Friday, July 21, 2017

"Swan Boats" watercolor, pen & ink 5 x 9

I added some watercolor to a sketch of the swan boats from the Boston Public Garden.  Have you ever ridden them?  It is really a slice of the past; the boats travel slowly, propelled by a pedaling pilot sitting within the swan. They travel through the Public Garden Lagoon, past the sights found in the famous Robert McCloskey book "Make Way for Ducklings".

I did a little research.  The Swan Boats were introduced to the Public Garden in 1877 by Robert Paget, who combined the popularity of boating in the Garden lagoon with the new and popular mode of transportation, the bicycle. And, interestingly, Paget designed the swan boats with the opera "Lohengrin" in mind during which Lohengrin crosses a river in a boat drawn by a swan. 
The 4th generation of the Paget family still runs the Swan Boat operation today.  Check out the Swan Boat website from which I pulled a lot of my information. The 4th generation of the Paget family still runs the Swan Boat operation today.

As always, thanks for looking.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

"Waiting for the Boat" 8 x 9 pen and ink

Waiting for the ferry to come in this afternoon, I had a few minutes to sketch.  I keep my sketchbook in the car at all times, and am using summer time to pause and reflect in the book.
As always, thanks for looking.  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

"Garden Doorway" 10 x 10 oil

This lovely antique home has a beautiful and inviting patio leading you into the studio.  I was intrigued by the window on the far side of the studio.  I often say that I love to paint the idea of "through".  This alluring path into the studio brings the viewer in, and then through. I first laid in the approximate color and value of the inside room, then worked through the flowers and the layering of the flowers and carved out the wall behind them.  The day began overcast, but then the sun peeked through.  I quickly made an indication where the shadow line was on the wall, and modified the painting to include the sun.  The house was on a garden tour so there were a lot of visitors talking about plants and mulch or no mulch and the beautiful  beds surrounding this house. 
Thank you for looking. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

"Monumental Evening" oil 10 x 20

I lived in Washington DC during most of my twenties.  I loved the city, and have been back for a number of visits since then.  Recently, my daughter and I took a week-long road trip, spending a couple of days in DC.  The city is even more beautiful than I remembered.  We had beautiful weather, dry, bright, and sparkling.  One evening, NC Wyeth-like clouds formed behind the monuments as the sun set over the Potomac.  What a lovely day. 
The Girls Just Wanna Paint theme for June was "value".  Regardless of the political turmoil roiling about our nation's capitol, the city is active, vibrant, multicultural, and a reminder that each of us has something to contribute to the value of our nation.  See the rest of the Girls Just Wanna Paint interpretations of "value" here.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Seven Deadly Sins - Jigsaw Puzzle and Memory Lane

Jigsaw puzzles.  We don't do many of them in our home because our cats  always want to participate more than is practical.  But, we always had a puzzle going when I was growing up. I recently remembered a specific jigsaw puzzle from my childhood.  The phrase "Seven Deadly Sins" jumped into my head as I was listening to the latest inexplicable political grandstanding.  Then I remembered a beautiful puzzle we had as children on the topic.  It was a Springbok puzzle with a circular design for each of the 7 sins... and easy to find on the web.  Turns out it was illustrated by Christopher Hobbs.  I looked him up and didn't find any illustrations similar to those in the luscious puzzle. So, I thought I'd share my trip down memory lane. I added a few of the "sins" below.  Check out those great designs!!  Apologize for their quality... best I could find.

 I grew up in a big Victorian house with two living rooms arranged end-to-end.  We always had a sturdy card table set up between the two rooms and a jigsaw puzzle in process.  The puzzles were always beautifully designed and challenging. Sometimes my mom would pick them up at yard sales in small, unmarked cardboard boxes.  Often, those puzzles had wooden pieces that did not interlock, no picture to indicate what the puzzle depicted, and no guarantee that pieces weren't missing.  We attacked them enthusiastically none the less.  We developed an unspoken family protocol for working on a jigsaw puzzle that was cooperative and effective.    If someone was working on the sky or the boat, or the parrot, or "fill in the blank", then others would put those pieces on front of them and usually wouldn't work on that area at the same time. 

 I used to challenge myself, after all the pieces were turned over and the edge was constructed, not to touch a piece unless I knew where it went.  It was a visual exercise in understanding the shape I was looking for as well as the subtleties of the color arrangement.  In my head I would describe the pieces to myself "looking for two sticky-out things, one rust-colored and one larger innie thing on the opposite side, with blue then mostly greeny grass stuff".   I would look at the pieces until I found one fitting that description.  Interesting to remember now.  It was probably great for my SAT scores, or whatever standardized test shows shapes and patterns and expects you to extrapolate that pattern to the next series of shapes.  


I love when one thought triggers a deep memory, and I love the internet because it helps me flesh out those memories with more complete images of what I have tucked away in the corners of my brain.   Thanks for reminiscing with me.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

"Walk - Huntington and Forsyth" pen & ink

There is an outdoor cafe on the Northeastern campus where I sat for an hour the other day.  It was fascinating to watch the Green Line,  buses, and pedestrians coming and going.  Some waited by the corner to meet a date, some smiled joyfully as they bumped into a friend, others walked purposefully to a variety of destinations.  I have always been intrigued by the layering of traffic patterns; cars, trolleys, and multitudes of pedestrians.  How are the traffic lights arranged to keep everyone safe and moving?   All I know is that it works.  
It was a beautiful evening, and interesting to decide how to arrange the layers of people front to farther back.  I began with the arrangement of the lamp posts and traffic lights and then added people as they came and went, with the goal of conveying the hubbub of the afternoon.  

As always, thank you for looking.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Mother/Daughter Road Trip - with sketchbook

My daughter and I embarked on a week-long road trip the day I finished school, just over a week ago.  I packed my classroom, finished my grades and left school for the summer.  Next day, we headed off to make a loop, the bottom of which was Columbia, SC where my niece is living and attending college.  We had a wonderful time, reunited with old friends, delivered a few baby gifts in person, occasionally struggled to find radio stations we could both agree on, ate great food, but especially, lingered over many meals with people I love!  We stopped in Burlington, NJ, Petersburg, VA; Columbia, SC; Greensboro, NC, Washington DC; Briar Cliff, NY then home;  2009 miles!!  I discovered a few things, especially that my daughter is a very good driver!!!  We haven't spent a lot of time on the highway together, and if so, I usually drive.  I learned that grits are a vehicle for whatever you want to put in/on them.  I learned that Mount Vernon now has a monument commemorating all the slaves who are buried there and that they are conducting archeological digs of these grave areas, which I look forward to revisiting when the work is visible to the public.  I learned that, despite my concerns about the current political climate in DC, the city doesn't carry that pall It is even more vibrant, multi-cultural, exciting, and  beautiful than it was when I lived there decades ago. We were blessed with two days of uncharacteristic dry, clear weather in the mid 80s, lovely for sitting outside, walking among the monuments in the evening.  I carried a sketchbook with me, and used it a few times during the trip.  My daughter was in charge of of the Airbnb portion of the trip and she did a tremendous job!!!  More to follow as I convert a few more ideas to the sketchbook.