December 29, 2018

Gladiolus stem on China silk kimono (early-mid 1980s)

A couple weeks ago I described the frame I built to help me with my first “canvas sketch.” It was a wooden expandable frame I originally created in the early 1980s to stretch panels of habotai, also known as china silk. (Habotai is quite ephemeral—very soft and almost translucent.) I painted bits of floral ephemera on the stretched material and sewed it together with other strips of silk to make simple kimonos. Habotai takes the paint beautifully, with the color soaking through to the other side, so it almost looks like stained glass when held up to the light. As I said in that recent post, stretching the piece of canvas made me wonder if I still had any of my painted kimonos. I dug through a box and found these. Woo hoo!

Before making the hand-painted kimonos, I was making kimonos from “found fabric” for a vintage clothing store in Los Gatos. The store was called “Rags to Riches.” When I say “found fabric,” I mean random squares of cotton or rayon I found in huge barrels in various fabric stores I seemed to be haunting at the time. I would dig way down to the bottom, finding colorful and fun prints. And it seemed that each piece was just enough to make a simple and fun kimono. I remember making a bunch of these, putting them in a garment bag and walking along North Santa Cruz, looking for some place that might let me sell what I had made. One of the owners of “Rags to Riches,” then located on North Santa Cruz, liked what I was making and let me sell my outerwear there. The store was very eclectic with her vintage clothing on one side of the store and a former boyfriend’s vintage furniture on the other side. The kimonos sold very well in her little shop and she and I actually became pretty good friends.

There were many funny stories and events that we shared together related to her vintage clothing business. Once we got to know each other she hired me to make 30s style dresses and what she was calling “Joan Crawford” blouses with shoulder pads and beaded necklines. We also made a trip to LA together, where she took me to an unmarked warehouse in downtown that sold vintage clothing by the pound. She was always on the look out for beaded sweaters from the 50s and what she called “Barbie dresses” that were actually old prom dresses also from the 50s. She found quite a few sweaters and dresses on that trip. Later on she started making hats and renting out Halloween costumes. She had found a small business in Santa Cruz that made a wide variety of Halloween costumes and my friend would rent some of their more elaborate costumes that she would then rent out to her “Rags to Riches” customers. One year she had a female gorilla costume on display at the front of the store. But one afternoon, a couple people drove up to the front of her store, grabbed the gorilla costume and drove away. My friend saw the whole thing happen and ran screaming after them as they made their gorilla getaway. She could run pretty fast even when wearing her usual pair of spring o lators. She never caught the “gorilla nappers,” but swore she was going to every Halloween party in Santa Clara County, looking for someone dressed as a female gorilla. It’s a pretty funny story now, but it wasn’t at the time, as she had to pay outright for the costume.

water lily1
Water Lilies on China silk kimono (early-mid 1980s)
silk sleeves
Camellias on sleeves of China silk kimono (early-mid 1980s)

During her hat and Halloween phase she and I continued to collaborate on various other projects, but I also continued with my kimonos. I don’t remember what got me started painting on this flowy silk, but I do remember that I loved its soft and ephemeral quality and wanted to do something special with it. It made into such lovely lightweight kimonos. I was not only interested in painting on the silk, but was experimenting with dying the fabric with natural dyes. One of my favorite natural dyestuffs was cochineal and when it was mixed with hot water I created beautiful shades of bright red all the way to lavender, depending on the mordant added to the dye bath. If you want to know more about cochineal, look it up on the Internet. I will tell you that it is an insect… Besides dying yards and yards of china silk in huge pots my Los Gatos backyard, I also loved painting flowers on it. But I don’t remember what kind of paints I used. Such hand painted and hand dyed kimonos sold well at “Rags to Riches.”

As usual, many of my “art inspired” stories lead me to seemingly random topics that are just floating around in my head. This week is no exception. You may have noticed that for this week’s post I have used the term “ephemeral” quite a bit. Silk has a natural life and is short lived. And over time it will degrade and finally turn to dust. I learned first hand about this when my “Rags to Riches” friend asked me to repair a beaded dress from the 1920s. The beads had been stitched to a crepe de chine sheath dress and were falling off. As I tried to restitch the beads back to the silk, the thread would pull through the silk fabric and make a hole in the dress. The weight of the all over beads was pulling on the silk threads and the once strong and stable woven fabric was weakening. I suggested the dress be remade in cotton, but wondered who was going to sit and stitch each and every bead back onto that dress.

