Back to my makeshift studio to paint. This is 60″ x 48″ and is designed to hide a water heater. Not the best reason to paint, but any reason in my mind is a good reason. When I sold my waterfront home, I gave up my perfect painting studio over my three car garage. It was designed to have perfect north lighting, lots of space for storage and close to main street where I could sell my art.
When I sold it, I bought a small cottage with a finished garage, so I could set up my studio there. It was great, people walked by and said hello and it was clean and organized with lots of storage. I still own the home, but do not live there.
Where I live now, really has no studio. It is a wonderful 1912 California Craftsman Bungalow with a not so lovely 1912 one-car garage. I’m not sure it ever really housed a car. It is unfinished, has that “old house” smell, and it has taken me a while to want to paint in it. In time we may dry-wall it, so I can hang some art and hopefully get some shelves so I can store some of my supplies. I did order a lamp this weekend to help with the lighting.
Driving down to California we stopped in Newport Oregon for two days. What a beautiful site on the coast. We ate at the local marina both nights with great views, fabulous wine and food. I captured the top photo out the window when we were having dinner one night. I loved the boat and the bridge, but thought the painting might be a bit bland. So I added a nice sunset. The painting is 12″ x 24″.
At first I missed the spotlight and when I looked back the photo and noticed it, I thought it might add a little life to the painting. I realized bridges are not easy to paint, so I abstracted it a bit and did not put in a lot of detail.
It is nice to be back painting, and when Thanksgiving is done, I will be back in the studio. There are no Christmas parties this year with the Pandemic, so we will have to find ways to celebrate the season that bring us joy. I think I will just cook and paint and be happy! Hope you can do the same!
Picking up and moving to a new place for half a year is proving to be an interesting transition. Definitely not a bad one, but traveling and hoping you have packed everything you need.
I brought a lot from my kitchen, as my new kitchen in the north is so much smaller and out of date compared to the house l sold. I do miss the view of the harbor when I am in my Washington home, but adapted by enjoying the trees (that constantly make a mess of my back yard), the deer wantering through and the smaller space. I finally had the kitchen of my dreams, but not the marriage. So the choice was be happy in the house and miserable in part of life or move on. I am very happy I moved on.
Then there is the packing of clothes. So very often when I get dressed in the morning I realize that I left a few too many things behind. When I arrived in California it was supposed to Fall, but it was still summer and I had no summer clothes. Thanks to Nordstrom Rack I found end of summer sale clothes, so filled in what was missing. (sort of). With the Pandemic having the right clothes certainly is not as important. I just needed a few lighter weight clothes and some T-shirts to get me to Fall.
Fall has finally arrived and I am savoring the weather and finally got a studio, of sorts set up in the 1918 garage. I got a heater, a light and have a folding table and one easel for my art. I got the heater after the first day I painted and had to wear tights, a turtleneck, a flannel shirt, overalls, a fleece vest, cashmere gloves, which I cut the fingers off, a hat, Ughs and I was still freezing. The heater has helped a lot.
The fires were finally under control in Central California, so I painted the above painting in honor or that and for all the people that lost homes, pets and loved ones. I usually do an abstract rather quickly, but I think I felt a little emotional over the fires that blazed so close. The painting was done for our home in Vacaville and seems to fit in perfectly.
Life brings you joy, happiness, challenges, changes and a long list of other things. This last year I sold my beach house, got a divorce and could only afford a small older cottage. It is amazing how well we all can adopt.
So begins a new story in my life in a small waterfront town in Washington half a year, and in California the other half. The little house has literally nothing in the yard, but brush that people left for years under the trees. My gardener from my last house took out two full dump trucks full of yard waste and etc. I have spent a lot of time putting down beauty bark, and will slowly plant the garden. (not today) Friends have been generous with gleanings from their gardens, so I know in the long run it will be lovely and carefree! (In appearance, not maintenance)
The entire little house has been painted the brightest white available, and I would love to replace doors, trim and cabinets, but that is not in the budget at the moment. I cheated on the drawing, as the house is actually yellow, not my favorite color! So hopefully next summer we can paint it a nice dark gray.
Every day is a new and mostly fun challenge. Today I discovered who ever lived here waxed the ceramic tile floor. It was already kind of an ugly light pink, but it never looked clean. Today Clorox and a brush on my knees, and a metal scraper, helped it look a tiny bit better.
I serendipitously came to see my first love from college again about a year ago. His late wife was a sorority sister, a beautiful and smart woman whose Celebration of Life I attended. It was wonderful to see they had a wonderful life together. I guess I had always wondered how his life had gone. It was a beautiful celebration and I was so happy to know he had a good life and two wonderful children. It was amazing to reconnect with so many of my AX sorority sisters from fifty years ago.
Over time Reed & I talked and discovered, both being widowed there was still some magic in life. We are having a amazing time getting to know each other in our seventies. You never know what will happen in life.
