Category Archives: The Great Outdoors

Painting Inspired by Nature

On the way home from work yesterday I had a two-minute window of time where the setting winter sun dazzled my senses with breath-taking beauty. I grabbed three cell phone photos through the car windshield while Hubs drove. I am so fascinated by the ever-changing light of the sky, I have thousands of photos of sky.Image

I had to try to paint this scene, minus the streets, the signal lights, the power pole and lines and the buildings. I needed to recreate it as though it happened while the land was still wild and free. There is nothing better than tackling a huge challenge to gain skills.

I have continued to paint a couple of nights a week and now have about a dozen paintings completed. All are inspired by what I see that nature has provided. Or what I have imagined. The following is an in-progress painting. I didn’t take a finished photo of this painting. It is shown with the brushes and colors I used throughout the painting. Nothing fancy, the three colors from which all colors are created plus white and Payne’s Grey. My water-color brushes and an old sash brush to “pad” the painting or help to blend colors.

Image

I tackled the glorious winter sunset with the same primary colors shown above.  The only draw back to these colors is both the red and yellow a quite translucent. I have acquired an opaque yellow, which does not create clean colors but is helpful when the color needs to be vibrant and an opaque red which also does not create clean colors but works as a base layer if I want a brighter and cleaner shade. I also added a couple of acrylic brushes, but often like my water-color brushes better. It depends on the style I am working in.

The sky was done on Tuesday, re-worked a bit yesterday and the silhouettes added. The silhouettes took more work this evening and this is the finished product.

Winter Sunset

Winter Sunset

I must say that God’s work is better, but I am not too disappointed with my finished product. Painting is a great way  to spend an evening.

Have you been working on anything new or creative? Please share your project with us.

Cheers to art work,

Shez

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Filed under Acrylics, Art, Creating, Learning, Nature, Painting, Reblog, The Great Outdoors

Painting

Those of you who have been following this blog know I am a DIY enthusiast. My list of “can do” is long. It’s a passion, but not my fault. It’s genetic. Genes handed down from an inventor, a teacher of upholstery and cake decorating at college level, knitter, a quilter and a foundry pattern maker.

This time I am not talking about painting walls, or making wallpaper which involves paint, nor doing faux walls. I am talking about creating artwork.

Son, Paul*, is a partner in our business. His cubical at work is next to mine. He has been doing a lot of painting recently and is honing his craft. He told me he finds it very relaxing to go home and paint. He loves acrylic because it can be stopped and started at any time. He encouraged me to give it a try.

A trip to the local art store and five tubes of paint; red, blue, yellow, white and Payne’s Grey, plus the practice canvas boards Paul provided and I was set to begin. There was a scene I had passed several times at the end of summer when the fields are golden and some trees were beginning to show their soft colors before they fully color up. A dark sky with the sun peeking through added long shadows. I wanted to paint that but I did not want to get so tied down with details. It needed to be a free and relaxing creation.

Self imposed rules were to use only one 1″ brush borrowed from my watercolors. Do not wash the brush and be finished in 20 minutes. I did it in 30.

1" Brush 30 Minutes First Acrylic Painting

1″ Brush 30 Minutes
First Acrylic Painting

There are now 8 paintings in my stack. I learn something new with each one. This weekend I see the obsessive detail beginning to creep in again. Detail is not relaxing. It is not necessary. Omitting some detail leaves the viewer room to imagine. I have discovered a love  for landscape. That does seem to be when I relax and enjoy it the most.

*A word about Paul. At two years old his favorite TV show was not Sesame Street it was Bob Ross. His wife is an artist also. Paul teaches at his wife’s studio, Vine Gogh Artist Bar. You can view some of his work at the link.

Cheers to creating,

Shez

PS It is very scary to share the first painting. There are skills not yet developed. Hopefully you will see positive progress.

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Filed under Art, Crafts, Creating, Decorating, Random, The Great Outdoors

The Wake

It seems like there are days that life just throws a lot of curve balls and I can deal with that, it’s when they are grouped together and become weeks, overlapping weeks that it becomes a challenge. That’s when even finding time to write down the fun blog I want to post never arrives. A few other things pop up and by the time there is time, nothing fun or funny comes to mind. A family event is taking a bit more of my time than I seem to have but is something I want to share. First a little history is needed.

