DAY #285 – NEVER TAKE WHERE I LIVE FOR GRANTED

#286- NEVER TAKE WHERE I LIVE FOR GRANTED (1)c

Yesterday I was running around my town like a crazy person!

I had to meet some one at the Block Island ferry and then join my family for a town-wide scavenger hunt.  Better to call it a wild goose chase!

Scavenger hunts force you to rush.  There were probably 100 things to do or find in a two-hour time frame.  For example, here were some items:  Wiffle ball, red lipstick, mustard packet, mussel shell, take out menu, candy necklace, bird feather, Silly-Puddy, Narragansett beer coaster, Splenda packet and an empty ketchup bottle.

What does this have to do with today’s painting?

Well, in running around trying to find these crazy objects, I popped into the beach.

#286- NEVER TAKE WHERE I LIVE FOR GRANTED (2)

We needed a bunch of sea shells and a bird feather. What better place to find them right?

I smelled the salt air and it stopped me dead in my tracks.  It occurred to me , right at that moment, I hadn’t been to the beach since Labor Day.  Yeah so what, most people haven’t been to the beach since Labor Day… But I live 2.5 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. How could the sea have fallen off my radar for well over a month?

SHAME ON ME!

#286- NEVER TAKE WHERE I LIVE FOR GRANTED (1)

Like a scurrying little ant, I’ve been running around, getting back into school, soccer and volunteer work and it’s taken me away from my simple ritual of observance.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had that moment where you realize you haven’t looked up at the stars in the night sky for over a month?  It happens to me from time to time.  It makes me realize, I’ve become over-focused on the minutiae of everyday life and I’m no longer taking in the big picture nor my connection to the universe.

It’s like the realization of the smallness of humans.

The sky is immense. The sea is a natural wonder.  Both of these parts of my world are there to teach me, to nurture me, to keep me balanced.

I took a little time today to appreciate my surroundings and to re-adjust my priorities.

I don’t ever want to take where I live for granted.

I constantly feel blessed.

http://www.becreativemary.com

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DAY 219 – THE WALK TO SNAKE BEACH, BLOCK ISLAND

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My husband came home and I’m standing there with my canvas chanting “I did it!  I did it! I made a minimalist painting!”

He smiled and said “That’s a nice painting, but it’s not fully minimalist…Maybe “Mary” Minimalist.”

That cracked me up.

  What he meant is in my attempt to strip my work of all detail and capture the essence Milton Avery once captured, I again, kind of failed…

But from a crazy “Mary”, patterned, textured, colored perspective, I have gotten a little closer today.

Past landscapes:

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I tend to use small brushstrokes, bold color and quite a bit of detail.

Now I’ve gotten quite a few emails & FB messages asking “Why are you trying to be something you are not?” or “Why can’t you be content with the fact that this may not be your style?” and I think they are missing the whole point of this exercise.  First of all, I don’t really know what my “style” will eventually be and secondly, you try something, even if it doesn’t come easily, or even if you fail miserably, to gain insight. I am looking for that insight.

Now hubby made a pretty good point,  I added in shading, a bit of dimension, some small details and color differentiation.  Milton Avery went a few steps further.

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Flat planes of color that eventually begin to appear to be patterns or color blocks and less the objects themselves. The bottom Avery painting above is titled, Black Sea.

so simple.

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This one is titled, Jagged Wave.

so simple, yet absolutely brilliant.  The simple contour of the white against the black primordially communicates a wave crashing. You can feel or experience the wave crashing.  It communicates. pure & simple.

Now maybe that is it.  I’m picking traditional old subject matter and not so much spending the time thinking about what I want to “communicate”.  That there, may be its brilliance.

Now I can only go so far in a Creative 365. I haven’t yet figured out when I might afford the time for deep thoughts.  But I can work on the daily exercise of reducing my technique and then in the new year, I can take what I learned, and apply “deep thoughts” to it.

So, as I have said before, I will rest, sleep, wake up and try again.  Flatter plains. More contrasting colors?

I’ve been working on 11×14 canvases this week, with classic tube acrylics.  Neither are really my favorite thus far, so maybe tomorrow I will try a larger piece of paper, and liquid inks instead of traditional acrylics. Who knows or maybe I’ll stick with the canvases.

Either way, I do like todays painting.  It is more simple to me.  It reminds me of the windy paths by the sea, in one of my favorite places. Of the wind whipping the landscape all in one direction.  Of the deep dark green-blue sea of the Atlantic.  Of the place I live.

My happy place.

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DAY #218 – TURNING THE CORNER

#218 - TURNING THE CORNER (1)

I finished up most of my loose ends, so now I am returning to the concept of Milton Avery’s artistic style. I’ve written quite a few posts on him now, so I’ll spare you, but the gist is I would like to try, try and try again until I can strip my work of all detail and get to its core, minimalism.  It does not come easy to me, which makes it that much more of a challenge!

Today I started a new acrylic landscape and I will keep working on this concept.

#218 - TURNING THE CORNER (2)

I can already see I’ve added too much detail to the bushes on the left.  I will strip that away tomorrow.  I like the sky and sea so far…wish me luck on keeping it simple sweetie!

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This was my attempt at flat plains of color last week.  I sort of failed my objective.

#218 - TURNING THE CORNER (3)

I continued tinkering with this painting throughout the day today…but I think it’s time to lock it in my basement…It’s continuing to haunt me!

Third note, no one gave me a good name for yesterday’s painting!

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I was looking for a good cow pun, but nothing came to me…I will continue to put it out there until I find something!

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So that’s where I stand.  I look forward to tomorrows quest.  I wish I had someone to taser me each time I stray off the minimalist path!

Hey with enough practice  I’ll get there…or at the very least, I will have even more respect and appreciation for minimalist art!

Until then… Good night and good riddance!

http://www.becreativemary.com

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#204 – JUST FINISH IT! The Newport Bridge as Seen from Jamestown, RI

#204 - FINISH THE DARN PAINTING

What is my problem?

Why have I put off finishing this painting for well over a month?

Even yesterday, this was on my to-do list and somehow I escaped it.

I think the subject matter is just too traditional and not light-hearted enough to captivate my interest.  Yet, I still wanted to see it through, so today was the day.  I just had to get it done.

It’s a 24″ x 24″ acrylic painting on a wood panel.  Here is the progression:

#161- VIEW OF NEWPORT BRIDGE FROM JAMESTOWN (1) #163 - NEWPORT BRIDGE GETTING CLOSER (2) #163 - NEWPORT BRIDGE GETTING CLOSER (1) IMG_9520 IMG_9523 #204 - FINISH THE DARN PAINTING

I originally had a barn in the painting, but I felt like it was to central in location and just too cliché.

I’m not sure which was the better scenario, but it’s done now and I’m not going back!

The painting is of one of my favorite places in Rhode Island, Jamestown.  It’s a quiet little island filled with nature and farm land.  When ever I pass this farm I marvel at the juxtaposition of the rustic farm land and the modern bridge that always looks as if it is popping out from the woods.  It’s a truly stunning location.

So two good things came from today.

I got the half-finished painting out of my dining room and I get to pat myself on the back for following through.

Nobody’s gonna call me a quitter!

Never!

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#187 – CHOCOLATE LAKE COLORIZED

#187- Chocolate Lake colorized

Before I left my mother’s house, I wondered what would Chocolate Lake look like if it were colorful?  If you look at yesterday’s post, it is more realistic.  My mother lake is definitely very brown.

That’s the fun thing about being an artist.  I can wonder.  I can imagine.  I can envision things differently.

I like this little 9×12 watercolor.

I very loosely captured the lily pads.  I made the grasses golden, the woods crimson and the water purple-blue.

That’s the world I live in.  Where everything is colorful.!

It is sweltering today.  I live in a summer vacation town right by the beach.  As a local, we patiently wait for all the beach day trippers to go home and then we go to the beach in the early evening.

It’s now that time.  Time to throw on our suits, grab some towels, grab some boogie-boards and head-on-out.

Stay cool everybody.  Summer has finally arrived!

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#186 – CHOCOLATE LAKE

#186 - CHOCOLATE LAKE

I spent the 4th of July holiday in New York.  My mother lives near the Hudson River outside of Manhattan.

She lives on a little lake that the kids and I refer to as “Chocolate Lake”.

I am telling you, I have never seen such a brown lake in my life!

My mom thinks it’s due to the carp they put in the pond.  They’ve eaten all of the vegetation in the water leaving it brown.  Maybe it’s just the color of the bottom of the lake floor.  Who knows.  But the idea of a chocolate lake sounds way more appealing!

We had a lovely holiday visit.  The kids went fishing and canoeing.  It was super hot, so we did a lot of swimming and we all pretty much enjoyed watching the kids be kids.

We are back home now.  The kids passed out on the car trip home and as usual, I’m feeling like joining them!  I’m sure glad I did my painting in the morning today. I don’t have much left in me!

For this reason, I bid you a good night and will return tomorrow at some point.

Enjoy your weekend!

http://www.becreativemary.com

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#175 – HOBE COTTAGE FLOWER GARDEN – BLOCK ISLAND

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Greetings from Block Island!

Late last night I said I’d blog this morning and I didn’t and now somehow it’s late at night again.   I’m sorry about that.  I have learned not to make any promises, since I barely seem to have any control over my circumstances these days.  I’ve just gotta go with the flow or suffer the consequences!

I did finish last night’s painting though:

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It’s a view from Mansion Beach.

I’ve taken a whole bunch of photos of our journey around the island the past two days.  I’m trying to download them as we speak, but I’m having difficulty with the really bad internet connection here.  I keep blogging and downloading and the system keeps failing.  So I’m learning to hit the “save” button a lot and I’m figuring out I need to make things quick!

I’ve  also figured out that I am most likely going to do pen and ink contour drawings and quick studies while on this trip.  I am taking tons of photographs that I plan on using for more serious pieces when I get home.  I can’t hold my family captive while I paint all day, nor do I have the right materials to do so anyhoo.

So from here on out, I’ll share some gorgeous photos of one of our favorite locations in the world, but don’t tell anyone about it, it will ruin what’s great about this place!

Here’s my posse heading out on the Block Island Ferry!

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A view from my cottage:

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Views from my friend’s cottage:

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Views from Snake Beach:

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If you can’t tell, what’s great about Block Island is that it’s quiet and filled with nature.  High season isn’t very quiet, this is why we either go very early in the summer or in the fall. But if you catch it right, you feel like you’ve been transported to a simpler time in this country.  One of farms and rolling countryside.

Taking in all this beauty replenishes my soul.

I’m already looking forward to tomorrow!

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#168 – BYE BYE BARN

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Today I decided, or should I say forced myself, to go back to this 24″ x 24″ acrylic painting of THE VIEW OF NEWPORT BRIDGE FROM JAMESTOWN POST #161.

This painting has been giving me a tough time. 

Through feedback from my wonderful readers, I’ve figured out it is most likely because the painting lacks bright color (which I am attracted to) and it’s a little too serious (I tend to look for more playful subject matter).

Both reasons have left me unmotivated and at a loss for where to go next.  Here is the progression:

#161- VIEW OF NEWPORT BRIDGE FROM JAMESTOWN (1) #163 - NEWPORT BRIDGE GETTING CLOSER (1) IMG_9520 IMG_9523

I had originally sketched in a little barn, but after painting it in, I felt like it was too corny and cliché.

So today I painted out the barn.

I also started adding extra layers of color to the foliage and fixed the steel girders on the bridge.

I started painting a field from left to right, but quickly it became a vegetable crop.

I still need to paint in front of the crop as well as add leaves and grass to the forefront of the painting.

I probably have one more days work. 

If you don’t mind, I am going to space this painting out and work on it again next Monday.   I feel like a child with A.D.D. being asked to stay still for 6 hours in a library!

I haven’t quit though.  I will see it through.

I promise!  :)

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#163 – NEWPORT BRIDGE PAINTING – GETTING CLOSER

#163 - NEWPORT BRIDGE GETTING CLOSER (1)

Took another stab at this view of the Newport Bridge from Jamestown RI.

Check Post # 161 for the beginning of this work.

Here is the progression thus far:

#161- VIEW OF NEWPORT BRIDGE FROM JAMESTOWN (2)  #161- VIEW OF NEWPORT BRIDGE FROM JAMESTOWN (1) #163 - NEWPORT BRIDGE GETTING CLOSER (2)

#163 - NEWPORT BRIDGE GETTING CLOSER (1)

First I redid the slope of the bridge to the far right.  I changed it by a half-inch, so you may not even notice.  Next I added the little cattle shack and then the greenery around the barn.  I then added the tree in the foreground but still have leaves to add.  I also worked on the over-all foliage a bit too.

I’m on the fence with this painting.  I want to quit it and banish it to the basement.

I do not like the quintessential little barn in the painting.  I find it annoying even if there really is a tiny cattle shack on this property in real life.  I feel like maybe I should pipe in little ducks and a rainbow too.

I could add some cows, but that might annoy me even more.

I could just paint over the barn and leave it plain old farm fields…I just don’t know what I want to do.

Here, I will ask you the viewers to vote:

I’m just not feeling it.  I sure could use some input.

On that note, I will leave you with some other cool photos sent to me by my mom.  She went on a sailing exposition and snapped a really cool photo of the lighthouse near the bridge.

#163 - NEWPORT BRIDGE GETTING CLOSER (4) #163 - NEWPORT BRIDGE GETTING CLOSER (5)

I just love how the bridge looks like it is springing out of the woods. Love it.

Thanks a bunch!

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#161 – VIEW OF NEWPORT BRIDGE FROM JAMESTOWN RI

#161- VIEW OF NEWPORT BRIDGE FROM JAMESTOWN (1)

Well it’s half of a painting anyway!

Today I started an acrylic painting on a 24″ x 24″ gessoed wooden panel.

It’s funny, yesterday, when I was creating postcards for a fundraiser, I didn’t have any real inspiration, so I blindly filled some cards with watercolor spots in hopes that I could find some sort of inspiration from looking at them. This was one of them:

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A view of the Newport Bridge came to mind.  It is one of my favorite scenic areas in my region.  Whereas this postcard is in no way accurate, it did remind me of a spot on Jamestown Island.  This spot is so pretty to me,  it actually makes me stop my car and pull over any time I see it!  I was looking around online to see if anyone had photographed my spot, but I couldn’t find any photos.  The photos I took simply don’t do it justice, but I’ll post them anyway so I can better explain the area.

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What I love about this spot, is the juxtaposition of a modern man-made bridge against the rustic charm of a farm.  A person might pull over just to view the quaintness of this cattle farm, but the giant bridge that looks like it is just popping right out of the woods?  I think it’s pretty darn cool.

In the autumn this farm field is filled with large rolled haystacks, I will have to try to revisit it.

#161- VIEW OF NEWPORT BRIDGE FROM JAMESTOWN (2)

So, in my painting, I am sort of moving things around.  To the left, I am going to add a tree in the foreground.  I like being there peeking under the trees.  I am also adding the tiny barn, but I made it closer to the foreground than in reality.  Both the tree and the barn aren’t where they are supposed to be, but they will be where I can enjoy them both at once!

The painting is a lot more serious than I planned on.  I thought I might have gone more bright and funky.  Instead tranquil came out.  Must be what my soul wanted to express.  That is what this spot symbolizes for me. I can almost picture myself sitting along this roadside right now!

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