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Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Painting a Day - Day 41 - Woods #3

Day 41 - Woods #3 - Watercolor
"The path doesn’t last for ever. It is a blessing to travel the path for some time, but one day it will come to an end, so always be prepared to leave it at any moment. Don’t get too used to anything. Neither to the hours of euphoria, nor to the endless days when everything seems so difficult and progress is so slow. Don’t forget that sooner or later an angel will appear and your journey will reach an end."
Paolo Coelho

I am very interested in the path these days. This image keeps recurring in my paintings. I feel that I may have overworked this one. It looks better on the screen than on the paper I'm afraid! And I wasn't happy with how flat the trees look. But this is it!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Painting a Day - Day 40 - from Yesterday

This was yesterday's painting. Sorry I didn't get to post it. This week has been incredibly busy and sooo productive! We're entering work in shows - Mispillion and Delaware Watercolor Society, (well that would just be me), and we were asked to hang our work at the Yankee Clipper Hair Salon where I get my hair cut, so today we brought a bunch of art there to hang on the walls.

Then home to help my friend Dan with his booth materials for this Saturday. Dan is a member of Downtown Milford, Inc. and this weekend is the Bug and Bud Festival - a big family event in our town. He's our former Mayor and a good friend of ours. He's going to have a food booth, Italian meatball and chicken parm heroes that he's preparing and he asked me to create a banner and menus for the booth and I had to tweak some of the wording on the menus. I think it's going to be great. I've also volunteered to help him on the day of the Festival. Should be a lot of fun! Rhonda, who owns the Ladybug shop asked me to judge the costumes for the Ladybug parade - all little kids and they're all so adorable it's really hard to pick the best!!! I did it last year too and it was a lot of fun.

Then tonight we framed the last of the 3 pieces I'm going to enter for the Mispillion Art League "Awakenings" exhibit. It's MAL's first juried and judged show. We've had judged shows before but this is the first that you need to be juried in. So I'm keeping fingers crossed that my work is deemed acceptable! One of them is a Sunflower painting that I started last summer. I wanted to call the painting "I bought these sunflowers at the farmers market and then ran to my studio to paint them." But since that seemed a very long title, I decided to write that in pencil on the mat. I think I'm might call it "Pure Joy" since that is how I felt when I painted it.

Anyway, trying to get a lot of stuff done this week because next week I'll be in Rehoboth Beach, teaching a Watercolor Journaling workshop at the Rehoboth Art League and staying at the Homestead - the historic home on the property and I'm really reallllly excited about both of these things! This will be the first time I've taught at RAL and the idea of being able to "live" there for a few days is just too delightful! It will be like a little mini vacation for me. No TV, No computer, nothing to do after teaching but enjoy the grounds, journal, walk on the beach, read, relax.

Life is good. Seriously.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Painting a Day - Day 39 - Woods #2

Today I decided to look at the same wooded scene and try it this time in watercolor. The effect is much more subtle and softer than the acrylic from last week. Which do you prefer?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Watercolor Journaling Workshop in Arden, DE

Orchid's at the entrance to Lillian and Atul's home

I taught a Watercolor Journaling Workshop on Saturday at the lovely Arden, Delaware home and garden of Atul and Lillian Shah. It was a beautiful day in a absolutely beautiful setting and I think everyone enjoyed themselves and learned a few things. Coffee flowed freely throughout the day that began with a drawing lesson followed by a bit of color theory, color studies, a demonstration and then trying it out on their own.

Lillian's daughter Melora crafted a most scrumptious Gourmet Lunch, assisted by her sister Julie, that included wine, beverages and dessert, and we enjoyed relaxing and taking a break out on their spacious patio, listening to the sound of songbirds and happy people. I'm very grateful to the entire Shah family for opening their art-filled home to my workshop and making us all feel so welcome.

