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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

We spent Christmas and Bob's Birthday with Chris and Kyla in Richmond. Here's a little photo sampling of our holidays.

Christmas Eve is Bob's birthday.

We had fun decorating a gingerbread house

Kyla focused intently on what she was doing

Kyla playing with her new computer game

Our Christmas tree in Milford

Gifts from downtown Milford shops

A beautiful Milford sunset yesterday (the day we returned from Richmond)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Welcome to my new Studio!

photo by Cathy Serwalt

Take a peak inside!

In September and October of this year, resident artists of the Studios Upstairs at Park Avenue, on the second floor of the Riverwalk Center for the Arts, upstairs from both Angelucci Artists Gallery (who manage the Studios) and the Mispillion Art League, began to move into their individual studios. (Contrary to what some people think, the Studios Upstairs and Angelucci Artists Gallery are not part of the Mispillion Art League, being connected only by sharing the same building and our mutual respect and friendship. Several of us are members of the Art League and work hard to promote its programs, but that's the only connection.) My Studio was ready in October and as many of you know, I exitedly moved in my art supplies and set to work.

Inside the Studio (the wood floors and stucco are original) Our little settee from our Phoenix house fits in perfectly, next to the antique radiator (non-functioning, unfortunately)

Bob created a system of stainless steel wires, criss-crossed on one wall for me to hang up works in progress. It is the envy of all the other artists!

The wall outside the studio is a display place for our work. We show mine and Bob's although I am the one working in it. (The beams and bricks are original to the building)

The Riverwalk Center for the Arts is a recently restored, historic building, a former hardware store, in the downtown of our city, Milford, Delaware, right on the Riverwalk. The Mispillion Art League leases the front of the lower level, and Angelucci, the rear with their second gallery in the downtown. There are still many details yet to be finished and we expect the "Grand Opening" to happen this spring. But in the meantime, we joyfully work away. It's a diverse group of artists - each with our own distinctive styles so it's interesting for the public to come up and browse around, which we welcome.

The address of my studio is: Live Cheap & Make Art Studios, 6 Park Avenue, Studio i, Milford Delaware 19963. I keep regular hours, Wednesday - Saturday so call me if you want to visit - 302-359-5534.

The Riverwalk Center for the Arts - the first window to the left of the lightpost is my studio. I have a great view and north light.

Our logo was designed by Ben Muldrow, of Arnett Muldrow Associates, an Urban Planning firm based in Greenville, South Carolina, specializing in Community Branding, Retail Market Analysis, Historic Preservation and Downtown Masterplanning, who created the branding for downtown Milford.

An as yet untitled painting I recently finished in my studio

Monday, December 13, 2010

Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Vietri sul Mare

I'm a little behind with this post but I was remembering this event that happens on December 8th in Vietri sul Mare on the Amalfi Coast where we lived in 2006-7 and wanted to share some photos.

Here is just an excerpt: "There ended up being three bonfires, each one larger than the last, until finally, near the beach they had created a very large one, in the shape of a tall Christmas tree, built of slats of wood with dried tree branches affixed to it. A group of young men and boys carried long poles with old socks and rags tied around them. Another doused them with gasoline, while an older man kept shouting “Poco! Poco” (a little bit! a little bit!) and the torches (and the area around their feet as well) shot up into flame..." Click here for the whole story. And here for more photos.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A good quote

"By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before."
- Edwin Elliot

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My latest painting - Finished Yesterday!

Please come!

We'd like to personally invite you to attend the first exhibition to be held in the Studios Upstairs' Galleries. See works by Bob and I and other "resident" artists along with some very fine artists from throughout the surrounding areas. Find unique one a kind art gifts, meet the artists and enjoy refreshments in this newly renovated space. If you haven't had a chance to see my new studio, this is it! Reception from 5 to 8pm, Friday December 10. 4 N. Walnut Street, Milford De. Hope to see you then (and bring a friend!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Decorating the Studio for the Holidays!

