Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dolce Castana......Missing Italy A Bit?


 "Dolce Castana", casein on paper, 9 x 12"  ©2015
Watching horses grazing in their summer fields always gives me a feeling of peace. All is right with the world, in that moment in time.
I titled this casein painting "Dolce Castana"  ..... It means "Sweet Chestnut" in Italian. Memories of Italy. I thought I had finished it yesterday,  photographed it and then looked at it on my pc monitor. I wasn't happy with the I went back in and finished it today. It is done.
I have been in the studio working while Maine is blanketed with hot humid summer weather. My studio gardens are growing too tall and blossoming like crazy. So I paint horses?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Plein Air Painting In My Garden

"Japanese Iris"  pastel on paper,  12 x 9"  ©2015

With the weather being wonderful...and finding a few days where I actually am able to get some uninterrupted painting time...I headed outside with my pastels to do some plein air painting. I didn't travel far. It seems I have been away from home too much lately. I just worked in my back studio garden. I don't have to lug my equipment very far!! I did a pastel of my Shasta Daisies in full bloom. Then I did another pastel of my "Japanese Iris" in all their splendor. I think I want to do more paintings of them while they are in bloom, but I might have to work from photos, as these days my painting time is limited.

Summer in Maine is short lived. I will enjoy our time carriage driving and the time I spend working in my flower gardens.  New flowers are blooming everyday! I will try to paint more of them.

Monday, July 6, 2015

My Gardens Are Growing & News


Summer has really arrived. …physically and figuratively! I sit writing my blog on the deck. A lovely breeze stirs the green heavily laden trees .The sun shines down on the farm encouraging the gardens to grow. The rugosa roses scent rises in the warm air, bathing the deck in their perfume. Birds are busy at the bird feeders that hang in front of the grape arbor, flittering back and both from the trees to the feeders. A humming bird flies by me as he makes his rounds to window boxes and hanging baskets filled with petunias, zinnias,nasturtiums, marigolds and begonias. Nell sleeps in the shade beside me. Mittens sleeps under the table, half in the sun, half in the shade. Life is good in the summer a Cob Cottage Farm.

Most days , weather permitting , we have been driving our Ginger Boys up at Acadia National Park National Park. Each year we wonder if this is going to be the last year of us being able to do this. I pray that it won't be… but we aren't getting any younger and everything is  getting so expensive too.... fingers crossed that art sales keep coming in and our life can go on.
My news on  the art front?  I have my painting “ Chestnuts  Two.” In the current art exhibit at River Arts Gallery’s Members Show. What a talented bunch of artists I am in the company with at River Arts!!!!  Hope you all can make it to the show.
Then I have decided to not have my sketches available for purchase anymore on my website and I will be taking off the ones left on my Sketches and Studies page, in a very short time. The ones I do have left up on my website are seriously been discounted! Don't miss out !
And over the next few weeks, I might not be painting much. Time to reflect on my current art work, spend time with my husband and enjoy our days carriage driving our two Morgans. It is a fun sport which  you can share with friends who don't ride or drive… we love doing that!
And I  love to paint carriage horses!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Carriage Driving In Acadia !!! And My Latest Oil Painting


There are so many roads to travel by bike or on foot up or riding horseback in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island . You can even go by horse drawn carriage...a link to the past. By carriage is my favorite way to experience the beauty that is Acadia. My painting "By Bubble Pond- Acadia" is another way for one to experience that thrill from the comfort of their home......this latest painting is available and ready for it's forever home.
This next month will bring driving those Acadian carriage roads a daily joy for us. I will be filling my imagination with paintings that will be done after our driving marathon is over. Bear with me as I placate my muse.......fill my head with Maine scenery and horses and carriages. And in between gardens will grow and lawn and fields will need mowing. Never a dull moment at Cob Cottage Farm and Studio!!   And I will paint!    
                                                   Little Long Pond , Acadia

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pemaquid Point Oil Painting And A Two Person Art Show Coming Up!!


