Every painting should be a unique and individual translation of what the artist sees, feels, believes.
Every painting should communicate something greater than the thing represented to the viewer.
Every painting should contain some "secret sauce", or, in other words, some "wow"?
A good idea will transcend the skill of the artist.
I believe these things, and try to put them into every painting. That said, the reality of making something unique and personal every day is not easy. For sure, every painting is not a winner. I just hope that I am able to tell the difference between a keeper and one that needs additional attention.
May all of you who are painting today, or doing some other creative endeavor, have much good success.
acrylic on canvas, 7"x5"
A little work today yielded three post cards. I'll use them for thank you notes here, or send them to collectors who may have purchased while I'm away.
Watercolor is a delicate and lovely medium in the right hands. I know that I have far to go before becoming competent in this difficult medium. I have, however, enjoyed varying from my usual acrylic, and being still able to work while traveling with very few materials.
I'm looking forward to my next visit to the Everglades, and to being back in my studio in familiar surroundings. I'm ready to have a big canvas in front of me and a big brush in my hand, and the space to stretch out a bit and work large again.
Travel expands our minds in many ways. Seeing the art and lifestyles of other cultures, past and present enriches our lives. In time, assimilation of the things I've seen and the experiences I've had will surely translate into growth in my artwork, but at this point I'm not able to predict what those changes will be.
I'll be back in the studio on Friday and look forward to seeing you! Come at 4 and you can join me for afternoon tea!
After an almost 30-year hiatus, tea has come back into my life. Green tea for breakfast, and a lovely black tea with milk in the afternoon. In the past I always drank tea with milk and sugar, but switiched to black coffee many years ago while working for FEMA on the island of Samoa following a storm. No tea, no milk until the supply boats came almost two weeks later. Black coffee was what was available, and that has been my choice ever since.
Now, however, I've been reminded of the advantages of having a nice cup of tea. Its a good pick-me-up, and good things to eat invariably accompany an afternoon tea. My personal favorite is a scone with cream and jam.
Several of the French impressionists made tea time a subject of their paintings. The Monet painting below is a beautiful example of afternoon tea in the garden.
Monet was serious enough about his afternoon tea time to have a beautiful Limoges set made for use at his home on Giverney. Afternoon tea was often served to visiting artists and guests, and was served in the lovely gardens when weather permitted. The recipe for Monet's Madeline's, a sweet, lozenged-shaped cookie, can be found in the cookbook Monet's Table, which describes how food was grown and prepared at Giverney.
Other impressionist artists like Renoir also painted tea time. The idea of afternoon tea is seeing s revival in our community on Marco Island. If you'd like to try a traditional cup of tea, please join me on Friday, May 5, at 4 p.m for tea and scones. I'm looking forward to seeing you.
I used my watercolors to capture some quick impressions of Ghana on bookmarks I had prepared ahead and brought with me for the purpose. These were all done in about 40 minutes, first drawing with an India ink pen and then color added with my watercolor brush pen. My interest in the trees is apparent, but I hope to do more sketches of the wonderfully colorful women carrying fruit and other goods on their heads and babies on their backs.
Arriving in Ghana, we docked in Takoradi, a bustling and important deepwater seaport city. Together with its sister city Sekondi it is the capital of western Ghana. The discovery of oil in the area has lead to a massive migration of people from all over the world. There is much poverty, and living conditions are quite different from what we are used to in the US, however the people seemed active and engaged in their daily activities with markets for fresh food and goods on every corner.
The sea is an integral part of life here, and we passed an active fish market with fish drying at the edges of the road. The beaches are beautiful, and there is a growing tourist industry.
The saddest part of human history is man's inhumanity to his fellow man. Among these is the exploitation of the Africa races. On the coast near Takoradi is Cape Coast Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by the Swedes in 1652, later occupied by the British. Slaves were held here, sometimes for months in unspeakable condition while awaiting transport to new worlds in need of cheap manpower to support growing economies. Below is the doorway of no Return, where slaves held in dungeons for months would catch a view of the sea before being herded in the holds of waiting ships.
It was encouraging to see the bustling waterfront today, with the selling of fish and the mending of nets, children playing soccer, and families enjoying a swim in the sea in an area that had once held such heartbreak.
Cameroon is lush and green, with the sea peppered with small fishing boats in the early morning.
My watercolor kit is shown above, with a few of the postcards I've painted from Cameroon. It's easy to use and I have everything I need, although I must admit that I enjoying the recharging time as much as working. Notice the small bookmark down in the left hand corner of me enjoying the sea.
The Cameroonian woman who came on aboard to answer questions said there are few native handcrafts on shore, but the traditional white costume she was wearing is still handmade. I was particularly interested in the beautiful headscarves worn by both men and women, and was told they are imported from Nigeria
I visited a botanical garden and was particularly interested in the medicinal plants, many of which have not been introduced in America. There was also a couple of artisans selling their work, but we were advised by the guide not to purchase from them. We later found out that the reason was that the guide managed the official shop, which unfortunately contained little of quality or interest.
We also stopped at the Wildlife Center, a refuge for orphaned and injured lowland gorillas, gibbons and drills. The confines were somewhat small, but the thought that these magnificent animals would be releases into the wild was reassuring since all are severely endangered.
The atmosphere is rich with color, abundant vegetation, humid sea air and sunlight, in strong contrast with the dry, brown, dessert regions of Namibia, visited earlier.
Dinner followed in draped tents. It was lovely, but the food reflected the need to please universal tastes. Wouldn't it have been delightful to have experienced the authenticity and variety of delicious African food?
You know me as an Everglade artist. Often out in the glades or on the beach, painting the palms and landscape of South Florida. (notice me peeking out from under the cloud) But I'll bet you didn't know that I have an African side. Yes, it's me again, peeking out from under an African sky.
The above two-sided gem was made by a friend, and we are still giggling over the silliness of it all, however I'm truly grateful for the opportunity to accompany a dear friend on a trip to Africa's western coast this April.
Thanks to another dear friend my studio will remain open Wed-Sat, and my affairs here on the island are in good hands. I'll keep you posted if at all possible.