Company and Cats

Mel and Anna

House guests!  I love them Work is suspended and we become tour guides.  We enjoyed some unusually mild weather and visited some favorite haunts and restaurants in Cleveland, Chautauqua and our hometown Chagrin falls.

 

Annegrete, from Germany, has had a cat phobia since childhood, and despite costly visits with psychiatrists her contact with cats has been limited to a glimpse of a big cat through an open door.  We had no forewarning, neither did she. But she spent 10 days in the Gillespie home, where two cats are into everything and every corner. They chew feet, appear on couches and laps, and dive into unmade beds. There was no alternative for Annagrete.  She was amazing.  There is a lesson here!

Here comes Heidi !

Here comes Heidi   (sold)

 

Our send off party was a lot of fun.  Mel, from Australia, cooked wings and bokchoy, we ate apple pie and drank more New Zealand wine and champagne than was good for us, and now with frosty nights in the forecast it is time to clean up outside and get back to work.

 

Sea Days

Sea Days   $125

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Now we are two!!

 

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 Foxie

We are bubbly, bright and decidedly delightful rescue cats, but like all infants we get overtired and need occasional time out in a room of our own.  Foxie spends valuable time studying wildlife from the safety of the garden room. He has determined that they don’t pose a threat, and, when the afore mentioned wildlife flies away, being mostly stink bugs and sparrows, he will consent to race me up the corridor,  or see who can leap the highest. I am the paperball champion, larger is better, as it doesn’t disappear out of reach under doors.  I am fond of waterplay, am food-driven, spending most of my time eating crunchies and visiting the Bowl in case a titbit of human food can be found there.   I will take a bite out of anything but am learning there are consequences if I bite a ginger tail or a white paw attached to Foxie. We are both fond making surprise leaps on each other, or on HIS feet resting down in the cat zone.

Storm Coming

Storm Coming   $325

We are learning that to demand attention of any kind when SHE is painting, is about the equivalent of asking to talk to President T in the middle of a press conference.  While it seems like a good idea, it is better to wait until later, or at dusk or dawn, when we are most amusing, or after THEY have enjoyed a delightful afternoon sail with friends on Lake Erie, and some refreshment from a glass.

 

Our only concern are those small plastic bottles which dispense a jet of cold water.  We are both learning to be on best behavior, as they can appear at very short notice!

Oh, time for another nap.  We are both masters of relaxation!

Start Line

Start Line   $125

 

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Pickle….

lapcat

‘Pickle’

I have a new studio assistant. She is a two month old rescue kitten with more energy than all of us!  Her name is, of course, Pickle.  She spends waking moments chasing string, or paper balls, doing aerial flips, bewitched by catnip, or brushes, or whatever else she can push of the edge of the table she is not supposed to be on anyway.  She is a huge distraction from work, but we have not felt it fair to test her with a cucumber.  The Cats Vs Cucumbers videos are more amusing than most of the 2.3 million cat movies on Youtube!

 

Tactics

 Tactics   $125

 

Haul her up

Haul her up   $125

 

 

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Pickleball is addictive!

Sea of Blue

Sea of Blue   $125

Pickleball is easy to learn, and hard to play well.  Buy a paddle and a whiffle ball, play indoors or out and get beaten by crafty shots from your Grandmother.  The court is small so you can talk to your partner or opponent without yelling.   You’ll have a lot of laughs! A dink is a soft shot where the ball barely clears the net; to poach is to cross over into your partner’s area to play a ball in a doubles game; and the dreaded Volley Llama is when a player attacks a ball in the kitchen, a no-volley zone.  Try it !  It is a nice complement for those static hours spent at the easel.the rack

My new painting rack is perfect.  Display the latest ‘square’ on the top, then move it down till it is touch dry. Then, take the painting and protect it with a satin finish coat of Gamvar, then back on the rack till it is sold and shipped.

Anna is with us, so any routine is on hold while we eat, bike and shop.  My Ridley Fenix has gained approval, and after a minor tweaking at the bike shop we have been out in nice warm summer weather. Anna has come from a neuro-science seminar in New York.  She is one of the youngest rising stars, and our favorite!

Classes at South Franklin Circle are on hold till we gain approval from the new management.  We will miss the ease, comfort and convenience of the facility but a few students come regularly to my studio.  The rest of the time, I’m Dailypainting.

Filling the kite

Filling the Kite   $125

 

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Weather Watchers!

