This blog is dedicated to the memory of my life partner of nearly thirty years, Dr. Howard G. Hanson-- artist, writer, musician, and teacher-- who with me celebrated a belief that we can achieve whatever we allow ourselves to imagine. This blog reflects the whole person that our lives together enabled.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

My August Woods

"My August Woods"   16 x 20  Oil on Canvas

This summer more than any during the twenty-six years I've lived in these woods, they've held a devoted magic for me.  It could be that during the winter, I blazed trails throughout my six acres of woods, paths I walk daily with Maggie who delights in exploring all around the trails, checking with me from time to time, but always cognizant of where I am whether or not we're within sight of each other.  Or perhaps as I get older, I'm learning to stroll through these paths soaking in the life around me rather than being distracted by brain chatter.  Whatever the reason, our walks along these are the most special part of every day.

How the lights and shadows carry on their perpetual dance from sun up to sundown and even in moonlight has always filled me with a sense of mystery and feeling that I am one energy with them.  Quantum physics is now revealing to us that all our ordinary reality, even our physical bodies, is made of energy.  This feeling of being one with all was within my conscious awareness while working on this painting of a section of the path toward sundown.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Lesson of a Moneyplant

"What the Tree Frog Sees"  12 x 16   Oil on Canvas

If you were a tree frog, this is the size you would see the moneyplant blossom.   The human eye, though, sees it as a tiny member of a larger cluster.  But the closer we move our human eyes to it, the larger it becomes, and the more brilliant the purple.  As our focus become more intent on the petals, the surrounding foliage surrenders to soft patterns.  Do we then remember the moneyplant blossom as tiny or large?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

"As the Sun Is Rising"     12 x 16 inches   Oil on Canvas

This painting marks the beginning of the first series following the release of my book, Finding Freedom to Create.   Oddly, during the development of the painting, I thought I was painting wild violets, but when I began defining the foliage, I became away that this was a money plant, many of which are growing in my back yard.  Maybe there's a metaphor there.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fourth Wren Study

"Fourth Wren Study"   7" x 10"  Watercolor
Most likely, this is the last of the wren studies, at least for now.  The little painting's colors are a bit richer than I was able to capture in the photo, but I hope this is close enough.
      I mentioned in an earlier post that after I began these studies, the wren stopped coming to the feeder, almost as a tease to dare me to capture his (or maybe it is her) image.  Later, I discovered the little rascal poking around the front porch.
     Either a mama phoebe who's nesting in the rafters of my carport or a hummer frequenting my feeder will be next.  Both are keeping me busy trying to capture videos of them, neither having yet given me enough footage to begin their studies, but I will win this one.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Third Wren Study

"Third Wren Study"    7" x 10"   Watercolor on Paper
Here is my third study of the Carolina Wren I spotted at my bird feeder.  Scan down to the previous two posts to see the other two.
     One of the joys of spring unfolding is the busy activity of our feathered friends building their nests, laying their eggs and keeping vigilant watch of their future progeny.   A bird feeder usually guarantees that its visitors will choose a nearby area for their nest and continue to show up, but once I began the studies the wren disappeared.   Until then, he was a regular visitor.
     One thing I have learned from these studies:  it is better to video them rather than take still shots.  By doing so, I am able to watch the video repeatedly enabling me to register their gestures and expressions, so important to how I interpret them.  And, too, in the case the subject goes away, I have a more complete record of whatever it was that drew me to it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Second Wren Study

"Carolina Wren, Study II"    10" x 7"   Watercolor on Paper
This is the second of the watercolor series of studies I am doing from a video I made of a Carolina Wren at my bird feeder.  The first study was done before the greens filled out in my woods.  This study shows the wren in an environment of spring greens.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Carolina Wren: Beginning of a Series

"On Alert"     7" x 10"    Watercolor on Paper
$125 plus S/H
This is the first in a series of studies I'm doing of a Carolina Wren who has been visiting my bird feeder.  I was able to shoot a video of this little guy, then capture a number of still frames of his movements.  From these stills I have been doing a number of gesture studies.

What I'm trying to accomplish here is an immediacy with this little bird.  I have spent my career focused on the creative process, with my most recent focus being on the way we artists compose our work.  Now, I'm giving my attention to pure immediacy:  what happens when I respond to my subject without thought, with the only goal being to tune in to how I am responding.  Nothing more.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Double Dare

"Double Dare"
  11" x 8"  Watercolor on Paper
One of the entertainments of early spring is watching male cardinals duke it out.  So when I was asked if I'd be willing to do a cardinal commission in watercolor, it was that territorial dance that first entered my mind as I studied their activity in my yard.

I sat up my camera aimed out my kitchen window and put it in movie mode so that when the cardinals appeared at the bird feeder, I could film their gestures and expressions.  It is from these video clips that I compiled this little painting set in my woods where Spring has not yet produced a single leaf bud.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dancing Light

"Dancing Light"  13" x 21"    Pastel on paper
I finished this painting a couple of weeks before Christmas.  It is the fourth in my series of paintings from a canoe trip on the Tugalo River in the fall.

The images from that trip remain as fresh today as the day I experienced them.  During this moment, the surface of the water displayed its own painting, changing moment by moment with the movement of the water's ripples and the subsiding light of a sun setting.  Our boat was skirting along the surface of all this, adding its own note to the pulsating motion, becoming a part of a both fleeting and emerging, a dance of light on the water's surface.