Embracing Change

This is the change I saw when I looked out my window this morning.

Yesterday       Today

I am coming to the conclusion that ALL change is good. That is a big concept and hard for us to wrap our minds around, especially when we are in the midst of the change.

I think that movement is good also. If I were to sit stagnant all day, where would my mind, body and spirit be?

I am watching the changes in my life from day to day. I have my goals and desires, places I am aiming at and I realize that I am creating the change by the steps I take towards my goals.

I am also aware the little changes I can make to eliminate the habits that I have. I don’t like these habits, and I try to embrace them because they are part of the ‘who I am’.

When I can accept all of me, then I am able to change the things that make me uncomfortable ‘in my skin’. These little changes in the habits will make a difference some day. In fact every day I make a change, I am a different person.

Exercise for example. I dislike exercise. I am an artist and I would rather do so many other things. Friends say to me, do what you like! I can do that, and my days are very fulfilling.

But, in my heart I feel questioning, pushing me on toward growth.

I have a little notion that says, ‘if I keep moving the body, it will continue to move’. Since I am in my 65th year I think it is a good idea to keep moving and create change in making a different, less heavy and restrictive body.

Sometimes change comes when we aren’t expecting it. Suddenly we are not where we thought we were. It is then that we want to turn our awareness toward self and ask, “What am I trying to learn?” It may be uncomfortable to make those big changes, changes such as cancer, accidents or falling out of love, but they are all for the good.

All of our changes have moved us to where we are today … let’s embrace them!

Watching The Snow Melt

I am having a contest with my neighbor. She doesn’t know it yet.

Actually the contest involves a bet with my husband also.

I don’t have much at stake, just an afternoon of luxury if I win and something I have to allow if I don’t. I think I will win!

It all started when I was discussing how fast the snow would melt with my husband John.   I was fixated on the snow melting and the grass becoming visible. As the weather warmed I watched the snow on our roof melt. After the last snowfall John had cleared a small part of the front roof by pushing the snow off the roof with a rake. John is very adventurous, he didn’t use a roof rake made for pushing the snow off the roof. He used a leaf rake!

One day I began to compare my roof with the other roofs in the neighborhood. My roof was melting quite nicely except for one part on the back of the garage.

“Why is that snow on the garage not melting?” I questioned John.

“Because that roof is on the north side of the house and doesn’t get any Sun.” he replied.

And then he said it … and I couldn’t resist, “That snow won’t melt until June.”

“June, you have got to be kidding, I bet that snow is gone by the end of March.” I declared confidently.

The bet was on and I check the roof several times a day (I can easily see it from my bedroom window). I also check the weather temperature daily and hope for sunny days to melt my roof. Today we are having rain. I am hoping for a ‘warm’ rain.

my roof

Recently John realized that his June deadline was a bit off and he changed his date to April 15th. It wasn’t fair, but I let him do it any way.

As I was “watching” the snow melt off my garage roof on the north side of my house, I noticed that the neighbors’ roof had a stubborn patch of snow that was refusing to melt. I didn’t understand it; it didn’t seem to be on the ‘north side of the house’?

I decided I would bet my roof against her roof. Of course, I am imagining my roof becoming snow-free first!

cu neighbor roof

One day I fantasized opening my bedroom window, taking off the screen and leaning out of the window with a leaf rake, pulling the snow off the roof and unto the ground. It would be a cold and scary thing to do, so I dismissed the idea.

I also play other games with the ice and snow. The creek behind my house has frozen and unfrozen and frozen again. The ducks only come out when the water is not frozen.  Ha ha!

snow melt ducks

I watch my lawn, as one grassy part meets another grassy part. Soon my entire lawn will be full of ‘grassy parts’!

grassy parts

What is the reason for all this silly betting and watching the snow melt, you might ask? You could think I am simply bored with life and have nothing to do. Or I have gone wacko in my old age? Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, I believe I am learning to quiet my mind. I am in that “Now” space that people are talking about all the time. I am in peace. If we had another snow fall, it wouldn’t upset me. I would enjoy it because I really love the clean and pristine beauty of the snow, and then I would watch it melt again.  I am ‘BEing’ in that space of ‘whatever happens is okay’. Knowing that the Creator or Director of All That Is has divine timing for each event, and I am here to enjoy each event that is presented to me.

My friend Kathryn sends out a monthly newsletter, which includes an excerpt from her guides, The Light Collective. In the except I read that whatever we believe we create for ourselves.

I believe I can step out of that collective fear about weather patterns, missing planes and crabby people. I focus on beauty, love and kindness (and melting snow). It is what I want to see in the world. The Light Collective also said that if you believe something is bad for you, it will be.

My suggestion: Take a little quiet time to watch your mind and ‘see’ what you are focused on.

