Hello and happy March! Only sixteen days until spring (she says as her phone alerts her to another impending snow storm)! Here's my shelf for the month:
My reading list is all over the place right now. On the fiction side I've started Tony's Wife by Adriana Trigiani, which is feeling like a puffy-light summer read. I had to offset the anxiety that last book gave me, bahaha. I don't like the feeling of impending-natural-disaster-we-can't-do-anything-about.... looking at YOU, yellowstone. I also half started Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver because she's my favorite, but I'm pausing that until she can have my full attention. :)
I'm also reading Scale by Geoffrey West - why are things (animals, companies, cities...) as big (or small) as they are? Why do they last as long as they do? What are the rules that govern those answers? ...Annnnd welcome to the two sides of my brain.
Another podcast that I fell for immediately is On Being with Krista Tippett. My all time favorite interviews (so far - I have so much catching up to do) include Mary Oliver, Alan Rabinowitz, Arlie Hochschild, and Seth Godin. This week I listened to Maria Popova's episode. I stopped my car to write this down, somewhat paraphrased, on taking our own road:
"We orient ourselves in the darkness of the unknown by grasping blindly for familiar points of reference, and we seek to construct out of them a compass out of similarities and contrasts relative to our familiar world and existing knowledge. It's especially true about such nebulous subjects as art or philosophy or really how to think, where there is no true north, so we seek tangibles to orient ourselves in this maze of merit and meaning. Most people, all people have that capacity in them, to not orient ourselves to what's been done, what's been thought, and try to every so gently to expand the private locus of the possible."
Alternatively titled, My Monthly Shell-fie. :)
Inspired by Penny and Sparrow's Shelf and my yoga teacher's Simple Joys of the Week, I wanted to share some of the books, music, podcasts, and more that are feeding my soul lately.
I'm new to the podcast world (hello, long commute) but was IMMEDIATELY taken in by one Alie Ward on the Ologies podcast. I've learned so much listening to these episodes it feels like a STEM education all over again, and it's piqued my interest in topics I didn't even know existed, never mind that I care about. I of course loved her Oceanology, Conservation Technology, and Sea Turtle episodes... but lately my favorites have been Corvid Thanatology (crow funerals!) and Microbiology (the gut biome!).
Learn more about the podcast here and explore All the Ologies!
I'm starting my holiday process a little earlier this year. Send me an email if you'd like to commission a watercolor painting now through mid-December!
Here are some ideas from past clients:
+ the view from the hotel on their honeymoon in St. Thomas
+ the spot where he proposed to her in New Hampshire
+ a landscape from a South African safari honeymoon
+ a sunset seascape from the beach near their new home in Florida
+ a bridge for all three coastal cities they lived in and loved
What favorite places do you want to celebrate? I can't wait to hear your ideas!
In 2017 I served as a visual arts judge for an ocean-themed, international student arts contest sponsored by Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs. The Ocean Awareness Contest is open to students aged 11-18 worldwide, and encourages students to explore the relationship between human systems, climate change, and our oceans. Students can submit visual art, poetry, prose, film, or music, and are eligible for cash prizes.
Although I had high expectations for the artwork entered into the contest, I was blown away by the caliber of entries in my category. For example - "Our Future" by Angelika Kolodziej took the top prize for High School Art. You can spend an endless amount of time poring through the details and references in the artwork, and how it highlights man's tumultuous relationship with nature. Congratulations to all the winners!
Bow Seat's Program Director, Alyssa Irizarry, recently interviewed me for their new "Meet a Judge" series. Thank you for the feature Bow Seat!
The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. I have heard them all, and of the three elemental voices, that of ocean is the most awesome, beautiful and varied.
Henry Beston, The Outermost House
Seven adults piled into the pine green pickup, politely jockeying for seats in the truck bed like we were 16 again. Some of us packed light - a DSLR camera, snacks, and water - and others, much less so - oil painting supplies, an easel, turpentine. We were all strangers, but we were all on the same mission - capturing the strange, elemental beauty of Sandy Neck.
It was disorienting being so close to home yet feeling so far away. I looked south to see the Cape Cod beaches I visit so frequently, sailboats dotting the shoreline and swaying in the shallow water. I picked out my path to the water on a laminated map in the shack, slung my paint supplies over my shoulder, and set off on a solo trek with my watercolors
I walked until I hit the head of the trail. I found a good vantage point with different vegetation, colors, and enough space to plop down on my beach blanket and break out my palette.
I was quickly reminded of all the plein air painting 'hazards'. Immediately upon finishing my first painting, I was run over by two (friendly) terriers wandering the trails with their owner. I imagine they didn't expect to see anyone painting on a blanket in the middle of nowhere, so I could only get so annoyed at the sand in my paint. I took it as sign to change locations anyway, and climbed to the highest point I could.
I stayed at the top of the dune until the sun began to set, making small talk with campers staying in their RVs, and with Cape Codders who hike Sandy Neck every weekend. I finished my second watercolor with a silly-big smile on my face and trekked back to the Halfway House.
We shared our work while waiting for the pickup to return. (Note... bring lots of bug spray!) Although we had vastly different levels of experience - some were full-time, gallery-owning artists; others were recreational photographers or new to their medium - we all shared a deep appreciation for Cape Cod's natural beauty.
I have prints of both paintings available on Saltwater Palette, just in time for the holidays. :)