My mother and her sisters were very close. They chatted on the phone often and visited each other at least monthly.  After they all retired, they got together often for Mexican Train Dominoes. They mistakenly believed that none of their children (we cousins) ever got together and with our growing families; we admit we didn’t often have the chance, but we thought about it a lot. So to thwart their lazy children,  they (the sisters) decided that an annual family picnic was the way to force all of the cousins and all their children, baby and kid paraphernalia, diapers, food, bottles into our cars and drive to a designated spot to have lunch.

Of course the Annual Picnic was hatched well before they retired, and the rules were laid down when our little ones were babes in arms. As they got older the Annual Picnic took on new meaning and became a driving force for them.

The oldest member of the family at 89 is so happy to meet the youngest.

Mom always adored babies. What fun for her to meet the latest addition to our family.

They thought of nothing else, taking a whole year to plan. We had to eat precisely at Noon. Not a second later.  (That makes for a stressful Saturday morning for families because not only were we to be packed and there but we also had to bring food, dishes and silverware, drinks, etc.) Interestingly the sisters decided “pot luck” might produce a once yearly unbalanced meal so they assigned all the descendants of each sister to a food category. Main dishes, salads, deserts. These rotated by sister each year. Somewhere along the line the sisters decided it could not be a real picnic without Un-named to Protect the Guilty Large Grocery Deli’s fried chicken. Not to pick on said Un-named to Protect the Guilty Large Grocery Deli’s chicken, but even fresh at the deli, it is not that good. Several hours after pick up it is horrible.

Family Reunion Picnic 2011

Two Nieces, a Sister-in-Law and Great-great-Nephew Greet Granny

As the sisters got even older and there were only two left they decided to turn it over to the cousins to plan. Oh we were thrilled. Actually none of us objected to that what we did object to was the phone calls.  They were always the same: “Have you girls set the date and place for the reunion yet?”  They began the nagging in March. As they got older the phones calls got earlier. At some point we cousins actually started betting to see which of us would get the first phone call reminding us of the Annual Picnic and had we set the date and place? Trust me with a houseful of kids, animals, sports, school and holidays, were we even thinking of a picnic in February? Not on your life. We were trying to find snow boots for their feet.

I won that bet one year not because mom was the only one left, but because she knew my cousins and I were taking a weekend trip in October and she decided we must set the date while we were all together.  She called every day for six weeks to remind me. I found out she also called all the cousins at least once a week to remind them as well. Over dinner one night we cousins did set the date. First Saturday in August, just like it had been the previous dozen or so years, at the standard beach location. We decided on Pot Luck because what if everyone brought the same thing? As one very wise cousin put it, “So what is the down side of 20 different chocolate cakes?”

Family Reunion 2011

Pictures from last family reunion show the way our family is: All Smiles.

My mom was exceptional, she started calling about the picnic in late September.  Unfortunately, it did little to stem the trickle flood of phone calls. By that time in her life, mom was having trouble remembering dates. So once or twice a week she would call, “Did you set the date for the picnic yet?” And each time I would sweetly (Honest, I was always sweet with her or at the least very patient. Really!) remind her it was same place, same time and the same date. As always it was the first Saturday in August and she would be riding with us.

Three of cousin Sue's Granddaughters

This little princess was not too happy to look at the camera but her sister and cousin were more than happy to strike a pose and pop smiles.

With the exception of a few of her cousins Mom was the last of her generation. She died  last October of pancreatic cancer, just a few weeks after her last Annual Picnic. Her service was a small family affair at the grave site where we spread some of her ashes. It was the first Saturday of November. The rest of her ashes have been interned in their double plot beside dad. The date marker of 2011 has been installed.

Next weekend is first Saturday in August, in honor of our mothers, we are having the family reunion at our house. It is a pot luck at about 1, stay as late as anyone can. If they can’t arrive at one, we will be here fixing dinner later. So not a problem.

The event is a Wake, rather than a Celebration of Life, or a Memorial. The reason is simple, mom’s favorite movie was Waking Ed Devine. We may actually  watch that this week, just to make sure we cover all bases.

Two pretty girls help clean up and get to keep the giant and very colorful paper flowers

These two were so happy to be awarded the beautiful paper flowers when the party was over and things were being picked up. Left of the brunette you can see Mom, still holding her great-great nephew.