When thinking of the transitory nature of silk it stands to reason that the paint and dye materials I used on it would also degrade and be lost at some point in time. It’s funny, but I am actually OK with the idea that art is meant to be lost—even the great works of art painted on canvas will degrade sometime. Maybe art in general is meant to be transitory in nature and even the most saturated colors and materials lovingly created by an artist are meant to degrade and disappear over time. And maybe future artists are meant to reinvent or recreate that art for future generations to love with distraction as we do right now. But take heart future artists! There will always be a place for art and artists that don’t worry about such things. We will always continue to create our creations whether it’s meant to last or not. I mean, think of those artists who do detailed chalk sketches on the sidewalk. They know it’s going to rain sometime, but do it anyway. Can I get an A-men?

Note about vintage downtown Los Gatos, circa 1980’s

“Rags to Riches” has been gone for a long time. The whole Los Gatos downtown changed after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. Many of the old brick buildings had been damaged and had to come down. And it seemed that once all of the buildings on North Santa Cruz changed Los Gatos took on a kind of gentrification that seemed to push out all the old funky parts of Los Gatos. That included “Rags to Riches,” the old movie house and the heart of Mountain Charley’s restaurant. Maybe places are just as ephemeral as art. Yes?

Just came from my first B’not Mitzvah in the Valley. What a delight!

Happy New Year!


December 22, 2018

LC, large canvas3
Canvas Sketch, Step 4, Tuesday afternoon (12/18/18), photo taken inside my garage.

I thought I would finish today, but think I need one more day. And today’s session was a bit harrowing as the tiniest bit of wind flipped the canvas face down onto the ground. Thank goodness acrylic paint dries fast and it was OK. Of course there was a small problem with the tray I use to mix my colors. The wind blew it face down onto the concrete and left a splotch of blue paint. Hmm…I have a couple small bungee cords I will try to use next time to attach the canvas to the garden stakes. Stay tuned…

LC, large canvas4
Canvas Sketch, Step 5, Friday afternoon (12/21/18, first day of winter), photo taken outside my garage.

Going a pace?

As kids, when we were involved in some kind of project for school, writing a paper or doing general homework, my dad would ask us if we were “going a pace.” Such a term had special meaning for us, but probably doesn’t mean anything to you. I just Googled it and I guess it is actually a measure of 30 inches. But when my dad asked us if were “going a pace” we weren’t measuring whatever we were doing in inches, but in time. Like, how long before we expected to be done, or had we gauged the project correctly so we weren’t trying to do it last minute. My mom thought his routine “check ins” a bit odd because she said that when they were at UCLA he always procrastinated doing his homework and studying for tests. I figured he adopted this attitude because he didn’t want us to put off getting things done in a timely manner, then rushing at the end to finish. Interestingly enough this term did not originate with my dad.

My dad was an electrical engineer in Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) in 60s, 70s and early/mid 80s. He loved designing circuits. For a time it seemed he was always changing jobs, going from one small start up company to another. When he started a new group, with an actual R and D (Research and Development) budget, he would order test equipment and tables etc. Then, his group of engineers and techs would literally build all the circuits/parts they would need for any given project and test it out right there in the lab. My dad had one tech guy; we’ll call him WH. It seemed my dad would invariably hire WH to join his group at whatever lab my dad was in charge of at the time. My dad loved to go into the lab and see his friend sitting at a workbench, tinkering with the group’s latest circuit. And he would ask him, “How’s it going WH?” And WH would reply, “We are going a pace.” Which meant they were getting closer to the measurements for the specs (specifications) they were looking for and that would make my dad smile. That way he knew they were nearer to completing a circuit that could then be reproduced and sold to waiting customers.

Since this painting took some real time and planning I wondered all along if I was going a pace. I guess that’s always the question in the back of my mind when I start a painting, or even a sketch. Will I finish it? Or will I just sort of stop working on it, put it away and move on to something else? I think the secret to being a painter, at least my secret to painting, is to try to finish it no matter what.

I have a kind of One California Girl weekly blog process. Before sitting down to start writing on Monday afternoon/evening, I have secured in my mind a piece of art that I think will inspire a story. You may have noticed that each story usually has three components. First, I give background for each piece with regards to the materials I have used to create it. Second, I support my California images/landscapes with names and places specific to California, sometimes with CA historical information I think is relevant and/or interesting. Finally, and of course not the least important, are the stories of my family—some who were born here and some who came in from the cold of various western and Midwestern states to sunny Southern California.

