Webster Groves, Missouri

Every May, there is a plein air competition called Paint Webster in Webster Groves.  I participated in it the first year I moved here and had a good experience and even sold the piece I worked on all afternoon. The following year in 2009 I excitedly jumped in again.  It was a perfect day for painting out doors and I had a location all lined up.  I set up my little outdoor studio and dug in.  An hour later I was so frustrated with my painting, I abandoned it and decided to try another one at a different spot.   This time I chose the quad area of town and sat in a place where I wouldn't get so pulled in by the details.  I worked for an hour or so - still frustrated but pressing on.  Then the dentist whose house/practice I was painting came over and said a kind word to me.  I would have happily abandoned my work for conversation, but felt I should finish. Then not long after the lawn mowers started and I was in the way of the weekly quad mow.  Talk about distraction!  I had to pick up my portable studio to avoid the path of the tractor.  At this point I was 4 hours into it - cold, tired and just about ready to throw my painting under the wheels of the lawn mower, I decided to call it a day and chalk it up to a bad temper and grass.

That was over a year ago.

I found the painting recently pressed between watercolor paper and mat board.  I set it out and just looked at it for a couple of days and I came to the conclusion...

"It wasn't bad! So why did I give up?"

First of all let me point out the most important thing.  Never throw away a painting no matter how you "feel" about it.  NEVER.  Your feelings change, the painting doesn't.  And I have to say I learned some very important lessons in this process.

1. I'm a horrible judge of my own work WHILE I'm working.
2. My feelings taint my judgment.
3. Feelings get in the way of painting... sometimes.
4. Stepping away is important.

I put a few, yes just a few, finishing touches on this painting and am actually proud to post it.  May you take these art lessons and apply them to non-art things too people!!!!

Pity Party Crashed

I was glad to see this weekend come, I mean who doesn't enjoy a three day weekend.  But now, on Sunday night after two days of keeping company with myself, I'm feeling a bit blue.  Well, at least I was.  Once again I found myself alone at my large dining room table with a cup of coffee, a couple of magazines, some books and my "new" sketch book.  On most days this is a lovely little setting I really enjoy.  But today, I was a bit lonely.  I've only been in St. Louis for two years and am still adjusting to life here.  It's so different than my life in California.  Most weekends were filled with cooking out, going to Disney, or just meeting up.  My life was far from perfect there, but from my point of view, alone at my kitchen table, it seemed fairly perfect and so I could feel the pity party beginning.  "Poor me" having to sip coffee alone in this pretty tea cup that my girlfriend gave me..."   Then I smiled remembering her, and how I loved these tea cups.  They're extra special because they're old and when she gave them to me she knew I would love them... and she was right.  I looked around the room and saw all kinds of gifts and reminders of friendships - old and new,  past and even present.  I have so many lovely things either given as gifts from family and friends or purchased on a fun outing.  Yes, I'm alone... but only for the moment.

Spring and her flowers

I wish these ranuculas were popping out of my own garden - but instead they're popping out of the shelves at Trader Joe's and that's good enough for me. So here is a couple of my watercolors. I love the orangy-yellow colors. So the exercise was to keep as much white on the paper and to work fairly quickly. I know that the watercolors I am drawn to are "loose" and that's what true watercolor is - letting the water work and the white of the paper show through.