The description that follows is the result of a writing prompt I explained in this post. It was an interesting challenge and one I should consider more frequently.
”You have been asked to write a description of one of your favorite paintings for a blind audience.”
The painting is bathed in cool blues and richly textured greens. The ambient light from the room transforms the scene from daylight to dusk right before your eyes. We are never sure if it is early morning or late afternoon melting into dusk. The heavy blue clouds block the color of the sun, allowing only coolness to illuminate the bright green grass. The trees, fully leaved, cast long shadows claiming their portion of the scene. The porch is the star of the painting as if the huge house sitting just off the canvas is but a useless appendage. You get the sense this porch is where life is lived – the sharing of morning coffee or the slow sips of an evening glass of wine. The small vine-covered fence is dwarfed by the trees and you know immediately its purpose is to frame the scene. There are no barriers here other than the trees that disappear into the distance. It is easy to imagine children running barefoot in the grass full of laughter or a couple holding hands talking of times past or the urging of dreams yet realized. There is a sense of peace, of solitude, of familiarity, of belonging. This place is home, only borrowed by the viewer to lose themselves for a while.
This pastel painting is the work of Florida artist Gary Rupp. I fell in love with it because of the porch. When I grew up, the porch – front or back – was a place of gathering. It was perhaps the most valuable school room of my life. Did you get a different sense of the painting? I am curious to hear your thoughts.
It got chilly here last night. I did not want to get out of bed and come downstairs. Our house is one of those houses that doesn’t really get warm when winter cold strikes. My house advice is always wear slippers with a sole and prepare to layer, layer, layer. The entire back of our house is made up of windows and if not careful, the heat could run nonstop. It has finally warmed up to 28° F outside so it’s almost balmy.
We had a great weekend attending a Silveramics®️ workshop at the studios of Molly Sharp and David Voorhees. They are both successful artists, David a potter and Molly a metalsmith. Together they created a unique process of combining porcelain and silver to create beautiful jewelry. It was a full three days of creating marbled porcelain pieces and, after firing, combining those pieces with sterling silver. I will take photos later today and post them on my blog.
David and Molly also take their workshop on the road. They will be teaching at Hacienda Mosaico in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in February and at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC in August. You need not have any experience working with clay or silver to takes these classes. They excel in teaching even rank beginners to make beautiful pieces. And both locations are pretty sweet getaway choices!
As a result of our three-day creative journey, I am woefully behind in reading blogs and getting a few things done around the house. Priorities being what they are, I am putting blog reading at the top of my list. 😊 I will be catching up with you today. I missed JusJoJan yesterday, but I will catch up with a post later today.
I did a reasonable job keeping up with my 37 day writing class but last night I succumbed to going to bed early so I have some catch up to do there as well. I am also on day 45 of recording videos for 100 days. I have managed to keep up with the videos. They help keep me centered and focused on how I am feeling each day. Good therapy for me.
Now, I am going to hit publish and go read some blogs. There is also a second cup of coffee calling my name. Hear it?
Today was quite lovely. We had a leisurely morning just enjoying our morning coffee and some cereal. Today was forecast to be warmer which was a welcome change from the cool rainy weather we’ve been having.
I took a couple of photos of the view out of our skylights. The sun was gorgeous and you can still see some fall color from the trees that have not yet dropped their leaves. It is another time of transition which I love.
Lunch with Family
We arranged to meet our nieces and their daughter at a restaurant in Asheville. It seems like it has been way too long since we have seen them. We decided to eat at HomeGrown, a cute but small and strangely laid out restaurant that offered a brunch menu.
Luckily the day was gorgeous and we ate outside on their enclosed (and heated) patio. I had a wonderful farm salad with a spring mix of greens, sunflower seeds and grilled apples with a balsamic reduction. It was delicious. I was so thankful they offered a half-size although I got hungry later in the afternoon. Everyone else had breakfast fare and I think we all found something we liked.
Voorhees Family Art Show
We went by the annual Voorhees Family Art show after lunch. What a beautiful display of various types of art! Stunning silver jewelry, silver and ceramic jewelry, beautiful hand-thrown pottery, watercolors and oils, handmade books, stained glass and much more. Hubby bought a new coffee cup for himself and we purchased something else that I cannot share here until after the holidays!
The rest of the afternoon was just relaxing, running errands and taking in the day. I did take the opportunity to check out the location of the Writers Group in Asheville. Looks to be in a private home and I’m not sure how I feel about the location. I’m glad I did not rush into a decision on that.
Then it was off to Whole Foods, Fresh Market and Publix then home. All in all an extremely nice day filled with family, good food, and gorgeous weather.
Sometimes, days like these are truly all you need.
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
Day 25 — wow, that is almost a month. I must say this has been a little easier than I anticipated, but I still have 11+ months to go so I should not be getting too cocky about this yet. It has been good for me. My blog is like my best friend. I come here to unload my problems or just chat about my day.
