Saturday, August 20, 2016

Look Closer: Red Bug Lake Park Through My Lens

~~ Look closer: crepe myrtle with dew ~~

It started with the moon - or rather with the teen who missed the bus, and our sleepy trip to the school.

I am driving home, waking to the world.

And then the moon.

Pale against the morning sky, floating over the poles and wires of the world.

I see the moon, and the moon sees me.
God bless the moon, and God bless me.

I cannot resist. 

And so I spend the next hour in Red Bug Lake Park.

First with the moon.

Then the sun playing with the trees.

Air ferns, magnolias, tree trunks. Always take the closer look.

Look closer again. I do love tree trunks.

The sun is over the trees, but look closer. Is that the moon on the water, a small white dot near the dock? Or not?

Tiny leaves, floating...

And a lily in the midst...

A dragon fly perched on the arch of a leaf nearby...

And what is this? Tree friends, cypress and palm, nestled together at water's edge.

Fronds dry and brown...

Another tree, light and shadow...

Look closer again, new life springing from an old wound. 

What secrets do these trees hold, draped in Spanish moss?

A hole in the trunk...

Look closer again, inside the darkened hole, a delicate spider's web.

A rotted stump...

Look closer again: on the other side, sustaining green life. 

The lizard, the crow, each sees a different view...

What do you see here? Looks like camouflage.

Really, I do mean camouflage. That is not a twig or a loose flap of bark, but a bug there. I would not have known, but it twitched.

The dewy grass...

Look closer again: a dewy spider's web in the dewy grass. I kneel down, propped low on my elbows to steady my hands for this shot. A dewy mama on a dewy morning.

Mushrooms of all shapes, sizes, colors... These are just a few.

 True, this?

What do you see?

Look closer again. Same photo, closer view.

Even the ant casts a shadow if you have eyes to see.

For grace and wonder,


(These photos were shot with an iPhone 6 and edited with Picasa.)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Sanctuary: The Story of My New Blue Painting

How do you like my "Sanctuary" painting? 

In May, I posted My New Blue Art with some recent projects. Now I've got a new one!

Here's the story behind the painting.

I've been switching around the bedroom and ended up getting new bedding. I'll post photos of that makeover on one of my other blogs. Long story short is that I now had wall space over the bed and wanted art work to match my new teal colored bedding. I looked around in stores to find something good, but wasn't satisfied. Since art is so therapeutic for me, and since Michael's had a hot deal on canvases, I decided to make one myself. I hadn't really painted on canvas in about 30 years, so this would be a major challenge for me. I decided to do something conceptual rather than realistic.

I brainstormed for a while about what I wanted to paint. Going with the theme of the bedroom being my blue haven of peaceful and reverent reflection, I hatched the idea of a cathedral rose window motif in various shades of blue. I also love historical European style art, so this is perfect.

Here is how I did it.

First, I researched pictures of cathedral rose windows and decided which one I wanted to simplify. Here are just a few of them.

Notre Dame, Paris

This is the one I chose, though I obviously made a lot of changes!

Church of the Gesu, Milwaukee

On to the painting! 

I decided to set up work space in my bedroom, where I could leave it out and the kids wouldn't mess with it. And I could work in relative peace, or so I thought. Anyway, one of our card tables covered in a large piece of cardboard made a good work surface.

Even though the canvas was pre-primed, I decided to lay down a coat of white acrylic paint. 

I needed to find the center point of the canvas for my circle, so I taped together some of the canvas labeling cardstock into a long strip to use as a straight edge. I drew along both diagonals and got my point.

From there, I sketched in more details. I ended up changing it a lot as I painted.

The whole thing was trial and error. I repainted and repainted and repainted, trying to tweak it to look right. Working with acrylics is a challenge for me. I hadn't used them on canvas since I was a teenager. Oils are easier for me to spread and to fix. Oh well. And I should have had some paint thinner. I didn't get any until later, and that was to clean paint off the carpet.

So I had to decide that I was not aiming for technical perfection with each circle section exactly like the others. I ended up with more of a folk art piece that reminds me just as much of a quilt or a kaleidoscope as it does of a stained glass window.

Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures of the painting part in progress. I was working until 4 AM until finally I gave up, too bleary eyed to continue. I went back to it when I woke up at noon. 

After I had the paint where I wanted it, I drew around each color section with a thick black permanent marker to even out the imperfections and make it look like more like sections of stained glass.

Here is the finished piece hanging over the new bed! I love seeing it in the morning when I wake up and at night when I go to sleep!

Meanwhile, when I was painting, my youngest daughter decided to set up an art table next to mine. This is her rendition of a tree swing at sunset. I am so glad that my return to painting has inspired her to give it a try. She's already excellent at drawing. For her birthday last week, just about everything she received from family was art supplies!

I finally got around to cleaning up my work space. My new paint storage box is nearly the same color as my quilt.

A little fun with my pallet peelings:

This is Paintzilla, ready to conquer the world! Art shall vanquish ugliness... painting at a time.


Hey, if you agree, you'll probably like this blog post by Hannah Anderson that I found linked on Facebook: Beauty Will Save the World. One quote: But beauty is not simply about creating an escape from present difficulties. The work of beauty is to create a vision of the world as it was meant to be. It is a way to see past the present darkness to a future beyond. To the tired, beauty promises rest. To the oppressed, it offers freedom. To the fearful, it whispers “Hope.”

That's what I want to do with my art and my life.

God bless!


P.S. You may also like this older blog post: Sanctuary (Big Words)
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