Thursday, March 27, 2014

What Happens When You Head North From Maine?

“Tidal River”     8” x 10”     Pastel     $75     ©Sharon Lewis
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            Well, you might believe that you fall into the ocean if you grew up with those oddly inaccurate maps that show everything ending at the border of the United States. However, northeast of the state of Maine is the Canadian province of New Brunswick. It has two official languages, English and French and the Bay of Fundy in the south, which is cool because it has some of the highest tides in the world (52 feet).
            Today’s painting is based on photos of marshes I took when we visited here one summer. I painted this last week when I felt a real need for color and warmth. I hope wherever you are, that spring has come at last.
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Vernal Equinox: The First Day of Spring!!!

“Spring Gifts”    9” x 12”     Pastel     $100     © Sharon Lewis
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            Ahhhhh, the first day of spring! Given the recent snowfalls around the country, it may be hard to believe but today is the vernal equinox, the official first day of spring. I looked up the meaning of this term and found a bit more information than I think I needed to know.  I won’t bore you with everything I found but I did find that my years of Latin in high school did not go to waste. I thought the term derived from Latin and found that I was right. “Vernal” comes from the Latin derivative  “ver” meaning spring and equinox derives from “aequus” meaning equal and “nox” meaning night. So the term suggests as I had always thought, that this is one of the times of the year when there are equal hours of daylight and night. Apparently, this is not precisely true but for me it’s close enough.
            I am just happy to see the increased hours of daylight and all of the flowers that are blooming as well as the flowering trees and bushes. I have daffodils and hyacinths blooming in my yard but no tulips this year. I planted tons of them several years ago but I gave up after battling the squirrels who dug them up as soon as I planted them and the deer that apparently find them tasty (Is there any plant that they don’t eat? I keep hoping that I’ll come out one day to find that the deer have conveniently removed all the weeds from my lawn and flower beds but apparently they don’t like my weeds anymore than I do.) So, instead, I try to find tulips at the grocery store and paint them from time to time. My painting of them is a poor substitute for the real thing but these require no weeding and so far I’ve been able to keep the deer and squirrels away.
            Happy Spring!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Only Memories of Snow

“Cardinal in the Snow”    8” x 10”   Pastel    $75   © Sharon Lewis
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            It’s a beautiful, spring day in the Atlanta area. I had plenty of time to remind myself to be grateful for this weather as I sat in Atlanta traffic for two hours this afternoon. At least if the major highway I was on had turned into a parking lot I had great views of all of the blooming trees and bushes. I saw white fluffy pear trees, purplish-pink tulip trees (which I found out are really a type of magnolia tree), and beautiful, pink, flowering cherry trees. These colors are so welcome against the backdrop of grays and browns that are the holdovers of winter. It reminded me of this cardinal I photographed against the grey, purple and brown background of winter. It provided such a cheerful, colorful sight that I had to paint him !
            I hope wherever you are, that you are enjoying the beginnings of spring.

            Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Do These Feathers Make Me Look Fat?

“Do These Feathers Make Me Look Fat?”   6” x 6”   Pastel    $40    © Sharon Lewis

            Today’s painting is of a goldfinch that has fluffed up its feathers so that it looks three times its normal size. At first I thought it was a fledgling since they often have this kind of cute, roly-poly look, but I think it’s simply an adult trying to retain some body heat on a very cold day. I based the painting on photos I took during our last snow and ice storm when the birds were almost continually flying from a nearby bush to my window-mounted feeder.
            To me the goldfinch, with its sunny, yellow feathers is an especially beautiful bird to see on a gray, wintry day. In addition they have such a cheerful song or call (click here to listen to one)
            I’ve noticed that even though goldfinches are supposedly territorial only during nest construction, they are one of the few species that don’t share nicely at the feeder. In spite of the fact that they are typically one of the more slender birds, they squawk and peck away almost all of the other birds. This one though is just plain adorable!
Enjoy and have a happy weekend!