Monday, May 26, 2008

Art&Sun Days: In Unexpected Anticipation

Just as the sun peeped through the red gate near the Koi pond, I unpacked and prepared for a relaxing day of getting settled and talking art. As most institutions of beauty -- museums, gardens and hair salons -- are traditionally closed for rest and repair on Monday, we had put nothing on our schedule. Suddenly, Linda discovered that the Leu Gardens were not only open, but FREE until noon! We hurried!

We could not have found a better way to begin a week of Florida foliage, patterns and traditions. We strolled the paths of the Gardens with little comment; we both understood the artist's way of sight seeing. We noticed water patterns on nasturtiums, the velvet colors of hundreds of roses, filtered light on sculptures, and nature's positioning of reds against greens. In the quiet, we found a sense of place which I would continue to find throughout our week.

Linda and I had toured together before and had learned to be comfortable with each other. Way back in New York City for the Gates of Central Park, the two of us had taken a late night walk through the gently waving orange banners. Patches of snow glowed in the sparkling light and the banners whispered just to us. We were as exhilarated by the experiences and ideas which were humming in our heads as we were by the cold. We ended that final night at the top of Rockefeller Center overlooking that spectacular city knowing that our views of ourselves as artists had been changed.

Faced with a new adventure on this warm morning in Central Florida, our artist spirits reunited in unexpected anticipation.

BushStrokes (c) AAB

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Photo of the Week: Welcome Home, Daddy!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Art&Sun Days: Disney World Is Not Needed

When the invitation to visit Central Florida came from my friend, Linda. I jokingly announced, "I'm going to Disney World!" as if I'd won some major event which could only be topped by such a prize.

For several reasons, neither Linda or I have painted for a while and this seemed to be the boost we needed. We talked of spending days in the studio exploring different kinds of watercolor paper, trying new painting techniques and visiting a gallery or two. A quiet week -- yeah, right!

As we shared our plans with the Internet friends* who had traveled together to see The Gates in Central Park and the galleries in Atlanta, the ideas began to fly and the week became a real art adventure.

*NOTE: In this photo, Karen, Kaye, Linda, Annette with the original banners from "Gates" weeks. (Flat Stanley's story about our NYC adventure here) Various members of this artists' email list have now met face-to-face in Arizona, Atlanta, California, Chicago, France, Kentucky, Miami, Santa Fe, Texas . . . .

I arrived early on Monday and immediately felt at home with Linda and Doug, their pets, paintings and photographs.
Karen flew from Alabama on Tuesday to join us for the week and we spent the afternoon at the Orlando Museum and the Maitland Art Center (Karen's blog -- mostly in May.)
Kaye drove over from Jacksonville for the Appleton Museum in Ocala and The Harn in Gainesville on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Martha planned a full day of galleries, museums and the Columbia Restaurant in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Ybor City. (Links for Martha's day on her blog .)
Doug showed us around his favorite old-hometown spots in New Smyrna Beach, a bit of Daytona and the Saturday market in Sanford where the streets were paved with "Augusta" bricks -- a reminder of my hometown.
And I haven't even mentioned the food!

I have come home from this walk on the beach. It will take me a while to absorb the conversations and the images of Central Florida. I will write about some of the special things, but I have learned that whenever artists are together creative juices bubble, eyes are opened to new possibilities, opinions change and ideas flow -- an indescribable Magic happens.

A sprinkling of beach sand is nice.
Disney World is not needed.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Ready To Turn Back - PART II

I stayed in that spirit of the walk-on-the-beach as I drove home from Hilton Head Island. I passed through a month of balmy spring days in the way that is usually reserved for hot summer ones.

I sat in the rockers on the front porch and ate ice cream with the little ones.
I shopped with my daughters and then with my mother -- a few things called my name.
We caught up on news of cousins at family dinners.
We stopped by to visit the Chickfila Cow and the peach colored fountains at the Tour de Georgia festivities.
We welcomed home Lucy and Belle's daddy from Afghanistan.
It was easy to just celebrate the days.

And then I packed my bags again and I found myself with friends once more overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, my feet sprinkled with the magic of beach sand.

I began to think of making notes about these Art&Sun Days for posts to BushStrokes, selecting images from the camera and the iPhone, maybe putting a little paint on the brush.

Finally, I knew I was ready to turn back.

BushStrokes (c) AAB

Ready To Turn Back - PART I

So. I went for a walk on the beach and it seems that I almost forgot to return.

As last year, the days with Frankie and Charlotte were filled with fun and conversation. We sat in the rockers under the Hilton Head lighthouse; we shopped for things we didn't need, but which, as Frankie says, "called our names;" we lunched on shrimp and oysters and she-crab soup; we napped in the heat of the day as all good beach girls do; and we caught up on the news since last year. We just celebrated the days together.

Actually, no one said, "Annette, it doesn't go all the way around. It's not a walk around the lake! It's the Atlantic Ocean! You have to turn back to get home!"

I just wasn't ready to turn back.

BushStrokes (c) AAB