Friday, May 31, 2013

Red Poppies to Paint in My Own Garden

Bright Red Poppies Garden
I like the color red! My cottage style garden is bursting with red at the moment. The best are the red orange Oriental poppies. I've always wanted them in my yard and now they are here for the second year.
Today I didn't get to paint these gorgeous flowers, but the sun came out and my native Minnesotan neighbor came to relish the sun and the red "products". Can you imagine lush red strawberries, deep red and fragrant Mr. Lincoln roses, a large mound of bright red carnations bursting their buds, and this red poppy garden? Oh, I nearly forgot the red cora bells the humingbirds come to feast on. And hanging baskets of deep, deep red geraniums, a color I've never found before this year.  Did I say I like red?
The photo of the poppies has an interesting composition of curving lines from the flowers to the portion of the bird bath to the wire fencing to discourage cats who previously used my yard as their personal litter box. 

Enjoy a bright spot of red and be energized by the color for what you do best. I'll definitely do some plein air painting of these red poppies.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Perseverence, Today's Word for Artists and Everyone's Life

Ryder's Perseverence Award at School Assembly
 Photographer Liz Sawyer

Having been alerted of a surprise award, I showed up for my grandson's grade school assembly this morning and joined others in celebrating his trait of perseverence. 

When Ryder comes to Grammy's house he knows where his supplies are in my studio and has his mind teeming with ideas to illustrate in unique colors with his own drawing skills. When he starts he doesn't give up until his ideas are expressed. It may take a series of drawing sheets, but he doesn't give up until he has painted what he wanted to say. And he can explain his work well with words, too. 

Ryder is a very bright kindergartener, but it struck me today that perseverence may trump intellectual ability or other individual talents. I'm saluting him for "keeping on keeping on" at his young age because that trait may be invaluable in life. My mother used to say to us three siblings, especially in our adult years, "keep on keeping on".

As an artist that trait of perseverence has kept me moving forward despite obstacles. My artist friends tell their stories of what it has taken for them to "keep on keeping on". I have my own, too, but in this post I will stick with generalities that fit all of us. 

We all "keep on keeping on"
     1) improving our skills (because artists never reach their ultimate "best") 
     2) trying again when a project doesn't work out (why artists work in series sometimes)
     3) dealing with working alone (no one to blame as "rogue low lifes in another office")
     4) focusing our easily distracted energies on what is most important (we're accountable to someone somewhere in the art food chain, aren't we?)
     5) best of all, always getting excited with a new technique, paint color, tool, inspiration (artists are age-less because they're never "bored")


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Honoring Wounded Warriors on Memorial Day Weekend

Puget Sound Washington State
This morning I headed down to the beach near my home with my treat of a Starbucks latte. A quiet Saturday morning on Memorial Day weekend turned into a unique celebration of our military and their sacrifices for us. Soggy leaden skies added a picture of America this weekend with the current threats to our republic's freedom that the Wounded Warriors fought to maintain.
A friendly, up-beat guy pulls into the parking slot next to mine. He's a big fellow with an buzz cut. A few friends, a guy and couple of gals, join him. He helps them with advice about gear for diving. He's a photographer of sea life. The group of four get ready with layers of special clothing, tanks of oxygen, other items for their deep dives to check out the octopuses residing in Puget Sound near Seattle.
I'm enjoying the sights and sounds of morning fishermen on the dock way out in the water, fishing power boats coming and going, the divers chatting and hurrying around near our cars until my whole perspective got a jolt of reality. The diver/photographer is an amputee!!!!
My jaw may have dropped, but I became in awe of how the Wounded Warrior negotiated physical challenges the rest of us may have avoided. With a two "foot" landing he hopped off the sea wall into the sand, made his way through the soft sand to the muddy muck of low tide and out to the deep waters. 
After seeing his power light brightly showing before his dive,  I pulled out of the parking lot to head home. On the license holder of his car's front bumper was the plate "Washington Search And Rescue". Would he have been on alert Thursday when the interstate freeway went in the water?
Thank you to all of you who serve and have served in the military of our country. Thank you for the courage and just plain grit you show the rest of us as you pick up the pieces of your lives and keep on giving to others. God bless you and God bless America!


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