Archive for August, 2014

A Corking Good Opportunity? …Or Cruising for a Bruising? Part 1

Friday, August 15th, 2014

I think my husband must have been a travel agent in some former lifetime. He is always on the lookout for a good travel bargain and seems to enjoy poking around online to compare and evaluate our various travel alternatives. In February, he appealed to my wunderlust by telling me about a repositioning cruise opportunity he had seen. Departing from Miami, it would stop in New York City, and then from Halifax, Nova Scotia, would trace the reverse of the Titanic’s route, stopping again in Cobh, Ireland, enroute to Harwich, England.

140301w Travel Plans

After some discussion, we decided to take advantage of the cruise but with a slight change in itinerary. We planned to disembark early, in Cobh, rather than remaining on the ship the rest of the way to England. We would catch a train or bus from nearby Cork to Dublin to pick up a coach tour around Ireland. This would provide us with relaxed transportation, a knowledgeable guide, excellent accommodations (though with less of the small-town local flavor than we seek when we travel independently), most of our meals, and a good overview of the island, which neither of us had ever previously seen.

I contacted a couple of online friends—colleagues from the Virtual Art Academy—one who lives in County Mayo and another who lives closer to Dublin. They both arranged to meet me on our tour’s one free day so we could become better acquainted and, weather permitting, perhaps enjoy some plein air painting together in Connemara.

After having spent a warm, comparatively dry winter amid the dense tropical foliage that surrounds us in Southwest Florida, while the rest of the United States was digging out from unusually heavy snow and frigid temperatures, I certainly had no grounds for complaint; but I was ready for a change and actually looked forward to the cooler temperatures, misting rains, and bright spring greens that I’d heard were typical of the Emerald Isle. I also looked forward, as always, to filling my camera with fresh images to inspire a new series of paintings.

Hanging over our heads was the ever-present, but largely ignored, question of whether our travel plans would move along as smoothly as we hoped. Or would we get tripped up? Would my friends and I be able to get together to canvass our painting opportunities?

A month before we were to leave, we received the unwelcome announcement that the coach tour we had booked had been cancelled. Ouch! That was a wrinkle we certainly hadn’t counted on. We scrambled to see if we could find an alternative tour that would suit us as well. Unfortunately, it meant that the planned get-together with my friends would probably fall by the wayside, which was most disappointing!

As you will have gathered if you have been following my blog, we did make it to Ireland. Next time I’ll tell you more.

Community Involvement

Friday, August 1st, 2014

This summer I was invited to participate in the Community Mosaic Project, which is currently on display at the Hardy Gallery in Ephraim, WI. Sponsored by the Artists Guild in Sturgeon Bay, WI, it’s a project intended to encourage members of the community, whether full-time or part-time residents, and of any age, to become actively involved in the arts. The idea is that community members could submit a 6”x6” canvas to be included in a mosaic of artwork to be displayed as a unit. The individual canvases will later be sold off for a set price to benefit the non-profit Hardy Gallery.

140601a Flower Cart

Although I spend only a few weeks in Wisconsin every year, I was happy to participate as a community member. It seemed like a great way to give back something to a community that always seems to stimulate my own creative imagination.

One of my favorite aspects of Door County—the “thumb” of Wisconsin that pokes northeastward out into Lake Michigan—is seeing the frequent reminders of important values of yesteryear incorporated into daily life today. I tried to illustrate that in “Flower Cart” (#140601), my 6”x6” contribution to the mosaic. My subject was a retired wooden farm cart that had been reclaimed for use as a garden planter. I enjoyed the way it enhanced the beauty of the present with a nostalgic reminder from the past.

Although I usually prefer to work in watercolor, I chose acrylics for this project because I knew it would adhere better to the canvas and because it would dry more quickly than oils to be ready sooner for display and purchase.

I hope that whoever selects my painting enjoys not only that visual reminder of Door County but can also feel a sense of satisfaction in having helped to support the Hardy Gallery, which in turn encourages continuing local participation in the arts.