Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Wild ride! The end of the 100 days for Spring!

I know I've said it before, but what a wild ride these past few days have been! I am humbled indeed by the response to the new works for Spring 2019. It seems I cannot paint fast enough of certain pieces. I am so happy people are adding to their collections, or starting new ones with my work. Some of them are new collectors, some are are returning to see what speaks to them. Some are filling their walls with multiples, others are dreaming of the day they can own one 
                                                                                    of my works in their new homes currently being 

The income has been terrific and I am slightly closer to my dream of going to Zimbabwae, Africa to teach Art and a craft to the villagers for them to sell to tourists that come to their home in Chidobe.

That being said, this post finishes the 100 days for the Spring. It has been a crazy week, trying to paint every day. I am also teaching up to 3 days a week for my church, Shepherds place, and the Eastern Shore Institute of Lifelong learning. ESILL. I love to teach, and 8 hours a week seems just about right.

The Orange Beach show was amazing, with 14 large and small pieces finding homes with collectors new and old. Last year was a                    disappointment, only selling $195 worth. I did        not even make expenses last year.                          God showed up in a big way this year though! The weather was again an issue, but it cleared and brought large crowds on Saturday and Sunday.

Arts & Crafts was this past weekend as well, bring the usual cold front and it's accompanying rain. The crowds were large on Friday, but Saturday dawned with rain and cold that made people run through the show. This year was wonderful with collectors coming by to see the new works, and some purchased pieces to feather their nests. I am still amazed that I get to earn money doing something I love to do every day! Thank you for the collectors, and the future one's too!
I sold 3 out of my 4 manatees this weekend as well.

                                                                                  I love that you follow the blog and sometimes                                                                                                comment. Blessings on all who enter here.....                                       A wild ride indeed!


A Wild Ride! Acrylics on canvas~ various sizes
Days 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, and 100! Plus a couple more thrown in for good measure!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Shells, Shows, and Showers

Shells, Shows, and Showers
We had all three this weekend!
The first of many shows for the spring season was held in Orange Beach yesterday and today.
I was fortunate to be one of the artists that had a successful adventure at the park. The weather held off, and the many expected storms did not come. Several artists were not so fortunate. My neighbor in particular was from Dallas, TX. A sweet gentle man, his large paintings garnered him a second prize in the 2D category. His sales however, were not so great. He only sold prints from his works, and one small piece. He probably will not be back to the show as he did not even make a quarter of his goal. I've been there, last year at this same show, I made a grand total of $195.00.
This was not even enough to cover expenses for the show in 2018.

This year, I was indeed blessed, receiving 2 patron awards and
 a kids choice award that really made me smile!
The pieces from India are going really well to several homes in the area. 
I was very pleased to have a previous collector purchase my largest piece before the show even opened! The sepias sold as well, with several shadowboxes finding new homes.
I sold 14 pieces this weekend!
this wonderful weekend presents a problem for me.
I have a major show next week!
No less than Arts & Crafts in beautiful Fairhope, Alabama.
Needless to say, I will be a painting fiend over the next few days.
I will probably be barely taking time to eat and 
perhaps not sleep because of all the possibilities in my head. I will also have to pull most, if not all of my works from a local gallery in order to have the inventory necessary for a show.
Shows are extremely hard work, but oh the rewards if we have what people are looking for in the art that decorates their homes.
Shows like this make us so happy as artists, with many people loving to see the works and the uniqueness of the pieces I am blessed to be able to create. 
Some of them even bless us further, by taking them home!

That being said, I am further blessed by the man that God blessed me with. He supports and sometimes tolerates the shows I do, willingly lending a helping hand just because he loves to see me happy. He is happiest when I am selling, and he grieves for me when I don't!
I am elated that God sent this man to be mine all mine!

With the time change, Chris got up too early!
 A nap was in order, and this bench was the perfect resting place. 
Oh how I love him!
Tell someone you love them today, we are not guaranteed tomorrow!

Shells, Shows and Showers, Acrylic on canvas, 6x6
Day 94 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The conchs have it!

 The conchs have it!
At least around here for the time being. The top one is a horsehead conch, the other is a regular conch, often used for conch fritters. (BTW, I don't care for them at all!)
My first Show at Orange Beach  started today. Chris helped me set up yesterday on his birthday and then we went to Art Walk in Fairhope in the evening. We brought BBQ Deer meat sandwiches and they were a hit! I also brought mini cupcakes that were eaten by several adults and children. Happy birthday Chris!

Today found me alone at the show, because our son came over to help with the wiring on the UHaul camper. We are coming close to the deadline for using it and I for one am grateful that one more thing can be checked off the list. Well, at least part one. The AC is all wired up, but the DC is still to be done. Next weekend Jere' will come back and finish the job. We have new LED brake lights and running lights. The new lights inside will all be LEDs as well because they pull so little   power and can be used with the Battery so we can boondock for shows.   Coming closer to reality. Now, if we could just sell the Gypsy Gal to help finance this adventure! I still have yet to begin the interior design of the UHaul, I know a lot of it will be baskets inside the bins, upholstery in the dining area, curtains for the windows, the list gets longer by the minute! So fun, designing the new interior with a sea theme. 
I also have some surprises in store for the interior as well! 

