Sunday, November 18, 2012

Afternoon Storm in the Keys

Afternoon Storm in the Keys
Oil on canvas, 10x20, $200

What is it that drives us to continue, through storms, through rough seas, through struggles with fear and failure and doubts about the future?

For me, some days, it is as simple as the color of the sky at dawn. It is the first yellow leaves of autumn, the quiet of snow falling at night, the smell of dust in the early moments of a summer rain.

It is a warm dog close by my side, the spicy tang of marigolds, the scent of coffee brewing in a sunny kitchen.

Some days, what gets me through is a song I play again and again, or a quote I stumble over quite by chance, or the words of a friend, spoken in love or in comfort.

It is the thought of home, the memory of my mother, the sense of wonder and glory that I feel every single morning. What gets me through is love and faith and the knowledge that this day, this single dawning day, this day is the day that we have.

i'd love to know what gets you through the tough times. Please share, if you like, in the comments!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Everglades Sunrise

Everglades Sunrise
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100
This was my first Florida painting, and I confess, I am becoming fascinated with palm trees. Who knew there were so many different kinds?

Here are some other things I've noticed about Florida:

People do not get up early here, at least in the Keys. Restaurants don't open until 7 a.m. The laundromat doesn't open until 8.

There are no Wal-Marts the entire length of the Keys. Wow.

A waitress at a late-opening breakfast place told me that the stretch of Route 1 from the top of the Keys to the bottom is the most dangerous road in the U.S. In a day and a half, I saw two wrecks in which the car that was hit ended up on its roof.

Alligators are bigger and darker and more solidly malevolent than I'd ever imagined.

The Atlantic is a different color here. Many different colors, actually.

Key deer really ARE the size of a medium-sized dog.

Cuban coffee is so sweet it makes your teeth ache. The first taste, you think, yuck - but then you find yourself wanting a second taste - or at least I did!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dawn in the Keys

Dawn in the Keys (in progress)
Oil on canvas, 24x48

I am not going to dwell on the fact that I sold no paintings at the show in Sarasota.

Instead, I'm giving a hearty thank you to all of you who have been buying paintings from me over the internet - and in real life. THANK YOU!

After Sarasota, I picked myself up, re-encouraged myself, looked away from self-doubt and from fear, and headed out to see and paint Florida.

I wanted to post my first Florida painting (a 10x10 I made in the Everglades,) but at this moment, I have good internet access and a lousy photo - so here's my second Florida painting. It's a plein air piece I did this morning, and I still have edges to finish and spots to tidy up.

I set up in the dark, and actually started painting in the dark. This was very interesting. I hesitated to begin, but plunged ahead anyways. It showed me how valuable it is to set up my palette the same way every time - and how valuable it is to really know how at least a few colors work.

I don't know all of them yet, but some of my favorites - indigo, Naples yellow, titanium white and Sevres blue, I do know. And I am close to knowing cadmium yellow.

Understanding how these colors work, in all situations, with all other colors, with all strokes and with all media helped me get far enough in the near-dark that by the time the sun came up, my painting was well on its way.

If you're in Boca Raton this weekend, come to Mizner Park Amphitheater for Art Fest Boca! Click here to find out more about the show. And wish me well, please! As my mother would have said, jingle your bells for me. I need all the help I can get.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Friday Sunrise

Friday Sunrise
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100

On Wednesday, I leave for Florida and shows in Sarasota and Boca Raton.

The Sarasota show is Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10 and 11, in St. Armand's Circle, and you can read more about it by clicking here.  The show in Boca Raton, in Mizner Park Amphitheater, is Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17 and 18, and you can read more about that show by clicking here. 

In this world of art fairs, Florida is somewhat of a holy grail. "Oh, you should go to Florida. Your stuff would sell great in Florida," is a reaction I've gotten again and again, along with "people in Florida have money, and they buy art."

I have also heard that people in New England have money, and they buy art; and people around Washington, DC, have money and they buy art; and people in New York City have money and they buy art... and it is all true.

But what's really more true, I think, and more at the heart of this truth, is that there are certain people who are destined to own certain paintings. Certain people who fall in love with certain paintings.

When this happens - and it does; I've seen it and it is magical - the person will buy the painting if it is at all within their financial grasp. If it's a person with money, she doesn't even ask the price.

If, on the other hand, it's not the right person for that painting, there is nothing I can do to make them buy it. I can offer a $400 painting at $25, and they will say they don't have any space on their walls.

As all of this unfolds in this new world of mine, I have to say that I am finding it absolutely fascinating. So we will see what Florida is like! I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Storm Before the Storm II

Storm Before the Storm II
Oil on canvas, 10x10

I've been watching TV of the devastation in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island, and have seen some photos of problems here in our area, and my heart goes out to the people affected. I remember clearly what it feels like to have nature destroy your stuff, your memories, your property. It's horrible. It changes everything.

Maybe, in the long run, it changes things for the better - but the people experiencing the disaster now can't begin to understand that.

In our lives, the flood that ruined our land in NY and took everything in our basement made us realize what's important.

The stuff is important, yes, but really, what is important is what it represents. Achievement, progress, goals reached. Memories. Moments. People you loved, people you miss, people you were.

Losing the stuff is heart-rending. It is. But you don't lose what the stuff represents. Losing the stuff brought the memories more sharply into focus. Made the achievements shine. No, I might never be able to replace that X - but I will never forget that I... earned the money to buy that X, or ran the race to win that X, or wrote the story or designed the page, or stood on that ski slope with my father, or, as a little girl, wore that pair of shoes.

It took a long, long time for us to recover from the flood that took our stuff, ruined our land, destroyed our driveway and made home feel dangerous. A long, long time. But in the end, I think, what nature took was ephemeral. What was left was what was important.