For what you are ‘seeing’ … you are ‘believing’!

Link for Kathryn’s newsletter: http://harwig.com/newsletter/april-2014/

Oh, one more thing …

My husband is laughing at me. I had to remove the windows and the screen to get  good pictures for you. Then, I thought I should wash the window. Ha ha! While I was at it, I went to the garage and got the rake. I couldn’t reach very far, so it didn’t make much difference.

My neighbor probably wonders what in the heck I am doing, washing my window on this chilly March day.

snow roofs

My Life is Leading Me

When I get out of bed in the morning I have a routine. For the sake of simplicity I will say that my routine involves getting a cup of coffee and then checking my email at my desk in my home office.  Sometimes I get bored with that routine and so I will get a cup of coffee and then read a book. I have tried to get the ‘coffee’ out of the routine, but it never works. After a week of being coffee-less I find myself at the store buying more coffee.

This morning, my routine changed. For some reason, I didn’t go to the get the coffee. I instead, went to my office. I had no reason to go to the office, and I don’t remember what I was thinking at the time. When I got to my office I saw my vase of flowers lying on its side, all the papers on my desk saturated with water. Immediately I thought of my cat.

Cute adorable cat

Cute adorable cat

I had moved the flowers to my desk in my office earlier this week because my cat had tipped the vase over on my coffee table in the other room. When that happened I tried to recover saturated magazines and assorted papers.

This time, as I picked up the papers, coupons, and notes that were saturated with water, I noticed myself. I had thought yesterday how I wanted a clean desk and now I would have it, because my cat had rendered nothing salvageable.

It seems too simple to say that ‘my life is leading me’ and I am following along, however that is exactly what happened this morning when for no reason I went into the office first instead of the kitchen to get my coffee. In fact, many times I have awaked and the first thing I hear is ‘my life is leading me’.  I have taken that as a clue from spirit to write about it in this blog.

When I become very quiet I can watch my thoughts. They go something like this: I notice the heat blowing in the room, I wonder how long it will be until it warms up, I am tired of being cold, no, I can’t say that, because the universe will think I am asking for more cold, delete that, I am grateful for the beautiful weather. The snow will melt soon and spring will come. When spring comes I will open the windows and clean the house, maybe I should start now, what do I want to do, that closet hasn’t been cleared in a long time, I will do that … and I find myself cleaning the closet.

This morning’s lesson was simple and didn’t require much thought. Apparently, my cat has a new affinity to tipping over vases of water. URG!  I guess that means no more vases at my house, at least for a while.

Sometimes it takes many lessons for me to get the point. I have been in relationships where I see a behavior over and over again that I don’t like, and yet I sit there, observe and engage with it, instead of getting up and leaving the area. Or I have gone to a store looking for a type of item that they don’t carry. I expect the store to change and carry the item, so I can get all my things at one store. Or I complain about how my muscles are turning into soft mush and I go to the neighbors for coffee instead of going to the gym.

Part of the lesson is learning to allow. I have noticed lately that when I allow, the energy dissipates. The ‘thing’ that was bothering me goes away. My husband is a great example. He might be saying something I don’t want to hear. So instead of getting into discussion about how I don’t want to hear it, I just allow him to talk. Quite quickly he has finished talking, and I smile and say ‘yes’ and he goes back to what he was doing.

Since I have been practicing allowing, I find that I now allow many things. Life has become a state of ease. I allow life to tell me what needs my attention next, and what I will do with the information.

I feel I have graduated ‘life kindergarten’ and I am in ‘life experiments.’ I know, I am pretty old to realize I am starting ‘life experiments’, but what can I say, some of us take a long time to be aware of who and where we are and what is around us.

In this ‘life experience’ class I have felt that I am led by what I notice. By doing the act of noticing, much more comes into my awareness. Even though, I still feel very busy, as though there are never enough hours in the day, I just notice it. I see how I have created that thought, from a patterned thought, and then, I ask my belief system, where did I get that thought from? I notice the ‘faulty belief system’ and tell myself that the ‘too busy’ thought is no longer the case in my life. As the day continues, I notice the next ‘thing’’ that comes into my awareness.

The experience of the cat tipping over the vase twice wasn’t hard to notice. Maybe the thought ‘about not having any more vases of flowers’ is not the answer. Maybe the answer is a sturdier shorter vase? That is something to experiment with.

And so, I allow life to lead me, like a scavenger hunt from clue to clue, excitingly anticipating what I will find next on my adventure. For the last few years, my life has been leading me to ‘hospice.’ I haven’t explored the experience yet. I just notice that when ‘hospice’ is said in a sentence, or when I read the word, it seems to jump off the page or have neon lights around it. Someday, I might see why I am attracted to ‘hospice’.