With the wildfires and COVET 19 life is not simple for anyone. The air quality was so bad in Washington when I wrote this, I was not sure if it is even a good idea to go to my garage to paint. We are having strange times. I feel lucky to be sharing it with someone so positive, loving and laughing.
It is so very nice to finally awaken to fresh clean smoke free air. Another day at last in my studio enjoying putting paint on a 36″ x 36″ canvas. With time in my studio and time in my kitchen life is good. I called the “The Air is Clearing”, as I could almost see the sky become blue during the day.
When I am not painting I seem to be cooking and made this Plum, Nectarine and Blackberry Galette in the morning.
My friend Reed really liked I think, as this was what was left after breakfast…
The recipe is in one of my earlier posts, and it is so easy and so delicious, you should make one. The last one I made with peaches and blackberries. I like to add a little cinnamon on top and four or five dabs of good butter, with an egg wash and a little sugar on the crust. I use Italian Joe’s Pie Crust recipe, as it is moist, flakey and goes together easily:
In addition to sketching and doing a relatively impressionistic type paint, I love doing big abstracts. This one did not take much time, but just made me happy painting. I usually put on some great music and just enjoy the energy. Stacey Kent is my newest artist of choice. I was introduced to her music when staying a friend’s house. With all the fires going on in Washington, Oregon and California the idea struck me that the all the fury of the fires leaves behind the sadness of the blackened trees and lost homes.
It has taken quite a while to sort through everything and organize it, but I am there and was able to paint this week. My friend, Reed and I went on a drive last week to Brinnon where we took a very short hike to find the Rocky Brook Falls. I will admit we drove more back and forth trying to find the falls, than we did hiking, but it was worth the trip.
This is the photo that I used for the painting. As you can see I took a little “artists license” with the painting.
I’m not sure if I will attempt to paint this, but it surely was breathtaking.
I was in Vacaville, California when the pandemic began and it was a time, when the big excitement of the day was going for a drive or sitting on the front porch having a glass of wine. I don’t sit still well, so got some pens and started sketching the neighborhood. My oil paints were still in Washington, so could not paint. (Won’t do that again). Here are some of the in house and neighborhood sketches done at that time.
I started with simple sketches around the house.
Beautiful roses in a vase. Probably should have added color. (Oh well)
Drew the house on the corner.
And the house across the street.
Then added color to the house on the corner across the street.
Another house right across the street
And added color
Drew a tree rose in the front garden
Drove back to Bainbridge where I drew my girlfriend’s flower pot. I moved to my little Port Ludlow Cottage and spent the next couple of months trying to organize and move in to the house.
My friend and I were out and about and stopped in Port Gamble in a newly opened wine bar for a glass and a charcuterie plate and I like the house so I took a photo on the way out and drew the house below. I had an extra frame, so I framed the house and dropped by as a gift to the owners.
Once in a while it is just fun to do a nice and unexpected gift!
It has been a couple of weeks since I have been able to be in my studio. Having a new puppy has not helped. She is very cute but very busy! Most days I truly wonder if a puppy really adds to your life or just wastes your time. I don’t feel like you get much in return at this point in time. She is finally old enough that she can be in my art studio when I am working but has to be in a crate or she would literally “eat” my artwork, as she eats everything else in path.
Just now I went to make another cup of coffee, but the barn door to the laundry room where I make my coffee got knocked off the track by the puppy and it is going to have to stay that way all day. It is too heavy for me to life to put back on the track. The cat is locked in the laundry room but at least he has food and water and can get to his litter box and he has freedom from the puppy and I am mostly wishing I had freedom from the puppy.
Sunday when my husband was home and my youngest son visiting, I could finally put the puppy in the hands of someone else and go back to my studio to paint.
Last weekend I traveled to the Celebration of Life of one of my college sorority sisters in Vacaville. It was a bittersweet experience. It was wonderful to see many of my sorority sisters, but hard to share the passing of one. It was dear to see her husband, as he was my first boyfriend in college before he met her. It was so wonderful to see what a rich and full life they had together as they showed photos throughout the years of their long and happy marriage. It made me feel so good to know what a wonderful life they had together.
The upbeat part of the trip was that I was lucky to spend some time with my oldest son and granddaughter. We drove out the coast near Santa Cruz, where we took a wonderful and beautiful walk along the beach. We walked through a farm that is open to the public with several older buildings and some historic sites. The painting above is of one of the buildings that I photographed along our walk.
Here is the photograph that I painted. I loved that it looked like one time it was loved, but now it was old and forlorn. I took several photos of other buildings and think I may do a series of paintings of the area.
Yesterday it was cold and rainy and even though I should have gone to Urban Sketchers in the morning, I chose to try to spend it in my studio with my puppy. It is funny, if I turn on a movie, she is like a little child and watches the movie without complaint, so I was able to paint the following piece from a photo I took in Poulsbo at the marina.
I am out to the studio again after I either go out to buy a coffee or I almost forgot I do have a French Press that is not locked in the laundry room.
Anyone want a very cute Aussie Kee that will eventually be a great companion for someone much younger?