The show went very well today! Last year, I did not even make expenses. This year was totally different, with me making expenses (and then some!) before the show even opened at 10 am. I had some frustration with my square though, a new phone may become a must before too long. I am also pleased to report I got a patron award as well! So fun, and the gentleman choose a painting I dearly loved, but has not sold in several showings. He very happily went home with the Manta rays shadowbox tucked under his arm. The new elongated paintings are very well received, although I only sold one of them today. Several people said they had to go home and measure before they could decide on pieces. Tomorrow is another day, a day to spend with Chris, a day to paint, a day to sell, a day to be thankful to God for the blessings he bestows upon me. I am indeed humbled and honored that people want to buy my pieces for their homes and offices. I am so grateful too, that I get to play in the paint and then sell what I create!

Needless to say, the next few days before Arts & Crafts will be a flurry of activity in the Raccoon Retreat Studio here in beautiful Fairhope, Alabama!

The conchs have it! Acrylic on canvas, each 6x6 inches
Days 92 & 93 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019                                                            

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Shells times 2

It's a two for one day today!
The paintings are getting done, but the posting is not!
I am getting my show equipment and paintings ready for our first show this weekend.
Our first foray is down to Orange Beach. I am looking forward to dusting off the equipment, setting up the tent, and hanging for a show. 
Years ago, I used to go to this show when it was very small. 
 Almost nobody came to the venue, and at times there seemed to be more artists than patrons. 
You get it, a very small show.
Fast forward to current year. 
It has become a much larger show, well attended, and a beautiful venue. They have also expanded the prizes and there is also a very nice awards banquet on Saturday night. 
Looking forward to a local show that gets our feet wet before the big one here in 
Fairhope, Alabama next week.
This realization hit me this afternoon, that one of my favorite shows is next week.
I'm excited, nervous and going crazy at the same time.
We have a LOT to do in the next 2 weeks.

The week after A&Cs is Gulf Breeze and we will be boondocking there.
If we cannot get the U Haul camper completed enough, 
we will take the Gypsy Gal if she doesn't sell.
Boondocking is basically not plugging in, just sleeping, 
and maybe some light cooking and bathing. 
The bathing will have to be baby wipes of course 
as there will be no running water to use. 
The bathroom is a cassette toilet that we already have.
We will also have to have battery powered lights.  
Who knows, if I do well enough at the first two shows, I may spring for a hotel!

The work on the new/old Uhaul camper is progressing nicely enough, 
although not fast enough for either of us! Chris has put in many hours of fiber glass, 
rebuilding holes in the walls, rebuilding the floor, and practically restructuring the door. 
I am spending precious time removing the stickers that are cracked, layered and apparently painted!
We are purchasing a set of new stickers for the camper as we do want people to know it is a UHaul.
We are getting closer to  the gel coat and then,
the dreaded
You see, this "egg" is 35 years old and the window seals have never been replaced. There have been several attempts to patch them, but it's time to do a complete reseal.
We found what we hope is the correct seals and will attempt this in the next week.
We've heard it is a test of your marriage, doing them together.
Together we must though as we don't want to lose windows that are irreplaceable.
I'm looking forward to conquering them!
This weekend, my "boys" will be rewiring the camper for both 110V and 12V. 
They will be working on this while I am at the show on Saturday in Orange Beach. 
Life is hopping here at the Raccoon Retreat Studio!
Blessings on you all this day as well!

Shells times 2, Acrylic on canvas, 6x6 inches
Days 90 & 91 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Mardi Gras Madness!

 I know I've said it before, but this past week has been interesting to say the least! It has been a week of stretching the imagination, the endurance, and my creativity to it's almost absolute limits!

To begin with, I needed to finish my poster entry for the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama in October. This one was a bit of a struggle, as I could not concentrate on it enough to gel the ideas I had in my head and put them to paper and paint! More on that later..... Anyway, I spent the better part of 20 hours on this one folks, between the drawing designing, tweaking, and finally painting. I turned in my entry on Friday, driving it down to the Coastal Alabama Office a short time before the deadline!
I then packed away references in my large file bag, that has previous entries in it. It is kinda depressing to see so much work that will never see the light of day at a festival, but I am able now to see the mistakes made and improvements that could be done. I also gave the committee my suggestions for the logos for the shirts, as well as the suggested t shirt colors.
Here's hoping for a trifecta!

That was just PART of the week!

Keep reading.....
There was a lot of sewing too!
I tore apart a Victor Costa Dress to be able to make a skirt for my daughter to wear to the Queens Luncheon.
There was also a grinch involved for our grandson after the sweatsuit ordered was several sizes too small. I made the "sweater" from 3 t shirts and glittered it up to make it fun. He was a cute Grinch at school for sure!

