Thursday, March 30, 2017

Blog Anniversary and A Visit to Atlanta, Part 3

Eight years ago today I started not just blogging but my creative journey. I started painting and blogging at the same time and I am still going strong! My blogging has lessened and the time I spend on painting dramatically increased.
I remember in the beginning making a little time each day to be creative and now it has become not only my passion but my profession. In some ways it seems like a miracle and in others I know it's because I started and never stopped. A lot of it is just showing up and painting.
In those eight years, I have finished hundreds of paintings, I've gotten published in an art book, painted many commissions (which I love doing), had my art in three group shows and had a big joint exhibit with Daniel. For the future I see much more of the same and I want to add teaching to the mix.
But all those accomplishments are just a by-product.
The real reason why I keep painting is this: by nature, I am a worry wart. I can't remember a time when I was not.
And going into menopause has made it much worse for me. I can live with it, but the only thing that really stops it is when I get out of my head. And painting does that for me.
When I paint, I am in the flow. I think of nothing. I worry about nothing. I don't try to figure anything out.
When I paint, I am fully present. When I paint, I feel the color. And the only thing I do is to follow each step in my painting to the next without a plan.
It is difficult to express something in writing that happens in the space beyond words. When I paint, the world makes sense to me. I feel connected to everything.
I never plan my paintings aside from the layout in a few cases. I don't plan the colors, I have no idea of the subject in most of my paintings, and even if I see the finished painting in my mind before I start, I still surrender to the process and allow it to lead me.
I think that's why I love each one of my paintings and have never had to deal with the inner critic. I know that my analytical, planning, critical worry wart of a mind is not in charge when I paint.
Rather it is that part of me that knows it is connected to everything, that can see beauty in all, that knows that mistakes don't exist and that loves the process even more than the end result.
All those things we define as success with being an artist are definitely secondary to why I paint. I am grateful that people love my art. Yet I know that even if I were the only one who loved it I would still keep on painting.

And on this anniversary of my blog I am extra grateful for all of you who have accompanied me on this journey! Here's to many more years together...

P.S. The photos are from the gardens around Swan House (see my last post) at the Atlanta History Center. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Visit to Atlanta, Part 2

Today I'm taking you inside Swan House, a gorgeous mansion from the 1930s, which is on the grounds of the Atlanta History Center.

When it was built and furnished, I am sure it was quite modern and with all the luxuries that were available. We started our tour on the second floor in the master bedroom. I didn't realize it then, but I bet the wallpaper was hand-painted. You'll see another example of that further down.
More fascinating than the bedroom was the adjoining beautiful bathroom. I loved how it was designed and painted!
 Behind me were extensive closets.
 A little detail featuring a swan.
And just look at this toilet, so cleverly disguised...
Next was the children's room, which was huge! Big enough for sleeping and extensive play.
And the view wasn't shabby either - although I'm not sure how interested kids would have been in that!
On the third and fourth floor were the servants quarters - complete with an ironing room, which I forgot to get a picture of.
Being the knitter that I am, I was immediately drawn to the rocking chair with the basket of yarn.
Daniel liked the round window!
And we both liked the old cookbook that was open on the dresser. I might just have to try out one of those recipes.
On the first floor, everything was very elegant again! The living room was quite stunning.

On the way to the study, they had a small telephone room. It reminded Daniel and me that the house we lived in in Michigan, which was built in the 1920s, had a similar little telephone alcove, which we had completely forgotten about.
The study was definitely a man's room.

Now the dining room - again very elegant!
Our favorite feature of that room was the hand-painted wallpaper. It was stunning!

And now to my favorite room - the kitchen! Actually, it was two rooms and I wanted to adopt both of them! I loved everything about them - the wall color, the appliances, the cupboards, the recipe books and all the cook and bakeware.

 I almost stuck this waffle iron into my purse, but it was just too large... Isn't it pretty?
This is a serious pressure cooker, that almost looks dangerous...
In the basement there was an exhibit of some very interesting porcelain. It seems that the architect of the house also ran a porcelain trading company, so there was a huge collection. My favorite pieces were these serving dishes!

In my next post, I'll show you a little bit of the outside gardens and paths around the house. So much was blooming... 
I hope you enjoyed this little trip to life of the affluent in the 1930s. Personally, I feel much more of an affinity to the farmhouse in my previous post than to this example of luxury and opulence. My favorite part of this mansion was the kitchen, which I am sure the lady of the house didn't set foot in much at all...

Wishing you a beautiful Wednesday! 


Monday, March 27, 2017

A Visit to Atlanta, Part 1

Last weekend we took a trip to Atlanta. Last year we subscribed to three performances of the Atlanta Opera so that we'd have an excuse to explore Atlanta a little more. Even though we've lived here for over 10 years, we don't make that trip very often because it's a long and boring drive.

But this time, we got off the highway in Macon and drove to Atlanta on the back roads. It was so beautiful we couldn't believe it: very rural, green, hilly with lakes and rivers, and virtually no traffic. We will never drive to Atlanta any other way again!

Our first stop on Friday was the Krog Street Market, which we had heard about not too long ago. It's an indoor food market with all the food you might want! It did not disappoint! We ate delicious bao (they are like asian bbq sandwiches), a first for me, from Suzy Siu's Bao with a local IPA. Delicious.

After that we got a coffee and little pastry from The Little Tart Bakeshop and got out our books to read until rush hour was over and we could drive to our hotel. It was perfect!

On Saturday, we decided to go visit the Atlanta History Center, which was not far from our hotel. We had no expectations and were we ever surprised! We spent nearly five hours there and weren't able to see everything. At the end we applied our entry fee to a year membership so we can come back there every time we are in Atlanta!

The first stop we made at the center was to the Smith Family Farm, which are the photos I will share with you today! The buildings were so beautiful to me in their simplicity!

We did get to see all the animals, except the cat Dodger. We even saw one of the red-shouldered hawks that had a nest nearby. It flew right past us. Such a beautiful bird!

I was completely enamored by the angora goats. This was Maria and she allowed us a little close-up time. Such beautiful animals and I'm sure Maria will make her way into one of my paintings!
 The farm house was beautifully kept and simply furnished.
But first I had to ooooh and aaaah over this lady banks rose in full bloom. We had one in our garden in New Mexico and I still miss it!
Whenever I see places like this, I feel like I was born in the wrong century. Although...I sure am happy my life isn't as hard as theirs was and I do like some of my creature comforts. Still, there's something said for a simple life and sometimes I yearn for the times before computers and cell phones and instant everything.

 Of course I loved the kitchen, which was in a separate building.

 Do you see those huge stoneware crocks? I wanted to take them all home!

 Can you believe how far along the garden was already?

Everywhere I found the seed pods from the sweet gum trees. Aren't they beautiful (sorry about the slightly blurry photo).

And of course spring was in full bloom and I couldn't get enough of all the flowers.

In my next post I'll show you the photos of Swan House, an impressive and gorgeous mansion from the 1930's.

Happy Monday, everyone!