Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Twelve Below and the Playoffs are On




No one's getting out this way.

I could care less.  It's the snow, freezing temps and wind chills that's the big story here. Cabin fever is becoming a threat.  Confined to home by bitter cold not even the puffiest of puffy coats can ward off, all excuses for not painting are eliminated.  Nevertheless, I find myself reluctant to return to the studio seriously. I don't know why. The answer is probably percolating somewhere in the back of my mind?  So I made soups. I Skyped with Roger Akesson for half  an hour about art.  And though his words, his break-through art and enthusiasm inspired me, I  did the ironing and read the morning away.

Centerpiece at The Ritz
Martha "Patsy" Jefferson died yesterday.  Her death made me glad times had changed for women. She was married to Thomas ten years. She was pregnant most of the time. She gave birth five times--maybe six?  Each pregnancy worked havoc on her body and weakened her overall health, which finally gave way in September, 1781 leaving Thomas three daughters to raise on his own with the help of  his slave, Sally Hemmings.  On her death bed, Patsy made Tom promise never to marry again. He promised and never did.  He did however have more children with Sally.  You didn't have to marry your property.

What was the matter with that Tom?  Did no one notice pregnancies were doing his "most beloved" wife in?
While contraception was frowned on by the Anglican church, certainly abstinence kept under wraps should have occurred to a loving husband who adored his wife and wished to have her with him always.  What an idiot! A highly intelligent thinker with a wide range of interests, none of them being  his wife and the connection between her failing health and the pregnancies. Sally herself should have made the connection, but obviously producing a brood (and pleasing your husband) was more important than living to raise the brood she did manage to produce. --But then, maybe she got even with that death bed promise thing?

Reference photo
With that said, I managed  one more watercolor before putting those supplies away till plein air weather comes around to coax me out of the house. Don't you agree that mats are the final step in finishing a watercolor?  I do like a flap mat presentation. Mats do so much for enhancing the translucency and adding to the sparkle of the piece--and the acid free foam board backing adds strength for safer shipping. This floral was inspired by a gigantic bouquet on the buffet table at the Ritz in Cancun.  I couldn't have the smoked salmon--too salty--but I could photograph the splendid colors of the lilies and greenery for a watercolor study. I do love just responding to the glory of color with this medium. No need to draw, just lay down the paint.  Pure joy. A nice reprieve from the cold.



24 comments:

  1. OMG! I have not seen that much snow or felt temperatures that cold since I lived in Canada! I must admit it seems a bit extreme, even for a snow lover like me! Stay warm, Linda - whether you paint or make soup or watch the games. I find that forcing myself to paint when my passion meter is running low is generally a useless endeavor. Just wait - your desire will return and you will jump for the paints. In the meantime, framing up those lovely watercolors will no doubt jar memories of a warmer time. And I agree, matting your pieces is like a woman putting on her lipstick - a finishing touch!

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    1. I keep replying to your comment, hitting "publish" and then leaving the page too soon for that to happen. Let's see if I can't get it right this third time.

      I have seen this amount of snow before and have hated it then as much as now. Today, I finally left the house. In the minus degree weather staying in and matting what should have been matted before seemed like a good thing to do. With drawings and paintings on paper, I do like to mat them upon completion or else they just pile up and become tattered and torn, a waste of painting time.

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  2. Wow - the watercolor is absolutely beautiful! I have never matted my watercolors, which is kind of, uh, stupid because I agree that they would probably be greatly enhanced. As for mounting on foam board - haven't the slightest idea how.

    At first, reading about poor Patsy, I was thinking that - man she must be really old if she died yesterday! Then I got it. That is quite a tale (I think you told before, but I had forgotten). It makes me think (like I've been thinking a lot lately) about the many things I do that I do not want to do because society insists that I do it. We (both men and women) too have our share of those today, more than our fair share, I think.

    I agree with Susan - I go through periods when I just cannot bring myself to paint. And I know that every year you talk about the effect that being closed in because of the cold has on you. I think that staying connected to art in these other ways is just fine. Sometimes though, I just force myself to do it, and pull the muse back as if by a rope around the neck! And sometimes I then get so involved that it works and she stays.

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    1. I didn't tell it before. Patsy Jefferson's pregnancies weren't covered in 1776, John Adams or George Washington--just that she was sickly and Thomas worried a lot about her. Now I know why and so do you.

      I'm not really in a slump. I am just more involved in putting together an Etsy Shop and weighing the benefits of having one. The process forces you to look at your paintings and evaluate them with regards to salability. It also forces you to question whether you want to get into the business of art. Soul searching is part of it.

      To mount a work on paper to the back board of a flap mat requires four stripes of drafting tape. Easy Peasy. Nothing to it. To connect the back board to the mat with the window just line up the two top side to top side and run a strip of tape the whole length to act as a hinge. I once demonstrated the process. In graphic art classes, that was how we had to present our finished work.

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    2. Wow, who'd a thought it? I never would have imagined it was a simple as tape. Thanks!

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    3. Sure you would have. I once photographed how I made a flap mat. Maybe I'll see if I still have those pics on file? Meanwhile you can see what a mat will do with Jasc Photo Album on your computer or whatever photo software you have installed I bet.

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  3. Wat een sneeuw en kou maar je schilderij is heel warm van kleur lieve groetjes van Danielle

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    1. And there's more on the way! Thanks, the warm colors help keep me thinking warm, happy thoughts. I'm going to stop today and pick up some more flowers to paint. They are a breath of fresh air for someone suffering cabin fever. My house is very clean. Cleaning works off the nervous energy from being a shut-in.

