Saturday, February 28, 2015

Day 28 "So many choices"

"So Many Choices"

This is the final image of my February Fish Challenge....the idea of coffee popped into my head. I remember my early experiences with coffee, watching adults sip it and telling me I was too young to drink it. The smell was deliciously intoxicating. Later, my grandmother would let me take tiny sips of hers, very strong stuff with lots of heavy cream added. Definitely German- style coffee. That turned into being allowed to have mini cups, about 1/3 of an adult's cup and by adding sugar, I knew I was onto something good.

On the weekends, the coffee percolator was used...the burbling sound and the lovely smell filling the kitchen coming from the white pot. I had a mini cup and as I was not used to the caffeine, it made me almost euphoric. I finally knew why so many adults made this a part of starting their day. 

I worked my way through one coffee shop's menu as an experiment in experiencing new things. Everything from espresso shots to Italian sounding names of things that looked more like desserts than a cuppa java. All those culminating in today's final painting. 

What is your favorite way to have a coffee?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Day 27 "The Answer"

"The Answer"  
"The Answer," 8 x 10" Watercolor and ink

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day 26 "It's like this...."

"It's like this......."

When I see fish swimming around in a tank, eyeing each other, I wonder what they might be communicating. How are they sending messages to other fish? Two angler fish might meet and both light up, letting the other know they were looking for lunch and if they float and engage in a conversation, some unsuspecting fish might mosey up and be available for gobbling....or maybe even sharing.

Wonder what these 2 are saying...

"It's like this,"  8 x 10" Watercolor, ink and sparkly paper

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day 25 "Moving Day"

"Moving Day"

"Moving Day,"  5 x 7"  Watercolor and ink

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Day 24 "Home"


Recently, I saw a wonderful video about the way hermit crabs find a home that suits them perfectly. It was delightful to watch and inspired me to do a quick watercolor sketch. Interesting to see how an unusual creature like a hermit crab  situates itself in a comfy, new home.

Have a peek at the amazing process in this 2 minute video
 Hermit Crab Housing Chain

"Home," 5 x 7" Watercolor and ink

Monday, February 23, 2015

Day 23 "Untitled"

I had a conversation recently with a few other people who ike to paintOne said coming up with a price was the toughest thing to do when done, while another said selecting the perfect title was way more challenging. My technique for titles comes from my asking, 'what is the name of this painting,' and the answer comes usually within a few seconds. I asked 3 times today for this painting and nothing came. Nada. I waited and asked again. Still nothing.  I take this to mean that the work needs no title.  

I'm going with that then. 

"Untitled,"  5 x 7" watercolor and ink

p.s. What title would you give to this fish?? Just curious.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Day 22 "Suspended in Thought"

"Suspended in Thought"

For the last few days, my "to do" lists have grown longer than usual. I often find myself popping over to Leo Babauta's Zenhabits for a few of his ideas on slowing the pace and going through each day mindfully.  With big snows predicted, I knew his words would offer me some ways to deal more effectively with my last minute "essential supplies" storm shopping extravaganza.

After racing through a crowded store with other last minute  shoppers, I stood in the queue and took a quick look in the cart of the woman behind me. This is actually a very dangerous thing to do because, in my experience, each time I've done this, I've noticed (to my joy and dismay) that something I've LEFT OFF MY LIST  is in that person's cart.  It's uncanny how often this has happened. I'm grateful for the visual reminder of something I really need, but also in the spot of deciding if I want to go back and get it. This poses 2 questions:

Do I go without it?

Do I pay and go back, grab the needed item, and then get into one of the queues that has now grown to about 9 or more people?

Tough call.  Sigh. I decided to let it go and after paying, returned to my car and just sat, removing myself from the chaos. I decided to be like one of the tropical fish I'd spotted last week in a store.

A fish circling the large aquarium it shared with a dozen other exotic beauties, slowly came to a stop and remained stationary, only the side fins moving gently back and forth. The little eye looked around, as if to sum up what it was seeing outside its glass encased world. "Humans, and all their frantic, chaotic rushing. So glad I'm a fish."

I stop myself each day when I feel I'm rushing or on the verge of getting overly busy...and I become that fish. I stand, breathing deeply and in about 10 breaths or fewer, I've touched back down in a calmer, more relaxed state.

Here's my quick way to chill out....
Be like a fish and just suspend for a few moments...see what happens.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Day 21 "On My Way"

"On My Way"

Hard to believe February is almost over. People all around me seem very eager for Spring to arrive, but I am ok with it taking its time to get here.   What's good about winter? I've enjoyed the months of getting up in the dark, sipping a coffee in the early hours while writing or painting. I love wearing thick, soft clothing and having delicious smelly candles burning. My cats are eager to snuggle close while I work. I like taking breaks to watch the  intense colors of the sunrises  as they transition from deep pinks and purples to soft rose and golden yellows.

One more week of painting fish and then on to the next thing. What do you like about Winter??

Friday, February 20, 2015

Day 20 "On the Way, She Remembered"

"On the Way, She Remembered"

"On the Way, She Remembered," 5 x 7" Watercolor and ink

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Day 19 "The Magic of the Moon"

"The Magic of the Moon"

"The Magic of the Moon," 5 x 7" Watercolor and ink

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 18 "Looking Up"

"Looking Up"

"Looking Up,"  5 x 7" Watercolor and ink

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Day 17 "Secrets"


"Secrets,"  5 x 7" Watercolor and ink

Monday, February 16, 2015

Day 16 "That Face in the Crowd"

"That Face in the Crowd"

"That Face in the Crowd,"  5 x 7" Watercolor and ink

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Day 15 "Thinking it Over"

"Thinking it Over"
Something to do on a Sunday afternoon....