But this week my process was a little different, as I didn’t finish the art as planned. I wound up with a cold over the weekend and just couldn’t get myself outside either Sunday or Monday. But all this procrastination is actually what I had planned to write about this week, so I had a story in mind even before the art was finished. Don’t get me wrong, I walked past the canvas I started last week numerous times and definitely had a course of action to complete it. Or did I? I guess my question is, “Am I a finisher?” How about you? “Are you a finisher?” I got this one done, but I have a story of a painting that I never finished. It was meant to be the definitive portrait of my grandmother, a woman I never met. Even though I painted over the beginnings of her portrait years ago, I still feel a little intimidated and guilty—wondering why I didn’t complete it. And why isn’t it featured prominently over the mantle of my fireplace, like so many other grand family portraits I’ve seen in the movies? But as I think about what I’ve already written, this seems to be the fodder for a future California story.

Oh, and the bungee cords worked swimmingly. Nothing landed on the ground for the last step for this canvas sketch! Woo hoo!

Happy Holidays!

December 15, 2018

La Crescenta, large canvas1
Step 1, Stretching the canvas and going outside, 12/9/18 (62 by 32 inches)

I realize this may look like a heap of nothing, and in fact this first photo is just that, a large blank canvas in my front yard. But for this first image I wanted to show the set up I’m experimenting with—where I’m doing a kind of deconstructed “urban sketching” landscape on a much grander scale. (I will try to explain what I mean by a deconstructed landscape later. I’m still kind of working that out in my head.) I knew this whole thing would probably only work for urban landscapes where no one would mind if I showed up with larger than expected sketching stuff. (If you read my blog regarding the sketch I did out in front of the Norton Simon on November 17, 2018, you would know that the museum guard I spoke to that day would probably plotz if I showed up with anything you see here.) A lot of what I plan to do in the next few weeks will be me setting this up in various places in my garden, or garage if it’s raining, and then quickly painting what I see in my little SoCal neighborhood. And if it’s raining I will be running in and out of the garage to look at the mountains, or the sky, or whatever. Somebody left rather cute red toy truck out front the other day and I might even include something that mundane, but nonetheless “urban” and charming, in the future. So, this is what it looked like last Sunday afternoon in my front yard. I know, not very exciting. I had chosen this spot because I could easily see some of my “neighborhood mountains” just behind me. In fact, I did a watercolor of this same view and posted it almost one year ago to the day—December 12, 2017. I think I will post it again to compare with next week’s “completed” work. Or you can look it up yourself right here and now.

So, here are the behind the scenes descriptions of what you are looking at. First, I cleared off a workbench in my garage and temporarily tacked the sheet of 62 by 32 inch canvas onto a wooden frame I made back in the early 80s. At that time I was living with my family in Los Gatos and was painting on silk. I made the frame so it could be folded in half and therefore accommodate two different sizes (62 by 32 inches or 31 by 32 inches) Back then I taped different textures of silk to the frame and lightly painted favorite floral designs onto the stretched fabric. Once I finished the paintings, I removed them from the frame and then fashioned kimonos that I sold as wearable art. (I should look to see if I have any kimonos left that are worth ironing and photographing for another story. That would actually make quite a story and some of the silk I dyed in large vats in my backyard.)

Next, I pounded two 5-foot wooden garden stakes into the ground under my pepper tree and propped up the canvas against the stakes. And oh yeah, I am not a neat painter, so I put down a drop cloth under everything. In fact, when I work this big and fast I often get paint in my hair. A while back the lady who used to cut my hair when I lived in Grass Valley got tired of picking paint out of my hair. So one day she ceremoniously gave me a shower cap to wear when I painted. (That’s NOT in the materials you see here. And I can’t even imagine what my neighbors would think if they saw a woman wearing a shower cap painting on a large canvas in the front yard.)

To the right you see a rolling table with upper and lower surfaces crammed with supplies. I actually found this with a bunch of cast off furniture at a school and put it into my car and took it home—so I know it would fit in there easily. So I also knew that I could take this along in my car if I decided on a far off ninja urban sketching event. You probably can’t see it, but there is a black plastic plant holder that was meant to hold eight 4-inch by 4-inch plants. I got at the nursery. Those square holes hold my 8 fluid ounce jars of acrylic paint, plus assorted other 2 ¾ inch Mason jars for water and any colors I mix that are worth saving for another day. (I already have saved a lovely SoCal hazy day sky blue.) This “paint” arrangement seems perfect for transporting to locations that are as yet unknown. And this paint holder has a built in advantage for those of us who are messy because someone like me is less likely to spill things if they have a proper place to be. I specifically looked for paint containers that fit into those spots and had screw caps. Such containers will keep the paint from drying out. A lot of plein air painters use oil when they are outside because it doesn’t dry as quickly as acrylics, but since I like to do “under colors” I don’t want to wait for anything to dry. I want this to go fast. Then it’s really more like doing a watercolor that doesn’t bleed when the paper gets too wet, it just runs down the canvas. That’s when it gets messy because you need a rag to wipe off those “tear staining” dribbles.

