Here is what Pete does during quarantine here in Elk WA. He welds up the oil pan from the red plow truck that his wife broke. I left the truck in 4-wheel-drive while we drove around looking for escaped doggies last weekend. Oooops!
Clunk, clunk, clunk and bang.
We got a ride home from the neighbor, Yay! I felt absolutely terrible, because I know his “to-do list” is insane already, but what can I say? Sometimes, I do the stupidest things and really regret it afterwards. This is one of those times.
I used to always work with my Dad in the shop watching him arc weld, and he taught me to solder and weld too. It has been many years since I fixed up my first pickup truck, but the smell of the torch and metal reminds me of the folks I miss.
Honestly, I always admire how talented Pete is. He is a truly talented metal working dude, picking up steel wire and patching that pan perfectly. Not many husbands can do something like that. He does it as if it wasn’t even a big deal. Lucky me, I certainly have a keeper in Pete.
Country hicks enjoy staying at home, what quarantine?
We choose to stay home and garden, canning what we grow and also cooking all our meals from scratch. Country folk know what is going into their bodies and are able to pronounce all the ingredients in their foods.
We tend to take our time. Living rurally makes us limit our trips into town. Why? Because, the drive there and back takes enough time to necessitate this. We plan a whole day of errands whenever we go into town, so, we don’t hardly ever run to the store for one item.
For years I have watched working people, getting-in-line at fast foods on the way home. Rushing around, taking kids to numerous after-school programs as they run around like a chicken-with-their-head-cut-off. Finally, they arrive home exhausted to open a box of cold food for dinner. Unfortunately, this routine allows no time to wind down. Rush to eat, and head to bed and do it all over again the next day.
Before the quarantine, I’d see people buying boxed fast foods and frozen bags of ready-to-heat-up stuff. I’d wonder, has everyone forgotten how to make basic foods? Baking bread, rolling out pasta, roasts, stew, soups, whole chickens, sauces, and casseroles from left-overs. It’s not that hard and truthfully, homemade food tastes better.
Besides, a whole cart full of flour, sugar, produce and meats amounts to about half the cost of a cart full of fast food packages. I’ve often walked out of the store wondering how families can afford to buy expensive, less healthy foods like that?
I am hoping that American citizens are re-learning how to cook delicious family favorites in their own kitchens. We are discussing things, playing games and laughing with our loved ones. We can wean ourselves off of fast foods with their chemicals and poor nutrition. If we do, our society could weighs less and be healthier.
We could embrace less activities filling each and every waking moment of our lives. We haven’t attended that plethora of activities and we have discovered that a little “down time”, does us all good. Maybe a few of the activities can be eliminated to make things easier. Instead, we can learn how to relax and refresh ourselves.
When this restriction ends, it would be best if we realize that we are in charge of how we choose to live our lives. We can embrace the choice to spend time at home, with our families first and take better care of ourselves.
This is a painting of a memory of seeing a friend take off at sunrise out of Kaneohe Bay Marina. He was sailing off on an adventure and I was waving goodbye at the shore.
This friend was a Vietnam Vet who lived on his sailboat traveling around the world. My children and I were lucky to be able to spend a year or so enjoying picnics, hikes and boat trips together with no strings attached.
Sometimes, the best people do not hang around long enough.
Just completed a small watercolor painting entitled, “Bluebird day in Valhalla”-from one of those breathtaking glorious sunny days skiing at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort in Chewelah Washington USA. Valhalla is a great run with enough steep to keep you wide awake, and a good mix of trees alongside for fun. I love the way the shadows show the shape and slope of the run. I spend as much time as possible up on the ski hill and you can see more of my art there if you notice what is around you.
This is the beginning of a series of paintings I intend to do from some great photographs during those ski patrol days when hardly anyone was on the hill. You know, those first track days.
How this painting progressed in the studio.
Looking at these first two images in the series, you will see a perfect example of the difference between the vibrance of watercolors that are wet and ones that are dry. Sometimes, it is scary to put bright pigment down but as you can see, this is something we need to be free with. No skimping on color required.
