Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Plein Air Springtime

Oh to paint outside in the springtime! This is what the days were made for... slow afternoons full of sunshine, color and a soft breeze. When I put on my painting shirt and whip out my brushes and French fold-up easel I'm perfectly content with the world.

Last week I visited a friend's neighborhood and set up near a sidewalk and a pretty willow tree. Painting in plein air has always been thrilling. The experience carries the same kind of urgency that figure-drawing class carries. You have to capture what's in front of you quickly! Catch it before the light shifts, or you may never catch it at all. Beware of fire-ants, mosquitoes and sunburns. They'll sneak up on you when you're absorbed in a composition.

While I liked this little painting on the easel, I haven't been satisfied with it since I returned to the studio. I may re-work it, or I may paint over it completely depending on my mood and current inspiration. Today I'm off for more. This afternoon it's Battlefield park.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tinkerbell Cake and Princess Cake

Ta-da! Here are a Tinkerbell cake and a Princess cake for a sweet girl who just turned 4. I used a combination of gum-paste sugar, melted chocolate and butter cream icing for all these decorations. I wish I'd gotten a better picture of the Tinkerbell cake, but I'd worked on it so long that all I wanted to do was go to I did!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Impression Fog: Uninhibited Joy

Remember the Impressionists...the painters who stormed out of the French academy and took their brushes and easels into the sunlight to capture fleeting impressions of color and atmosphere? I love those guys. Some days I think I was born a century too late.

While working on my fog series with restrained and uber-soft brushstrokes, I got a little antsy. For weeks this painting was as gentle and smooth as its pastel palette. Then all of a sudden I got the urge to dab.. and dab, and dab, and dab and dab... there you go.

I love the result! Yes, I'm going back to smooth fog painting, but this one is a fun break-away and it achieves the same misty-morning goal. I showed this piece to some friends today and one person told me he saw an uninhibited joy in this piece. I love it! This painting and all of my fog paintings will be on display for the very first time at Circa Gallery in Asheboro, May 14- early June. The opening reception is May 14 from 5-8 p.m. and promises uninhibited joy to all in attendance. You can't beat that!


A dear friend of mine is going through a difficult time right now. To call it a break-up is like calling the Haiti earthquake a tremble. We're talking about a life-altering, ego-crushing, painful situation that nobody should ever have to face. Although there were no vows involved, it's more akin to divorce than anything else.

I found two poems in my sketchbook from senior year. At that time I was getting over a high-school summer crush and my frustration came out in this way. My situation was just silly looking back and I can't even remember which boy this was about. The poems still ring-true to me regarding the emotional notes that I felt at the time. So these are for you my friend-- or anyone else who has faced and survived a painful relationship end.

The Beginning
Leaden worries weigh on weary shoulders of want.
Beauty invades heartache, uninvited.
Wind blown needles of ice stab holes in a protective sweater shell,
Forcing lowered eyes to meet a fresh beginning.
It stems from an end I prayed would never come.
(KEW October 2000)

As I walked outside today,
The pieces of you melted away.
And ruddy memories, like my foes,
I felt them squish between my toes!
A pebble or root that lay beneath,
Could not injure the moment, sweet.
Even your limp which swelled my knees,
Caressed away by a novel breeze.
The chill that passed upon my spine,
Invigorated my soul's heightened climb.
In flesh I descended unto these slats,
And rested there, true rest at last.
Underneath the boughs of pine,
Simplicity laced all through my mind.
Subtly a moon face warmed,
the tension that my face had worn.
Slowly, surely, and with resolve,
My skin of you began to dissolve.
(KEW February 2001)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cutest Slumber Party Cake Ever

My dear friend Melissa's little girl turned 6 last month and to celebrate, I made this sweet cake for her. It features a slumber party girl along with a teddy bear, popcorn bowl, stars and slippers all made out of gum-paste sugar. The sleeping bag and pillow were made of marshmallow fondant and the white stars and hearts are chocolate. This was so much fun!

Do you remember those sleep-overs where we stayed up all night watching movies and revealing our secret crushes? Those must have been so much work for the parents-- only now do I realize what was involved. I don't remember much about the details, but I do remember the occassional toothpaste-in-hair incident and other mean-girl stuff from the parties.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cat Food Smile

This is odd, but I'm in an odd mood lately. I went to clean up the cat's food this morning and I found a SMILE on the plate. I know it's a sign-- a sign of something-- but I can't for the life of me figure out what I'm supposed to make of it. It's not everyday that your pets leave you a smiley face in their leftovers.

Here it is in all of it's grossness... the cat food smile. And with that, I'm off to finish a new foggy morning scene at the easel. Happy Friday to all and to all a great weekend (especially my cat)!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Grateful: warmly or deeply appreciative

William H. Channing: Symphony

"To live content with small means; To seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; To be worthy , not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; To study hard, think quietly, Talk gently, Act frankly; To listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; To bear all cheerfully, Do all bravely, Await occasions, Hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.

I'm not sure what it is about this morning, but when I looked outside and saw a beautiful blanket of snow AGAIN, I just couldn't resist a little pang of excitement. I know it's cold and yucky and messes up everyone's schedule, but regardless-- the snow is beautiful. It's been such a rare experience for me over the years that every time I see snow, I automatically get excited at the wonder and the beauty of the scenery. Like the fog, it covers all the little imperfections of the landscape and makes even the ugliest old shack seem romantic and peaceful.

I haven't posted in a while because I've been in a funk. I haven't sold many paintings recently, and somehow that ties in with my self confidence more than I would like for it to. I'm gearing up for a solo show and THE art festival of N.C., Artsplosure-- all in the same weekend in May. It's probably a good idea to hoard paintings right now so that I'm ready for my big spring!

Here is the latest fog painting-- finished a couple weeks ago. I am grateful to be a painter-- to see the way I see-- to feel emotions the way I feel them-- this is who I am, regardless of where I am and what I do for a living.

The verse above is something that my good friend, Vicki sent to me over a year ago. I tacked it to my fridge for months until we moved, and now I have the e-mail pasted into my journal. Recently I saw it in Oprah Magazine again and was reminded of how much I like it. I don't pretend to subscribe to the poem every day-- I wish I could live like that daily. It's more like I read it every once in a while and say-- oh yeah! I need to be more like that ... and I do need to... I think we all do. Life is just a succession of moments-- enjoy them, study them, ponder them, or ignore them and they'll fly by before we realize what we've lost.