Here's a little peak at our day:

Focusing on Drawing exercises
BR's lobster painting
Color theory, color studies, color wheel


Penny's tulips

Betty's leaf studies

Paul's dogwood flowers
BR comparing leaf colors to her color studies
Sketching in their journals in the afternoon
Melora preparing our lunch
Bread and Soup
Melora's lovely tart
As promised - a Gourmet Lunch!
Lunch Break on the patio
Julie, Lillian and Melora

Betsy sketching in the yard
Mark and BR comparing sketches
Metal Doxie in a garden
Tulips in an Arden garden
Everyone's favorite page in their journals at day's end
Group photo

Julie, Lillian, Melora, Rosemary

A walk along the creek at the end of the day

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Painting a Day - Day 38 - Woods 1

Day 38 - Woods at Terapin Nature Park, Kent Island, acrylics

Watercolor Journaling at Kent Island

Historic Downtown Stevensville, Maryland, Kent Island (right side of pg)
Historic Stevensville Bank, Kent Island, Maryland (left side of pg)
In Stevensville MD, at the historic Train Depot (left side of page)
Stevensville MD, historic Train Depot (right side of page)
Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Easter Sunday (left side of pg)
Chesapeake Bay with parasailers (right side of pg)

Kent Island, Chesapeake Bay, urban sketches

Saturday, April 7, 2012

As the Poet Paints: E. Jean Lanyon

Exhibition of watercolors and poetry
Friday, April 6 through Sunday, April 29
We had the pleasure of attending the opening reception last night, First Friday in Dover, for the exhibition "As the Poet Paints" featuring the literary and visual artworks of 1979-2001 Delaware Poet Laureate E. Jean Lanyon who said:

“As a Fine Artist I paint what I cannot write, and I write what I cannot paint.”

Watercolor painting by E. Jean Lanyon.
and A bit of her Poetry:

there are passages of my life
that require silences.
require a soft white space,
soothing the part of my brain
that makes words sing,
or cry, or shout, or whisper.
 Bigg's website says of the exhibition: "The dual nature of this artist’s personal expression will take form in a comprehensive exhibition of her artistic career in Delaware." 

The reception featured a reading from the artist, E. Jean Lanyon. Everyone in the room was mesmerized by her poetry and begged for more and more poems! She generously agreed.

I highly recommend your stopping by the Biggs to enjoy the work of this highly respected Delaware artist, whose poems and paintings grace the walls.

Biggs Museum of American Art is open Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Sunday: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. and is located at 406 Federal Street, Dover.

The Biggs Museum of American Art is free—for everyone, every day! 
For further information call (302) 674-2111 or visit their website.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Painting a Day - Day 37 - Fan Palm #3

Day 37 - Fan Palm #3, in Acrylic Paint
This is the 3rd Fan Palm painting I've done so far. I'm thinking I may do yet another today. I painted this one using only yellow, red and blue acrylic paint, as I've done before.

I started with an under painting of red for the palm fronds thinking it might give more dimension to the painting, hoping the red would still be there, barely visible. I like this almost abstract painting and found it really interesting that the shape of the palm tree changed with each variation, getting further away from my sketch.

I then started building up layers of color and using white to lighten the colors - not something I can do with watercolor. I also like the way the palm fronds resemble the skirt of a ballerina!

EXCERPT from my Italy Journal: Good Friday in Enna 4.14.06

Since today is Good Friday, celebrated by Christians worldwide, I thought I would re-post a story from my Italy Blog of Good Friday when we lived in Sicily and went to a town called Enna, right in the center of the island - on a very high spot with wonderful views all around.

View of Calascibetta from Enna

Little girls in procession dressed as saints/nuns

"Today is actually the 21st of April and I am still trying to get caught up on my writing. I have not yet written about our day in Enna and wanted to tell you about Good Friday. Bob and I decided to go early in the day to this city that is right in the center of Sicily and its highest point, Mt. Etna not withstanding. We have passed by Enna several times on our way to Palermo but it never fit in our plans to stop. We always enjoy the drive through this region because it is absolutely beautiful with farms and cultivated fields with a backdrop of the mountains and terraced hills that occupy this part of Italy. Throughout the winter season it was completely green and the vastness of this place keenly felt. 

There are many tiny towns and villages that cling to hill and mountain top, visible from the heights of Enna, over 3,000 ft., as we climbed to the highest point in this highest place, the Castello di Lombardia, quite an impressive sight built by Frederick II on a previous Arab fortification. It's a fascinating complex and still retains six of the original twenty towers. Not to mention the fantastic views of the surrounding countryside from this lofty place.

Never completely sure what to expect from these events, we wandered around the city, finally finding the information office and picking up some brochures with the program of events for the week's processions. Interestingly, each one seemed to have a slightly different explanation of what would take place, when and where and we felt still a bit confused about where to position ourselves for the best view point. We missed the first procession of the day - our information said it began at noon when really it started earlier and by the time we found the place, it was over! 

