Monday, November 17, 2014

Copper Challenge

Last weeks challenge for DailyPaintWorks was to paint something copper.
My challenge last week was to survive a predicted one to three inch snowfall that turned to twelve inches. Today we are suppose to get another eighteen inches by Tuesday night.
I painted a copper teapot with the swirling snowflakes out my kitchen window. The only thing missing was the chocolate frosted donut. Dunkin Donuts does not deliver......

Painted in oil on a 8x10 inch canvas. Sides are 1/2 inch, painted brown/grey.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Old family photographs

Hey, Caitlin here. I’m back for ‘sidetrack saturday’ and today I’d like to discuss old family photographs. I consider myself lucky that my family has so many old photos to look through. While albums of me and my siblings are fun and nostalgic, what I find really intriguing are the older family photos. Old photographs of people I never got to meet, who were living their lives in decades that are now long gone, are inspirational to me. 

If you let yourself be creative enough, you can start writing stories in your mind about the people, and completely transport yourself back to the time that photo was taken. What was on her mind? What was his personality like? Why are they all wearing those hats?! This is one of my favorite games and it’s essentially cheap time travel. Last week, my mom and I were going through old photographs and I was enjoying my old photo game. 

Many of them caught my eye, and I loved plotting out little stories about the people in the photos and what their daily lives entailed. My mom and I spent a lot of time discussing what we knew about the people, but most often, we just had a name, and an idea of how we are related. That’s it. Sometimes we don’t even have a name, and nothing else to go on but what we can see in the photograph.

One of the photos that really interested us was this portrait of a female relative. It was probably taken in the early 1900s. We found her name, Mary, written next to the photograph. The first thing that caught our attention was her striking and intense gaze. I found myself envying her hair most of all, though. (It’s so perfectly controlled, how did she contain her curly hair? Did people use products on hair back then? I’d like to know what she used, I could use advice). Also, her posture is so perfect it almost hurts my back to look at her rigid pose. She looks beautiful and graceful, but also very alert. Honestly, she should probably put the caffeine down, and this is coming from someone who drank five cups of tea yesterday. With her observant and amazed expression, she seems almost bird-like. My uneducated guess is that she was just amazed of the photography taking place, and this wasn’t her natural expression or pose, ha. It’s such a gift to have this photograph, though. 

My mom decided to do a painting inspired by the photograph, which you can see at the top of this blog entry. It’s an oil painting, and it’s 9 by 12 inches. Mom opted for loose, thick paint strokes and a more relaxed and natural expression for Mary. I love the color scheme she picked to represent her. It’s tricky with black and white photos, so you have to be creative. The cold blues and teal in the background look great next to her porcelain skin, and strawberry blonde hair. The touches of purple in the background accentuate her violet eyes and magenta lips. Although she altered Mary’s expression, it still feels like the same woman to me. Mary looks beautiful, observant (but no longer amazed and bird-like), and has retained her elegant posture. And I still want her hair. Seriously, I need help with my hair. 


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday: Skye’s Spirit Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

'Nevermore' auction item to benefit the rehabilitation center
Happy Saturday! When the days are getting shorter, darker, and colder, It's a good time to be grateful for people in our community who help those in need. Whether they're helping to feed and care for other people, or animals, their essential role in our community is often taken for granted. 

This Sidetrack Saturday, I’d like to blog about something that is very important to both me and my mom. ‘Skye’s Spirit Wildlife Rehabilitation Center’ is our favorite local non-profit organization. Located in Harrisville, Pennsylvania, they are constantly rehabilitating injured, sick, and orphaned wildlife and birds. We follow them on facebook, and love reading updates on their important work. 

Their main webpage can be found here. Please feel free to click on to their website and read more about the skilled and dedicated care they provide to local wildlife in need. Their work is vital and often overlooked. They save the lives of hundreds of animals a year. I’m personally very glad that people so dedicated and caring are looking out for the wildlife and birds in our area. It takes a special loving spirit to run such a devoted organization, and I applaud their hard work. 

Right now, they are holding an online auction to benefit the sanctuary, which can be found on their facebook page. My mom contributed a painting to the auction, and there are some great items available from other talented craftsmen and artists. The items are very easy to bid on, simply with just a facebook comment. If you win an auction, items can be purchased easily through paypal. Their current online auction ends on November 30th. 

However, if you’d like to help in another way, here is a wishlist of items that they currently need. I can’t even imagine the amount of supplies their operation requires on a day to day basis, and I’m sure the costs add up quickly. Another great option is to pledge your support through a paypal donation. They need all of the help they can get, as they are not state or federally funded, and always have a full house of needy animals. 

I’d also like to suggest you consider simply following them on facebook. Their posts are always interesting, educational, and they often provide images with information about the animals currently in their care. 

I have included a picture of the painting my mom contributed to the auction to benefit Skye’s Spirit Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. You might recognize the Raven vase we found over a month ago in the village of Valont PA. I mentioned it in a previous post. I love this painting, with the rich oranges and pink and purple flowers, and I’m glad to see it go to a great cause. 

Gratitude can be a powerful life changer. Even when it doesn't change your situation, it can completely alter your perspective. Take a moment to think about who you're grateful for, and you might be surprised by where that feeling takes you. Have a great evening everyone.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Barn Challenge

This is one of my favorite muses. Old barns. They have character, color and a history to tell. I painted this from a photograph of a recent barn hunting trip off Old South Hill Road in Erie County, PA.