Thursday, July 6, 2017

Marc Chagall Exhibition in the Botanical Gardens

We had a great pre-Fourth of July weekend at with my brother's family in Ft. Myers, including dinner on the water at Dixie Fish Camp and a pontoon boat fishing trip up the Caloosahatchee River to Sword Point.  We had to come back to Sarasota Monday morning for Charlie's afternoon radiation treatment, but had the day off on Tuesday for the holiday.  We decided to check out the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, only about a mile from where we are staying.  They are having a Marc Chagall exhibition through July 31 called Flowers, and the French Riviera:  The Color of Dreams.



 

Three of Chagall's floral oil paintings are on display in the museum, featuring the masterwork painting The Lovers.  There are also ceramic vases owned by Chagall and featured in his art, archival photos, and outdoor garden scenes reminiscent of the French Riviera where Chagall spent the later part of his life.  Several large digital reproductions of his cathedral window are resplendent in the conservatory.





The gardens extend right up to the edge of Sarasota Bay, offering great views of the Sarasota skyline.  Throughout the garden walks are signs with Chagall quotes regarding art and flowers.


The regular signage at the gardens all have lovely watercolor illustrations.




I took over one hundred photos in this beautiful setting.  Inspiration for my own art?



This one of the koi pond in the Conservatory almost looks like an abstract painting.





 It was a nice way to spend time on our nation's birthday.






Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Playing with Watercolors on Yupo

I have not been feeling very creative for the past couple of months.  I brought a huge box of art supplies, my sewing machine, several quilt projects and a bag of fabrics.  Since we have been in Florida, I have only made one altered print birthday card and a few Bible journal pages.  No sewing.

But yesterday I dragged the big Rubbermaid box of supplies to our dining room table, and pulled out a small pad of Yupo paper and my Quiller watercolor palette.  I have had the Yupo pad and also some larger Yupo sheets for months, but never experimented with it before.

Yupo has a smooth, shiny finish that reminds me of photo printing paper, freezer paper, and finger-painting paper.  Most watercolor paper has some texture that absorbs the paint.  Not Yupo.  The paint slips and slides all over.  This automatically adds an element of abstraction and looseness to your painting.

Here is the description of the product:

Yupo Synthetic Paper is 100% recyclable, waterproof and tree-free. It is incredibly durable and stain-resistant. This extraordinary surface also resists tearing and buckling and it remains perfectly flat.
Yupo provides visual artists with an amazingly beautiful canvas offering smooth, bright white opaques and wonderful translucents.
Yupo gives a unique alternative to traditional watercolor papers. Because it's waterproof, using watercolors on Yupo gives a watercolorist the opportunity to lay down and pick up color, creating layers of interest for the viewer. Generally speaking use more color and less water.
When finished, spray fix your watercolor painting. Your painting may be framed without glass, making it lightweight, easy to ship and hang.
Pads are tape bound on the short side.

Here are my first efforts- (not necessarily completed yet!)

I brought along one of my Jean Haines painting books, since she uses a loose, atmospheric painting style, and tried my hand at some of her examples.

Pink Posies


Grape Hyacinths
The paint takes a long time to dry on this surface.  I'm talking hours for a big blob of paint like the green area on the hyacinths!

I tried just letting some colors run on the paper.   Then I thought I could see a big grasshopper, so I added some legs and antennae!  Kind of scary, but lots of fun to play.

Mutant Grasshopper 

I also tried a normal watercolor landscape of a beach scene, but don't like it.  It makes a difference when you do not paint on a regular basis.  I think I'll keep the box of art supplies under the dining room table and try to do a little something every day.



Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Great Long Weekend

We are sad that this weekend is over.  Our sunset cruise around Sarasota Bay was magical.  It started out rainy, but the clouds soon parted and the music started playing.  We saw dolphins, gorgeous sunsets, and lots of birds.  We definitely recommend LeBarge Sunset Tours!


Charlie finished his fifth week of radiation on Friday.  He is feeling some fatigue and also loss of his sense of taste.  We are considering acupuncture if the problem continues.

Friday night Charlie' brother Richard and wife Phyllis flew down from North Carolina to spend the weekend with us.  Their son Chris lives near Tampa, and he and his girlfriend also joined us at the beach on Saturday and another boat ride on Sunday.  We left from Marina Jack Yacht Club.


Here are Richard, Phyllis, Chris, and Elise on board the Mako Me Nuts, a deck boat that Jeff rented from the Freedom Boat Club.


We saw the Ringling Mansion from the bay side.  Very impressive!  Charlie and I visited there in 2015 when he first came here for radiation.


 Here is LeBarge in port, waiting for its evening departure.