I just wanted to share my impressions of the fear of the “Corona Virus” being exhibited by the general populace of Spokane Washington. First off, I should share that the word Corona does not bring up a vision of creepy bacteria spores to me. I think that the owners of the Corona brewery should file a lawsuit to whoever decided to change this flu name to their brand name. Seriously.
I go to town and shop every two weeks or sometimes only once every month. Arriving early, I had to park in the outer regions of the parking lot at Costco. I found that there were no carts available at the store, which was a first, so I had to go back outside to get a cart from someone who had just finished loading their car.
I was shocked by the change in the stores as I was buying staples and groceries. The store was more crowded than I have ever seen it. People had carts full of bottled water and toilet paper, and very little groceries. Strange. I asked one couple who had 2 carts, one of toilet paper and one of water, “What are you going to do with all that toilet paper and water?” They looked at me as though I was a crazy lunatic and said in unison, “The Corona Virus”. Really?
Honestly, publicizing that we should stock up on bottled water and toilet paper. What good does that do?
The logic is missing something here. Now is when we need to remember common sense. We live in a region with an overabundance of clean drinking water. So, why the bottled water?
What good is a ton of toilet paper to a household facing a virus? Having a clean bottom is not going to save my life, neither is having a large abundance of TP in stock at the house.
Common sense preventative measures?
Elevated health conscienceness, striving to take the best care of myself.
Withdrawal from unnecessary contact with possible carriers.
I don’t put much worth into what I hear on the news anymore. The broadcasts have become extremely unbalanced. We are stuck with a biased political rhetoric instead of newscasters giving us two sides of a story, allowing us the opportunity to make up our own minds. The news has become an unreliable source of information for me, one that I choose to ignore. A virtual waste of time, as it continues to spew political pollution and fear into our midst.
Remember, the alfalfa sprouts long ago, in the 1970s…. those long warm days walking in the sand and splashing in the waves after work. One of my first jobs was a little beach truck that sold smoothies, and avacado sandwiches fully covered with sprouts. Consequently, I am still a virtual wiz at creating both. That job had front row parking at the beach and frequent swimming, but minimum wage just wasn’t enough. I could have stayed there if all I had to do was enjoy my life.
Food Truck Days
I remember making that perfect avacado sandwich with melted cheese and sprouts? Yum. Growing up I made all kinds of things with sprouts. Those little green guys with crunch. Grown on the kitchen window sill in Kahaluu in a flat dish with a wet paper towel in it. Lots of watering was required to keep that towel damp. Alfalfa sprouts are back and much easier to grow. They are bringing a smile to my face with a lot old warm and fuzzy memories.
Actually, I was searching on Amazon for something else and found these screen lids that fit the standard wide-mouth canning jars which come with a packet of alfalfa seed. What a score.
Measuring two teaspoons of seed into the jar and filled with twice as much water to sit overnight. Second thru third kept them in a dark area and rinsed each day. Then from day four place in the sun (kitchen window sill) for green action to begin and enjoy. These pictures are from day 5 in the process, Wow! I am eating them frequently. Next, I am thinking a little less would be good.
Consequently, I’m thinking a little less seed in following batches, because Pete refuses to eat any alfalfa. Alfalfa is for cows and horses, not humans.
Really? Uh Huh. Similarly, he doesn’t like avacado too, so what can I say.
Here are a couple of pictures that show this fishing gene definitely exists on my father’s side of the family. I don’t have as many pictures or memories of fishing with my Dad’s side of the family. My Grandma on my Dad’s side was named Gladys Rafferty, she is pictured here with Ruby, who is her sister and her husband, Joe Lockert.
Isn’t that a humongous trout or a salmon? Hmmmmm what do you think it is?
Joe and Ruby used to send us venison sausage for Christmas when we lived in Hawaii. Joe liked to hunt, and the sausage was real good.
My Dad with an aku he caught on a boat trip, out of fisherman’s wharf in Honolulu. He enjoyed the day but said it kind of made him seasick cause the seas were a little turbulent. WE had fresh sashimi that night.