My cute little Christmas trees!

Found these cute little trees for my studio and decorated them with my hand-painted watercolor "ornaments" - little squares of 300 lb Arches cold press - I had so much fun using the colors of traditional Christmas lights in translucent layers. These little "Holidays Lights" are for sale this season along with some new Amaryllis cards. I hope you'll come up to the Studios Upstairs this Friday, December 3. We're all working hard to make it festive and fun. We'll have cookies too and lots of good cheer, so come out to the Holiday Stroll - downtown Milford from 5-8!

Little Amaryllis cards (A-2 envelope size)

Long Amaryllis cards - this is reproduced from my new painting and go in #10 envelopes

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Watercolor Journaling Workshop - November 2010

I had a wonderful time this weekend teaching another of my increasingly popular (I'm happy to say!) watercolor journaling workshops for the Mispillion Art League. We met yesterday morning, had a little lesson and went out on the Riverwalk where they sketched and painted happily along the Mispillion River. Today I gave them the task of capturing the flavor of downtown Milford by focusing not only on the architecture of the downtown but the things in the shop windows. We discussed the design of the page and ways to make an interesting "spread" - across two pages and they really enjoyed the day. We broke for lunch, conversation was lively, sharing what each had done, reading what they had written and off we went again for another hour or so of focusing on their journals. I spend my time walking from the one to the other, offering hints and suggestions and answering their questions. It's the most amazing thing. I have discovered that, imagine that -- I know a few things about this thing called "art" -- and it's a very good feeling!

Bob just happened to stop by while out photographing the downtown for a project he is working on and took these photos!

My students where everyone - sitting on curbs, sidewalks, benches and generally were engrossed in their journals!

Happy Me. Teaching has been so much fun and incredibly rewarding

Getting Ready to work

Zelma Nicholas presents The History of Doll Making

Mispillion Art League's “Third Monday” program this month is a presentation by area resident and artist, Zelma Nicholas who will share her knowledge of the history of doll making. Having created porcelain antique dolls from their porcelain bodies right up to the clothing they wear, Zelma is an expert in this art form. She has donated numerous dolls that you may find on display in the Milford Museum and taught classes in doll making. She is also a painter and Jewelry designer.

I'm including this doll just for an example of the types of dolls Zelma has made. This one comes from Emily Hart who sells dolls like this one on her website.

Tomorrow night - Monday – Nov. 15th – 6:30 to 8pm
Mispillion Art League
5 N. Walnut Street, downtown Milford


Friday, November 12, 2010

Watercolor Journaling Class this weekend!

I'm teaching another of my Watercolor Journaling workshops tomorrow and Sunday at Mispillion Art League. Eight people signed up! We'll be in the gallery tomorrow morning doing some exercises and demos etc. and on Sunday I'll take them outdoors to try it out.! Should be a lot of fun. I have several repeat students (no, they didn't get left back!) so I have to have some new material so they don't get bored!

Wish me luck!

"Rare Finds" Auction to benefit Mispillion Art League

Some of the neighbors at the Happy Hour tonight in the Hearthstone Clubhouse were asking about this event tomorrow night that benefits the Mispillion Art League. If you'd like to come, it's not too late - you can purchase tickets at the door. It should be a very fun event. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Excerpts from Our Italy Blog

As the weather turns colder here in Coastal Delaware my thoughts return to Perugia, where we lived from April to the end of November 2005. Before we headed to Sicily, it snowed. This is what I wrote then in our Italy Blog and what I was thinking about. Thought I'd share it with you.

