Monthly Archives: January 2015

Still Painting

Seven more days, seven more paintings. Okay, I will admit I skipped painting one day and doubled up the next. The day I skipped was the day I finally dragged myself to a doctor and got some antibiotics. I was tired after all that running around and I just decided not to push it. It was the right decision. The next day I painted two paintings with no problem.

All of this week’s paintings are itty bitty paintings. I was still feeling unwell and I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew. I knew I could handle tiny canvases without committing too much time to the project every day. I need to get braver in the next ten days or I need to go shopping for more itty bitty canvases. I’m starting to run low. Almost all of my new paintings are fruits and vegetables. I painted a bulb of garlic, a small tangerine, some green onions on a cutting board and a couple of strawberries.

Four Tiny Paintings

Four Tiny Paintings


The next day was my doctor day and the day after that, I painted two paintings. One is a painting of some nuts I borrowed from my husband. He’s been enjoying mixed nuts since the grocery store marked them down after Christmas. I put them back in the nut dish when I was finished, so I don’t think he missed them. The other painting I did that day was a tiny landscape. I based it on a photograph I took when I was in North Carolina last October.

I don’t think the location is recognizable, so I will just tell you that it’s Graveyard Fields, one of my favorite spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I know there are a lot of problems with this landscape, but there is something I like about it – that little bit of blue sky peeking through the clouds above the mountains. I like that piece of blue sky.

Three Tiny Paintings

Three Tiny Paintings


Today, I found half of an orange in the refrigerator. I think it might be a blood orange; the flesh is definitely dark pinkish red. It was wrapped in plastic wrap, which I removed while I was painting it. I couldn’t help thinking of that commercial that used to come on when I was young. It was an ad for plastic wrap, and the wife came in and saw the husband painting a still life of cut fruits and screamed, “Oh, the honeydew!” Plastic wrap saved the day. I am old. Some of my contemporaries will remember this commercial; the rest of you won’t have any idea what I am talking about.

The husband probably should have checked with his wife before he cut the honeydew. The orange I found in the refrigerator was already cut, so I won’t be in trouble with my husband. I didn’t get paint on it or anything. I wrapped it back up in plastic wrap and I put it back in the refrigerator. I’m sure it’s just fine.

I managed seven paintings this week and I’m happy. Forty down, ten to go. I’m getting close!

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Painting Again

I bought a new calendar last week. I brought it home and I put it on the kitchen table, still in the bag, for a couple of days. I knew I needed to take a look at it and see how many days I had left to meet my blog goal, but I was still (am still) fighting a cold and I didn’t want to face it. Eventually the need to know was stronger than the need to avoid the whole subject, so I took out my new calendar and I counted the days left until my blogiversay. There were precisely twenty.

How bizarre and what a coincidence! I needed exactly twenty more paintings to meet my blog goal for the year. The message was clear: it was time to start doing one painting per day. I hauled out my paints. I found a tiny canvas (hey, I said fifty paintings; I didn’t say what size they had to be) and I found something to paint. It had been weeks since I had tried to paint, so I picked something easy – a nice, round grapefruit.

Grapefruit

Grapefruit


I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about starting again after such a long break, but the minute I picked up the brush, it felt like coming home. It felt like diving into a well-loved book or stepping into a warm bath – or taking a well-loved book and reading it in a warm bath. Is it a good painting or a bad painting? Who knows? Who cares? I painted it and while I was painting it, I lost myself in the process. That’s the reason I want to paint.

It’s a good thing, because the next day, I tried something a little more challenging. I looked around the house and I couldn’t find any more round fruits. I found a plant, a succulent in a ceramic blue dish. It looked doable, so I decided to try and paint it. My goodness, that plant has a lot of parts! The weird thing is that you can look at a thing and think you see it, but when you start trying to draw it or paint it, it suddenly has all these little curves and spines and shadows you never saw before. You start thinking, “Just what, exactly, am I seeing there?”

