Tag Archives: painting

Printers, Paperwork and Painting

Last week I was enjoying balmy days and cool nights in the mountains of western North Carolina. Now I’m back in flat Florida, where temperatures are hovering near 100 degrees and the heat index has been as high as 114. I am thankful for air conditioning. I am also thankful that the work I need to do right now is paperwork, not dyeing. I need to finish my quarterly tie-dye inventory and get my sales taxes paid so I can go back to North Carolina.

The deadline for the sales tax return is July twentieth, but I can’t procrastinate that long because I promised my sister I would be back in North Carolina in time for her house concert on the ninth. She has asked me to join her for part of that performance and throw in some harmony. I love vocal harmony and I love my sister, so I will not let her down.

Of course, as soon as I got home with tons of paperwork on my agenda, our ancient printer decided to stop working. With a strange sound and a burning smell, it gave up the ghost and left me with no way to print out my inventory worksheets. My daughter may be willing to just write things down in a spiral notebook (she started counting things this way while I was out of town, God bless her), but I need my worksheets.

Research was done and a new, faster printer was acquired. Now the inventory is progressing and I have high hopes of completing it and moving on to the sales taxes within the next couple of days. That’s good. Getting back to North Carolina in time for the house concert is imperative, but getting back in time to rehearse first is pretty important, too.

Another thing that’s important is painting. I want to be painting. The last piece of the painting puzzle has finally fallen into place, thanks to my daughters. The younger one surprised the older one with a new sewing machine for Mothers’ Day. Then the older one used the new sewing machine to make me a painting apron. Now I won’t have to change into old tie-dyeing clothes when I want to paint. I can just throw on my apron over whatever I happen to be wearing and have at it, without worrying about getting paint on my clothes.

My New Apron

My New Apron

Okay, it may not be the most flattering look for me, but I think it’s beautiful.


Paperwork and Painting

I hesitate to even begin this week’s blog post. I wanted to be able to report that my tax returns were all filed. I can’t do that, so I would rather just say nothing and go to bed, but I can’t sleep on a Wednesday if I haven’t blogged, so here I am.

Lack of sleep is not something I want to court right now. My brain is wrangling with tax matters this week and it keeps waking me up in the middle of the night as if that is a good time to review 1099-R forms. Trust me, it’s not. I need to review 1099-R forms, but not at one-thirty in the morning.

On the upside, the business tax return is filed. That’s usually the one that worries me, but not this time. My husband retired in December, so it’s the personal return that’s complicated this year. We’ll get it done, but meanwhile, I need to figure out how to stop thinking about it long enough to get some sleep.

Today, I decided it might help if I could get back to painting. I wasn’t awake enough to try driving far from home, so I painted an afternoon sky from my front porch. It was an interesting sky, with some dark clouds and some wispy white clouds, but as soon as I sat down to start painting, the sky started changing.

I painted as quickly as I could but I ended up painting mostly from memory. Clouds are striking and beautiful, but they won’t sit still and pose for a painter. As tired as I was, I still enjoyed spending time trying to capture those clouds on canvas.

April Clouds

April Clouds

I’m happy to have a painting to share with my readers. I will be even happier when I can report that all the tax returns have been filed and I am no longer losing sleep over them.

Painting and Paperwork

I seriously considered not writing a post today. I’m in a new year and I haven’t made any promises or commitments yet. I am under no obligation to publish something today. I could let it go. I could give it a rest. I could take a week off.

I could do that, but I just keep thinking about that lovely progress report WordPress sends me at the end of the year, and how pretty that chart looks when there’s a post every Wednesday. That nice, straight line calls out to me from the future and begs me not to let it down. I don’t have a new goal, but I do love that straight line.

I may not set a creative goal for this blog year. I know I want to paint, but what I want to do with that is just keep learning more about working en plein air. I don’t know if a new goal would help or hinder that effort. My last goal did get me to do forty paintings in just a few weeks and that was what taught me that I love painting outdoors, but I am not sure I want to have another Sword of Damocles hanging over my head.

