Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘PAINTING’

IRISH MORNING

I have to admit that I have never been to Ireland. I don’t know if the opportunity to visit will ever come. My mother’s father was from there. I have finally learned the county that he was from but since I don’t know his birthdate or any other pertinent information, and his last name was very common — I’m not trying to learn anything more. I’ve titled this thought ramble Irish Morning not because the day reminded me of Ireland but because I was having lunch with a dear friend. She is not only Irish but she came from across the water. For years she lived on my block, went to Mass with us on Sunday. But time passes and our bodies reflect the passing. She had trouble walking up and down the stairs in her house. She moved to a Catholic senior residence. Even though she is on the third floor, they have elevators.

She phoned a few days ago and invited me for lunch. Of course, I accepted immediately. Then she fell, and we postponed the date. Then the snow fell on rain drenched stairs and I didn’t like the crunch as I swept the stairs. And we postponed it again. The day finally came, cold but with sunshine — blue skies. If I gave serious thought to the meeting, I wouldn’t have arrived empty handed. Ooops!

Her residence has many opportunities for a person to stay busy. I passed a room where art work decorated the window. I recognized the name of a friend and stopped to take a photo. A woman passed by with her son and asked if that artwork was mine. I admitted that it was a friend’s, I wasn’t a resident. She had recently moved in and was having trouble adjusting. I had to share a story of my recent painting experience and a photo of the finished art work. She didn’t paint or draw. She used to sing but has lost her voice. I suggested she just sing to herself inside her head. She was on her way to therapy. I was navigating the halls, looking for the building were my friend’s apartment was.

SUCCESS! We had a pleasant visit but more snow and rain was in the forecast. I really didn’t want to get stuck out in the weather. I learned that she had had a stroke a couple of years before. Somehow I missed that information. Her son used to live on our block and shared information about his mother. He rented their house a couple of years back, and moved to an apartment. I no longer receive current news. She is doing well now — in her late 90’s. Not bothered by the aftermath of her fall.

Going back down I shared the elevator with a woman who had a lovely accent. When I asked, she admitted she was from Ireland. Walking down the hall with her, I voiced the question of a bathroom. Two gentlemen going in the opposite direction pointed to a sign on the wall. I told my companion that I’ve noticed that when I ask a question, I often get an immediate answer. I wondered if the same thing happened to her.

Leaving — I met the same woman I saw when I first arrived. She hadn’t slept well the night before and was heading to her apartment for a nap before supper. I mentioned that it must be hard, giving up her house, her car and living in a new place. There were people there from her parish but the friendship is just starting.

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SCARED

It didn’t make any sense! Why should I be afraid to pick up a paint brush? Buy paint and canvas? Try to paint a picture in acrylic? Okay, I’ll admit that it has been many years since I have tried to paint a whole picture. I’ve dabbled with paint a couple of times, but not with any purpose or effort. I have a couple of tiny canvasses up. I might have been encouraging my grandchildren to paint. I really don’t remember.

Hanging on the walls –I have quite a few large canvases that remind me that I was able to actually paint a picture that I was proud of. Just last week I unearthed a satchel that held many books that contained painting ideas that I brought to life. So why was I frightened? It wasn’t as if someone had asked me to do a painting. I didn’t have a job that offered money for a finished work of art. I wasn’t planning on entering an art show. There was no pressure to put paint on canvas. Except my family kept encouraging me to paint again. Was I afraid I would let them or myself down?

Since we closed up the camper for the fall, channel 20 quit broadcasting programs that I enjoyed — I have discovered another PBS station that runs programs by five different artists five days a week. When I discovered I was able to paint many years ago, I watched Bill Alexander and his mighty brush. Many of the ways I painted trees and mountains came from his ideas. I painted in oil. These artists use a mixture of mediums — oil, acrylic, mixed. Their techniques are mixed also. I have watched — trying to learn, inspire.

