Magic of the Moon: Moon Glow

Once again, I was back to my favorite oils, cold wax, and palette knives. I sort of based Moon Glow on a previous painting that had sold back in June. Though I made several changes to the scene, the colors used are pretty much the same as the earlier painting. I don’t know about you, but I love pthalo blue for night scenes.

I have to say… I really like how this one turned out. If I were a wolf, I would probably live around here so I could howl at the moon every night. Fauna, flora, people, (even mythical creatures) are affected by the magic of the moon. Artists and authors often paint and write with the moon as part of the visual or verbal story.

So, what’s the story here?

As the viewer, you get to decide. Are you out on a night hike and discover the magic of the moon on the water? Are you dreaming of a moonlight encounter? Are you looking through the eyes of a bird flying through the night sky? Make it your story.

For me, as it developed, I see myself standing on the side of a small hill, experiencing the calming effect of a moonlit sky on the landscape below. I am bathing in the moon’s glow. I am feeling at peace with my surroundings. In the distance, I hear an owl calling out.

The magic of the moon is calling… can you hear it?

Magic of the Moon: Canyon Moon

Well, here we go again. I had been on a moon kick… sort of still am… because moons are magical! I will always find time to paint something with a moon in it.

So…. this painting got it’s start when I met up with some artistic friends. I had brought some slow drying acrylics (Golden, if you’re curious) because I didn’t want to mess with wax and oils that morning. Anyway, I got to thinking about 1) some images I had seen of canyons and towering rock formations as well as 2) using a touch of reds in cloud paintings which I had seen another painter do to their clouds. So…. I decided to see what I could come up with using a limited palette and (eek!) brushes. It was just playtime but I kind of liked the final result which happened several days later when I continued to play with it some more.

Magic of the Moon: Canyon Moon is how I envisioned how it might appear if I was standing somewhere at the base of a canyon looking up at the moon shining down. There are probably hundreds of paintings based on this premise or actual photos/renditions of a real place. Anyway… since I wanted to have some red in the sky, I painted the canyon walls using both reds and blues. The base of the canyon looked too empty, so after some debate with myself, (water? trees? water and trees? campsite?) I decided to just add the trees.

I like to imagine that somewhere in those trees, a wolf is getting ready to emerge and sing his night song. His own tribute to the magic of the moon.

The Magic of the Moon: Moon Flight

The second painting in The Magic of the Moon series (I guess it’s a series… or not) took me back to the mediums and technique I most love. Oils, cold wax, and palette knives.

Moon Flight is a painting purely from the imagination. All I knew for sure was that I wanted a moon, clouds, and water. As it evolved, I let the perceived magic of the moon illuminate the land, the sky, and bathe the water with bright light. The birds were added when I realized there should be more to this story. It wasn’t just about the moon. There needed to be a second subject. Birds. Birds on their way to a secure place to settle down for the night. Nature in harmony. I lowered the sky and added the limbs in the foreground.

Now my moon had a purpose other than just reflecting light to a sleeping landscape. It was the nightlight in the sky providing a safer passage to the creatures of the day as they made their way through the dark.

I really enjoyed painting this one and love that it found a home with a couple who enjoyed it as well. They also saw and felt what I did while creating it. The magic of the moon is more than just visual. There is purpose as well.

The Magic of the Moon: Moon Surf

There is something magical about seeing the moon.

Doesn’t have to be at night either. Even daytime sightings have an effect on me. Maybe it all goes back to childhood when stories and imagination made such an impact on me. Or maybe I am just a child of the moon. More drawn to this magical orb in the sky than I am to the sun in it’s various appearances. Maybe that’s why I often feel the need to add a moon to many of my landscapes… even if it is just a hint of one off in the distance when it hasn’t made it’s full exit or full entrance to the sky. The magic of the moon is real to me. Ok, let’s just say it’s very appealing. (I wouldn’t want you to think I dance around half naked at night waving and chanting. However, if that is something YOU do, I’m not judging.)

Science tells us that the moon does indeed have an effect on our natural world, including us. History tells us it has indeed been a subject of awe and adoration to many cultures. But this missive is not about science or history, this is about painting and trying to capture the magic of that reflective rock in the sky. The magic of the moon.

In the painting Moon Surf, I was remembering the many nights from various vacations on the Alabama and Florida coast. Nights with the moon shining down on the water, the soft glow of drifting clouds embracing the moonlight, and the glorious soothing sounds of the waves coming on shore. Maybe for you, it brings back a memory from another place, a different setting.

Unlike the majority of my landscapes/seascapes, this one was done using acrylics (gasp!) and brushes (double gasp!). If you don’t know, I prefer to use palette knives and now I mostly use oil paint. I rarely take a painting done with brushes and acrylic to the gallery.

Maybe the magic of the moon cast a spell on me.

Morning Tee: Drink It In

Some people like their “tea” as in the liquid stuff that you enjoy hot or cold at various times of the day. Others, like so many I know, prefer theirs to be in the form of a golf ball sitting on a long narrow piece of wood. Ah yes, watching the sunrise for that first shot from the tee box. The early morning tee that some say is better than any jolt of java.