I come from a long line of “Gone Fishin”, in the family. Really. We have a fishing parasite along with a strong love of the outside. We embrace a meditative state as we lure our dinner into the fry pan. I have proof of this through generations of photography.
The first photographs are of Sedilla, nicknamed “Dillie”, who is my maternal Great Grandma. She had a habit of outliving her husbands, so her last names were numerous including Oxendine (maiden name), Canniff, McKibben, and then Pyle. She fished wherever she lived, these are pictures of her and her kids fishing in Colorado, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.
What the heck kind of fish is this?
I guess there were no fishing limits back then…
Honestly, I remember Grandma pulling over cause she saw someone fishing. She’d casually ask them what they were using for bait, and ask if they caught anything.
This woman could cook a rock and make it taste delicious.
Fishing is a weekend long event where we would drive up to the mountains, picnic and camp, fish and hike. I loved it. It is probably why I feel so free hiking in the mountains still.
Birch treeline in early spring at a meadow of Slavin Conservation District. This painting began as a plein air day with friends from Spokane Watercolor Society (SWS). I shared in an earlier post about the outing. I am putting this post up to show you how a plein air day inspires in my studio.
Plein Air Outings
Plein air is something dearly loved by this artist. I’m not sure if it is the feeling of freedom that I feel while painting outside or is it the amazing colors, smells and excitement that inspire me to grasp for more in any piece that begins outside.
Here is the watercolor sketch I brought home with me from the outing. An idea of the colors and layout. My phone was full of pictures I took for me to work from for all the details.
I quickly added basic underpainting tones in the sky and meadow between the treeline when I got back in the studio. I do this to remember the feel of what I saw, till I could take the time to finish it later.
Painting en plein air is sometimes cold or hot and a little tiring but it is always a worthwhile event for me. Not only do I get to walk and draw/paint outdoors, I get to see fellow artists too. There are no better group of people than the crazily creative artists of our world. We are the people who see beauty that others don’t notice. Unnoticed beauties that capture our heart,inspiring us to bring life back around in beautiful colors and lines, till another can basque in it’s discovery.
If what I have painted gives your spirit an uplifting feeling of appreciation, then I have succeeded. My heart is smiling.
Yesterday I was able to go and paint plein air with some friends from our Spokane Watercolor Club. We went to the James T. Slavin Conservation Area just, off of highway 195, and it was really chilly 24º F, but did warm up to 40º around noon. It was surprising how close to Spokane it is. And, the conservation area covers a lot of ground (600+ acres) with a lot of different natural wonders to see. I was able to paint two sketch images while I stood on a little knoll directly in front of the parking lot.
First a Watercolor Sketch
I painted while looking south standing upon the first knoll near the parking lot for the first plein air image. It had meadow grasses with scattered burgundy bunches of bush, then going off into into where the forest pine and birch tree line appears. I made a rudimentary watercolor sketch of this scene, but stopped there, as my watercolors and water were freezing. But, when the other artist’s arrived, I learned about a trick that stops that from happening. I love painting with other artists, because, you always learn something helpful from each other. If you want to know the secret, you’ll have to come paint with us to learn. 🙂
Second is an Acrylic Sketch
The second image is painted using acrylic paint on a canvas board. Standing at the same location but turned to face west where a pair of pines flanked the left side, with grasslands reaching off into a distant treeline and hill silhouette behind. These colors are a little tricky to get right, but are quite beautiful when it comes out right. Neither of these plein air sketches are any way near finished, but the scenes are embedded in my mind and I am sure I’ll be able to finish them in my studio.
I am not up to strenuous hiking, but thankfully this area is easily accessible with parking close by so it was a totally rejuvenating day. Being able to paint with other painters has revitalized the artist in me. It was surprising how many people walk their dogs there. There is also evidence of a lot of horse hoof prints on the trails. In about a month, that whole field is going to be covered with wildflowers, one of the local ladies told me .
EYE CANDY SURPRISE!
Next month sounds like a great time to schedule another plein air painting trip there. Yep, I’m looking forward to it.