Monday, September 29, 2014

Great Way To Start A Day

It is National Coffee Day!!! What a great way to start my day! Okay, maybe I am a little too enthusiastic. You might even think I have had too much coffee but that is not the case. In fact wouldn't mind having another cup but that will have to wait a bit as I am working on the road so to speak. Working remotely from car inspection place and the smell of tires does not entice me to drink auto coffee.

When I leave I may just have to seek out one of the many places today that are giving away free coffee. As much as I love my morning coffee I use coffee to stain my paper for art work. The grounds even play a part in helping deepen the stain.

So for your enjoyment today here are a few works that have been inspired by coffee.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Funny Friday

As I was going back over my photographs from the trip to CA I got some funny little images. On our last day in the Napa Valley we stopped at Castello di Amorosa - Castle of Love. It really is a modern day castle with a moat and everything. It is a fun place to go check out, it costs to do the self guided tour but the tastings are free, at least that is how they explained it to us.

The next time the gals are out that way we have a better idea of places we would like to go and just stay for the day, paint, draw, take photographs, picnic and enjoy the view. You thought I was going to say wine, didn't you? Well, maybe a little of that too.

Just outside the castle doors they have animals. Some in the fenced area, some in the vineyard, and some in the pond. There are funny little chicken, the ones with lots of feathers and unique patterns. So, of course I had to take a few photos. Got a few photos of emu, and the other animals. Apparently, the sheep are not crazy about emu, as they would give them a little bump to move along. The goats of course had to be up high so they would venture on top of the raised hen-house.

I do think I got a bit of inspiration from the animals there, along with a few giggles.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Working Our Way Back To Africa

Today I will be spending the day on campus at VA Tech. Rick will be talking with students about the student study abroad program going to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia. I will be doing a little art demo and talking with students. This program is geared to students but there are always alternative options. If you have interest, know a student in college that would like to learn more check out the web site. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

All Things Being Equal

Equinox (equal night), started at 10:29 pm EDT September 22, 2014. Half day, half night, temperatures are starting to drop, days grow shorter, for a while.

Just starting to see the change in colors in the leaves. Even while in California last week the leaves on the grape vines were changing, going to sleep for the winter, as they give up their grapes for the "crush".

Mother Nature the great equalizer: grapes = wine, trees = oxygen, day = night. Time to just breath, enjoy a little fruit of the vine and watch the moon rise.

Monday, September 22, 2014

World Rhino Day

September 22, is World Rhino Day. This event was first announced in 2010 but two women, Lisa Jane, Chishakwe Ranch, Zimbabwe and Rhishja, worked to bring awareness internationally.

There are African and Asian Rhino: white, black, one-horned, Sumatran and Javan. To help protect these animals from losing their horns and lives check out these sites.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

From Another Place

Inspiration can be found in so many places. Nature is of course always there for me. Friday inspiration came from a different place. Black & White photography by Ansel Adams on exhibit at Mumm Winery in Napa Valley, CA. 

Seeing his work, the deep blacks, crisp whites, reminded me again of my love of film photography. Plus, the graphic design elements in his work and the abstract aspect of nature.

Being in Napa and seeing his work I channeled a little of my inner photographer. Using my phone on B&W setting I snapped off a few inspirational photos to end our adventures in CA.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Rain On The Redwoods

Leaving the west coast ocean views for the big pines and redwoods. The rain enhances the colors and the smells. The foggy mist gives that great aireal perspective that I love. 

This is what truly inspires me. I do belive I need to pull out my sketchbook.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

One Hundred Thirty Seven

Yesterday we visited a 137 year old fig tree. It is still going strong. We were allowed to pick some of the Mission Figs. They were beautiful and sweet. 

A fresh fig right off the tree is nothing like those fig cookies most of us know from childhood. 

Fresh figs also pair nicely with wine. We were at Quvira Winery were this tree lives on a biodiversity farm and vineyard. Our FAV photographer, Tracy, got some beautiful images that may just be at the show this fall. 

