Tag Archives: oil paint

Autumnal Equity

“It’s all about balance, do you see? Balance is the trick. Keep the balance and – ” she stopped. “You’ve ridden on a seesaw? One end goes up, one end goes down. But the bit in the middle, that stays where it is. Upness and downness go right through it. Don’t matter how high or low the ends go, it keeps the balance.” She sniffed. “Magic is mostly movin’ stuff around.”

~Terry Pratchett, Wintersmith

Skies are moody this morning.  Day-job work and exercise loom on the to-do list, yet pondering the still point of the season feels crucial.  My eclipse siblings of the soul were here last night, a gathering to mark the autumnal equinox.  There was talk of “shedding or casting off that which no longer serves us.” (Thank you for that M.) Which is wise talk indeed.  For me, that is this notion of “busy-ness”,  the internal ‘hurry, hurry!!’ feeling in the center of my chest, a trap of sorts to which society programs us for falling into.  To choose to sit and write or draw for a few moments each morning is a radical act of defiance some days.

The key to it all is balance.  To be the center of life’s seesaw when we can, as Esmerelda Weatherwax and Tiffany Aching do with such grace.  It is a strange thing to be a slow-cooker in a microwave, insta-pot kind of age.  And yet sinking into my own pace, my own slowness, affords me the deeper work I strive for.  In the long run, allowing my own pace magically gets more of my best work done, my best self in the world.  And so, on this Monday, the Autumn Equinox, I look for balance in a world gone mad.  And do my best to center in the midst of it all.

The Tale of Two Apples

Across the arc of a number of seasons, we have had the difficult and expensive task of removing some trees who had lost the battle with time or the emerald ash borer and who might be a danger to our house if a brisk wind were to kick up.  I have been asking the land what it needs ever since.

This little patch of land carries on and begins the path to recovery via nature’s vigilant first responders, the fungi.  It is magnificent to see them crop up just where they are needed.  I merely observe.

One of the trees which seemed to be asking for a place here back in spring time was apple.  It all seemed like a grand experiment back then, which perhaps it was – for due to deer and other challenges to those early flowers and fruit we harvested a mere two apples.

This is the only tree that was left with any apples (damn deer!!) and it looked a bit like a fair-weather Charlie Brown tree.

I watched our little trees grow in spite of the challenges they faced, and wondered if what fruit they were yielding might yet be left riddled with worms as the gentlemen at the nursery were so keen to tell me.  It is a risk I’ve been willing to take.

One day the apples let me know they were ready to come inside by nearly tumbling into my hand when I checked on them.  And so I brought them in and pondered their beauty for a couple of days.

They were so beautiful and as their were only two, I decided to paint their portrait for posterity.  For who knew what would lie within.

‘I Grew A Pair (Apples)’. Oil on panel. Cheeky title, I know. I couldn’t resist!

I gently peeled and cored the apples, gathering every last juicy morsel from them.  I’ve never been so thankful for apples.

As luck would have it, they were nearly spotless!  And I felt a deep sense of pride in them.

I made a pie crust (mine is an all-butter sort, my favorite, though tricky to pull off if you lack any patience) and cooked up the apples with a combination of a number of recipe-like ideas.  Mostly simple – things like a bit of sugar, cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg.  And put the two together into some mini pies……

They baked up beautifully and are now awaiting our after dinner treat time.  We are not, generally speaking, dessert eaters.  But I think for tonight we may have to indulge.

I must figure out a different fencing situation for next season to further protect my young trees from the mindless suburban deer who seem to have nothing better to do than wreck ones gardening dreams.  But for now I am thrilled to have had even a small (intimate, really) harvest to bake into some delectable delights to savor.

The Depths of a Dark Forest

Sometimes, a bit of this…

blank board and bits

can, with time and some fiddling, become a little something like this.



And then, one might add a bit of this….



In which case, one might end up with a small painting, such as this…

and a painting results

I have spent today thinking a bit about the forest of the creative unconscious and how to tap into it.  Or does it tap into me, should I provide conditions which allow it? This is a ponderous question a poet friend of mine over in the twitterverse posed this morning.  Is it a walk down a forested path, lined with birch trees? Or perhaps wild music, the words of which are sung in a whole other language that speaks more to the soul than to the mind? It is all of the above, combined with the scent of a palette glistening with fresh oil paints.  In this small painting an old fashioned fellow has found himself warmed by a campfire in a dark wood.  Very near to him is a ladder upon which he may climb for a door which may lead to the seed of ideas yet to be had.  Where are your ponderings leading you today?

door detail copy

“A dream is a personal experience of that deep, dark ground that is the support of our conscious lives, and a myth is the society’s dream. The myth is the public dream and the dream is the private myth. If your private myth, your dream, happens to coincide with that of the society, you are in good accord with your group. If it isn’t, you’ve got an adventure in the dark forest ahead of you.” ~Joseph Campbell

Paint…. how do I love thee?

…. Let me count the ways.

I love watercolor.  It’t the medium with which I am the most comfortable, though as I am completely self taught in the painting-art realm, I wouldn’t go so far as to call me a watercolorist.

I also love (with my smallest toe, barely dipped into the luscious pool of oily goodness that it is) oil paint.  I am, again, only just learning about it and I marvel at those who paint with it successfully.  Here are a few of those that I have recently discovered.

Janice Tanton

Robyn Church Hatton

James Naughton (especially in love with his work as he’s been painting The Fells, the area Beatrix Potter so dearly loved and worked so hard to conserve in The National Trust)  Mr. Naughton’s ability to sculpt light and air into physicality are nothing short of enchanting….

And, thanks to a twitter link from Robyn, above, there are these YouTube videos by painter Duane Keiser which are painting process and delightful animations rolled into one.

Although I try not to spend too much time trolling around on the computer, I do love when this virtual art-space provides me with amazing artists to inspire me and light my way as I continue to push my own artistic boundaries.