La Crescenta, large canvas2
Step 3, Step after laying in some of the “under” colors (Step 2–not shown) and blocking in the trees and house in the foreground—half way there, 45 minutes from the start

End of first day painting

If you are getting bored with all this, hang in there because I am almost done with the set up and ready to tell how this is meant to be a deconstructed landscape. I mean, don’t you want to know what colors I used to get to this point? Of course you do! I used titanium white, ultramarine blue, cad red, cad yellow and burnt umber. Tomorrow I will finish this and plan to add touches of other colors I have in tubes in a bag for the final piece of art. I forgot to mention that I also had some plastic mixing trays, an assortment of big brushes and a laundry detergent jug that was rinsed out and filled with water.

What is a deconstructed landscape?

For each of the three steps I have described here, I stopped to take a photo of each one and shared it with friends. Now, I am not a sophisticated social media person and didn’t post the three photos I took (I didn’t include the Step 2 photo of sky and “under color” only here) on Instagram of Facebook, I just texted people that live nearby. And it was my hope that they would send along a note of acknowledgement, a question or two or even stop by to see what I was doing. Don’t hate me, but this is the cool part of being one California girl because the weather last Sunday was beautiful—in the upper 60s to low 70s. Someone could have driven past to say hello and make me take a break. I’m not looking for anyone to tell me whether or not they like what I’m doing, it just makes me stop and take personal stock of what’s in front of me. This helps to make a better piece in the end because I don’t feel like I can “drive off the cliff’ of going to far with a color or idea. It just makes me “stop.”

So, that is my idea of a deconstructed landscape, where other people are all part of the different stages of my painting—saving me from myself. And don’t we need more people in the world who save us from going too far? And they don’t even have to be a friend, just an interested bystander. I would do the same for them. Wouldn’t you?

Stay tuned for the final painting. Tomorrow looks to be another lovely day for one California girl.

December 8, 2018

Atascadero Road
Atascadero Road, date: timeless (oil on canvas, 24 by 32 inches)

I think the actual canvas I’ve posted today was the very first canvas I actually stretched. And I think I did this one in high school—seems like someone else’s lifetime ago. I remember that the actual weave of the cloth was not very close and when I brushed on the layer of gesso it took a couple coats to get into all the nooks and crannies. That being said, I have no idea how many paintings are under this view of lupines on a road in Atascadero. This last layer is on pretty thick as well and it would be impossible to see any of the original canvas unless you turned it over and looked at the raw ungessoed canvas on the back. In fact, I just got up from my laptop to look at the back, thinking it would be fun to take a picture of the raw canvas, but stopped short of my typical geekiness. Actually, what I noticed was years of dust and cobwebs back there and decided all of this might be just too weird. Oh, I dusted it off, by the way.

