Enjoying the quiet after the busy holiday season

December 31, 2014

Here we are on New Year's Eve. 2014 really flew by in a blur of have to's and challenges and, thankfully, fun and wonder as well. It is a cold, windy day here in southwest New Hampshire, and the wood stove is struggling to keep the house above the low 60s. It is quiet and peaceful though, which I so appreciate after the busy and full holiday season.

Things started getting busy for me when the holiday craft season arrived. It is a lot of work to do inventory, replenish supplies, pack and set up. The fairs themselves are always enjoyable though. I only participated in two fairs this year, and it was my 10th anniversary of doing both. The first one was The Orchard School Benefit Craft Fair and Cafe, held in the historic Walpole, New Hampshire town hall. The fair is one of the biggest fundraisers for this amazing school in East Alstead, New Hampshire. It is a festive two day event with delicious food, beautiful crafts and live music.

My set up on the second floor of the Walpole Town Hall

Orchard School children enjoying the banjo music

Thanksgiving arrived the Thursday after the craft fair. This year Thanksgiving was at my mother's house on Cape Cod. We usually drive down on Wednesday evening, but this year there was a snow and ice storm that made driving treacherous and knocked out power in much of the state. We were fortunate to only lose power for a few hours. Others had no electricity for days, and Thanksgiving plans were affected. We were able to drive down to Sandwich on Thanksgiving morning.

After a delicious meal, we took a much needed walk on Town Neck Beach near the Sagamore end of the Cape Cod Canal. I grew up in Falmouth, but my mother and her husband have lived in this part of Sandwich for over 20 years now. It feels like a second home to me, and I love that they are just two streets back from this rocky and ever changing stretch of beach. I am sure to bring bring my camera along because there is always something interesting or beautiful to see. Thanksgiving weekend was no different.

Thanksgiving afternoon was blustery, with heavy dark clouds.

Town Neck beach has been severely eroded over the last few years, from a combination of strong winter storms and from what many people believe to be a serious problem, the canal jetty on the Scusset side blocking the natural flow of sand from north to south. This aerial image from the Trustees of Sandwich Beaches website shows how much narrower Town Neck Beach is compared to Scusset Beach, and the jetty that is believed to be the barrier.

People have been working very hard to get state or federal funding to fix the problem before more serious damage occurs, but so far there has not been much help. Homeowners have spent their own money trucking sand to the beach, only to see it wash away in the next storm. The dunes at the southern most part of the beach that protect the marsh have been seriously breached, and in one storm, water crossed Route 6A on the far side of the marsh, causing some flooding in historic Sandwich. I follow the news about repair efforts via the Trustees of Sandwich Beaches facebook group.

My walk on Thanksgiving showed more evidence of the erosion, including the loss of the sand brought in by homeowers. It is very sad to see, and I hope something happens soon.

Friday of Thanksgiving weekend was sunny, but cold, with a biting wind. I was not well dressed for the wind! The sun felt nice on the walk to the beach.

I love the light on these dried hydrangea flowers

I had never seen this old Chevy parked on the street before

Look at the grass bending from the wind!

This is such a rocky beach

Light and shadows

Saturday was a beautiful day, and I spent a longer time on the beach. I enjoy collecting round, smooth and heart shaped rocks, and I was thrilled with this rare to find piece of sea glass that my son found. It's from Coke bottle.

I love to see harbor seals sunning themselves on the rocks. This one had such a sweet face.

It looks like he's waving

Low tide rocks

I fit in one more walk before our three hour drive back to New Hampshire. It was another beautiful day.

One thing to happen from all the erosion of the last few years is the unearthing of the remains of an old brickyard that may date back to the late 1700s. You can see a video of some of the history here.

I love taking photos at the beach, and I also enjoy painting from them later. I have been inspired many times over the years to create paintings of Town Neck.

Easter at Town Neck

January Wind

My second craft fair was the Antioch University New England Winterfest on December 11. I have worked at Antioch for over 16 years now, and this was the tenth year for this fair too. It was a very Christmas-like day with a light snow falling, and I was glad to get a lot of my own shopping done as well.

Another thing that kept me busy during the holiday season was working on a painting commission for a Christmas gift. My uncle's niece and nephew asked me to paint the house where they grew up to give to their parents for Christmas. Their parents will be selling the house to move someplace smaller. I finished the painting in time to deliver it on December 21. I was so happy to read Facebook posts on Christmas day about how much everyone loved the painting. That was a true gift to me. I love projects like this!

