DAY # 243- A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS

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Mission Complete.

I finally finished the final bud vase painting out of a series of 12.  The premise was to incorporate my vases I made in pottery class with some of my favorite blossoms from my summer garden.

The colors are so happy.

I’d say my favorites are the sunflower, day lilies and geraniums.

I completed the geranium painting today.

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I LOVE red against emerald-green.  My sister observed the fact that I didn’t exactly draw the vase as I saw it.

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This is correct.

The fun Moroccan print was on a little bowl I made, but I wanted to incorporate it.  So I drew an imaginary vase but then added the desired pattern.  I did this on quite a few of the budvases.  Being the artist, it’s way too fun to tweak the shape and color to your liking.  I just couldn’t resist.  Otherwise I’d might as well had taken photos of my flowers right?

I made it through a fun-filled day with my family.  I have loads of photos and so much to tell, but I’m about to fall over with exhaustion.  I’m throwing in the towel and will hope for a little more energy tomorrow.

Jeez, I don’t have a clue what I am going to do tomorrow!

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DAY #242 – HALF WAY GERANIUM

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Here’s half a geranium painting!

I sketched it out, I painted all the petals and then… I ran out of time!

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You see, I really, REALLY had to clean my house for the seven guests I’m having this weekend.  Let’s just say, I’ve been painting more than picking up cat hair.

This weekend to all of us “New Englandahs” marks the beginning of the end.  After Labor Day the air begins to cool, the mornings and evenings require jackets…and we slowly unearth our winter clothes.  I have two different sets of guests coming to frolic at the beaches, BBQ and finish up the last of my garden mint for mojitos.

The last Hoorah.

It will be a difficult weekend for my creative 365, but if I can get through it, the promise of school starting next week hints of a routine coming.

I look forward to celebrating the end of summer with some of my best buds.

Wish me luck.

I will finish the geranium tomorrow, but what lies ahead for Sunday and Monday…I do not know!

Happy Labor Day Everybody!

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DAY 241- THE SUNFLOWER

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I’m almost there.  This is #11 in a series of twelve garden flowers.

There is nothing more visually stunning than yellow and black.  They vibrate off each other.

I love that sunflowers command attention.  My eyes are instantly drawn to them.

They are bold, fruitful, and gosh darn it, they are sunny.

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Yesterday I stopped in at this little farm stand.  I had driven by it probably three times this week, practically driving off the road when I saw the gorgeous flowers.  Not only did they have buckets and buckets of maybe 5 different varieties of sunflowers, but they had dahlias as well. Check these out:

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Can you now understand why I almost went off the road?  These flowers are stunning!

So of course like most good farm stands, it was out in the middle of no where.  How much money do I carry on my person?  none.  I never have a penny because when I do I spend it.  Thus the reason I keep my wallet empty.

So as I mentioned, I drove by this spot at least three times.  Each time wanting this bouquet so bad; wishing I had enough coins under my car seat to warrant pulling over…  I finally broke down.  I turned around and drove back into town, stopped at the ATM, then went into the bank to make change, got back into the car, drove back out into the middle of nowhere and purchased these beauties.

I just wish they never died.  I guess that is why artists gravitate towards them.  First of all for their color, but secondly, they live for such a short time that by painting them, one hopes to prolong their life; their beauty.

I could sit and stare, and probe, and analyze, and observe…all the live long day.  I find flowers fascinating.  Each petal is different yet magnificently in order.  A great order.  Something so divine and larger than ourselves that has nothing to do with humans in any way.  We are simply the observers.

I get overwhelmed with thoughts.  How can there be such divine order, such beauty and at the same time chaos, evil doing, disorder.  How?  How can there live both simultaneously?

I sit in my sunny little spot fawning over flowers, while at the same time listening to nation after nation debate whether their people have an “appetite” for another war.  Of course we don’t.  Especially when we can’t see a true reason for the past wars. It sucks. But how can you turn a blind eye?  The cries for help are overwhelming.

I get lost in these thoughts.  I just can’t comprehend.  Order – Disorder.  why? … why? … why?

I never find the answer.

