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.
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!
David Marty is a local to our area artist that teaches two-day classes in Edmonds at The Cole Gallery and sometimes once a week for six weeks on Bainbridge Island at The Winslow Art Center. I have taken four classes from his so far with two in Edmonds and two on Bainbridge. It is always interesting to see the level of the painters at the two different environments. In Edmonds, there are usually a couple artists that are quite accomplished blended with more with little or no experience. I always learn at least one tidbit that helps to improve my own paintings. Bainbridge classes are often comprised of many of the same artists that I have taken other classes with, and most all have been painting for several years.
Dave’s work is not quite as loose as some other Plein Artists, but it is always beautifully done. Coming from an illustrators background, his drawing is always “right-on'”. I have improved my drawing skills taking his classes and doing Urban Sketching with a group on Bainbridge Island.
In David’s classes the entire class paints from the same photograph. It is so interesting to watch throughout as the artists turn the photographs into beautiful paintings. If you were to look at the finished pieces you realize just how differently people see. I love watching the artistic process as many of the pieces transform as they are painted.
In the classes on Bainbridge, we were always given a homework assignment to work on at home and bring for critique the following week.
This was the first piece we worked on in class. David would do a demo in the morning, then we all painted the rest of the afternoon and put up our work for a critique at the end of the session. This class was to work on water receding in the distance. I walked away content with this piece.
The second was a scene of a lake and the challenge was to show the lilies on the surface without making it look speckled. The one above is mine.
We next worked on the reflections and lighting in this lake scene.
This was painted from a photo with a row of flowers. I did not love the photo, so I reversed it in Photoshop and added a little girl picking the flowers in the front. Once finished I thought and think it looks a bit trite.
Then we started painting a couple of roads, which I thought was great fun.
I can always tell when I enjoy the topic we are painting, as I most likely will be happy with the result.
How to make a wall of trees look interesting was a challenge and it was a homework assignment. I did feel this was successful as it has variety and keeps your interest. David never says anything negative about your work, but makes quiet thoughtful suggestions on what might improve it.
Making rocks look like rocks is always a challenge and how to get the right color, so they look real but beautiful at the same time. This was hard to capture, but I think it reads as rocks.
Another road with the task of making the road appear beautiful and interesting while receding believably into the background.
Painting the Night Scene of a city was fairly new to me. I went with a little whimsy and fun and more abstract than real. David liked how I did the lights in the background and thought he might change his to a little more like mine. Boy, did that make me smile.
We all painted “The Red Barn”. Growing up on a farm, I have always been attracted to barns and have painted several over my life as an artist. This is a small 8 x 10 inch with a bad glare in the photo, but it was fun doing.
Homework assignment to paint clouds. The tidbit I learned from this exercise is that clouds are always parallel to the earth at the bottom, so they are flat at the bottom. Not my favorite painting, but it was a very simplistic photo.
The homework assignment was to capture the clouds in a painting from a photo of the clouds. Mine was a good as anyone else in the class, but nothing I would try to sell.
Everyone in the class liked this, but I sanded it down and repainted the canvas. The wave looked more like a ledge than waves to me.
Beach walkers One.
Beach walkers Two. I did not like the first rendition, so I painted it a second time. Not sure that I like either of them.
From the sea, we moved to snow scenes. I painted the one on the left in class, but it left me feeling unsuccessful, so I painted the one on the right. It is a fun exercise to paint the same photo more than once and in slightly different styles.
With the next homework assignment of snow, I painted the first horizontally and the same scene vertically. Working on composition helps you see the same thing in a different manner.
I brought in a photo I found online of Port Gamble, so we all had a take on this.
In this case, I have the photo and thought it might be fun for you to see my translation of the photo. I left out the tree in the foreground. I do love the mist of the photo and feel at least I captured the essence of the mist.
We were to paint this stream for homework. Often when I look at a photo, I wonder what would be the best way to try to make this come to life. When David showed his homework, it was mostly in browns, and I must admit that his rendition was more appealing than my greener version.
One of the students brought in a photo of Madronas on her property, and while they are lovely, it was a test of sorts to make an interesting painting.
Here is the photo.
Finished version adding more darks. I often do not go dark enough, so this was a great lesson in contrast.
The next class I took from David was at Cole Gallery and the class was about learning to paint moving water and how to draw your eye to the water.
I was pleased with the first painting but got my reflections off on the second.
This was the final painting in that particular class. I do see water and color in a different way than before, and everyone in the class liked this painting. I am not so sure that painting just water is my favorite.