Everyone has gone home now.  When you are away from home and going through something as stressful as cancer treatment, it means so much to have visits from family members.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Something Quilty for my Birthday

We are still in Sarasota for another month.  Today is my birthday.  I got a wonderful surprise this morning when the FedEx truck pulled up.  My sister Katy sent me a package with this cheerful apron and potholders!

Upon closer inspection, some of those fabrics looked very familiar!  When we moved from our Raleigh house, I gave Katy several huge bags of fabric scraps.  She works with an organization that helps disabled adults with careers and living arrangements.  The recipient of my fabrics made this cute set.  The pockets and potholders are my fabrics!  Now look what I could have been doing!




She also sent me this beautiful card that matches the apron, and also looks like patchwork butterflies.  Be prepared to see these again, perhaps on my Bible journal pages!



Charlie took me shopping for my birthday at the Apple store.  He said he has not been able to shop for me because I am always with him down here!  No complaints, I have this beautiful Apple watch with a ribbon watchband.  It is fun trying to learn how to use it.  I have this flowering watch face that changes to different colored blooms.



I bought him an i-Watch when we were down here in 2015 for his first radiation.  So now I have an expert on hand to show me how to use it.  He also bought me this nice product that we were introduced to at the Table restaurant.  Their restrooms had this great-smelling hand scrub made from salt filtered from the gulf waters in this area.  We found some of the product when we were looking for a gift for our sister-in-law who is coming down tomorrow.  



Tonight we are going on a party boat cruise around Sarasota Bay at sunset.  This was a gift from my children before they left last week.  There will be a musician playing Jimmy Buffett music, live palm trees, and a bar mixing up some birthday margaritas, I hope!  

I feel very grateful to be in this beautiful city for my birthday, even though I have to be away from home.  Healing for Charlie, and wonderful experiences and memories for both of us.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Family Fun

Lily's Birthday card...one of my watercolor prints with a few additions!

Our family has been with us in Florida for almost a week now!  We have had so much fun.  Four extra adults and five extra kids, including nine-month-old Baby Layla.  Lily turned eleven on Tuesday.  We have had great meals, fun at the beach, and trips to the park.  The weather was rainy only one day...the rest of the time we have dodged the showers and even seen rainbows.

Our family...fighting cancer together!
Before they arrived, I ordered bracelets from a company called MudLove.com, with the word Together on each one.  I had bought one at the Mast Store in Boone that said Hope.  When I went to the MudLove website to order more, I found out that you could have the bracelets customized with the word of your choice.  Together has been our family codeword for fighting cancer for the last two years.  

Baby Layla has been delightful.  Baby Kasey is a little jealous.  She thought she was the baby.




Well, it is hard to blog when you have four extra adults, five kids and a dog in the house.  They have all gone back home today.  This house is very, very quiet.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Treatment Update

Charlie has now finished two weeks of radiation for his recurrent prostate cancer at Dattoli Cancer Center in Sarasota.  He goes in at 1:00, and it usually takes about forty-five minutes.  Most of the time is spent trying to position him for the radiation to the back of his head and his neck.  They made him a new mask/helmet to protect his face and keep his head still, but they will be making him a new one next week.  They think that by adding a mouth piece and breathing tube, they can have more control.  Sounds like torture to me.

He finally got to start one of the new medicines last week, Zytiga, and it made him sick as a dog the first day.  After that, he took it at night, and he has not had much problem.  He will get the second new drug, Xofigo, by IV on Thursday.  This is the one containing radium.  It sounds scary.

Meanwhile, we have been trying to amuse ourselves and pass the time.  We have been to two nice restaurants, one on Phillippi Creek in Sarasota, and one on the bay on Longboat Key.


Our 46th anniversary was Monday.  The Table at Creekside was beautiful, serene, and very special.


The first time we went to Dry Dock Waterfront Grill was with our new friend Bill from Dattoli.  He recommended this place for the great view of Sarasota Bay.  It did not disappoint.  We liked it so much that we went back today when my brother Jeff and his wife and son came up to visit from Ft. Myers.

New friend Bill and Charlie at Dry Dock

With my brother's family at Dry Dock Waterfront Grill

View from Dry Dock 

We also finally saw our first Gulf sunset.  We went to South Lido Beach Park.  It was very entertaining to see the pelicans dive-bombing the water for fish.  The sunset was great.

Sunset at South Lido Beach Park

Again, if we have to be going through cancer treatment away from home, it is nice to be in such a beautiful location.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy, Part 2

Here are a few more faves from our visit last Friday to the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy.

There are large outdoor sculptures of many animals in the garden areas.








I love the palm trees made from wine bottles!

Lots of nice seating areas and gardens.  Do you see the artful woodpeckers?  There was a pileated woodpecker in our neighborhood the other day trying in vain to peck through a metal utility pole.




I am really glad that I finally got to visit this place before it closed again for the "off-season."