I’m sorry, but if you are not a friend or relative of my mother you aren’t invited. If you are a friend or relative please join us. Can you bring a chocolate cake? Oh, wait, dang I can’t eat gluten. Guess I better get busy whipping up a GF Chocolate cake, or at I can whip up a batch of awesome GF Chocolate Brownies for desert. Either works for me. Maybe I should experiment with both GF and vegan. Just for fun.

Here is where mom and dad will always be: In my heart. Their remains and the marker that tells others they walked this earth is on the hillside just below the marble relief of the last supper.

A marble carving of the Last Supper

Marble relief of The Last Supper is at the top of the hill in the portion of the cemetery where Mom is buried.

Next weekend I hope she’ll be looking down from above with her sisters and they’ll all be smiling and saying, “Can you imagine, they actually got it together without a single phone call???” Then perhaps they’ll laugh and realize they did a good pretty job, we all turned out to be great group of people, with fantastic children and extraordinary grandchildren and we are a happy bunch.

Hugs,

Shez

PS The fist five photos were taken last year at the Annual Picnic. Mom’s last big picnic. Because of a surprise significant birthday incorporated into the day, the picnic was held in late July. It was a very good thing it was early. Mom was able to be there and love every minute of the day. She never realized the date had been changed. The last picture taken last Friday.

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Filed under Children, Family, Food, Humor, Random, The Great Outdoors

Birds on a Line and the Moon

Pigeons settle in for the night's perched in a row on the power lines.

Many of you may have already stumbled across my 366Photo A Day WordPress challenge at  the ShezPhotoz blog. Because I am an avid photographer, I take lots of photos a day. Posting only one is a challenge. So as not to waste some photos that are best shown as a gallery, I will be posting some of my favorites here. These were taken last week.

Additionally from time to time I will pull some of my favorites out of my archives. You will notice that I have used different signatures on my photoz. I just want to assure you that if they are signed SL Schildan, Street Light Studio, (same initials) SLS Photography or are scanned and have a hand written signature of Shari Schildan, or variations, rest assured they are all photos I personally took. My signature has changed over the years. Most recently just last week I discovered someone else was using my ShezPhoto signature(with a space which can’t be used in web addresses). To reduce any confusion I went from ShezPhoto to Shezphotoz. They are all me. I told you I was random, but finally believe I have a lasting signature. No more chameleon changes for Shez.

Here is a series of photos I took that same evening I captured the birds on a line. It is not often we are treated to a kaleidoscope  of beauty in one half hour. I was lucky to be able to capture at least a part of the beauty.

As the afternoon clouds finally parted the moon was low on the horizon against a pale blue sky.

The moon played peek-a-boo in an out of the clouds. It was not always possible to get a great shot from a moving car, but a few turned out nicely.

As the clouds rolled and roiled and were just beginning to be tinged with pink, I captured the moon peeking through once again.

Then the clouds took over the show arriving like pink cotton candy.

The clouds become more intense. The show continues

The show intensified and the colors became vivid.

Sunset began as the sun slide down past the horizon, leaving one last low cloud to reflect the beauty.

As the sky darkened and the rain began again, the moon wanted one more chance to shine. It appeared for a brief half second before the storm ruled.

Please let me know what you think of the photoz. It was a gorgeous show.

Cheers,

Shez

8 Comments

March 18, 2012 · 10:29 am

Weather a “Safe” Topic

I always hear that the weather is a safe topic, but the news I keep reading is that our weather is anything but safe. Weather patterns around the world have shifted. It’s been blamed by everything that has happened. I am not going into any ideas of why the change, any and all or a combination could explain it.

Or it could just be the way things have always been on planet earth as we read of heat and hurricanes, volcano eruptions and violent windstorms, and ice ages with endless winters all occurring long before modern man.

So today I promise not to complain about our endless winter of last year when our tomatoes came on in August and were ready to pick in September. We had a short but beautiful summer that started at the end of August and lasted for six weeks.

There is evidence we are in a similar pattern this year. The Indian Plum which usually blooms in our yard in mid-January is just now appearing, six weeks late like last year.

