Every year between Christmas and New Years I like to taste the ocean – sort of touching the rest of the world and reminding my self that there’s more to life than the day to day! Not that I mind my day to day—I love my work and I enjoy teaching but by the end of the year I need recharging and there’s nothing like an empty beach – or nearly empty beach with endless waves to do that.
The light keep changing – sparkling off the waves. Almost every image I took had a different feeling.
At first it looked like the beach had very little on it but there are always treasures if you keep looking—this single leaf, a broken shell here, another there. My gift for the day was Orange, orange stones, orange shell bits, stripes and patterns of all sorts! These will show up in studies of stripes, of curves in my little tapestries, perhaps even paintings…they fill my dreams!
More textures and patterns.
It was a beautiful day—not too cold for late Dec. Sun in and out—always changing— clean, crisp fresh air—this will keep me working for a while!
And we like to end this yearly tradition with a crock of chili and a beer at Charlie’s in Somers Point, NJ. Oh, and the ocean tasted salty!
We’ve been away on vacation—a whirl wind road trip to Cape Breton and back. Hiking and sketching and eating and driving and driving…
After a long hike we stopped by the ocean and Bob took pictures while I sat and wrote the following in my sketchbook…
I did take this picture.
Musings at Green Cove, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia 2016
young boy hopping rock to rock. I used to do that—like a mountain goat. But now, not so much. So I watch the young boy…
Bob goes rock to rock, not like the young boy but slower, watching, looking, seeing pictures in puddles that the young boy jumps over.
Saw a lot of birds at the end of our hike. young woman—not so young 53 but full of energy and friendship—works for the park—stopped to talk. I know her life history—her parents married, left Cheticamp for Toronto and returned. Her father loved the woods. I know all about her cheating husband. They were musicians, embarking on her perfect life, but… and she told us a lot about the birds.
Blue flowers hiding between the rocks—bright green leaves. Rocks with stripes—cracks and magma—each a painting.
Saw a seal swimming today!
Saw Canadian geese with a gosling.
Saw cormorants and lots and lots of sea gulls—
Tide waits for no man—nor woman for that matter.
We come and go and have hateful presidential conventions and the tide comes and goes—comes and goes—comes and goes.
The birds are on their rock, and the seal swims in the sea and we go about our petty lives—but Bob takes pictures others miss.
I was showing my students my small bag I keep at the ready to take on a hike or quick car trip for sketching/watercolors and thought I’d share it here. This is the minimum I take. (I’ve taken this on planes to work in my sketchbook on long flights—have to remove sharp objects and water…) I can grab a larger brush or two, larger sketchbook or watercolor pad if I feel I’ll need them but I’ve spent many happy times with these few supplies.
From top left: extra mixing pan, simplest box of paints, water container with folded paper towels to wrap around it (keeps any drips dry and gives a supply of paper), and small watercolor blocks. Bottom row: folding brushes plus a slightly larger but short one, magnifying glass, variety of pencils and micron pens, kneaded eraser in small tin to keep it free of lint etc, and misc items ’cause, you never know. They include small post-its, scotch tape, small straight edge, good scissors, and several knives.
Some of these things are faves that mean a lot to me. The water container I’ve had from a paint set when I was 10 years old, the magnifying glass belonged to my grandfather and the straight edge to my father-in-law. The brushes were an investment, but I’ve had them for years and they are like new. The rest can be found in most art supply stores.
Watercolor supplies for a day hike.
They fit in a little bag that I think came from REI years ago – don’t know if they still have it. It also holds my cell phone, has a clip for car keys and pockets for ID etc. It all zips securely and slips around my neck, freeing both hands for hiking as our hikes always seem to entail climbing over rocks. I will often add a sun visor to hang on the strap.
Small bag for supplies.
If I need more, I can just slip this into another bag or back pack with my folding stool, water bottle, extra supplies and bug spray!
Bought some new sketchbooks—pricier than my old ones but better paper. heavier weight and one has sized paper that while not watercolor paper, does stand up to wet media for sketching better that my old books. Also a pack of single sheet heavier weight paper. I like to keep several books going so when one is still wet I can work on another.
Ink, watercolor, and pencil
The small watercolor sketch of boulders was done this weekend at Texas Falls VT.
While we were in Vermont I saw an ad for a yarn shop that sold alpaca fiber and after a number of fresh starts I found my self at The Green Mountain Fibers and Yarn Shop in Rutland. They did indeed sell alpaca fibers but they were already processed into rovings and I wanted unprocessed fibers that I can mix with some white wool that I already have. I spin as a meditative thing, not to necessarily produce a result (although that’s a nice byproduct) but it’s a process I enjoy. They have some beautiful shades of grey and tan but as I will mix this with white I wanted dark brown. Long story short, the very helpful woman in the shop gave me the name of their supplier, saying she didn’t know if they sold unprocessed fiber or not.
This was Maple View Farm, about 20 min down the road. So, down the road we went. I expected a small operation with a few alpacas and some fiber being hand carded… No, this was a major, if small, fiber mill specializing in alpaca, llama and wool. Thirty or so alpacas and a full fledged shop with all the professional wool processing equipment one could wish for. They process not only their own fibers but are booked up with orders from others.
I was graciously sold about 6 oz. of unprocessed dark alpaca fiber, enough to keep me happy with the small amount I need for the winter. I know I could purchase fiber from alpaca farms in PA, but this will also be a reminder of my time in VT as I spin this snowy winter.
After purchasing the fibers I photographed some of these wonderful creatures.
Very curious—nosy—they seemed to enjoy being photographed.
They had just been shorn.
The gals and babies were seeking shade under a shed roof.
The guys were out in the field making faces.
Another Working Vacation. This time a long weekend to Vermont to work on our portfolios.
We stayed at the Maple Leaf Inn in Barnard, VT—a wonderful Inn run by Nancy and Mike Boyle about 10 miles or so from Woodstock, located at the end of a long drive into the woods. Very comfy, great breakfasts, Beckett the guard dog, and terrific hosts made busy days fly by.
Maple Leaf Inn
Very quiet and surrounded by flowers it was perfect for our plans to head in different directions each day.
The clematis was outside the breakfast room window. So pretty
Sunday we headed west and hiked up to photograph.
Looking past my shoes to the mountains from the top of our hike.
And Monday we headed north and hiked down.
Texas Falls in Hancock, VT
(This beautiful area was severely damaged by Hurricane Irene but is now open to hikers once more.)
Lots of good images, lots of sore muscles (the inn’s whirlpool bath was great), and lots to work on now that we are home.