I may yet decide that I do. It won’t be this week, though. This week, I am too busy giving myself a hard time for putting off my income tax spreadsheets until the last half of March. I have started them, but I haven’t finished them. They are not difficult, but they are tedious. Most years, I start working on them in January in order to have the business information together, or at least starting to come together, by the time the W2 forms and 1099 forms start arriving.

All those forms are here now. I have even received a corrected form that replaces one that came in January or February. I just need those spreadsheets for the business and I will be ready to bounce the income tax ball into the Accountant’s court. I have finished all the easy ones. That leaves Cost of Goods Sold, which can’t be calculated until I value my inventory. That’s the hard part. I can sit down and add up all my other expenses in a single session at the desk top, but valuing my inventory takes days.

I will get there. I have begun it and I will finish it. Then maybe I will be able to think about painting again.

Palette Mess

Palette Mess

I guess I should clean out my palette first.

An Unforgettable Festival

I couldn’t stand it. Last week, I said that I was not taking my paints to the Will McLean Music Festival. I didn’t have room for them and I wouldn’t have time to paint. That’s what I said, but in the end, I couldn’t leave them behind. Just before I left to pick up my daughter, I stuffed my small Sta-Wet palette between two bags, dropped a couple of panels in a small space beside my overnight bag, and found space among the bins for my paintbox. I was still pretty sure I wouldn’t have time to paint, but I knew that if I didn’t bring my paints, I would pine for them.

Wonder of wonders, I found time to paint. We arrived at the venue in the early afternoon on Thursday, found our spot and started setting up our booth. When the booth was up, we worked on the changing tent and our sleeping tent. My daughter saw the way I was looking at the sky and said, “Go ahead and paint. I’ll set up the air mattresses.” I didn’t argue very much. The sun was setting and there was no time.

The sun went down so quickly that I ended up doing a lot of this one from memory, in a twilight that was almost completely dark. I didn’t get a good look at it until the next morning. I could see that it was rough, but I loved it. I had to set it aside quickly and get ready to sell tie-dye, but every time my glance fell on it during the weekend, it made me smile.

Willfest Sunset

Willfest Sunset

That one 8” x 10” would have been enough, but I also managed to squeeze in a tiny painting on Saturday. I found a little time in the morning, before we opened our booth, to paint the view from our camping spot. It’s just sky, rushes and a few trees, but I like it.
Willfest Trees

Willfest Trees

Sunday, I did not paint, but I did take some photographs. Everyone who had a picture-taking device took photographs that day, because something unexpected happened. We were just standing in our booth, taking care of business, when we heard a loud cracking sound. We looked up and saw a huge tree come crashing down by the creek across the way. People started running over there from all directions. Someone said, “Call 911,” but someone else said, “Nobody’s hurt.” Once everyone was sure that was true, all the cameras and phones came out. It was quite a sight. Someone said that the folks who had been camping in that spot had pulled out not fifteen minutes before.
Broken Tree

Broken Tree

A sturdy picnic table was completely smashed. I hate to think what would have happened if anyone had been sitting at that table. I took a few pictures and went back to my tie-dye booth. The next morning, I went back to take another look. Someone had left a note on the tree.



Yes. Yes, indeed. Thank you.

Too Busy to Blog

I know it’s Wednesday and Wednesday is blog day, but this particular Wednesday is “load up for Willfest” day and that doesn’t leave time for a carefully worded blog post. My daughter and I spent the day gathering up all the personal things and business things we need to camp for three days and sell tie-dye at the Will McLean Music Festival at the Sertoma Youth Ranch near Dade City, Florida. That’s a long way from Jacksonville, so we want to be careful not to leave anything important behind.

I wish I had room to bring my paints, because the location is beautiful and the event is so joyful and inspiring that it opens my heart and makes me want to do creative things while I’m there. I’m there to sell tie-dye, though, and that is a job that takes most of my time and all of the van space. I will have a small sketchbook and some watercolor pencils. Maybe I can fit in a sketch or two when things are slow.

