Tag Archives: painting

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.

gray 15


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



The woman and the saint

Years upon years ago I spent a fair amount of time training for and running in marathons.  These races and my relationships with those with whom I trained kept me quasi-sane through the early years of motherhood, which like many, I often found challenging and quite lonely.  In the long run, so to speak, I ran 7 of these races which afforded me the opportunity to travel now and then, and fund raise a bit,  keep healthy and even do some soul searching along the way.  At that time, it was the right kind of slow therapy I needed.  Those miles led me to the more real version of me, they helped me find the courage to let my artist-self shine and eventually, I gave up the long distances to walk more in the woods, spend more time sketching, and somehow earn an art degree.

Recently, at the suggestion of a long-time and dear friend, I have dipped my toe back into the idea of running-to-race by committing to a local half-marathon.  This means that I needed to go beyond my jogs ’round the neighborhood and do some longer runs on the weekend.  These runs would train us up for the big day and give us a few hours every weekend to chat, laugh and catch up with each other, something we hadn’t found time to do in ages.  The extra miles have been taxing on my legs but by throwing into the mix some kayaking and cycling through the week to ‘cross-train’, somehow I’ve managed.  This past week we successfully ran 11 miles together and that is the last of the Big Long Runs before the race.  Hoorah for ‘tapering!’

It’s been lovely to run the streets of our fair Queen City and see the mornings come alive as we tick off the miles.  At the tail end of yesterday’s Big Run, we were passing a local church and this lovely scene caught my artist-eye and I nearly stopped in my tracks.

woman and a saint

Here was a statue of Saint Mary, nestled into the side wall of the building in a wee niche (my mom would call her Mary on the Half-Shell), and seated at her feet was a lovely woman in a crisp white sari, trimmed in blue.  Something about this scene captured my imagination.  But as we were running, we couldn’t very well stop for an artful photograph, let alone a sketch!  And so, this drawing is one from my mind’s eye, the details perhaps not quite right.



The woman in the sari was readying to answer her mobile phone which was ringing out a lovely Indian sounding ring-tone.  She may have been waiting for Mass to begin, or perhaps she was resting in the niche with Mary for a spell while she waited for the metro-bus.  Regardless of her story, just the glimpse of the two of them there in that brief moment was a lovely sight to see.  And so this morning, I visited that space again, in the land of my imaginings, and made a little drawing.  This is a small painting, only 5″x7″.  It is indeed for sale if it speaks to you.

detail 2



Speaking of selling little drawings, check back here in the next week or so.  I’ll be offering some things for sale to help fund my writer-in-residence post in Taos this upcoming winter.  These will be sketches and Ginger post-card options, and maybe even an ethereal bunny or two…. I’ll keep you posted!

In the mean time, while we all seem to be running through our lives be it to Fit It All In, or to train for the Next Big Race, let’s take the time to note and perhaps record the sacred in the mundane should we be fortunate enough to come across it.  I’d love to see what you come up with!