Tag Archives: Watercolors

A day for greening

green 1It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and we all know the level of crazy this can mean about town, and frankly, the whole world.  I was up before dawn to accompany my young dancer to a ‘Kegs and Eggs’ event at one local Irish establishment where she and some fellow McGing Irish Dancers stomped their steps in front of a packed house as well as the local news crew.  Then it was off to the school day for her and a couple hours in the studio for me.  She heads back out to dance the bar circuit later today and I will join my musical friends for a couple of gigs ourselves.  It’s High Holy Season for Irish musicians.  And we love it!

Before I head out and get lost in the tunes and the mayhem, I figured I would engage in a little paint play, exploring the many facets of the lovely color of the season.

green 2It’s a greening time of year, so the green theme is appropriate I suppose.  Traditionally though, I have heard that St. Patrick actually wore the color blue…..

st-patrick-icon-magnet-643x800I am grateful for this day, the one day when Irish music is sought after by the unwashed masses, and we get to play, play, play the day away.  It’s really a gift.  If you are local, a few of us are playing at the Brazenhead Pub in Mason, Ohio between 4-5.

Photo by my friend Rick BoyceAfter that gig, we will meet up with a few others at a favorite venue of ours, The B-List bar in Bellevue, Ky.

1911623_10203327241004046_1941510764_nDo stop in and give us a wave hello as we do our thing.  This crazy thing called Irish music.  Here’s a taste:

Shades of Gray

I made an offhand quip yesterday on one of my photographs that here in the midwest, we are truly in the world of ’50 Shades of Gray’ during the winter.  And though I have not read the book or seen the movie so many are discussing of late, the idea of all those varying shades of the color ‘gray’ or ‘grey’ (spelling depending upon where you live) is really one worth thinking about a little more.  And maybe worth fiddling with when one opens one’s paint box this time of year.

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And so I braved the brisk temps and headed outside to take some snapshots.  And to think about this oh-so-gray world in which I currently reside.

There is the gray to be found in a foot print in the snow.  This one maybe by a large dog, who shall remain nameless.  There is some green-ness just under there.  Maybe.  A hint, perhaps.gray 1And the earthy grayness of lichen on the bark of a fallen stick….  gray 2The rabbits seem to dig deeply into the snow with their little feet, creating little indigo spots deep within their prints.  gray 3 Some folks like to show the entire spectrum potential for gray, from darkest near-black, to white.  And a spot of red thrown in, just for show.  Like the right pair of boots in an otherwise monochrome outfit. gray 4I love greeny-gray.  My family and students often tease me that I make up colors that I see.  But I find that there are so many to see.  And not all of them have names.  And perhaps this particular shade of greeny-gray exists only in a certain light and at a certain temperature.  gray 5Sometimes, those who guard the out-of-doors while it rests are those with the most fantastic display of grays.  Perhaps it’s his skin tone that brings out those watchful green eyes, yes?gray 6The grasses are iced over with ice, which in theory has no color.  But when blanketing the golden blades, the gold shines through, making a quality of gray that shimmers with some bits of ochre.gray 7Violet, from red to blue, is a long time friend of the color gray.  At least in my mind’s eye and upon my paint palette.gray 8The skies here, desperate to be blue again, manage a milky white on most days.  A gray, tinged with blue. gray 9Fallen sticks treat us with a rainbow of grays, from the greeny-greens of the lichen to the violet depths of the moist twig itself.gray 10Under all of this frozen snow and winter finery, there are plants, awaiting the spring, which we hope cannot be too far off.  But yet, the greens and golds here aren’t yet alive.  They are wilted with the gray of winter’s waiting.  The color of non-color.gray 11Spring is not far off, for on the forsythia, there is the golden-gray and  of new life ready for a warm snap…gray 12And thanks to the ice, we get a magnified view of their potential….gray 14How do you define and delineate the color that marks this season for you? Stop on over at SketchShare (find us on Facebook and be a part of our group!) and let us know! Because gray is a many colored beast.  gray 16

 

 

A Golden Opportunity and a Call to Action

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It is a blustery and quite rain-drenched day here in the Ohio Valley.  Indoors, Ginger Small and I are carefully weaving together our plan for the work that will be done in just a few month’s time back in our home-away-from home in Taos.

But we need your help in turning this plan into a successful reality.

As I have mentioned before, I have the honor and opportunity to spend a couple of weeks in Taos as the Writer-in-Residence at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House.  I go there this upcoming January with a number of ideas and characters adrift in the watery depths of my imagination, two of which are almost firm enough to touch.  I have Ginger Small’s adventures in pictures, collected over the years, which could use some corralling into story.  And there is a nearly finished picture-book manuscript which needs it’s pictures to come to life.  This is a sleepy-time book about counting sheep, and the shepherdess is a young rabbit named Edith.  I won’t give away much more, as I am sure Edith’s story will change and grow, much like Ginger’s has.