I have to admit I haven’t played golf in years. It has become too painful in too many joints though I can’t make myself get rid of any of my equipment… hope lingers. However, I still have oodles of fond memories of all the years and all the courses I have played. Which is why I enjoy painting golf landscapes, mostly made up of from memories and a lot of “artistic license”.

I must confess. I have never started off a golf day at the crack of dawn. Those who do are a different breed from myself. No, I was a later in the day kind of golfer. I preferred watching sunsets on the course. That, however, is not the topic of this particular missive.

I do like sunrises and have often painted my version of them. So…. for all those golfers who love their morning tee, this little painting is a toast to you. Drink in your mornings with gusto and great satisfaction. The air is cool, the breeze slight, and the company jovial.

It will be a good day.

Walk With Me

Right now with all the mess going on, I know you and I won’t be walking together any time soon. And, truth be told, I kind of prefer walking by myself. If I am by myself, I don’t have to make polite conversation, talk (or hear) about problems, or have anyone roll their eyes when I have to stop (for the umpteenth time) to look at something we saw earlier in another spot. Look! Another rabbit, squirrel, bird, flower, butterfly, cloud formation, tree shape. The list goes on… and on… and on.

oil and cold wax painting

Note this: if you are the same way on a walk, we would get along fabulously (and probably be taking a lot of photos).

However, if we can’t walk together physically, we can at least walk together in spirit. Fact is, sadly, I do most of my walking this way now. No, not by some meditative mind thing. I do my in spirit walking through photos. Either my own or those so graciously shared by others. I love seeing where people have been and am very glad they are willing to share their adventures so I can come along.

This is why I now so enjoy painting outdoor scenes, even if it’s from a photo (with permission of course if it’s not mine). It doesn’t have to be a live outdoor painting experience (i.e. plein air) for me to feel it. And truth be told, I don’t like to sweat, get sunburned, fight off bugs, or lug supplies around. Also, at my age, the thought of not being close to a bathroom is a big NO NO. (Just for that, I have a huge amount of respect for plein air painters. They must have really healthy bladders.)

Anyway… at my age, I have had enough life experiences to be able to look at a photo and visualize being there, walking there, seeing the colors in the tree line or on the side of the hill. I can feel the breeze that might be blowing, feel the heat of the sun or the cool of the shade, smell the fragrances of what’s growing, hear what sounds might be there. I can put myself into the scene I am painting. I am spiritually there because at some point in life, I was physically in a scene pretty much like it.

Hopefully, if I can capture the feeling of being there, the viewer will feel they are there too. Isn’t that’s what all artists hope for? A connection with their viewer?

So, walk with me. I hope you enjoy the stroll.

Walk This Way: Following Your Path.

Walk This Way

When I was younger, I loved hiking. I actually still do, though my stamina is really crappy now. Anyway…. not the serious gotta have a backpack, camping gear, GPS, bear repellant, etc. kind of hiking. I’m talking about the kind where you just go out and follow a path or two through a state park, local park, or the woods behind your house. There’s something freeing about venturing forth, water in hand, to just explore where the path leads you.

Life is full of paths too.

Following Your Path: Have a Plan

Here’s the thing with me and maybe with you too. I don’t blindly forge ahead. I make sure that the path I want to take is doable. I don’t want to get lost or hurt following it. So I plan… usually. Yes, it’s exciting to step off the path and see “what’s over there”, as long as you keep a firm eye on where you were, so you can get back on it. Lost is not a fun thing to be.

Following Your Path: Keep Moving

Your career, your hobby, your art, your hike in the woods should never be stagnant. Not moving gets you nowhere. Enjoy the stops to rest, explore, enjoy the view…. but keep moving forward. When I look at my artwork from years ago to where I am now, I see all the paths I took to get here. And I see how I kept moving forward. Occasionally, I see where I got off the path, but I managed to get back on it. I didn’t give up getting to where I wanted to go and I’m still exploring as I journey on.

So… follow your path, plan for new ones, take a break if needed, but keep moving.

Painting Trees: The Tree Amigos

I love trees. I find myself including them more and more in my paintings, which is a real change for me because I never felt good at doing so in the past. However, you know what they say about practice. Thousands of people regularly paint trees so obviously there’s a lot of practice going on. Painting trees is hugely popular with artists. So many interpretations! Trees are also a popular subject with poets and other writers.

Advice From A Tree

Stand tall and proud.
Sink your roots into the earth.
Be content with your natural beauty.
Go out on a limb.
Drink plenty of water.
Remember your roots.
Enjoy the view.
– Ilan Shamir

The Tree Amigos: It Didn’t Start This Way!

When I started this one, I had no intention of painting trees. It actually began with the idea of a rainy day and a child under an umbrella. That’s all. No trees. Just a little girl ( which became two) under a large umbrella. And that’s what I did! I had mixes of blues, violets, grays, whites on my palette and with my palette knives, laid on my background then when dry enough, added the figures. However, the composition bothered me. Therefore, I swiped through it all, removed a lot of the paint, and in the chaos of colors I saw a street scene. I worked that idea for a while, but didn’t like that either. It just didn’t speak to me. Actually it did speak to me… it said “noooooo”. So I scraped and wiped and re-swiped the colors and sat back and just looked at it for several minutes. That’s when I started seeing trees in the shapes. Trees and water and sky. So I started developing the shapes and moving colors around. In the end, I had a painting of three trees which I finally named The Tree Amigos.