My husband has emphysema and there is an odor to oil and the solvent used to clean brushes, etc. I thought it would be better to paint in Acrylic, it was fast drying and odorless. The texture of the paint is different. I’ve learned that Acrylic is available not only in tubes but also in liquid. It can be used similar to watercolor. As if I wasn’t confused enough! Although I played with watercolors a couple of times — I’m not skilled. Nor do I have the talent for drawing. When I painted in oil, I was surprised that the paintings I tried, turned out as well they did.

I finally gave in — I saw a mountain and waterfall scene that I thought I would try. I bought a large canvas, paints — and began. I painted a mountain that I wasn’t unhappy with. That is as far as I got that day. The next weekend, canvas on an easel, water in containers, brushes out — plans changed. Instead of trees and a waterfall — rough ocean water came into being with a couple of waves. The small mountains became more imposing. My sky was already in motion — clouds racing. ROUGH WATER was born. Finished? I’m not sure. It still needs to be signed.

FOYER

I thought I remembered having a French easel. I thought I had stored it in the foyer. Lots of stuff is stored in the foyer. In order to find the easel, I had to remove a lot of stuff. The easiest place to start was with our coats. Now I’ll admit that most of our coats how hung out with us for more than a year or two. In fact, I found our youngest daughter’s high school jacket. She really liked that coat and wanted it back. No problem — I wasn’t going to donate it anyway.

I found winter gear from when I used to cross country ski. Lets not talk about how many years ago that was. Will I get my skies out again and go out and play in the snow? Doubtful but you never know. What I do know for sure is that it would be a minor miracle if I could get my body into the outfit. Donated!

I would love to say that I had a huge pile of coats to donate but I try not to lie. When I wear a coat that belonged to one of my daughters it is as they are giving me a hug. All the coats were hung up and I still have more stuff on the floor to investigate.

I found my French easel along with four bags of stuff and a box full of painting brushes and paints. One of the bags held books that contained photos of many of my paintings. A gentle reminder that once upon a time, I was able to paint. One of the bags held a lot of my beading supplies as well as 7 magazines. No wonder I couldn’t find my pliers. They were all together hanging out. I looked through the assortment of beads and stuff. At this point and time I have no idea what I had planned to do. I have no idea how long that bag lay hidden — waiting for me to find it. I looked inside the box. It contains many brushes and some oil paint. It would be a good box to travel with. It has a compartment for the board canvases. I still have 2 bags and the French easel to investigate.

I remembered a field easel that I had at the camper and wondered if I could get one for home. It is light weight and easy to move from one place to another. I don’t have a craft room at our house. My craft room and office is usually the dining room table. I didn’t want to have a painting camping out on it.

Saturday I went to an art show. A friend of ours was invited to show his wire sculpture. It was PACKED! I wandered through the room twice before I found our friend. And then, it was only because I asked for directions. I took advantage of the opportunity and spoke to many of the artists. I recognized some of the techniques that I have seen demonstrated on public television.

Yesterday we went shopping. As I stood in line at Wal-Mart, I noticed a natural red haired woman waiting ahead of me. I admired an Easter cross she was buying. “Its for the cemetery,” she said. I replied that my family’s bones might be there, but they weren’t. “Where are they?” she asked. “Right here” I replied. She shared that her brother in law was always around when she bakes. Her brother in law’s sign is a cardinal, her husband a robin. Both accompanied her when she had her cataracts removed. I think of aunt Connie when I see or hear a cardinal.

ARTIST

I really didn’t think I could draw, let alone paint. Growing up, I wasn’t often found with a pen or pencil in my hand, sketching something or doodling. I don’t think that I took time to play. I knew that an uncle attended the Art Institute in Chicago, an uncle in Sweden painted as did one of my cousins. I knew there was artistic talent in my family, I just didn’t know that I had some. Then our campground had a bring your body and we will provide materials and instruction to paint a picture. I had the time and signed up for the experience. I was amazed at the painting that was produced. It still hangs in our room addition at the camper. I also realized that I had fun and wanted to explore painting in oil.

I purchased many books, containing pictures that I liked — with instructions, and produced many canvases. At the time I was working. I was so pleased with some of them that I took them to work and sold a few. A fellow worker liked a painting I did of Moonlit waves against the rocks. She planned to take it to Sweden with her. After a few years, life became busy and I stopped painting. My family has been suggesting that I take up a paint brush again.