And then, it was Christmas, celebrating in the morning at home, then an overnight back on the Cape. Of course I got a quick beach walk in before heading off on the 26th to visit with more family. It was a beautiful, calm and unseasonably warm day. I was so glad to have one more Christmas gift of visiting the beach.

The end of the beach by the boardwalk to the marsh is much sandier than the end by the canal.

The breach in the dunes to the marsh

A memorial Christmas tree on top of the boardwalk

As the hours tick down on 2014 I would like to wish you all a wonderful 2015 filled with inspiration and creativity.


2014...A year with little painting time

November 16, 2014

2014 was not a great year for me to find painting time. There seemed to so many other things that required my time and attention that I only completed three paintings, and almost finished a fourth. I wish I had had more time, but life gets busy. My 15 year old son runs in cross country and track at school, and spent the spring and part of the summer in PT to regain strength in his leg muscles after a major growth spurt. My 16 year old daughter took driver's ed over the summer. We live in a sm...
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With your art, you just can't be too careful

May 3, 2014

I was really excited recently when I received an email inquiring about my original paintings that are currently for sale. I had put a lot of work into updating my website, using social media, and adding Pinterest buttons to my website. I thought maybe this new to me person had discovered my work through those efforts.

As you will see in the email thread below, it seemed pretty exciting, and at one point, nerve wracking, when I realized I had missed one of her responses for over a month. ...
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Ever changing technology...my art website through the years

April 6, 2014

With spring seeming very reluctant to arrive this year, and snow still covering my perennial garden beds, I spent my free time recently in the somewhat tedious work of updating my art website again. Yola, the company whose online tool I use to build my site recently added pull down menus as a template option. I have been wanting pull down menus instead of the submenus I had, so I made the leap and changed templates. It took way more time than I hoped to get everything lined up and looking rig...
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History is Everywhere

January 11, 2014

It is so nice to have some wonderful, quiet time on this mid-January day. The holidays were lovely, but they are very busy, and I am grateful to be in this more peaceful time. It also gives me some time to reflect back on the fall exhibit season. Ever since I participated in the Brattleboro, Vermont Gallery Walk in The Whetstone Studio for the Arts on November 1, I've been thinking about the history of that building and what I learned about it in online research since I exhibited there. ...

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My 2013 Art Exhibits Past and Still to Come

October 17, 2013

I had many exhibit opportunities this year, both new to me, and annual favorites. There have been changes to favorite exhibits as well, which has created some challenges.

In July I was asked to exhibit two of my prints in the Alstead, NH 2013 Sestercentennial Celebration Art Show at the beautiful Shedd-Porter Library through early August. I had driven by that library so many times, but never stopped in until I dropped off my prints. I couldn't believe how stunning the architecture was. Ac...
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After a bumpy start this summer has become a joy

August 12, 2013

In my blog post in early July, I wrote about a variety of challenges that were creating chaos at the beginning of the summer. It was not a great start to such a wonderful time of the year. Thankfully, things have calmed down, and there have been opportunities for nice gatherings with family and friends. I even finished a painting that I started quite some time ago.

In mid-July we made our annual trek to the Greyfox Bluegrass Festival on the Walsh Farm in Oak Hill, NY. We camped with a large g...
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Sometimes things don't work as planned

July 4, 2013

The last time I posted to my blog in April, at the end I wrote:

"I have the following art projects on deck:

I plan to submit, hopefully, three paintings to the Historical Society of Cheshire County juried exhibit, 64 Miles, The Ashuelot RiverThe Ashuelot River travels 64 miles in southwest New Hampshire from Pillsbury State Park in Washington, NH to the Connecticut River in Hinsdale, NH. The goal of the exhibition is to pay "homage to the largely over looked Ashuelot River as the great nat...

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The Reluctant Spring

April 19, 2013
Once again I am amazed how much time has passed since I last sat down to gather my thoughts around my art and what has been filling my time. I have been meaning to get to this for a few weeks now, but something else always seems to come up and I don't get to it. I decided that today, before I head outside to remove leaves from the perennial beds on what is supposed to be a beautiful and warm spring day (finally!), that I would share some of my art stories from late winter, and this spring tha...
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Turning the page...saying goodbye to 2012

January 10, 2013
December was truly a blur of work, school events, craft fairs, maintaining inventory for craft fairs, painting...oh...and of course...the holidays! As much as I enjoyed the various events, staying prepared and organized in such a busy season can be really exhausting. 2012 was an amazing year for my family and me. After the chaos of December though, I am grateful to have turned the page to 2013 and what it will bring.

I participated in three local craft fairs over the holiday season. I always ...
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