Retirement Woelk Style

RetirementPete06

What does retirement Woelk style, look like? This World’s Best, trophy holding, Woelk just retired…. completing 31 years at Kaiser Aluminum Trentwood, Spokane Washington plant. Friday was his last workday. He has 4 weeks of vacation before his “real” retirement starts. So, he is actually “on vacation” so, this is really his first week of vacation. Doesn’t look like vacation to me, does it look like vacation to you? Hmmmmm.

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In all honesty, I am glad he is getting the tractor fixed because we need it to finish getting the garden in, but honestly, this is NOT how I picture  retirement or vacation. Not even close.

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This Machine Has Needed This

Every nook and cranny of the machine has been inspected, cleaned, greased and put back together and now he is taking apart the front-end to find the noise it made. Hopefully, it will stay fixed all season after this thorough go through. This is a Kubota we bought from Ann and Dan when they moved to Arkansas. I pray for safety and protection for him every morning. We own stock in Band Aid and Tylenol now.

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Retiring Woelk Style isn’t Normal

Who Cares? I’ve never really cared much about normal anyhow. I’m Just As Guilty As Pete…I am working in the garden this week. Got the strawberry patch transplanted and spaced so they are not overcrowded. Hoping to be able to replenish the strawberry jam, strawberry syrup and strawberry juice this year. Un Huh! I will put up the before and after pictures of that in later posts.

Will get on the berry bushes and fruit tree bases clearing next so that they stay healthy and should be ready for when the tractor is back together and ready to plow and disc the rest of the garden so we can seed. We already have the other starts in the house waiting to go in.

But, I already had steamed asparagus for breakfast this morning. Yummm.  Our roses are budding, fruit trees are blossoming,  iris are getting ready to do their thing. Love the warm weather and the hummingbirds, life is great in the fast lane here in Elk. Never thought this ski bum would say that, did ya? Neener neener neener!

7 Hummingbirds J1516

Seven Hummingbirds J1516 Painting Sold

7 Hummingbirds J1516
7 Hummingbirds J1516. 22″w x 30″h watercolor on 300lb. watercolor paper. Seven Hummingbirds surrounding a tree covered with Honeysuckle blossoms.

This painting of seven hummingbirds has found a new forever home with a colorful artist friend of mine who now resides in California. Knowing who is taking her, makes me feel real happy about sending her on her way. Some paintings are harder to let go of.

Have you ever not been in a hurry to sell a painting?

Bright little hummingbirds capturing my heart in honeysuckle vines. This painting has taken a place at the base of my stairway to greet me each morning for a couple of years. It brings me a smile every day.

I brought it in to an artist critique and there was criticism expressed of the sky being too bright and the layout having too many birds possibly even becoming distracting. I returned to my studio deciding no, I liked it, proceeding on the same track. Many birds is fine with me as I love to discover hidden characters in a painting, as I gaze at it longer.

This watercolor has been hung in two shows, winning a prize at the Spokane Watercolor Societies Juried Membership Show at the MAC in Spokane 2017. It was pictured in an article about the show in the Inlander.

Here is a walk down memory lane of the creation of this piece of art. I did a series of 14 gradual lesson posts on my “Artist Spare Time” blog about painting this in progressive steps, here are the links to those  posts below;

First Six Steps

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#03

#04

#05

#06

Steps 7-14

#07

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#14

Seven Hummingbirds at the MAC

If you would like a painting similar to this I love commissions and this is one of my favorite subjects to paint. Thank you Maudelle and Ron, I hope she gives you joy like she has given to me.

Hummingbirds video

Pete got a high def camera for his 30 years at Kaiser so we have been fiddling with it filming the hummingbirds. It is so fun! The previous post had a link to the video but when I tested it last night it didn’t see to work so I thought I’d put it up again today with a smaller file so we wouldn’t have to wait so long for it.

You know, old folks fiddling with technology. Please let me know if you have any problems with this. Thanks!

The Hummingbird Kids Are Back

7 Hummingbirds J1516
7 Hummingbirds J1516. 22″w x 30″h watercolor on 300lb. watercolor paper. Seven Hummingbirds surrounding a tree covered with Honeysuckle blossoms.
7 Hummingbirds J1516

Hummingbirds Arrive

The kids are back, noisy and darting around outside making a hummingbird heaven. Hence, witness the bright colored flashes of neon birds everywhere. We have already started to spend inordinate amounts of time outside watching them. Because, our deck is a buzzing hummingbird haven. How could this not be? Honestly, we are surrounded by forest and natural honeysuckle vines everywhere.