Every time I do take a class with Dave, I learn at least one thing. I enjoy watching how he holds his paintbrush to achieve the look he desires. Every stroke is thought out and it important. There is not scrubbing!
This summer I took quite a few Art Workshops with different painters. From some, I discovered new ways of seeing art. From others, I had a good review of the basics of art, something all artists should think about from time to time. As would be expected, I enjoyed a couple of my classes better than others.
I am not a floral artist, but I took a studio with Stanley Bielen where we painted small florals, vegies or anything we selected from a table full of fun objects. My first was a copy of the demo he did for the class.
Being happy with that, I found a small white teapot and put together a rather whimsical painting with the teapot. All of these pieces are 6″ x 8″ or 8″ x 10″, a size I had not done much work in before, so small was a little challenging to me.
The class lasted three days and each day I discovered something new or different. Stanley is a funny and intelligent instructor that kept the class laughing with stories and kept our interest by sharing facts and information about other current artists that he has met. The class had students from all over the United States and Canada. It was fun being in a class with such dedicated artists.
Going searching the table for the next object or objects to paint I spotted this beautiful turnip and loved the contrast of the bright orange peppers next to it. Purple and orange are two of my favorite colors, so this was fun to paint and I was pleased with the composition.
Day three and a lot of the flowers on the table were starting to look a little limp, and having had such fun painting the turnip, I decided to do another vegetable – a Bok Choy.
I loved the floppy character of the Bok Choy and felt I “captured” the essence in this little painting. By the last day in the afternoon, I was getting tired. I was enjoying the class, but my energy level was down a bit. I often think I am better in a two-day class. The last painting of the class was my worst of the series.
I started too high on the canvas so I was not happy with the composition and composition, even of small paintings make or break the work. I think I finally just cut off the bottom and repainted shortening the stems.
Being inspired by painting small, I took the concept to a slightly larger canvas and painted plants with pots from our local nursery. I am pleased with the result and hope to do a few more of these in the future.
Stanely Bielen’s class at The Winslow Art Center was informative, fun and made me look at smaller objects in a new way. This was not the first of my Summer Classes, but one I truly tried something I had not attempted before and was quite happy with the result.
One other lesson from taking many classes in too short a period of time is that every successful artist believes their paint color choices, canvas finish, and style is the best way to paint. What you should take away is that there is no one style of painting and that you can incorporate, some but not all that you gather from each professional. Take too many classes and it becomes confusing. Take classes from too few instructors and will realize that your paintings start to look like theirs.
I took art class once a week from the same instructor for twelve years. One day after they opened a small local gallery and I was taking a hiatus from painting I walked by the gallery and my youngest son (in his thirties) said to me: Why do all the paintings shown here look the same, even though there were four or five artists represented?” It was at that moment I decided to take classes from a variety of different professional artists.
It was another cold and snowy day in Kingston, Washington today. The weather was so bad my painting class was canceled this weekend. Last Tuesday my class was canceled too! So I decided to do the homework for the class today in my studio. I have never done a snow scene, so spent some time looking through my art books for ideas and then painted this 9 x 12-inch painting.
Considering it is the first time I have tried painting snow, I feel good about it. You don’t always feel great about what you create, but today I smiled when I finished and really did not spend that much time on it.
Every art studio could use a cozy corner for reading art books. This last week my husband built these two-inch shelves with a lip for setting finished small pieces and works in progress. Now I need to get busy and paint some more small works.
Next weekend he is going to add more shelves for bigger pieces. It is wonderful, as they are all straight on the bottom for once.
Every challenge yourself to something and feel either great about accomplishing it or bad that you failed (the first time). This year I challenged myself to read 75 books on the Goodreads challenge and can very proudly say I accomplished that goal. The year before I attempted to bake every bread in Paul Hollywood’s Bread Book. I made it about 2/3’s of the way and gained a couple of pounds, but did not finish the book. I still love to bake and may just try to finish it. I take my baked goods to my local fire department, so they are enjoyed and not wasted. My wonderful local fire department surprised me with a gift certificate the last two years. That made me cry the first year, as I was amazed they recognized the gift. This year I felt a little guilty as I felt I did not take as much, but will up the ante as the year goes on.
Now with 2019 coming up, I decided I would follow the example of Kevin McPhearson, the author and artist of “Reflections on a Pond”, and paint the view of the water in front of my house every day of the year. If I don’t have time to paint on a particular day, I will take a photo and paint it later. I find it an interesting thought and am hoping it will improve my painting skills.
It was a summer that I did not venture into my art studio, and yesterday I realized painting is what makes my heart sing. That and some great Rhythm and Blues music in the background make for a wonderful day.