Speaking of Trees

If you google it, you’ll find that there are over 60,000 tree species in the world. The ten most common in the U.S. are the Red Maple, the Loblolly Pine, Sweetgum, Douglas Fir, Quaker Aspen, Sugar Maple, Balsam Fir, Flowering Dogwood, Lodgepole Pine, and the White Oak.

A lot of lovely subjects if you like painting trees. I guess I had better get to practicing.

The Amazing Colors of Fall

I love Fall. The gradual change in weather, the gradual change in the landscape. The way the trees and bushes begin to dress themselves in their Autumn colors… while the mortals in their midst do the same. Even if you are not a cool weather person, you have to admit the colors of Fall are just spectacular. They are some of my favorite hues to paint with. Even when it’s not Fall.

Fall Leaves (mixed media)

Too bad some of you are missing it. Fall. Not by choice, but because Mother Nature seems to have decided to skip it this year. Or at least delay it. Here in North Texas, we went from summer temps to a few days of cold, back to summer temps, a few hours of Spring, then an arctic front blew in, and if the forecasters are correct… we’ll be back to Spring again in a few days.

It’s kind of hard to figure out what to wear from day to day (hour to hour?) and I think everything in the landscape is just as confused as we are. Summer colors or Fall colors? Leaves on or leaves off? What season are we in? Luckily, the last cold snap has gotten things started. Nature’s palette is finally changing. The amazing colors of Fall are beginning to show. Especially within the trees. They are glorious with color right now. How I envy those states where the trees go on for miles and miles with the colors of Fall beautifully displayed.

I think, as adults, we often tend to lose the wonder of what is presented this time of year. The amazing colors of Fall are lost on us because we either take it for granted or all we focus on is whose yard those leaves are in… and who’s gonna have to rake it all up. Confession: Here where I live, when the leaves come down in the yard… if we wait a few hours… the wind will change and it’ll get blown into the neighbor’s yard. Of course, then the neighbor does the same thing, and a few hours later, the wind blows it all back! It’s a game of who blinks first.

I encourage you to let your inner child come out, or better yet, take a child with you, and go find a few leaves that are in the transition change (on a tree, bush, plant, the ground) and take a really close look. Some of them will have colors that merge so beautifully that they look like they were painted by the hand of an artist. Greens, yellows, reds, oranges, purples. Sometimes all on one leaf!

The amazing colors of Fall. Don’t take too long to look though, the way things have been changing lately, you might miss it.

Empty Bowls Painting

photo of a colorful striped empty bowl

Colorful empty bowl

I’m going to my first Empty Bowls event tonight and I’m making myself nuts.  This event is not the big fundraiser, it’s one of the bowl painting events.  (Not “bowel” painting, which is what my husband thought I had written on the calendar.  Very funny that husband of mine.)  Anyway, THIS is why I’m bouncing off the walls.  WHAT am I going to paint?  What design am I going to do?  Floral?  Geometric?  Whimsy?  Nature?  WHAT!!!!  Every time I think I know, I change my mind.  Hence… going nuts!!!  It’s an unfinished ceramic bowl that needs to be painted and it’s going to be used in a fundraiser!  Along with several hundred other bowls.  But it’s going to be MY project and it’s going to be used in a fundraiser!!!

Now if you aren’t sure what Empty Bowls events are all about, let me tell you.

A Short History of Empty Bowls

Back in the early 1900’s in an attempt to do something about the poverty and hunger in their locale, John Hartom and Lisa Blackbarn came up with a novel idea.  John, being a ceramics teacher, got his students to create more than 100 bowls.  He and Lisa then put together a community event where people paid for the bowls and the money raised went to provide food for those who needed it.

Over the years, Empty Bowls has evolved into quite a fun family-friendly multi-event “event” as a way to provide funds to area food banks and/or homeless shelters.  Organizers work with both local artists and pottery artisans giving the public a chance to participate in more than one event leading up to the main fundraiser.  These events are of two types: creating the ceramic bowls or painting/decorating them. Once finished, and usually a couple of months down the road, the actual Empty Bowls fundraiser happens.  At the fundraiser, people donate money, get to choose their favorite empty bowl, and then have it filled with soup or some other food item as part of the event.  Often, the food item is provided by a local restaurant or well known chef from the community.  It’s a win-win for all.  You get to eat, have some fun, take home a hand crafted useful item and you’ve helped raise funds for the hungry.

Still Going Nuts About an Empty Bowl

I’ll be leaving soon. I have ideas running through my head.  I’ve sketched out some ideas.  I’ve looked at dozens of painted bowls for inspiration.  I still have no idea what I will do.  I guess it will hit me when I get there and the bowl “talks” to me.  I also guess that this year, I will be attending the actual fundraiser.  I need to see if my bowl finds a home.

Hope you find an event near you and plan to join in!

See ya!