Maine is a beautiful state any time of the year. Even though our summer is pushing its way through the sweet cool months of spring, I remember scenes of our beautiful state that I want to paint. …..scenes-to capture that I have wanted to paint all winter, yet I was busy painting horses.

We took some friends down to Pemaquid Point Light House on their visit to Maine last fall. There was so much “eye candy” there that caught my eye. One of the subjects that really entranced me was the Rose-hips dotting the seaside landscape. The reddish orange rose hips against the White House and lighthouse begged to be painting. I recently finished painting that scene, capturing it oil. “Pemaquid Rose Hips” is available now on my website, on my ‘Not Equestrian Work” collection page.

Right now, my gardens are getting a much needed drink from Mother Nature. The rain falls and the thirsty earth is drinking its fill here in Maine. I wish I could send some of this rain to other parts of this earth where rain is so much needed. Our grass is growing like gangbusters and I am afraid weeds are too. I know where I will be once this rain spell passes. You should look for me in our gardens.

Shipping was on my plate this last week. I shipped works down to Equis Art Gallery, in Red Hook, NY, where I will be having my work hung in a two “man” show, along with fellow artist Patricia Powers. I will post more about this as it gets closer, but I am honored to be invited to be in this show in this summer!

I do have new work; I am working on as I try to get some ideas done before we start carriage driving our Ginger Boys every day. When we start doing that you won’t find me so often in the studio. Until then ………..I will paint!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A New Watercolor And A Maine Art Exhibit

Our apple trees are laden with blossoms.
The month of May has been flying by, it seems. With so many beautiful weather days, I have been getting work done outside in my gardens and with our horses. In the studio I have been busy with a Maine landscape painting and several smaller works that I am still on the fence about. Contrary to popular belief not every painting done is worthy of being shared. Sometimes I have to sit on a fence a day or so after finishing a painting, before I send it out into the wide world for other eyes to see. I know I am not alone with this practice. Quality control at work! 
"The German Pair" , watercolor on paper, 9.25 x 14"  copyright 2015
I also did do a watercolor of two handsome driving horses. They are of the Polish breed called Heavy Schlesier. They originate from Schlesien, which is now a region in Poland, but before the World War it belonged to Germany. How big and strong they look, yet are wonderful driving horses. “The German Pair" “is available to purchase on my website.
The other work I have done might be added to my website…we shall see!
This month was time to clean up and organize my pastel colors. I did that and believe me it was no easy task. Now my pastels are all in one pastel box, organized and at the ready for my foray into pastel work. When THAT will be I don't know but soon ?!
Again this year I have work in the Annual Festival of Art at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast, Maine. The show opened May 21, with an opening reception at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The show ran May 22 and 23, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday May 24, noon to 3 p.m. I hope you made it to the show. It always has an interesting mix of artwork in this Maine exhibit!
Life goes on at our ‘farmette’……..spring is in full swing with its bountiful display of blossoms and each day’s new color. At the moment….lots of green.
And so I paint!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May I Be Thankful For May !?


It is the merry month of May. It also is a month of celebration as spring really arrives in Maine and  it is the month we usually have the vet come to give our horses their yearly checkup and annual shots. BUT  May will always have a miriad of meanings for me... because it is STROKE AWARENESS month.    But I digress…read my blog entry of May 19th, 2008 that explains a lot. ....
"What May Means To Me Or Why I Blog" written  5/19/2008

