Posts Tagged 'watercolors'

Taking a mental holiday

Any plans I had for a vacation or holiday trip are on hold. Even traveling to see family seems risky: crossing state lines, wondering where safe bathrooms are in transit. Travelogues are now my jam. I’m watching programs in English or German. Some of the programs on Y**tube from WDR can show English subtitles if I set my preferences, which helps. I’m looking for scenery other than my home’s four walls. I’m also writing down which EU location would be a good trip, once that’s possible again.

As part of this weekly 3-hour holiday break, I’m experimenting with watercolors based on photos from past travels. San Diego was amazing, and I have some good photos for paintings. Here’s one I painted based on a photo of boats in the harbor.

It’s a great mental exercise, putting you back into a different time, when you were having fun. So what do you do that allows you to feel less stressed and less stuck? I have friends who are on a strict book reading program, and others who are streaming cable shows. There is no right answer.

Indoor pursuits

Encinitas Beach, California, painting (postcard sized).

It’s just cold and dark outdoors, without the benefits of snow. Blah. In the evenings, I’ve been indulging in playing with inktense blocks, experimenting with blending colors, making one band of colors blur into another. I’ve also been painting watercolors, using photos from last year’s vacation (thinking about warmer days).

There’s been knitting (Kate Atherley’s Thursday Afternoon Shawl, which is lengthening without getting wider… alarming!) and prepping a new project (balling yarn).

When the kitten is asleep, I’ve been hemming up a skirt (it’s an old 80s skirt, made of lovely material, but very … wide at the hem… so it’s slow). I have added pin pricked fingers to the kitten’s inevitably play marks. Unlike knitting, hand hemming is something I can pause to use the cat dancer toy as a distraction. I’m not sure how to handle the sewing machine around an active kitten (the other cats want the machine to kindly die, and leave me alone), so big sewing projects and printmaking are on pause.

Painting seasonal emotions

Several people I know, who live in the far north, talk about darkness, and how gloomy things are. I’m currently enjoying early evenings, taking time to play with paint.

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Much of the time, that’s with electronic help (photos I took while on a walk, earlier in the day), because a location is either too crowded with people or the weather is uncooperative [rainy, or very cold] for perching on a park bench and sketching. I’m exploring new media (water-soluble wax crayons), and not worrying too much about how loose the images are. I’m going for the mood.

Washington, DC can be beautiful, with blue skies that make up for the crowds. I was in a shopping street filled with Louis Vuitton and other products I can’t afford, gawping at the windows displays….  watching college students pose in front of a backdrop of whimsical umbrellas. How tempting to snap a photo, then play with my tools.

So, how do you save yourself from the bad mood monsters? Is it art, or crafts? Making music, or going to a concert? Coding a new website or reading a great, cozy book? If you’re in Australia or somewhere in a heat wave, do you find yourself struggling with seasonal moods? For me, right now, I’m letting watercolors break up the gloom, playing with shadows, collecting leaves for practice painting, and trying not to dip my brush in the mint tea.

 

Changes

We’ve been humming David Bowie around here (a favorite) because of changes. We’ve finished some good home updating, although not the longed for new bathroom (someday). It’s all external maintenance, but a useful change. Meanwhile…

sketch of sunset over beach houses

Sketch of sunset behind beach houses, moon reflected in waves.

An unwelcome visitor (Florence) stopped near neighbors to the south, so I watched and hoped for the storm to dissipate before it made landfall. We’re both grateful not to be out on the Outer Banks on vacation.  But there were lots of friends and family inland from the projected path.

And… with the rains from Florence (and all summer), the house logically needs more maintenance prior to the longed for modernization indoors.

So, change, uncertainty… feeling uprooted… it feel odd to cheerfully chirp about updates to an older home. But it still needs to be done, if we’re not going to let buildings rot into the ground.

I’ll leave you with a few photos from southern North Carolina, pre-Florence.

 

 

 

What I did for my summer vacation 2013

North Carolina coastline, August 2013, (c) R

(C) rjn, August 2013

There was time to play with my watercolors while staring at the North Carolina coastline. And time to gawk at other peoples’ work. More later.

Experiment with Pearl watercolors

Since today is the first of many days with weak sunlight, this is the best my camera will be able to do.So, what do you think? Try the Yasutomo watercolors out on darker watercolor paper? Or try using them to accent things where I want a bit of shine, even if the background is white?


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