Monday, August 13, 2012

A new blog name and two new paintings

As the four year anniversary for this blog approaches, I realized it was time for a change to reflect the direction my work has taken since September '09.  Back when I started blogging, I wrote in my initial post that I was not sure where my work would head based on my past experience in various media, so it was easy to call it a "daily art journal".  For some reason, that just doesn't seem to fit now.

Since then, it's evolved along with my interests and art and priorities.   I identify as much as a painter as I do a photographer now, and the blog has always been about more than just posting a painting or a couple of photos and calling it a day.

Anyway,  there you go.  I've done up a new banner, which I do periodically anyway.  I'm going to keep tweaking the format to hopefully make it more appealing to readers.

On to the paintings....

Fly Fishing Waters - 9x12", plein air
pastel on black cardstock
This one is from yesterday, on another trip to Cascade creek, and was actually destined for the trashcan because I lost interest in it about 3/4 of the way though, partially because of the greens which I didn't want to deal with, and I was also having difficulty concentrating, probably from a poor night's sleep.  That happens sometimes, and I've found it's very much linked to those periods of "artist block" that I go through.  Having had the same thing happen a few days ago the last time I went out painting, I wasn't terribly surprised when I realized I'd left my game back in the locker room, so to speak.

A digression here regarding the trip:  we got off to a late start, and as is typical, the chance of rain in the mountains was pretty high.  From the parking area, it's about 1.25 miles to get to the section of the creek where I'd planned to paint, so I brought my folding table and stool, rather than my french easel.

Wayne split off to hit the creek and walk upstream, to practice with his brand new fly fishing gear.  I got to the location - one I'd scouted and photographed during our June trip - and already the sky was filling with dark clouds.  Thunder rumbled off in the distance, and it was clearly doing to start raining within a few minutes.  I wasn't enthused about the spot; the water was down, and the green was just not something I felt like dealing with.

So, I gathered up everything and decided to head back down the trail to find Wayne, who told me he'd meet me walking upstream as he fished.  Right before I got back to the junction to the main trail, the wind kicked up suddenly and it started to rain.  I dropped my gear and was putting on my rain jacket when I heard a loud crack - a sound unlike anything I'd ever heard before.  I looked up to see a rather large tree blow down not 15 feet from where I was standing.   Had it fallen towards me, I'm not sure I would have had time to get out of the way.

Worse still was hearing another tree fall about 30 seconds later on the other side of the trail.  I started worrying about a blowdown (a large number of trees blown down in a localized area from a windstorm), because those are a frequent occurrence in Colorado forests, and I've seen plenty of them after the fact on hikes across trails.  It was, needless to say, a disconcerting experience.

At that point, I started running down the trail in the rain, and ran into Wayne coming up to meet me.  We decided to go to the historic cabin near the trailhead and wait out the storm.  Within minutes, it was over, the wind and cloudburst heading south to torment some other hikers.

We went back to the creek, and I settled on this new location to paint.  Wayne, who has been talking of  learning to fly fish during the entire 7 years I have known him, finally purchased all the gear, and this was literally only his second outing using it.  He started right where I was painting and worked upstream.

The title of the painting comes from the fact he caught his first fish with a fly right in front of me.  It was an exciting moment for him, and fun for me to witness.  For those that don't know, the nice thing about fly fishing is that the fish can be released, unharmed.

Oh yes - here's the other painting:

Afternoon Cloud Study - 12x12", plein air
pastel on reclaimed cardstock
Not to be deterred by two back-to-back "failed" paintings, later that afternoon, I decided to wipe down the earlier one and stand on the sidewalk and paint the clouds outside.  Really, when all else fails:  go paint a cloud - it's good for you.  Bonus:  painting 10 feet from the front door.

Then today, as I pulled out my pastel boxes from my backpack, I looked at yesterday's creek painting, and thought:  "what do I have to lose?  Why not sit and finish it with no regard to the outcome?"  I had planned to toss it anyway.  So, I worked through it, with a different frame of mind, and made it happen.  Maybe there's something in this readers can take away for themselves?  I hope so!


6 comments:

  1. Treefalls sound scary! Beautiful outcome with both paintings. Yes, sometimes one has to quit and look again another day. Like your new name too:)

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  2. So glad you survived the close call with those falling trees!! And now you have a wonderful painting to commemorate Wayne's fly fishing adventure.

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  3. P.S. I love your new blog header.

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  4. We call those "widowmakers!" Glad you're avoiding those.

    Marvelous new name and banner! One of my favorite works by yourself up there.

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  5. I really love the new banner Sonya. :) You have a great eye for design, well I guess that's obvious isn't it? And I think it's good that you changed the name to reflect your interests now. Keep it fresh and current, a true reflection of you! Of course I love both of these paintings (you know how I feel about your clouds!) And I'm SOOOOO glad you guys didn't get hurt with those trees blowing down! CRAZY!!

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  6. Thank you all for your comments and concern about the falling tree; I posted about it because it's not something most of us are thinking about when we go hiking in the forests, but this brought home that it is a real danger. Everyone keep safe out there!

    Liz - I appreciate your comments; I did learn things from each of the paintings, and also the importance to motor through those lulls.

    Thanks, LeAnn - Wayne said I need to keep the painting for that reason :). Actually, that's one of the reasons I'm glad I decided to finish it.

    Casey - thanks much! I actually put probably an inordinate amount of thought into the new name, and I'm glad that people like it. One worries about these things...

    Crystal, you are so sweet! I also spent a bit of time on the banner, mostly adjusting the text and font (the images were the easy part - two of my favorites from this year, both from Utah, of course ;) ), and I hoped it would look okay. So, I'm glad other peeps like it - whew!

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Your thoughtful comments add value to this blog - thank you so much for taking the time to leave them!

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