Monday, August 10, 2020

NINETY-EIGHT AND STILL COUNTING!








COVID 100 Project:  Almost Finished or Maybe Not?

Think back to early March when we quickly became familiar with the vocabulary and experience of sheltering-in, isolation, self-quarantine! By mid-April we suspected it wasn't going to be over soon. Instead of talking about back to normal we were speculating on "the new Norms."  As a stop-gap measure I had painted "Spring Profusion" (see blog May 18), but it was time to re-think, re-plan, re-calibrate. I decided to Paint 100 daffodils...
L to R Daffodil #1"Daffodil with Attitude; #43; #41; #42; #76,77 "The Whole Story"
Acrylic+ on canvas 4x12  $150 each, includes shipping
Freedom Gallery, 8 Elm Street, Box 537, Freedom, NH 03836
Acrylic + 5X7 $95


Art instructors along the way have touted 
the advantages of painting a series. 
Painting small gives us practice with basics...
color, line, shape, composition...
while letting us try a variety of techniques.
And  in my garden
Daffodils were beginning to show
tips and color...
(Spring comes late in Freedom NH) 
I brashly stated I would paint 100 daffodils, 
thus my "COVID 100 Project," and slightly modified it...
I could put  more than one daffodil per painting. 
I wasn't going anywhere soon! 



Acrylic 5x7 $95
13 Minature Daffodils
To me, a slow painter, it was a daunting project, a questionable challenge, but chosen wisely! My years as an educator and a yogi have taught me that our brains like to stay busy, but we can choose and corral our thoughts. We can "switch the channels in our head" like we switch channels on the TV if we don't like the program. 
We can "leave the room" when we don't like the ads. It takes practice, but it can be done. There's a lot not to like about COVID and our political scene right now, and our mind will focus on that, like an itch we can't scratch,
UNLESS we change the channel!  Finding a pleasant focus certainly changes the mind set/experience of living. For me the focus became cheerful daffodils, but other points of focus do as well; being actively involved, mind and body: these chase the demons, supplant the negative with positive. Painting does that! 


So I painted my daffodils, single, in pairs, in small groupings, and learned what we really all know...one step at a time gets us where we want to go...
 Creativity is like a muscle or a habit. The more we use it the stronger it becomes. 100 had seemed so far away, but with each finished daffodil, other images came to mind, other techniques appeared as if from nowhere...more to paint, different colors, different backgrounds, different sizes...and what about bouquets? What about scenes? techniques? I discovered and invented for backgrounds, for leaves and petals, the different paints, etc. 
       The count at this point is 98, including the snow scene below  titled Hearty Souls. (20 Daffs on an 8x10!)

With 2 left to paint, will I stop painting daffodils? Doubt it! I haven't finished their story in my mind...and Covid isn't finished. But I have found a joy mechanism that does extend to other flowers, other scenes, other activities: Keep my mind busy with positive thoughts, feelings  and activities... That being said, watch for two or three more daffodil paintings, check me out on Instagram* (barbaramcevoyartist), and work at finding your own demon chasers...Beats Doom scrolling and monkey mind!

If you live close stop by and see them at Freedom Gallery, 8 Elm Street, Freedom NH, open 10-3 Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

        *Daffodils are numbered/identified in order of completion on Instagram and available for purchase as soon as I have a family portrait done of the 100! (Soon) Contact Freedom Gallery, 8 Elm Street, Box 537, Freedom, NH 03836.






Saturday, June 6, 2020

100 Daffodils, Continued! **

Metaphors for Being? Consider the Daffodil
10 & 11
Acrylic + 4x12

In these trying and stressful times, sheltered in place, isolated, and yet protesting virtually or in reality, we need to balance our tensions! 

We need patches of peace, way stations of quiet, escape mechanisms...And there are many: music, books, films, puzzles, games...We need them all to meet the varieties of stress we face and the differences in individuals, but can a simple flower suffice?
12 & 13
Acrylic +  4x12
One of the recent surprises of our sheltering in place has been the rush on gardening! Garden centers and suppliers have been selling out, even with the more complicated "curbside service." There is something basic in flowers, plants. Greenery soothes, forest bathing is being prescribed when possible, or just more walking with social distancing. Not so new to the scene, flowers and potted plants have an expected, even honored place in many ceremonies...Can you imagine funerals, weddings, or even church services without  flowers? Stuck for a good gift idea for a sick or grieving friend, flowers are an easy and welcome answer. 

