Here is what is currently on my drafting table. This photo was taken last week and the piece is further along now. Actually it is almost finished so I shall be able to post the final image next week.
After having finishing a couple of large abstract-ish pieces on sanded pastel paper, I wanted a change. I have been busy in the studio these many weeks (since my last post) exploring and messing about. I did some acrylic paintings, just small studies really and a bit of mixed media work. I didn't end up with anything I wanted to reveal as works in progress. I was just stretching myself in new directions for a wee bit. I am the first to admit that painting with acrylics is not my forte but I do enjoy giving it a go. The enjoyment is very brief and in no time I am disappointed with my results and frustrated with the medium. I am always delighted to return to my cps!
Once I was back using coloured pencils, I started working on a painting inspired by the Solomon's Seal that was blooming in my garden. I was working small, something like 8 x 10 inches, on Colourfix paper. Once I got into the piece, I started to regret my choice of surface as well as the colour of the paper. I knew it was time to switch to white paper and one with a lot less tooth. So the Solomon's Seal piece was set aside. I might rework it another day...
My current 'petals' piece will end up becoming part of a series that I started last year featuring peony petals. For those of you who are familiar with my work, you might have noticed my return to one of my favourite formats, a juicy, long horizontal - 22.5 inches x 6.5 inches. Working on the white surface is allowing me to play with soft colour blending, something I so enjoy with the cp medium. I am really enjoying working on this piece!
When not in the studio, I have been very busy outdoors. Remember those 600 seedlings I started indoors in the winter months? Well, I got all of them planted as well as some veggies direct from seed. Here is a partial shot of my vegetable garden taken a few weeks ago. The plants have grown quite a bit since then. To give you an idea of size, I would guess that the garden is about 80 feet by 80 feet. We started this garden from scratch when we moved here and like my art it also is a work in progress. I hope to increase the size of it next year as there were veggies I wanted to plant that I just didn't have room for. We have an electric fence up to keep the deer out. We now have deer here everyday. One is a mom with twin fawns. They are so cute it is hard to get angry at mom's nightly munching in the flower beds.
Here is a pretty baby hen at three weeks. She now had some new feathers replacing her down.
Here is a picture of some of the chickens at 8 weeks. They are 10 weeks old now and are bigger than they are here. They are an absolute delight...okay their poop is stinky but once the bedding from their chicken house has been composted, it will make great fertilizer for the garden, so it is all good! :-)
The arrival of my two dairy goats was quite eventful! I grew up on a dairy farm and while our herd of cows was milked by machine, I did see both my mom and dad milk by hand many times. I have learned that milking by hand is quite a skill and it looks easier than it actually is. Getting milk out isn't too difficult but landing it in the pail is more of a challenge and gosh until your hands and arms develop all of the right muscles, hand cramps happen. Here I am milking Veesa.
And here is what it all comes down to, milk hitting the pail!
Here is my girl Rainah, giving her head a good rub. Rainah is a purebred Alpine. Her breed originates from the French alps and she has the breed's characteristic two toned markings.
I was surprised to find that my domestic goats like to rear up and butt heads like wild goats do. Here Rainah has jumped up onto higher ground to give her a bit of an advantage. Veesa is bigger though and could really clean her clock as it were if she chose to. Rainah reminds me of a little sister bugging her older sister. She starts all of the skirmishes. Veesa is a purebred Saanen and her breed is all white and orginates in the Swiss alps. Both of these girls had kids this spring (which is of course how I can milk them). Well, my gals were pining for their kiddies so I ended up returning them to the breeder to be with the kids. My husband and I are making some changes to the set up of our barn and we are doing some more fencing in the pasture. The girls will be back here in about two weeks and this time we shall be bringing their kids here too!
Major trimming of old lilac trees has taken place, rhubarb pies have been baked, and woo-hoo my raspberry bushes are producing well. The former owner had left a small wild patch in the corner of the rear yard. Raspberry bushes spread quickly if left alone to do their thing so after moving in, I have left them alone and let them spread. Yum, yum.
Humm...my computer crashed and had to go off and get fixed. That was fun. Not.
Oh and I spent an afternoon in the USA this week. Some of you might know of my troubles last year getting my art to the CPSA exhibition in Atlanta. My shipment was delayed by US customs because of a mistake (theirs not mine) and it took some major expediting on my part to get my parcel released. This year, I did up my customs papers (stuff like NAFTA free trade declarations of original goods paperwork and Homeland Security forms) and I went across the border myself, clearing my package with the customs people in person. I traveled to the town of Ogdensburg (just across the border in upper New York State) and I shipped my parcel from there. It is on the way to California as I type. It has to arrive there next week and it shall. Whew!
Animals always remind me of the happiness found in simple pleasures. Whether it is my chickens clucking with delight at an unexpected treat of leftover rice, or my goats fighting over nacho chips or my dog living out his predator dreams, they bear witness to the truth that if we really embrace living in the present moment, enjoying the small gifts of each day, we can often find the pleasure and joy we seek. I hope you have all had a wonderful late spring and early summer. Anyone else been experiencing this heatwave? :-)