Two days ago I picked up a piece from a wonderful Interior Design Studio in Edmonds that sells quite a bit of my work. The owner took me to house she is redoing and asked if I could do something for the living room to put above the fireplace. The colors were rich grays, taupes, bronze and a little bit of yellow green. This piece is 30″ x 60″ and painted over a previous piece I had done a long time ago.
It was done in a time when everything I did had some purple in it. In the last couple of years I have finally grown tired of purple. I find painting over a previously painted abstract gives depth and life to a new painting.
In this case, since it was already framed, I just used green guerrilla painters tape to cover the frame, so did not have to remove it and could get right to painting.
Whenever I do a bigger piece, I make it so you can hang it vertically or horizontally. It is one thing I do to make it easier to use in what ever environment you hang the art. In my own home, I may hang it one way for a while, then change 90 degrees in another place. That way I don’t grow tired of the piece as quickly.
At the end of the day yesterday I felt this piece was complete and had a great start on a second piece. I plan to spend a lot more time in my studio in the days to come. It makes me happy!
Normally I post about food or art, but today I am sharing an article about my own home featured in a local magazine. I bought the land about thirteen years ago and designed and built a home for me to live in as a single woman, as all my children had gotten on with their lives. I was not sure at the time, if I wanted to live here or move back to California, where I am a sixth generation family member. I moved there for a year, but could not get close to the beach, hated the traffic, realized most of my past friends had moved on and totally hated living in a townhouse, with a gate and for the most part not so friendly neighbors. The problem started, when I trusted a builder to follow my construction plans, and he did not. He cheated out on absolutely everything, changed my floor plan without my permission and totally changed the feel of the house. When I moved back to Washington, I lost money on my townhouse in Carlsbad and did not have a job. I did not have a job for over a year, so making changes was not in the budget.
When I married about six years ago, after being single for over twenty years, it was an adjustment using a home designed for one person for the two people now living in it. After about five years, we decided to make the changes you see featured in this article. This is the second home I’ve had featured in a magazine. My 1998 home on Wing Point, Bainbridge Island was featured as home of the year in Seattle Home & Lifestyle Magazine. They are very different homes, as that was designed for myself and my three teenage sons.
When it comes to interior design, Diana Bennett Wirtz Kingsley wrote the book. Really. An artist and holder of a master’s degree in interior design, Kingsley authored “Hand Drafting for Interior Design” during her years of teaching at the Art Institute of Seattle. The book is a popular text in a hundred colleges across the country and abroad.
When not authoring textbooks, she is a whirlwind of creative energy. The artist-author fills her semi-retirement with painting, sewing, cooking and photography, as well as her beautifully visual cooking and commentary blog.
Considering this surplus of interests, Kingsley was just the woman for job when the time came to plan a new residence. As the last of her three sons graduated from Bainbridge High School, the designer started the search for a home site on the Kitsap Peninsula. In 2005, she found just what she was looking for in Kingston.
“I had no idea where I wanted to live until I saw this property,” she says. “There was the beach and this fabulous view. I just wanted to walk on the sand.”
Set on the shore of Apple Tree Cove, the lot looks across broad tide flats to the Kingston Cove Marina and the comings and goings of the Kingston-Edmonds ferry. Flocks of sea birds ride the waves and ospreys float in the sky. Changing weather alternately mists distant docks and glints sunbeams off passing boats. Kingsley was enchanted. She knew she’d found the one.
Kingsley also knew who would design her home. She would. First of all, the house would take advantage of the view over two stories. Deep porches on both levels would be roomy enough for dining and reclining. Finally, the master suite would occupy the entire upper floor.
For Kingsley, the design was the easy part. The tough part was acting as her own contractor. The foundation was barely dry before she made a temporary move to California. By the time she returned for a visit, the work was nearly wrapped up. Except some of it wasn’t per agreement, including the kitchen appliances.
Disappointed but undeterred, Kingsley moved in and moved on with life. The next few years brought good things, chief among them her future husband, Mike. As the newlyweds settled into the Kingston house, Diana and Mike Kingsley found creative compatibility.
“I design things and my husband makes them happen,” she says. “He’s very handy.”
“So far I have a 2-to-1 ratio of projects desired to projects completed,” Mike Kingsley replies, smiling at his indefatigable wife.
Considering the couple’s combined talents, what happened next was inevitable. They gutted the house and began a complete remodel.
“We ripped everything out and loaded it in dumpsters,” Diana Kingsley recalls.