"May has always been a special month for my family…spring is in full swing, my husband’s birthday falls in May and of course so does Mother’s Day. But this year [and every year now] May has taking on new meaning for us, as it is designated as Stroke Awareness Month. And we are very aware about stroke. Now.
On July 29th of 2006, my husband and I, along with my sister who was visiting from California, were all headed from our farm in Morrill, Maine to my eldest brother’s home in New Hampshire to celebrate his 70th birthday. It was a surprise party for him and for the first time in a long time, my siblings and I were going to be together to party and have a good time. We arrived on time and I got out of our car to greet everyone, feeling so happy to see us all together. My sister-in-law, Bev walked up to me and started talking …I could hear her, but I couldn't make out a word that she was saying. I didn’t feel right, but was busy looking around at everybody when I realized I couldn't see my right hand or arm and I couldn’t figure out where they were…and I was still trying to understand Bev. She sounded like a slow broken record and her words were all jumbled to me. I looked around for my husband Les, and when I saw him I asked, “Where’s my arm? And he said “By your side? What’s the matter?” Then I guess everyone saw something was wrong with me. I remember them helping me into the shade of a huge tree on the grounds and helping to lay me down on the ground. I looked up at everyone… I didn’t know what was happening. I couldn’t really talk and tell them what I felt and a sea of faces looked down on me. But through it all a strange feeling of calm and peacefulness filled my being and I knew it would be all right.
I was suffering a stroke.
 I missed my brother’s 70th. To make a long story short…I was rushed to a hospital in N.H. and then was transported by ambulance to Portland, Maine, and admitted into Maine Medical Center. This was done in order that I should be closer to my family and doctors. Tests were started. The left side of my brain had been ‘attacked’ when the blood flow was interrupted or stopped due to a blood clot. A significant part of my left temporal lobe was affected and this left me with right-sided paralysis and Aphasia. Aphasia is a condition where language problems make it difficult to talk the way I used to and makes writing very difficult for me. Something that was so important to me in my life [I have worked as a newspaper reporter and fashion editor in the past…and wrote poetry.] .... was now something that was so difficult. My understanding and comprehension of speech were unimpaired, but speech itself became hard as my speech related muscles wouldn’t cooperate and my brain could not find the words to say what I wanted to. But what was more important to me, as I lay on the hospital bed with my family around me…could I draw??? I managed to get the nurse to understand what I wanted…. a pencil and paper. She brought them and everyone looked on as I sketched an eye, a horse head……….okay… I could live with the limitations I had a this point. I could draw, and this would mean I could paint. Life was good!!!
In the week that passed in between hospital tests, MRI’s and blood work, I sketched some, slept a lot, but I knew I needed to get home, to our quiet farm where I would be alone with my husband, see my Corgi and our horses, see and smell our gardens and get down to the business of getting better…. to getting ‘Kathi’ back!

This year and half that has passed has been difficult. Our horses became my therapy, as I brushed them while walking with a cane, my hand and arm gained strength. I cleaned stalls, needing the muck fork to help stand up with. Throwing hay and lifting shaving bags became my upper body strengthen exercises. I had a speech therapist come and work with me in our home, she helped me start to get over some the Aphasia problems…and an occupational therapist to help me get my hand coordination back. And I painted…and drew and I slept. I slept a lot. I still sleep during the day needing naps to replenish my energy.
I started a blog after my therapist suggested that I do it as an exercise to recapture my language skills. Each and every blog entry has my recovery in it. Metaphorically each of my paintings tells of my struggles and my victories...most in the form of equine art. But through it all, I knew that my attitude about what I was going through was more important to me that what had happened to me. My recovery depended on my attitude. I cannot control what happens to me in life, but I can control my attitude. And that is my life’s mantra now……….’if it’s gonna’s up to me.’

And I have also been blessed with a wonderful husband who has been beside me through it all. Les has been the wind beneath my wings. So in a nutshell….that is my story. Why I blog.. and the road leading up to the beginning of my blog. That is my story and I am sticking with it."

So we are here today 9 years since my stroke. I have had several TIAs [small mini strokes] since 2006. I still have Aphasia, though mild now , I do have trouble understanding and writing numbers. I can't stand noise and confusion. I have trouble writing and figuring out spelling of words, which can be very frustrating! I do have central pain syndrome , which has left me with pain on my right side , 24/7........Yet when I paint, I feel no pain....only afterwards. I feel blessed to have been given a "new birth" ...and everyday is a gift to be thankful for!  I was a professional artist before my stroke.....and I still am. I try to muddle through the business part of being an artist.........the painting part is 'a breeze". I want to thank all my friends and collectors of my work for their past and continued support of my art.... Your support fuels my passion.
Sometimes life throws us a curve's up to us to hit it out of the ball park!  
Carpe diem!  Who knows what tomorrow may bring.