Those who know me personally, know that I am one of those ‘odd lots’ that doesn’t mind the time change that we have here in North America.
Every year, that mid-autumn Sunday is one of my favorite days. To me, it is better than Christmas. I finally get my “25-hour day”.
Not being one who minds the darkness (in fact, I embrace it!), the earlier setting of the sun doesn’t bother me one bit. It somehow makes things much cozier to me and brings back memories of my childhood growing up in Chicago, when we spent those autumn afternoons after school either at our school playground or at the nearby park district taking one of the myriads of free classes they offered. They included tap, ballet, gymnastics, and of course – arts and crafts.
Walking home from these activities on those crisp autumn afternoons as the sun was setting and the leaves were a riot of color remains to be some of the best memories of this time in my life that I have. We always had friends with us and chatted about school, boys and other ‘important’ things. Perhaps it was that first feeling of independence that accompanied us during these walks that made them so special. I always loved the warm glow of soft lights emitted from the rows of city houses on our city streets. It gave me a sense of comfort and peace.
Now that I am older, I find I still enjoy those darker, quiet times before the sun rises. The quiet mornings are always my time of day and somehow seems even more serene and peaceful prior to the daylight. Add to that the usually spectacular show of the moment when the sun creeps over the horizon, a steaming cup of coffee, and perhaps a scented candle, along with the quiet peace before anyone else is up and to me it is the perfect storm for a perfect day. Even the cats are usually curled up asleep after their nocturnal adventures. To me, just thinking of these things is enough to coax me out of my warm bed. For if I return to sleep, I will miss it.
I also use this time to think and write. It is a great time to gather and organize my thoughts and plan out my day without distraction. That, as they say, is priceless.
So today I decided to catch you all up on what Keith and I have been up to lately. We will be sending out a newsletter in the next day or so, but for now, I thought I would post things here for those who just stop by. As I mention in nearly every post, I am trying to get back in the habit of doing so. I enjoy it and it keeps me in touch with many of you.
These past few weeks, I have still been experimenting with watercolors. In my last post, I showed you all some of the things that I have done with them, and the more I work with them, the more I enjoy them. That doesn’t mean that I am going to abandon my other methods of creating, but it instead, I will expand them. I plan on shooting a video later on today to post to my YouTube channel and in my Let’s Paint with Sheila Landry group on Facebook. I think that once you all see how easy it is, you may want to try.
I spent pretty much of all of last week (in between a birthday celebration for my partner Keith and Halloween) creating a project for an online class over at Toletown, where I am a regular contributor. The class includes a full pattern packet and an accompanying video.
I chose to do a simple watercolor reindeer that could be used as a Christmas Card:
Besides the 1.5 hours of videos which show in real time my complete painting, I made a written pattern with over 70 color, step-by-step photos.
It isn’t that the project is difficult. Rather it is the opposite. BECAUSE of the photos, I feel that even a beginner will be able to complete this project without issue. It is just the way I like to present things.
I took some time to learn some of the advanced options in my video editing software and I feel that the quality of the video is my best to date. I was also able to extract high-resolution photos from the video, which will allow me to create even better and more detailed packets. The time that I spent learning was well worth it. It will bring my patterns and videos up to a much better level.
Keith has been busy as well. He made a new, “Beautiful” plaque (SLDK794) that is really a nice general plaque for any occasion.
He also created a set of six Filigree Christmas Spirit Bell Ornaments (SLDK795):
And he finally added another 14 new dog breeds to his unique dog breed plaques. (SLDBKSINGLE)
These have been really popular so far, and since many have requested additional breeds, he added them into the mix, for a total of 30 breeds.
And finally, as a personal challenge, I am starting a new ‘fine art’ painting for myself.
Several months ago, I was looking for a photo to use as a reference photo at Wildlife Reference Photos. I came across a beautiful photo of a Zwarte Panther and I knew I had to paint it. For a while, I have wanted to do a black animal on a black background – preferably some sort of ‘cat’, so this was ‘purr-fect’ for the task.
I purchased the photo immediately along with a delicate blossom photo to use along with it. I thought that the striking contrast of the powerful, dark cat would be wonderful with the light, delicate blossom. I hope for a dynamic result.
My first attempt was not successful, as I tried to use Golden Pastel Ground (which is a brush-on grounding) on black drawing paper. After only an hour or so of drawing, I abandoned the idea because the paper wasn’t able to take on the pastel crayons and pencils to any degree. I was not able to achieve any detail at all. But I did learn something so my time was not wasted.
Last evening, I began the drawing a second time. This time I used my beautiful Pastelmat paper by Clarefonte. It allows lots of layering and details when using pastels. After about two hours of work, I am on my way:
I am much happier with how things are looking and I can only hope that I can continue to make this piece as nice as I picture it in my mind. I will definitely keep you posted and do updates. It will be a labor of love that I will try to work on in the evenings.
So that is about it for now. The sun is now up and while it is cold this morning (below freezing) it is clear and pretty outside. Time to start my ‘work day’ and start crossing things off of my list. I feel good that it is still early and I have already accomplished a great deal.
It is going to be a good winter. 🙂
Happy Monday to you all. Enjoy that ‘earlier’ start to your day!