World on a String ~ Kite Flying, Family & Plein Air Painting on the Beach Send Me Soaring

Six children, eight kites, a five gallon cooler, four grown-ups & Grammy!

If you notice, I didn’t list Grammy with the grown ups. No mistake!

Painting en plein air with my grandchildren on the beach, I became a kid again.
kites on a beach painting
Let’s Go Fly a Kite, 8″ x 10″ oil, Purchase this painting

Thinking I might capture quick portraits of the kids playing in the water, I hauled my painting gear over the dunes and set up my easel near the water.

Painting on the beach at Bavon
Painting on the beach at Bavon

Instead, 10-year-old Fiona watched me paint her mom and dad side by side with their kites ~ being kids!

I showed her how to block in the colors. Not too serious, simple shapes to make the eye think it is looking at a real kite!

Who knew I was talking to myself?

plein air painting on the beach
Fiona took her turn painting while her dad watches.

Looking at the picture of Fiona painting her ocean of dreams, with her dad watching over her ~ I see myself and my own dad.

Painting with Fiona that day shifted my gears. Somewhere between the paintings, I took my own advice and played with chunks of color.

It happened first as I played with this small painting of the lighthouse. At first I didn’t see the lighthouse. I knew it was there, so I walked down the beach to get a closer look.

New Point Lighthouse painting
New Point Light, oil, Prints Available   Purchase this painting>

Selecting this vantage point, I blocked in chunks of color. At first the lighthouse was light against light clouds. Then I changed angles slightly and began to see it as a shadow shape in front of the light background.

Seeing darks and lights is a lot like seeing the cup half full or half empty. I had become so avert to looking at the dark side of life, it was difficult to see the dark shapes. Light and dark define us. Einstein said everything is relative. And so it is!

Adding the line of dark dune grasses defines the foreground ~ and creates space beyond for us to see the lighthouse.

Does it look like lady liberty to you too? or is it just me?

flying kites on a beach painting
World on a String, 8″ x 10″ oil on canvas, Purchase this Painting>   prints available

I did see the light that day. Without even realizing anything had changed, I painted “World on a String.” While three of the kids flew their kites in the dunes, I played with color.

Simple and to the point. And yet …

It’s taken me a couple weeks to realize the shift in these paintings ~ and in myself. I set them aside and worked on my fabric project. Coming back to them, I feel the utter playfulness and joy I felt that day.

And I realize their exuberance and joy is now mine to treasure for a lifetime!

Waking Dream ~ How I Discovered the Woman in the Mountain

Filling four pages in my journal, Squares, lines, a bird . . . an ancient bronze stick figure, then an abstract woman peeking her head over the mountain!

Trying to sketch a dream in my journal this morning, I filled four pages with scribbly boxes and abstract shapes.

sketchbook dreams

I’d never have considered painting such simple compositions. But my sketchbox trunk show had changed the rules. Now I can experiment.

Squares, lines, floating leaves, a bird . . . perhaps they could be designs for the backsides of pillows.

sketchbook dreams

an ancient bronze stick figure I’d seen in the Etruscan collection of the Vatican Museum.

sketchbook dreams

Then suddenly I saw it ~ an abstract woman peeking her head over the mountain!

sketchbook dreams

Three squares had clustered together in the valley and formed her heart.

sketchbook dreams

In the next box, she had arms. Outstretched mountains embracing the world.

Oh my! I wonder what else she can do?

sketchbook dreams

Emotion filled her shapes and i could feel her heart beating. I wonder if she can pray .. .

sketchbook dreams

I tried to sketch two hands clasped together. And then I saw her hip raised up out of the earth. Two hands praying . . . or a dancing woman with arms overhead.

sketchbook dreams

Without thinking I drew the reservoir, the mountain protecting it. And the sky rained stars down to fill it.

sketchbook dreams

The night sky filled with sparkly white stars on a deep Cobalt Blue field.

sketchbook dreams

Her heart joined forces clustering with those nearby. Head rising up, I could feel her strength growing.

sketchbook dreams

I wonder where this story is going? I see the paintings clearly. The colors, shapes, textures, the magic of painting them. I can’t wait to get started.

30 Paintings to Bring the Goddess Out of Your Mountain

30 Paintings to Inspire, coax, encourage, embolden, console, energize & applaud your goddess . . .

The first painting I ever sold was a pastel landscape I painted in college. The abstract mountain stretched across 3 square pieces of paper. In it was a reclining woman.

Really! I’d painted her from a figure drawing class where we had a live model. In the painting, she was hidden under the mountain, you could hardly see her.

I’d forgotten all about this early painting until last week. Sketching a few dream scribbles in my journal, I saw a woman rise up out of the mountain landscape. OMG!

It’s her! On the pages of my journal, at first I saw her just peeking over the mountain. Then her heart came together in the center, and she raised her wings like an angel taking flight.

dream journal sketches
Thumbnail sketches from my dream journal

I recognized her awkward moves, like a stick drawing in a flip book. Animated stop actions, step by step she finds her heart center. She puts her hands together to pray. Then suddenly I notice she is standing.

Arms overhead, she’s no longer bound by the mountain! How could this be? Her heart open and sparkly stars raining down from the Cobalt Blue heavens. She is energized, courageous, resolved.

dream journal sketches
Sketches from my dream journal

In a flash, I knew I’d found my artistic voice ~ at last I could see the colors ~ brilliant Aquamarine, Deep Turquoise, juxtaposed with heart to heart Vermilion, Deep Cadmium Red, Quinacridone Rose, and Cobalt Violet.

Finally standing in a field of Meadow Green and Jade, my fertile dream is suddenly real, no longer a figment of my imagination.

I’d lost her decades ago, or so I thought. As life dished up its challenges, my mountain grew. (raising 3 sons, surviving an attack, losing my mother to cancer, life challenges particular to me ~ but hey, eveyone has them. How else would the Creator direct us to our creative voice?)

#1 Goddess in the Mountain

Goddess in the Mountain
Goddess in the Mountain, Purchase Info

But, what I want to know is how could it happen so fast, after all this time? How could my mountain vanish? And suddenly in its place is a colorful tapestry of goddess vestments?

How could my paint brush leap to hand, and in a flash my paintings transform from reality to abstract? Overnight, what I thought was reality (the landscape and mountain) is suddenly goddess with vividly colored vestments!

Her head rising like the sun above a gem-encrusted ridge. Footprints in the landscape, the only sign she’d passed.