Archive for art

Sitting on the Riverbank

Posted in art, inspiration, Meditation, Painting, PLEIN AIR PAINTING, Watercolors with tags , , , , , on April 10, 2018 by sebland

imageI’ve studied under several plein aire artists: Michael Chesley Johnson of Campobello Island, and William Scott Jennings in Sedona, Arizona –  numerous online painters, and countless videos and DVD’s. These guys paint in subzero weather and desert thunderstorms. Not me! In New Brunswick, I’m the old lady who left the workshop when the rain was  blowing sideways into my poncho. I had lunch at the Fireside Inn where FDR had lunch and toured the “cottage” on Campobello Island while my classmates struggled on and produced good work. I’m a Texas gal, and we know when to come in out of the rain. So when the weather is pleasant and the winds aren’t too cold, I gather my friends, a pot of coffee or a bottle on wine, and we find a shady spot and set up our easels. I have painted in Northern California on a wet and foggy day, and I’ve been alone on Ghost Ranch in an arroyo, painting very close to my car because a mountain lion warning had been posted. These are memories I cherish, and I’m looking forward to painting with my friends on the Oregon coast this fall, but nothing, really nothing, can compare with sitting on the bank of a river in the Texas Hill Country with good friends, feeling the breeze, smelling the diesel fumes off the trucks rolling over the bridge, and being grateful for this day. This best day, because it’s the only one promised me. I’m hoping you are feeling grateful for your day. It’s a gift, so treat it with the greatest respect. It is truly precious.

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Light Shining in the Darkness

Posted in Acrylics, art, inspiration, Painting with tags , , , , , , , on February 17, 2018 by sebland

imageI believe that we all have seasons of the soul, just as nature has its seasons. As artists, we lie fallow sometimes, waiting for the time when a seed will fall into the cold soil, take hold and begin slowly to grow into something we can till and nurture and maybe even harvest.  Our lives don’t always run according to plan. Dreams die, friends grow old and leave us, bodies let us down, we lose heart and begin to doubt ourselves and even our own worth. I call those the dark nights of the soul. And then something happens. A friend offers an encouraging word, someone lifts us up in an unexpected way, even an encouraging word comes from a stranger, and we are up and running again. . John 1:5 says:”The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”  As a  creative person, you have that light within you. Look for it, because it is there, and the darkness cannot overcome it!

What the Shepherds Saw

Posted in art, Christmas, holidays, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Watercolors with tags , , , , , , on December 2, 2017 by sebland

imageOne of my great joys in December is designing my own Christmas cards. I play with ideas, and find I really like to use new tools and see where they lead me. Recently, two of my art friends shared pure pigments in powder form with me, and I’m thoroughly enjoying them. I don’t know if this is the design I will go with this year, but I have had a good time with it. After spritzing a sheet of watercolor paper, I scattered the dry pigments and was amazed at the bursts of color that appeared. I had cut out some rough figures and a star and laid them on my paper first, so I got this neat three dimensional effect. With a brush I enhanced behind the figures and while I’m not sure I’m finished, I do like the overall theme of my design. Running through my mind was the phrase: “And in that region there were shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night, and lo! An angel of the Lord appeared, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace and goodwill to men!” Not a bad way to begin the holidays, I think! Even if this isn’t the final product, it’s put me in a good place. Hope it has that affect on you, too!

Getting A Little Sketchy

Posted in art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Watercolors with tags , , , , , , on November 29, 2017 by sebland

imageI’ve always admired and been a little intimidated by those artists constantly sketching and journaling. I’ve even encouraged my students to keep a sketchbook handy and use it frequently to records events and sights along their journey. However I do confess that I could practice what I preach. When I travel or set out to do some plein aire work, I almost always will do a quick watercolor sketch, but I seldom record everyday events. I think I should. When I look back over old sketchbooks, I really get a sense of being there in the moment. In fact some of my sketches  before painting are more appealing to me than the finished work. Somehow those little sketches  along with the date and place, carry me back to a very special memory. Maybe 2018 will be the year of the “Art Journal.” We’ll see how that works out.

A Mighty Fine Day

Posted in art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Pastels, PLEIN AIR PAINTING with tags , , , , , on November 28, 2017 by sebland

 

imageThere’s just not a whole lot to find wrong about a cool November day in Texas, in the Hill Country, beside a cool green river with the wind blowing and the trees showing off their colors. Add a good friend, a cup of coffee and some snacks, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better day. Yes, I could have stayed home and climbed Mount Laundry and the windows could use some cleaning. There are closets to be cleaned out and shopping to be done. But they’ll still be there tomorrow, and a perfect day just doesn’t come along every day! The wind was pretty strong, but the leaves waltzed in a perfect parade down the park road. A pair of geese, remarkably well mannered, seriously critiqued our work for the price of a few crackers, and the pastel dust flew away without prompting, so all in all, we were content. I’m still not well acquainted with pastels, but growing more comfortable with each study. I hope you’ll come to appreciate these good good days and learn to let go of the “woulda, coulda, shouldas.”  Grab your paints and head on out. I think you’ll live longer! By the way this little study is available at:http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/777874

I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes

Posted in art, inspiration, mountains, Painting, Watercolors with tags , , , , , , on November 22, 2017 by sebland

imageI am noticing as I grow older that I’m not as strong as I once was. It takes me twice as long to do half as much as I once did. I have to ask for a bit of help now and then, and that rankles me. Little chores seem to take more energy, and for the first time in my life, I’m feeling limited at times in activities I once enjoyed.

This is not a comfortable place to be! I wake in the morning planning to do many things quickly and efficiently, and my body laughs and says: “How’s that working out for you?” I’m fairly sure I am not and won’t ever age gracefully. What I have come to understand, though, is that’s okay.

in the circle of life, we are born needing help, to learn to walk, to feed and dress ourselves, and as the years go by we find that once again we may need help. So I lean heavily on Psalm 121: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills. From where doth my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

i hope you find help when you need it, and that you learn to accept it, with gratitude.

The Journeys We’ll Never Lose

Posted in Acrylics, art, inspiration, mountains, Painting with tags , , , , , , on November 4, 2017 by sebland

imageTo my dismay traveling is becoming more challenging with every birthday. Father Time has a way of reminding you that long journeys, if not impossible, are definitely more challenging. For many years, my lifelong partner and I would gather up the kids, pack a ton of snacks and head out in the camper at daybreak, enjoying long hours on the highways and byways and spending happy times in parks and campgrounds, waking to the smell of woodsmoke and bacon, swimming in creeks and lakes, making memories. When we retired, I packed my paints, many treats (because what you consume on a trip doesn’t count), and went West, Northwest, South and Southwest, Alaska, Sedona, Florida, Maine, and as many places in between as we could afford. I am so glad we did. When Uncle Arthritis comes to live with you, long hours on the road are simply not as much fun. I write this not to complain, but to encourage you to go now, as you are able. If you have always dreamed of seeing Alaska or the Southwest or any other part of our beautiful world, go! Go now and make those memories because when you no longer feel like making that long trip, your journey will live on in your memory. So many times when we’re sitting on our deck sipping a glass of wine, Dear One will say: “Do you remember that snowy night in Tennessee?” or “That sunset  in Oregon was pretty special , huh.” We live in an amazingly beautiful world. Turn off those electronics, get out and see those sights. They’ll be with you always! This painting is no longer available, but I hope you enjoy it and my memory.

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