#181 – MOO TWO

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I’m on a cow kick!

I just think they are amazingly beautiful.  So sturdy. So solid. this is one of the cows I photographed at the cattle farm on Block Island.

This is my final postcard painted on Block Island.  Today we came back to the mainland to resume our regular life.  Boo Hoo.

It is nice to have a fast internet connection I must say.  I spent many an hour putting the posts together this past week.  It took about 20 minutes to upload a single photograph and of course I had to upload dozens of them.  It was hard not to! I have so many favorites.

Here are my favorites from the past two days:

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I can’t believe my husband and I combined, took 1,594 photos this past week.  I’m psyched.  I shouldn’t have to worry about figuring out what to paint for months!  So many beautiful nature shots.

As for having to work on my 365 Art & Creativity Challenge during vacation,  it was super hard.  There were so many family and friends, not to mention young in’s busy doing something every minute of vacation.  I was afraid of holding people up or not being “present” which caused me to have to work very early in the morning and very late at night.  It sort of took the relaxation out of my trip, but I look at it this way,  it’s only one year.  That’s a drop in the bucket.  One or two vacations altered is nothing.

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Plus.  If I didn’t push myself, I wouldn’t be coming home with a wonderful little collection of souvenirs.  There is a lot of work involved, but there is also quite a bit of reward.

I’m looking forward to working on some more Block Island artwork.  I had a great week.  The island’s beauty is permanently ingrained in my soul.

http://www.becreativemary.com

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#180 – MOO

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Hi everybody.  I have bad news.  I’ve just spent an hour and a half trying to upload photos to WordPress and it keeps failing.  My little vacation cottage on Block Island has the slowest internet connection I’ve ever experienced.  Worse yet, it just fails and you lose whatever you were working on.

I mention this sadly, because I planned on sharing another fun-filled day of photos from the Block, but I don’t have it in me to try for the fourth time to upload and face yet another failed attempt.  I go home tomorrow, so I will wait and post more photos from my speedy computer tomorrow night.

So I leave you with a sweet little 5×8 postcard I created today.  One of my favorite spots on Block Island is this cattle farm on the side of a glacier hill.  You know, a rocky cliff carved out from the ice age.  I love to come visit this farm and watch the cows handle this terrain.  It’s like watching cows walk up and down a black diamond ski trail. They do it and they do it well.  This year there were two little calves running after mom for milk.  Sweet as can be.

I have a really hard time with humans overdeveloping land.  When I come to this place filled with rolling hills, birds and animals, I feel like I get to take a break from worrying about humans out of balance with nature.  Here people are respectful and are trying very hard to conserve their beautiful location, conserve resources, and live harmoniously.  Not one chain store, big box store or cookie-cutter development and yet people can survive here.  Wow.  what’s that tell you?

It is like I’ve gone to a fantasy land.

I won’t start ranting and raving …. I’ll just say, I wish the mainland where I live would cherish its natural resources a little bit more.  Value the green spaces over the allure of more tax revenue. Maybe even listen to all the small people who show up at town hall meetings begging for their areas to be left alone.  I don’t believe in the “power of progress”.  I think too many things around me are mowed, chopped down and leveled without true consideration for our community as a whole.  For society as a whole.  For humanity.  When will we have enough?  When can our country stop surviving on “growth” and move to a model of maintainance?  I’m reminded of the Lorax.  Enough already.  Give more tax relief to the people who do nothing with their land as opposed to the people who dismantle it.

So this is why I chose to vacation in the place I vacation.  Humans celebrating the beauty of nature.  Hiking, biking, beaching, sunset watching, beach combing, star-gazing, trips to the farms.   They are all ways to embrace recreation yet not leave a footprint.

I can get behind that.

I just wish I could stay for more than one week!

http://www.becreativemary.com

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#179 – POSTCARDS FROM BLOCK ISLAND

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Today we woke to the cracking of thunder.

There is nothing like being on vacation, where you don’t have to wake up and you get to stay in bed drowsily listening to the rain come down.

It’s lovely sign of summer.

I painted my postcards to the smell of maple bacon cooking on the stove.  Hot cup of coffee in hand, I got to enjoy a very lazy morning.

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Today the island was covered in a thick blanket of fog.

Not every day can be a beach day.

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We mozied on down to the farm to visit with the animals.

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This alpaca stole my heart.  It’s deep black eyes sparkled in the mist. They are such beautiful creatures.

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Next we waved as a loved one departed on the afternoon ferry.  We are getting to that point in the vacation where more and more of us will be waved to. Vacation is coming to an end.

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So much beauty packed into a very tiny place.  I’m very thankful for being here!

