Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So What's the Journaling Hold Up?

Here's a bit of what's kept me from getting out-in-the-field!

The Wedding Concertina was a delight to work on. My client was taken with a Marriage Blessing read at a wedding she attended. I was tickled when Judy contacted me and asked what type of calligraphic goodie could be created using the Blessing so the couple could always have a remembrance of their special day.
Upon reading 'A Blessing for a Marriage' by James Dillet Freeman, Silent Unity's founder, I was so moved. This piece needed to be more than a framed calligraphic rendition. It was destined to be more alive. Something that could be used in celebrating each anniversary. The Wedding Concertina was born! It has 12 pages plus the cover. It is laced with a metallic gold ribbon, used as a closure. On the cover, I used metallic acrylic inks. Inside, I chose a copperplate font and created watercolor illustrations to highlight certain passages. I dug into my reference files and found information on the meanings of flowers. I used ivy, asters, phlox, purple hyacinth and a peony to compliment James Dillet Freeman's words. Then I made a slip jacket for the book so it could remain protected and find it's place on a book shelf.

As I worked on this book I decided I must make one for Rob and me. How wonderful it would be to read this beautiful blessing each year and to look back and consider how we measured up to the love and respect we pledged each other so long ago. If you get a chance, click on the title above as it links to Unity's site and page for the blessing.

My next calligraphic commission was a family tree. I came to know Captain Timothy Marshall and Hilly Woodbury of Ipswich, MA. Their union in 1776 produced quite a family tree. During the planning stage as I wrote and rewrote the names, I began to feel like I knew each person. My imagination was quite busy thinking about their lives. I felt blessed to be a part of this family tree. When the project was completed, I let my client know how much I enjoyed getting to know his relatives.

My home portrait business is gathering steam! I call it 'NatureScape Home Portraits.' It's time for me to create a webpage of offerings. There are traditional treatments like this one to the left and Storybook portraits that feature the home or a portion of it, and then around the main illustration are vignettes of special things clients want to highlight about their home. My signature, the thing that really sets my portraits from others, is adding critters, birds and pets. I am a nature artist after all! I want my home portraits to portray what each client loves about their home and property.

This last feature wasn't a commission, but my most favorite Christmas gift that I made for dear, dear friends. You know that I'm big into journaling. How wonderful, I thought, to have a Christmas Keepsake book to write down a few things each year that brought joy to your heart. And, best of all, rereading these memories in years to come!

I usually hand paint ornaments (sea shells) for the children. But, it's been quite a while since I've been to the beach and I didn't have any shells suitable for ornaments in my stash! What to do?? Pressure was on, it was a week before Christmas and no matter what I did I'd be late, as I needed to mail this present to NY!! Why don't I get these Christmas present ideas in July when there's time?? Ho, ho, ho! What's a little more Christmas pressure! Breads to bake, cookies to make, artwork to create........ I had a great time! Not much sleep mind you, but lots of joy in my heart!

And, the blessings of commission work continues :)

Thank you to all my clients for making my year a success!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Peace to You and Yours!

I would like to share with you a poem my husband, Rob, wrote. His inspiration, his own childhood memories.....
Such love, such blessings.

May you have much love, peace and joy during this holiday season and always!
Pam & Rob

Home for the Holidays

Mama’s home cooking, her comforting voice,
and her loving touch
Dad’s quiet & gentle ways, his feelings conveyed
without words
Familiar holiday sounds filling our days, and
crackling warm fires lending a soft glow to our nights
Brothers and sisters, Aunts and Uncles
Friends of long-standing...and new ones, too
Neighbors, caroling at our door, their smiling
upturned faces brightened by the Christmas star
GrandMoms and GrandDads, some gone now,
but still so alive in our hearts
The smallest of gifts, handmade and filled with love,
that years from now will still draw warm smiles
and bittersweet tears
The sounds, the aromas, the warmth...
...memories of home
You ask me what I wish for you at Christmas?
All of this, and so much more...

R.T. Brickell ‘95

You may read more of Rob's work at StoryTeller - My Creative Fiction Muse

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hello, Winter Solstice!

We had unusually warm weather the last week. It's about to end as winter officially begins. I did notice a few new blooms on the Yellow Jessamine vine at the edge of the wood. The spark of yellow is quite lively against the back drop bare trees.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oh Boy! New Watercolor Pencils!

