Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mary Oliver's New Collection

"Painted" in the Waterlogue App from a personal photo taken in Port Townsend, Washington

I have just read and greatly enjoyed Mary Oliver's new collection of poems, Blue Horses.  I love several of the poems in the book, but my favorite is quoted below.

          IF I WANTED A BOAT
                     by Mary Oliver

          I would want a boat, if I wanted a
          boat, that bounded hard on the waves,
          that didn't know starboard from port
          and wouldn't learn, that welcomed
          dolphins and headed straight for the 
          whales, that, when rocks were close,
          would slide in for a touch or two,
          that wouldn't keep land in sight and
          went fast, that leaped into the spray.
          What kind of life is it always to plan
          and do, to promise and finish, to wish
          for the near and the safe?  Yes, by the 
          heavens, if I wanted a boat I would want
          a boat that I couldn't steer.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day

It started out as one fine autumn day here today, Columbus Day 2014.  There was blue sky, and balmy temperatures, a stiff breeze and lots of color from changing leaves.  It was beautiful.  The weather deteriorated over the course of the day and by evening it was spitting rain, but for most of the day, it was perfect.

I have the house decorated for Halloween.  I love Halloween!  I loved it as a child and I love it now.  And it's not just the idea of candy, it's the spookiness and all the black,  the witches, spiders, pumpkins, ghosts and skeletons.

witch on the front door

I have started a collection of glass pumpkins.  I like that I can use them through Thanksgiving and they are cute and pretty easy to store.

I also seem to be collecting spiders.  There are spiders galore outdoors, all over my yard, in fact, but the ones I am actively collecting are faux.  I do not encourage real spiders to reside in the house.  

The merchants in town seem to all be sporting scarecrows outside their establishments.  Here are three that I collected snapshots of this morning.  They are all pretty cute, I have to say.

I am taking beginning (and I do mean beginning!) Spanish at Edmonds Community College.  I studied German and French in school, all those many decades ago, and while Spanish is similar to French, my old brain is finding this pretty heavy going.  Tonight we started having to conjugate verbs, something I have been dreading since the classes began four weeks ago.  (We only meet once a week....)

I am really trying.  I am terrible.  The will is there but the brain is feeble.  And we won't even begin to talk about how uncooperative my tongue can be!

Friday, October 10, 2014

An Art Filled End of the Week

Susan Penning

My friend, Susan, and I are taking a six week mixed media class from another of my friends, John Arbuckle.  We had our first class last night.  It was great!

It's a really fun class and all the participants seem to be enthusiastic and talented.  We are lucky to have John as our instructor as he is a very talented artist and a gifted teacher.  He promised us 20 techniques to use in mixed media work and I think he gave us more than that last night alone.  Imagine how much he'll share with us over the next five weeks.

We created a printing block with a piece of cardboard from a cereal box and some fun foam from the craft store.  Not sure what the exact name of the product is but it's a plastic foam sheet with peel off sticky backing.  We cut our sheets into whatever shapes we wanted and then stuck the pieces down onto our cardboard.  You then use the created 'plate' to print with by brayer-ing on paint.  It worked like a charm.  I've read of this technique but I can't remember ever actually trying it out before.

This is the print I did with my 'plate.'  I really like the effect and I think we got a lot of design for minimal work.  I will be using this technique again.

After we created the printed spread we used stencils and layers of paint to create a background that we'll be able to build a collage onto in later classes.  This was a simple reductive use of a stencil.  I am always surprised at how effective it is.

This morning I finally got around to filling my new watercolor box with paint.  I've had the box for a couple of months now but sheer inertia kept me from filling the half pans with the watercolor paint I had on hand.  I need a few more colors to completely fill the box, so I got those ordered today, too.

I did a color chart to include in the box so I know exactly what colors I have in there and where they are located.  I have more empty half pans, so I can customize the box to suit me.  If I am traveling and want a particular color palate I can make it so.  The watercolor box is well made and has a thumb ring, removable half pans and a lot of mixing space.  If you are looking for a box for your watercolors I found mine here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Free Spiders to Good Homes

I'd noticed that there seem to be a lot of spiders this year.  I keep walking into their webs and doing the spider-web-in-my-face dance.  You know the flail your arms around and brush at your hair madly and jump up and down, often moaning softly?  That dance.  Been doing it a lot lately.

This morning I discovered that my yard is just covered in webs.  In each one sits the builder, looking perky.  Waiting for something to fly by.  You could almost call them stalkers...

There was enough moisture in the air,  from the fog that we've had all day long, to coat each bit of web with little water drops, making the webs quite beautiful.

Beautiful they might be, but jeez...I hate walking into a web.  Just hate it!

If you should have any need of some quite hefty spiders, please let me know.  I have a plethora and would be glad to share with you.  Halloween is coming, after all!

Monday, October 06, 2014

Beautiful Day in Seattle in October

I took a friend into downtown Seattle this afternoon to a medical appointment.  The doctor was on the 8th floor of an office building and when we walked out of the elevator and into the reception area, this was the view we saw.  It was a spectacular day here in the Pacific Northwest and the view out to the north stopped me cold.  It was beautiful...and unexpected.

I had quite a wait for my friend and to amuse myself I tried to do a little watercolor of part of the view. I only had a very, very small pad of paper; it measured only 2 by 3 inches.  I am not much of an urban sketcher, as you can certainly tell from the result, but I passed the time happily looking out of the window, enjoying the view.

Don't you carry your watercolor paints, a water brush and a small pad of watercolor paper around with you?  No?  Huh.  Well, I do!

I was just enthralled with how clear it was and how far I could see.  I took these photos with my phone and on a whim I ran this one through my Waterlogue app.  I love the result!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Last Farmers' Market of the Year

Yesterday was the last Farmers' Market of the year, here in Edmonds.  I love the market and I especially love that I can walk out my front door, cross the sidewalk, and I'm there.  It's right in front of my house and I love that.  I will miss it and it seems a long, long time until next May, when it will return.

Autumn is my favorite season and the fall colors of the leaves and the jewel-tones of the zinnias and dahlias never cease to delight me.  The sky is such a pretty blue on nice days.  We used to call the warm, sunny days with crisp, cool nights "Indian Summer," but I am thinking that might not still be considered an acceptable term?  I mean no disrespect---that's just what it was called when I was growing up and I know of no other term to describe those glory days of October.

The abundance of produce at the market was astounding.  The colors of the peppers and the tomatoes were so bright they almost hurt your eyes.

Even the garlic was beautiful!

 I watched my son's girls last night so he and his wife could have an evening out with friends.  The Girls and I had a fun time, as always.  We worked on an art project that I plan to turn into a Christmas gift for my daughter-in-law, so I can't share it here....yet.  I love spending time with the Grands!

Aren't they adorable?