Friday, September 14, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Monsoon Season -
We have been having a spectacular “monsoon” season this summer. We always want rain in Arizona and no matter how much we get, we always want more and we can always use more. The old saying in the Southwest is “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting.” I was working in the gallery (Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery in Prescott, AZ) one morning when we got a big downpour, a gulley washer. Our upstairs neighbor ducked inside to get out of the rain and shouted out, “Glorious weather!” Only in Arizona would you hear that joyful pronouncement in response to a cloud-bursting, street flooding thunderstorm.
Along with the rain, we also have great cloud shows and this year they have been particularly spectacular all times of day. The sunrises produce golden morning light; we get big beautiful white cotton-candy clouds in the daytime and coral-colored, dazzling sunsets. I have taken to pulling over to the side of roads and snapping photos. I routinely carry a camera with me when I take the dogs on their morning walks. It’s wonderful to watch the clouds swelling up and take over the sky. They tower above the thirsty landscape like skyscrapers, which I guess they are. I have always thought that watercolor is the best medium to use to capture the fabulous clouds we have out here in the Southwest. It captures the wonderful colors and softness of the shapes. This summer of 2012-cloud show continues to amaze and delight everyday. I have done many paintings of our monsoon clouds over the years in watercolor, oil paint and pastels and love the challenge as well as being surrounded by these great seasonal Vaporous Beings.
Friday, August 31, 2012
Lazy Days on Lake Michigan - August 2012
Memories of Lake Michigan
I spent a week on Lake Michigan this past month with my family.I took all the photos shown here and even managed to do some painting on the beach. It stirred memories of Lake Michigan from my childhood in the halycon of those days of the 1950's.
I grew up going to the beach on Lake Michigan with my family in the summer. We didn’t live on the lake - - we lived one town away, but our town had beach privileges and we bought a seasonal summer time pass every year. My parents had grown up in towns on the lake and it seemed to have a special call to them in the summertime. My mother would take my brother and me two or three, some times four times every week. We would even go on days that were cloudy and maybe had a few sprinkles we were diehards. My mother even would take us when there were “seiche” warnings in hopes of seeing something grand, which never materialized, but the anticipation was lots of fun to speculate about being dragged out to the middle of the lake on a giant wave.
It was a long climb down to the beach so we would spend the whole day. We joined the other “beach families” along the lakefront and made summertime friends. I have eaten many a sandy peanut butter and jelly sandwich with soggy potato chips and washed it down with lemonade from a thermos bottle. We scampered up and down the beach, built sandcastles, plunged into the cold water to cool off and rinse off all the sand that stuck to our oiled bodies. As one of the younger kids, I always longed to be able to swim out to the sandbar with my brother and the bigger kids, but the water in between the shore and the sandbar was over my head, way over my swimming skills, so I stayed close to the shore for many years. After lunch we had to wait an hour to return to the water. We waited on the family blanket until the long hour had passed. We would nap, compare our darkening tanned arms and get re-oiled for the afternoon sun.
Around 2 or 3pm we would start packing up our gear and start the long climb back to the hot car. There was a foot fountain to rinse off our sandy feet at the top that always felt great after the long trek. My mother would sometimes stop on the way home and we’d get ice cream cones or chocolate sodas. When we got home we were rinsed off in the laundry tub in the cool basement and wrapped in towels that a had a chill from being in the basement.
On particularly hot summer days in the days before air conditioning, when my dad got home from work, we would go back to the lake for an early evening swim, so he could cool down after work. I always thought this was the best time to swim; there weren’t many other people around and the air temperature was only a little warmer than the water temperature. It seemed perfect. My parents would both swim. My dad would have me put my arms around his neck and I would ride on his back out to the sandbar with my brother swimming along side. My mom would paddle along the shoreline, doing the sidestroke to keep her hair dry. After everyone was cooled down, we’d head home to our summertime supper. In the summer we moved our meals out to the table on the back porch. I remember we would have summer menus of iced tea, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, tuna salad, and fresh peaches with sugar over vanilla ice cream.