Indian Plum, the first thing that blooms in our yard is six-weeks behind schedule. The leaves are the clusters reaching up, the flower clusters hang down and will be covered in tiny white blooms by tomorrow afternoon if we have another warm sunny day.

I went out with my camera phone this morning to snap a few photos of the earth reawakening. Proof that spring is about to pop.

Blueberries getting ready to bloom

Azalea buds are popping

Purple Periwinkle pops out of the pine needles to greet the bright sun.

Daffodils buds swell by the backyard steps

Leaves unfurl in the tree tops. They are much too high up for me to see. It was a fun surprise to discover their reflection in the water. Such a cool way to view the world high overhead.

The hazelnut catkins are dropping, the leaves are popping and the water iris emerge by the pond

The water lily leaves emerge from the water red, rolled and on red stems. These have just reached the surface and typically will stand six to 10 inches high before they uncurl. As they gather sunlight they lose their red color and turn the familiar deep shiny green floating on the surface.

The red leafed plum is leafing out and the tiny clusters of deep burgundy beads will soon pop into dainty pink blossoms.

I won’t complain that we have had so much rain and so little sun. I will be thankful we have had no tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, tsunamis, or earth quakes. We are the lucky ones.

So that’s what’s new in our yard this beautiful late winter day.

Where did you find beauty today?

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Filed under Nature, Photography, Random, The Great Outdoors

Valentine Card

Hi, what better time than today to send some wishes your way. I have always separated my love of graphics from my photography. But ever since I took this photo I have thought it should be a Valentine. So I let my creative side free. I hope the results bring a smile to your face.

Blowing Wishes Your Way

Happy Valentine Day.

Shez

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Filed under Crafts, Family, Holiday, Photography, The Great Outdoors

The Big Snow Storm

The grandkids Hans (11 y/o boy) and Goldilocks (5 y/o girl) were coming for most of the weekend. We were all excited because the weatherman had been promising-teasing-hinting-suggesting we would have snow. We were hoping-wishing-anxious-bouncing (off the walls) with anticipation. Every 10 minutes someone was checking out the window or checking the temperature.

By 9pm, Goldilocks had climbed into Granddad’s lap and was asleep. By 11:30 Hans was still checking the temp and out the window when he decided maybe we should all go to bed and hope the miracle happened during the night.

At 8am, two excited kids bounced into our room to let us know it was snowing. Yes, it was. You could count the flakes as the fell, tiny little things, one or two a second. They melted on contact.

We got dressed, ready and headed out to Denny’s for breakfast. It has become a Sunday morning ritual. Hans and Goldilocks look forward to going out for Pancake Puppies when they spend the night on Saturday. Still no snow. We came home where little flurries kept teasing us all day, but never enough to even cover the ground. Then about 2:30 the big flakes fell fast and furious and within 15 minutes we had a glorious covering of snow. The sun peaked out the snow was melting in less time than it had taken to accumulate.

Goldilocks was jumping and dancing, “Come on, Grams. We gotta go play in the snow.” We grabbed our shoes and jackets and headed out. To play. To build a snowman. With less than 1/8 inch of snow on the ground; in the places there was any snow.

Come On! We Have to Play!! We Can Build a Snowman!!!

We couldn’t take time to find gloves or the snow would be gone. With nothing more than our bare hands we began to build a snowman. We rolled a big ball for the body, a smaller one for the head and then added the accessories.

Goldilocks Adds the Finishing Touches

Goldilocks took the time to pose with her first snowman of 2012. She was most proud of how he looked. She wanted to add arms, but finding such tiny sticks was a challenge. So she decreed that we built a snow cat.

Goldilocks and Her Snowman


Last but not least, a portrait of Snowman #1 2012.

And there you have it. The miracle snowman. Do you know how hard it was to find enough snow to build a snowman? We think he turned out very cute!!

At dusk he was still sitting all alone on the grass, which by then was completely green with no snow in sight. He may last through the night because the temperature dipped below the freezing mark just before dark.

Hope you had a fun day, too!

Cheers,
Shez

PS QUILT DISASTER For those watching for an update on the quilt, it is spelled “disaster.” I even stayed up until 1:30 this morning…stay tuned…:(

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Filed under Do It Yourself, Family, Humor, Nature, Photography, The Great Outdoors