Looking towards the Borgo Bello neighborhood - with a View towards Church of San Domenico a "Journal Painting" I did while drinking a glass of wine at "Punta da Vista"

View from "our garden" - Perugia - a page in my watercolor journal


On Wednesday morning I woke up and looked out the window to see a dusting of white on the ground. I got so excited, I hurried to throw on some clothes, waking Bob to join me to go out and play in the snow! Everyone who lives here has told us how beautiful Perugia is in the snow with the rooftops covered and I was sorry that we would be leaving too soon to see this for ourselves. But Mother Nature has been kind to us and now we feel that we have seen this beautiful city it all its seasons and can happily leave with many wonderful memories. The first place we went was down in the garden to Our View and did indeed see the rooftops dusted with a blanket of snow, transforming our view into a winter wonderland. The snow on the streets around Piazza IV Novembre were melted and wet by the time we went down there but the fountain had snow on all the steps and the tops of the buildings had snow on their upper ledges. It was so wonderful to look out over the view at the other end of Corso Vannucci and see the churches of San Domenico and San Pietro and the houses below with white roofs and the entire top of Monte Subasio above Assisi covered in snow.

"Our View" in snow

Leaving Perugia - An excerpt from blog post dated November 27, 2005

We were happy enough to have come full circle since the time we arrived and it was not yet spring. Trees were bare, the weather was cold and the flowers had not yet started to bloom. Then came the warmer weather and all the geraniums began to appear in window boxes, trees filled out with green and the grape vines woke up, sending their little shoots out from the dark branches. Summer was an explosion of color in the garden, with a succession of beautiful flowers. The santolina wore a crown of gold, lavender filled the air with its perfume, purple iris, yellow daffodils, tulips, daisies, roses, passion vines and finally, the incredible dahlias we enjoyed all through August and September. We loved watching the grapes grow over the arches in the garden, first little tiny buds and then filling out to lush bunches hanging from the vines. We felt a bit like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, pulling plums and peaches right off the trees and eating them, fresh from the garden. I used sage and rosemary snipped from the garden and we spent many hours staring out over this wonderful view, amazed at our good fortune at having found this piece of heaven and secured it for ourselves for this moment in time.

The incredible Dahlias - Bob's photograph

Foggy Borgo Bello

Fontana Maggiore, Perugia in fog

Autumn brought the changing leaves. The chestnut trees turned rusty brown with spiky balls of chartruesse green that dropped to the ground. The maple trees shed enormous red and yellow leaves and everywhere the colors were golden with shades of crimson here and there. The grounds of the garden were covered with crunchy acorns and we expected to be hit on the head one day but never were. Even the grape vines joined in and we saw rolling hillsides in autumn colors. The colder days brought fog and mist that was mysterious and marvelous to see and we had a blast walking around in the clouds. I loved the way the air felt on my face and the way the city looked like a photograph that has been ghosted back, its buildings and fountains like silhouettes through the fog.

Snowy Borgo Bello

And now the snow. The finishing touch. It didn't last for more than that day but the weather has definitely turned cold. We go outside now bundled up in scarves and sweaters and coats. We found these nifty mitten/gloves that are like gloves with the fingers cut off but with a mitten-like flap you can pull off and on if you need to use your fingers without taking off the gloves. My black wool coat with the hood tops it all off. They say snow in November is unusual. Everyone said it doesn't usually snow until January or February. And we are packing to go.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hearthstone Manor's Holiday Vendor Fair

I will be at the Clubhouse at Hearthstone Manor, 3101A E Brookmyer Dr, Milford, DE‎, my neighborhood, on Saturday Nov 6 from 11 - 4pm along with other local businesses (Mary Kay, Tastefully Simple, Simply Said, Decorating, Cookie Lee accessories, Pampered Chef, PartyLite and more) to offer the community a fun shopping experience close to home. Find unique gifts for family and friends and the girl scouts will wrap your gifts while you enjoy refreshments (courtesy of Hearthstone) and visit with your neighbors! That's better than braving the Mall any day!

Everyone is welcome – Residents and Visitors alike! Hope to see you there.