Edith and Ginger need my undivided attention and care to come to life in this world; to take shape enough that they may knock on the doors of publishers and printers. This residency offers me this chance to tighten up these stories and get them out into the world.

How can you help? 

I am aiming to raise $2500 between now and mid December which will assist with the following costs:

~airline ticket

~car rental for part of my time in Taos

~food and sundries

~$ to cover my time off of my day job

 

In exchange for your donation to this project, I will be offering some rewards:

$15 level – hand-printed, single color, lino-style thank you card sent to you in the mail

$25 level – A copy of the Eco-Chic Retreat DVD set (I am proud to be a part of this amazing film project. This reward was kindly donated by film-maker Jody McNicholas of Walk-in Productions.  Only 1 available!) (Update – this reward has been claimed and is no longer available!  Thanks!!)

$40 level – set of 3 Ginger Small note cards featuring a variety of images from Ginger’s best known adventures. OR sheep/rabbit images, your choice!

$75 level – A postcard from Taos! New Taos Themed Ginger Small images will be happening for this trip. We will have them professionally reproduced and then send you a handwritten greeting from our little cottage at Mabel’s.  (approx. 5″x7″, these will be sent as a post card, through the USPS and so will have the look and feel of the original postcards that started us on this adventure in the first place.)

$150 level – All of the above!!!!

$500 level –  Your choice of a one of a kind felted Edith (similar to 3dG and approximately the same size, about 4″ tall) OR an original sheep-themed watercolor, 8″x10″

Most of these rewards will be received by you, with my gratitude, during the month of January 2015.  The Taos postcards will be posted from Taos- to you while I’m at my residency Jan 5-19.  Felted Edith and original watercolors will be slightly longer in coming as they will be made to order.

Many thanks to you in advance for any support you have to lend.  Financial support is of course wonderful, but do not discount how meaningful it is to receive comments on the blog here and over on my facebook page as well.  I picture all of you in the stands waving colorful flags, and tossing handfuls of glitter and confetti into the breeze to keep things whimsical.  The world needs whimsy, and imaginary animals who go on the adventures we dream up.  Thanks so much for your help and encouragement!

~AHB  (and GS & EE, too!!)

(Click this image or the one just like it over in the sidebar to the right to get started!  Thanks!!!!)

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bunny 5 bunny 4 bunny 3 bunny 2 bunny 1

 

*A note on crowd~funding: As this is, in the grand scheme, a small scale fund raising project, I opted to keep it grassroots.  It is small enough for me to manage here and I decided not to engage Kickstarter or Indiegogo, as I might very well need to go that route to get these stories published into physical books one day soon.  But we shall cross that bridge when we come to it.  I plan to shop them around in old-school style a bit before opting to self-publish. Thanks again for your support!

 

Trends

Iris and I took a walk today in our local favorite woodsy place.  While most of what you’ll see in the woods right now is grey and brown (think mud…)

There are hints of green here and there and signs that our area might be trending toward spring.  This makes us very happy.  Especially when the sun is shining.

And so we explored the creek bed to see what recent torrential rains had rearranged.

We discovered what some site specific local sculptors had been up to.

All of this exploration lead to a really tuckered pup.

And a hungry me.  Thanks to a wonderful new friend (via another dear one – I am blessed with the best people in my life!), I have been on a bit of a smoothie kick lately.  The craving for green this time of year is more than in the woods or the cold frame.  It is in our very own bodies.  And it’s not just me, or Julie, or my family.  This trend is also alive and well across the pond where it is possibly grayer in winter than it is here.  I have been admiring the work of artist Michael Nobbs recently whose blog I discovered online.  His thoughts on creativity and working within one’s limits and boundaries are worth reading.  Wouldn’t you know, that as I was doodling the smoothie recipe below, a twitter post comes across that his blog for today is up…. and it’s about smoothies among other things.  Well Michael, I’m right there with you.  Here is the Jakk’s Magic Beans Recipe that is now in my sketchbook…

This all goes in a blender and get’s good and juicy.  The New York Times Style Magazine out last weekend showcased a place that sells this sort of green goodness to New Yorkers called the Juice Press.  People line up around the block to get one!  Yes, the trend toward green is definitely in fashion.

And so is watercolor…. This article from the Tate in the UK introduces us to a British man who painted watercolor paintings of the natural world around him.  These were shown only to close friends and never sold. Only recently have they become available for viewing.  According to broadcaster, naturalist and the article’s author, David Attenborough, these paintings were made for only one reason, and that is LOVE.  Love of the garden, love of painting.  Just love.  What a great reason to do anything.

Wishing you more green and sunshine in days to come.  (and some watercoloring should you be so inclined.)