It's my thing to see more color than may actually be there, when I paint and although this female Cardinal is looking a bit tropical, I really see these colors in her. The male's incredible scarlet color is arresting but the beautiful golden feathers of the female are complimented by dusky purple grays and rusty maroon tail feathers. She really sparkles.
find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest
The glorious Cardinal swoops to my feeder, the bright red of his feathers flashing, against the brilliant snow. She's beautiful as well, with her golden body and magenta markings and I notice that they are always in close proximity to one another. When I see one I look for the other.
But he is arresting, no matter how often or in which season I see him and I am thrilled each time.
My mumma loved Cardinals and her sweaters and sweatshirts were adorned with them, particularly her Christmas attire, so of course, when I see them I think of her.
She is still so present for me as I ponder her loss.
I looked online for symbolic meanings attributed to these beautiful birds and found this.
The Cardinal Cycle of Twelve is symbolic of: Cycles, life, death & renewal
Twelve hours make a day and twelve months make a year. Twelve is a vital life cycle and regardless of the time of year, the time of day or the time of life you are presently confronting, you are a part of the cycle. You are a vital element in the circle of life and regardless of where you are in that cycle you always have the opportunity for restoration, revitalization and renewal.
*Another notable quality is that cardinals are year round residents. As they do not migrate like most other birds, cardinals represent a twelve-month cycle. Twelve is considered a powerful cycle in nature as it represents the spectrum of the seasons and the full circle of life. Cardinals also lay eggs that hatch within twelve days. Due to their twelve-month residency and their twelve-day incubation, the number twelve is strongly associated with the cardinal.
I've been a bit reluctant to write about this but, this blog is about my real life, so I'll share. Little by little, I'm finding my painting mojo again. It's been a hard time and I am consumed with the chore of sorting and tossing and resolving the 'beloved flotsam and jetsam' of my dear Mama's and our family's life.
Report cards from grade school, every card/invite she ever received, newspapers containing momentous news events (Oy), bookshelves full of books and souvenirs. Precious family 'stuff' in the china cabinets. And photos, photos and more photos.
I picked up some boxes and marked them with the names of my siblings and as I sort, I drop things into each box for them to enjoy along with things I think should be theirs. Because I insisted upon looking at every single piece of paper, they have left me to that and I don't mind except that the volume after 43 years in the same house is, um, voluminous. My dear husband is the God send to this whole task and is also on the receiving end of my prickly emotions :( Without his guidance (lists, lists, lists and advice and more advice) I'd be lost. He is the left brain balance in my right brain world.
So, I'm sad but, I'm grateful for my family and my dear friends near and far who continue to lift me up. Thank you all for your continued support.
About the painting. One thing I love about the winter is how the setting sun lights up the tops of the trees creating a beautiful complimentary color scheme.
One 'ritual' when you share your life with a dog is the walk. This is Morey who was a wonderful yellow lab who lived just across our narrow beachside road. We called him our "it takes a village" dog because his person worked days and I would bring him outside for some yard lounging in the sun, or walk him to the beach.
It takes so little to please a dog and I can see his jaunty step, nose to the wind as we make our way.
This was my interpretation for the "Ritual" challenge and it will be hanging in our Girls Just Wanna Paint show at Thayer Academy which opens on Thursday November 21st.
I began this painting in Maine a month ago and attempted to finished it yesterday. I wanted to call it " The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", because it contains a bit of each but the good news is that tomorrow is another day. For which I am thankful ;)
It's been cloudy and cold here in Maine but the sun is expected to shine brightly tomorrow. I do hope so because a little bit of gloom under the circumstances is fitting, but I'm looking forward to feeling the sun. Oddly, but maybe not so much, I'm basking in the glow of the beautiful party we had with friends and family to honor and celebrate my sweet, rockin' Mama. At the cemetery a dragonfly landed atop the flowers and stayed throughout the service, bringing smiles to us all. Afterward, at the party, a friend read aloud a poem about the dragonfly and the entire crowd (and it was a crowd) held a toast to "Anna". That's how I will think of her now, as a beautiful blue-green dragonfly, soaring over the flowers in the September sun. I'm sure that from somewhere, she looked upon it and was pleased. This is the first painting I've done since mid August and it's one that I've been hoping that I could lend some credibility to since it's a tough subject. These geese are flying against the backdrop of Cape Blomidon, Nova Scotia in a photo I took last September in Parrsboro.
There's no easy way to deliver this news but I lost my Mama on Sunday morning after a mid August surgery which although successful, was followed by one complication after another.
She was 86 years young and still living alone, driving, visiting with her friends on most days at her favorite haunt. Up until three years ago she was still driving to Naples, Florida by herself!
I'm so grateful that she was herself until the end and did not have to face life dependent on others. I have been able to devote myself to her needs during this past month of her hospitalization and bring comfort to her and to myself.
Two days ago I discovered a fabulous (months old) voice mail message from her and it made my heart sing. So glad I'm negligent in deleting those things.
The services are today and tomorrow at Russell-Pica funeral home in Brockton, after which Don and I are taking a previously planned trip up to Bar Harbor, Maine.
The blogging community is a big part of my life and I needed to let you all know what has happened to cause my prolonged absence.
Thank you for your support through the years. It means so much.