The week continued....

I also dabbled in 2nd line Mardi Gras umbrellas for the parents of the Queen this year for their daughters coronation. I love it when people say have fun! Hers was Monet inspired, with gorgeous flowers and sparkle fabrics. His had a large Oyster shell that was hand built and 3 30 inch shrimp! The umbrella was then hand painted with lots of metallics!

There's more!
Remember this was over a week!

I was also able to make and replace my iguana in the gypsy wagon. I was loath to let my other one go with the wagon as I made it about 20 years ago. He is now happily residing in my studio again, while this one will go with the wagon if she sells soon. It is cut with a scroll saw and detailed with a dremel tool. I then painted the details on it and put it on the door in the Gypsy Gal.

I then moved onto painting shrimp for the Shrimp 
Festival on Amelia Island in May. 
They may not make it to the festival though! 
These are little clip boards for grocery lists or maybe a photo.

Yes, There's more.....

I painted this last night with my Scripts& Strokes
Group at church. Based on Proverbs 24:3-4
We all have treasures in our rooms and homes!
Whimsical house was fun to create and paint. 
I also used it today to make a watercolor 
for  the Seniors at Shepherds place. 
Lots of fun at both!

And then there's today.....
Measuring 55 inches wide and 30 inches tall, these beauties will be at a show soon!
Painted on multiple canvases, I LOVE them!

There you have it, a SOLID week of Mardi Gras madness and mayhem!
I would not take anything for the time spent with Jessica creating! (I spent two LONG nights there, working hard!) The ability to make my grandsons dreams come true with his grinch for school. Painting with classes and in the studio.
It's been a long wonderful week!

Mardi Gras Madness! Multiple pieces and too many mixed medias to mention!
Days 82, 83,84, 85, 86,87,88, & 89! of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Monday, February 25, 2019

Lilies with Scripts & Strokes

Today was as usual a busy day. We are both up to our necks in things to do, and we would have it no other way!

My husband Chris is hard at work on our
new/old little Uhaul camper. He has started fiberglass repairs on various parts that need fixing in the worst way! Holes cut where there should not be holes, Spider cracks, and tail light spaces to be covered up and then replaced. He is doggedly working at the project, knowing we need the camper by the fourth weekend in March. Today he started on the interior floor. It was really bad in some spots, and not even touched in others. He is removing the bad wood, adding fiberglass to the bottom of the camper, then putting fresh wood on the floor and adding fiberglass again. Lots of hard work, I am so grateful he is a very capable and hard worker. It seems everything he puts in his hands is creatively and beautifully done. I am so grateful God has put our paths together!

Today's painting is based on Proverbs 8:17
I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.
When we spend time in the word, our souls are refreshed, renewed, and rejuvenated. I make an effort every morning to read the bible and I have enjoyed the journey very much! I have read it cover to cover several times now. The story God puts in our hands is a pure Love story written just for us as his children. I learn from it more and more each time I open it, and write notes in mine when something speaks to me. It's okay to write in your bible, because years down the road, the stories become familiar family histories. Proverbs are the easiest way to start, there are 31 proverbs, one for each day of the month! They also contain a wealth of information on how to act as Christians, our marriages, and humans in general. Start today on your journey of diving into his word!

Lilies, Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 24
Day 81 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Heron IV

Today's post is short and sweet.
It has been a busy day. We started out by going to church and from there we went our separate ways. Chris went to work on the camper, starting on the fiberglass work that he has to complete. It will be interesting indeed to see the work from his hands all over the camper. He did a lot of fiberglass work on the sailboat we had with a fixed keel. It had been run aground and the owner never attended to the repair. When we got it, he put it up in a sling under our carport and spent seemingly endless hours repairing it. He has watched endless you tube videos about how to do the work. I have confidence that he will get the job done, and done well. I've already seen where he is rebuilding the tail lights area in the rear, and the first layers look great!.
Me, I headed to our oldest daughters home to try and knock out some hats for her Mardi Gras orders. The whole afternoon was seemingly lost, when I was trying to work on a skirt for her on her sewing machine. In the process of looking for the cord to the machine, we cleaned the room up quite a bit! We never found the cord, and that's when her husband remarked, you don't think that the cord your brother cut and wired, was it? Mystery seemingly solved, an afternoon partially lost, a skirt not made, dinner together, and a cord ordered online.
I got to work on exactly one hat!
Oh well, time spent with my daughter is timeless........

Then I came home and finished this guy!

Heron IV, Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 16
Day 80 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Heron III

A day of work completed makes me happy!
Today found me  in the studio as usual.
 I finished all the canvases I stretched the other day by putting hangers and wires on them.
I am starting to have the presence of a show in the studio here. I know shows are getting close when I start having problems finding places to put the finished pieces. 
A very good problem to have!

