Monday, October 29, 2007

Mixed Message

Here you see a sunset in Kona, Hawaii, a place where I have never been and probably will never go, but it sure looks like somewhere I would want to be. Obviously, it is warm, though, as it's always warm in Hawaii. It's my effort for this week's Monday Muse.

Now for the mixed message part. After a very long and dry summer (it ended last week, in spite of what the calendar says), we had almost enough rain in two days last week to make up for how short we were for the year. Of course, it helped the water table and the lakes and reservoirs, but it came way too late for the crops and flowers. Farmers are still suffering, and I still had to water flowers all summer. I guess it was far worse for them than it was for me! The rain also brought fall along with it for a very delayed entrance. For the first time since early May, there are no 80 degree days in our forecast. Now we are getting daytime highs in the 50's and 60's and had our first frost of the year last night. I think this is late for a first frost. The leaves are finally changing color, but the color is pretty muted because most of the leaves are full of brown spots and holes. Although I am a summer lover, I always like the first few brisk days of fall weather. The drop in temperatures and difference of wardrobe are pleasant changes. Of course, it won't be long before I'm tired of the cooler temperatures, if not the clothes. The cooler it gets, the less I like it. One of my mantras known to everyone who knows me is, "I HATE winter!" Of course, winter is only temporary, and spring will come again--because life is good! :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This Is Retirement?

Here is a photo of the painting of the photo that I pilfered from my sister's blog, Count It All Joy, a few days ago. It shows just where I would like to be right now (and every day, for that matter!).

Instead of lounging around looking at the beach and the Gulf of Mexico, I am in Kentucky keeping very busy. I always thought that when I retired we would have the chance to go and be at the beach whenever we wanted. Unfortunately for me, last year only one of us could go, and this year only one of us wants to go. We will have to see how this pans out.

Meanwhile, we aren't lounging around anywhere at the moment. We have been very busy for the last several weeks, and even when we do have time to relax, one of us thinks of something that needs to be done. We have been seriously looking at a new home and trying to work out how to afford it and still keep this one for Doug and Kellie. I think we have that one figured out. Then we have been trying to get some maintenance done on this house so we leave it in good shape. Next, we were privileged to have Drew here for several days, and he did keep us busy. That's as it should be, and a good time was had by all. This week, it has been a series of routine doctor visits for me, and on Friday there will be one(not routine) for Doug. Sunday will be my season-pass trip to the local dinner theater. All of this ensures that not much grass grows under our feet, and I am beginning to long for a day when all I have to do is get up and sit around with a good book, a paintbrush, or a DVD control in my hand. That's unusual for me, the goer. It is just an indication of how very busy we have been. However, I am very grateful to be able to get up and go like that. Others aren't so lucky. For me, anyway, life is good!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Guest Blogger

Drew has been staying with us since Monday. His dad brought him and Nick up, but Andy and Nick went home on Tuesday morning, and Drew has had his first big sleepover with us. I must say that Grandpa and I have been very impressed by how well-behaved he has been. This is what we have done in Drew's own words:
" We made Halloween stuff for my house. We went to the Louisville Slugger Museum and the Frazier Arms Museum. We saw shields, armor, swords, guns, and a buffalo. We bought a pen feather, a magnet, and two swords. I climbed on a giant ball glove. I batted balls. We saw them making bats. I got a bat and a ball. We ate pizza downtown. We saw the big river. We came home. I played with my toys and rested. We ate supper at Steak and Shake. I drove the golf cart every day all by myself. Today we went to the store to look for tires. We ate lunch at Ruthie's Lincoln Freeze. I had grilled cheese. We saw the log cabin where Abraham Lincoln was born. Tomorrow I will go home. I've had a good time."
I must say that of all the things that we did this week, driving the golf cart has definitely been Drew's favorite thing to do. I think he would have been happy just to do that all day every day. We have had a great time and look forward to doing it again...Life is good!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Catching Up

I have managed to make it to my painting group for a few weeks in a row again. These are my last two efforts. Both are cut down because they are too big to fit in the scanner. The first is pretty self-explanatory. The second is, too, I guess. It's a tropical storm coming to the Carolina coast. I did this one first and got two identical comments from people who know what they're doing. They liked the picture, but they said the bird shouldn't be centered in the picture. While I know this is true according to art guidelines, I painted this from a photo in which the bird was exactly in the center of the picture. I chose not to try to paint over it and do it again for fear I would really mess it up. But next time I'll know. The seascape is a better effort, and the focal point is not in the center of the picture. I guess my untrained eye doesn't notice these things very much, but being around people who make money at their art and listening to their comments is helpful to me.
It looks like maybe next month I will have a chance to display my paintings on a wall of the new library where we do our weekly painting. I could have done so this month, but I would have shared the space with another woman, and her paintings are far superior to mine. She paints in a very realistic style, and her pictures are almost like photos. While I paint from photos, my work is rougher and more impressionistic. Her work looks just as good close up as from a distance. Most of my paintings look better from a distance, which is part of what impressionism is all about. At any rate, I didn't think it would be such a good idea to have two such different styles side-by-side, so I will wait for another chance, probably next month. Meanwhile, that means I must frame some of my work, notably the pictures that are on canvas board instead of stretched canvas. With that in mind, I made a trip to Hobby Lobby this morning and bought frames at half price, but they still set me back about $80. Add to that the price of the canvases and paints that I just had to have, and the bill came to almost $140! This is an expensive hobby. When I display my pictures, I have been encouraged to put a price on them as the other ladies do, but I have no idea what to ask. They are asking $200-$300 for their work, but they aren't selling any, either. I don't think my work is worth nearly that, but it would be nice to recoup the cost of materials and frames. Maybe I'll put up prices in the $50 range. Makes more sense to me.
Meanwhile, I have entered two paintings that I did from Alissa's photos in the local festival art contest. The winner gets a ribbon, so it sure isn't for the money. I just like the idea of having something I painted on display somewhere besides my kids' homes, although I'm glad they like them enough to frame them and hang them up!
I have found a hobby that I really enjoy, and I am getting some time to pursue it. Life is good!