After 12 years in residence, she knew what she wanted to rise from the metaphoric ashes of the original house. She wanted a look that was beachy, low-key and comfortable. Kingsley wanted muted colors to reflect what the eye sees outside Puget Sound windows for more than 300 cloudy days a year. She wanted an understated carbon-gray exterior with orange accents. Mostly, she wanted people to stay out of her kitchen.
Kingsley makes no apologies for being the queen of her kitchen. She loves to cook. She also loves to entertain. An invitation to dinner with the Kingsleys is a recipe for a most appetizing evening. Kingsley needed a kitchen worthy of her talents.
Then the designer had an inspiration. What if her real-life project became a lesson for her students at the art institute? Kingsley invited 30 students to her home to plan 30 individual redesigns. One of the plans was an eye-opener.
“A student suggested getting rid of the kitchen island and making the kitchen u-shaped,” she says.
Kingsley realized this new configuration was just what she wanted. It would keep guests from wandering underfoot while she cooked but allow them to keep her company on stools on the far side of the counter.
With this as the basis of her new kitchen, Kingsley added view windows and new cabinets, upgraded the appliances and chose new flooring. Her husband saw to it that her dream pot rack became reality. A new color scheme paired soft-gray walls with crisp-white cabinetry. Granite installed by Grandy Marble and Tile of Kingston added visual movement to the otherwise peaceful presentation. The result is a casually elegant cooking center that reads like a sigh of relief at the end of a hectic day.
Just off the kitchen, the couple added two small rooms tucked behind roller-mounted barn doors: the bead-boarded utility room and a pantry. The red-and-white pantry highlights Kingsley’s evolved sense of order with rows of spices and teas neatly labeled with her husband’s label maker, a device that she adores.
Of course, for a designer, the furnishings are as important as the layout. Kingsley loves the clean, classic lines of the 1970s. Examples of these in the Kingsleys’ home are the retro upholstered metal stools that Mike Kingsley had cut down to fit the kitchen counter. The home also boasts a Platner table and see-through Lucite “ghost” chairs. In contrast to these streamlined pieces is Mike’s handsome, 1907 Estey grand piano that holds sway in the living room with the good-natured solidity of Winston Churchill at an artist’s colony.
Finding the perfect wall art was no problem for Kingsley, a skilled artist whose paintings and drawings are shown and sold at Interiors of Edmonds. Whatever the theme or size needed for her own rooms, she retired to her backyard studio and created it herself. Recently, her works lean toward big, bold abstracts.
As handy with a sewing machine as a paintbrush, Diana changed out all of the living room fabrics. In the bedrooms, Mike cut the wooden headboard forms and she upholstered them in heavy silk tapestry and made pillows to match.
Both of the Kingsleys are happy in their home at the beach. He enjoys the short walk to the Kingston ferry. She is learning to live retired by the shore of what she describes as a 12-hour-a-day waterfront, meaning there’s always something to see, from raccoons and herons to paddle-boarders and that kid who had to leave his boots behind in the calf-deep mud of the tide flat.
As Mike Kingsley points out, their home is a work in progress. Yet, in the hands of a woman who admits she’s “too hyper to be a good retiree,” there’s no doubt it will all come together.
“People ask me, ‘How do you get it all done?’” Diana Kingsley says with a shrug. “How do I not?”
There are still a few more things we hope to add to the home. Last week we finished a deck by the beach and are awaiting Orange Polywood Adirondack chairs to complete the look. We will be adding privacy panels on one end of the deck and an outdoor fireplace on the other.
I took the day to spend in my Art Studio and redid a painting I did last year. Purple was my favorite color for many years and I always put it in paintings. I took the purple out of this one, replaced it with my new neutral – Gray. I defined the flowers a little more with oil crayons and feel the result is much more successful. It really seems to pop!
While I was in the studio, I wanted to paint something new for my entry, as I had repainted the wall and redid the wood. Originally it was fence wood, unpainted with purple on the wall. The new look is shown below, so I think my new painting will be perfect. I had one I was going to use that I was showing at Interiors of Edmonds, but when I called to pick it up for a photo shoot, I found out it had been sold.
So I think this new 30″ x 40″ will work well.
Sometimes knowing you have something coming gets the creativity flowing. Our beach home is going to be featured in West Sound Home and Garden magazine this summer, so I wanted something fun to be on the entry wall. By jove, I think I got it.
Today while listening to classes on real estate I decided it was a good time to sketch while listening. Multi-tasking and now I need to add color and come up with a By Line. Anyone have any ideas? Here are some I was thinking about:
Thinking about making a move?
Ready for a change of scenery?
Where do you want to be at this point in your life?
Don’t think I need to to exert this much energy to move? What is your idea?
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