Sunday, March 21, 2010

Warm weather means plein air!

Next month I'll be attending the annual Local Color Plein Air Painting competition in Raleigh. Always before I've trotted over and worked, usually in sheer terror, on my first plein air painting of the year. This year I've decided that I'm going to do a plein air painting each weekend until then so I'm in fightin' form! Watch out, world!

Plein air is a hoot. If I didn't beat myself up each time, I'd really enjoy it. You're getting out into the world, looking at how colors really are and what things truly look like out there, like trees. Did you know that the Impressionists, many of whom got their inspiration/techniques from working en plein air, could only do so because paint in tubes had just started to be available?

Competitions are another level of terror entirely. For Local Color, we've got to check in around 9 AM, get our canvases stamped so we can't cheat and bring in some masterpiece from our studio, and then report back by 4 or so with a framed painting. No pressure! Not even bladder pressure once you've been out standing for three hours or so, sipping from a bucket of iced tea as the temperature climbs and the shadows move.

Anyway, to relieve part of that pressure, I'm practicing. This is the first one, and one of my first attempts at flowers (which are on my list of things to learn this year). These daffs are blooming next to the bottom of the steps leading to my front door. So handy for the first time out! I can just run into the house and grab whatever I've forgotten. "Oh right, bug spray!"

These daffs are so cheery, just the right thing after such a long and snowy winter. I hope you enjoy them!

"March's Daffodils" 8x10" acrylic on Gessobord. All materials are archival. $75, shipping included

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Winter's Last Snow

My latest painting...

I LOVED this blue house! Especially on the rare occasions when Hillsborough got snow. Why did I state that in past tense? Because the owners recently painted it to a crisp, modern shade of beige that, though it looks very nice, takes away all the cottage-y goodness that the blue held.

I was late to work one day last year because I stopped to take shots of the house and its huge, uncommon pines (or are they cedars?) with their load of snow. When this winter we got all the snow, I stayed inside and began this painting to celebrate.

I took it to an art class and the instructor there (a pretty famous guy) told me to take the dormer off. I liked that dormer! So the painting sat and sat in the studio as I'd go in and meditate on it, first with a finger blocking the dormer, then showing it.

I hate to say it, but the guy was right. The picture has more punch without the dormer, so I painted it out. Ahh, so much better!

It's 20x20", acrylic, painted on a stretched canvas. All materials are archival and shipping is included in the cost.

"Winter's Last Snow"... $525.00

Sunday, March 7, 2010

How to Live a Long Life

I was listening to NPR this morning on the way to fetch a breakfast that I knew wasn't good for me. I was out of nutritious cereal and drove quickly so the Universe wouldn't spot me on the way to nutritional armageddon and strike me down.

The radio was running one of those stories that give you a list of things that will make you live longer.

Number one was clean water. I've got brown water at my place, but it's organically brown. (Iron-eating bacteria.) Still, I suppose it's time to make yet another effort to find a plumber who will show me how to chlorinate my well. All I need is someone to show it to me once and I can handle it from there.

Number two was exercise. Movement. Get out there and show Life that you're actually alive.

I must remember to do that now and then.

Then came the bit about fresh fruits and veggies, with the occasional healthy smoothie thrown in. The other night Alton Brown gave a recipe for the smoothie he chooses to sip on throughout his mornings. It sounds doable and viewer reviews reported that it's excellent. I'll give it a try.

Mentioned on the list but for some reason not emphasized, was something that surprised me: Do things you like to do.

I'm always running on a list of things I HAVE to do, which often are things I have to get out of the way before I can do what I want to do, things that I've managed to make into businesses where people expect me to do them. Which takes a little bit of the fun out of it all.

So right here and now (while I'm digesting that bacon and sugary apple thing from breakfast) I'm going to improve my life. More water (and I'll try to clean it a little better than just running it through a filter that's on its last legs), lots more fresh/frozen fruits and veggies, a whole lot more movement (especially out in the yard, which is still a wreck) with an attempt to find some kind of pseudo-exercise that is enjoyable...

Speaking of enjoyable, I'll do stuff that I get a kick out of doing, like art for art's sake, writing for art's sake (oh, okay. With serious attempt to sell finished stuff), comics, travel, and petting the cats.

Someone please tell me it's not too late to start!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Gail has left the building

Gail Simone's run on Wonder Woman has been a milestone, one that I'm sure future writers will steer by.

I'd been wondering when this announcement would come. First Gail pulled back from hinting at future stories, and then about a month ago she phrased a post concerning her run in the past tense, and I knew for sure it was over.

Gail has invigorated Wonder Woman, has given Wondie enough PR to make other pros stand up and look this way, wondering what the big hubbub was about. I believe it has made many reconsider who they think Wonder Woman is and what she is capable of.

I may not have agreed with some of the GS additions to the mythos, but I've certainly enjoyed others enormously. I may have wondered at how some storylines played out, but others were a hoot and a half, those kinds of tales that come around once every decade or so and make WW worthy of a lifetime of fandom. The energy of this era has crackled!

I feel that whoever succeeds Gail will be following in her footsteps. I hope they'll find the Wondieverse has been opened again to allow magical flights of imagination and inspiration combined.

I lift my cup of chai to Gail to thank her for all her WW work both in the comic and in her PR efforts, and to wish her the best in her future endeavors!

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's good to be a woman

Had to post this. Just got it via chain email, but it might be from Savvy Magazine:

It is good to be a woman!

1. We got off the Titanic first.
2. We can scare male bosses with the mysterious gynecological disorder excuses.
3. Taxis stop for us.
4. We don't look like a frog in a blender when dancing.
5. No fashion faux pas we make could ever rival the Speedo.
6. We don't have to pass gas to amuse ourselves.
7. If we forget to shave, no one has to know.
8. We can congratulate our teammate without ever touching her rear end.
9. We never have to reach down every so often to make sure our privates are still there.
10. We have the ability to dress ourselves.
11.  We can talk to the opposite sex without having to picture them naked.
12.  If we marry someone 20 years younger, we are aware that we will look like an idiot.
13. We will never regret piercing our ears.
14. There are times when chocolate really can solve all your problems.
15. We can make comments about how silly men are in their presence because they aren't listening anyway.