I have new neighbors and invited them over for wine and cheese a couple of weeks ago. Rob and Laura are easy to get along with, and we had a nice chat on my patio. When they arrived, they presented me with sunflowers and a bottle of wine. It was almost as if they already knew me!
I told them I would like to make a painting of the flowers, but I got busy with other things. I still wanted to make a painting, so I did this little one, pretty much as a memory painting. I did it on a notecard which I will take to them....no need to get the post office involved.
The flowers were pretty for a (busy) week, the wine was great, and the company even better. I hope we will have other relaxing times together. I think they will be great neighbors.
My birthday was over two months ago and I still am writing thank you notes. My grandmothers would be appalled. Of course, they don't know that we can send emails and even email cards. However, I also believe they would also be charmed by my practice of making a little painting for each gift.
Thanking my daughter Louisa and her family (aka The Smiths) has been especially challenging this year because of their amazing range of treats for me....lasting well over a week.
So, what were these special treats? It began on Saturday June 11 when Louisa and Chantel (her long-time friend and my friend too) took me out to a great Italian restaurant near the waterfront. Our "girl's night out" at Osteria Morini was fun for us. I also thank Peter who made it possible.
My actual birthday was Monday June 13. The plan was to take me out to dinner at Rose's Luxury, which is a celebrated restaurant just a block from my house. Going to dinner there is sometimes risky because they do not take reservations. I heard recent interview with owner and head chef Aaron Silverman in which he claimed this would make it a good neighborhood restaurant. But Bon Appetit named it as the best new restaurant in the United States a couple of years ago and so the tourists flock. To eat there, you need to stand in line and then hope for a good time of seating. Griffin suggested that he would stand in line and then Louisa, Griffin's friend Sebastian, and Sophia joined in. I think they had a good time, but I was home taking a bath and doing my nails and getting ready for my big celebration. It was a great meal and Rose's really does make everyone (not just the guest of honor) feel special. Plus, I loved the dessert when we got spoons that honored Presidents and their accomplishments. We each had a different President and it was fun to share about our spoons. I want those!!!!! They are so DC The little painting above is Rose's front door without the lines of people waiting. I actually did the painting last year, but it seems to fit now.
On Tuesday, we also enjoyed the wonderful Italian sub sandwiches from Mangialardo. I think that name means eat and get fat!!!! They are something truly special in our neighborhood. HUGE submarines and made to order....mmmmmmm!
The treats weren't over. Sophia made me a bowl of paper circles that I tried to make a sketch of but couldn't pull it off. It is so pretty, though, and now livens up my china cabinet.
It's not over!!!! I had been talking about an iPad holder for my kitchen so that I can display on-line recipes while I cook. The Smiths did not disappoint and installed that gadget for me. It looks very "hip" even when the iPad isn't in it, and does indeed make the access of on-line recipes much easier.
Hey, this might be my longest-ever blogpost.....but there is a lot to give thanks for. Thank you, Smith family. I had a great birthday.
Earlier this Summer, I had two boys for company at what they call Camp Cammy. It isn't actually a camp--it is more going around town to places we think are interesting. The boys with me were my grandson Griffin and his friend Sebastian. As a "thank you," Sebastian and his family gave me a gift card to the local gelato shop, Pitango. Now, I thought a bowl of gelato, while tasty, is not a particularly artful subject. However, Pitango has a cow that I find "cute" and so she is the subject of my painting.
I'll send the card to Sebastian and hope he enjoys it as much as I enjoy the gelato at Pitango.
I am still working on thank you cards from my birthday almost a month ago. (School's out and I've been busy) Jan sent me a beautiful raku paperweight. It is heart-shaped and has a dragonfly---very meaningful to me and my friendship with Jan. Jan also sent a card to color with a dragonfly. My granddaughter Sophia spied and and thought it would be fun, so I let her do it. She did a great job!
It was a special treat to get sunflowers in a ceramic jug on my birthday from Jenifer. So pretty....and so unexpected. I can keep the jug and will use it!
But wait, there's more! I also got a very pretty beach glass-type necklace. It is very delicate.....kind of the opposite of the strength of the sunflowers. Jen got to me in the note with it...."beautiful and natural. It was gift-wrapped from Amazon. Lots of fun.
This is a recently completely painting. The medium is watercolor and pastel. It is on canvas treated with absorbent ground. The format vertical (8" x 24") because I painted it especially for a show called "Vertical" at Capitol Hill Arts League.
It was quite a challenge, and the painting didn't even get into the show!
I like it anyway, so I am posting it here. I will put it on my website, too.
Instead of being under glass, it is varnished. Another unusual thing for me is that I painted the sides of the painting and presented it without a frame.