If you want the experience of leading and awareness, you will need to slow down and pay attention. Mostly pay attention to yourself. Be quiet inside, be happy and see where life leads you.

The Fairy Painting – Finished!

Image

When is a painting really finished?  I thought the fairy painting was complete on Monday. But it wasn’t. I was happy with the results and it would have been okay to leave it as it was.

Plus, I was really to a point where I wanted to be done with it. It was time. I took a few days off, and I left it on the easel where I could look at it from time to time. Jane’s comment on the blog brought my attention to the wings. I had lost the transparent quality in them. I love wings that you can see through. It was an easy fix and only took about an hour. I took the background color (what was behind the wings) and added it on top of the wings and blended it, this made them look transparent. Then I carefully added a light color chalk to lighten the tips of the wings. I am satisfied and the painting is complete.

I have contacted Helen, the inspiration for The Fairy Painting, and she is delighted that I will be sending it to her. Yay for me! … it won’t have to lay around the studio.

This exercise has been good for me, creating a blog about a painting. It forced me to be careful and look deep within myself. It also opened up my senses to all the colors in my environment and the way light and dark fall on objects and faces. This is something I knew before, but have forgotten.

As an artist and a person, it is important to stop and look. Look at part of the house that you love, a cup of tea, or at your friend or lover. I don’t mean ‘see’ with the eyes … I am talking about spending moments looking. Look at the lines in the skin that build the character,  look at the tonal value and how the light curves out the features. It is very fun to LOOK, I suggest you try it!

Happy Painting!

Checking the likeness ORIGINAL FACE

Checking the likeness
ORIGINAL FACE

Checking the likeness PAINTING

Checking the likeness
PAINTING

Close up of wings, showing transparency and chalk

Close up of wings, showing transparency and chalk

 

I had difficulty with the side of the hand, so I covered it material!

I had difficulty with the side of the hand, so I covered it material!

I hid a  few things in the background. Can you see the object?

I hid a few things in the background. Can you see the object?

 

The Making of a Fairy – Part Four

The wings have been a struggle! After my purple base layer, I added in some of the background color to the wings, creating the effect of transparency.

I wanted them to stand out, so I decided to outline them, but blend the lines so the details weren’t so sharp. Then I added the detail, swirls and dots to the wings. This made the wings look ‘too drawn’. I wanted the wings to look whimsy, soft and delicate.

I also added a deeper purple to show separation between the two sets of wings. Since the fairy is in profile, one set of wings would have sufficed, because the viewer would think that the wings, from both sides of the fairies shoulder, would line up.

I created my fairy with two sets of wings, angled just slightly apart. I did this because I thought it would show motion, and I had to keep that in mind as I painted, or they would look like just one purple section. Note: purple added to background to unite it to the subject, and background is not painted up to the flowers until the ‘blending step’.

Small wings, and background color blocked in

Small wings, and background color blocked in

After I completed my ‘wing task’ I looked at the painting from a distance. This is something that you should do often when painting. When you are working on a section, you are only focused on that part, and you don’t relate that part to the whole until you back away from your painting.

Well, I know this. I preach it all the time, and I hadn’t followed my own advice. After completing the wings, I realized they were too small. My heart sank. I almost quit and threw the painting in the trash!  Instead, I took white paint, covered up my beautiful purple wings and after the paint was very dry, I began the process of painting my wings, all … over … again!

As I said before, this painting is teaching me much. I need to listen. IF I had listened to Jane’s comment, in which she told me, “the wings are too small” (she sent me an email instead of responding directly to the blog) I would have saved myself MANY hours of painting. I now get the lesson, “listen!”

After I finished my new bigger wings, I didn’t like the swirled lines and dots, so I softened them, and although they are not finished, they are good enough for now.

Larger wings, background blended

Larger wings, background blended

Another ‘grueling project’ was the face. The first face I painstaking painted was too detailed and soft – way too realistic for a fairy. So I added more paint and blended the color much more, painting simple lines to show form. I added some ‘make up’ to the face and I think it looks pretty good. I feel finished with her legs and feet, and her frontal arm. I am not sure how I like the hand – it may need some more work.

The yellow blobs in the background will be the butterflies. You can see purple lines where I imagine the clothing to be. Not sure what that will look like yet.

Background, legs, arm, face, completed.

Background, legs, arm, face, completed.

I have started to do some outlining. I wasn’t going to do that when I started, but I think the outlining process adds to the ‘make-believe’ quality of the image.

I will finish this next week. So I will post once more on this subject to show you the finished piece. Any critiques or comments are richly appreciated.

The Making of a Fairy – Part Three

Can you imagine what it would be like if we lived in a world of only black and white?