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DAY #240 – BUTTERFLY BUSH RE-DO

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Are you noticing a trend for this week?  The RE-DO.

Sometimes when you try something for the first time, you would like to give it a second try. This way you can apply some of the things you learned from that first attempt.

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I think I’d have to RE-DO this painting 3 more times before I got somewhere. I keep finding it difficult to create an interesting composition for these flowers.  They are very vertical on a vertical page.  I really like the two lighter colored blossoms on the left.  That is what I wanted to try to capture in a new painting. I was a little heavy-handed with the new painting and they came out darker than I wanted.

Either way, I ‘m ready to live with this one and move on to another.  I stopped at a flower stand on my way home today and picked up some beauties.

We’ll see what I choose in the morning!

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DAY # 239 -YELLOW COREOPSIS RE-DO

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I know you must think I’m crazy.  Really is there any difference between these two?

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To tell you the truth, I can’t even tell you which one I like better.  All I know, is every time I walked by the original painting on the left, the red flower on the vase bothered me.   I felt like it overpowered the flowers.  I wanted to try it again and make the flower on the bud vase a little smaller and less “red”.

Was it worth another whole painting?  Not sure, but I scratched the itch.  I can put it to rest.   Now I can pull them out a couple of months from now and decide which one to add to my windowsill series.

I am aiming for twelve florals inspired by the bud vases I made in pottery class.

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Come January these paintings will pep me up.

Here is the progression thus far:

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The watercolors are 9×12″ but I think I am going to get 2×3″ tiny prints made.  I would love to have a mismatched colorful variety of mini-frames filled with the bounty from my gardens.

That would make me happy.

I am going to re-do the butterfly bush tomorrow and then I want to do two more.  My girlfriend mentioned a sunflower which is a good idea.  I definitely grow sunflowers in my garden.  Then I will need one more.  Any ideas?  It has to be a common enough flower that you’d find it in most gardens.  Maybe, Gaillardia; It is my favorite. However, if you are reading this and there is something as common as a daisy that I’m simply forgetting, would ya point it out?  Thanks!

OK.  That wraps up today.  I should be done with these by the end of the week and then I want to get more experimental next week when the kids go back to school.

Oh so many things to try…not enough days in a year!

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DAY #238 – DAHLIA REDO

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It was so nice to wake up and hop into my outdoor shower.  It will probably only look clean and pristine for about a week.  I better enjoy it while I can!

Today I repainted a bud vase of dahlias.  I wasn’t thrilled with my first attempt:

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because I had tried to lift the watercolor from the petals but the paper pilled.  Today I painted them with the wet on wet technique, no layers, nothing to lift.  The flower petals are technically a lot cleaner in today’s painting.

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It’s amazing how different the two paintings are.  I felt like I learned a lot from the first painting.  By the time I had finished it, I had finally figured out how I should have tackled it in the first place.  Guess that’s why they say hindsight is 20/20.

That whole learning curve thing.

So that was it for today.

Short and sweet.

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DAY # 237 – PIMP MY SHOWER

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I finally finished my outdoor shower!  I’ve only lived by the beach for ten years, but hey, it’s finally happened.  I can now say I have an awesome outdoor shower!

Man, this project feels like it took forever!

Here are the before shots:

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My husband and dad built it from cedar last summer and my cousin, sweet as pie, installed the plumbing.  This made the shower functional…but it definitely needed something…. what’s the word… pizzazz?

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Here are some of the items I found in my basement, shed & garage.  Last year during Hurricane Sandy, we lost a large curly willow tree.  As it was getting cut up for removal, I was snatching up as many curly branches as I could carry.  I didn’t know what I’d do with the branches, but I couldn’t part with them.  My husband rolled his eyes, seeing as how I have 3 large boxes of driftwood already in the basement! Next, I traced the flip-flop base onto the slate and then hand-painted flip-flops on the path to my shower.  The pegs are something I scored from my local hardware store some time ago.  I thought they’d be perfect for hanging towels. The strange facial mask was a gift from my brother-in-law a decade ago.  He was stationed in Haiti with the Marines.  It’s one of those gifts you just aren’t sure what to do with… a decade later, I finally found the perfect place!  The red thing up above unfolds to be an octopus drying rack.  It has tons of pins to dry our bathing suits.  That was another unique gift from my in-laws.  How lucky was I that it was red, the theme color I chose for my shower décor.  Then there are the bird spindles.  Thrift store find. The colors were never my style, but I thought the profiles were cool.  Found those in my basement too.  That leaves the old ugly bench I found on the side of the road and the piece of plywood my girlfriend gave me after hearing I needed wood for a sign.  Using what I had, I spent $20 for this project.  $20 bucks for 4 cans of red spray paint.  It’s amazing how far you can get with the junk in one’s own dwelling!

