Making Waves

There’s no making waves in these parts these days. Everything is cold and gray. The temperatures have hovered around the freeze/thaw cycle since before New Year’s, and we haven’t seen the sun in longer than that. It’s sort of interesting, as the temperatures warm up just enough to start melting the snow which creates fog and then the fog freezes in the air and on all of the surfaces. We had an ice storm over the New Year weekend (and survived it without a working furnace!). It looks like the weather will be more of the same for the ten day forecast, and continued clouds. It is hard to tell between 6am and 11am, 4pm and 8pm. All the same gray. It’s hard to get motivated to get out of bed or to do much of anything.

making waves acrylic

I’m continuing on with the Class 101 painting class. This section was about making waves. I’ve decided that I don’t really enjoy painting waves. It’s hard to find a good reference photo that worked with the assignment. The painting above (#27, for those who are counting) is in acrylic and had several attempts at it. You were supposed to start with a lighter color and go in for the darker tones. These two paintings were supposed to feature light on top of the waves.

making waves gouache

This one is in gouache, and was started with darker and then lighter added in. The shapes are maybe a bit better but it’s still weird. I look forward to moving on to the next lesson and seeing what the assignment is. And I just look forward to painting. Even when it doesn’t turn out how I’d like, I love the process and learn from it. When I’m not painting, I’m often thinking about painting.

I did clean up my office plants a little. Added more soil, fed them. They are looking better. My office itself is a little cleaner, too. I am ready for the January thaw already. 72 days until spring.

Painting #23 and #24

I started an online class recently with Class 101 for painting. Over the past year, I’ve taken a number of online painting classes. There’s always something new to learn and new techniques to try. Through the class assignments, I’ve recently completed acrylic painting #23 and #24.

acrylic painting #23 clouds

The first painting assignment, in acrylic, was to work on clouds. I still don’t think I have them quite right. I haven’t done an acrylic piece in awhile though, so it was fun to get back to that medium. And I think the trees turned out pretty good.

acrylic painting #24 candles

For whatever reason, I really like this acrylic painting, #24. I keep going back and looking at it. The goal of the assignment was to get the glowy bit around the flame. Next assignment is to try a similar glowy bit with a Christmas tree, and I hope to work on that this weekend. I am always looking forward to painting, and find such peace while I do it. I’ve had lots of new year’s resolutions over the years to try new things or learn new skills. This one I can say has absolutely been a success.

After snow last weekend (experienced on a hike at Fort Custer with Sue and her dog Disco), this week has turned out a little warmer. Warm enough to bike in fact. Yesterday, I turned 1,000 miles for the summer. I should be able to get in a day or two over the weekend as well. COVID-19 cases are out of control here in Calhoun County. Between that and still not knowing the full results of the election, it’s been an odd week. Anything I can do to get out of my mind a little is helping.

Like reading this? You may enjoy these:

See my first acrylic paintings here

Learn more about my biking here

Painting #20 and #21

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 0 No tags Permalink
painting

I’ve dedicated more time recently to painting. I find the time I spend painting reduces my blood pressure and ignites my mind at the same time. It’s something I can completely get lost in, like I did with playing music years ago. It seems impossible to think sour thoughts when you’re focused on colors and images. This past week I did gouache swatches with white of all my colors, which I am hoping will be helpful in selecting appropriate colors. It also helped me figure out that I am missing a few key colors, an excuse to make another order at Blick. Here’s a tip for ordering: spring for the next level up in shipping. It shortens the time significantly, sometimes up to a week, and it’s not much more money. Blick is amazing and has all kinds of arts and craft supplies.

Right now I’m taking a fun little online class on painting a daily journal. The focus is kind of coming up with faster painted sketches as a means of overall improving your painting. The above barn was from a photo I took on an earlier walk this summer. I’ve gotten these small gouache pieces down to two or three days to complete which is a huge difference compared to my first acrylic pieces.

painting

The image of the bird, above, is from a photo I took a few years back in the Florida Everglades. I’ve repainted it a few times and the beastie still looks rather like a duck. It’s also a bit too big. But I’m happy with the rest of it.