Wednesday my sister and I went on an adventure to the New England Aquarium in Boston where we saw a fascinating IMAX movie about great white sharks and then toured the newly rebuilt Giant Ocean Tank which holds 2000 species of fish including sharks, eels, rays (my favorites) sea turtles and fishes. It is a work of art and an amazing glimpse into the undersea world! We started at the top of the tank and then walked down a descending spiral walkway all the way to the bottom seeing the creatures from different vantage points as we did. This magnificent Sea Turtle is about 80 years old! It was difficult but I managed to snap a decent photo of 'Myrtle', (all turtles seem to be named Myrtle) as she swam by. There are two giant turtles in the tank so I can't be sure that it was Myrtle, but let's pretend it was ;) We then had a fabulous lunch at The Reef, the aquarium's informal outdoor tent restaurant on what can only be described as a glorious summer day here in New England. 76 degrees, bright, warm sun and cool breezes, awesome lobster salad sliders and great company. My sis and I are soul mates ;)
I don't think I realized how much I love the color red in all of its variations until I began to use so many different reds in my painting. Since it's a primary, red cannot be mixed and so I have a grab bag of reds which are a must have, particularly for flowers. Today in the studio I set this little vase of wild roses (clipped from an abandoned building near my studio) on the window sill, backlit against the treescape outside the. The yellow flowers look to be some form of dandelion. My friend and fellow GJWP artist, Lisa Daria Kennedy was the inspiration for this very loosely painted bouquet of reds. This is a subject she favors and she has plenty of experience considering she's painted over a thousand daily paintings!
This month's Girls Just Wanna Paintchallenge is "travel", which can be pretty broadly interpreted as you can see by my painting of an Italian Ice vendor at Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester. I went over to the beach one night after class while I was at the PKR workshop because many famous Cape Ann painters painted there and I wanted to see it. That is the travel part ;) There are huge rocks in the water and there were several of these little carts sprinkled around the beach so I walked on the rocks, waded in the water and took many photos for future reference. There was a storm brewing and I loved the combination of the strong sunlit grass and cart against the dark sky.
Honestly, that's all I can say about this summer. The heat has been unbearable and even though it's calmed down some, we are still in AC mode most of the time. Saturday evening was beautiful though, and I took myself down to the harbor with a chair and a sketchbook and had a lovely interlude watching the birds and the boats and the shimmer of the late sun on the iridescent marsh grass. Yes, in a very short time the cold will be returning and we'll all be complaining. Well...maybe not all.... :D I love summer but does it have to be so uncomfortably hot?
Last week I joined a great group of artists on site at the Castle Manor Inn, in Gloucester for a week long workshop with Peggi Kroll Robertswho never faltered during five days of 90 plus degree heat, topping out at around 98* on Friday! These are a couple of exercises I did in class and of course a group shot. (missing Susan Dragoo Lembo).
Our theme for June's Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge was the ee cummings poem, "For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it's always our self we find in the sea", and who doesn't love the sea? When I'm in Naples, Florida I'm an afternoon kind of beach girl because it's not as hot then ;) "Squadrons" of pelicans glide along the beach and suddenly plummet into the Gulf of Mexico to feed. Pelicans are most entertaining and I love watching them as the sun sets into the water. This is as close as I was able to get to the colors in the actual painting which took on a life of it's own and turned out to be a palette knife painting. There's a tiny touch of glare but it couldn't be avoided with this kind of surface. I'm really happy with this one.
"After Carol Marine"- Painted from an ArtByte tutorial NFS
I've taken two workshops with the amazing Carol Marine who's a seriously good painter and teacher, as well as a funny, down to earth, young woman. Yes, I have a bit of a soft spot for her too ;) Anyway, I haven't been painting regularly, having been busy with all kinds of summer activities, like beaching and visiting, so being a bit rusty, I went into my DPW ArtByte Library and chose one of her step by step paint along demos, figuring I could use the refresher course. This took hours, just so you know, and I had to back the video up and pause it many times, but I got there! Besides Carol's demos there are ArtBytes by Patti Mollica, Taryn Day, Jelaine Faunce, Cathleen Rehfeld, David Morris and Mary Maxam to name but a few. I continue to take workshops, classes and tutorials because it keeps me fresh, is great practice and helps me give more to my students. Try it, you'll like it.
This painting is a late entry into this month's Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge. I know. I'm bad. Check out their paintings and stay tuned for news about our GJWP Fall show at Thayer Academy. We'll be showing our challenge paintings and since the gallery can accommodate larger works we'll have a few of those too.
What's not to love about bright orange Gerbera's, which were a little token of my affection for my partner in crime, Kelley MacDonald. We spent a wonderful day together, having lunch at the very cool Providence Art Club and then we painted the daisies, and then we had a pizza party on Kelley's riverside porch with a view to rival any! It was awesome and I'm thrilled to be home in New England!
I went to the studio today with the idea being to paint something from a photo I had hanging around the studio. Anything, and not procrastinate and look at every photo and become overwhelmed. This was done from a photo of a painting I did years ago of an old house and a little shed on the shore of Duxbury's Bay Road. In the distance is Cordage Park, an old rope making factory in Plymouth from the ship building days. Mission accomplished. Don and I arrived home last Sunday to crisp sea air and lilacs in full bloom! It is great to be home :)