Monday, July 28, 2014

mortal moments

There are health hazards to watercolor painting.
Rinsing your brush in your tea is hazardous.
Sipping your rinse water is even worse.
But those pale in comparison to the hazard of proceeding with a divided mind.
My thoughts were obviously distributed equally about the globe when I sketched this little fairy to paint.
When my vision cleared, I discovered that I had drawn her on the back of the card. I decided to go ahead and paint her anyway.
She looked patient and understanding.
Just like my Auntie and that is who the card is for. I will tell her that the card is an object lesson of my week.
Of course, I painted her another just to show her that I could.
It's important to rise above these mortal moments.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

and love

Sometimes there is something about an old photo that draws me in.
As soon as I cropped this one, I knew what it was.
The light. The strong side light that is casting the faces into deep shadow. It may not seem the best light for taking a family photo but it sure is the best light for a painting.
I love strong light in paintings, especially water color paintings.
I think that because of that contrast of shadow and light, this picture would be wonderful even at a distance or in a dimly lit room. It's one of the reasons I love black and white photography. It becomes more about form and balance.
There's something else though that I can't help notice.
It's almost tangible.
The message that the body language adds.
My father is looking completely relaxed.
My sister is perched on his knee, her little hand just resting on his.
There is something so free and yet so safe about their posture.
My mother is turned slightly to face the photographer.
All the better to show off her tiny girl.
The baby is leaning forward as though yearning to stand on her own.
There is happiness in this photo, and pride.
And love.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

summer dress-up

Some summer dress-up for my grandchildren.
Pink handkerchief print for the girls.
Peasant dresses again.
I just can't get enough of sewing these.
And a tie for my grandson.
A fish tie with the days catch.

the title

Here is a picture of my sister dancing the limbo.
Or is she trying to catch her shadow?
The amazing thing to me about this photo, is that she is all alone.
No big sisters and brother.
That was apparently her big concern as well.
She didn't want to be all alone.
She wondered where her big sisters and brothers were when they flew the coop for school and play and she was left behind.
She wanted company.
I owe my very existence to her.
If she had been an independent thinker, she'd have held the title of youngest forever.
Instead, she enjoyed a brief reign as youngest, before I came and seized the title.

same summer sun

These little girls of summer are my big sisters. The oldest is happily holding an armload of carrots. She is clearly thrilled with helping. Thrilled with being photographed. Thrilled with the warm summer sunshine and the armful of surprising goodness from the damp garden soil. Isn't there just so much there to thrill a child? The attention of a parent. Pride at being allowed to help. Summer sunshine. Dirt. Something sweet to eat......
My big sisters are really just a year apart in age but because of where their birthdays fall in the year, the oldest had likely just turned three, the younger, twenty months. Soon two. Children who are Soon Two notice things. Details matter. True to form, the toddler is closely inspecting the carrot. She is probably wondering things. Things about dirt and about carrots.
When I look at this picture I am warmed by that same summer sun.  I can smell the dark, damp dirt still clinging to the carrots and feel their scratchy leaves. And summer is all around.

but by the seeds

 "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson


Pictures of me as a child are scarce as hen's teeth. It's a hazard of being last born I guess. By then my mother had run out of time and inclination and more importantly, run out of film.
I'm guessing that this picture was taken late in 1959. I am probably almost two.
I've talked about this picture before but I cropped it this time. It makes it seem like a completely different picture.
I'm quite taken with my little dress. The layered look would actually be quite at home in 2014. I wonder if my mother or grandmother sewed it?
And the fabric in my sisters perfectly lovely.
I've always been enamored with fabric prints. They are pieces of artwork.  Art walking about. 
The doll my sister's clutching is one of those wondrous toys that live at grandparents houses. Toys that have absorbed the love of a generation or two.
How diplomatic and wise of my grandmother to have two old dollies. It's hard to share babies. Even King Solomon knew that.
I seem to be counting toes on the doll in my lap.
"This little piggy went to market...."
I have obediently gazed at the photographer but as usual, I see nothing to smile about.
I've been interrupted after all.