Taking on something that I wasn't sure I could "pull off" helped me get into a creative zone, but I will probably stick with more traditional watercolor. This was a lot of fun for me, even though it evideently didn't appeal to the juror.
Recently my stepdaughter Catherine visited. She was on her way back from a residency at Vermont Studio Center. It gave us a few days to visit, but one of those was a snow day. We had a great time even then watching "Mozart in the Jungle" on the sofa bed. Another day, we made it to the "Wonder" show at the Renwick Museum.
Catherine brought me some fun gifts. One was a box of cards with some of Ruth Asawa's paintings. I knew I couldn't copy Asawa, but decided to do something in the spirit of Asawa and so thought of some with repeated, bending forms and layered effects. This is a painting of a silver bowl....repeated as a freeform, and a candle in the shape of a garlic head. The background is loosely based on a scarf...it is the color of the scarf, at least.
Oh, the best thing about the Asawa cards is that Catherine got them at a show of Black Mountain art, Ruth Asawa went to Black Mountain and so did Catherine's father and my beloved Howard. Howard was actually more a faculty brat than a student, but he did take drawing from Josef Albers. The show is over now, but it was called "Leap Before You Look." It was in Boston. Black Mountain College closed in 1957.
It was fun to try something a little different....quite a challenge, too. Thanks, Catherine, for the great visit and the inspiration to do something different.
The painting above, "It All Started With Raspberries" was juried into the Capitol Hill Arts League Show. It is watercolor, 11' x 14" and I am framing it in a gold frame with art spacers instead of a mat. Ut was a lot of fun to do, and getting a range of values was a challenge. The price is $175.
The show is all about food and should be interesting. There will be food for eating at the reception on March 5 from 5-7 pm. The jurors will give a talk at 5;30 pm, and that is always interesting. The exhibition closes April 15. Hope my DC friends can make it. It's at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 7th St and G St SE.
It's always a treat to get flowers, especially from Virginia B Grabbe, because she sends great bouquets....they are complete centerpieces for festive holiday meals.
I really enjoyed the ones I got this year, and did start my thank you card painting while they were fresh. Life got busy, though, and I had to finish from a photo. They did last over a week. I opened the card and painted front and back to make this painting. It is fun that way. This is how the card looks when it is closed:
Thanks, Virginia, for those beautiful flowers and for the other gifts you send. The card is on the way!
Here's something else that is very much fun. My friend Nancy found the perfect mug for me. It is so elegant, with a subtle design in bone china. The most fun about it is that, on the bottom, it says "Lady Carolyn" in fancy script. It makes me feel special to use it! and "demand' to be called Lady Carolyn!
During my recent trip to California, I had the good fortune to stay a few nights in Sacramento with my friend Kathy Jensen. Kathy and I have known each other since high school and so it is a special friendship. I usually don't have the opportunity to stay with her when I visit, so this was a real treat. We had breakfast together, re-connected later in the day, and generally just enjoyed our time together.
Kathy had recently adopted Graziella, who is a very interesting cat. She is a rescue cat and was thought to be a male because most tabby cats are male. When Kathy first got her, and took her to the vet, Grazie was determined to be female. She is very beautiful, and knows it. My little painting does not do her justice.
I made this little cat painting for my thank you note to Kathy.
Every year I get Moravian cookies for Christmas to share with my family. My sister-in-law Katharine Woodwell (AKA Bobbie) and Howard were raised as Moravians. The cookies kind of strengthen "the ties that bind." Since I started painting the gifts sent to me, I have painted the cookies, cookie tins and a Moravian star. This year, I decided my thank you card should have a Moravian church. I went on-line and found one in the town of Clemmons, North Carolina, where Katharine and Howard grew up. That church is not particularly attractive to me, so I made a painting of Hope Moravian Church, in Winston-Salem.
The cookies are very thin and always come from Mrs. Travis Hanes, who does live in Clemmons. Her cookies are hand-rolled, hand-cut, and hand packed. I might add that they are also very delicious.
As part of my recent trip to California, I visited with my friend Sheryl in Mill Valley. We had a really nice visit and stayed with her a couple of nights. Alas, I did not bring a present even though she was a great hostess and recently had a birthday. I decided to send her a blue glass bowl that I bought at Saint Coletta School. It was made by developmentally disabled young adults who are at the School. It is a really lovely cobalt blue. Before sending it, I thought it would be fun to fill it with clementines and make a little painting on a card. That painting is above.
When Sheryl got it, she sent me a photo of the bowl, again with clementines (or maybe oranges) on her windowsill...with the little painting and a matching blue goblet.