So here are some of my favorite photos from today:

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The first thing you notice when you walk in is the sign.  I wanted the sign to look like it was institutional.  Something you’d find at a school or public pool.  As a kid there were always hand-painted signs with rules on them.  I wanted something subtle as well.  Only people who stop and read will realize how ridiculous my request is.  My daughter got a good laugh out of “Cracks and Crevices”.  We all need a little humor right?

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the branches.  I only wish I would have kept more!  I was going for the look of electric red coral.  Rhode Island’s license plates are blue and white.  That was my little nod to my locale.

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I created a quick stencil for the existing stepping stones.  I just love the red it makes everything so bright and cheery.

It was awesome to come home from a long beach day and have such a fun place to come home to!#237- PIMP MY SHOWER (13)

I now officially feel like a Rhode Islanduh!

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DAY #236 – THE SMALL DETAILS

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Tomorrow’s the day  – Definitely!

I’m finished painting the walls.  I finished my vintage inspired sign, painted the bench, and painted the accessories.  Now I’m finishing the small touches for my outdoor shower reveal.

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Down to the stepping stones on the ground!

I hand-painted six flip-flops on the way to the shower and I created three crab motifs for the stones inside the shower. It’s beginning to look beachy. Speaking of which:

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Do you know what this is?

 My mother-in-law saw this at Ikea and swore I had to have it!  It is supposed to help at the end of a beach day.  I’ll show you tomorrow!

If you have been following, my kids were away and now they are back.   Bye-bye Be-Creative-Mary, Hello Be-Creative-Mommy.  When my daughter is home, there is not a silent moment.  She is like a hummingbird asking to do this, try that, create this….For any one thing I would like to do for myself, I have to promise to help her with her dreams and expectations.

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So on the daughter-front, I went on a wild scavenger hunt through three different beaches looking for sea-life remnants.  My daughter was assigned a project the last day of school, for this year’s first day of school.  A presentation and report.  Was that to freak out the kids or the mom???  If it were me, I would have finished the project my first week of summer vacation, but my daughter has my husband’s last-minute-gene.  Gives me a heart attack!  We found most of the wild life and she finished a report on the Block Island Great Salt Pond Committee.  They work with the nature conservancy.

If that wasn’t enough, my daughter then begged me to create a special present for her grandmother, aka. GJ.  GJ asked my daughter if she could make a special bag for her crochet needles, similar to one my daughter made for my paintbrushes.

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I have to say, I use my paintbrush holder everyday.  It’s perfect.  I was teaching my daughter how to sew straight lines with this project. For mine, we used a pillow case.

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It just so happens, I had bought these two place mats on clearance years ago, thinking I’d make a pillow with them…never happened.  I dusted them off and thought, boy these will make a perfect crochet needle holder.  I left one place mat flat and folded the other place mat in half width-wise.  I then stuck the flat place mat inside the halved-place mat.  I put masking tape and electrical tape where the needles would go.  Any area without tape is where she would sew a line.  GJ wanted three different width sections for different needles and scissors.

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My daughter is getting sewing basics down pat.  She knows to lower the presser foot, hold the thread for the first stitch, go forward 3 stitches, back 3 stitches, forward….sew in straight lines, feed the fabric through…back stitch when at the end, raise needle, raise presser foot, cut and release the thread…all the things my mom taught me.  I want to say I was 13-14 yrs. old though, not nine!

