I enjoy drinking sparkling water, but something about San Pellegrino is my favorite! I think the bottle and label are what sells me. I've always been a sucker for good packaging. As a teenager, I used to hoard green glass bottles. I had a collection of it on my window sill for the light to shine through.
When my husband and I visited Italy this year, I thought I was in heaven. At every restaurant we dined in they asked if you wanted your water "still" or "frizzante." I of course would always opt for the crisp fizz. Most of the time I was served my favorite brand with a tall glass to pour it in.
So last week, when my art students and I worked on studying how to compose a still life, I selfishly set myself up a scene of limes and San Pellegrino.
By putting the subject in a box and shining a focussed light on it, you cut down on surrounding ambient light and get nice clean highlights and shadows.
I used a white background because I wanted that gorgeous green glow to show up behind the glass.
The clip on light was picked up at a garage sale years ago, and it has proven to be a great asset.
My first attempt was a bit of a disaster. I couldn't wait to get to the painting part so I rushed my drawing. The first bottle on the right was far from symmetrical. Not only that, but my paper was shredding along the edge of it from the water. I decided it was time to cut my losses and start again. Typically my second pass at a painting is better. I try to learn from my mistakes the first go around.
So happy to finally have painted a scene that reminds me of our trip to Italy, and a beverage I love.
I'm not sure where I heard that, but as soon as I did, it spoke to me. The idea is that we can be stymied by the need to have things perfect. Perfectly clean, perfectly pretty, even perfectly correct. It's easy for folks learning to paint to not want to continue because they don't find their artwork to be exactly as they expect it to turn out. I try to impress upon art students (and myself) that the process of learning is what we are after, not the perfect final piece.
At the beginning of 2017 I heard about the one word movement. It is the idea that rather then have a new year's resolution, you focus on one word that is meaningful to you.
My word for last year was RELEASE. I prayed about what that one word would be and that is what came to mind. Throughout the year I "released" many things. Much of which had to do with perfectionism. Others had to do with fears. Somehow I slowly began to realize how intricately both of these words were related. Perfectionism and fear go hand in hand.
When most people think of me, perfectionism would not be what comes to mind : ) I don't keep a perfectly tidy house and I certainly don't keep my calendar and schedule perfectly organized. If I've made appointments with you in the past you know what I'm talking about! I'm working on it : ) Even with those outward elements of a relaxed Caryn, inside I can be a control freak over many elements of my life.
This year I realized the need to release many ideals that I've put upon myself that are not necessarily of God. The need to have each day be supremely productive and full of crossing things off of my to-do lists. The need to teach and train my kids at every "teachable moment." The desire to have my house be looking exactly how I want it at any given moment.
I gave in a bit more to lingering in bed when I'm tired or sick, just listening to my kids talk and letting their issues take their course rather then trying to control them and being patient with house stuff (I still have drywall openings in my walls from a plumbing flood that happened during Irma.) Accepting that my eyes squish up in pictures when I smile naturally. Some of these items were released by choice and some by necessity.
My friend, Holli, who is often my cohort in artful endeavors reminds me of the refreshing words that God says in Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God." "Be still" could be translated to "cease striving."
Cease Striving ... Balm For a Weary Soul
For 2018 I've found the word, Renewal. I'm not exactly sure yet what that will mean, but it feels like it fits. I'm thinking it will have something to do with Mark 6:30-32. Here Jesus and His apostles had been busy working very hard. Jesus invited them to get away with Him so they could be renewed. He said, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." That same invitation is extended to you and me.
Come With Me ... Get Some Rest
When I was a little girl, I remember my mom taught me a song that came from Isaiah 40:31..."They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like the eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Teach me Lord to wait."
Hoping this next generation sees us taking time to love, be ourselves, yes... work hard but also making time to rest, truly connect and "cease striving."
Recently my husband and I traveled to multiple cities in Italy. This was a much awaited 20th anniversary trip for us. We loved it and soaked it all in! During our time in Italy we visited 5 different cities but stayed overnight in 3. I decided to come prepared and wanted to journal at least a little bit each day to document the wonderful things we saw and did.
I brought a little art journal that was full of blank watercolor paper. Mixed media papers would have worked too. My dad had left me a portable leather wallet that zips and has lots of spaces for things. It looks like it was for storing business cards back in the day. The wallet worked perfectly for paint brushes, pencils and permanent ink pens. I took it along with me in my travel bag along with my portable pan paint set. I'm not the most organized person, but I did love having a little compartment for everything.
On the train rides in between cities, I could make good use of the time by painting quick little sketches. Here I am on the train ride from Florence to Venice painting olives. Olive trees and fallen olives were everywhere in Italy; just like our Florida oaks and acorns!
We stumbled across an art store in every city. Above is one we found in Venice that was hidden away on a corner. We thought it was just office supplies, but once inside there were lots of art goodies and an Italian man behind the counter ready to help. Below is a "Coloreria" or "paint" store that we stumbled across in Rome. Of course afterward we made sure to sample the Gelato across the street.
Here I was picking out watercolor pencils. Luckily, I knew from reading art books and blogs that Europeans call watercolors "aquarelles." I could've spent hours in this store, but my husband and our travel companions were patiently waiting on me : )
I'll be honest, I didn't love all of the watercolors I created while in Italy, but it certainly helped make my journal colorful and unique. In the end, I was glad I painted the few that I did. I reminded myself that it's not about perfection but instead practicing, learning and having fun!
Whether I am working with a client on their brand identity, teaching students or creating a watercolor piece, I hope to refresh and inspire others with my work. Read more ...