Spring is wonderful.

These birds are just amazing fliers, including abilities like; jet propulsion frontwards, backwards, sideways. They are also quite communicative, listen to them chirping, buzzing like in Start Wars, and scolding each other. Flitting in and out in a second. We do this hummingbird event all summer long, every year, check out other posts here. It almost seems like they need anger management sometimes.

Hum Bird YouTube Video

Here are some amazing clips put together already:

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Okay, three quesses at what subject will be next for this old artist, now that the children are back home. LOL.

Crocus Plein Air

The previous post was photographs of the first crocus buds appearing 4.14.2019, following these are the first plein air paintings in a new sketchbook of these purple & white buds. A new 50 page 7″ x 5″ 130lb watercolor sketchbook inspires sketching to begin. 

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I have not done this kind of on-the-spot painting in a while and the blossoms seem a little rough. Next, here are some shots of the bright blossoms today. Check out the sleepy, little fuzzy guy in the blossom. Bzzzzz said the bee. He really is lethargic in the cool spring air but already covered with pollen. 

Aren’t the colors vibrant?

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crocus blossom with a bee
Crocus with a bee

Happy Easter…. from me to you, with crocus plein air sketches in the yard today.

Crocus Blossom sketch paint 01
Crocus Blossom sketch paint 01
Crocus Blossom sketch paint 02
Crocus Blossom sketch paint 02

First sketch seems a bit mushy but the second one is getting to be a style I could really come to love. Let me know what you think….

Purple Blossoms

crocus 11 purple blossomsFirst Purple Blossoms Appear

The first bright purple blossoms peek their heads out for me, as crocus planted last year along the driveway come up. All that work from the previous year rewards us with spring flowers, that I love. They are such welcome splashes of color after a period of cool grays. Pete and I took some pictures to allow me to come back in to the studio and paint them, instead of getting frosty outside. After all, the temperatures are not balmy yet.

crocus 01  purple blossoms crocus 06  purple blossomsI look up the name crocus and find that they are a part of the iris family. Really? Who would have thought that? Thank goodness for the ease of using Wikipedia, soon I will forget how to turn the pages of a dictionary.

Focus

Here is a deep artistic concept, check out these two photographs. They are a perfect example showing how a different “depth-of-field” or “focus” totally changes an image. It almost seems as though these two pictures were taken at different places, but they were not. Only the focal point changed. Clearly, where we choose to focus our attention is really important. Think about that all throughout your life.

Where do you focus your attention?

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The fleeting beauty of the crocus in early spring is a short term glance at the wonder of nature. Finding that crocus is part of the iris family kind of explains why I was drawn to them in the store last year. Since the first time I saw them, iris have been a favorite of mine. Their sturdiness, prolific qualities, combined with their limitless supply of color and combinations never cease to amaze me. If they are one of those bright flowers that give a wonderful perfume, that is even better.

I will do plein air sketches from the blossoms and post them with pictures as things progress, in the next few days. In fact, my focus artistically is leaning heavy to plein air….. I confess.

 

Riverfront Park’s Clock Tower from Above

Plein Air Landscape

This is a view of the Riverfront Clock Tower from a bridge railing in Riverfront park. Looking from above the Washington Street viaduct with a constant flow of cars entering downtown underneath seemed almost surreal. This specific view is a cozy little oasis (off-the-beaten-path) with it’s own cool bench. Virtually, a perfect place to set up water, brushes and paint to your hearts content with minimal interference from foot traffic. Initially, I was worried there would be no interesting views to paint at Riverfront park but I was proven so very wrong. I only had to open my eyes, to see great nature views, or people enjoying the nature views.

clock tower reference photo
above the clock tower

I am a member of the Spokane Watercolor Society, and we have a group of plein air painters meeting once a month on the last Friday of the month at high noon to paint together. If you’d like to join us feel free to contact us and let us know at our Facebook page Plein Air and Urban Sketching – Members of SWS. It is a monthly artist event that I look forward to every month. Fellow artists sharing ideas and methods and challenging each other to continue to improve.

It is simply a lot of fun!