Now that I have added textures of flowers, trees and a road that takes you around an uncertain corner, this will probably be the last layer for this one. I don’t actually remember when I painted this final one, but it was definitely before the Great Recession of 2008. If you are an artist and were working at your art in the early and mid 2000s, there seemed to be people with extra money and they wanted to buy art. I met an interior decorator in Paso Robles early in the 21st century and she had lots of clients looking for art with very specific and personal themes for their walls. She suggested I look online at what other painters were making for sale. I checked it out and saw quite a variety. There were people who specialized in art that looked like it was from the Renaissance or street scenes of famous places like Paris and Rome, and landscapes of all kinds could be found there. Some did art of trains, boats and airplanes. I think Thomas Kincade, a fellow native Californian, figured this out and made a nice living painting romantic and idealized landscapes for just such a clientele. And of course there were artists who did “people” portraits and would paint your cat or dog if you sent them a photo. During this time of plenty I was doing lots of landscapes of vineyards and roads weaving in and out of the canvas, but none of it was done for a specific person or purpose. (Actually, that’s not exactly true. I did a painting during that time for what I thought was to be a poster for a Zinfandel festival in Paso Robles. That was actually a disaster and I blogged about it in my April 28, 2018 post.) Most of all I just loved traveling the North County back roads, capturing scenes of places that I wanted to linger and hang out in. The decorator I just spoke of said I should start a website of paintings that specialized in roads and vineyards. I also remember checking that out on the Internet to see if anyone else had a similar theme going. And sure enough there were plenty of paintings of vineyards. At that same time I knew of other artists who were creating paintings for wine bottle labels in the Paso Robles area. Before the crash, a Grass Valley winery owner tentatively suggested I do a label for one of their wines. Another person who was making and selling jewelry in Grass Valley told me he thought I should make posters of my work and not sell the originals. Again, I think Thomas Kincade figured out that whole idea. He mass produced his works, put them in nice frames and opened stores that just sold his art. Lots of people were all very generous with their suggestions of what I should do. Remember, I said all of this was going on before 2008. Because by 2009, that game was up and no one was interested in having someone who specialized in paintings of roads, airplanes or any other niche art category you could imagine. Of course I think there are probably still people who will do portraits and paintings of your pets. (I just Googled Portraits of Pets and found several websites that still specialize in that.)

The Road Less Traveled

And of course I didn’t do anything that anyone suggested and continued to paint as I pleased because even before the crash of 2008 I knew I would never really be happy trying to make a living selling my paintings. I think I realized it would be too much pressure to paint too many things that didn’t really interest me. So, I didn’t quit my day job. That brings me to the second part of the story that actually focuses on the subject matter of this painting. I am calling this part “The Road Less Traveled.” The idea was inspired by the “Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost. Oh, and by the way, Robert Frost was a native Californian, born in San Francisco in 1874. He got to live the life of an artist—poet and playwright.

Not sure if I could get in trouble posting the whole poem here, but think I’m OK if I just include the fourth and final stanza.

“I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Because I truly an introvert in an extrovert’s sharkskin suit, the life of an artist suits me well. Being able to paint throughout my life has allowed me to communicate my feelings and thoughts to myself and really no one else. I was painfully shy as a young girl and adolescent. I was bullied on and off through all those years as people often thought I was a snob or conceited and said and did some very unkind things to me. My dad would remind me that those people didn’t matter and I always had my art. (He also was good at reminding me of all the wonderful music that made our lives bearable…) And you know what? He was right! For those of you who also have the soul of artist, you know it is not an easy road. My ancestors were soldiers, sharecroppers, plumbers and dreamers. And when things seemed like tough going my family had an expression that went something like, “That’s going to be a hard road to hoe.” But it’s the only road I know.

December 1, 2018

Japanese Lanterns
Descanso Garden, Enchanted Forest lanterns at one of the entries to the Japanese Garden, 11/20/18 (mixed media on watercolor paper)

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving I found myself at the Descanso Garden again. I was glad I had the day off to go and paint there. I assumed there wouldn’t be many people wandering about because it was a regular weekday. And I had a plan. I planned to paint some of the amazing red lanterns that are set up in the Japanese Garden for the Enchanted Forest holiday light display. I don’t often go into the Japanese Garden as it is a popular place with garden visitors, but I was sure it would be OK for that day. As I pulled into the parking lot I noticed it was almost full. What the heck! As I stood in line to get in a docent told me that on Tuesday the garden was free. So, there were lots of people milling around—especially lots of strollers, small children and their usually well-meaning adults.

But I was determined to get past my “people aversion” because I had a plan. I wandered over to the Japanese Garden, looking for a good view of the trees and shrubs with the colorful red lanterns that were hanging from long curved black poles throughout the space. Low and behold, I found the perfect spot just outside the Japanese Garden at a bench across the creek from the gate and four lanterns you see here. I was immediately in Descanso heaven and decided I could sit there quietly and sketch and paint without being bothered by people. Of course, just as I was settling in, two school-age children ran right over to MY bench and tried to hide behind it. They had absolutely no idea that I was there and were very much into some sort of giggling game. I turned to look at them and showed them my stern “teacher face,” but they soon ran off. So, even if I had managed the perfect look of disapproval, they weren’t there long enough to see it. I hate being ignored! And what good’s a perfect “look” if no one is looking your way.

