I can alter it if I don't have all the ingredients.
But it's more than that. Many cookbooks transport me to a different world, a different culture - like this one I just checked out at our library. The recipes are as intriguing as the photos are beautiful!
Some people cook only to feed themselves and their families and many people I know don't cook for themselves at all when they are on their own. I do. I get the same pleasure from cooking these meals as I do from eating them.
This meal of wheat berries with swiss chard (the yummy caramelization is from added pomegranate molasses) and little turkey burgers (with grated zucchini, mint, cilantro and other spices) was easy and fun to make and delicious to eat - with plenty of leftovers!
I cook to feed my soul as much as our bellies. And I cook because it's another creative outlet for me, one that engages all of my senses.
But don't get me wrong. It's not just about the cooking - I LOVE to eat, to try new tastes and old favorites, fancy meals as well as comfort food.

This cookbook is a keeper - that's for sure!

I with you a beautiful day filled with food that nourishes your body as well as your soul!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Looking Closely

I often notice that I find equal inspiration in looking out at wide vistas like the marshes around here as I do in closely observing the small and gems of nature.
Isn't it breathtaking? Condensation on berries on a warm foggy morning. Such fleeting beauty!

I'm linking this to:
 Click here for other inspiring photos!

Wishing you a beautiful day!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Things We Hang On To

The other day I was looking for some photos Daniel needed. I went through our three photo bins and didn't find them. Then I went through the closet in my studio and took out everything. Still no photos.
Well then I continued on the cleaning spree upstairs. I went through my art supplies and weeded out everything old that didn't work anymore, little snippets of paper I was never going to use, pens that were dried up, etc. And then on to the book shelves and I sorted out many books I will never read again and will take to the thrift store.
I kept thinking repeatedly: "I can't believe I've been hanging on to this for so many years." And then it occurred to me that really, it's the internal things I hang on to that wreak havoc in my life.
For example, all through my life people have made innocuous comments to me about some aspect about myself that I am sure they forgot about after a few minutes, but I internalized them and still carry them with me.
Many people just shake these things off, but I wasn't that kind of girl. I was extremely sensitive and I took everything to heart. And for many years I believed others' opinions of who I was over my own. I was very insecure.
Even though I've grown out of that and gotten to know myself, I realize that I still carry some of that old stuff with me.
And now I'm finding that I have to revise some of those old beliefs. A teacher told me that I wasn't good at art, that I wasn't creative and I believed it. Another teacher told me that writing was not my thing and I believed that as well.
I used to believe that I was messy and never finished anything I started. I'm starting to think that that's not true at all anymore.
I used to be convinced that I never stuck with anything. When I was writing my last post, I realized that I've been blogging regularly for five years. And that I've been painting for five years - with no end in sight! Add to that that I've been married for nearly 25 years and I think that view of myself is not accurate at all!
All photos were taken on our walk this morning. It was beautiful!! 
Maybe it's time to let go of the things I hang on to, some of the physical ones and the internal ones. Time to make space for the new!

Wishing you a fresh start into the new week!!