I had a fitting with a friend for her gown I gave her for her wedding here at the house.
I also took several pieces to the Artists gallery on South Section street this morning.  
I needed to add some works, take some away, and freshen up my area. I love that God sees fit to allow me to make money with something I love doing every day!
We are 2 weeks out from our first show at Orange Beach. 
3 weeks until Arts & Crafts here in Fairhope March 15th, 16th, and 17th.
Hard to believe that it's so close!
I am also designing and painting my Shrimp Festival poster 
for this year and am quite pleased so far. Fingers crossed on that one!

Chris is starting the fiberglass work for the little uhaul. 
I am so happy to see him happily creating and eager to get out into the studio each morning.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, I am measuring the camper for cushions and curtains. We've already purchased the fabric for the cushions, matching it to the seascape fabric I have on hand. The seascape fabric was purchased for our bedroom makeover about a year ago. Once I cut and make the coverlet and curtain toppers, I can use what is leftover for the camper project. I am looking forward to the completion of both!

Somewhere in there today I also painted this guy!
Things are happening here at the Raccoon Retreat Studio!

Heron III, Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 16
Day 79 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Friday, February 22, 2019

Heron II

Another of the Revisits crossed my easel today. 
Painted originally in the fall of last year, they really are turning out to be more pretty in color. I am going to finish the 4 of them in color before switching to the sepias for the remainder of the 100 days for Spring.

There is a lot happening around here at the Raccoon Retreat Studio in Fairhope, Alabama. 
Work is progressing on the camper and we may have a buyer for the Gypsy Wagon. (Fingers crossed!) The uhaul is proving to be a larger project than expected, with many small things needing to be done before we can use her. We did find a manufacture date of 04/26/84 on the inside. Hand written in permanent marker, it also contains a lot of other numbers that are identifying markers. One of them seems to be a #1 (maybe the first one for that day?) Chris also removed the water tank from the back bin in preparation to move it towards the front. In the removal process, the tank has an identifying address for the Uhaul place in Tempe, Arizona. Fascinating facts that are not really useful but fun to learn about our 35 year old girl. Chris is eager to go outside and work on it each day, purchasing items for it including lights, new jacks, and a pump for a brand new cassette toilet he found on the side of the road. We've already repaired the toilet and it awaits installation into the camper. Lots of things have to happen before we can "load up" though. The list is getting longer by the minute, and the days until we need to use it getting shorter.
We still have Gypsy Gal, but I am hoping to sell her soon to finance the Uhaul project. Why such a fuss about the Uhaul camper? It is light enough that I can use my van to tow it, and we won't have to listen to a loud muffler for hours on end while driving! This is important as I have received confirmation  about the two shows we did last year in Florida. We are headed to both Melbourne and
Amelia Island again! SO excited to be a part of both of these shows!

Now the real work begins in earnest!
Today found me in the studio, varnishing all the canvases from India, others finished before I left, and those completed since coming home. I've also starting adding wires and hooks to the back. 
I have a lot to do in just the next week, for shows, our taxes, our home, our daughter, and too many other things to list. Who said retirement would be boring?

Heron II, Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 16
Day 78 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Heron I

Today was stretching day for 25 paintings I brought home from India. I really enjoyed the visit and got a lot of work done! These are the 4 x 24 paintings inspired by the Naples show in Florida.
I absolutely LOVE them and can't wait to see what my collectors think!

I also want to give a shout out again to my husband of 40 years. 
Christopher has been so encouraging in this art journey, even to the point of realizing a stapler that was not manual was desperately needed. After going through 2 different electric staplers, we settled on a compressor and air stapler from Harbor Freight. I bought the insurance for the gun, and it paid off when I had to get a new one after the first one jammed. We got the new one and staples and I used it for a while. When I went to get staples however, they were no longer carrying them. Fortunately, after some careful looking, I found an alternative with Bostitch. Even more recently I found the Large boxes of staples and happily purchased 2 of them. It is much faster with this gun, although it runs the dachshunds out of the house! I also have to wear hearing protection as it is extremely loud!

Today's painting is a revisit from my trip to India last year. The painting has not sold as a sepia, so now it is in color. I will also be visiting the other 3 pieces from the same batch!
One way or another, they will find homes I'm sure!

Heron I, Acrylic on canvas, 16 x16
Day 77 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Abstracting life

Abstract art has eluded me for years.
I admit I don't understand it, don't usually create it, and sometimes don't like it at all!

This canvas is another one of those things laying around waiting for completion.
A few years back, I was contacted by someone professing to want to purchase one of my paintings from my blog. After several emails back and forth, we agreed on a price for purchase and shipping. Check arrived and it was for a lot more than quoted!
I was then told the extra was for "handling"and to just deposit the check.
I took it to my bank, because something just told me it was a scam.
The gentleman helping me kept popping the check with his fingers, saying it didn't feel right. He called the bank the check was from and identified himself. The company it was representing was different from the people that contacted me as well. 
I started receiving texts from several different people, asking me if I deposited the check repeatedly.
I asked where do I send the pieces?
They stopped calling because they realized the jig was up and I was not sending the painting.
Long and short of it, it was a scam.
I wrote about it online, listing names, phone numbers and email addresses. 
(and a caveat that this was who I thought it was, not accusing anyone of guilt.)
I have received several thank yous from artists approached by the same people, telling me it prevented them from making a mistake. 

