Here we are, at the end of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.This heart goes out to all the painters who slugged it out with me.
And most especially to Leslie Saeta, because truly, I never coulda/woulda done it without her help, guidance, and inspiration.
To those of you who have been keeping me honest by telling me that you actually look for my blog every day, I will continue to paint and post, although not quite as regularly. My hope is to stay with it about 3-5 x per week.
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Here's to February, the month of hearts, and roses, and yes.. paintings! xoxo
My father-in-law was one of those reserved, gruff, proper Bostonians. He loved to dance, (ever heard of dancing pumps...yeah, he had those) anything Harvard, and most of all my mother-in-law, Jane. On special occasions he would present her with a pretty white box containing a gardenia corsage.
On my first New Year's Eve as a Sheldon, he gave one to me as well. I felt so welcomed. It was a gesture that touched my heart.
Our daughters have now received a few of their own, always followed by me telling about Grandpop and his penchant for them. When Claire wore one in her hair at a formal dance, she came home to tell us how she danced with a young man who stopped dancing, and standing back, shook his head in amazement, "you smell soooo good". She explained it was the gardenia, and we all smiled, thinking about how Gandpop would have liked to hear that story.
It's always about the gardenia.
There's a lot of potential packed into a bud. Especially the bud of a gardenia. It's all about what's inside; the heavenly fragrance that is sure to follow if the plant is properly nurtured.
I don't think there's a flower in the world that I love more, or that holds more sentimental feelings for me.
This was done from a field sketch I did last autumn in Deerfield, MA.
It was a magnificent afternoon, and the valley was at it's best.
Known for it's history, natural beauty and the Yankee Candle Factory (I've always smiled at the sign out front that proclaims they are The Scenter of the Universe), Deerfield will always hold a place in my heart.
The Deerfield River isn't bound by it's shores. Every now and then there are epic rains that bring it's waters far into the neighboring fields to unimaginable heights. My daughter Hally tells us it's some of the best farming land in this country. She's our Deerfield expert, having hiked those hills and rowed in those waters for four years. I remember when during a phone call home she casually mentioned to me how much she loved "living in this valley". Never before had she mentioned geography in such a personal, meaningful way. I was touched.
I don't know about it's relative fertility, but I do know that the organic farms and dairy barns that border the river are the best I've found. And I have a daughter who will tell you why that's so, if you have some time to listen.
Before I saw anything, before I even entered my studio, I knew something was up.
To be perfectly honest, up and down.
The scent of the paperwhite narcissus blossoms is distinctive, certainly not easy to miss. The bulbs from Day 3 of this challenge had been growing rapidly this past week and I was looking forward to them blooming.
But when I looked for them, well, they were gone.
There was however, a lot of water.
And sure enough, under the table was a bowl on it's side, several leggy/rooty flower stems, and tons of cranberries all scattered over the floor. After cleanup, I figured I'd better make good on my promise to paint them after they bloomed... so here you have Day 26.
Lesson #1: Stake the stalks before it's too late.
Lesson #2: Dogs will eat raw cranberries given the chance. Which is good, because it insures that they won't
get scurvy, in case you were worried about that.
Sometimes you need a little distance before you can really see the whole picture. This painting, for instance.
Now that it's next to me here on the screen, I see exactly what needs to be changed.
Isn't life a lot like that?
Another metaphor to toss in the hat.
I was so tempted to take a pass tonight, I can hardly tell you.
But it's 11:57pm, and I'm going to post and head to bed!
Tomorrow will bring something new, and inspired.
The red tubes of paint didn't even see the light (okay, dark) of day for this painting. Which is why I kept it going, despite my doubts halfway through. As a result, it's a lot tighter than I had intended when I began.
And although I'm not exactly thrilled with this one, it was a blessed relief not to be working with those cadmium reds last night.
I was tempted to break one of these three eggs, but upon reflection I reckoned that being tired and cracking eggs open might not be a wise thing to do.
But I got to thinking about what I've learned so far from this challenge, and I will pass along a few thoughts:
I know, I know. It's red again, and even I cannot believe I went there. Sometimes you just can't fight the inevitable.
When presented with these boots by a co-worker, I couldn't get over how adorable they were. They are so tiny! A remnant from her childhood, I was struck by how sweet it was that Kay's mother had saved them for so many years. To look at them and think about the winter they were worn, one wonders how much snow might have fallen that season, did they walk down a sidewalk to school or church, did she wear them long past the time of proper fitting because she loved them so much?
In order to give some indication of scale, I placed one of those peppermint candies in the painting. And yes, I do realize I intentionally selected something red.
(note: Claire Sheldon, I know you loved those green leather cowboy boots from nursery school. The ones we bought on Hanover Street in the North End. The only reason I didn't save them for you was because you wore the leather out with love.)
These are the kind of hard candies that my grandmother used to keep in a bowl near her favorite reading chair. I never saw anyone take one, nor did I see my grandmother eat them. The whole thing seemed to be more of a decorative display rather than one intended for consumption.
They were pretty, I have to admit. And although I don't really have a taste for them, it turns out my two labradors do.
What you see is all that remains of a container I stashed away in one of those large, not-dog-proof LL Bean canvas bags. A little while ago I found many, many empty cellophane bits on the floor of my studio.
I'm keeping my eye on Gracie and Gus. I have a feeling I'll be seeing more of those wrappers shortly...
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