What is it about flowers? 

My contention is that THEY are US! Unannounced they have become quiet metaphors for our being! and our living!


6&7
Acrylic +   5x7

Consider the daffodil.. my favorite Spring flower (why else would I choose to paint 100?)
They are brave little souls that poke through leaf mold and grow beneath the snow, lifting their tips tall and strong to reach the sun. Rooted in the ground, with the stored energy in their bulb pushing them upward, in their own time their buds break through the protective membranes that cover the leaf tips/developing flowers. Slowly they unfurl, becoming the flowers they are meant to be! How many shapes? How many colors and sizes? All the time standing tall, reaching for the heavens...


Detail from # 9
 Bees and pollen do their job, and maybe the gardener "deadheads" them, as they slip into old age with their greens, yellowing, feeding the bulb and drying up...dormant until the next year. A perfect cycle of life, cycle of an idea, cycle of a stage they are going through..they grow, flourish, and feed the next round...year after year, eventually multiplying into patches, onto hillsides, even filling groves.  
9
Acrylic+  4 x 12

The daffodil is only one example of what is flourishing out there, in all weather, all environments, part of our world to admire, and the admiration doesn't cost a penny. The flower, plant , whatever, could be in our garden, but it could be anywhere, and gives joy to whoever chooses to appreciate it in all its complexities...Consider the daffodil...
or any other plant, if only for a few breaths, and let it nourish your soul. 


**100 Daffodil Project,  87 to go!








Tuesday, June 2, 2020

PAINTING PROJECTS / PANDEMIC PROJECTS:

#1  Acrylic  4x12

ONE HUNDRED DAFFODILS

"Never an ill wind that didn't blow someone some good," so spoke my grandmother, quoting I don't know who, but true. So many of us, faced with the pandemic shelter in place, set intentions of particular projects we could use that extra time to complete. Is there an artist out there who doesn't wish for more studio time?  Not me. At workshops, one of the discussion topics that inadvertently comes up is "How can I make more time for art?"
Indeed, pandemic project on a silver platter. 

Challenge Begun:  The first five of 100!
In the blahs of February (see previous blog) I enjoyed painting Spring Profusion, and by the time the pandemic and it's forced isolation was in place, I was ready to happily continue in the studio, painting flowers. 

#5 Acrylic  4x12
Advice from one of my favorite art instructors comes to mind when I think of mentors. Doug Dawson, nationally known artist, told us that when he was getting started, he was told that he should paint 1000 paintings, which is overwhelming, especially for beginners who want to do everything yesterday....and then, shaking his head with a smile creeping into his voice, Doug added, "They never told us they could be small paintings!"
But I get it! "Necessity is the mother of invention," an apt quote for the art world. Repetition, repetition, repetition is boring! Our eyes and minds like variety, so doing a series pushes us into further creativity. One subject but 100 versions moves us into new textures, new colors, new paints, and exploring form and composition. And small pushes us further faster

It was early April, daffodils were bravely pushing through leaf mold and snow, here in NH, and I had planted several hundred bulbs, collections of early to late varieties with all the variations horticulturists have come up with over the years. That gave me a good start towards 100, though I did decide I'd count individual daffodils rather than individual paintings. 

SOOO,  these are the first five.  
#2,3,4 Acrylic +   8x10
Small paintings, Thank you very much Doug Dawson! #1 and #5 were only 4 x 12 inches, and #2,3,4 grouped in one painting, was an 8x10.
Only a few of the many varieties in my garden, Thank you White Flower Farm and Van Engelen Bulbs (Van Engelen calls them narcissi). 

Backgrounds are McEvoy inventions, and I don't claim to be a realist! Painting the spirit is often more important than painting the reality!


Discovery on these paintings: If you look very closely at flower petals, some of them actually glisten a faint spark of iridescence, but how put that on canvas?  From playing around with Golden's acrylic offerings I had discovered a paint referred to as "interference," and another similar called pearl. Spread thinly on the petals it does give the illusion of iridescence, and shifting light or standing at different places to view the painting gives out that subtle and not so subtle hint, unfortunately difficult to capture with a camera (at least if I'm the one pushing the button.)

See galaxy Blog from 2017 and/or follow me on Instagram  Barbara McEvoy Artist to see other times I play with the metallic and "interference" paints by Golden and other unique options that are out there if you browse the art supply stores!

Photo taken at slant to capture the
"glisten effect" of interference paint.
Pearl, green and violet used here.

