Friday, April 30, 2010

Spin cycle

Did I mention I was going to try surfing on this Hawaiian adventure? This whole trip came about through an innocent exchange of emails with my awesome friend Scott, who idly mentioned he was thinking about taking a surfing trip to somewhere warm. I replied that I have an aunt and uncle in Hawaii whom I would totally love to visit and hey I'd love to try surfing too...and so the wheels turned and the plane tickets happened, and next thing you know I'm standing on the beach in Hanalei with a very pretty 9 foot surfboard leashed to my ankle. A few final tips from Scotty, with an emphasis on the bad consequences of being run over by another surfer, and we paddled out. As I negotiated getting my board through the white water, suddenly the little frolicksome rolling waves don't seem as playful. There's a lot of power behind all that surge, and let me tell you it's a thrill when it picks up your board and throws you towards the beach.

Let's just get this out of the way to start: I didn't manage to stand up. I did kneel once, briefly, before plowing into the spin cycle. I got tossed around, knocked on the head, injured my foot, got sunburn, irrigated my sinuses with seawater, yelled a lot, and actually really enjoyed the experience. Would love to try it again, and next time keep the nose of the board up...

Here's a photo from Glass Beach, on the west shore of Kaua'i. The sand there is made up of bits of beach glass, washed out from an old dump nearby.

On the home front, Sunday markets begin this weekend. I also have more freelance work than I can shake a proverbial stick at, spring is maddeningly beautiful, and I hope my tan doesn't fade too quickly.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Back to the mainland

Christi Ann, Christi Ann, where have you been?
I've been to Hawaii to where the sunshine is keen.
Christi Ann, Christi Ann, what did you there?
I played in the waves and got sand in my hair.

I'm just checking in here at my blog for the first time in a few weeks, did you miss me? I just got back from a trip to Kauai, and of course barely looked at the computer while I was there. Why should I look at a little screen when there's intoxicating blue water to dive into, and crazy mountains and violently colorful plants to look at? It was a fantastic week, and I will tell you more about it later when I'm unpacked and have done some work.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

All the happy couples

"All the happy couples on their way to New Orleans
reminding me of when we got along..."

This Shawn Colvin song is on constant play in my head these days as I've been working on several wedding invitations for several happy couples (ah springtime!). Here is the painting I did for one such couple, which I think turned out quite well...incorporating their memories of peaceful evenings by Cayuga Lake, with my usual blue skies and starry-ness. The text floated in the sky in the final layout.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Another scintillating post about chickens

Sunday night, completely whupped from a long week and a busy and surprisingly fine weekend. Not much in the tank right now, but I can at least catch you up a little on my wee flock of chickens before collapsing with the escapist Robert Jordan book with the silly cover. Haven't you all been wondering what's going on in the coop these days?

Here's Harold. He's a living example of the word "cocky." He's also a living example of how people will overlook your bad character traits if you're beautiful...I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I'm basically too soft-hearted to eat him. He watches out for his hens, defends the coop against scary things (like me putting food in their trough for example), crows at all hours, and looks absolutely resplendent in the sunlight. The hens still number five: friendly Clara the matriarch, Ida Mae and Pauline the shiny Australorpes, a sleek Rhode Island Red named Florence, and an adorable Barred Rock named Edna whose small size belies her large voice. Since the days are longer and brighter, egg production is ramping up and I usually get four eggs per day. They're still more fun than TV.

Tomorrow, yes tomorrow I will get up early (dare I say when the rooster crows?) and work hard because I have sketches due for a client and about a million other things that need some attention...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Y'all probably know by now that I read a lot (remember, no Netflix). Time to catch you up on the current stack of books with bookmarks in them which are laying around my house.

1) Still pecking away at Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series for the third time. Kind of like background noise, or comfort food. I'm up to #7, "A Crown of Swords." These are really fun, although the cover art is pretty splashy and it's a little embarrassing to be seen carrying them around.

2) "Zodiac" by Neal Stephenson. I adore his writing, and thought I had read everything by he'd ever written twice already, but then spied this on my friend Charles' bookshelf. It promises to be an "eco-thriller" on the front cover. I've just started it, and so can't say much about it yet...but I've already laughed out loud at a couple of delightfully wry twists of phrase.

3) The crown jewel of my little stack of reading materials is "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Relin. It's about Greg's mission to build schools in Pakistan in the isolated rural mountain communities, and how that story came about. His work in kindness and education stand out as an example of promoting peace, especially as the story moves through the post 9/11 era...he's in the countries that are being bombed and blamed, working with the regular people who are simply living their lives in the midst of chaos. It's very moving and riveting and real. One quote from Greg stood out to me:
"In times of war, you often hear leaders–Christian, Jewish, and Muslim–saying, 'God is on our side.' But that isn't true. In war, God is on the side of refugees, widows, and orphans."

So what are YOU reading? I am always looking for recommendations.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Little cherry blossom icons in my head

I'm staggering with post-market exhaustion right now...gone, gone away are my Saturday nights of fun for the rest of the year. It was a perfect warm day, and hordes of what my brother would call punters were out for the first day of the Farmers' Market. I realized two things:
1) I need to restructure my booth display, and
2) my market customers are the nicest people in the universe.

Last night's Paint Off was awfully fun too. A big room full of people creating art at the same time is a beautiful thing. There's a lot of good energy in that situation. Personally, I appreciate following the thread of thought that starts with seeing what I can make in a hour of concentrated work and ends with wondering why I don't do that more often. Here's the end result (acrylic on board), inspired by burgeoning springtime and these little cherry blossoms icons that have been running through my head lately. The extra-good bit is that my awesome friend Scott came to hang out with me at the event, and then he won a raffle ticket and ended up taking my painting home.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The journal class

I'm just back from a fabulous evening at the Paint Off, which I will tell you about tomorrow when I get some photos downloaded from the camera, and I should be going to sleep now because tomorrow is an early market morning....BUT I just checked email, as is my habit, and received this link to the Radnor Memorial Library blog. I was down there (near Philadelphia) last week teaching a class on "keeping a visual journal," and Pam wrote it up with photos and everything, so you can check it out there.

And now I will go to sleep before I subject you to any more run-on sentences.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This weekend is all begins

There are a few events on the near horizon...

Friday night I am participating in the annual Ithaca Festival Paint-Off, a fun evening in Center Ithaca where several artists gather and have an hour to make a piece of art, which is then raffled and auctioned off to benefit the Ithaca Festival. The audience wanders around snacking and sipping while we paint, and it's a good time. Also on Friday, I'm glazing pots with Gary (I'll make sure my hair looks good, because he'll surely blog it) and checking out Jim Garmheusen's new show downtown at Korova.

Then Saturday is opening day for the Ithaca Farmers' Market! The time has returned to spend my weekends on the waterfront peddling my notecards and etchings and such. Booth 84, please stop in and say hello. The weather is supposed to be divine, like in the high 70's, and I'm eager to see the season get underway.

Otherwise, I'm happy to say that I'm logging studio time this week, I have some interesting jobs on tap and am on the verge of starting some larger paintings in anticipation of my July show at the Kitschen Sink. I also anticipate being able to open windows later today!!

(watercolor of crocus)