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She got it done and then had to sew the outsides because they were too thick to fit in the sewing machine.  The top of the flat place mat folds over to keep the needles in.

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The other side of the folded place mat becomes a large pocket for other materials.  My daughter is currently going through my vintage button collection, searching for the perfect buttons for grandma’s case.  It is so cool when a child can make something functional.  They don’t just get a pat on the head, they see the person actually using it which shows them the value.  It’s not always easy to stop what you are doing, lug the sewing machine out and keep patient while someone learns a fairly complex skill.  But, if you get yourself to that point, it is well worth it.  I could see the pride in her accomplishment.

So that’s it for yet another day.

My husband is boiling down about a hundred tomatoes from our garden to create a fresh basil sauce we will freeze and enjoy in the dead of winter as well as making me my favorite: fried eggplant from the garden.  It’s going to be a good night I tell ya.  Good eats!

I look forward to tomorrow.

We are heading out for what is most likely to be one of our final beach days of the summer and when we get home, we get to enjoy our OUTDOOR SHOWER!!!

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#235 – BUDDLEIA

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Picked my kids up today after a week with their grandparents.  It was nice to hold them in my arms and smell them.

Ahh, I do love kid smell.

I finished my butterfly bush floral study today.  I can already tell you I am going to try it again.  I wasn’t sure how to go about rendering a flower with such tiny components.

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I first painted the inner green stems and then began to stipple small dots to portray the tiny petals.  As usual, I didn’t think it was enough, so I added a couple more layers of color.  Only after it’s completion do I now see less was more.  I like the simplicity of that first layer as seen in the unfinished painting above.  I think a green or purple vase would have been crisper & cleaner.

Do Over!

Sorry to bore you guys, but you wouldn’t have ever even seen these “experiments” if I weren’t recording my daily progress!  If I were simply displaying my finished work, I would secretly try one subject matter 3-4 times until I learned all I could learn and then I’d show the world my final piece.

Oh well, life’s too short to care.  I guess you just learn I’m not perfect.  Yeah, that was a big secret! 

I think I can get it done on the next try though…bear with me.

School starts in a week.  I look forward to trying more serious, larger and complex works through the fall.  Will see, I think I’m going to have all this “free” time.  It’s probably a little bit of a  fantasy.  It’s what I wish though!

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I’m still plugging away on my outdoor shower…Making an outdoor vintage inspired sign….hand painting letters sucks!  Pardon my French, but it is tedious!  Getting it done though.  The saying I created for my poster cracked up my daughter, so right there it’s worth it!

OK.  Couple minutes before kid-beddy-bye.  I’m going to go snuggle them up for the last few minutes!

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#234 – SHOWER PROGRESS

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I’m working feverishly on my outdoor shower, however I have decided not to give anything away until the big reveal.

Here are some more supplies I was working with today:

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All sorts of goodies I’m digging up from the shed, garage, & basement.

Top Secret!

I’m such a dork.  Obviously I watch too much HGTV!

Onto Art….

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Today was a tweaking day. 

I re-sketched a new bouquet of dahlias.

I want to try again painting them again.

Learn from some mistakes.

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Next, I drove over to pick up some butterfly bush blooms from my girlfriend’s house.  I had a 30 foot butterfly bush in my yard and I accidentally killed it.  I didn’t think it was possible since they grow like a weed, but I manage to do it.  I cut it back to hard and it didn’t come back this spring.  Total sadness.  We are on the Monarch butterfly’s path to Mexico, so I got hundreds of butterflies on the bush.  I bought a new bush, but I won’t get butterflies this year.

Anyway, I sketched and began to paint Buddleia, the Latin name for the butterfly bush.

 

 

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Lastly, I added a few more leaves to the rose bud vase.  Every time I walked by, I kept thinking it needed something.  Whether it needed it or not, it got it!  No un-doing that one. Luckily it was a quick fix otherwise I’d be adding it to my long list of re-dos!

This is my final day without the kiddos.  They come back tomorrow.  It was quiet while it lasted!  I’m looking forward to seeing them.  I haven’t laughed as much while they were away.  Tonight my husband has prepared a feast.  I’m off to enjoy it!

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