Have at it! 

Ninety-five daffodils to go! 







Monday, May 18, 2020

HOW ARE YOU DOING? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Dandelions   24x36    Acrylic  $400

Locked Down, Sheltering in Place, or Coming Out Cautiously?

There's nothing cautious about a dandelion, one of our earliest Spring flowers, though many call it a weed. 

But consider it, as I did when a friend asked me if yoga fit with dandelions. She asked me in bleak February and I had visions of bright lively yellow heads dancing in breezes. Yes, I would teach Sun Salutations as part of the Dandelion festival being planned by the local farm museum, in trade for being able to set up a display of my paintings to sell.
Sunspot 8x8  Acrylic  $75

How to attract attention?

Paint a really big dandelion!  which I did, two years ago, and some little ones. Color is good healing medicine for the winter-weary spirit. So last winter when February blahs hit, I painted more colorful flowers, and some roosters. This year, when the two window decorators for Freedom Village Store were looking for bright and cheerful "Spring Things" for their display I offered my dandelions, in blah February of course, little suspecting what was coming our way.

COVID, more bleak than even February in NH. The Village Store closed its doors to the standard hours. The two window decorators wanted another painting for the other window, "something happy, and bright like the dandelions, something representing Spring, so even if we're closed, people won't forget us."  Spring Profusion (below) was my answer. However, the village store manager decided to Rethink some of what the store did. She developed a cadre of volunteer delivery folks, and proceeded to find out what people needed and wanted. The store "Reset and Recalibrated" its situation in the community.

Tulips  8x8 Acrylic $75

Consider your own February and March of this year, 2020 ..As a nation and a global community we entered March with hints of problems and finished March talking about and practicing sheltering in placesocial distancing, self isolationquarantine. When we communicated via email, phone, messaging, Zoom, we'd ask the old questions with very different import. "How ARE you doing?" "WHAT are you doing?" and we'd finish with, "Stay well," "Keep safe."

How Are we doing? WHAT are we doing? I hope making the best of what could eventually, if not already, be an enlightening experience!  Life for us humans became very different very quickly,  but there is no hurry. This isn't going away fast. Relax!  We have the time to Rethink, Reset, Recalibrate! just as the Freedom Village Store. 

What we need now is "new skill sets!" We don't really have to do all those things we thought we should/could get done. Instead, we can smell the air (less polluted) as well as the roses,  daffodils and pine trees. There is a world of healing out there in nature, with actual research showing that forest baths and indoor plants do clean the air, lower our blood pressure, in addition to being an aesthetic that speaks loudly to us.  With job loss and what seems to be economic disaster, maybe we don't need all those things we thought we needed! A garden could help with the food bill, and with meat supply in question, at multiple levels, maybe some new vegetarian dishes could be a family affair, a financial saving. Reading a book with our kids, even a chapter book, doesn't seem so time consuming when we are home together. ETC! ETC! YOU explore your own mind and interests, plus the multiple of articles and free or inexpensive classes available on line...then share them in new togetherness! No sense in rushing out into a world that has only tenuous control of the virus situation. Cautiously, we do have the time, we can work at making changes for the better!

Spring Profusion  24x48  Acrylic  and Metallics $800



And while we are considering the differences we're noticing, maybe we should readjust some values! What about those on the front lines, the ones NOT isolating, the very necessary...delivery people, health workers at every level--many of them deserve not only the accolades they are getting, but also higher wages. And as we open up, what of the servers in the restaurants and fast food places we frequent. 

So, let's RE-consider the dandelion! Thought of as a pariah of "well groomed" lawns, much money is spent on Round-up and other "toxic to everything" herbicides to get rid of dandelions and other beneficial and/or aesthetically pleasing weeds. Spring at Lowes, Home Depot and other Garden Centers is marked by high stacks of Round up though it is banned in other countries! Re think this! Instead of poisoning, not only the plants and the users of Round up, and ultimately pets, children, neighbors and water supplies, etc. we can pick the leaves of the dandelions and get free, ORGANIC, and extremely nutritious greens (while we shelter in place and avoid stores!!!) The flowers bring their sunshine, and this year, because of the decimated bee and pollinator population (attributed to the toxic pesticides also out there), the word is out that we really ought to leave dandelions in our lawns to feed the pollinators!  Dandelions are only one of the "weeds" with a bad rep! Times are changing. We need to Rethink and Reset when science discovers new things about our sometimes not so miraculous solutions. Remember DDT?
Lead paint? Asbestos? Caution is called for! 

