Saturday, August 28, 2010

Red Highlights of my Paris Trip

ow this is
a page out of my dreams... brought to you by my amazing son David Paul compliments of Photo-shop - but really, it looks nice, oui?
But I did have the pleasure of breezing into Paris last February and thought it was about time I shared some of the photo highlights of my trip.

Snow was falling as I took the train in from Charles de Gaulle. I had my cafe au lait with this view of the light rain at the intersection just outside Le Petit Trianon, my hotel.

I love the wet streets and street lights of this scene along with the angles of the buildings. I have wanted to paint this scene ever since.

Coming to Paris on Valentine's Day Weekend was perhaps not the best choice when travelling alone - but I was limited in my travel date options and that is another story altogether. But this particular weekend did offer the most beautiful Parisian Flower Bouquets I have ever seen. And, as you know, the flower stores are everywhere and wondrous to behold.

Everywhere you look in Paris there is something to ooh-la-la over, or to cry over, or to paint...over and over and over again. If it's not the door-knockers, it's the doors; if it's not the architecture, it's the gardens; if it's not the chocolates, it's the ice creams and candies! Really, it is overwhelming the pure sensory overload. So it was my A to Z RED weekend!

I showed amazing self-restraint by not going in and buying these right off the shelf...

Plus, I love all the elements of color and design in this photograph - especially the sky blue backdrop and the tree in the upper left hand corner. And the Kartell store was just one amazing wave of color after another. I love the St. Germaine area for all of it's glorious store fronts and luxurious cafe dining on the broad street.

Maybe it's just me, but on every trip I go I am cruising for color and texture as i search for my next painting inspiration. It was too cold for plein aire painting but I do hope to return to the French Countryside one day for a painting vacation.

More to come...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Yaaaaa ! First Chicken Egg

Yes, I am raising chickens. 46 of them to be exact. Started out with the little peeps when they were one day old this spring. Some of them came from a feed store; and some of them came through the mail. Yes, they send the little darlings in a cardboard box, if you can believe it. I'll post some pictures of my little nieces going with me to get them - It was hilarious!
And last night when I got home (late) David Paul said he had a surprise for me. He grabbed a flashlight and out to the chicken house we went. Inside everyone was on their roost - but lo and behold, an egg was in our newly strawed nesting box! I was thrilled. He had waited until I got home so that I could be the one to bring it in!

The egg is from the Buff Orpington Chickens (shown at left), which are the ones we got first. The Ameraucana Chickens will begin laying next; I got them a month or so later, and then I got another "batch" after that. It is kind of addicting... the little peeps are just darling! And if you get one, well you just want a hundred! But I showed a little restraint and we only have, like I said, 46.

They are sweet, actually, and are just a joy to have around... And the eggs are going to be great!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lessons on The Fear of Failure in Art

As I have begun thinking about, praying about and planning out new art classes for the Fall one thing continues to go through my mind... Why are we so afraid of "messing up?" When I speak with women about art, they all sound hopeful and doubtful at the same time: "I can't even draw a straight line", they say in exasperation. Or they say "I don't have an artistic bone in my body." It is a common refrain... but most women would love to just try... but this fear keeps them from it, or keeps them from enjoying it.

I thought about all this because I recently painted a mural on my bathroom wall. The picture of it looks miles better than it looks in person, but it is nice. It only took a couple of hours and I was done with it. Over it, and was not doing any more... and no, I don't want a job doing them. It was fun, it turned out nicely, but it won't be there forever... I will get tired of it and will one day paint over it. But as I painted I thought about the myriad other strange and funny things I have painted (recently the inside of my chicken house - but that is another post for another day) and why I paint them so suddenly and with such reckless abandon... And it hit me:


I am not so concerned that it won't look good, or right, or be beautiful enough, or perfect enough... because IT IS ONLY PAINT!!! What is the worst thing that can happen? Nothing really bad actually - and the same is true when you come to the canvas... What is the worst thing that can happen when you put paint on a canvas? You may not like it, BUT, it is not a life or death situation. There is nothing to be afraid of.... It is not like you are packing your own parachute!!! You can paint over it! (And I love doing this from time to time - very freeing!)

Upon further reflection I realized that I am just not afraid of failure... Failure in my life has become like an old friend that points me in a new direction. Ask Edison. I have failed at so many things in my life - but I realize now it was just narrowing down my field, honing me in on my desires, tearing away the excess... burning away the dross... and that brings me out less scattered, more focused, less encumbered, more pure... And I need all the help with that I can get.

So - onward to new painting classes with fearlessness!

Next weeks lesson: Packing Your Own Parachute!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Me in St. Augustine and the St. Augustine in me

Here's a picture of me in St. Augustine with one of my newest pieces... It is the second in a new series on "Home" as a concept, a refuge, a question and an answer. I am looking forward to the others that are coming to me... Time in St. Augustine always seems to act as the needed catalyst for my newest work. I love the air, the water, and the way St. Augustine rushes through my veins infusing me with vitality and strength in every dimension of my life. I pray that this new series will in some way move people the way it has moved me during it's gestation and beginning pangs of birth!

Inspiration is where you look for it!

INSPIRATION IS WHERE YOU LOOK FOR IT! Or maybe more appropriately - Where you pray for it... We were headed to the Burnsville Art & Craft Fair here in NC and I prayed, Lord, let me come home with inspiration and motivation! And sure enough - He answered and I came home and began watercoloring and having a grand time of it. (and those of you who know me, also know that I do not consider myself smart enough to water color)

I modified my "Nest Series" with some splattered paint and began to have a lot of fun with some of the same ideas that have been playing around in my head. Met a precious artist at the fair - Michelle Stewart - and really hope to invest in one of her original pieces. Also read some really funny lines: My favorite was this "I laughed so hard that the tears ran down my legs!" Now, those of you who REALLY know me know how often that happens in my life. I count myself really blessed to get to laugh so hard on a regular basis!

Looking forward to returning home and planning out the final details and schedule for art classes to resume this FALL. It has been a while - but I am ready and wanting to begin!