Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mama Raccoon

As I already mentioned in a previous post, we have a raccoon nest high up in a tree next to our house and I take a peek to see what mama raccoon is up to as often as I can. Yesterday, I didn't see her all day. But this morning she was active and posed for my camera.
After being outside the nest for a while, she went back in head first.
She turned around on the inside and for a while all I could see was her ear.
And then she stuck her head out and looked left...
and right...
and got ready to leave once again.

She always stays close, but it looks like she needs a break from the babies once in a while. Especially as the temperatures heat up, it must get quite warm in the nest.

We've lived here for 11 years and see raccoons almost every day and we've never had an issue with them, which we are very grateful for. Can't wait to catch a glimpse of the babies!

Silke

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Stencils and Molding Paste

A couple of years ago I bought a handful of stencils ... and I keep forgetting that I have them! The other day I came across them while looking for something else and decided to experiment using molding paste with them.
One result you can see in this blog post from a few days ago.  And now again. I used the first stencil with molding paste and it worked beautifully.
After applying some paint I worked light molding paste (which I had tinted with acrylic paint) into two additional stencils.

The result is really fun and rather busy. It needs something else. Maybe a focal point.
I'm just not sure yet. Hopefully today will reveal the next step...

Silke

Monday, May 8, 2017

Evolution of an Abstract Painting

Abstract painting is an interesting thing for me. It requires much more patience than painting an animal or a human portrait. And knowing when it's "done" is a feeling rather than a conscious decision. For me it's the ultimate practice in letting go and surrendering to the process. And it's playful and FUN!
Here's where I started out. I applied light molding paste to the entire surface and then started with three colors plus white.
I could  have stopped there, but it just didn't feel complete. And then I started playing. I wanted more color and more mark making. The following photo shows the "almost finished" stage. I was almost there, but it needed more.
And then I arrived here. This feels balanced to me. I look at it and my eyes roam and observe and don't want more or less. It has depth and light and gorgeous color (much more stunning than the camera was able to capture)!

I wish you a colorful and playful start to your week!!

Silke

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Around the Garden

This is such an exciting time of the year because so much is happening in our garden every day! And the weather is still cool enough, which means I spend a good bit of time outside looking at everything. Later in the summer I basically hide in the air conditioning...

Last year, we planted a quince tree. It was just a stick, really, that then grew branches and leaves. This year, we had a few flowers and it looks like we are getting two quinces to grow, which is probably enough for the tree as it grows and gets established.
The oleander is blooming already and will hopefully continue to do so throughout the summer.
It's such a beautiful splash of color!
A few days ago, our jasmine started blooming and because it's cool enough to have the windows open, we can even smell its wonderful fragrance inside the house.  
While our "normal" hydrangeas aren't blooming yet, one of our oak leaf hydrangeas is sporting gorgeous flowers. The other two are in a different part of our yard and were really affected by the hurricane winds last fall. While they are growing and leafing out, they don't have flowers this year. We are happy they survived the storm!
Every year, Daniel plants a good number of annuals in pots which we have around our back porch and patios. One of my favorites this year is this impatiens with the filled flowers. They look like little roses.
Ahhhhh, the figs are growing! Our tree is loaded and I need to start collecting recipes! I'm sure we'll be making lots of jam and chutney again.
Mama raccoon has been fun to watch. Most of the time, we just see her ears.
But sometimes she will look out and stretch. Can't wait for the babies to get bigger and start peeking out of their nest.
The other day, I looked up to see what the raccoon was doing and saw a green heron sitting nearby. We hear them all the time, but they are usually well camouflaged in the leafy branches.
Tomorrow we are expecting storms but the weekend promises to be gorgeous again. Maybe I'll take some more photos then...

Happy Thursday, everyone!!

Silke

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Three Paintings in the Works

I'm always working on more than one painting at a time. Actually that goes for anything, really: knitting, crocheting, reading, etc.