Are there parallels between the dandelions and our service workers? While we are Relaxing and sheltering in place, perhaps we should use the time wisely to Rethink, Reconsider, Reset, and Recalibrate the values we have been living with and the values we WANT to live with...We may find that the gap is large but not at all insurmountable! Especially since some of the changes are already moving into place!

Find me on Instagram:    barbaramcevoyartist

































Tuesday, March 24, 2020

NEW WAYS for NEW TIMES

SACRED CONNECTIONS
Bubbling Up: The Creative Process
Acrylics 18x24


How quickly the world, the whole world, can change. A microscopic virus has sent us separately into self-isolation and solitude while creating a global, world wide connection!

New times call for new ways!
Sheltering in place, as we will be if we follow Dr.Fachi's advice, must be the new way, the way to "flatten the curve." But as individuals, we also need ways to handle this new-to-us isolation and seclusion.

Time to nurture our creativity!  How does the creative process work? Where does it come from? Do we all have creativity?How do we find it? How do we feed it? 

Bubbling Up is my visual answer to how the creative process works.The universe provides our brain and being with myriad images, events, happenings, stirred around by more of the same, bubbling like a great broth until those bubbles burst forth...aha! BINGO...OMG! in some artistic form... visual products, music, song, dance, poetry, theater, other modalities not yet even imagined. What a magical, marvelous process. We all have it, though perhaps hidden. We can all use it!

Pushing Boundaries  Acrylic  
For some of us, however, creativity has been pushed further down into the mire of our everyday living. Our society has squelched it, or we ourselves claim that lack of time, energy and/or money have set boundaries we can't break through.  Pushing Boundaries was my initial attempt to visualize a way to confront the societies and/or the selves that set uncommonly restrictive boundaries. Unfortunately, even as I painted away, COVID-19  was sending us to solitary confinement. The painting was a total blob. I saw an enveloping, attacking dragon; a distressed brain; haze, fog; unknown onslaught and no solutions. I relegated the painting to a dark corner. 

Returned from a short excursion to Fairbanks, AK where I roomed with three other women from across the country, I was again staring at Pushing Boundaries  thinking, Enough! Time to act! Destroy it? Paint over it? and also wondering about my three adventure partners. We'd all come through Seattle and had been home long enough to finish our self quarantines. How were they? Coincidentally, I received a text message from Miyuki related to the trip we'd shared. Soon Carol and Candy joined. We texted intermittently through the evening, sharing our separate and very different experiences related to COVID-19. The text exchanges, warm words and good memories, were stirring my creative broth and moving my paint brushes. Between texts I returned to Pushing Boundaries adding golden details and a trillion points of glistening starlight, a new vision, a successful makeover. Thank you, Miyuki, Carole and Candy. We were Reaching Out, in spite of our differences, our distances, 

Reaching Out  Acrylic   36x36
The best we can do in these times of seeming isolation is search for and use our own creativity. We can count our solitude as a blessing while realizing we need connections, contacts, adventures to fill the well from which our creativity bubbles up. It's a symbiotic relationship with its own energizer. But, just as the entire world is part of this pandemic, so too the entire world is connected by the globe we all share. We are none of us alone! Everyone and everything is, ultimately, connected. 

For our own creativity, we must also recognize and nurture our connecting relationships to all things and to the Earth that binds us together. It's a complex situation, but not without inspiration and hope if we look for them.

In your present solitude and isolation, explore your creativity and be grateful for all the ways you can connect without inviting COVID-19 to your party. We have a lot to learn from this experience.       STAY WELL, STAY CONNECTED but KEEP UP THE CAUTIONS.


Revisit my blog site 
Check out my website
Check Instagram for more Galaxy paintings...
If you're in Freedom NH visit Freedom Gallery for Art and Spirit,  Freedom, NH, 8 Elm Street

(Open by appointment and most weekends)
Email barbaramcevoy@me.com














Monday, June 5, 2017

SCENES FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE: DISCOVERING OIL PASTELS

DISCOVERING OIL PASTELS: Waterfalls
The flume in Franconia Notch  (9X12)

Although I'd used oil pastels before, my first choice had become pastels or oil. Over the winter my studio situation had changed and my main easel, with  my Artist Air machine, remained at my former studio. Since I would never consider doing an indoor pastel or oil painting without Artist Air, if I wanted to paint at my home, I needed another solution. Pencil, watercolor, acrylics or oil pastels?