Succulent

Succulent


Okay, so that one was a great learning experience. I don’t hate it and I’m glad I painted it. Today is the third of the twenty days and I decided to do something that looked as if it would be easier, a couple of bananas I found in my kitchen. I tried to find something round, but there just wasn’t a round fruit or vegetable in there that I hadn’t already painted. There were bananas. I painted bananas.
Bananas

Bananas


So far, so good. Three days, three paintings. Here’s hoping I can keep this up for seventeen more days.

Brodo

Okay, kiddies, here’s a cautionary tale for you. It’s all about that bugaboo, procrastination. I set myself a very reasonable goal for this blog year – to paint fifty paintings. Fewer than one per week – easy peasy. Yes, easy peasy, if you actually do one per week. If you do thirty of them and then put your paints away for six weeks so you can host holiday gatherings in your dining room, it should still be a doable thing. Plenty of people in this world do a painting every day, right? Easy peasy.

Unless you happen to get sick in the last month of your blog year. I don’t want to paint right now. I want to get rid of this cough. I thought I would be posting about painting this week. Nope. I’m posting about soup. Brodo, to be specific. My friend, Jack, gave me this recipe, which calls for eight cloves of minced garlic. Yes, you read that right – eight cloves.

Garlic!

Garlic!


That’s a lot of garlic. This soup tastes wonderful and it’s what I crave when I am not feeling well. Jack (okay, that’s not his real name; he’s a very private person. He wouldn’t want me to blast his real name all over the internet – yeah, as if I have that much of a following, right? Still, he’s a good friend and he gave me a great recipe, so I will honor his wishes) uses chicken broth in this recipe, but Jack is not a vegetarian. I am, so I substitute vegetable broth. Feel free to use whichever one suits your eating style.

Brodo:

1 Medium Onion, chopped
8 Cloves of Garlic, minced
Oil (olive oil is good) for sauteing
2 Teaspoons Thyme
2 Cans Chicken (or Vegetable) Stock
2 Handfuls of Tiny Egg Noodles
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil. Put thyme into hot oil and start sauteing. Add onions and garlic. Saute until onions are transparent but not brown. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add noodles and boil three minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves two hungry people. I usually share it with my husband and still have leftovers for my next day’s lunch. I’m eating this soup as I’m typing this and I feel better already.

Brodo

Brodo


It’s not pretty, but it’s light and healthy and delicious. Just what I needed.

Thanks, “Jack.”

Another Wednesday, Another Blog Post

Wednesday is here again. When I looked at my 2014 blog stats last week, the one thing that stood out was the reliability of the Wednesday blog post. I tried different days in the beginning of the year, but once I landed on Wednesday, some time in May, I stayed there. The graph is a straight line after that, a blog post every Wednesday from May through December. I like that straight line. I like being able to depend on myself to publish something every Wednesday.

Maybe not something brilliant, maybe not something wonderful, but something. The reason that line is so reliable is that I gave myself permission to just be honest, even if that made for a lame blog post. I’m here, I show up and I tell the truth. That’s all I need to do. The truth about today is that I have a cold. I have had it for about two weeks and I’m tired of it. I am also cranky.

I visit Facebook and I see all these posts about all these wonderful resolutions folks are making and they just make me tired. I need to rest, not make resolutions. I will do stuff in 2015, really I will, but I’m not going to post on Facebook or on my blog about what that stuff might be.

There will be stuff, okay? If you are a follower of mine, you know what I’ll be doing between now and my February eighth blogiversary. My goal for this blog year is to paint fifty paintings and I have painted thirty. I mentioned this last week and I hoped I would be able to report this week that I had painted, but, alas, I have not. I realize what this means.

It means I’m going to have to follow up the December Sketch-a-Day challenge with a similar painting challenge if I’m going to have any hope of meeting my goal. For the record, I did complete the December Sketch-a-day challenge. As far as I know, I am the only person who did. When I say I will do something, I will move Heaven and Earth to get that thing done. This makes me pretty careful about what I say I will do.

I’m not making any New Year’s resolutions. Blog goals seem to work for me, because the need to post something every week holds me accountable. I don’t have a lot of followers but I value the ones I have because they bear witness to my struggles and to my mistakes and to my successes. A few good friends and relations read every post and comment on almost every post. You know who you are and I hope you know that I treasure your contributions.

You are the reason I keep showing up. Thank you.