Thursday, December 8, 2011

Swan Lake Treasuries

One must always draw, draw with the eyes, when one cannot draw with a pencil.

Click on image for enlarged detail.

My watercolor painting "Swan Lake" has been featured in two Etsy Treasuries and my painting "Sunflower Gold" was included in a third.  I feel honored. 
  1. Elegant Swans for the Holidays
  2. Swan Lake
  3. Unique Gifts for Good Friends

Studio Works copyright V. Bridges Hoyt 2011

Studio Works.  The sunflower on the left is the start of a new painting.  On a blank piece of Arches 140# cp I brush on tones of color and build on that.  I add my ink lines near the end of the painting, never at the beginning, to avoid that paint-by-number look on these sunflower still life paintings.  I want them fresh and impromptu.  Portraits, on the other hand, must be more exact to achieve a likeness.  I approach each medium differently.  With oil portraits, I sketch in tonal values with my brush correcting as I add more paint to the canvas.  With watercolor portraits (the birthday girl above) I do a light pencil drawing to capture proportions accurately before applying paint.  Colored pencil portraits (the boxer pup on black paper) are the most tedious as my tool of application, the pencil point, is the size of a dot and must be layered many times to achieve tonal value.

Christmas Candle

This has been one heck of a year. I have not produced as many paintings as I typically do. My focus has been on family even more than usual.

Last January my grandson (age 13) broke his arm in half ... literally. After two surgeries he is back to normal, but the nails (long rods nailed lengthwise through his bones) were not removed until the end of August just before school began.

The first week of June I finally was able to get away for a reunion with a group of artist friends; I had no sooner gotten off the airplane and into the hotel restaurant where I was meeting my friends when my brother called to say that Dad (age 95) was in the hospital for dehydration. Dad improved quickly with fluids, and I stayed in Chicago with my friends ... my first time in Chicago and the first vacation I've had in many years. That time with my girl friends (my sisters)  strengthened our bond and would prove invaluable as the year moved on because Dad's short hospital stay was a forerunner of events to come. 

In October it was clear that Dad was no longer safe staying alone in his own home. He had started to fall frequently as the aging process had accelerated. He needed 24 hour care. Again he was weak from dehydration and not eating enough. After much thought and worry, I knew that I would not be able to lift him off the floor or give him the necessary nursing care even if I moved into his house or brought him to my house. The best course of action was immediate hospital care to stabilize him and then around-the-clock skilled nursing care and physical therapy. After a few weeks he has stabilized and, although in a wheelchair, he does seem stronger, but the emotional and physical stress revolving around that decision and move has exhausted me. I find that I just want to rest. 

Now here we are only two weeks before Christmas, and I have not experienced the spirit of the season nor decided on gifts nor mailed out Christmas cards. Last night my eye fell on the ribbon candy Christmas candle that I have lit each Christmas Eve for the past 40 years. When the kids grew up and moved away, I thought the traditions had all changed, all gone away. Life transitions throughout the past 10 years underscored that thought—my husband had died, my mother had died, my father had required much help, and other family and good friends had turned their backs to me. I felt so alone through those years. Life had changed. Traditions were gone. However, as I gazed on the pink and red candle sitting on the top shelf of the hutch, I realized that the lighting of the Christmas Candle is my tradition, all mine, and is here to stay. "I will do it my way." Yet as I think of doing it my way, I know that God will have me do it His way. 

The muse called me to the studio ... but the bouncing boxer pup called me for a walk, and off we went. 

Life is a treasury.