The following painting is one I started a while ago. It's rather large and it has been sitting on my easel waiting for me to finish it. Sometimes I get intimidated at this stage in the painting when it's clear what I want to paint and I don't want to mess it up. One of these days, I'll get going again!
Yesterday, I played with more molding paste applied through a stencil, which turned out so beautifully. I am not quite sure where to go from here, but maybe today that'll become clear.
And here is the third piece in progress. Here I applied light molding paste, which has a more porous quality than the regular molding paste. Again, I'm not sure where this is going to go. Abstract pieces are so much harder than anything representational. At least for me. But also lots of fun because there are no rules.
I hope you will have a beautiful Tuesday!

Silke

Monday, May 1, 2017

Abstract Painting with Texture

I'm still painting in an abstract style and doing a lot of experimenting. Here, I first prepared the canvas with molding paste applied through a stencil.
As you can see, it gave me a lot of raised texture! Once dry, it was really fun to work on with high-flow acrylics.
Again, I limited my palette to three colors: phthalo turquoise, quinacridone magenta, and green gold - probably my three favorite colors! At the end I also added a tiny bit of iridescent pearl in some of the textured areas.
The result is a very vibrant and interesting painting.

I hope your start to the week is beautiful!

Silke

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Garden Wildlife

Daniel and I have a fairly small garden, and yet we have a lot of animals visiting every day. Maybe because we have eight large trees in our backyard alone.
A couple of weeks ago, we discovered that a raccoon had made her nest in one of the trees in our neighbor's yard. I'm sitting outside as I type this and I can see her looking out just like in the photo below.
Before we discovered the nest, we found one of her babies (a newborn) at the foot of the tree. After waiting for some time to see if he'd get picked up, we took him in (it was fairly cold outside) and contacted a wildlife rehabber in our area who took him in. He was the cutest little thing and quite wiggly.
Here's a different raccoon trying to get comfy for a daily snooze.
We also get a lot of bird visitors and the woodpeckers are always a favorite of mine! The red bellied woodpeckers come to our feeders all the time and aren't shy at all. We love when they start bringing the babies around in the spring. Hopefully I'll get some good photos!  
The pileated woodpecker is one we hear often enough but rarely see. Usually they are high up in the tall trees. They are large and striking looking and when one comes close enough, I run for the camera!
Ok, so this isn't really wildlife, but I couldn't resist taking a picture of Ramses and Louie, the flat cats! It was a sunny afternoon and they both loved the warmth!
Winslow, of course, is the overseer of the garden and makes sure that everyone gets along.
I'm looking forward to the baby raccoons being old enough to peek out of the nest so I can snap a photo for you.

Silke

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Charcoal Drawing

You all know I love color, but my other obsession is with charcoal. I am practicing getting an actual recognizable likeness in my drawings. This one is of my sister and after several attempts, this actually looks a lot like her. Not exactly, but closer than any attempt before. I am sure I'll try again...
Wishing you a gorgeous weekend!

Silke

Friday, April 28, 2017

Abstract Acrylics

Lately I've felt in a rut with my art and a little stuck only painting animals and then I realized that I can branch out however I would like to. So I have entered an abstract art phase, where I am free to just follow colors and shapes and experiment.
With these four paintings, I wanted to use a limited color palette: Phthalo Turquoise, Nickel Azo Yellow, Transparent Red Iron Oxide, plus Titanium White.
And I wanted to paint a series of four, working with big brushes and a palette knife.
All similar yet each distinct. I painted over old canvases, which already had texture on them making the paintings even more interesting to me.
Right now I'm working on a new abstract painting that has a lot of texture I created with molding paste and stencils. I'll post it as soon as I finish it.

It's been a while since I posted to Paint Party Friday and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's awesome art. Head on over to check it out!

Silke

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Acrylics, Watercolors and a Commission

Today's post has a hodgepodge of my art, all of them animals but some are rendered in acrylics and two of them in watercolor, which is a fairly new medium for me.



The next two are the watercolor paintings, which are similar to my acrylics and at the same time much more delicate.

And this last painting is a commission that I painted for my client's sister of her four pets. I sure had fun with this one!
I still have a charcoal drawing to show you and also some of my latest abstract art. Sometimes I feel the need to just experiment with colors, shapes and different mediums.

In the meantime, I hope you are having a wonderful Thursday!

Silke