I am still recovering from yesterday. I slept in fairly late, but I blame that on the medicine I took yesterday. I am feeling better, but still have moments here and there that let me know I am not yet recovered.
Taking it Easy
As I said, I got up late but managed to fix some breakfast for hubby and I. Just simple scrambled eggs and toast. It was nice to just sit together and chat for a few minutes. Just fixing a little breakfast took more energy than I thought, so I sat down and caught up on email and social media.
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is coming up in a few days and I tried to recruit a few people to write along with me. So far, one person — everyone else — no cigar. I probably will not meet my goal, but I am going to give it a try. Who knows, I might just come up with the next great American novel.
I had an enjoyable video chat with my daughter and my youngest granddaughter who is home sick this week. Technology is amazing and I am always so excited to see her and see how much she has changed. She is at the age where every day it is some new word or new action. It fills my heart with such joy.
We had tuna salad for lunch and then I had a quick chat with my son who filled me in on all the fun of my granddaughter’s birthday party that we unfortunately missed. It’s always nice to chat with him, except that I learned my grandson is sick with a virus. At least it is nothing serious. My poor little ones!
Today was the perfect day to pull out those watercolor pencils I bought. I have not tried to sketch anything in so long I was very tentative about it. I did play with some rough sketches a little. Results were not great, however, I am pleased with at least the effort. I know the more I practice the better it will be. I’ve not used watercolor pencils much so that will be a bit of a learning curve as well.
I created a new cover for my Facebook page that reflects how I am feeling about the hate so prevalent in our world right now. It makes me feel better to find some outlet to express how I feel, but I also know my vote is the most powerful action I can take.
After lunch I managed to take a few pictures of the rings I made in my ill-fated weekend workshop. They do not have the finish I would have liked, but I am happy with them just the same. At least I am creating again and that feels good.
I have a pot of chili on the stove simmering in preparation for dinner and hopefully some quarts to go into the freezer. I was inspired after hearing my good friend Lauren was enjoying some split pea soup. I love split pea soup but it is the one soup that always fails me!
All in all it was a good day of rest and creativity. A welcome respite from the chaos of the world.
When I decided to retire, I did not give a lot of thought about how I would spend my time. I knew I would take some classes and do some traveling and visit family, but as far as how I might choose to spend the majority of my waking hours, I just did not consider it.
After working for so long, you imagine what retirement will be like. For me, it has been wonderful. I have not missed going to a full time job and working for someone else. Even when I had my own business, I was always working for someone else — my clients. Sure, I could set my own hours but there were still demands. I wanted my retirement to be as ‘demand free’ as possible.
I have always self-identified as an artist. I am unfortunately not disciplined enough to work hours on end, apply to shows, advertise and sell my work. I just love to create and I do it for my own satisfaction more than anything else.
Learning to cut stones has always been a dream of mine so I was really excited when I discovered the arts and crafts school here offered lapidary classes. I have taken the same class many times because I do not have the equipment to do the grinding at home. It is also a very messy proposition, which requires a studio dedicated to this type of work.
This morning was my last lapidary class. I finished a few metered pieces and worked on a few freehand pieces. I am always sad to see my classes come to an end because I lose myself in the work.
My other dream was to make more jewelry using sterling or fine silver. I have done a lot of bead work, but as I age and my eyes get worse, it is harder to work with beads. My mind usually goes to the more asymmetrical designs which is not always the design of choice for people buying jewelry. I still make survival bracelets for victims of sexual abuse, but not much else.
I took several classes in Florida before we moved to North Carolina. I even made engagement rings for my daughter and my now daughter-in-law. Talk about stressful! I have taken a few classes since, but again, this work again requires specialized equipment and a dedicated workspace. I love this work even if I do not have a studio of my own.
This coming weekend I am taking a workshop with Molly Sharp. She is an incredibly talented jewelry designer and silversmith. She is also a kind and effective teacher. I am really looking forward to the class this weekend – I’m sure you will hear and see more about it after the workshop is over.
The Urge to Create
Taking continuous classes is not fiscally possible so I have been looking for something creative to do when I am not enrolled in art classes. I have been so inspired by Maitri Libellule and her whimsical watercolors of Anna. They are bright and beautiful and unapologetically Maitri.
I have also been drawn to the sketches of Lisa Wagner, who writes an amazing blog entitled “Places of the Spirit”. She has also been spending some time creatively and sharing that work on her blog. So, between the two of these talented women, I have been inspired to try to do a few drawings. I picked up some new watercolor pencils at Michaels, so I will see where this takes me.
These are the activities that I dreamed I would have more time for once retired. So far, I have been successful, but I am really looking forward to having more rainy day activities that do not require a studio and an elaborate equipment set up.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou