Thursday, July 30, 2015

I am joyful, jubilant, and jazzed!

 The month of July has moved so fast as to have a rocket attached to it! I started doing the 100 Days~100 Paintings on the 1st of July and was moving along until the 3rd. Then God placed a call to work on sets for the church! I am never afraid of major set designs and jumped right in to the design and completion within 1 1/2 weeks. I could never have accomplished all that I did without the helping hands of a lot of people! I am grateful to those that lended their hand wielding brushes for coming out. We laughed and painted for many days! Then, my husband, Chris Chavez jumped in and helped with construction and safety. I am always amazed at how easily he makes things work! Thanks Honey!

 I never heard from the children's pastor what the children thought of the design, but I am certain it was a small addition to the colorful things the kids got to do over those 3 wonderful days! Thanks to all for many hands making for light work!

During the same time of the set design, I had an art camp at the Eastern Shore Art Center.
 The following week found me at the Mobile Museum of Art teaching 6-9 year olds. Then came the Church Art camp. Full days, lots of laughter, lots of work, exhausting, FUN! We had a great time at the church, with sculpture, watercolors, acrylics, and recycled arts! So many projects, too many to photograph and display. I sure hope the children went home, happy and tired from a long day of creating. I know I did!
This week finds me back at the Eastern Shore Art Center for my last week of teaching for the summer. After this week, I must buckle down and get back in my own studio, that is after I clean up from the chaos that is creation and creativity at art camps. As art teachers, we bring a lot of "Baggage" with us, supplies, extra brushes, scissors, and such to make our lives easier.

I have created so many things in the past month, none of which may be "sale" quality. We have gone through a virtual ton of recycled supplies, much to my husbands delight!
That being said, I think I may call for a restart of the beginning of the 100 Days~100 Paintings. Or, I may try to paint two a day until I am caught up! That would be a trick wouldn't it?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Christopher's Crustacean

"Christopher's Crustacean" 
is a painting done at the request of my best friend and husband of 36 years.
We recently went on a trip with our teardrop camper "Tortuga" to Fort Pickens, Florida. It was a delightful stay and I'm sure we'll be back again. I photographed several Artillery guns, textures on walls and doors, and other assorted things. I also happened upon a hermit crab walking along the bottom of the bay, among the sea grasses. The grasses were teaming with life, small fish darting everywhere, thousands of eggs, and this hermit crab. It was not terribly happy that I plucked it from the water to photograph it! Waiting patiently for it to appear was not my strong point, but wait I did. The photos in the water were not so lovely, but we may visit them later as well in other paintings. 
Fort Pickens is a wonderful campground not far from here in Florida. It is a world away from the hustle and bustle of any city. Down a long stretch of road with water on either side, it reminded me of the keys. It is a part of our national parks system and beautifully maintained. The funny thing about this trip was their efforts to get people to slow down because of nesting birds. The birds have a tendency to run across the road in an effort to go somewhere and their babies will follow. The speed limit was 20 mph on a very long stretch of road. Once while we were traveling the posted speed, we were passed by two young men in a pickup truck out for a good time. Their trip was short lived however, as the ranger pulled them over and started the ticket process. (I imagine he also located the beer they were drinking!) Oh the joys and stupidity of youth! Most peculiar though was the speed bump in the middle of nowhere. Chris could not stand it any longer and asked why is it there in the middle of the 20mph stretch? The ranger laughed and said, it's to wake people up when they are not doing the speed limit. I'm sure they get a kick out of people hitting it rather hard if they are not paying attention!

I love these adventures with Christopher and this crustacean is a reminder of that lovely trip to Florida!

Christopher's Crustacean, Acrylic on canvas, 10 x 20

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Savvy Seahorse

Seahorses are peculiar creatures to say the least! They seem so calm, cool, and collected in their movements. I love to watch them swim, even when they are as awkward as you can get as far as swimming is concerned. They seem so out of balance, using their fins on their heads and backs. Even more unusual is the fact that the male seahorse is the one who carries the babies. 

This one came from the photos in Tampa, Florida taken while on a trip there with friends to a national convention we attended annually. This trip was a fun one, none of us had a job to do, so we were pretty much free to move about. I painted our members bags for identification purposes and did not realize the commotion it would cause. Before I was through, with the help of my friend and cohort, I would have painted about 75 bags! The money we collected paid for my trip and bought me some pretty awesome jewelry too! I never could have completed the late nights, near midnight run to get extra paint, without the helping hands of both my mother and Barbara Kynaston. (A true friend indeed!) I am wonderfully blessed to call her a friend. The seahorse painting at this point in the 100 days was her idea. After she read the story about the turtle, she reminded me about the seahorses. She then inquired if I was going to paint one this year. Barbara, this day is dedicated to you, a friend indeed!

"Savvy Seahorse" 20 x 20 Acrylic on canvas, Day 3 of the 100 days~100 paintings 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Silently, so silently

If you've ever met me at one of the shows, you know my love of sea turtles.

I was in a lean-to tent in the Philippines at night on the beach when a sea turtle came in to nest. I was trying to go to bed like my mother told me, (and being a military kid you'd better listen!) She was on the beach with the villagers and my father was night diving. I went dutifully to my beach towel and tried turning my back to the light from the burning barrel that guided the divers back to the beach. I felt sand flip on my back, and thinking someone else came in, did not turn over. The next time I felt sand, I still did not turn over, but said "Hey you're getting sand on me!" When it happened yet a third time, I turned over to give the person a piece of my small mind. (I was about 7 at the time). I said "Would you please stop!" Barely getting the words out of my mouth, I ran to my mother and told her the event playing itself out in the tent. She did not really believe me and thought I was simply dreaming. After some convincing, she went with me back to the tent and saw the mother turtle busily digging her nest. Needless to say, she was surprised to see the mass of turtle taking up half the lean-to area.

I have been privileged to be near these creatures a few time since then. Brief glimpses going under a sailboat in the keys, aquarium experiences, and the turtle hospital in Marathon, Florida. I seem to be fascinated by these beautiful animals and sometimes the encounters are breathtaking. One of the takes your breath away moments was in Tampa Florida at the aquarium. We were in a big room with a wall of glass that was part of one of the bigger tanks. I had spotted a turtle and hoped to get a photograph by carefully placing my lens against the glass. The turtle in question was swimming around and passed me a couple of times. I shifted my stance, trying to be patient and that is when this turtle turned around came back and looked me eye to eye. I frantically photographed, hoping to get a shot. My mother was sitting on the benches behind me and noticed the encounter. I asked her what she thought, and she said the turtle definitely changed course to come back to me. It really did take my breath away! 

More recently, I have have had contacts here on Mobile Bay. My husband bought my a paddle board for my birthday last September (early birthday present). The morning of the set up for Shrimp festival that afternoon I was marveling at the beauty of the bay. I was also amazed to be on the water in the middle of October because it was so warm. The light was absolutely gorgeous, just coming over the ridge of trees on the bluff overlooking the pier. As I was looking under the pier, I saw a juvenile turtle head pop up out of the water, get eye contact with me and then slip beneath the surface. I thanked God for the encounter, and went headlong into my day. I paddle frequently, and most recently had another quiet encounter one morning. I was about halfway through my routine and I look around my board frequently for objects floating in the water. It was at that point of looking by the board that I saw the juvenile again, but this time right next to me! It gulped the breath of air it needed then calmly swim into the depths of the bay. I nearly wept with joy at seeing this little guy, giving me a glimpse of his watery world. 

As a side note, I have asked the other boarders if they have seen them, but they have not. I pay closer attention to the area around my board than most, and it has given me more delightful encounters. I have seen jellyfish, needle fish, jumping mullet, stingray and most recently, a very large fresh water turtle. This turtle is so big, he is not scared of much. He stopped and stared at me for at least 30 seconds as I stared back! I never know what I'll see, and I'll treasure each moment on or in the water.

"Silently, so silently" Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24