There's a watercolor class--in mid-coast Maine: a quaint, little place called "Owl's Head." My good friend Carol Gillott (of Paris Breakfasts fame) told me about David Dewey's class, encouraging me, back in February, to go for it this year, so I've been patiently waiting since then. I'll be gone for a week. His work is amazing, and I am looking forward to learning.
Along for the ride will be my watercolor paints and brushes, journals, papers, rain slicker, sweatshirt, portable stool, bug spray, sun block, and bien sur, my camera,...oh, and of course, a healthy love of lobster. (It just so happens I'll be there during Lobster Festival!) A charming B & B will be home for a week, and they're always fun--I know I'll meet some nice folks. Stay tuned!
I love to watch watercolor demonstrations, and since each artist is unique, I learn something different from every artist I see. Looking forward to practicing new things and stretching myself. I can assure you I'll take lots of notes and soak up all I can. I have had David's book for years, and a very talented cousin of mine also studied under him--in fact, one of her paintings is in his book! And since I've never been to Maine before, I'm excited that I'll get a little time to explore and see a new locale.
Supposedly there is an Andrew Wyeth museum somewhere in the vicinity, so you know that if it's at all possible, I'll be heading there!
So, wish me luck! I'll try to learn whatever I can, and I'll share when I return! Toodles!
"Those that say you can't take it with you never saw a car packed for a vacation trip." (-Unnknown)
If you've been reading my blog at all, you know that Joe and I do love our birds.
We watch them with fascination every chance we get. We see almost 30 different varieties of birds on a given day.
However, if you were here to see our deck, that would be no surprise to you whatsoever. We live in a quiet little spot with lots of trees and bushes, and we have our garden, brimming over with flowers. There are also 2 ponds, a bluebird house, and lots of perches and posts on our deck that make birds happy as clams. I'm sure they see it as an invitation, on a silver platter, to come join us.
What we call our Golden Corralbuffet of feeders sits perched right outside the french doors where we eat our meals, like a veritable Babette's Feast for the little guys--and so we'll very often sit and watch them, close by, and comment to each other on their hilarious behaviors. All lined up in a row, we have: a thistle feeder, a suet feeder, our "big" feeder (like the one I sketched) with sunflower and other seeds in it, a feeder filled exclusively with peanuts, and finally, hummingbird nectar in a feeder for those little guys.
When I sat to sketch this little finch, I had to smile, because what made him an attractive "subject" to sketch in the first place was the way he was veering around as if he was a nosy neighbor, trying to peek in and figure out exactly what we were up to on our side of the glass window.
"The best mirror is an old friend." (-Peter Nivio Zarlenga)
(AP photo from Telegraph.co.uk) Frank McCourt died.
He was the gentle Irishman who wrote the beautiful book we all know as Angela's Ashes, and he shared the gripping story of his childhood in a way that touched us all.
It saddened me to learn this news on my way in to work this morning. He died yesterday, on what would have been my parents' 57th anniversary, if my mom was still alive. He'd had melanoma, but contracted meningitis and was very sick for some time now. I knew that, and I knew he'd reached the point where he was in hospice care, but as always, when I heard the news of his death, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
We lost a beautiful soul today.
"When I look back on my childhood, I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." (-Angela's Ashes)
"Gentleness corrects whatever is offensive in our manner." (-Hugh Blair)
I'm heavily in the throes of trip-planning for my fall hejira across the nation for Duke. It occurred to me that I'm always taking photos of other campuses, and I never take photos of the Duke campus, which is quite beautiful in its own right.So here are a few I snapped on our campus yesterday as I was walking to my car.
Every summer about this time, I start the excruciating process of planning my fall trips all over creation. I will be gone from right after Labor Day, on September 8th, until early December with only a Thanksgiving break. I will only be home in North Carolina for a total of 8 days, (5 of which are weekend days.) I'm usually gone three or four weeks at a pop, and then I'm only home a day or so and right back at it again.
While I wind up seeing some fascinating parts of the country, I do miss home. I'm essentially a home-body, so I have to muster up my strength to get myself psyched for this peripatetic lifestyle that awaits me.
This year, I'll be traveling to some familiar places, but I'll also see some new sights which I'm excited about: for example, I'm building into my trips this year some good forestry schools, and so one of them I'll be seeing is Humboldt State University, up in the far north coastal region of California, where the redwood trees live. (It's also earthquake and tsunami territory, mind you!)
I'll be visiting Washington state, Oregon, California, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Alabama, Louisiana, Colorado, Minnesota, Virginia and Tennessee this year.
I have never been to Alabama or Louisiana before, and I'm already primed for new adventures. It should be a wild ride, and I hope you'll stay with me for some of it. I'll try to take photos as I see interesting things. I will also try to sketch, nights in hotels, when I can.
In the meantime, I no longer work from home when I'm not on the road--I'm commuting in to Duke every day, so here and there, I'll have to try to take some Duke campus photos when I AM home! It's a lovely campus, and deserves my attention.
When my son Eric was looking into colleges, I arranged for the track coach at Duke to meet with Eric, hoping I could entice him to go to school here in North Carolina. Eric was a strong cross-country runner, and I figured if he liked what he saw, maybe it would convince him to stay here nearby. They did hit it off, and Eric really loved the Duke campus architecture as we wandered the campus, but ultimately, he decided to go to Williams College in Massachusetts, which is a wonderful school. It was a great choice for him, but I did my best to keep him near me, honestly, I did!!He's very smart, and I knew he'd get in wherever he applied, but Williams was a great "fit" for him.
I really do get to see many beautiful places in the course of my travels, and I'm fortunate, but I will be exhausted by the time Christmas rolls around again this year.
And every year, as I see the day lilies stop blooming, and the end of my hydrangeas, I get a knot in the pit of my stomach, realizing it's all starting over again, and for me, at least,--summer is almost over. I am definitely in "Trip-planning Mode." Bear with me!
"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." (-Robert Louis Stevenson)
Some singers sing of ladies' eyes, and some of ladies' lips, Refined ones praise their ladylike ways, and course ones hymn their hips. The Oxford Book of English Verse is lush with lyrics tender; A poet, I guess, is more or less preoccupied with gender. Yet I, though custom call me crude prefer to sing in praise of food...
...Some painters paint the sapphire skies and some the gathering storm. Others portray young lambs at play but most, the female form. "Twas trite in that primeval dawn When painting got its start, That a lady with her garments on Is Life, but is she Art?"' By undraped nymphs I am not wooed; I'd rather painters painted food. Food, Just food, Just any old kind of food...
...Never mind what kind of food. When I ponder my mind I consistently find It is glued on food.
(practicing exercises and using an image I painted from Anne Abgott's book on watercolors: "Daring Color'