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  4. I am happy it is raining here, not snowing, well, not happy really, but lovely flower abstraction. Nice to see the reference photo, I can almost see how you thought. ;)

    Had to delete previous post cause a bad spelling accident... =)

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    1. I have those all the time, not to worry. "Typos" are allowed in both texting and leaving comments spontaneously. They aren't allowed when posting, yet many times I've edited a post after publishing because I misspelled something or oops, had a typo. They are common when using a touch pad screen like this iPad has.

      Snow today too. But I'm going out. A week is too long to be without fresh air.

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  5. How I love your joyful exuberance! You sure do enjoy yourself and it shows. I love the deep rich colour........how DO you do that with watercolour? Not timidly, I know!

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    1. You give me courage! Here I sit trying to put this Etsy Shop together with watercolors only wondering why am I doing this? Watercolor, for me, is a medium to play with. I don't take it seriously because I have no idea what I am doing, I just like doing it. There is no stress connected to it, just fun.

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  6. Hope things are looking up today.

    Vibrant painting.

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    1. L W is leaving the building today. First time in a week. It's not quite 80 degrees out yet, but life calls. Thanks. I don't mix colors very much on the palette with watercolor. I let them mix on the dampened paper. I also don't do any drawing. Shapes and color is the way to go for me. Edges just happen with very little manipulation. And a finger every now and then, whatever medium I'm using. For me, watercolor is playtime--thoroughly enjoyable.

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  7. Dear Linda photos and news on the cold raging in northern US , are impressive . Here in an unusual way the temperatures are mild, about ten or twelve degrees, with light fog.
    Your watercolor is so vibrant and full of pace, yes, the pure joy of painting and use color ... I wish you a nice weekend, next to the fireplace, with good food and good wine!

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    1. Thank you Rita. In front of the fire is the place to be--was the place to be. Yesterday we had a heat wave. The thermometer read 36 degrees. I figured here comes the January thaw. If I was industrious--bitter cold spells do make you sleepy--I would stroll out back and cut some Forsythia branches, bring them in and put them in water and watch them come into bloom. Perhaps today? I've never painted forsythias. While flowers have occasionally been a subject of mine, this bitter winter has made me crave them for their brilliant colors and will-o-wisp nature. I guess never say never. Till now, I left flowers to you who do them so well. I am enjoying expressing how joyous they make me feel and watercolor is the perfect medium for that.

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  8. I love the bold colors in this beautiful floral, Linda. It's gorgeous...you are certainly not afraid of color!!! We've been having some strange weather as well....a snowstorm.....then bitter cold weather and today 53 degrees and misty rain...!! The older I get the more I dislike the cold...however, my husband loves New York and will never leave!! Oh well!!!

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    1. One thing is certain in my head: painting is about color and pushing it. Thanks Hilda. My "method" is to just respond to what I see. My art is both impressionistic and expressionistic. In a happy period, the color of whatever I am looking at sings. In a gloomy period, the riot of colors seen under the big top of the circus might be grayed down. All paintings are self portraits.

      Today, it's warm--41 degrees Fahrenheit. There's slush all around. Tonight that slush will be ice. We'll be staying home.

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  9. It is fun to see that much snow from as safe distance.Everything made so neutural outside so your blast of color inside is a feast for the eyes.
    When ever I have been on a trip of away from my painting it takes me a while to get back into the serious stuff. When it happens you will be totally focused on your art.

    I happened to really like this painting the best of your watercolors - it is wonderful!

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    1. I'm in no hurry. I figure I'll get back when I get back. It's nice to know someone else thinks the same. --It's nice to not be concerned about low production. I guess I've had enough of these bouts to have learned they are just temporary pauses--maybe even periods of growth?

      The more I paint, the looser I get, the less I think about what's going on on the paper. Thinking is hazardous to painting, I think :-))

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  10. Great quote - thinking is hazardous to painting - but WE know what it means...letting our subconscious take over,
    For the beginner, there is not enough built up there for it to happen in a consistent good way.
    Do you agree?

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    1. Yes, I do. It's like taking tennis lessons (or for that matter any kind of lesson), your mind is so full of what you were told--what you should and shouldn't do and how to do what you should and what never to do, you can't do anything; your head is so full, it's befuddled. Left on your own with your music playing, however, pure magic can happen as you dance to your muse. I'm all for letting go and let God.

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  11. reading is great, isn't it? it just transports you to a place you'd never be! Always fun to find out where you've gone lately. Sorry for all that snow and cold. ugh! I DO love the watercolor (wow) and yes! the 'mat' does set it off. It looks perfect. :)

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    1. Glad you're responding. It means you're feeling okay. What a closed mouth you are--I thought you said we were a lot a like? :-)).
      This blabber mouth, who tells the world her business, does like to read in front of the fire in this kind of weather. I'd paint in front of it if my house mate wasn't such a neatness freak. Yes, we did holiday in Cancun one more year, hopefully, there will be others. I have a birthday tomorrow; I'm not going to be thirty seven. Quite the reverse.

      Watercolor served me very well. I think I detected some improvement over last year's crop. Sunshine, the sea and sand bring color out in celebration. All we've talked about since we've been back is moving South. We won't of course, but we talk. Decided to visit your side of the continent this April. Seattle. I wish we could find time to drop by Portland. I'd love to meet you.

      Do you Skyp? it's free. You can video a call if you've got a webcam.

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