Saturday, February 13, 2016

Back to Florida

It has been a busy week.  It is time for my husband to have the last of his scheduled radiation treatments for prostate cancer.  We arrived back in Southwest Florida on Monday.  It is a much more inviting time of year to be here than it was last August!

We are staying with my brother Jeff and his wife Anna once again at their home in Fort Myers.

I love to sit on their back deck and watch the wildlife around the lake.  The first day, I saw a bald eagle in the tree right across from their house.

Our first trip back to the Dattoli Cancer Center in Sarasota was on Wednesday.  They did some scans and lab work, and scheduled Charlie for his radiation treatments.

The last time we were here, he was scheduled for 7:40 AM.  It takes an hour and a half to get there.  I took many pictures of the sun rising over the Peace River on our daily drive.

This time it was setting over the Peace River on our way home.

And then it was a lovely glow over the Caloosahatchee River as we crossed the bridge back to Fort Myers.

On Friday, we reported at the new time of 3:40 for the "dry run" or "film day," as they call it at DCC. There are two linear accelerators that provide the radiation treatment there, and one of them was down.  They did not take Charlie back there until almost five o'clock.

That put us smack in Sarasota traffic at rush hour.  We did not get home until 7:30 PM.

We have already discovered the advantages and disadvantages of the early versus late schedule.  

It does not matter, we will do whatever it takes, and we are so grateful for this opportunity for healing.  And he only needs ten days this time.  We can do this!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Mother and Child Painting

Here is my latest attempt at portrait painting in watercolor.

Charlotte and Emily, 2015 by Jeanne Turner McBrayer
This is my granddaughter, Charlotte and her beautiful mother, Emily.  I worked from a reference photo from Christmas of 2014.  They were sitting in our John Deer "Gator" in the North Carolina mountains while we paused in a Christmas tree farm at the top of the mountain.

I meant for this to be a Christmas present for my son Dave, but he did not get it until last weekend.

It is much harder to paint faces than, say, trees!  But they liked this one, and I am encouraged to try some more.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

More Luscious Art from Cedar Creek Gallery

In addition to the special "CUPful" teacup exhibit, we enjoyed browsing through the rest of the gallery at Cedar Creek yesterday.

Every display is artfully presented, with lots of lush plants, glassware, paintings and hand-made furniture.

I would love of this glass art to go home with me some day.

Perhaps because I like to paint, I appreciate painted pottery.

Houseplants and greenery add softness and pops of color to the displays of hand-crafted items.

We all fell in love with these whimsical "sculptures on wheels" that resemble old-fashioned pull toys.

 I like vessels in unusual shapes and glowing colors.

 How I love those green shelves with curvy branch-like supports!

I was wishing the sun would come out to light up the glass ornaments both inside and outside.

Here are some more pieces from the artist who created my teacup.

I particularly loved this painting by Sid Oakley, founder of the Cedar Creek Pottery. (NFS)

Outside there are wooden outbuildings, gardens, birdhouses, and lots of metal and other sculpture pieces tucked here and there.

 These painted wooden birdhouses with loopy poles are affordably priced at $130.00 and would certainly be conversation starters in the garden.

And here are an assortment of inviting garden seats.

For those in the Raleigh area, the Cedar Creek Gallery is only a short drive north of Crabtree Valley Mall, and well worth the trip to "the country" to see and perhaps purchase some innovative objets d'art.  The "CUPful" exhibit ends on February 21, so think about a trip in the next few weeks if you would like to view the special tea and coffee cups.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"CUPful" Pottery Excursion

Today some of the members of my art quilt group traveled once again to Creedmoor, NC, to visit the Cedar Creek Gallery.  They were having a special display and sale of mugs and cups handcrafted by artisans from all over the United States.

Some of the cups had very unique shapes, such as these with the dagger-like handles.

Some had very organic shapes and interesting ways to hold the cup.

There were lots of birds and other animals represented.

Here are the mugs that came home with me.

I love this two-sided mug.  There are painted faces on one side.

The other side is a nice floral.  The spring palette was very inviting.  I had my first cup of tea from this mug this afternoon. 

The other cup has a couple of dragonflies and a flower.

It was a very fun day.  I'll show more photos from the rest of the gallery and the gardens next time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Be Strong and Brave

Today's journal entry, based on Joshua 1:9.

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Again I am using Bob Burridge as a mentor to paint loosely, using complementary colors and what he calls "spice colors." Check out the Bob Blast archives on his web page with a short weekly lesson on video.  I used Holbein watercolor paints in a 9" x 12" Strathmore Visual Watercolor Journal, with a black ink pen for the text.

I recently discovered a Facebook group led by Rebekah Jones called the Bible Art Journaling Challenge, and have applied to participate.  Last year there was a 52-week challenge with prompts each week from scripture, as well as a video with an art technique.  Most of the participants journal directly into a Bible, usually preparing the pages with clear gesso first.

Although all the prompts for that challenge are complete, it is still open for new participants or others who never finished them all last year.

This year's challenge is just twelve prompts based on Bible verses.  It is called Heaven Is Calling.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Quilting in the Snow

I braved the cold of our unheated basement to quilt two small projects last weekend.

The first one is the scrappy baby quilt with white washings and borders all around.  I decided to do a freehand Feathers All Over motif to counteract all those straight lines.

I stitched curvy stems from side to side the whole length of the quilt, and then created feathers and outlined them.  Where there was too much space between the rows of feathers, I quilted in some ribbons and flowers.

The other one is a little smaller.  I did a leafy meander with some posies here and there.  Nothing like dreaming of some actual foliage and flora in the middle of winter!

This is my setup in the basement.  If you look out those double French doors, you can see the world of white outside.


Two of these babies helped a little.

 It was really beautiful outside.  It snowed about ten inches the weekend before, and there was lots of fluffy snow left for us to enjoy outside.

It is amazing how much color is in the winter landscape.  I took this picture during a late afternoon walk along the creek.

 This time next week we will be leaving again for Florida.  It is hard to imagine.