Saturday, August 11, 2012

Crunch Time

We had a party to attend last night.  I was excited about it, because it has been ages since I have gotten to dress up.  I've become so relaxed in my daily appearance that my children get concerned and confused if I have on even the smallest amount of makeup: "Why do you have on makeup? Where are we going?  What do we have to do?"  So, last night I put their heads in a spin with a full makeover: complete with a glossy, straight waterfall of hair down my back.

Ka-Boom! That is when the downpour came!  Buckets of rain.  I looked at my satin dress, my flowing hair and my heels.  Hmm.  I cursed Mother Nature a bit and then started pulling out my trench coat, cheetah rain boots and green polka dot umbrella.  My heels would have to wait a little longer for the party.

We planned to attend an event before going:  it was an art show at Gilbert Stuart Museum. (  I had put a few paintings in it, since I am starting my journey into the RI art scene on my tippy toes.  I had a split second thought of not going, dreading sloshing through the puddles and huddling under shelter.  But since this was one of my first show participations, I really wanted to be there to see my work on the walls.

So I geared up, grabbed my heels, sloshed to the car and my husband and I went:  me dressed in my beautiful floral satin cocktail dress and cheetah rain boots. Not quite the ensemble I envisioned, but I had no choice, really.  

I loved seeing all the different art:  there were so many different styles and I truly appreciated the beauty in all of them.  Of course, I also loved seeing my paintings among them.  At almost the same time, my husband and I saw a red sticker on my apple painting called "Crunch Time."  Ever the pessimist, my first thought was that surely there was something wrong:  they must've put that on the wrong painting.  I could not have sold a painting on the first night!  I was so nervous and befuddled that my husband double checked to make sure for me that I had, in fact, sold a painting!

I got to meet the woman who bought it.  She told me that when she saw it, it spoke to her immediately and she bought it on the spot.  She talked with me of its delicious color and the lusciousness of the apples. Her deep appreciation for my work left me awestruck and hovering somewhere between Wonderland and Heaven.

The sun came out, so I didn't have to make a mad dash for the car and I could slip out of my trench coat.  In the car, on the way to the party, I switched my shoes and checked myself in the mirror.  There with my humidity ravaged body: frizzy hair, swollen feet and a rain spotted dress, I felt more beautiful than ever knowing that something I created made someone else so happy.  The woman who purchased my painting  gave me more than just a payment.  She presented me a gift of encouragement and a little shot of self confidence, both of which are much more glorious than pencil straight hair.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Peep the Sheep

"Peep" 6" x 6" acrylic painting by Tracie Seed
One of my favorite nursery rhymes as a child was, and still is, "Little Bo Peep."  I had a big book of Mother Goose nursery rhymes.  The cover was black and white checked and had a beautiful illustration of Mother Goose flying, well, on her goose.  My mother read me the book so many times that I had all the rhymes memorized and we would say them together over and over and over.  This one came to mind as I was painting "Peep":

"Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep,/And doesn't know where to find them./Leave them alone and they'll come home,/Wagging their tails behind them."

The origins of the poem are debatable, but some believe it was written in the early 1800's.
Picture the quintessential costume of the meringue skirt, large, ruffled bonnet and big shepherd's hook, complete with a huge satin bow is some pastel hue.  This  6" x 6" painting of a little sheep is a nod to that poem.  Look at that mischievous face!  Where has that sheep been?

The rhyme now reminds me of my own children (although not lost) running around in the neighborhood, playing with their friends as I did as a child.  Eventually, they come back home. Sometimes with their tails wagging--like when my son went swimming with his cell phone in his pocket!  But, mostly they come home bleating,"Mom!  What's for dinner?"

I am lucky to live in one of those 1960s neighborhoods where you actually know your neighbors and kids can stay out until dark. So even when I am not around to herd my children through their days, I know that there are good shepherds watching after them.  Now, if I could just get my hands on one of those hooks!

Monday, August 6, 2012

King of the Sketch

I was recently with a 13 year old girl whom I love very much and admire tremendously.   She is shrouded in privacy, so I can't reveal who she is to me.  But I can say that she is an amazing artist who gets better by the minute, because she literally draws every second she possibly can.  I've seen her even use a scrap piece of paper and the bottom of her shoe as a drafting table.  Whenever something is in her head, she just has to get it out.  I wish I could show you one of her drawings, but she is extremely protective with them and only lets a lucky few see them.  I am one of the lucky ones who are blessed and inspired by her tenacious drawing produces.
On a recent trip home, I found myself with a ton of time to on my hands.  I watched her no-stop sketching and decided to pick up a pencil and pad myself.  I haven't sketched in several years, even though I have been painting.  It was so relaxing to watch the pencil move quickly but cautiously across the page.  Scribble here. Line there.  Should this be darker?  Does that look weird?  His nose is too long.  The shadow is wrong.  It was a process that took me right into the present.
I don't necessarily think this lion sketch is the greatest.  But it does represent a moment in time where I let loose for an hour and just let the lead flow.  I have found myself sketching a bit more---mostly basic apples, spheres, bowls of eggs--mainly to study the importance of lights and darks to apply to my painting.  You can't feel the depth of a pig's eye socket or the meaty nose of a cow without the highlights and the shadows.
I guess there is something to that theory in life: putting together our bright times and dark times to create a whole, solid life that looks like you could actually touch it.  Enjoy your moment: now.