Marilu & I had a little time to sit in the garden and sketch. A pleasant way to end a lovely day of inspiration.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Earth, Vine, Art

This week we are in CA - yesterday Marilu, her daughters, Tracy & Denise and I were in Napa Valley area. 

We went into Yountville, a nice little town with some lovely art galleries. Lots of green spaces, grape vines are a part of landscaping in this area. Little parks with shady places to sit and sketch. Which we did get to do, nice break in the day. 

Stopped at Chimney Rock winery which has the same style of architecture that Marilu & I saw in our travels to South Africa. The young woman, that was our wine educator told us the story of the relationship between the owner, his wife, South Africa and the building was designed to remind his wife of home. Our educator was from VA and plans some day to go to Africa. 

I am always amazed at how this earth is not so big, the something as simple as a wine vine can connect and inspire. The art of architecture, the art of the grape, and the art of our hands. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Going To Look For Inspiration

Some of the ladies from the Fine Arts in the Valley group are heading west to California for a little or a lot of inspiration. Marilu and I are planning to have some time sitting around a cafe, in the woods, in a park just getting inspired. Tracy with her sister Denise will be exploring and taking lots of photographs to have for the fall show.

The theme, well, let's just say there will be grapes involved and maybe some redwoods. We will be heading into Napa, Sonoma, Healdsburg, moving up along the coast to Mendocino County and over to Willits. Then working our way back down to Oakland with no set route at this time. A little exploring, a little walking, some sketching with friends and a toast to finding inspiration.

The hard part was getting the art supplies together. I have pastel sticks, very limited palette, lots of pastel pencils, regular pencils, watercolor pencils, a brush, eraser, sharpener, small drawing board, papers, sketchbook/journal and of course my camera.

More to come....

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Stuck In The Middle...

There are times when I can't get going because I am stuck in the middle. Too many things going on, too many directions to go. I have works that are just waiting to be finished, yet I can not get my heart, hand, head into the painting. I thought I was done with the organizing but there was still a little left over. Now, I am trying to think of what I want to take with me for a artsy travel trip that is coming up.

Doing my best to stay grounded although lately I have not been on the ground in one place very long. Delivering work for shows, family and friends. Running the roads took a large part of the last few weeks.

The trip that is coming up may have some opportunities to walk around, in the woods, sit under a tree and sketch. The fall is always busy but this year has been busy and does not look to slow down. For now I will go with the flow, pushing a little to get forward and out of the middle again.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Nice Surprise

This past weekend Rick and I visited Columbus, Ohio. The main reason for going there was VA Tech was playing Ohio State football that Saturday night. We have never been to Columbus before and what a surprise. The city is much bigger then we thought, the campus is very large and there is much to see.

One nice surprise was the Pizzuti Museum. It is a small non-profit museum housing a private collection of contemporary art. There are 3 floors in the building filled with abstract and modern  works of art. There is an outside sculpture garden and a terrace area over looking the city streets.

Short North is the part of Columbus that is the arts district. All around town you will see street murals. Many of the small shops, restaurants and offices are decorated with local artists work. The larger business and hotels have made a special effort to support the local small businesses and artists with a jointing of their works in public spaces. Art is everywhere, another nice surprise.

Although a short trip, it was a good one, our team won the game. Got to share a meal with good friends. Walked around Columbus and found lots of nice surprises.

painting without a canvas
metal & shadows



To learn more about these works of art you can visit the web site:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Long Road To Somewhere

This year has been about the destination. Traveling the highways, by-ways, through life and memories. 

I headed out this morning to drop off work for the Small Works pastel show at For Art's Sake Gallery, Henrico, VA. Near Richmond, VA and a little over three hours from Blacksburg, VA.

That was just part of the trip. I had lunch with my great niece and delivered a piece I framed as a memory to her mother. 

Continuing another three plus hour I will spend time with friends that are family. We will speak of loved ones and hold memories in our hearts. The storm has passed,the sun will set and rise again tomorrow.

What's That Sound???

You know you are in Wyoming when you wake to the sound of horses. With limited wi-fi service it has been a lot harder to get blogs written a...