Finally, I got my materials set up and did a sketch of this garden gateway with the greenery and red lanterns. When I do something with architectural elements I always like to include some kind of “perspective,” making the structure appear to go back into the page. I’m not sure if I learned to do this from someone, but it works well for me. I think buildings can look rather flat, square and uninviting, and if you want your viewer to come into the picture with you, you need to invite them in. This “color” story included all my usual blues, greens, yellows and “Bark” Inktense colored pencil leaving plenty of white space and highlights. But I wasn’t sure how to paint the four red lanterns. Each one was a saturated red/crimson/orange ball of color that changed ever so slightly as the sun moved across the sky. So, I painted everything, except the roundish white lantern shapes, and then I stopped. Now, I never do a painting without taking bits of breaks to mix another color or let the little voice inside my head suggest what I should do next. I mix some colors, layer them in, and let that dry while I work on other sections—always mindful to leave as much white space as possible. I had taken my usual half a peanut butter sandwich break so I could let everything settle and plan my final paint assault. But I just couldn’t think of what to do for those last round shapes. I sat there, pretending to let everything dry. My sandwich was gone, so I had nothing to do with my hands. I had no idea what to do next, so I just stared across the water at the gate and waited. What was I waiting for? I have no idea. Maybe I was hoping to make the tortuous moment last longer? Yes, I have been known to linger at the strangest times. Like, if I am reading a particularly good book and I don’t want it to end, I’ll put it down, sometimes in mid sentence. It’s a wonderful kind of agony because I am dying to find out what’s going to happen next. I did just that with the book Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford. It’s a pretty long book, so I had many opportunities to willingly torture myself. (I recommended the 5-part HBO mini-series based that was done a couple years ago—based on the 4 books that make up the story—in a recent blog.) It was tortuously long and wonderful.

Anyway, getting back to my red lantern torture, I began pondering the question, “What was I waiting for?” That can be a really loaded question, like it can mean that you have been waiting to try something new, but are just too chicken to put yourself out there and go for it. So that would sound like, “What are you WAITING for? But then there is also “WHAT are you waiting for?” or maybe even “WHOM are you waiting for?” That makes me think something or someone is suppose to happen, and then you will know what you are supposed to do. And of course “Whom are you waiting for?” might take years and I had already eaten my half a sandwich and I wondered how long I could go without food while I waited.

All of a sudden a young school-age boy, his even smaller brother and their well-meaning parent walked up to me. I guessed that the older boy was a first grader as his left upper front baby tooth was hanging by a thread. And the smaller boy looked to be a 4-year old preschooler. The mom told me I was right on both counts. I’m not sure if they were enchanted with my art, so much as they had obvious interest in my tray of assorted pigments, pots of mixed colors, brushes and other painting materials on the bench beside me. They were so polite and approached very quietly and politely. But I could tell the older boy really wanted to talk about what I was doing and his silent grinning little brother was just happy to be included in the moment. The mom hung back, but seemed thrilled that her boys had come upon a painter in a garden with some really cool looking painting materials. I’ve had a few conversations about painting with small children and I usually ask them about his or her favorite color. It’s funny, but little kids really do have such passion for such a discussion because staking your personal claim on a color is very personal and important. I showed them my favorites at the moment—“Opera” and my beloved “Cerulean Blue.” When I added that cerulean blue was my favorite because it was often the color of the sky, they both nodded in agreement. I think the color of the sky is important to all landscape painters, or future young school-age landscape painters for that matter. The younger boy finally spoke and told me that green was his favorite color and I quickly described all my different green pigments. Funny, the older boy didn’t actually tell me his favorite color, but nodded in agreement when I told him “Opera” was great. I chatted a bit with the mom too. She told me of the older boy’s love for art and said that the school he was attending had art as part of the curriculum. That made my day and I told them of a very early memory I had of my kindergarten teacher allowing me to stay in at recess so I could draw and color. I have such a vivid recollection of one particular afternoon in kindergarten where I sat coloring at a table, and sunlight was streaming in the door that was open to the very noisy kindergarten playground.

And then they were gone. I guess I had been waiting for them to distract me, helping me get myself out of my head. I mixed up a beautiful red made up of “Scarlet Lake,” and “Cadmium Red Pale Hue,” got my “Chilli Red” Inktense pencil and went to work. It took me less than 5 minutes to add the lanterns. Crazy, huh? Then I packed up my materials and went home.

So, what are you waiting for? Or whom are you waiting for? And if you are waiting for that special someone I hope you are lucky enough to find them while strolling in a favorite place, or sitting on a bench with a lovely view. Or at least I hope you have lots of peanut butter sandwiches because you might get hungry if you have to wait too long.