I’ve taken some great photos of autumn leaves, and am looking forward to painting some of the season over the next few weeks. I’d like to grow in my imagination in my painting. I’m not a very realistic painter, so the idea that I have to copy an image is unnecessary.

Painting #19

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

I added them up, and I suppose this is painting #19. When I started the year, I hoped for one piece a month. I’ve done more than that, but I didn’t paint at all in August. I so enjoyed getting back into it this month, I really want to make more time in the rest of the year. I’m not sure that I’m getting better, but again I love how I feel when I am painting. Anyhow, this image is of the old school house that’s on the corner of Beckley and Helmer in Battle Creek.

Painting and Sewing

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 0 No tags Permalink
Brother Pacesetter Sewing Machine

I’ve been looking at new sewing machines for awhile, and came across a great deal on this Brother Pacesetter. I believe the last clothing item I sewed was the Endora dress for Halloween several years ago (can that really be it?), so the dress I started is a challenge. I’m not going to show the pattern, as I am going to be altering the yoke significantly. However, I will post the finished dress, whenever that actually is done. I know since the Endora dress I’ve made some purses and some masks, and of course mending work. But I have missed sewing.

gouache painting water scene

This is my most recent gouache painting. Haven’t had much time to paint lately, either. The inspiration of this was a vacation photo my friend Pam took and sent to me. It turned out ok I think.

gouache painting Waffle Window Portland Oregon

And here’s the one before, which I don’t think turned out that great due to issues with perspective. Again. But it’s important to show the successes and failures. I can’t help but think if I had more time to paint, I’d be showing more improvement. But isn’t that the case with everything in life?

The summer is going quickly, nearly August now. We’ve had two generations of monarch caterpillars and are getting lots of cherry tomatoes and some peppers and cucumbers from the garden. This year we’ve had very little rain. Maxy cat has a vet appointment today to check again for thyroid issues and high blood pressure. He is such a sweet little beast, and I know this will be stressful for him. I will finally be getting the old Subaru in for the airbag recall later this week. This Summer of Covid has been so strange.

Misc. Updates

Monday, June 8, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

It is feeling much more like summer these days. I did finish the monarch garden, with the exception of edging as I am still waiting for that to ship. With COVID-19, everything is taking forever to ship. The governor opened the State of Michigan today, and everyone is walking around like there never was a virus. I’m kind of surprised that there are still shipping delays at this point. Mom is also working really hard on her garden and it’s looking great. We haven’t had much rain, so we are having to water nearly every day. I’ve also been biking regularly, and have put in 125 miles so far.

This is my latest gouache painting and reference photo from an old Sunset Magazine. Again, I wouldn’t say I’m showing improvement, but I am enjoying the process so that is something.

This old abandoned house has been catching my eye. I expect it will be torn down this summer. It was built in 1911. All of the windows are gone, and it’s owned by the Land Bank. J. Charles Lee, superintendent of the Battle Creek Box Company, resided in the home up until his death in 1931. Mr. and Mrs. John Swainston were listed as owning the home in 1937, Mr. and Mrs, David Stebleton in 1939, and Mr. and Mrs. Victor Soules were listed as living in the home in 1942. The home was owned by the Fox/Black family (Jessie Fox (mother), Viola (daughter) – died 1990, Gerald (1973) and later Lillian Black) from 1946 until it was lost to the county treasurer in 2019. It looks like Lillian had been living on Highland Blvd from 2016 – 2018, when she passed away. It is likely this house, 466 Capital Avenue NE, has been empty since 2016.

Paintings and Garden Updates

Monday, June 1, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

Like everyone else, this week I have been struggling with the state of our nation, racism, and the horrific death of George Floyd. When I watched the video, I was instantly reminded of the video of the beheading of Nick Berg. I felt physically sick. The only thing to break the COVID-19 news cycle since March, and instead of being the uplifting SpaceX manned dragon capsule launch it was the horror of another police brutality event.

