Friday, September 4, 2020

Learning to Paint

 One of the things I’m doing during COVID/heat waves/wildfire-smoky days is learning how to paint.  And, of course, I fell in love with watercolor which is one of the most difficult mediums.  Figures.  Fortunately, there are a ton of great tutorials on YouTube and that is how I got started.  I discovered that within watercolor, there sub-categories of painting: loose or realistic, landscapes or botanicals or animals.  I want to learn them all.  I seem to do best at botanicals and my landscapes look like kindergarten.  

I enrolled in a couple online schools about a month ago.  One of them is focused on botanicals and the other on realistic animals.  When my dad was visiting last month, he made the observation that I paint from photographs and not from real life.  That got me to thinking.  I’m painting from photos along with tutorials helping me “see” the important shapes and shadows.  So, is that really painting?  I think so.

Remember when you were learning to write the letters of the alphabet?  First, the teacher showed you how to hold the pencil which felt super awkward.  Then she wrote letters on the board and you copied them onto your paper — that had lines for capitals and lower case.  But it was still hard at first.  How far down do you go for the tail on a “g” —and a capital “S” — man that was hard.  I thought a capital “W” was hard, too, which was a problem because my last name started with that letter.  

Gradually, we learned to print our letters and then to write in cursive.  We copied our teachers until we could do it solo.  Painting is the same.  I’m tracing the outline of a picture and then watching a video of the instructor as she explains what she is seeing, the appropriate brush strokes, and how to mix colors.  

I’m getting better — I fast-forward through about half of the video now.  I’m learning to trust my eye.  I’m getting some muscle memory around how to hold a brush and how much paint to load and how to blend one color into another without hard lines.  

Maybe I’m delusional, but I consider what I’m doing “real” painting.  Not great painting, and not original painting, but real just the same.  


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Sage tells Tex Where to Go

 Yesterday as I walked down the driveway to get the mail at 2pm, I noticed that Sage and Kersey were busy trying to get a squirrel from under the logs in the oak pasture.

I could hear the squirrel squeaking angrily all the way from the driveway.  The dogs didn’t look up when I came back up the driveway with the mail.  They were intent.

At 4:30 I went back outside and the dogs were still intent on their squirrel.  The horses were standing in the corner of the pasture, by the front gate, watching the occasional car drive by.  Tex left the group and wandered over to see what the dogs were doing.  He stretched his nose down between the squeaking logs.

Sage stood on the other side of the log and launched into Tex.  “Get away! That’s my squirrel! Stop being so nosy! GO AWAY!!!”  

Tex eventually ambled away and Sage resumed her position in front of the log.  By 6:00, Kersey was done.  

She just laid in the dirt panting.  Sage kept at it.  She was 30 minutes late for dinner; and she’s never late for dinner.  When it was time to come in the house for the evening, she was late for that too.  We had to go out and get her.  Normally, she’s waiting at the door.  It must have been one heck of a trophy squirrel.  ...and she never did get it.