I decided to treat myself to a set of 12 Finest Artists' Quality watercolor pencils by Faber-Castell called Albrecht Durer (there are two dots over the u in Durer). The pesky little tin of 12 was on the expensive side....$24.00. I probably could have picked them up, at a better price on line but, I also wanted to support a new local art store "Coastal Art Supply" in Beaufort. I love not having to travel to Savannah just to go to a legitimate art store (vs. Michaels). I always get lost in Savannah..... but, that's another story.

Upon opening the set, I was immediately disappointed as it included a white pencil. Useless, as far as I'm concerned. I'd really rather have had another color like their # 123 fuchsia, so I could match the color of Beauty Berries :)

The colors: Cadmium Yellow, Dark Cadmium Orange, Deep Scarlet Red, Magenta, Light Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue, Emerald Green, Light Green, Burnt Ochre, Walnut Brown and Black are a lot different than the colors in the Derwent 12 pack. Hmmmmm, let's take these colors out for a spin and see why they were selected for this 12 pack!

WOW! Look at all the color combinations that are available!! And, the purples! I'm in love!

The pencils have a buttery feel when applying the color to my sketch pad. The lead seems to be much softer than the Derwents. I think I'll expose more lead with my jack knife versus using my little sharpener. I tried that with the Derwents but the leads kept braking off when I applied any pressure. I don't think that will happen with these. Can't wait to take them out in the field and really put them to work!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Taking a Break

We are starting to have warmer weather again. Thank goodness, as it's felt a lot like January in November and December! When Rob has a day off, we try to get in a golf game. Today was lovely. The low winter sun was diffused with clouds, making the golf balls easier to find among the fallen leaves. Last week was a real challenge as the leaf litter was reflecting the sun's rays, making our golf balls very difficult to see.

Hoards of Black Vultures were near the pond between the 2nd green and 3rd tee at Okatie Creek Golf Course. We had to drive through a few that were roosting on the cart path bridge. They were a bit put off that we golfers were in their way :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gibbous Moon

Learned a new word today. I may have heard of it before, long, long ago in high school but, it's new to me today :)

'Gibbous' Moon. Off to the dictionary. Ah ha! It means that the moon is larger than a semi-circle but not at big as a circle. Better yet is the word origin.... late Middle English: from late Latin gibbosus from latin gibbus 'hump.'

Hump! Now that I can identify with. To me, the day before a full Moon, the lower left side of it looks like the man in the moon needs to put his tongue in his cheek so the 'hump' from his tongue can round out his face. Now I have a visual association for my word-of-the-day. The artist is happy, she'll remember her new word :)

All this came about as I was interested in the meteor shower scheduled for this evening called the Geminids. But, as of 6:30 p.m., we have coudy skies and even if the sky is clear..... the gibbous Moon will be too bright to see all but the brightest meteors. Sigh........

I started the 'last call' dog walk around 11:15 p.m. Dudley always goes first. The sky had just a few clouds and the gibbous Moon was so bright that I really had to hunt for Orion. No sign of any meteors.......

But, when Grizzie and I went out....... well, here's what happened....I'm a happy camper :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Long Night Moon

Just came in from the afternoon dog walk (5:43 p.m.) and the full moon was already high in the sky. It didn't seem that close to
full last night, on the 'last call' dog walk, and I was surprised. Time is going by too fast!

So, off to my favorite star gazing site again to get the skinny on the moon. According to StarDate Online: December's full Moon, which sails across the south tonight, is known as the Long Night Moon. It is in view for more hours than any other full Moon -- a good 13 or 14 hours for most of the country, with up to about 16 hours of moonlight from far-northern latitudes.

Pretty cool, huh?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Right Whales and Great Whites

We often get so caught up in land matters that it's nice to hear about what's happening off our shores. Below, is an article recently published in our local paper, The Bluffton Today. To see the entire article, please click on the highlighted copy.

"SAVANNAH — Highly endangered north Atlantic right whales are making their way back to local waters.

A survey team from the Wildlife Trust spotted a pair of adult females traveling south about seven miles off Charleston harbor on Nov. 23. The next day they saw another adult female about six miles off the Savannah River.

