Monday, May 24, 2010

Rearing To Go

"Shades Of Gray #6"  casein on paper         12 x 9"

The past few days were a blur of movement. I have been up and down mid-coast Maine, yet loving it all. What a great time of year to be driving through Maine countryside and coastal roads...and all in the call of duty! Through all this flurry of activity, I have managed to finish a small casein on paper and chalk it up as number 6 in my series of "Shades Of Gray". I am working on some larger works for this series, with some lovely Arabian grays and some Pre grays too! Where my 'Shades of Black' series have been mostly my own two black geldings, the grays seem to be from all over the world. Interesting that new friends I have found on Facebook are willing to let me use their photos of their horses as inspiration. It always intrigues me how small the world has become with the event of the Internet!

Warm weather has descended on Maine.Today feels like August.The horses sleep in their run-out sheds, out of the hot sun . The dogs are sleeping on the living-room floor, trying to catch a cool breeze....and I am headed down to my studio where it stays cool.  I think I am going to really appreciate my downstairs studio this summer!. I am working on the drawing for a new oil painting on copper. This will be fun! I am excited to be doing this. One could say I am 'rearing to go"!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Still Life and Beautiful Maine

"Roseville and Angels"   casein on board      7 x 5"

This small casein, "Roseville and Angels" .....a quick still life depicting my Roseville vase and my clay gold painted angels from Italy, that has been floating around in my head for quite some time.The time was right finally and here it is!  I bought the wee angels as a child ,when we lived in Milan, Italy. I found them at a street market, and now in retrospect, I am sure they came out of a church at some time. I have always had them in my bedroom....along with a few other angels I brought with me, from Italy, years ago.They guarded me then and do still today!

We have been enjoying this year's spring in Maine. Our area of the state is wonderful this time of year, when the green of new growth pushes the gray woods branches back into the background,  as the yellow green takes over. I had business in Camden the other day and took time to grab some shots of the harbor and two masted schooners there.....and the yellow-green of the mountains surrounding this wonderful ocean front mid-coast village.

I am sure there will be some paintings done in the near future inspired by these shots!

But for now I need to get back into the studio working on some equine images for my Lexington,KY show coming this September.....I have so many ideas..............
and not enough hours in the day!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Time for Relflection, Poetry, and Packing

 Spring On Our Farm

I love the rush of wind through fields,
The secrets that the woodlot yields,
The yellow of the promised leaf
   of birch,of alder, willow, lurch.
The green of grass to green of spruce.
The songs of birds when spring lets loose,
The pond's soft ripple as touched by wind.
The Lilac's purple potential bring.

The barn sits empty during day..
The horses out and far away in fields they eat,
the new spring sprigs of grass so green and soft gray twigs.

I love the gentle change of greens
that spring at our Cob Cottage means.

by me....Kathi Peters!

In the driveway road side stands a lonely yellow tulip..I am not sure how this lone tulip arrived at this place. But I am leaving him there to surprise me each spring.....a bright spot of color against the brown and gray of the spring woods.

In between painting and walking dogs,  ...I have been busy getting works ready for several shows that are opening on the east coast this May. The two painting shown below are headed to New Jersey for the New Jersey Equine Artists' Association's National Juried Exhibition "Art of the Horse, 2010".  The show opens at the Somerset Art Association in Bedminster, NJ  on Thursday, May 20th and will run through Sunday June 20th.

 "Shades Of Black#9"     and   "First Snow- Revisited"

Then I have my casein "Riding With" juried into the HIT-on the Hudson Equestrian Art Exhibition  and Charity Auction.This is a three part event running from Memorial Day until September 10th, when the works of art from the exhibit will be auctioned off at an evening gala.

 "Riding With"    casein on paper    9 x 12"

Closer to home, my painting "I Can Do It Myself" will be in the show opening at "The "Festival Of Art " held at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast, Maine opening May 14th. This is a fun show with works from Maine artists all over age 50.!! I qualify!!
You know, it takes an organized person to keep all the information and paperwork together, filled out, and paintings shipped on time to the different venues. I am flying by the seat of my pants in this part of "The Life of An Artist". I am not organized for the most part!.....but I can paint...and I find I can STILL write poetry!! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Equine Painting On Copper

Starting the oil with the sketch.

Over the years, I have enjoyed learning to work in new mediums, trying new approaches and learning new skills. I suppose that is why I am enjoying the plein air experience .... but need to keep my eye on my goals....and where I want to go with my artwork.So though I will be trying my hand a plein air on occasion, I will still be painting with my caseins, and watercolors....maybe even a paper-cutting or two. But when I met fellow artist, and now friend, Renee Lammers....and saw her lovely plein air painting on copper, I had to try it...painting with oils on copper. Renee was nice enough to give me a copper panel to try..and try I did. Above is my sketch, with a bit of the painting started before I remembered to photo it for the blog!! The copper panel was easily drawn on with ink magic marker. Great!

So in between working on a commission I am finishing, I went back into the oil painting and started working the magic with oils. The oil on copper certainly gives a different feel than working on canvas or board.There is no drag at all with the paint, which seemed to just slip onto the copper, leaving a bit of copper peeking through, highlighting the scene I was working on. I am liking it. So different from working with casein, which has a drag, a granular pigment throughout the casein emulsion. But I still love my casein!!

"Trot On Cob"    oil on copper       6 x 8"

I am done. One oil on copper under my belt. I don't really know if I am 'hooked' on it...I would paint on copper again...might try a bigger work where I can be more creative. But the truth is that I do like the feel of the oil on copper...and hopefully someone else will like my work on copper too!! 
I am always game to learn something new!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It Is May Again

For the past 3 years I have been re-running a past May blog post. Three years ago I started blogging on the advice of my speech therapist. The following explains where I am going with this explanation, especially for followers of my blog who might not really know me...Read on...

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.[ I am mother to two handsome men! ]  But this year 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. I was 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  did not feel right, but was busy looking around at everybody when I  realized I couldn't see my right hand or arm and I could not 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 to the ground. I looked up at everyone…I did not know what was happening. I  could not 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 before [ I have worked as a newspaper reporter and fashion editor in the past…and I 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 would not 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 still 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. [ This happened in  summer of 20O6.] 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 to 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, who helped me start to get over some  the Aphasia problems…and an occupational therapist to help me get my  hand strength and coordination back.
And I painted…and drew and I slept. I slept a  lot. I still sleep some times during the day.. needing naps to replenish my energy.[ That is getting better now..I find I don't need to nap most days...but still 'hit a wall' on times and need that power nap to re-power my brain! ]

I started a blog after my speech 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 than 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 that recaps why May is SO special.and why I feel that I need to tell people about stroke!


About 700,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent  stroke. That means, on average, a stroke occurs every 45 seconds.

Stroke  kills more than 150,000 people a year. That's about 1 of every 16  deaths. It's the No. 3 cause of death behind diseases of the heart and  cancer.

On average, every 3 to 4 minutes someone dies of  stroke. 

Of every 5 deaths from stroke, 2 occur in men and  3 in women. 

The 2004 stroke death rates per 100,000  population for specific groups were 48.1 for white males, 47.4 for white  females 73.9 for black males and 64.9 for black females.

Americans  will pay about $62.7 billion in 2007 for stroke-related medical costs  and disability.

*Source: ASA

Any  or all of the following:

Sudden weakness or numbness of the  face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

Sudden  confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

Sudden trouble  seeing in one or both eyes

Sudden trouble walking, dizziness,  loss of balance or coordination

Sudden, severe headaches with no  known cause