Archive for inspiration

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!

Coping with Commissions

Posted in Acrylics, art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Watercolors with tags , , , on January 14, 2018 by sebland

To be really honest, I’m not terribly comfortable about commissions. I have enough trouble bringing my own ideas to the canvas, much less trying to interpret another person’s visions. This one, however, is quite large and I know and trust my patron’s faith in me, so I’m taking it on. The space is wide – six feet, but only 26″ tall, so we’ve settled on three 24 x 24″ canvases, side by side. She loves bright colors, lots of friends around her, and just lost her husband, so this one  must be a narrative of the joy of life and the way we love and support one another. My way to begin is to sketch with watercolor the feelings, the emotions and some of the things I know she’s looking for. Then I’ll prime and begin in acrylics to paint the panels. This triptych may take a little while and may undergo many changes. I invite you to travel along with me and we’ll see where this one takes us. I’ll bet the finished product will bear little resemblance to this first sketch!

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

Eating at the Kids’ Table

Posted in Family, inspiration, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 24, 2017 by sebland

imageWhen I was a little girl, our family always gathered for Thanksgiving at Uncle Frank and Aunt Ila’s house. They were my father’s uncle and aunt and had this big old house up on a hill near my Granny’s. I remember one year we had 32 friends and family there for dinner. All the kids ate at card tables set up throughout the house. We loved eating together because no adults were watching us, so if we laughed until we snorted soda pop out through our noses, or played jokes on one another, nobody noticed. Those were wonderful fun filled memories.

Now I am one of the elders, and this year my daughter had lots of family for dinner. Since I can choose where I sit, I happily sat at the Kids’ table with three of my grandchildren and their grandfather. The fourth is a father now, and lives too far away to be with us. These other three “kids” are all grown with lives of their own and it’s a rare treat to be with them. These same babies that I fed and changed and loved through the years made time to come and share their lives with me and their Papaw. What a joy it was to hear their stories, laugh with them and feel the love surrounding us. My thankfulness extends to their parents, who make these holidays special for our family. Sitting around that table, missing those who couldn’t be there, my heart was full. Keeping  the family traditions takes work, planning and dedication. I’m so grateful to be a part of this endless circle of love. I hope you had a happy day also.

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.

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