I tried to get some painting done this weekend. In fact, I finished these two small studies, referenced from old Sunset Magazine photos. I’m not thrilled with either one. I will count them both as more practice, as certainly my thoughts are that I will improve with lots of practice over this year. Maybe painting is the only good thing that will come from 2020? I find such a peace in it. And I really do love working with gouache.

In other news, this year we are putting in a new garden around the vegetable garden. It’s a monarch way station. Here are the first two sides papered off. So far I have them both planted and mulched. I am waiting for my edging to come in so hopefully I can get that done this next weekend, then paper off the third side and see about planting that as well.

Ah, June at last. The weekend was exceptionally cold, dipping to 43 this morning. But it is supposed to warm up now. This morning the sky is bright blue. The lilac outside the shelter is blooming. I’ve been biking some here and there and hope the weather will allow for more now that it is June. I’m still having great difficulty concentrating on reading, so I’m not sure I will have an official summer reads program but will update with the books I am reading. Is anyone even out there any more?

Ocqueoc Painting & Bird Updates

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

I continue on with my gouache odyssey with this latest painting. The reference image is a photo I took of the field from my Grandparents’ place back to the woods, taken when Mom and Kirsten and I were last up north. I am pleased with how it turned out. I wish I had more time to paint.

I have also been spending some time with bird photography. Above is the female oriole, and below is a cheeky robin. We had our first hummingbird on May 21, quite late this year. Next update should be the garden expansion. We are putting in a monarch butterfly way station.

New Paintings & Misc. Updates

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

The weather has been odd this May. The past few days have been incredibly cold, 20 degrees below average with freeze warnings. I have yet to plant anything at all. They are predicting a week from now it will be 84 degrees. So much for spring, right? In happier news, the orioles have returned. We have at least two couples and the males seem a bit territorial. The hummingbird feeder has been up the same amount of time, but no hummingbirds spotted yet. Everything is still shut down until the end of the month due to COVID-19.

This latest painting is a very small study in casein. A friend on Instagram had posted the photo of her cat and suggested it was worthy of a painting. It seemed to me to be a good opportunity to try out a new medium.

I painted this gouache from a photo I took last year of our garden for Mom for Mother’s Day.

Latest Paintings and Misc. Updates

Monday, April 13, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

Apparently there’s an entirely new version of WordPress, with blocks, and I will need to get used to it. Fine. At least the website is back up, after having some issues on the transition from Lunarpages to Host Papa or whatever it is now. The techs were great though. I’ve continued painting. The above acrylic is from a photo I took several years ago when Kirsten, Mom and I went up to Mackinaw City. I’m fairly pleased with the way it turned out.

This above squirrel image is a study in gouache, from a photo I took last year in Boston. I’m still doing every other painting in acrylic and gouache. Last night I sketched the next gouache study, from a photo I took many years ago in North Carolina. My only regret in my painting is not having the energy/time to paint. If there’s the time, I seldom have the energy.

March and April 2020 will be remembered for COVID-19. Facemasks, scary grocery shopping trips where there aren’t enough goods like dried beans, yeast, canned goods and toilet paper. Not making eye contact with anyone as they are seen as disease carriers. “Social Distancing” and staying a minimum of 6 feet apart. Non-essential services shut down. The shelter closed to the public on March 17 and we laid off front desk staff members on March 24. All meetings are conducted via Zoom. My schedule is close to normal, and the kennel techs are working normal schedules. I FaceTime with Mom each night and Bob talks to his Dad on the phone. We had to cancel our spring Martini event for work and greenhouses are shut down. As of yesterday, there were 71 cases of coronavirus in Calhoun County, 23,993 cases in Michigan and 1,392 deaths in Michigan. 558,999 total US cases and 22,154 US deaths. Worldwise, there have been 1,872,073 cases and 116,098 deaths. Who knows when things will go back to ‘normal’ or what normal will even look like.