Empty nest cometh

Another summer has passed, making me wonder where the time has gone. Did I do enough with my daughter? Did we make lots of memories? Why did I not do this or that? And the answer to all these questions is, It was enough. Because it has to be. Regret is one of the worse things for me, and I tend to let it go as fast as I can. Because if I cannot change it I have to let it go. Otherwise these things will just harm me.
This summer flew by not making me think about its importance. The importance of being my daughters last summer of high school. The importance of being the last summer before college. And an almost empty nest. When I started this journey of mother hood, I never once gave a thought to my children growing up. Not once. I traveled through my daily tasks in ignorance of the sorrow I would feel once they were no longer under my roof. The daily tasks of making meals for them, clothing them, chores, blinding me, instead of savoring these moments. I was at a party the other day with a Mom going through the same feelings. She said imagine if you knew the last time you would carry your child? The last time they slept with you in fear of the night? Or the last time that they lived with you. Of course the last one is much more obvious, but the other moments pass without you knowing. And how thankful I am for that. I wish that this empty nest would also pass without me knowing…..
So this summer was bittersweet, as my Daughter is shared my studio with me. She is taking an AP art class in school, and ever the procrastinator, she had a few pieces left to do. (Thankfully not many) So instead of doing some tradition, or making a new one, we passed this milestone doing something we love together. Art.

I am passing what I can, to her, in hopes she learns, enjoys, and maybe helps her decide what she wants to do for her future. She is already feeling the pull of the easel, and the need to create. And I am working on holding onto these last moments, because if I think the first day of senior year is tough, I am going to be a true mess dropping her off to college next year. So to anyone struggling like me, I tell you that you are not alone. And that although these moments are torture, thankfully we still have them. It is like the Dr Seuss quote, Don’t cry because its over, be thankful it happened. And that is precisely what gets me through most of my life’s trials. Gratitude. How lucky am I to have my two wonderful children, so different but still so important to me. And although they may not both be living with me, they will be loved and cherished until I leave them. It is never too late to savor a moment, if you have not been. It is such an easy thing to start. And the sooner you start, the easier it will be when the time comes to let go……..because you have those moments to be grateful for.
Photo is of my daughter at my easel. 🙂

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Sunflower fields and Plein Air Painting

creating beautiful, personalized centerpieces for any celebration.

I am not a fan of plein air painting…. there I said it.  It is very hard to do for me.  I typically get a rough painting on the canvas, let it dry overnight, then work on the painting till its done.  Unfortunately if you keep mixing paint, you end up with what artists refer to as “mud”.  So moving wet paint around a canvas can be pretty difficult for me.  So Plein air has always been daunting.  Nevermind lugging all your equipment, dealing with the elements, and being on display while you paint.  All tough for me!

But it looks like the universe was giving me a push this year! My daughter is starting an AP art class for her senior year, and on her list of things to do this summer is paint plein air. Plein Air painting would be a much different experience with my daughter. So we packed up our art supplies and headed to a local farm that has stunning sunflower fields.

If you have not painted plein air, one tip I have always found helpful was to cut the canvas shape out on a piece of paper, and use it to frame your painting.  So helpful!

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After picking her view, my daughter sat down at her easel to paint, and I immediately was inspired.  Why not paint my daughter?

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I did what I could at the site, and will add a few more details once it dries.  Overall it was a great painting day, with only a few casualties of bugs flying into my painting.  So if you are an artist, and thinking about painting Plein Air, I encourage you to try!  It is always great to step out of your comfort zone, and I certainly did today!

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If you would like to see these sunflower fields, there is a festival this weekend, July 20-21st.  It is located at Buttonwoods Farm, off of Rte 165 in Griswold.  They sell bouquets of sunflowers, and the proceeds go to the Make a wish foundation.  As an added bonus they also sell delicious ice cream!  So if you are local to Griswold, Ct, you should make the trip!

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Reaching an epiphany

Most artists struggle with comparing themselves to other artists.  I try hard not to do this, as it can be very damaging.  It can even make you avoid painting.  I enjoy reading and living by quotes, and one of my favorites is one by Theodore Roosevelt.Thief of joy

That quote is so true!  When I am working on a painting, I will sometimes look at other paintings to see how other’s have created their art.  And I always wish that my art would look more like theirs.  Today though I thought more about that wish, and realized that maybe I don’t want my art to look more like theirs…. maybe I want it to look different.  Like the style I have.  I have heard my art described as whimsical, and I think that is a good thing. Especially when you want your art to be an escape and to make people happy.

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So maybe I should embrace my whimsical interpretation.  I have always liked being different, and I think it finally sunk in today, that I should enjoy my interpretation, and listen to Teddy Roosevelt.  And enjoy my colorful art, rather than compare myself to others.  As usual, I find that this lesson also should relate to my life as well, and I should not compare myself to others. I feel as though the older I get, every day life’s experiences and podcasts I listen to are enlightening me.   So please take my little epiphany today and learn from it as well.  Don’t compare yourself to that person that seems to have it all, or is thinner than you.  Or has more than you.  Because as Teddy says, “Comparison is the thief of joy”.  I for one will be embracing my whimsical side, and enjoying being different. And I hope you enjoy it as well!