They also spotted the first mother/calf pair of the season, about seven miles off Hilton Head Island, said Dianna Schulte, who leads the South Carolina survey team for the Wildlife Trust.

Right whales, considered America’s urban whales because of their tendency to stay near the East Coast, spend summers feeding in New England and Canadian waters.

The females migrate south in the late fall to their only known calving grounds, off the coast of Georgia and Florida. Last year, 23 calves were born. Once hunted nearly to extinction for their oil, fewer than 400 individuals are thought to be alive now. Their biggest threats today are ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. A new federal regulation that goes into effect Dec. 9 takes aim at the former by requiring large ships to slow to 10 knots (about 12 mph) in areas where the whales feed and reproduce, as well as along migratory routes in between.

The speed restriction will extend out 20 nautical miles off the coast along much of the whales’ migration route annually from November through April."

The same day the article was published, I received this email from the local SC Master Naturalist Chapter. What do the young ones say......" Way cool?" I think it applies!

Fellow Naturalists,

As Naturalists we're always very curious about any flotsam or jetsam on our beaches..........check out the attachment from Al Segars, DVM......how's this for a "biofact"............it washed up recently on Morris Island at the mouth of Charleston Harbor.

How about a 13.2 ft female Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias!.........this beauty is quite a rare sighting in SC, several have been caught in recent years, usually by longliners fishing for commercial finfish far offshore........I got a chance to see the 1st two Great Whites ever caught in SC........two 6ft. "pups" caught by a swordfish longliner way back in the early 80's.........Whites are typically here during the colder months, Nov-April, perhaps to feed on migrating Right Whales which calve off Georgia & Florida........they also like our big red and black drum.........this sexually immature female had only a few red drum scales in her gut, though the carcass sat for 7 days and contents could have been digested during that time......no signs of external trauma & internal tissues appear to be healthy.......biologists guess that she's about 10-13 years old and have pulled vertebra for more accurate aging.........they guess that she was feeding in shallow water and became disoriented.......her jaws will be in the collections at the SCDNR lab at Ft. Johnson.

A little more info....
There are two groups whales (the Order of Cetaceans). Toothed and baleen. Right whales are filter-feeding whales (baleen). Only baleen whales used songs during courtship. Only the toothed whales (dolphin, orcas and sperm whales) use sonar.

Sharks have skeletons made of cartilage but no bones. Only the mouth parts of a shark are made of bone but they are not attached to the cartilaginous skull. That's why both jaws project out of its face when prey is attacked. Remember holding onto your seat when you saw the movie JAWS? Yup, that image of the teeth/jawbones extending out kind of stays with you doesn't it?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rewind to October

Commission jobs are still rolling in and taking most of my time but, I finally finished this journal page from October and had to share :)

Rob and I traveled to Columbia to pick up my painting that didn't sell at the State Fair. It was a beautiful sunny day, and while Rob drove, I sketched. The median along Rt. 26 was filled with scenes like this. The Sea Myrtle was just starting to bloom. The Common Goldenrod and Bur-marigold were really eye-catching. I love how Nature throws in complimentary colors to please the eye!

The unsold but, favorite painting is now hanging at the BAA gallery in Beaufort for the member's show. Hopefully it will find a new home to roost in :) I titled it "Who's the Fairest."

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Rare Alignment..... Venus, Jupiter & Moon

We have had rain since my last post about Venus & Jupiter. I was getting worried that we wouldn't experience this rare alignment. But, the day's clear skies held. And, while we toured our neighborhoods Christmas lights celebration, Rob and I celebrated as we witnessed something near and dear to our hearts..... our celestial wonder, the rare alignment of a crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter ... not to be seen again until 2052. Peace be with you!

My kind of snow....

This morning, I ran into Beaufort to drop off a painting for the member show at the Beaufort Art Association Gallery. It's a windy day, wsw winds from 15 to 25 mph. with temps in the low 50's. Along Rt. 170, I encountered a flurry of large white snow flakes - the kind that are perfect for catching on you tongue! What a beautiful sight! The sun was shinning, the sky blue, and snow flakes everywhere! Well........... OK, it wasn't really snow but, the flying seeds of the Sea Myrtle sure did make a fine imitation of snow flakes :) Like I say..... my kind of snow. I'm living in the right place :)