Friday, November 21, 2008

Soaking up the scenery

This past summer, my friend Janice and I were painting by the Huron River, when quite the western horseman appeared. He stopped to let his horse drink and splash in the river, and I got busy snapping photos. The sunlight was shining so very hard on everything, the scene pretty much made itself irresistible. The cowboy spent a lot of time chatting. I think I was just as chatty as I patted his horse.

We had a young mother stop by with her two children. The little girl commented on how very shiny and pretty the river looked, now that the little creatures who clean the river are all finished. Yes, the snails did a fine job! Her brother wanted to know why the water was all swirly and crazy - always moving - and where the water was going. The mother, wanting to teach the boy, asked him if he knew what those crazy swirls were (current is what she was going for). The boy answered- "PSYCHOTIC!!!" Janice and I couldn't stop giggling.

It was a fair exchange that sunny day. We had ample quiet-time to paint, and eavesdrop on someone's family time. We also had the cowboy pose his horse for us in the river. There are some painters who don't like passers-by. I don't really mind too much. It's part of the scenery, and we are just visiting long enough to record it on canvas or paper.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Portraits and Portals

Ahhh! The studio has been swept clean, and it's time to get it messy again with projects and paintings in progress. This is a portrait I've been working on. It's going slowly, because the photo I took of this young lady is already very nice all by itself.

When I take a break from this piece, I take up the brushes and work on a still life that waits for me on a table. Nice to have more than one painting going! It gives your mind a break, moving from one to the other. There's always a problem with light, or something doesn't just look right. Walking away is a good thing! Knowing when to walk away from a painting is even better. It's always smart to step aside, or leave undone, rather than completely overpaint the subject to the point of frustration.

I used to be an avid reader. Reading was so hypnotic. Now I am an avid painter. When people ask me what it's like to create and paint, I tell them it's like reading a good book. A portal to another world. The session ends when I overpaint, dammit! Then it's back to the real world for a while. Sometimes, I miss reading.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Laid Off Living.....

This is the second time in 2008 I have found myself at the mercy of corporate financial difficulties. In April, I was laid off from General Motors. Nothing new here, as I live in the Metro Detroit area. Working for GM is always a roll of the dice.

I was so blessed to find a job close to home - working at a medical equipment repair facility. These were good people, and I was so looking forward to growing with the business! Unfortunately, I was laid off again....last week.

Here I am, back to being the proverbial "starving artist." There's a certain comfort in knowing you aren't alone in lay-off land. Then, too, there's that silent prayer for those who are worse off. Will I get unemployment? I don't know yet. Can I send out twenty resumes a day? Sure! So can everyone else.

I chase the blue away through painting. The weather is getting colder, but I don't let it bother me. I paint outdoors, or set up a still life inside if it's raining. The oils get a bit pudgy when the temperature drops. Watercolors freeze up at about 20 degrees, so I might switch to using moonshine instead of water to mix the colors. Nothing like a little Everclear to attract those pesky alcholics! It's like a love potion!

It's mostly oils right now. It's all plein air - out in the open. A breath of fresh air. Living life out in the open - far away from layoffs and worries. It's a kind of meditation and heals the wounded soul.