Flights of Angels

A sweet sadness is in the air this morning.  After a long life of loving and laughing and raising a  family of 10 magnificant children with passionate curiousity and free spirited thinking and a nature of true kindness…and after a very brief window of going… our dear friend Julie died last night.

julie and pat

Here is her shining face with Pat in the studio a while back. Pat was honored to help care for Julie in the last few weeks she had on the planet and to send her peacefully to her much looked forward to reward of once again seeing the love of her life…her husband Frank. 

Right about now they are getting that red canoe off the top of the station wagon and over to the lake… and all I need to know of love…is the hint of Frank’s pipe trailing in their wake.

Dear Julie, may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest…

Painting Finished !!!… and Finnegan’s fence progresses

’tis DONE !!! … though I’m going to have to wait for the photographer to do his magic in order to get a good reproduction, here is proof that the panel is off the easel and I am moving on…

off the easel

The last few days involved cleaning up the detail on the remaining boats and making sure all the shadows were correct, then glazing in several more layers of water and reflections.  Varnish will make a huge difference with a painting with this much contrast. The van dyke brown and olive green dark dry with a dull matte sheen and all subtleties within those dark areas are lost until the varnish pops them out. Imagine a beach rock which is transformed from a dull grey when first you pick  it up on a hot and dry summer beach…and then comes alive with color as you let an ocean wave wash over it.

With that major project completed…and before I begin the whirlwind effort to paint the rest of the works for the July show…I treated myself to a rare morning of carving. In the midst of the pile of sticks, which Finnegan and I have been collecting each morning for her fence, I found a honeysuckle branch that decided it would rather be a walking stick. The wood is wonderful to work with. A slow growing hardwood that  has a beautiful heartwood of purples and reds.  Finn worked on removing the bark while I whittled away at the knot holes and we created a right fine pile of shavings…

walking stick break

It does my soul good to spend a morning listening to the birds, watching my sweet puppy play with her new bone, and working with wood.

We’re making good progress on the fence as well but were up too early to start hammering so here are some shots of yesterday’s work…we were running out of fallen branches so decided to get some fresh meat and trim out the honeysuckle and take down a couple saplings that were too close to the power lines.

the proud apprentice

along the back

three sides up

After all that work…it was time for a break…

well deserved break

and then over to the fence to say hello to Jed and make sure Zola doesn’t miss her school bus !

zola and her pals

Now… back to work !

Miss Gail visits studio and Finnegan builds a fence

A fine morning in the middle of May with friends old and new coming for brunch and to meet little Finn. Tender greens from the garden, a quiche in the oven with market asparagus and home grown herbs, a pitcher of log cabin mint tea, the light and sparkle of Miss Gail’s charming witty reparte, a pot of forget-me-nots from Ronnie’s farmette, gentle reminders to Finnegan that she may not join us at the table, and rounds and rounds of adrenaline releasing laughter… wonderful.

Ronnie, Pat and Miss Gail

Quite a contrast from the way Finnegan and I began our morning the day before…

This is a bed of Burdock …

burdock bed

…the giant leaves in amongst the weeds and grasses… it is a show stopping vegetation and has tiny purple flowers in mid-summer that resemble thistles…which are pretty when they bloom and a bit of a nuisance when they dry and become these…


Brrrrrrrrrrrssss !

Was never a problem with our big dog Gully as she had learned not to bother the flower beds…but…everything is brand new to our little Finn and when I saw her emerge from underneath those giant green leaves …well there was hardly any puppy showing for all the burrs. No, I did not stop to take a photo of that. The poor dear was not at all happy about the removal process. But while we were struggling and wrestling with the comb and the teeth I made a promise to her that I would not let one more burr find it’s way onto her tender torso.


we decided on a fence… and with money scarce and our supply of twigs and sticks a plenty…we began to gather some woody bits…

cutting down to size

the pile begins

my favorite saw

the apprentice shows off her sticks

This morning we walked down the lane and added more soldiers to the pile but the rains and wind from a passing storm drove us inside…we figure on needing a lot more sticks so hopefully the storm will cooperate and drop a few dozen… meanwhile it’s easel time…

tune in later for more on the fence project…

ta for now,

H and Finn

Quick Update

There’s a thunderstorm overhead so I’ll not tempt the fates by taking the time to add commentary…will just list, in chronoligical order, these recent photos of the ever-so-painstakingly-slow-progress of the painting. I can’t seem to pick up the speed or to compromise on the detail or to find enough hours in the day…but here’s some of the paint I have laid down this week…