I took some time to sketch the clock tower carefully before heading down to the riverside level. Subsequently, trying another view, nearer where the rest of the group was painting at next.

clock tower above sketch
clock tower sketch

Working from memories and pictures taken at the scene, I finished this painting back at the studio on 4/5/2019.

Riverfront Clock Tower from Above
9″w x 12″h watercolor. Riverfront Park’s Clock Tower from Above D2219

 

 

SWS Member Art Show Opening

Last night was the Spokane Watercolor Society (SWS) art show opening downtown from 5-8pm. It was at the historic community lobby for the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy on Main Street. This is an in process shot of the piece I have in the show entitled “Crazy as a Loon” C1819.

loons in process
loon watercolor in process

I don’t typically do well with the crowds and sometimes feel like I am just surviving through attending an art show opening but, last night was different.

MaryLou, Lottie, Locklin, Jeff and Gloria.
MaryLou, Lottie, Locklin, Jeff and Gloria.

We are 20 watercolor artist’s that have paintings hanging for the month in the lobby of the Community Building. Everyone in SWS sent out postcard invitations to our people to support the show opening on First Friday. I made it a point to only send my invitations to people I would like to see this time. Normally, I try to guess who may want to buy art, if I know people who would. But instead, this time my focus was on family and friends that I miss.

Suzanne and Martha
Cousins, Suzanne and Martha.

I  honestly didn’t expect anyone to show up because I know how hard it is to make time to go downtown and attend these events. But I was entirely surprised by who took the time, to be there last night. I am so very lucky to have family and friends in my life like I do. Some of the people I contacted called to let me know they couldn’t make it, and then there were those who did come. This was a show opening that went by quickly, and was a lot of fun. 

Jeff Locklin and Gloria
Jeff and Gloria Reise with their little Locklin.

I was taking pictures and seeing that we were a roomful of people who appreciate creative arts, loving the exploration of all the art hanging and making purchases of the smaller originals on display. Many people participated in voting for the “Peoples Choice” award and the entire evening was a very positive gathering all together. Lots of positive inspiration abounded and it feels like art is really an integral part of life. My time is not wasted in this endeavor.  I am looking forward to the next show.

Plein Air painting at Riverfront Park

clock tower reference photo
clock tower

Spent the afternoon (Friday) plein air painting at Riverfront Park in Spokane WA.Painting outside in a beautiful park with friends. We were a group from the Spokane Watercolor Society who met near the clock tower at high noon. Sounds like the meet up at the OK corral doesn’t it?  It is amazing how many people use this park, it was full of people. They were a constant stream of people running, walking dogs, sitting and admiring the scenery.

Plein Air Off the Beaten Path

I was able to discover a great view of the tower a little off the beaten path, and overhead. It was truly sublime. Initially, trying to render that clock tower in an impressionistic manner proved impossible. Paintbrush sketches produced awkward, leaning towers. There are so many angles and doo-dads on that riverside brick tower with a clock. As a result, another tactic was required. Architectural subjects need accuracy, don’t they? Finally, resorting to using the old artist pencil measure trick with outstretched arm, got the job done.  It was worth it to take the time to do that sketch. The layout is in pencil now, and ready to work on in the studio. I took a ton of photos, to be able to finish it up.

clock tower above sketch
clock tower sketch

Second Painting Location

pavilion reference photo
pavilion willow photo
pavilion willow
pavilion with willow

I joined the gang from SWS at the ground level down by the river next. Next to Gay W., I found a great view of the pavilion cables over the ice rink, that had a willow tree getting orange branches in spring. What a vision. Hope it comes out, cause it was quite a cool view. Luckily, I was able to get some washes down before I had to pack up and leave.

Artist Thoughts…

Unfortunately, there was a man playing the bongos next to the river. I kept thinking, he needs to get some other musicians to sing and play instruments with him to break up the monotony. The “bong, bong, bong” started to get on my nerves later in the afternoon, so, I cut the outing short.

While spending the day in that beautiful riverside park I noticed a sad thing. There were couples and friends sitting or walking together, not looking at each other or the view, but instead looking at their phones.

What is with that?

Going to a beautiful park, to walk and sit next to the river with beautiful waterfalls cascading all around. Then choosing to enter into oblivion? Are we loosing our humanity by getting together, to ignore each other and nature’s beauty around us? 

As a society, are we so addicted to “blue screen” time that we miss important things?

In conclusion, this Friday painting day outside in the warm air was a beautiful nature wonderful “artist date”!