I’ve just returned from quite a week at the Winter Park Paint Out! The organizers pulled out all the stops to make it a fabulous week. It always takes me a couple of days to reorient myself after these intense weeks of non-stop painting, functions and visiting with my fellow artists. A concurrent poetry competition about our paintings was running during the week. Here are a couple of the paintings I did with a little anecdote about them and a sampling of the poems written about them. I’ve included a link to each author’s page on the web.
When you see the flowers that she paints,
They all just start to bloom.
And the light she squeezes from the tube,
Could brighten any room.
She tells a story with her brushes,
Of love and fragile beauty.
The colors tend to fold and blend,
As though it were their duty.
Her paintings seem to bring to life,
The earth and trees and skies.
Our world would be a better place,
If seen through Mary’s eyes.
The first day we started painting it was chilly and the wind was howling with gusts up to 35 mph! I parked my easel in a corner of the garden and painted these flowers, watching as they began to wither in the wind. I worked quickly to keep them alive on my canvas!
Ready and Waiting
Nature’s gentle palette brushes softly ’round me
touching my skin and hair and moving heart and soul
The artist mirrors Nature’s magic perfectly
Inviting me to come in from the bitter cold
Wrap Nature’s warm and loving blanket around me
The Peace She offers in Her many shades of green
The artist shares Nature’s deepest serenity
So sensitive to light and dark and mood and scene
What a joy and precious gift our wond’rous world is
What vision, love and talent move Miss Mary Jane
With what skill she softens the wooden bench she sees
Inviting us with her heart, soul, skilled hands and brain
To sit still and calm with Nature all around us
to enjoy Her beauty and welcome Her caress.
~ Maxine Smithers
It usually takes me a day or two to visually find my way around new places where I am invited to paint. One of the things I noticed about Winter Park was how many places have benches on which to sit and relax. I found this one in a neighborhood where I spent several days painting.
What secrets are being murmured around
in such hush-hush tones under the trees?
Like a spoil-sport sneaks in a playful breeze!
In its ceaseless chanting all sound is drowned.
With vibrant flowers, the hedges are crowned.
An assortment of scents bedazzles the bees.
They flutter, and then settle down with ease
on the gourmet buffet spread on the ground.
Even a comely scene casts such a spell!
Such enduring charm does Nature possess!
Its sights and sounds, its captivating smell
relax the soul, alleviate the stress.
In this sylvan splendour, let my heart dwell
gathering calmness from Nature’s caress.
This painting is on my home page and in my last post. It was my feature painting this year at the Winter Park Paint Out. I was particularly touched by the responses it evoked in the people who looked at it and talked with me about it. Krishnaa caught so clearly the thoughts and inspirations within me as I painted it.
by a river
under moss lined trees.
Through an open arch
As I drove along a little street I happened to notice a vacant lot with a “for sale” sign. It had a huge oak tree which could provide great shade in which to paint, so I looked to see whether there was anything of interest. My eye caught the wooden walk way at the bottom of the lot, and through the vegetation I noticed this bench at the water’s edge. As I was painting it, the rising sun suddenly exposed the pink oleanders which had been hidden in the shadows!
Beyond the fund raising for museums, organizations, events and naturally for the artists, paint outs are great ways to connect with old and new friends, to grow as artists and to interact with the community. I had such delightful experiences with children in the neighborhood in which I painted in Winter Park. Several came running over after they got home from school and sat next to me while I painted, asking questions and talking about their own creative experiences. When they returned from after school activities they would run across again to see what progress I had made and to ask about other things they had wondered about after our previous conversations. One of the mothers walked over one morning to say how much they appreciated this interaction. All of us hope that we can pass along the joy of painting to the younger generation. Painting outdoors is such a wonderful way to connect our inner and outer worlds as we sit, observe, listen to the birds and simply find peace. Whether the painting is going well or not, there is always something joyful in the process! I’ve also found that once people watch what they do, they are so eager to show us special spots they have discovered and to offer us opportunities to paint in places we could never have imagined. I’ve made some new friends and thank each one of you!
Next up: I’m attending a conference about art and spirit, then I’m off to the great John Campbell Folk School in North Carolina to take a class in metal working (a first for me). Afterwards I’ll be co-teaching a painting class with my friend and fellow artist, Kathleen Wobie. We do this twice a year.
Thanks for your visit!
~Mary Jane Volkmann