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178 – VIEW FROM OLD HARBOR BLOCK ISLAND

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Painting complete!

This is a 16″x 16″ pen & watercolor drawing of the old harbor on Block Island, RI.  There are so many beautiful Victorian buildings on this Island.  I’d love to do a whole series of paintings of the buildings.  I better take some more photos!!!

Here is the progression of this painting:

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If you look at the middle photo, you can see I initially had the sky blue.  I felt like the sky was too close to the colors of the buildings, so today I painted a wash of pinks and oranges into the sky.  I feel like now there is enough contrast between the two.  The buildings get to pop.

I also added in a bunch of shadows today.  I always think that is the most fun part of painting.  The smallest things make the biggest difference. They help create depth.

It’s taken most of my vacation to realize I really needed to scale down the scope of my daily projects.  We are never at our cottage. I’ve been coming back around 9pm every night and working until midnight…which doesn’t feel very vacation-like! 

This afternoon I pulled out a postcard sized Cotman watercolor pad.  The paper is 5×8″ inches. Now this is something I might be able to tackle in between beach combing, hiking and ice cream eating!  I did two small sketches today and I will begin painting them in the morning.

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I will leave you the same way I’ve departed every day this week, with some of my favorite photos of the day. Any chance I get, you’ll find me snapping away at the majestic beauty of this island.  Some time in January when the ground is frozen, I’ll have all of these photos to  inspire and keep me energized.

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We started off the day with donuts fried right off Payne’s Dock and finished off the day with ice cream cones.

Truly, another perfect day!

http://www.becreativemary.com

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#177 – OLD HARBOR VIEW Block Island

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Greetings!  Yet another beautiful day on the Block!

I got to sneak in an hour or two in this morning to work on this watercolor and ink drawing of some of my favorite buildings in Old Harbor. I still have windows to fill and shadows to cast; I also think I am going to do a pink colored wash over the sky to make it more of a dusky color. There are so many buildings I’d love to draw.  For some reason, in the fantasy within my head, I thought I was going to have more time on vacation to “Be Creative”, not less.  As I have mentioned, my kids could care a flying fig that mommy decided to pull a 365 Day creativity challenge, they just want their mom there when they want her and they expect her to play very hard and her attention MUST be on them at all times…. Yeah, as usual, I’m having quite the challenge to do both, be a mom and anything else!

But I’m squeezing it in the best I can.  I’m trying!

So while I was out and about “not painting”, I continued to take in more of the island’s natural beauty.  I have to say, I am LOVING my Canon Rebel EOS camera.  It was a present from my husband and it is so addicting!  Taking pretty photos with a mediocre camera is fun and all, but taking photos with a higher quality camera is amazing!  You sort of get giddy when you see things and are able to capture them.  Your power of observation multiplies ten fold.   Going back to an old-school viewfinder trains and strengthens your eye for composition and fine detail.  I find photography so gosh darn fun.

Here are a few more favorite photos of the day.  I find myself naturally gravitating towards houses and buildings as my muse.  I love the juxtaposition of the wild farm fields and a little place of refuge.  I also adore the Victorian lines of many of the buildings.  So here are some building photos:

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Oh and one more thing.  Every year, my husband and I (mostly my husband the cook!) host a Pizza on the Grill Dinner.

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My husband grilled around 15 mini pizzas tonight, and then we load them with all different toppings.  We had fresh tomatoes, basil, peppers, onions, sausage, pepperoni, bacon, chicken and of course cheese.  Each pizza is different.  Then we cut all the pies into small pieces so we can taste them all.

Oh yeah baby, one of my favorite nights of vacation.  Thank you husband! Sure hope I can squeeze back into my bathing suit tomorrow!

http://www.becreativemary.com

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#176 – BLOCK ISLAND, OLD HARBOR VIEW

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Another Perfect 10 on the Block!

This is a regatta week, so on top of your typical amazing views, add in one hundred sail boats circling the island, just for good measure.

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This morning I started sketching out some of my favorite Victorian buildings down in Old Harbor.  There is something about old architecture and vacations.  They harken us all back to a simpler time.  A time when things were built with the utmost integrity and designed to beautify one’s local.  There was such an amazing attention to detail and quite frankly, things then were built to last.

Most of us would like to escape to a place like that right?

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Block Island’s Old Harbor is loaded with Victorian gems.

It took me quite a bit of time to draw in all the little details in this 16″x16″ Sakura Pigment drawing.  Tomorrow I’m going to paint it.  I get to add color and bring this work to life. My favorite part!

