Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Almost heaven

Last night, I painted some more mountains and wispy clouds...
8" x 10" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas
Does anyone else love to sing Country Roads on road trips?  My sister and I would sing a lot on road trips when we were kids.  We'd try to sing the harmonies on Country Roads.  I wanna belt it out sometimes...

"West Virginaaaaaaaa!  Mountain mamaaaaaaaa!"  Yeah!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Is it spring yet?

Yesterday felt like spring!  Birds chirping, sun shining, ice melting...  The end of winter seems like a reality.  Let's look forward to springtime:
cute fluffy goslings

sweet smelling lilacs

the first crocus bloom
Today is more overcast, but it's still around 40 degrees.  The melting snow is slushy and dirty.  The wind doesn't have that bite.  The last few hold-out dead leaves are clinging to the trees.  
Here's another twisted tree / swirly cloud painting I did. 
5" x 7" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Stubborn birds know what's up

Here's an adorable little guy I finished yesterday:
10" x 8" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas

I kept calling these birds Sandpipers, but they're actually some sort of Tern, I think.  We saw a lot of them on Marco Island.  I remember they had their area of the beach all picked out, and then wouldn't get out of our way when we walked by.  Kind of sassy, like "We ain't movin'!  Hmph!"

By the way, it's 75 degrees in Marco today.  22 here.  I should have followed their example and stayed right there.   Well played, little Terns.  Tip of the hat to you.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Virginia Beach

A few years back, we took a quick road trip with our friends to Virginia Beach over President's Day weekend.  We really lucked out with the weather and got a much needed break from the cold and snow.
glorious VA beach
meanwhile... in Ohio
We stayed at the Hilton right on the beach.  We lucked out again with a room upgrade with an awesome ocean front view.

cocktail hour upon arrival

Virginia Beach has a really nice bike path and boardwalk.
taken from our balcony
Here is VA Beach's statue of Neptune (or Poseidon, if you prefer the Greek name).
also taken from our balcony.  I swear, we left the room occasionally.

We've noticed on a lot of our vacations, there is often a statue of Neptune somewhere.  It's become a Where's Waldo type thing whenever we travel.

More highlights...
an afternoon visit to the aquarium
dipping our toes in the chilly ocean
Of course we had to go on a whale watching tour.
whale tail making a splash
It was a little brisk out on the water.

Another highlight was having cocktails at the beach-side fire pit tables.    (Our pictures didn't capture the awesomeness, so here's the promo picture):
photo credit: from VA Beach Hilton's website
Incidentally, this is what inspired Nate to find a fire table for our deck.
Racz firepit, an homage to VA Beach
Just a quick trip, but it gave a much needed boost to our winter weary souls.

Here's the VA Beach painting I just did this afternoon:
7" x 5" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mrs. de Winter

I love Hitchcock movies.  North by Northwest and Rebecca are my favorites.  There is a scene in Rebecca where the future Mrs. de Winter tells Maxim how her father would paint the same tree over and over.

"He painted trees, at least it was one tree...  you see, he had a theory that if you should find one perfect thing or place or person, you should stick to it."

I love this scene even more now that I seem to keep painting the same tree over and over.  Here's what I just did tonight:
5"x7"x0.5" acrylic on canvas

A twisted tree and some clouds.  Can't stop, won't stop.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Little sunset

There's a lot of snow outside.  It's bitter cold, and it feels like it should be bedtime when it's only 6:00.   We've closed the submarine hatch and are starting the dive into the deep end of winter. It's all pretty snow and cozy naps now, but in another month, it will feel like this scene from Lord of the Rings:

 Hopefully Sam will come carry us away to a warm beach somewhere.

Before the winter night nap urges kicked in, I managed to paint a quick little sunset.

7"x5"x0.5" acrylic on canvas
Now I'm off to snuggle up in my sherpa throw blanket and dream of warm beaches and late sunsets.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Art language

I like doing fast paintings.  In part, because I lose interest after the initial hashing out of the basics.  But also because I like when the paint is still wet and acrylic paint dries quickly.  Maybe I would do better paintings if I spent more time?  Those new oil paints I got might take it to the next level.  (maybe?)
Here's another acrylic quickie.  It's a little unfinished.:
8"x10"x0.5" acrylic on canvas

As I was painting this one, I was thinking about, well, art.  How art is a kind of shorthand for ideas.  How cave drawings pre-date writing as a communication tool.   When you're a kid, you start your very first attempts at representing objects and ideas with your drawings:  stick people,  simple houses and trees,  a sunshine with a smiley face...  We might develop a more sophisticated art language - better people, trees, etc...  but in essence, the desire to communicate something is the same.  Like how sunshine makes us happy.  Or in my stick figure family, I identify my dad with a necktie and my sister with long hair.

I was thinking how great artists communicate something profoundly.

It's cool how language helps us crystallize ideas in our minds and with each other.  Things seems more real when you can name it.  Language and art are only abstractions of what is real, yet they make the real seem more real because we were able to repeat it somehow.  And then sometimes we need a new word or picture to help us reconsider the real in a new way...  we take a second look instead of skimming over our original shorthand and it makes us see something we missed.

Are written words sophisticated abstract art?  Do pictures transcend words?

I have no idea where I'm going with any of this.  Other than I guess we are all trying to communicate something.  With our art, or music, or our speaking, our life.

I'm not sure I'm communicating anything with my paintings, other than I love how trees blow in the wind.   And how clouds puff and swirl and overlap in the sky.
I love....  ocean.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Don't dread life

Reflecting on the holidays and starting a new year kind of brings our life strategies into focus.  Some people LOVE doing a bunch of shopping and baking and giving special gifts to everyone.  Christmas is their season to SHINE.  They are in their element.   It's great!

There are also a lot of people who don't love the holiday bustle, but because other people are giving gifts and cards and cookies, they feel obligated to do the same.  And it turns the whole season into a "have-to" begrudging experience.  Kind of keeping score and making sure you give back tit for tat.

Pushing yourself to do things you're not good at and don't enjoy really wastes your energy.  And besides, when you run around doing a bunch of stuff you don't want to, people can sense it.  It creates a martyr vibe and sucks the fun out of everything.  meh!   Just accept other people's gifts when it's their turn to shine.  Enjoy it and be grateful and don't stress.  Assume gifts are given freely,  not in order to leverage an IOU out of you.
another happy blurb brought to you by Pinterest

The secret is - you don't HAVE to do....  anything.  At Christmas time, at other times, in life...   In most cases, it's your choice! You don't have to do and create all the traditional holiday experiences.   And as far as the bigger life picture goes...   you don't have to pursue the traditional version of success or have 2.5 kids or care about the rain forest.  Your choice!

Know your limits.  Know what you're good at.  Know what you love.

I love painting clouds and trees and peaceful little scenes.  Here's my latest:
5"x7"x0.5" acrylic on canvas

Thursday, January 1, 2015

January wallpaper

Happy New Year!!  Wow, 2015. So this is the year Back to the Future said we would have flying skateboards.  So it's probably going to be a pretty rad year.  I'll turn 40 this summer, Star Wars VII comes out in December, vacations and fun and who knows what...  lots to look forward to.

Here's the desktop wallpaper I made for January.  Click the size / ratio you want to see the full version, then right-click to download.

1920x1080 (16:9)

2560x1024 (5:2)

2560x1600 (16:10)