winter

A Sweet Spot

Last week, my girls had their February break.  we decided this year, after the ridiculous amounts of snow we have been getting in the Boston area, we must escape for a short bit.  so we made our way to San Clemente, CA.

 

San Clemente Beach and pier

San Clemente Beach and pier

there was a lot of beach time and lots of boogie boarding, even though the water was freezing cold! the weather was perfect, making our getaway truly sweet and enjoyable.  San Clemente has now become one of our favourite places on the west coast.

we even managed to squeeze in a visit to the Mission in San Juan Capistrano.  the ruins were beautiful and there were even some fun activities for the children.  they made adobe bricks and panned for gold!

we returned home to even more snow - the mountains of snow grew while we were gone! we keep wondering how much longer the snow will fall...

A little bit about "Meanderings"...

i thought you'd enjoy a little background info about this new series of abstract watercolor paintings i've been working on.  you can see them individually on my Saatchi gallery.  they started off as experiments in colour and as i finished off several of them, i noticed that the colours had some specific geographical roots.  

"Meanderings, No. 1" and "Meanderings, No. 2" have definite roots in the winters of Wisconsin.  my years in Madison taught me to survive the stark cold colourlessness of the Wisconsin winter, yet i found so much beauty in those winters and i hope the small bits of colour coming through reflect that.

"Meanderings, No.3" and "Meanderings, No. 4" were inspired by my recent visits to the beaches of Massachusetts.  rather than focusing on the water, i was drawn to the rocks that were being washed by the waves.

"Meanderings, No. 5", "Meanderings, No. 6" and "Meanderings, No. 7" so clearly have their roots in my years in Kenya.  the browns, reds and yellows will always evoke my childhood there, but i think the vibrancy of the colours are from looking back with the lenses of memory.  Kenya will always be a place of beautiful bright colours.

these paintings are also about the process.  most of the time, i start out a painting or art piece with a definite finished image in mind.  with this series, i had some idea, but left the colours to spread as they wanted to with the spreading of the water.  it was really freeing to not be concerned about how the colours would spread and to find surprising interesting details in the way the colours bled into one another.

the days have been cold and bleak here, so i have been filling my mind with all the colours you see here.  hope they bring a spot of colour into your day as well. :)

Hope

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"Hope" is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -

 

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -

And sore must be the storm -

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm -

 

I've heard it in the chillest land -

And on the strangest Sea -

Yet, never, in Extremity,

It asked a crumb - of Me.

 

Emily Dickinson

 

i think this poem best captures what i've been feeling and thinking lately.

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it's been a while since you've heard about the teacup installation, but they are on the move again. :)  and this time, they are traveling all the way to NYC!!  it's kinda crazy - i will give you more details later, but right now, i'm packing them up in a box.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

we're struggling with the winter here.  every morning, it's a battle getting everyone out of bed, bundling up in all our winter gear before heading out into the cold.  i don't blame the kids wanting to stay in bed all day - i mean, who doesn't with all this cold and bleakness that won't go away?  but i'm trying to find the sweet spots and here's a couple of them in the midst of all the white and the grey and the brown.

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here's to spreading the love, despite the cold!  happy valentine's day to you all!  thank you for hanging with me here and i look forward to sharing what the future holds for me.  let's keep searching for those sweet spots.  these yarn hearts can be found in the Wingra School playground.  i believe they were made by the students a while back, but they are still as vibrant as ever and have survived the winter quite well.

btw, free shipping ends tomorrow at my etsy store - remember to type in "YR2014" when you check out!

What i've been seeing lately

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i had no idea how noisy snow can be.  it creaks and groans under the tires, it crunches and squeaks under my boots.  thanks to the famous polar vortex, i am learning properties of snow i'd never known before.

there must exist a language that has multiple words to mean our word "snow."  there's snow when it is wet and heavy.  there's snow that doesn't even melt when i blow on it because it is so cold - instead, it flies away but it isn't soft, it's cold and hard like tiny bits of glass.  there's snow that feels like cream cheese under my skis.  there's snow that flies against the face like powdered sugar.  and there's snow that melts and then freezes so hard, i can't even scrape it off the sidewalk.  i wish there were different words for snow so i can describe to you how the crazy temperature changes in our winter here has taught me to appreciate the complexities of snow. 

and while i still feel rather frozen (like Anna, from Disney's Frozen, when she enters the trading post in a frozen dress), i have come to respect winter.  you still won't find me raving about how i love winter, i will always remain a Kenyan at heart and in my bones, but i have a grudging respect for this season that is so harsh and so beautiful.

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and when i am cooped up inside, i pull these out:

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not only do they warm me up, but it cheers me up to be reminded that i will see such colors and flowers again, in the not-too-distant future. :)