We decided to stop for lunch and just happened onto a very nice local restaurant where I enjoyed a delicious risotto with shrimp and Bob, the ravioli with mushrooms. The waiter was very helpful and friendly and the strangest thing was that the music they were playing sounded very much like country western from the states, similar to a CD we have called "Asleep at the Wheel" and we had to ask what it was that they were listening to. Turned out to be a band called "the Notting Hillbillies" which struck us so funny! An odd combination of American music, British city name and town in the center of Sicily on Good Friday! 

The men, as penitit (penitents)
We read that each church in the city has a "confraternity" or club that departs from their particular church, convening in the center, at the Duomo. These people wear different colored robes and white hoods over their heads with just holes cut for their eyes - a bit disconcerting at first because of the resemblance to those of the Ku Klux Klan. There is no connection however, and it was explained to us that they wear these hoods because they are acting as "penititi" - penitents, like so many souls wandering, seeking forgiveness, if I understand this correctly. 

It is described as a very solemn event and the procession takes place very slowly over the course of several hours, the culmination of which is the meeting in the Duomo where the statues carried by the different confraternities come together, with the statue of the Madonna, meeting her crucified Son, and then process through the city with the cemetery as their destination, after which they all return to their own churches once again. 
Even the very little boys are penititi

I must admit that those in the procession do seem very solemn with a surprising number of young boys also taking part. The number of "brothers" is said to be in the thousands. The only female presence, with the exception of the grieving Madonna, are very little girls - 5 or 6 years old, dressed as nuns in white, black or brown habits with rosary beads etc., walking with their hands pressed together in a prayerful pose. They are really adorable to see, even if it seems a bit strange. Some of these tiny kids really know how to look appropriately solemn! 

This photograph was in an exhibit at the Delaware Art Museum
 It's also very dramatic the way the men carry the sepulcher of the dead Christ or the Madonna, swaying from side to side in unison as a band plays somber funereal music, following them around the city. Pippo and Salvatore, Elio's brothers who met us in Enna later in the day, told us that this is a great honor for these men who wait their turns from year to year to carry the Madonna or Jesus on their backs.

I have to say we noticed a genuine absence of solemnity among many of the observers, however, as they jockeyed for the best viewing place, stepped in front of other people to take photos, including walking in front of and around the "brothers," talked loudly among themselves and in general didn't seem to be exactly "saying their penance and standing in spiritual silence" as described in our brochures but perhaps we were just not in the right spot.

We also know why everyone thinks we are German. The city was filled with German tourists and at one point, earlier in the day, German was the dominant language spoken by the crowd around us!

Once the procession passed us by and we met up with Elio's brothers and their wives, Marinella and Rosalba, we visited a few of the churches which were open and were even, due to Rosalba's request of the caretaker, permitted to enter one of the churches that surely would have been closed to us. This was the church of San Salvatore, ancient, lovely with plaster-carved statues of the apostles decorating the interior and an elaborately carved, wooden ceiling. The gentleman who let us in also allowed us in into an inner room to see the ancient crucifix and the vestments in the drawer of an intricately painted cabinet.

After thanking this generous man for his time we stopped and bought some sandwiches and ate them while walking through the medieval streets, lit by torchlight. Since we had arrived before noon that day we had a pretty good parking place close to centro. Unfortunately they had a longer walk in the opposite direction so we said our goodbyes and made our way to our vehicles for the 2 or so hour's drive back to Ragusa. At this hour of the night there was not much traffic. But by the time we got home, we were completely exhausted and decided that Saturday would be a day of rest for us!

Buona giornata,
Rosemary e Bob

Happy Easter to everyone celebrating the holiday.

A Painting a Day - Day 36 - Fan Palm

Day 36 - Fan Palm #2 - watercolors with white gouache

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Painting a Day - Day 35 - Fan Palm

Day 35 - Fan Palm
right-hand side of Palm Tree spread in Puerto Rico watercolor journal

Sorry I didn't post this yesterday. It was painted with watercolors, after an initial loose sketch in graphite and is based on a journal page in my Puerto Rico watercolor journal. I fell in love with the palm trees there and did a whole spread in my journal. I think I may do another palm tree painting today.

I do really like the spontaneity of the journal page better than the painting. Sketching from life often is preferable to using my sketch as reference. But here it is. Day 35. What do you think?

In my journal I always sketch with a PITT pen first and then add my watercolors. In my painting, I decided not to use the pen lines. Perhaps today I will re-create the same image but use the pen. Who knows! Maybe I'll paint a cow instead!