Times have changed. My husband has emphysema and the scent of oil and turpentine would not be beneficial. I thought acrylic paint might be an option. Years ago I knew how to mix oil paint and how to blend colors. I had a good idea of how to accomplish a painting. Acrylic is different. First, it dries quickly. That can be an advantage, but not when the paint dries on the pallet or on the canvas too quickly.

Since I have remembered how I taught myself to paint before, I have picked up a couple of books. Maybe I haven’t spent enough time investigating the artists information or they don’t have what I need. My first concern is how to keep the paint usable on the pallet. The various books haven’t dwelt on that subject.

Thankfully, I have “friends in high places.” They might be involved in my picking up a paint brush again. Yesterday I stopped at Half Price Books for a cup of coffee. I wanted to check books on a writer I’m enjoying at the moment. Did they have any of her books? No! But entering the store, a display on painting caught my interest and I found a book on Acrylic painting that might have the information that I’m looking for. The date on the price tag shows that it is a recent acquire. The book looks promising and came home with me. I’m hoping to begin reading it soon. I have paints, I have canvas — now I have a book that might help me with the task. Once I have the basics, I might be ready for the more advanced books.

Two last thoughts — Christmas presents — I have TWO new paintings to put up on our walls. The artists were both my granddaughter and grandson. Our grandson read a story he is writing. I was impressed not only by the story, but also his imagination. It was well written! Perfect gifts for a proud gramma!

ARTISTS DAY

It was an absolutely beautiful summer/fall day. Lovely sunshine but too cool for swimming. Jackets not necessary — too cool for swimsuits. My younger grandchildren where at the camper.They needed something to do!

Luckily this summer I added to our collection of portable tables. Easy to put up, and put away. They provided a table or desk for each artist. I’m sure it was in the planning — but not necessarily by me. I found a sketch pad and colored pencils. Then I found a second sketch pad and watercolor/colored pencils. One for my grandson — one for his sister. Then I found another sketch pad and sketching pencils for me.

At first I had planned to embellish the canvas that was made from a photo of my ghost ship. The original is in shades of blue, the copy is indigo. When I added a couple of different colors, I realized that changing the painting would ruin it — not improve it. The color of the painting reflected the time of the tornado — best left alone.

Next project — paint my serenity garden. But how? I tried to draw the flowers in two perspectives: landscape and portrait. I have canvas, paints and easels. Normally I don’t put much time into planning. This time I thought it might be helpful. I think I decided to do the painting in portrait. I haven’t decided on the placement of the flowers. I haven’t decided if I would add the bird bath or one of the statues. Of course I haven’t opened the paints yet either. But I decided that I would use the thicker acrylic paint in the tubes. Progress!

I told my grandson that I had paint and brushes available but he preferred to draw in pencil. So did my granddaughter. And so did I. I liked their drawings. I didn’t like mine. I need more practice in drawing. I had planned to practice during the summer which is why I had the sketch books. I picked up another sketch book when I was at our daughter’s house. I didn’t take the time to sketch there either. But the supplies allowed us to have a sketch book apiece instead of just a sheet of paper. I have decided to leave the sketch books and pencils at the camper. That means I will have to pick up another sketch book for home.

When we pack up to close during the fall — if I’m going to paint at home, I’ll have to bring the paints and brushes home.

IN THE GENES

I know that genetics is important for health issues. Many diseases can be traced through the family line. It is harder for people who have been adopted and don’t know their parents or other relatives. It is not only hair color, bone structure and height that are shared. Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure are just a few diseases that are passed down.

Emphasis is being placed on nationality — not only in humans but also in dogs. People are very interested in the countries that make up their nationality. This interest has expanded to animals. Sunday a program was on television that shared the breeds that where discovered in a few dogs from DNA testing. Especially when a dog is a rescue — the animal’s breed can influence their behavior. Science is progressing.

