February 28, 2013

I'm lichen it

It's bad when you carry a pun around in your head for over a week. And you'd think that would be time enough to change your mind about using it. But no. I have called this post 'I'm lichen it'.

These are photos I have taken during the past couple of weeks on my walks with Meeko. It's amazing the treasures you can find, even in a relatively barren winter forest.

I like how interactions on the internet can subtly change us or alter our perspective. I'm grateful for the international band of creative people I follow whether on their blogs, Facebook, Etsy or Twitter. Lisa Solomon is a California-based visual artist and professor who seems to have a million creative projects on the go. I know her mostly on Twitter which seems kind of weird to say. :) One of her projects that struck me with its simplicity and beauty is her 'look up and down' series of daily photos she posts on her Tumblr account. If you start thinking and looking that way, for instance while walking your dog or doing one of the other routines in your day, you start to see things that you might have missed.

And I can't look at lichen or fungi without thinking of Margie, which I mean as an absolute compliment and I think she will understand that. (Some don't feel that way. Emma asked me why I take photos of those 'things'.)

So here are some of my 'ups and downs' from recent forest walks.
A gorgeous wasp nest that was so high up in the trees, I had never noticed it. It looks like some sort of exotic hat.
Meeko accidentally disturbed a flock of mourning doves so they flew up into the trees giving me a photo opportunity. They spend most of their time on the ground. They are such beautiful birds yet are so goofy in terms of their behaviour. I love them.
A very ordinary cement block that seemed very beautiful with its cracks, texture and snow cover.
And here's who I see most often when I look down:

We had more snow overnight. Heavy, thick snow. Meeko doesn't tire of it. I am less enchanted by it these days. Spring on my mind. In between winter walks with my faithful companion, I've been working on paintings and will do a more art-related post soon.

Don't forget to look 'up and down' this week!

February 25, 2013

I know where the snow fairies live

The fallen tree looked like some sort of forest creature.
Last week, the little forest where I walk with Meeko was magical. Every single tiny branch was covered with snow. I don't think the photos do justice to how very special it was. And I was very lucky as the sun peeked out from behind the clouds just as I started taking photos, so there were beautiful shadows on the snow.
If there are snow fairies (and why wouldn't there be?), this is without a doubt where they live.

February 20, 2013

Spring Flowers

I'm getting a little braver about letting some of my originals go. I just listed this tiny original watercolour in my Etsy shop. I love muscari (also known as grape hyacinth) for its beautiful colour, fragrance and delicate form. As far as behaviour goes, it can be a little rambunctious in the garden, so every now and then I need to round the bulbs up. But I couldn't imagine my garden without it.

I took the above photo yesterday on our backstep. If I had taken it today, it would have been against a backdrop of snow. We had more overnight and it is still coming down. (Meeko is happy.) Thoughts of my garden get pretty intense at this time of year. Looking at past paintings of spring flowers helps while I dream of the real thing.

Dwarf iris, muscari and tulip paintings from past springs.

February 18, 2013

Leaf collection

The winter weather continues here despite occasional teasing hints of spring. Meeko and I walk every day whether mild or very cold like today. (Thank you, Meeko.) I don't always remember to take my camera but I did have it with me on two walks in the past few weeks. I was so enchanted by the colour and the wonderful forms of the dried leaves that have managed to hang on despite this winter's snowstorms and high winds.

Who says winter is drab and colourless? I took more photos of other beautiful forest finds that I will share in the days ahead.

I've had several people comment on how I like to paint leaves. It's true. I do. Looking at all of these leaf photos made me think of the leaf paintings I've worked on in the past year. I did a little mosaic of with some of them. I'm actually working on another painting of leaves right now--tea leaves. It will be a little different. I'll let you see it when it's a little further along. :)

Despite the fact that I am smitten with the dried, papery leaves I've been seeing in the forest lately, I am so looking forward to those beautiful green ones that are only a couple of months away.  This time of year I start to ache for spring. 

February 15, 2013

And the winner is...

First of all, thank you to everyone who participated. It was wonderful to see the names of friends, new and old. Thank you everyone for the kind comments. They mean so much to me.

I put all of your names on folded pieces of paper. My daughter Emma drew the winning name.

This tiny handful of Canadian snow is going to be mailed to Julie Clay. She is a wonderful watercolor artist from England who illustrates both greeting cards and children's books. Congratulations, Julie!

I wish I could have sent something to everyone but I'll have another giveaway sometime soon. Have a lovely weekend!

February 14, 2013

Some Thoughts About Love

Happy Valentine's Day! I think rather than focusing on romantic love, it would be a better, more inclusive celebration to think about love of all kinds--it's around us whether in our families, friendships, our faithful four-footed companions, our activities, our communities, in nature.

I bought that sterling silver heart necklace years ago on a Valentine's Day when I was feeling sad and left out of the whole romantic side. I was in university. (That is a long time ago.) But do you know what? I love that necklace and still wear it. Giving a gift to ourselves makes a lot of sense.

My Christmas cactus has a sense of celebration albeit the wrong one. It is exuberantly celebrating Valentine's Day today. I like a free spirit.

Last year, one side of the plant bloomed on Valentine's Day and the other side on Easter. :)
Giving ourselves a gift doesn't need to be material. It can be as simple as listening to our heart. For a long time I followed my head with my career in communications. Then I decided to listen to my heart and made the scary decision to leave my secure, well-paying job and launch my card company many years ago. Another phase of my heart was the decision to devote several years to being a stay-at-home mom. And these past two years when I have refocused on my art career have been another very important phase of honouring my heart. It's not always easy. I'll admit that. Each phase (head and heart) has had its difficulties but I think that when I have listened to my heart, things have balanced out better. I tend to be happier. Maybe because I am being truer to myself.

