It’s Finished! The “Bittersweet” Series

Breaking news! I finally finished the bittersweet drawing I shared with you a few weeks ago:
Bittersweet 3

Thus concludes my “Bittersweet Series”…for now. Together, these 3 paintings are my winter tribute to the complexity and beauty hiding in the “little” things that surround us.  I used to find winter painfully uninspiring. The winter landscape was dull and depressing, cold and colorless. Everything was all pokey twigs and brown, brown, brown. It was the soul sucking epitome of artistic boredom.

Then, with time and effort, I learned to look a little bit harder. I opened myself up to the possibility that beauty hides in the drabness. I learned to see things differently, to change my perspective. (Metaphor? Perhaps…).

Anyway…if you also thought twigs were boring, I hope you’ve changed your mind. Bittersweet 1

Bittersweet 2

Bittersweet 3
And now, onward to spring!

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Sunflower Tree

SunflowerTreeA few weekends ago, a dear friend and I went on a sketching adventure in Boston. We sketched here and there while wandering around enjoying the summer scenes of the city. Near Chinatown, we stumbled upon a community garden that was so extraordinary that we had to pass through it 3 times to fully soak it in. People were growing all sorts of crazy vegetables I’ve never seen before : 3-foot-long beans, GIGANTIC gourds, warty-looking melons…

…and then we saw the sunflower tree! It’s stalk must have been as fat as the trunk of a fir tree. It even had a woodpecker pecking at it. My friend and I marveled at the sunflower tree like tourists visiting the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. In retrospect, it seemed like the perfect symbol of summer’s glory.

Since we were on our way to lunch (walking through tunnels of veggies makes a woman HUNGRY!), we didn’t stop to sketch in the gardens, but my friend snapped a photo of our tree and sent it to me later. I used it as reference for this illustration I did at home. Now it’s in my “sketch journal” to memorialize a summer day well spent in the delightful company of a kindred veggie-loving soul.


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Illustration Friday: Underwater

This week’s theme for illustration Friday was “Underwater”, but since I had to also keep it within my personal theme of “Autumn”, I naturally came up with this…


I’ve been looking at images of old maps lately because the sea monsters that populate them are good for a laugh.  (Digression: if the government is keeping tabs on what I search for on Google images, they must find me a rather intriguing lady).  So when the opportunity arose to illustrate “Underwater”, I decided I should make a sea monster of my own.  Poor guy is getting taken on by a bunch of shady sea divers!

I came up with the idea for this in a rather round-about way. I was thinking about how nice it would be if I had a vase of fall flowers on my table that I could gaze indulgently into while drinking my morning and afternoon coffees (“Two cups a day, it’s the farmer’s way” <–oops, I just made that up.  It’s not a real saying, I don’t think).  Since my husband and I recently moved, we no longer have a garden in which I can take my coffee breaks and revel in the splendor of changing seasons.  I was mentally bemoaning this loss and thought perhaps a vase of flowers could suitably fulfill my need for seasonal blooms.

Lo, as I sipped my coffee and plunged further into my fantasy flower bouquet, I found myself imagining how thrilling it would be if on one particularly tired day, while starting blankly into the water in the vase, one found oneself audience to an epic undersea battle between man and monster.  One might attribute it to one’s caffeine deprivation, but I know the truth.  There are great and terrible mysteries lying in the deep.

I guess the REAL takeaway message from all of this is that inspiration can be found in all sorts of places and states of burnout.  You should never assume that you don’t have a good, or at least useable, idea.  I thought I had no idea how to make “Underwater” look Fall themed, but the answer came to me during a tired daydream about an experience one could have while spacing out in front of a vase of sunflowers.


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