Physical traits are easier to track. Harder to pinpoint are talents — singing, painting and dance to name a few. On my fathers side, I have discovered a couple of painters. There was a strong interest in religion — my great grandfather was a minister. He was also very interested in herbs. That explains some of my interests. I don’t know as much about my mother’s side except there is at least one successful writer. I have heard that I share some of her traits — what they are I have no idea.

Just because a trait is in your genes doesn’t mean that it will surface especially when it comes to a talent, if it is a disease — life style changes can make a difference. Heart disease is on both my mother’s and my father’s side. Since I am sodium restricted — I watch the sodium content of the food I eat as best as I can. Therefore I eat a lot of fresh vegetables. I no longer eat a lot of processed foods. It would be lovely if I said I keep my weight down — but I try not to lie, I have a LONG way to go.

When I was forty, I discovered I could paint. I totally enjoyed putting paint on canvas for many years until life intervened. Recently I have been pestered to take up a paint brush again. I used to paint in oil but now my husband has emphysema. I’m planning to try acrylics — the different textures has me confused at the moment. Some of the paint is more liquid, similar to water color. Some is more solid, similar to oil. Both are supposed to dry quickly. Oil takes days to dry.

I had an idea to paint the flowers in our garden at the camper. I ran out of time and we came back home. I took a photo before we left. It might turn into a painting. Time will tell.

AWAKENED

I had a most interesting week — in a weeks time I have revisited many of the talents and interests I had over the years. Many of them slipped by the wayside without my noticing it. Too busy, too many other things occupying my time. Years ago, I belonged to the Nature Club at our campground. This week, Sunday, I attended a presentation on a wetland area that is only a few miles from our campground. Even though it has been there for quite a few years, I was completely unaware of its existence. The person giving the presentation had interesting slides of the plants, animals and insects that inhabited the area.

Two days later, I saw a member I knew from the Nature Club at a restaurant. The very next day, I ran into another person who had helped me with the float on a parade. The back to back experiences reminded me of not only the fun I used to have, but also how much I have forgotten. Too many years have passed!

That same day, I attended a colored pencil drawing program hosted by the nature club. I haven’t drawn in years — not that I have ever been very skilled. I picked a flower to capture on a wood panel. All the supplies and pencils were provided. The experience reminded me of when I first started painting 30 years ago. It was an invitational program put on by the campground. Bring your body and talent and we will provide the rest. My rendition of that painting opened up a new world for me. I didn’t think I could paint — I was proved wrong. Thankfully the technique I learned this week was easy to adapt and the flower I colored surprised me. Instead of hiding in a drawer, it is occupying a space on our wall. My family thinks I should pick up my paint brushes again. They may be right.

While I was occupied with colored pencils, I learned of nature activities coming up on the weekend. A nature hike and later, a nature presentation of life in early America. Both sounded interesting — I planned to attend. Then I WORRIED. Would I be able to walk on a two mile hike? Would my knees allow me to do it? I decided that I would hike as far as I could then walk back and leave.

I didn’t need to worry. I arrived at the prearranged spot and saw the leader putting down a plastic ground cover. The plan was to DRAW, then hike. I WONDERED HOW not only would I get DOWN on the ground, HOW would I get back UP?

I needn’t have worried. The leader asked me to wait, he had something in the car for me. HE DID! He had his mother’s wooden folding chair. I WAS VERY COMFORTABLE. I still couldn’t draw — a bird, copied out of one of his books. (My grandson could have done better!) A tree — some resemblance but nothing to brag about. I think I will try to pick up his suggestion and DRAW every day.

The presentation — EXCELLENT! I convinced my husband to accompany me. He was glad that I did. Brian “Fox” Ellis became Prince Maximilian in 1832. I was reminded of the many hours I spent in storytelling.

The only thing missing was writing. OH! I GUESS I’M DOING IT NOW!

Years ago we had bird feeders hanging in our yard. A hummingbird visited a few weeks ago — reminding me. This weekend, we hung up hummingbird feeders. We had a visit from either one hummingbird twice or two separate hummingbirds. WELCOME. ( I have plants that are beneficial for hummingbirds in my garden. The feeder is more permanent.)

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