Color adds vibrancy and beauty to everything. It is the next thing to consider as I begin to paint. Having a clear idea how to proceed with a painting is crucial to accomplishing the painting.

When choosing colors for a painting, you need to consider your ‘palette’. A palette is a selection of colors that you use in the painting. Will the colors be warm, such as red, orange and yellows, or cool as in greens and blues? Also in choosing the color red, will it be a ‘warm red’ or a ‘cool red’?  There are many hues for the color red. The colors chosen for a painting will reflect the mood of the painting.  All of that thought goes into the process of beginning to paint.

red sample

red  –  cool red  –  warm red

Looking at ‘the fairy’ I felt that the two primary colors are green and red (in simple terms). The background is ‘green’ and the flower is ‘red’, which is its compliment. That would balance out most of the color in the image. These same concepts can be applied, whether you are painting a portrait, a landscape or a room in your home.

Another question that comes to mind as I look at the white canvas is what to paint first. Many times I begin with the background, as it is the ‘subject’ that is furthest away as I view the scene. At this point, I am not sure of the exact color of the background, so I will paint the flower first.  I want the background soft, without detail, and I want to include colors that are within the flower and fairy in my background. Although I considered the palette from which I would paint, the creative part of painting is changing your mind (a little) and watching the image as it comes to life before you, adding or subtracting, as you view the forms within the reference.

Viewing forms: Each part of an image has a ‘form’. To get a likeness of the fairy and the flower I need to look at each ‘form’ separately.

I also need to decide the ‘style’ of painting. Will my painting be whimsical or realistic? A realistic image has much more detail and takes longer to paint. As I begin ‘the fairy painting’ I choose to paint somewhat realistic. If ‘the fairy’ wants the finished painting, she might appreciate it if she could see the likeness of herself. Also, if the details are too small to paint ‘realistically’ I may end up with a more whimsical style.

I will cross that bridge as I come to it.

fp fb w ref

Close up of painted flower

Close up of painted flower

As you can see I have completed the flowers on top of the fairy, and have only blocked in the flowers to the left and below the image. This has been a slow process, to capture color, form and detail. I will not post again until the flower and background are finished. Also, you might want to note that the petal directly behind the fairy’s head is not complete. That is because I have decided to change the fairy’s hairstyle.

Happy Painting!

The Making of a Fairy – Part Two

After MUCH thought, many sketches and ‘clean up the studio’ preparation I have ‘put together’ a fairy picture. Although I would really like to … demonstrating all the steps of this process are too much to include in this blog!  Since I last wrote ‘the fairy’ has consumed me.  

Those processes included: how large to make the flower and how much to tip the fairy into the flower so it looks like she really belongs there.  Plus I needed to judge where to place her on the 14×11 white water color paper. After many thumbnails, I decided her head is best placed within the rule of thirds.

For you non-artists – A thumbnail is a small drawing without detail showing different compositions. That way I could visually see if I wanted the fairy low, high, left or right. Also, with her long leg and toe being flung out of the flower, I needed to keep her foot well within the edge of the paper or the composition would look wrong.

The rule of thirds is compositional guideline. It proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines.  I actually make lines right on the thumbnails to see which composition fits best with the rule of thirds.  It is important that compositional elements be placed along these lines or their intersections.

Since I wanted her expression as my main impact, I positioned her face close to where two lines intersect. I couldn’t position her face directly on those intersecting lines because I needed to make room for her wings, which weren’t created yet.

Other processes included what I wanted her wings to look like: butterfly, pointed, soft lines, etc. How big are a fairy’s wings anyway?  I looked it up: “Wings are placed along the curve of the shoulder blades, from just below the shoulder and about three-quarters of the way down the back.” I also put flowers on the wings and in her hair. I added a few butterflies to the image, one landing on the tip of her toe. That may or may not remain in the final image.

At this stage I left her form blank, rather than dressing it. I put in a few lines denoting the flow of her dress. At this time it is my intention to allow her legs to show through the sheer dress she will wear.

I have given some thoughts regarding color. I love the pink in the lotus plant, so I won’t change that. I thought that the dress should be lavender, as well as the wings. Don’t you think a fairies wings should match her dress?  I thought I would leave the butterflies yellow, as in the reference. ‘The Fairy’ is a strawberry blonde, so I want to capture those colors in her hair (hopefully.) I will check out my color wheel, when I begin to paint to see what colors compliment the strawberry blonde.

Those are just some of my thoughts as I begin this project. I am learning a lot! 

One thing for sure, I have a tendency to jump off the cliff and wonder how I am going to land. This is one of those times! Good Luck to me …

 

pencil drawing

Fairy too big in composition

Fairy too big in composition


Rule of Thirds

Rule of Thirds


Proposed eye movement of the viewer

Proposed eye movement of the viewer