"Thinking it Over,"  5 x 7" Watercolor and ink

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Day 14 "Tickled Pink"

"Tickled Pink"

A love fish for Valentine's Day.

"Tickled Pink," 5 x 7" Watercolor and ink

Friday, February 13, 2015

Day 13 "Lucky Friday the 13th"

"Lucky Friday the 13th"

"Lucky Friday the 13th,"  5 x 7" Watercolor and ink

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Day 12 "The Blue Way"

"The Blue Way"

"The Blue Way,"  5 x 7"  Watercolor and ink     SOLD

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Day 11 "Sisters"


"Sisters,"  5 x 7" Watercolor and ink

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Day 10 "Stop and Smell the Seaweed"

"Stop and Smell the Seaweed"

The other day, I walked through a shop that had a large, cylindrical fish tank filled with salt water fish. It was gorgeous and I felt myself drawn toward it. People all around me were rushing by, juggling coffee cups, cell phones and overflowing shopping bags.

As I approached the tank, I felt myself relax as I watched the fish moving slowly among the plants and tiny shipwreck nestled on the sand. One fish glided in my direction, almost in slow motion, and stopped right by my face, looking right into one of my eyes. It seemed to be suspended, gently bobbing in place as it watched me. I swear it was telling me to slow down and relax. Hypnotism by puffer fish.  

After half a minute, the fish disappeared, and off I went feeling peaceful and relaxed.

Be like a fish today, just for a few moments and revel in relaxation....

"Stop and Smell the Seaweed,"  8 x 10"  Watercolor and ink

Monday, February 9, 2015

Day 9 "Monkey in the Middle"

"Monkey in the Middle"

As a kid, a wise, well meaning adult told me that odd numbered friendships didn't work...someone would always get left out of the loop. "Better to stick with even numbered groups," they cautioned me.

I ended up in more odd numbered groups and noticing that, got nervous and wondered if they were doomed to fail, with one getting left behind, or feeling isolated, namely me! I thought about this so often, it eventually became a belief.

Now I look back on that realizing how bombarded we are as kids with words of wisdom from the adults in our world. Now it is easier to see those beliefs for what they were, someone else's worries, doubts or fears or wishes for us. Letting go of the "odd numbered" thing was a relief and opened me up to more experiences that showed me that simply wasn't true....for me.

After having had children, the "odd number thing" came back again, from a few other parents (who had even numbers of kids) telling me it wouldn't work as smoothly as even numbers and that I should consider having another one to even things up.

Three have worked out well, I'm glad to say, and "Monkey in the Middle," came up quite often while they were growing up, with the monkey often being the oldest or youngest. 

That whole idea was the starting point for this little watercolor.   Who was the monkey in your bunch?

"Monkey in the Middle,"  5 x 7"  Watercolor and ink

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Day 8 "Opposites Attract"

"Opposites Attract"

Is this true for you??

"Opposites Attract,"  8 x 10"  Watercolor and ink

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Day 7 "Norma and Juno"

"Norma and Juno"

BFF's..."Norma and Juno,"   5 x 7" Watercolor and ink

Friday, February 6, 2015

Day 6 "Rita tells Scarlet how it happened"

"Rita tells Scarlet how it happened"
I was out running errands the other day and I noticed how very busy everyone around me was...rushing off with long to-do lists, frantically scurrying to get more things done.  Quite a few people were even talking to themselves, maybe to remember things they left off that big list?

I noticed a little kid trying to get his mother's attention. She was staring into her phone, absorbed and unable to focus on the little guy in that moment. How many instances in the day do we miss an opportunity to connect with someone in the big rush to "Get It Done" ? 

Just for today, can you find  a quiet moment to connect with another person, or an animal, and enjoy the encounter? Welcome the opportunity and see what happens...leave a comment, I'd love to hear how it happened......

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Day 5 "Across the crowded sea floor, he saw her...."

"Across the Crowded Sea Floor, He saw her and knew She was The One..."

I thought I would be doing birds every day for February, but I feel drawn back to doing fish. I love fish and I cannot make the switch to something least not for now! I say go with what appeals most, so Fish it is!

"Across the crowded sea floor, he saw her....."   8 x 10" Watercolor and ink

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Day 2 "Dodos Rule"

"Dodos Rule"

Interesting facts about the Dodo Bird.... had no natural enemies, but were driven to extinction in 1681 and were known to approach humans fearlessly. Standing about 3 feet tall (.9 metres) and weighing about 50 pounds (22 kgs), early reports described them as "tough and unpleasant tasting birds."  They were, however, gobbled up by feral populations of dogs, cats and other assorted creatures Portuguese sailors brought to the the island of Mauritius.

I imagine what these stocky, flightless birds with big fluffy tail feathers,  would have looked like interacting with other birds. 

"Dodos Rule,"  8 x 10" Watercolor, ink and oil pastel

Day 1 February bird challenge "Quail"

Years ago, my cat and I were sprawled in the front garden, soaking up a bit of  morning sun. Eyes closed, I relaxed in the grass, listening to the Bell Birds. Pretty soon, I heard loud chattering and opened one eye to see a quail standing a metre away. The chattering got louder and the bird started pacing, getting increasingly agitated.  The cat looked over, yawned and stretched out flat in the grass disinterested, while the bird continued pacing frantically. It  was then I noticed a half dozen dark, fuzzy chicks behind her. 

"You're safe," I said, "we're only looking."  The bird suddenly stopped her big dance and all the noise, staring at us briefly, before turning and disappearing into the bushes, chicks in tow. Interesting how we all communicate with one another.

"Quail,"  8 x 10" Watercolor and ink

The next birds I make will be more like the fish I did for the challenge...
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