I’m going to spend the rest of this post sharing some of my favorite photos from the day:

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Here were two cool rusty iron objects my daughter found beach combing.  She is always on the hunt for strange man-made artifacts.  No shells for my little one. You should have seen her lugging that crank shaft up the cliff.  It was way too heavy for her, but she was determined she was bringing this art sculpture home! God Bless her soul.

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OMG. I totally stopped to smell these roses!!!

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I’m a sucker for a lone tree.

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I have no idea what these are.  They were growing wild in the field.  Their color was very faded as if the sun had been beating down on them for centuries.  I just loved their texture juxtaposed against the wheat.

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We finished up the day with a hike out to watch the sun set.  The clouds were moving in.  It was not looking promising, but man am I glad we saw it through.  At just the right moment, the bright red sun pierced through the clouds and gave us a knock-out sunset.

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It was truly, the end of a perfect day!

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!

http://www.becreativemary.com

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#174 – I SMELL OCEAN

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I’m about to cry!  I just spent an hour writing about my first day on vacation and because I’m out in the middle of no where, the internet flaked out on me and erased my entire blog post!

I’m fall on the ground tired.  My painting’s still wet.  I’m throwing in the towel and will return early tomorrow morning to rewrite this one.  I got my work done for today though.  I swear it.

Sometimes technology can really stink.

Everything will seem better with a little bit of sleep…

ZZZZZZZ

#173 – I LOVE GRANNIES

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Wow, Am I beat.

It is the very end of this day.  I have just one hour until midnight.  Better hit publish soon.

The funny thing is, I finished this painting about 14 hours ago.  I just didn’t have the time to document it!

I woke up early around 5:30 am.  For anyone that knows me, I am practically 40 years old and never woke before 7 am in my life until this 365 creativity challenge!  Let’s just say this is the earliest I’ve woken on record! I don’t do early!!!

I knew I had a three-hour drive to a family reunion departing at 10 am, so if I was going to do anything today, it would be at the crack of dawn.

So I did it and it was a pleasure.  I got my art in.  I got to complete something which always feels good and then we were off.

From 1-6 pm I caught up with a whole lot of family I don’t get to see to often any more, got into water balloon fights with the youngins’, ate my token BBQ hotdog, and then we were off again.  Time to turn around and drive 3 hours back so we could grocery shop tonight and pack for our vacation to Block Island, RI tomorrow.

So forgive me for not over-dissecting my work for today.  I’ll spare you!  Right now, all I can think of is a big white fluffy pillow and darkness, plenty of it!  I’m hitting the sack before I get to do this all over again tomorrow plus hop a ferry to one of my favorite places in the world!

I’m off.  I look forward to sharing my vacation with you :)

Good Night.

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16×20 watercolor on 140 LB cold press paper.

http://www.becreativemary.com

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#172 – HEY GRANNY

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Man oh man, I was super frustrated yesterday.

I had one of those days where I couldn’t get my mind to meet up with my hands.  My expectations of what I wanted my painting to look like and that which actually manifested, were not simpatico.  Now that the crazy critical energy has passed, I look back at yesterdays work and it’s not bad at all.  It’s not what I envisioned, but it’s its own thing.

So after a day of experimenting and a lot of frustration, today I found solace in something very traditional, a still life.

Still lives always bring me comfort.  There is a formula, there is a beginning and an end.  They nurture, soothe me and give me a rest before I get up the courage to experiment with something I don’t know again.

I was also very angry that yesterday’s painting didn’t have the translucency I was going for, so today I picked something I could swirl around and where I could take advantage of the white in the paper. Apples are perfect for this.  Painting them felt great.

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The sketching part is always difficult.  I spend a lot of time in front of a mirror looking at the painting’s reflection.  If the ellipses and circles in your drawing are off, the reflection will tell you.  I then have to take out the vacuum for the tremendous amount of eraser shred all over the room and then finally, I can get to the part I like, painting!

I am on Day #172 of my 365 day creativity challenge and I think I can safely say watercolors are the most comfortable medium for me thus far.  I didn’t know that 172 days ago.  Right there this journey of exploration has been worth it.  But I think the act of taking risks and experimenting with the unknown and then retreating back to that which is familiar is the right way to go.

stretch…grow…rest…stretch….grow…rest…

I can definitely see how my energy goes in waves just like that:

experiment….learn….go back to what I know….experiment….learn….go back to what I know….

The rides a little bumpy at times, but I feel just as invigorated as I did on January 1st.  Ultimately for any frustration I may feel, I over-all feel wonderful.

I’m still totally digging this challenge!

So, here’s the progression of this painting so far.  It’s a 16×20 watercolor on 140LB cold press paper:

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I should be able to finish this tomorrow I hope!

http://www.becreativemary.com

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