 

The art of embracing Failure

Who determines what failure is? How is it determined? When it is determined? I recently had a conversation with a family member who had packed their family up, moved across the country, following a dream. We were, and are so proud of them for chasing a dream. Even if it seems to have stalled at the moment. Speaking with them, reminded me of my own dream. And how difficult it can be. For every success, there is doubt and frustration that follows. Through these struggles, I find quotes very comforting. After my talk with my cousins, I came across a quote I had saved from an artist that I follow online. She is a southern artist, named Mary Gilkerson. Mary has a wonderful, bold brushstroke style, with tons of color. She makes videos with tips, and has a lovely southern drawl while speaking. I am telling you all about her because she said something that has stuck with me. What she said is “Failure is your First attempt”

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Almost every new discovery, new record holder or great work of art started with failure. And if they gave up, we would not have the medicines we have, cars, phones, art, I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Artists, business owners, musicians, and anyone else that take chances, improve our world. So its not a bad thing to put yourself out there and take a chance. And if you do fail, remember Mary’s words…. It is your first attempt.

To see Mary’s work please click here

 

 

 

 

 

The art of meeting again

I grew up the daughter of a mechanic, and both of my parents enjoyed cars.  So its not a surprise that I love them as well.  Growing up it was normal to see a car in my Dad’s garage in various states of repair.  One of these cars was a 1929 Model A that he had since he was 18, and restored while I was growing up.

This car was a big part of my childhood, and it was only natural to use it to travel to the church for my wedding.  Then other family members used it, and it became a tradition.

 

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my daughter many moons ago…..

 

A few years ago my Dad sold it to a family member.  He had not been using it much, and we thought our cousin would enjoy it, which he did.  Sadly our cousin Ray passed away a few months ago, and my Dad decided to purchase it back.  While it was gone, I continued to paint it, and you probably saw it in many paintings.  I missed it, and the sight of it always made me think of happy memories.  So imagine my happiness seeing it return to my Dad’s garage, and see my Dad and son tinkering on it.

 

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getting spruced up for a May Wedding

 

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A simpler engine from simpler times

 

 

I am excited to also say that another family member is using it in a wedding, so it has come home just  in time!  The tradition continues and in May this reliable Ford will be reassuming its duties once again!  Taking the bride to the church, and making more memories for the next generation of our family.

 

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One of the many paintings I have done of our family Model A.

 

Mini Painting Challenge-Day 3

I am doing a quick 5 day painting challenge of creating a painting in 20 minutes.  Here is day 3.  I have to say that a lot of the first minutes of this painting was sitting there trying to get started.  You see I was a bit intimidated by all the other paintings I have been seeing.  They have been incredible.  Which always makes me doubt myself.

But I have been told I have a very strong “will”.  So I kept looking through my inspiration photos, trying to find something that caught my eye.  And I finally found it!

As a lot of you know I love painting the American flag, and I love porches.  So this one piqued my interest.  I started painting, and I have to be honest, I lost track of time.  So it may be closer to 30 minutes.

It was all done with one brush.  I love how it came out, and I have to say I surprised myself!!  I am glad I did not give up, and honestly there was an additional lesson learned with this painting.  It was not to give up, and I am thankful I did not!

This was a home I passed in the center of Attleboro, Massachusetts.  I take lots of pics of things that catch my eye while out and about.

Thanks to Mary Gilkerson for hosting this challenge. She paints beautiful paintings full of color that I always admire.Photo Jan 20, 11 48 06 AM

 

September Painting Challenge

Hola!   I am gearing up for my 6th painting challenge, this September.  This is where I try to create and post a painting every day for the whole month.  This challenge is orchestrated by an artist from California, and there are about 1,000 or more that paint with me. I am not sure what inspired her to create this challenge, but there is a movement of “daily painters”  that paint every day.

I do try hard to paint every day but I find it difficult to finish a painting in one day, and would not consider myself a “daily painter”.

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Paintings from my first painting challenge in January 2015

My painting process is that I typically start my painting, let it dry overnight and then maybe finish it the next day.  If it is a large painting it may take a few additional days. After its finished I may add some highlights a few days later, so they are fresh and bright.
Working in oils means that they do not dry quickly, and over mixing can create what we call “mud”.  If you look at a mud puddle you will understand why we try to avoid making mud.  So that’s why my process typically takes a few days.

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Paintings from my fourth painting challenge in September  2016

That being said, I am fervently painting trying to get ahead so I can post a new painting daily.  Add in a few commissions, and I have a lot of painting to do!

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Last painting challenge, January 2017

 I hope you will follow me on my journey in September!