Sunday, September 21, 2014

Look up!

"Why," Mr. Wonderful asked, "do we see so many amazing sunsets here?"

Which, of course, freed me up to point at the sky all day yesterday, saying, "look at that! Just LOOK AT THAT!!!"

The truth is I am slightly obsessed with the beauty of the sky.
Okay, maybe more than slightly.

All over the earth, every moment of every day, God paints on an enormous canvas right over our heads, a changing panorama of epic proportions.

The thing is, we hardly even notice it!

 Sometimes soft, gray clouds, sometimes deep black studded with stars.
Sometimes a glorious sunrise or sunset.

Or a simple, intense cerulean blue.

How is it that we don't take time to see it, to stop a moment for the pure pleasure of noticing this love letter of epic proportions?

Wherever you are on this great, grand spinning globe, stop.
Indulge yourself for just a moment.

Look up! What gorgeous work of art lies in the sky above you?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Under tropical skies

Ready for a little tropical inspiration?
A virtual trip along with me?

Hawaii is a land of wonders. 
Just like home, it's full of miracles.

But because it's so different, it's easy to notice every one and walk around almost stunned by beauty.

The colors alone are enough to knock a person flat. 

How many blues are in every vista? 
How many greens on any one plant?

Real life looks so photoshopped here, as if one had hyper saturated everything in sight.
(Which, by the way, I did not do!)

Everything seems to have been painted with a brush dipped in neon shades.

This cardinal appeared with a mate and wasn't shy of my camera.
I've been wanting to draw birds and here was one just a few feet away, my wish fulfilled.

Because what does an artist do on vacation?
Why, she fills a sketchbook, silly! 

Gestural drawing of the people on the beach. Sketching the fish tacos eaten beachside at Duke's Canoe Club. And birds on the lanai, perfectly posed for just an instant.

Even the coconut scarecrow at a roadside stand.

Life under tropical skies.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Down by the bay

Months ago Mr. Wonderful booked us for Hawaii.

Oh, the joy of sitting on the beach, staring out at the sea.

I've played in my sketchbook, not caring if things turned out fantastic or a total flop~ isn't that what experimentation is all about?

If you get to Kauai, you must visit the National Tropical Botanical Gardens and marvel at the cocoa and vanilla and coffee plants, the orchids and palms and birds.

But nothing beats the warm beach air for simple rest and restoration.
Not to mention eye candy!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Summer in this little valley may look laid back lazy, but there is a lot of labor behind the scenes.
I've been so busy there hasn't been a moment to post a thing.
But then, you've probably been too busy to notice anyway!

The studio has been almost frantic, with snippets flying as I design a line of sea-themed dies for Sizzix- hooray! It'll be released in January (more about that soon.)

Above, another Sizzix die collection with a rose garden theme, inspired by the trellised roses by the studio door, perfect for parties and weddings all year long.

When the studio doors are open the warm breezes blow through and I can hear the cows in Schleh's pasture calling one another, a pleasant distraction. Sometimes I have to wander over to see what the fuss is about.

Summer, season of warmth, blue skies, ripe berries!
The sketchbook and camera fill up so fast.

We make it a priority to slow down in summer... for long walks, for grilling out with the neighbors, for basking in a garden abundant to overflowing.

We are busy but still there is the farmland to be savored and friends to be cherished.
Somehow we find time. Thank heaven for long hours of daylight!

Call me a sentimental sap (you'd be right!) but the pie social and barn dance we had to celebrate the end of summer was like a story book come to life.

We even had a hay bucking contest and cherry and berry pies made from our own home grown fruit. Not to mention blackberry lemonade. Oh, yes, we do love summers here.

Inspiration abounds here in the Skagit Valley, and I am really longing to time for more art based on the farms I treasure.

There is enough right here in this small place to inspire a lifetime of gratitude, art to fill many a museum... there is a whole world full of life and beauty right here, right now.

How priceless the beauty of everyday summer life...
a cat with intense green eyes, a little girl whose laughter is music.

 Take time as summer fades into autumn to look around you. 
What simple pleasures are hiding in plain sight?