Day 21: I had an idea of what I wanted to paint today, so I waited a little longer before heading out. I grew up in West Valley, I know the “lay of the land” or so I thought. If I know where I’m painting, I check an app called Sun Seeker to pin point when the light and shadows will be peak. Today I went old school and went with my inner compass. I arrived past peak. There were still some shadows but I’ll revisit this spot.
I decided to check out some old haunts while I was there. I wanted to see Booger Hall. I used to see it every Sunday on the way to church. It was just a tiny old barn that some teens had claimed as a club house. They painted “Booger Hall” on a sign and nailed it to the front. I was certain the teens were just like Dobbie Gillis and his friends. I got there and it was gone. Then I drove down RT 240 to see the haunted house where the man was carving his own casket in the attic...but... it was gone. My last stop was to the cemetery to see the monument to the man who put real beef in Spam. My Mother used to tell me all about him. He must have been a really nice man because my Mother always smiled while she talked about him...🤔 but I couldn’t find it.
I guess things change, and life creates new stories for the next generation. Booger Hall, the man building a casket and that nice man who put real beef in spam will live always in my memory😉
“The Mill” Watercolor 3”x5” $125
Day 20: Rain drops are a tiny little glimpse of our world. I’ve always been fascinated with what can be seen in a reflective surface, be it rain drops, dew drops or even eyes. What you see will always be different than the person standing shoulder to shoulder with you. The reflection is constantly changing, but it remains your own personal world.
A few years ago I painted a horse for a young lady in the UK. The horse had passed away a few months prior and she was still living with that deep hurt that lingers after you loose someone you love. She had provided me with a high resolution reference photo and I started the portrait. Every time I looked at the horse I could feel something special, but it wasn’t until zoomed in on the eye reflection that I realized what it was. There was a perfect reflection of the girl that had loved the horse so dearly.
Next time you see a raindrop look closely, it may be the reflection of you that makes it so special.
“Raindrop” watercolor, 3”x5” $125
Day 19: Sap buckets hanging on trees is the sign of a promised Spring. Mid March is a quiet month. The fallen leaves which were once so vocal in October have begun to meld into the damp rich soil. The birds are just beginning to shake of the memories of snow and the trees themselves are sending life blood to the skeletal branches
The sound of collecting tiny drops of sap in metal buckets is a sound from my childhood. Our neighbor “tapped” the woods where I spent much of my time. It was a wonderful collection of large, old growth maple trees with a small “crick”meandering through. We would enter the woods by following a well worn path that was cut into the side slope. As we followed the path down into the woods it became darker and the earthy smell began to mingle with a hint of smokey sweetness. The path ended at the small 4 foot bridge that crossed the crick. It was there on the level, that Dorothy had built a temporary stove out of cinder blocks and stove pipe. She boiled sap, for day on end. I remember watching Dorothy expertly tending her shallow copper pan of magical water. When I close my eyes I can still see as a cloud of steam floating through my sleepy woods.
“Musical buckets” Watercolor/ Colored Pencil 3”x5” SOLD
Day 18: For those of you who know brush sizes, all of these paintings were done using a #2 round. My favorite was a little inexpensive Princeton Snap. I could point that brush to about 3 hairs, making it super for details. Today my little brush said “Enough” and had to be retired. I had to sub in another brand. Saying good-bye is hard to do...
Today’s painting is a tribute to barn cats. They play a necessary role in the life of a barn, the role of rodent control. Some cats are good hunters and some just so so. My favorite hunter was a cat I named Scutter. He was a big handsome, long haired￼, orange cat that was always curled up basking in the sun. At first glance, everyone thought he was just a lazy cat who’s main concern was if there was milk in the dish, but Scutter just had a different technique. He would find a sunny place in the barn, curl up so tight that you couldn’t see his head and wait. Hours might pass before a mouse would crawl up on him and start pulling out hair to line its nest. A flurry of fur ensued and Scutter strutted away with dinner.￼
“The Sunny Spot” watercolor 5”x3” (SOLD)
Day 17: Happy St Patrick’s day🍀 I’m posting today’s painting a little earlier because I didn’t have to go out to find my subject, my subject found to me.
I’m a morning person. Actually, I’m not just a morning person, I am a very early morning person. My favorite time of the day is before the sunrise, when I’ll sit in the dark with a cup of coffee and listen to the silence.￼ Every morning the silence of the night is broken when the first bird sings. I’ll usually take note of the time. It amazes me to witness the inner clock that wildlife is given. The first song of the day differs by only one to two minutes from day to day. After the first bird sings that song, the wooded areas that surround my house, erupt in a symphony of song. It recharges me and at the same time makes me feel extremely blessed.
Every year two geese always come and visit my pond. This morning I was sitting at my drafting table, which faces my pond and noticed that my two visitors had returned. I know they are messy birds and a little vocal, but these two have always been polite. This morning I simply sat at my drafting table and painted natures visitors on the other side of my window.
“The Return” watercolor 3”x5” $125
Day 16: When I was a kid in the 50’s and 60’s every small town had a general store. These stores carried bread, milk, meat, cigarettes and candy. They also had a few canned goods, but those cans were usually very dusty since everyone did their own canning. ￼￼
I grew up on a farm which was 2 miles from the town of Riceville. Riceville had about 10 homes, a church and a general store. The store was called The Riceville Store, but we called it “The Store”. This is where we always got our Wonder bread and possibly a few exotic meats, such as polish sausage and liver wurst.
Occasionally my sister and I were given a quarter to buy candy. We would carefully weigh out our options. I loved Three Musketeers￼ bars, but I often bought Necco wafers, because they would last longer and somewhere I heard that the white wafers would spark if you broke them in the dark. They never sparked for me and I didn’t like the taste of them, but they did last a long time...
“The General Store” watercolor 3”x5” $125
Day 13: I grew up on a poultry farm, so while my friends reveled in the missions of Commander Tom and Dust Mop, I gathered eggs after school.￼ We usually had 5000 New Hampshire Reds roaming freely in several large buildings. It was our job to check the nest boxes for eggs and put them into a large wire baskets. Without fail there would always be one or two broody chickens sitting on a horde￼ of eggs. Broody chickens are other-wise sweet chickens, who are in very bad moods... VERY BAD moods, but I had a job to do. I usually decided to do the stare down method. In this method, you would stand squarely in front of the broody girl and look her in the eyes. Her eyes would narrow and her feathers rise in defiance. This was very much like an old fashioned gun fight. Slowly your hand would slide into your sleeve, but don’t lose eye contact... gather your courage, take a deep breath and... plunge you hand under the chicken, grasping the warm eggs and removing them before your adversary drew blood... your blood. Upon your success, do a little end zone dance and move on. Move on as the victor.
“Rosetta” watercolor 5”x3” (SOLD)