Diana's Bath (9x12)
Pulling out my photo files (Mac cites over 14,000! photos!) I skimmed over some of my favorite hike files and chose  several waterfall photos. In real life waterfalls  and streams are soothing.   I breath with the pulsing of the waters falling into the waiting pools, and sliding over and around boulders. I merge myself in the splatters and spray as they dance to their own rhythms, and delight at the changing rainbows. Its calming and other worldly. 

My own life at the time was needing calm and my fingers were itching to move onto paper, push around colors, and create a few sprays of my own. I needed the art therapy and chose the oil pastels because they were the quickest. No setting up a palette, no fooling with mediums, mineral spirits, brush cleaning. Just open the box, pick up a stick and start! 


Could Be Anywhere! (9X12)
Painting can be even better than real life because it makes the artist the creator.
Diana's Bath (9x12)


Glen Ellis Falls
 It's not only mind and eye following the water, but also the hand itself creating the ripples, rainbows and spray on paper, immersing itself in the waters of calm!

I chose black paper to emphasize the water, the spray, the subtle colors of stream and ponds.  One painting led to another and another and then Eureka!  I was doing a series, and, like a soap opera fiend, wondering about the next installment!, before I had finished one I was working on. I had heard about doing series in art school but never put it to real practice until now.  Doing a series forces us to greater creativity! It's fun. Familiarity with similar color choices pushes to new techniques and new visions, then new color combinations, further technique exploration. Waterfalls in NH are everywhere, and different, not only from season to season, but from week to week. Even day to day if there has been a major storm, or an errant beaver at work. They are a never-ending supply of subject matter.

These five are among the 12 now completed, with two more sitting on my drafting table in various stages of production. I presently have an exhibit at the M&D Theater in North Conway, NH, there until July 5. Stop by if you are near.

Meanwhile, I'll be doing more Oil Pastels of Waterfalls. 

Check out other blog entries and my website for other Scenes of New Hampshire  and my blog, THE GREAT WHITE BARN to check the progress on my gallery.

Oil Pastels on black paper, 9X12.  $90 unframed, $130 framed in black frame.
E-mail me at barbaramcevoy@me.com if interested.








Tuesday, May 2, 2017

PAINTING GALAXIES

GALAXIES:  We don't KNOW what we don't know

The night sky has always fascinated me. Many of us living in more populated areas never see the Milky Way. Too much ambient light. But, when we get to a dark place and see it, it IS truly breathtaking.  Moving to New Hampshire, I'm on the look out for our "Milky Way Nights," clear skies with those lights twinkling away.  

Having never seen the Milky Way, if you get yourself away from cities and crowded suburbs, Look Up! You will recognize the Milky Way.

A natural outcome of being a landscape painter is to realize that the night is part of the world we live in. More appropriately called a skyscape, the night sky deserves representation.
Galaxy Paintings, Acrylics  on canvas with black light.  36 x24 ($450) and 10x10 ($100).

The "black light" photos above are a poor representation of the actual paintings. Imagine the  photo with ONLY the phosphorescent green illuminated...the effect is two completely different paintings! If you know how to photograph these appropriately, please e-mail me. Otherwise, use your imagination, or better still, visit "The Galaxy Room" in Freedom Gallery, (8 Elm Street, Freedom, NH 03836) Viewings available by appointment. Email me for more info. or to make an appointment  


More recent photo from Galaxy Room. Some of the small paintings are in a different order.
Paintings with regular light
Three major sources of inspiration get credit as my galaxy series continues to evolve.  First influence: the Hubble Telescope. Those photos are incredibly beautiful, reminding us that we really don't know what we don't know. With literally trillions of stars and accompanying planets, whatever else is out there, beyond our own little blue marble, is unfathomable. Star Trek, Star Wars and science fiction can only guess. Hubble has given us real life examples of the beauty and immensity. But, as one gallery goer said, "Immense, but we are all connected. We are part of that!"

Second very important influence goes to the art student/sales person at the Allentown PA Dick Blicks (art supply store), who, hearing me say I was painting galaxies, said, "Do you know about phosphorescent paint?" "No," I replied, "hook me up." She hooked me up to the most fun painting series I've ever done!  

Third influence goes to the Dick Blick stores in general  (At this point I shop the catalogue and go to the Boston, Landmark Store for their incredible array of paint type products, including mica gold and silver flecks, a variety of Pebeo products, glitter paint and glue, etc.)