The good news is that I did paint this past week. I was out in my back yard making tie-dye and I noticed that the morning light was particularly pretty on the three trees in my neighbor’s yard. The next day, while the tie-dye was batching, I tried to paint those trees. If you’re a follower of this blog, you’ve seen two of them before. I’ve painted the tall pine and the little holly twice, but I edited out the maple because it was January and the maple was naked. Now it’s March and that tree is covered in bright red helicopter seed pods.

Three Trees

Three Trees

Here’s my new painting. I normally try to give my posts clever endings, but I’m just too tired this evening. I painted. I blogged. I’m done.

One More Painting

We are under a wind advisory in Jacksonville, Florida today. I can look out my window and watch the helicopter seed pods on my maple tree go flying off across the yard. Before the day is out, a lot of them will be gone, which makes me glad I finally got around to painting them a few days ago. I had been admiring them for days, watching them get prettier and prettier while I procrastinated about trying to capture them on canvas. I painted a sky on the canvas first, because that was easy.

Another day, I sat on the front porch and did a pencil sketch of the branch I wanted to paint. It was a complex little branch and I wanted to give myself some time to play with the shapes before I brought out the paints again. Once I had a light sketch of the branch, I set the canvas aside for another day or two, waiting for the right weather at the right time of day.

I wanted warmth and I wanted sunshine. I found it at about four o’clock in the afternoon, when the sun was low in the sky and those bright red helicopters sparkled like jewels on the delicate branches.

Maple Branch

Maple Branch

Of course, I couldn’t capture all that magic, but I had fun trying.

New Paintings

Last week, I was celebrating the completion of a successful blog year and wondering how the new one would go. I wasn’t ready to set a new blog goal, but I did say I would keep painting. I cleaned out my Sta-wet palette and gave myself permission to rest on my laurels for a while. To be honest, I wasn’t sure when I would be painting again and I was a little worried that I would put it off. Putting things off seems to be what I do best.

Saturday morning rolled around and I prepared for my usual trip to the flea market. Saturday is the one day of the week when I almost always get out and about by myself for a while. I choose the flea market because I’m a morning person and the flea market opens early. They let the buyers and the sellers in at the same time, so I usually just park for a while and read a magazine while I wait for the sellers to set up. I was thinking about this, and looking around for magazines to bring, when I remembered the pretty cedar tree I can see from my favorite parking spot.

The tree had been the subject of one of the tiny paintings that helped me meet my blog goal. I caught it at sunrise with some pinkish clouds in the background and it was fun to paint. I thought about that and I suddenly really wanted to bring paints with me to the flea market again. I tried to talk myself out of the idea. I had overslept. I didn’t have time to get my paints together and still get to that parking lot at my usual time. Then I remembered that a new piece of palette paper would have to soak for fifteen minutes before I could use it.

“That’s it,” I thought, “I just don’t have time to make this happen today.”

That would have been the end of it, but I had another voice in my head that said, “Are you going to give up that easily? Just put the paper in the water and start loading up the rest of your gear while you’re waiting.”

This may be hard to believe, but I actually listened to that voice. When I left the house last Saturday morning, I had my painting supplies with me. I was late and I missed out on my favorite parking spot at the flea market. I circled through and I moved on. I drove to a local park. It has lots of pretty trees and it also has a pond. I parked by the pond and I painted what I could see from my car. Then I painted something else that I could see from my car. I started with tiny canvases because they are less intimidating.

Two Tiny Paintings

Two Tiny Paintings

When I had finished two of those, I decided to move the car. I drove to another part of the park and I pulled out an 8” x 10” canvas. Again, I painted what I could see from my car. Some of it, anyway. I edited the scene for space and composition. I’m allowed to do that. It’s a painting, not a photograph.
One Larger Painting

One Larger Painting

One thing I know for sure: if I’m going to paint outdoors in Florida, I’m going to have to learn how to paint palmettos.