Anyway, while this was all going on, I had really sold the painting in question. I sketched out another, knowing I could send the new one to the party online.
They stopped contacting me, I sold the original, and now I had a canvas sketched, primed and gathering dust! That all ended today when I completed it in a style I am not familiar with.
It could be a nautilus, a rams horn, or a staircase depending on how you look at it. 
This painting is very light and airy and has a beauty all it's own.
Painted in pastels and pearl paints, it was so fun to complete!
By the way, it is a nautilus of sorts!

Abstracting life, Acrylic on canvas, 24x 24
Day 76 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Mixed bag!

Life gets in the way sometimes.
Especially here at the Raccoon Retreat Studio!
The days are screaming by as of late, I thought our later years were to slow down and enjoy life.
We are enjoying life for sure, but the slowing down thing has not happened as of yet!
Chris & I stay busy with projects for us, for me, for others. Sometimes donated, sometimes paid.
We are both enjoying his retirement completely!

Anyway, between the computer, the internet, and my just plain fumble fingers the paintings have not been posted as of late. Today catches me up as far as I can see on my calendar.
These Magnolias are different from the others left in India as gifts.
I really enjoy painting them!

This is one of those things we start as artists, that get pushed to the side repeatedly. Imagine one day, you are in the studio (house, garage) and you stumble over something that just needs to be completed. This one is that project. It was part of a series that sold in the gallery downtown. The multiple 
fleur de' lis and crowns I painted previously have all found homes. 
I am glad to put this project in my rear view mirror!

Last but certainly not least, Elle est Forte. 
She is Strong (although my musical friend reminded me Forte also is for Loud!) 
I totally forgot that from my musician days.
 This is the first painting for my Scripts & Strokes small group at Celebration church. This semesters paintings are based on Proverbs and Psalms, two of my favorite books from the bible. I have to admit, 20 years ago, I could not tell you anything from the bible. I read parts of it, but since I have read it several times now from cover to cover it has come to life in my hands. There are multiple passages that have spoken to me and parts of the book are underlined and starred. I have a creative bible, that I am keen to use and decorate.  I just can't seem to let go of my old faithful, battered, starting to fall apart pages that have spoken to me so often. 
It helps to read the bible daily, once you start, the soul becomes hungry for the word and you might find yourself drawn to it's beautiful stories and lessons.
Don't think you have time?
Read a Proverb a day there are 31 of them, one for each day of the month!
Amazing how that works isn't it?

Magnolia V, Magnolia VI, Magnolia VII, Magnolia VIII each 6x6, Fit for a Queen 10x10, 
Ell est Forte 11x14
Days 70,71,72,73,74,& 75 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Playing some serious catch up folks!

Boy what a week it has been!
While I don't think I've had some jet lag, I guess I have.
I've been creating, just not painting as much.
Today ended all that nonsense. While the crab was painted today, the magnolias 
were actually painted while in India and given away as gifts. I will have to paint more though, as the gallery in Fairhope has sold a couple lately as well. These four paintings will catch me up to this past Wednesday.

The hold up? 
Putting our bedroom back together after Chris built a fabulous storage bed!
Chris and I have purchased a new trailer for camping.
I convinced him to purchase it sight unseen for me, while I was in India. 
He wanted to wait for me to come home and look at it, but I told him I trusted his judgement.
 After 40 years of marriage, I should trust his judgement! 

Chris has been looking for a new project and this trailer presented itself to him while he was walking the dogs one day. He is not a bold person, but he inquired about this little trailer and found out it is a rare U-Haul camper. Approximately 2,000 of these were created in 1984 and 1985. They were rented by U Haul until 1992 and then sold off to the public. Some are in better shape than others! 
Ours is a 13 foot and I could not be more in love. After a lot of back and forth, messages, and talk, I convinced him to go ahead and get it. The weight is perfect, as it only weighs about 1200 pounds. My van can pull it with ease! We will have to be careful in loading her up though.
Anyway, the past week has been a lot of dreaming on both of our parts. Lots of forums, lots of parts hunting, and the removal of the trailer body from the frame. The frame could be in better shape, but for a 35 year old trailer it's okay. There is fiberglass work to do as well, but only a small amount.
Needless to say, it will be a work in progress especially for the next few weeks as we need it for a trip to Gulf Breeze, Florida the weekend of the 23rd of March.

