Looking at a Cloudy Night

Way back on the 1st of July, I went to a Wine and Canvas event with saintvi, her daughter JoyousWind, and the very popular former xangan, Seedsower. I had some serious misgivings about this painting. I would not have picked it but it was the only time we could all get together. The last one was hard. This one was even harder! The layers of clouds were a real challenge. Then the trees on top of that with time running out made for a very hectic painting atmosphere! I made it just in the nick of time due to the unexpected road closure and the longer than normal detour. So I don’t have any of the very beginning steps with the horizon line, dark sky, and the first cloud layer and the measuring for the second layer.
We had to take a break to let the clouds dry a bit. At this point I was feeling a little inadequate. I thought my clouds were too low on the canvas.

Then it was a flurry of activity to put in the moon and the water before the paint (applied thinly)was too dry to blend!

At this point we took another break and I walked around and looked at some of the other painting. I started to feel better about my painting. Some folks couldn’t make a circle for the moon to save their lives! A brief potty break and then a manic effort to put in the land, trees, and water details. Time was up and no one had put in the leaves! We stayed late to finish the foliage.

Below is the Demonstration painting showing all the extra branches that we just didn’t have the time to add (nor the patience).

Here are the paintings all lined up together showing the diversity in the painting styles. Each one has things that I really like – seedsower’s moon, saintvi’s background trees on the horizon, and JoyousWind’s water details.
The group photo tells the story – we are all smiling! It is true that the painting look so much better the next day.

Looking at Nature

About 15 days ago I was getting the newspaper off the driveway before work when all of a sudden a duck came charging at me. I am not much afraid of animals and ducks do not instill any fear in me. Even when they are flapping and quacking toward me. I picked up the paper and moved toward the duck. She proceeded to flap her way toward the middle of the front yard. That is when I became alarmed. She was nearly trampling the bunny burrow! She flopped around as if she wanted me to chase her and I turned back to the house. She came at me again with some more squawking. I figured she must be trying to make a nest in the front bushes. I walked on the porch peering into the shrubs but didn’t see anything. I went to work. That night I told Sparky about the duck attack. He simply made the hmmm noise. Fast forward a couple days. I came home from a Saturday shopping excursion with son#1 and Sparky informs me that a duck (surprise) has made a nest behind the hostas by the front porch. He admitted that he thought I had “made-up” or “exaggerated” the duck story. In essence he didn’t believe me. I was a bit hurt that he would think that I was lying. I attribute his attitude to the latest National Geographic magazine titled Why We Lie: The Science Behind Our Deceptive Ways but I digress. Back to the duck. There are 8 eggs in the nest. (Update: the total is now 10 and she isn’t budging from the nest.)

When Sparky took the Saturday afternoon photo he managed to completely rile mama duck. As a result she flew off. I looked out the front door several times over the course of the day to see if she had returned – a big nope. I checked again around 9:00 PM when it was just getting dark and she was still missing. The next morning I peeked out the window and there she was hunkered down on the nest. Just before leaving for church I snuck around the corner and snapped a quick photo of mama duck sitting on her nest.

She has been diligently sitting on her nest and we have been carefully avoiding the front porch. I have to give her credit, the color of the mulch against the antique brick help camouflage her and the nest. I’m hoping the cat that is marauding around the neighborhood doesn’t come around until mama and her soon-to-be brood have moved on. I plan to get a couple photos of the ducklings after they hatch. I’ll keep you all posted. And the bunny story will be coming soon.

Looking Up

I tend to be a looking down kind of person. I have always focused on what was immediately before me. Some call it attention to detail or a “laser” focus. Others deride it as looking at the fine details instead of the “big picture”. If you look down, no one can accuse you of looking down your nose at them. If you look at the things close by, you aren’t accused of over-reaching ambition. The detail oriented individual is many times the only one who sees the pitfalls. The persons gazing at the sky are much more likely to fall into the ditch or step into quicksand. Which brings me to the need for balance. For every forward thinking visionary there need to be a couple worst case scenario voices that hold them back from self destruction. I’m not advocating preventing them from reaching their dreams – just slow them down enough so that they don’t walk into the path of oncoming traffic.

I have been looking at the changing landscape at work. More and more of my coworkers are turning into stargazers. The possibility that they will lose sight of immediate needs is growing. This makes me nervous. I’ve gone from the voice of reason to an annoying buzz that is ignored and brushed off. I suppose I’ll sweep up the ashes when they crash and burn…