Saturday, October 6, 2018


Oh October, suddenly here you are.  I'm not quite ready to put my yard to bed for the winter; we were supposed to have a hard frost last night but the forecast shows temps in the upper 70s next Wednesday.  Some of my perennials can't figure out what the holy heck is going on.  Instead of doing yard work today, I just walked around and took pictures.  Circumnavigating my house, here's what I saw:

There was also a lot of this:

And a lot of this:

(Look at that eye booger.)  In all honesty, most of my pictures of Rabbit look like this:

"Hold still, you little freak!"

Anyway, I digress.  Seeing all these flowers in my yard gives the impression that it's still a riot of color over here, right?  Alas, no.  I'm amazed at the things that are still hanging on but they are tucked in between a lot of green and a lot of crinkly dried up brown.  And although it's supposed to be peak foliage in my neck of the woods right now, the big ass maple trees out front disagree:

Soon, tho.  Soon.  In the meantime, to everything else still holding on I say:

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Letting Go

It's getting to be the time of year when leaf peepers are out in force, scoping out the Vermont foliage.  I know this because I saw all of them in the parking lot of the Ben & Jerry's factory on Thursday afternoon.  I, however, was the only one there who was waiting for the AAA guy to fix my dead jeep battery.  All in all it wasn't a terrible way to spend an afternoon, although Rabbit may disagree.

In other September news, I've got two more of my Aretha word paintings finished:

I've been posting these on Instagram and the Blues Brothers Official account has "liked" at least two of them, so there's a life goal achieved that I never knew I had.  Three more in this series to go.

Today I varnished the Best. Painting. Ever.  Okay, maybe not the best, but I really really love it.  I started out only knowing what colors I wanted to use - brown, red and something peachy.  The paint sat on my table for a couple of days while I thought about it, hoping a design idea would come to me.  I got nada so had to wing it.  Here's the final result:

And here's how it all went down:  staring at a blank canvas can be intimidating and since I had no idea how this painting was going to evolve I hoped getting the first bit of paint on there would spark something.  Anything.  I started with the brown (TMI side note: this particular brown paint is not as thick as my fave, which is like brownie batter, so after spreading the first layer around the sides of the canvas with my fingers I looked like a proctologist who forgot to wear gloves).  On went the rest of the brown, then the red, peach and a dark rose gold (the bits that look like copper in the photo).  Some blending, some texture and a sudden fierce desire to put a white hand print at the bottom.  The white circles came out of nowhere but as soon as they were on the canvas I knew the painting was called "Letting Go."

It's taken me a long time to be comfortable with having canvas texture visible in the final piece.  In fact, most of the time I still don't like it and with heavy body paint and a palette knife I can cover it easily.  Not so here but that's okay - there are places where you can see the weave of the canvas and other places where the paint is so thick I had to wait two extra days before I could add varnish.  Final shot, complete with professional photobomber:

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Satisfyingly September

Today was one of those breathtakingly beautiful fall days in Vermont.  The sun was shining, the sky was startlingly blue, the temp was perfectly in the 60s, and none of the farms near my house have sprayed liquid fertilizer in at least a week.  So weird that five days ago the temps were in the low 90s and the humidity was unbearable.  Tomorrow is supposed to be more glorious weather and we're going to work on perfecting our hammock napping technique.

Today, however, we went on a road trip to Costco and walked three miles and painted.  Yes, we painted.  I started a new word series called Aretha - there are two so far with five more to come:

The background for the third one went off the rails yesterday and I thought it was a goner, but I fixed it today and now can't wait for it to dry so I can add the rest.  While I'm waiting, I finished this guy:

So right before I left on a 12 day family vacation last month, instead of doing all the millions of things I needed to be doing, I pulled out this canvas that had been sitting around for ages.  Seriously, I painted the blue background so long ago I can't remember when it was.  I made the template for the heron at the same time, then set it all aside.  Until the day before vacation when the last thing I should have been doing was mucking around in white paint.  Did it anyway.  In this picture the white is still wet, hence his almost non-existent legs.  I had to wait for the paint to dry before I could peel off the masking fluid.  Did that, went on vacation, came back, looked at it every day, a couple more weeks went by, couldn't decide what to do with it.  I left it to percolate and painted RESPECT.   Then painted the background for NATURAL but didn't like the way it looked so I transferred some of the color from that one to the heron (which helped both pieces) and let it percolate some more.  Several layers later, and today he's done:


I honestly thought he was going to end up as a blue silhouette with just the rough textured white around him but he felt naked.  Here's a side by side of mid vs end:

Yep, surprised me.  Looks a bit of a mess here but in real life there are layers and texture and shiny shiny and interference paint around the moon and in the bird -- it's all good.  Now he needs to tell me his name.

In other news, I planted some more color out front.  It was a weird summer - some things bloomed that I've never seen before, some things grew like weeds (maybe they ARE weeds) and I missed most of my lily season while away on vacation.  If I get my shiz together I will post some pics but in the meantime, always remember that everything looks better with a poodle in the background.

Or in the foreground.

Monday, July 2, 2018

There's a first time for everything

Have you ever woken up on a lovely spring day, rejoiced in the great green beauty of all things fresh and new, taken a zillion photos to post on your blog, and then had zero follow-through?  Yes?  Me too.  More on that at a later date.  First I want to show you something I painted and then go slather my elbow in Neosporin - I've got a bug bite the size of a nickel.  It's amazing.  And itchy as hell.  Yesterday was so unbelievably hot and humid and sweaty I thought for sure the mosquitoes would slide right off before they could get any traction.  Alas.  At least one prevailed.

Anyway, I digress.  Here's what I did a week ago.  It started with a re-do:

That's an 18" square and since it was never finished in the first place I guess it's technically not a re-do.  I think it was going to be a big word painting that said JUST KEEP SWIMMING but I never made it past the background stage.  So on goes a crap ton of white with a big fat palette knife.

Here's the WIP stage:

I paint flat - not on an easel - balanced on jars of paint (which you can see in the first picture) and this canvas was a pain in the rear because it does not have a center brace on the back.  I like to pick up the canvas and hold it or turn it, and it's a miracle this one did not end up on the floor by accident.  (I did get a giant blob of white paint on my leg, tho, which I didn't notice until later - that's par for the course.)  I liked the way this was looking lying down but when I saw it upright -- no bueno.  After letting it percolate for a few days, out came the whitewash.  Sort of.  For someone who loves ALL THE COLORS, I certainly use a lot of white paint.

Now I like it.  And if you know me at all, this next sentence will come as a complete shock.  I USED A MATTE VARNISH!  That's right, no shiny shine.  This is the first ever time I've finished one of my acrylic paintings with a matte varnish.  Craziness.

On another note, I told myself I was going to write a poem every day in July.  The day's not over yet so today is still in the running, but here is the first one:

Watering the Hydrangeas

An unexpected loss
of nature's maple canopy
reunites the earth
with sun-filled sky,
and shade lovers drink with gratitude.