Click here for driving directions to the clubhouse if you aren't a resident.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pottery, Parks & Art Journaling

It's early in the morning here in Richmond. The sun has just come up. Everyone is sleeping but me. We're having fun visiting with Chris and Kyla. Picked up our "painted pottery" yesterday. The last time we were here we went to "All Fired Up" on Cary Street, downtown - one of those places that have the raw pottery and the paints and when you are done, they fire it and you go back a couple weeks later to pick it up. It's so much fun to see how the colors look on the finished piece! Kyla painted a little pink jewelry box with a peace sign on the top; Chris, a big mug and I did a cute little bowl in colors that will match my kitchen. It is so much fun to do this, I wish we had a place in Milford to do it! Maybe I should take some ceramics classes and learn it from scratch.

I had promised her we would also get a cupcake at Baby Cakes - she likes the chocolate one with chocolate frosting (she is my granddaughter!) and we walked around a bit and window shopped before heading to the park to play. She is growing like a weed! I adore these times with her. She is such a delight.

So, I'm up early, checking out my email, facebook, and "surfing" the net for sites related to "Art Journaling." I sort of discovered this term, searching for other people/info on watercolor journaling and find there are many sites related to this form of expression. I joined one of them called "Art Journaling. It's all good" last week and think it will be a good place to share art, see and be inspired by what others are doing. It's very exciting to see what is being done.

Some of my watercolor journals from Italy - watercolor, pen and ink on Moleskine journals

This type of journaling is different from what I do in that it is more "free form" if you will but the basic idea of the journal being done just for you, a personal expression remains the same. Artists are using everything under the sun to create journal pages that are full of color and imagery - some found art - the ephemera of their lives, anything that tells a story, their own personal story in extremely creative ways and it inspires me to push further, try new things, experiment. I discovered Quinn Creative. She is also a "creativity coach," helping others to bring out their own creative selves. Fascinating. I also found a site called "Daisy Yellow. A vivid life with kids" on art journaling. So much good stuff out there!

I am about to turn a new page. Start a new chapter. Push away from the safe harbor and enter a different world. This coming week I expect to have all my stuff in my new studio. Scott should have finished all the woodwork and trim and there is no excuse now for not setting up shop officially and getting to work. I'll be honest with you, as exciting as it is, it's also pretty scary. No computer to distract me, no TV. Just me and my easel, some paper, pens, brushes and paints. How will I structure my day? What comes next? I'd like to keep a record of how this plays out, what I'm doing, how I'm feeling. And perhaps I'll feel brave enough to share it with whoever is out there reading this. To my artist friends - any advice? suggestions? words of wisdom? I'd love to hear from you. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Riding the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad

We picked up a brochure at the visitors office in Oil City about the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad, checked the schedule and decided we just had to do it. So we added another day to our stay there and arranged to take this 3-hour round trip train ride that takes you through beautiful Oil Creek State Park.

The town of Titusville is also one of the Oil Region Alliance towns that first discovered oil in the 1850s. It's about half an hour's drive from Oil City.

With the fall foliage and lovely weather, riding in the open gondola car for part of the trip was breathtaking in places. The vintage passenger cars themselves - pulled by a 56-year old Alco S-2 engine - are quite comfortable. And we were able to purchase postcards and mail them from the "only operating Railway Postal Car" in the country!

Across the street from the station Bob photographed the Wabash Cannonball

The Perry Street Train Station Sign

Titusville and the railroad station

Going over a bridge

Views of the Allegheny River from the train

Fall Colors - making our way through Oil Creek Valley

Oil Creek

Interior of the train - the seat backs flop back and forth so you are always facing forward regardless of what direction the train is going.

The Conductor, with the yellow Engine coming back to hook up with the rest of the train

Passenger car exterior

The Caboose Motel is located on the tracks next to the Perry Street Station in Titusville. You can stay in one of 21 actual cabooses that has heat and a/c, showers, telephone and TV, May through October. 1-800-827-0690. We think it would have been fun to stay in one if we had known ahead of time!

...more to come on our trip to Michigan