Playing some serious catch up folks!
Acrylics on canvas, Magnolias I,II,III,& IV, Blue crab, crab 10 x 24
Days 65, 66, 67, 68,& 69 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Friday, February 8, 2019

Airing out his wings

I left New Delhi airport last night on a flight from Delta airlines. This was after finding the airlines gate for Airitalia that Delta put me on for the first of my legs home. 
I had tried to check in earlier online to no avail. After several failed attempts to check in about 20 hours before flights, Bappa suggested I try closer to flight time, maybe 12 hours.
 That attempt failed as well. 
Check in at the airport then which is a whole nother  bit of craziness . New Delhi Ghandi airport was really busy last night with lots of people traveling. Delhi is a major hub, with people from around the world. First Bappa found me a cart as I could not handle my luggage alone without one. I then had to locate the gate for Airitalia. Once I found the line it was a waiting game. Internet problems aside, it took quite a while to get my luggage checked in and a boarding pass.
He kept looking at me and saying 2 minutes mam. 
One boarding pass?
Madame your other flights are through Delta, you will have to get other boarding passes in Rome.
I then had trouble locating security area. I got into another line, and waited again. I was glad I was there 4 hours before my flight!
In security I had to remove my boots, put electronic devices into a bin, bag, and carry onto conveyor belt. I am in a panic, because the line for ladies to go through is long, with a guard, sustained off area, and wand check. Once through my luggage and other things I was confronted by "Is this your bag madame? " yes
Unlock. I am struggling to get boots, passport, purse, scarf and other things, now I need a key. Fortunately I had my keys in a lanyard hooked to the handle of my purse. Unfortunately, it was tangled up with my nametag. I plopped the purse in the counter, unlocked the case only to have him rummaging through my last minute dirty laundry and 24 paintings. He located a splinters I bought for my daughter in law. Then holding the bubble wrapped piece up asked " What is this? " I replied spoon rest. " Spoon rest? Ceramic? "  Yes. He then waved me through security. I am left with a suitcase in complete disarray, I'm now warm and the scarf comes off. I hurriedly pack my case and head to passport check. Another long line, lots of people, this is much more fun when you're with someone! Finally get to passport check, questions, stamps  and I'm on my way. The gate is number 8 and it is a long way to walk at 130 am. I bought a bottled water along the way and found a seat. I then wanted to repack my carry on, removing the fire from my purse as it was heavy. After repacking, I went to relock my case.
No lanyard.
No lock.
They fell off, after security somewhere in the two miles I walked in the wee hours of the morning.
I messaged Chris, asked him to Google removing TSA locks.
I also remembered he might have an set of extra keys.I
I sat and started reading my bible.
Chris messaged me that he has keys.

By this time, a 3 hour wait is down to one
We start boarding at 350.
I managed to find my seat, get in and settled. 
8 hour flight ahead.
 I am not impressed with Airitalia.
 The seats are hard, the service is terrible, and trash was not picked up until after breakfast service. 

Upon landing, my next task was to locate a Delta ticket counter. I stood for a long time, staring at the board and could not find my flight. I decided to get in one of the trains and go to next terminal. I met a young lady that was looking for the same flight and needed boarding passes as well. We decided two are better than one. Problem was we had to go through security again! 
once through security, we still did not know where to go, other than terminal E. I googled the flight number and it gave me the gate number. We went to gate, fielded numerous questions, and got the boarding passes.
Now sitting at the gate, I have had a thought.
My baggage claim tickets are attached to my pass for Atlanta. 
Do I have to get luggage, recheck luggage, find gate, security, and passport exam all within an hour and a half in Atlanta.
Say it isn't so!

Airing out his wings, Acrylic on canvas, 4x24
Day 63 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Coming in for a landing

The heat is starting to rise here. I am feeling it at least. This morning we started working on Neels album and it is going to be so cute! I think Christina enjoyed having a creative time, both of us working to sort, cut, and place photos in their proper places. I really enjoy working with my girls and my son when possible. Adult children are different, easy to have conversations with, and even take care of themselves. Anyway we spent the first naptime getting started on the album. After the nap, a feed, then 4 hours of freedom!

We went back to Dillihaat market to kick around after grabbing a bite to eat. The market is all outdoors, with stalls carrying food, purses, shoes, clothing, fabric, bric a brac, toys, and so much more. The colors are amazing, the variety astounding, and some of the vendors just plain annoying. Everywhere you look is something different, all of it wanting your hard earned money. In the end, I got 3 bags, 3 pairs of pants, and a whole lot of quality time with my girl Christina. Oh and a painting too!

Coming in for a landing, Acrylic on canvas, 4 x 24
Day 62 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Lionfish trio

Oh the lionfish! 
I think I'm in love with this one too!
Such a pleasure to paint and then share with you.

On this, 48 hours from heading to the airport, I am reflective. 
Christina and I are having a great time, just enjoying each other's company and watching Neel change from moment to moment. He has a personality starting to show and he will just grow more adorable with time I'm sure.
Sound like a Ya ya talking?
I am grateful for my time here, but I am ready for the flight back in time. I know going back is easier with the time change, but I will leave a piece of my heart in India when I go home.
It won't be easy, but to home, hearth, and husband I must go.
Besides, I have people and pupples that love me at home too!