The beautiful letterpress print from Heartfish Press that I bought myself just before I went back to painting full-time. It now hangs on my studio wall just beside my painting table.
I saw a video today. It is a talk given by the late British philosopher Alan Watts on choosing our path. I think it is worth watching by young and old--whether at the beginning of your own path or somewhere along its winding trail. I could send you all roses and chocolates and say 'I love you' but a better gift from me to you would be to say: this Valentine's Day, look around at all of the love that surrounds you and make yourself a promise in the year ahead to listen to your heart. xo Kathleen

❤ Don't forget that I am giving away an original ACEO at the end of the day Friday. You can enter here

February 13, 2013

She Loves Seashells

You can see that my shell painting has evolved and my painting table is covered with natural relics. I quite like the idea of living in a natural history museum. It suits me.

This is the kind of painting that I just love doing. The composition just evolves. I started with three shells and then just kept adding elements. The key is knowing when to stop and I'm almost there. Just a bit of detail and shading to go. These are from the beautiful seashell and sea glass collection that Cindy sent me from Australia. Tiny, amazing treasures.

Don't forget that you have until Friday to enter my giveaway for the little 'Snowball' original ACEO. You can enter here.

February 12, 2013

A Little Giveaway

This is a little ACEO-sized watercolour I did last year. I loved the way the dried Queen Anne's Lace had cupped the new fallen snow. Nature's own little snowballs. This Queen Anne's Lace grows just at the edge of the forest pathway where I walk with Meeko in the winter.

I am giving away this original watercolor just because. Well, there are actually lots of becauses. Because I appreciate all of the support I receive from my online friends, here and on Facebook and Twitter. Because I have the nicest customers on Etsy. Because I feel happy when I paint. Because sharing is a good thing. Because snow is beautiful. Because spring is coming. Because...

All you need to do is leave a comment below. Please make sure that your comment links back to your own blog or that you provide an email address, so that I have a way of contacting you if you are the lucky person.

I would also appreciate it very much if you would like my Facebook page (if you haven't already) although that is optional.

So please leave a comment below. I will choose a winner on Friday, February 15th at 6:00 p.m. EST. 

February 9, 2013

On my painting table this week

What was on my painting table this week: my finished amaryllis, my maybe-finished pomegranates and the beginning of a seashell painting.

I worked on the seashells a little more this afternoon.
Taken in the evening so everything has a bit of a yellow glow from the light.
I had a lot of trouble getting myself up to the studio this past week: appointments, car trouble, mother duty and sometimes just getting stuck on the computer chair.

I'm going to try and do things the other way around this week. Painting first. We'll see how it goes.

February 6, 2013

A Charmed Life

Yesterday, there was a flurry of excitement here when I found out that one of my prints, Flower Bouquet (also called Special Edition), is featured in the February issue of a wonderful online magazine called Matchbook: Field Guide to a Charmed Life. They cover past and present fashion, decor, the arts, travel and culture.

I noticed that people were coming to my Etsy shop from matchbookmag.com. I will admit I didn't even know what that was. I clicked and found out that my print was included in a lovely two-page spread of art they have highlighted for Valentine's Day called 'Love Birds'. I'm in the same collection as an Andy Warhol poster for goodness sake! You can see the collection here. It's on page 30.

They've also included my print in their boutique with a direct link to my Etsy shop. I couldn't be more thrilled.

And as the icing on top of the cake, the February issue has the very handsome and talented American interior designer Nate Berkus on the cover.

You can read the whole issue here.  It's a beautiful magazine.
Field guide to a charmed life? It certainly felt that way yesterday! 

February 1, 2013

Gusts and Blooms

There have been a couple of days recently when I have sat inside the house and watched the weather change in a rapid, extreme way. I get this feeling that I'm trapped inside some sort of bubble (like a snow globe) and there is a mad scientist* outside spinning the weather dial. Yesterday, we experienced driving rain, melting snow, sunshine, ferocious winds, flaky falling snowflakes and plummeting temperatures--all within a few hours.  Have you been having weather like that?  I went out for a walk with Meeko in the afternoon and came back early because the trees were bending so much with the wind at that point that I thought it wasn't wise to continue.

Odd weather makes for good days to hunker down in the studio and paint. My amaryllis painting is coming along--still in progress but almost there.  It's come a long way from its pale beginning.  The blooms on my plant have started to wilt so I am so happy that I took several photos of it. I was thrilled this morning to see that another stem is starting to grow from the base so I will have more beautiful flowers to admire in the weeks ahead.
Thanks everyone for the oh-so-kind comments on my last post. I am very lucky to have such a lovely group of online friends. I also appreciate those who come to read and don't have the time or inclination to leave a comment. To show my appreciation, I am thinking about having a giveaway sometime this month--perhaps a small original.

Meeko and I have the house to ourselves for many hours today. Jocelyn, Emma and ChloƩ are going to be away for the day and most of the evening--all going in different directions. I feel a little bit giddy with the thought of all that time to myself. I'll paint during the day but I'm not sure what I'll do with my evening. Perhaps a Downton Abbey marathon if Meeko agrees. I think he will. He's enjoyed the episodes so far, as he likes the canine cast members especially when they bark.

Happy February and happy weekend! 

*unfortunately I think that 'mad scientist' is foolish mankind



autumn (26) backyard (19) birds (17) creativity (7) family (37) flowers (32) friends (13) garden (72) gardening (7) hope (8) leaves (17) Meeko (95) nature photography (14) original watercolor (9) painting (55) paintings (34) print (12) rain (16) soft-coated Wheaten terrier (28) spring (28) studio (13) summer (12) watercolor (102) watercolour (98) winter (19)