The memories of those days are so happy and full of love. They ended with our adolescences when we didn’t want to go to the beach with our parents anymore. We went with our friends and were anchored to beach towels, listened to our transistor radios and worked our tans. As we got older we smoked, started using words like “shit”, “neat” and “cool” and didn’t do much swimming. We did still stop for ice cream, but we ate “coffee” or “pistachio” instead of chocolate and vanilla.
Lake Michigan still has a special hold on me. It’s “big-ness”, it’s fresh un-salty cold water, the white sand and smell of suntan lotion, fish and fresh air are still a siren song to me. Now I go hang out with my family and to be with my great-nieces and watch them frolic in the waves, dig in the sand to build castles, wrap in sandy towels and chase seagulls along the shore. I came back to Arizona this summer with a plastic bag of smooth stones I picked up on the beach in my suitcase. I put them on a plate on my coffee table as a reminder of being on the lake again and that I will be going back again next summer.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
End of May 2012
I haven't been doing much painting, because I have been getting my vegetable garden planted and cleaning up my yard. Oh my aching back. I am going to do the finishing touches on the painting I started a few weeks ago of the St. Michael's hotel in downtown Prescott, AZ and taking it into the Arts Prescott Gallery on Saturday. It will be posted on my website (www.LinneThomasArt.com) next week.
It's been a typical Prescott spring, high winds, cold temperatures one week, hot the next and NO rain at all. It froze one night this past weekend and I lost plants and had to replace them. I have been doing lots of watering. Now it's all in and I look forward to eating beans, tomatoes covered with fresh basil, lemon cukes and zuccini later this summer. I also like to do paintings of produce and take pictures of the praying mantis on patrol on my plants. Life is good.
My dogs, Bessie (in front) and Baxter enjoy the garden too. I built boxes last year in an attempt to avoid bending over as much as possible. It works until you need to stir up the soil and add fresh manure etc and that required emptying out the boxes and sifting the soil, replacing the newly refreshed soil back in the boxes. Oh my aching back!
When I lived in Chicago, I had a fabulous vegetable garden and yard --- there something about actual soil ( not dirt) and rain that makes a garden grow. The first gardening tool I bought 23 years ago when I moved to Prescott was a pick axe --- that should say it all!
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
I have entered the world of YouTube videos once more, but this time on my own. The last one was done by the gallery advertising team. I am now producing, writing, editing and starring in my own "instructional" videos about my paintings and techniques in oil and watercolor. I even do costuming, hair, and make up! It was a lot of work, I learned a great deal and have a long way to go to produce better videos, I know, but this one was a lot of fun. This is a painting I started of the the St. Michael's Hotel in downtown Prescott, Arizona last week. I will be trying to get it finished up by early next week and into Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery in downtown Prescott, AZ.
We had our semi-annual change of dislays in the gallery. We call it "Foo-Foo night" for the wall artists (painters, photographers, leather, baskets and potters) last night. Lots of ladder climbing, patching and painting walls, but the gallery always looks fabulous after it's done. We have gotten good at it after 18 years and 36 moves and we were all done in a few hours--a new record for the wall artists. The jeweler and glass blower "center artists" move around tonight for their "Foo-Foo" night. The whole experience is such a great seasonal way of refreshing the gallery and lots of new work and energy are now part of Art Prescott Cooperative Gallery! My new display is shown below; I was too tired to take more pictures last night!
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
I drove out to do a demo for the Prescott Valley Art Guild this morning under a watercolor sky with great clouds. The skies in the Southwest are meant to be painted in watercolor and the best way for me to try and paint them is to let the watercolors do the painting. That's one of the wonderful and frustrating aspects of working with watercolor, is that they want to paint themselves. It really is like riding the wild surf sometimes; the paints want to go where they want to go. There are effects that are only possible in watercolor and not in any other type of paint and that's why so many people find it so challenging. You strive to control them but that may not always happen. Sometimes when I paint in watercolor, I actually get out of breath --- really! Demos don't always produce good paintings because you are talking and standing to the side of your work so that the audience can see what you are doing. Sometimes you get one that wants you to finish it, and today I think I came home with one of those paintings. I will keep you posted and add a photo of the finished painting.
I really enjoyed doing the demo today to such an appreciative audience. I am very lucky!