Tomorrow we work on Neel's photo album that I brought with me here. I also brought the photos, papers, and other parts that make scrapbooking so fun. It will be delightful to hear all the sighs from cuteness overload. Neel turned 5 months old today and it has been a ride for these still new parents.

We went to the India Habitat Center this evening. Several openings for art shows that artists wait 2 years to get in for 5 to 7 days of hanging time. One of the receptions was for an artist with lovely abstracts, very well attended, food and wine flowing. Well done young lady, well done. 
Bappa waited outside the venues, because Neel had fallen asleep in the stroller. Such a kind,  patient, good husband and father he has become for our daughter. I love him so much myself! 
We ended the evening with a meal at the American Diner. Good food, although my Cajun chicken was not Cajun seasoned! You'd think in a country with so many spices, they could get Cajun right. Nope! Anyway this place is popular, fun, and has great service too. 50's themed, clean, and great menu too!
Best of all, Neel was a complete little gentleman. He slept, woke quietly, drank his bottle, and was quiet. Not one time was he upset. Christina and I both thanked him profusely when arriving here at the house. 
I pray the rest of her night goes as well!
Goodnight from India!

Lionfish trio, Acrylic on canvas, 8 x 24inches
Day 61 of the 100 days ~ 100 paintings Spring 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019

Lionfish study III & IV

 Oh the challenges of being in a foreign country. In addition to navigation around, different foods (which I enjoy very much!), Language barriers ( Our daughter's Hindi was complemented by a local vendor), there is the problem with internet and phone.

Quite frequently here at the Banerjee home a call will come in. They will answer and say hello hello and there will no one there. The same person may call 5 or 6 times before
 finally making a connection. 
Then sometimes the call drops. 
This happens with both cell phones and landlines. The cell phones are  most of the issue, so many of them trying to be in use at the same time. Christina said at one time, the city removed 15,000 illegal towers from Delhi alone. 
Ah life as an expat in a foreign country she dearly loves.

Any way the long and the short of it is that my phone, being older especially does not like it here too much! Last night the fire I have also went haywire, and hence I have a two for one post today.

Today we had no helper for Neel so we went on an adventure with him. We waited until after his morning nap and we had our lunch. We then hit the road, going to Kahn market where we both got excellent chocolate desserts. Mine was cake, Christinas was an incredible triple layer cheesecake.
Neel was happy at first, sitting in my lap content.
Almost finished with our desserts, he began really losing his composure. We wrapped it up and took him to the car. Upon checking, we found the source of his
 displeasure was a dirty diaper.
A really dirty diaper if you know what I mean!
This began the adventure of changing a baby in the back seat of the car. He was at an angle and the sun was in his eyes. 
He doesn't like the Sun so he's kicking and turning. 
Christina down in the floorboard, working on the mess, me bent over from the outside of the car. I'm trying to keep his hands out of the way, as well as the sun out of his eyes. My purse formed a sun shade, and we finally got him cleaned up.
I picked him up, dropping his wubba pacifier on the
 ground in the process.
Christina scooped up the pacfier, and put it away in the diaper bag. I brought Neel around the other side of the car
 to put him in the car seat.
This put me in the line of constantly driving by traffic.
With the driver holding the door, cars honking as they passed, Christina and I buckled him in.

Then we headed to Lodi Garden. Lodi Garden is an incredible place, with lots of beautiful greenery, old tombs, temples, and flowers. 
We put Neel in the stroller, and started walking. Before long he was off to the land of nod.
We walked for 45 minutes, allowing a sleeping baby to sleep. When he awakened, we found a bench and gave him the bottle Christina made in the morning.
A delightful afternoon after all!

That's all for today.
It is almost 11pm here and I am ready for the land of nod myself!

Lionfish study III & IV, Acrylic on canvas, 
Days 60 & 61 of the 100 days 100 paintings Spring 2019

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Lionfish study II

The days seem to be going by faster now.
My time here is coming to a close in a few days, and it will be 
bittersweet going home.
It has been a good visit, seeing our daughter and son in law grow as parents. Our daughter is enjoying motherhood, and it fits her quite well. Our grandson is growing by leaps and bounds, finding his hands and feet, all while discovering with wide eyed wonder as much as he can about the world that surrounds him. His grandparents here love him a lot and judging by the smile on his face when he sees them, he returns their love.
All is well in the Banerjee household.

Today found me on a fabric hunt. I found it all right!
Sumita  (Christinas mother in law) took me back to a market where we had gone before. While I was searching for cotton silk for hats, I discovered a world of cotton that would blow a quilter or seamstress's mind and wallet . There were also about 15 shops in the same area all selling fabrics, lace, and trims. 
We only went in 3...
Fabric is generally inexpensive here, with the value of a dollar  being strong against the rupee still. Our dollar is about 70 rupees. With fabric about 350 per meter, that calculates to about 5 dollars. These fabrics are also about 60 inches wide.
The problem is making a selection from the vast array of colors, textures, and patterns. There are gorgeous silks, fabulous rayons, velvets, blends and cotton all under one roof. Or should I say floors. Three floors in most shops, each one having a dizzying array of carefully folded fabrics. If you admire something, the people start pulling out all sorts of offerings, unfolding and displaying them inviting you to touch and savor them with your fingers. I wanted so much more, but left after purchasing fabric for palazzo pants for both girls and myself. I also found fabric for our grandsons to have shirts with sharks on them. The fabric I picked for myself has shells combined with a pale green and pink. It will make a beautiful pair of  palazzo pants for myself. I found fabrics for a top and jacket as well for an outfit that will be stunning and artsy for shows.
I was a professional seamstress in a former life.
(Before car accident in 1993)
Now I sew primarily for my pleasure and sometimes for others!

I also painted today.
This was difficult because Chris may have found a camper light enough for our  van we bought last year to pull. We used whatsApp back and forth him sending photos and me asking questions. The guy that has it, bought it to restore but now has it for sale. My husband asked if he would trade for our gypsy wagon. The gentleman looked and liked what he saw, and it may or may not happen as a trade. I am excited because Chris is excited, although it will be an adventure getting it done before the end of March for show season! Chris wanted to wait for me to make a decision, because he knows how much I love the Gypsy Gal. I told him I trust his judgement and now I wait.
Why am I excited?
Because it is a Vintage tiny trailer!
My van can pull it!
Fingers crossed, and paint is flying here in India!

Lionfish study II, Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12
Day 58 of the 100 days~ 100 paintings Spring 2019

Friday, February 1, 2019

Lionfish study I

I am starting a series on lionfish today.
These studies are for a larger painting at a later date.
I love painting them, even though they are a bad fish to have in our waters because they eat a lot of the baby game fish.
Lionfish are not native to our waters, but I've heard they're delicious!

I have noticed something while here in this trip. I have been coming here to this country of juxtapositions for almost 5 years now. The traditions and beauty that is recognizably India is rapidly disappearing. Some not all of the younger generations here are discovering western lifestyles, but most of all, western dress style. The girls especially are getting away from sarees and kurtas in exchange for more modern clothing.  There are lots of the same stores we have in the states, offering the styles we often wear.( Or don't, in my case.  I just can't pay for a pair of jeans that are ripped to shreds in the name of fashion.)
The hairstyles are changing, clothing is changing, and some are balking at the traditional ways of life. I see a different India from 5 years ago.

Today we also went to the All India Art show.
We did not take the baby with us on our adventure. The show is interesting to say the least. Lots of galleries from all over India and the world. The artwork ranged from the whimsical to just plain weird. We enjoyed ourselves, got a delicious dessert, saw a lot of art and bought a couple of books. 
I bought Christina a book on her favorite artist, Frida Khalo and myself a book on graffiti artists. I am bringing home ideas for art camps that will blow kids minds, and probably their parents too!
Inspiration, ingenuity, invention, India!

Lionfish study I, Acrylic on canvas, 12x12
Day 57 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Another galaxy~ far away

I am still feeling like I'm in a another dimension here. It really is different, with all the sights , sounds, and smells hitting you from all sides at once. Riding is an experience, but let me tell about the restaurant we went to for lunch today.  It is called Juggernaut and is located in the Kalish Colony Market in New Delhi.

I cannot begin to tell you the names of things, but oh the tastes were amazing. This is by the way a vegetarian restaurant, all served with an unbelievable flair. We started with a drink that had crispy wafers served with it. I'm assuming it was to start your meal off right, because this is served to everyone that comes to eat there. Small glass with a kick, I am sure I tasted tumeric, and several other spices within all in a hot, spicy, drink that was delicious. I think Bappa and his family were surprised to see me drink it with no problems. The wafers were light and crispy, and just enough to temper the spices. We then went on to another course with a soup in a light broth, served with several different curries. I liked the red curry most of all. We then went on to our vegetable stew, several vegetables cooked with a creamy coconut based thick broth. The stew was served with a bread that closely resembles a crepe, lightly browned on one side only. I also tried and enjoyed a vegetable cake that tasted like it has sweet potato in it that you dipped into a yogurt type dressing. Too many things to eat, and several hours later, I am still satisfied. We finished off the meal with steaming hot cups of coffee, that when poured into a bowl and swirled around becomes cool enough to drink. All reasonably priced and served with lots of flair and a beautiful setting.

Speaking of setting, I wanted to photograph the entire space we were in. (I didn't though, because I didn't want to be that tourist!) Incredibly beautiful murals painted on the walls, with gorgeous medallions depicting people at work in the fields. The furniture was painted as well, with lots  of incredible flowers. there were also baskets of flowers at every corner.
I would love it if we went back!

Today's painting seems like kind of a ho hum creation after seeing Juggernaut. Another galaxy of starfish ~ far away in India!

Another galaxy~far away, Acrylic on canvas, 12x24
day 55 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019