Beach cottage

Beach Cottage   $125

It is hard to maintain one a day paintings and still have friends,  exercise, eat, a job, spouse, a tidy yard and a clean house.  It is even more challenging when you add a full kitchen remodel.  Since we cannot agree on granite or cabinets, we have divided it into two stages, and the wood floor is being installed, and the appliances built into their final position.   I am trying to stay positive and contain the dust away from wet paint. Since the late summer weather is warm, I am still painting the sea!  Anything to avoid the green tones of the landscape.

Downwind Leg

Red, White and Blue $125

 

While the appliances were disconnected we ate with our neighbors and took them with us to Rochester, where we visited the Masters, downtown Detroit and Meadowbrook, a classy stately home with marvelous flower beds.  Inspired and flexing my green thumb, I ripped out all the daylilies and installed a lawn, and the rain came.

 

 

All the seascapes came back from Florida, the condo is now someothers responsibility, which is a huge relief since Harvey is creating havoc in the Western Gulf. I am hanging the sailing scenes in the garden room, and getting better though not quicker.  I love the subject, but feel that simpler images look the best on such a small scale.

First across the line

First Across the Line   $125

The condition of our holiday home in Tortola is unknown and as of this morning still no word from our dear friends John and Sandra.  The eye of Hurricane Irma passed over the island, destroying buildings, and lives, and the lush tropical hillsides are now covered with bare branches and fallen trees, and the palms have lost their tops.  It is so sad .  Why would I worry about the color of my cabinets, when others have lost their entire homes.

 

Many of the images used for the paintings were taken in the warm waters of the BVI.   But our catamaran Wildfire was moored in Paraquita Bay, the hurricane hole shown on national news with its boats heaped in the mangroves.  We were planning to go back in January, and we will, if it is possible to get there.  Tortola will need tourists more than ever!

Crossing

Crossing   $325

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Facelift!

Morning Glory !We gave our home a facelift. I removed the front door and lay it on a table in the shade of the garage to clean and sand, then taped the windows. I love painting, but not doors. As the job progressed so did the angle of the sun till rays were bearing down and drying the paint even as it flowed off the roller.  We moved the project into the dark of the garage and before my retinas had adjusted, my elbow caught the paint can, which fell and tipped creating a vast sticky pool of Morning Glory on the concrete floor. Disaster! It dried as fast as the door!   However, with successfully painted black shutters, the job was eventually done and now we look SHARP !The birdhouse   SOLD

Inside we are working with new appliances, and discussing with some heat, options for counters, backsplash, flooring and doors. We are hoping for a good look but not the expense of a grand kitchen in our modest cottage.  We can agree only on the floor and the stove wall arrangement, so those shall be done.

Tom flew in from Colorado with yet more kitchen alternatives. We clearly need more time to think about the next tasks. We played a little pickleball, toured the car museum and the airplane graveyard, and gazed out across the lake from Fairport Harbor. We consumed wine at an extraordinary rate. Talking makes one thirsty !

 

The Patio

The Patio $125

Village Home

Village Home $125

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had time to paint, and prepare more art boards.  I am cutting the masonite on a table saw, then using an electric sander, alternately painting and sanding each coat of gesso for a smooth surface.

 

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I am trying to avoid another paint incident, gesso will not be removed with boiling water, it is tenacious. I do not care how much I use, or how many rabbits it took to make the rabbit skin glue in each bottle of gesso. They have been foraging in my veggie patch for arugula and lettuce, and left only the Swiss chard and the tomatoes which are soaring to an immense height. This may or may not result in a huge crop, but it looks promising.

Bue Hydrangea

Blue Hydrangea $125

I rode with the Spoke Sisters through downtown Cleveland.  Even on a Sunday afternoon the traffic was intimidating, but it was a good workout, and the girls were fun.  We rested halfway at a bar on Whisky Island. Then I joined Dave on a test ride on his new bike, a Kiwanis garage sale purchase.  He thought he was going to die!  It has a killer saddle.  Polly and I joined the SS for a companionable early 20 miles on the canal towpath before the afternoon crowds.

It is so much fun to paint without the demands of students, I have no deadlines or pressure to please anyone, and no shows in the months ahead.  I am not restricted by subject and materials, and have completed more ‘Squares’, local scenes, and southern subjects from our road trip to Florida.

Low Country Roses

Low Country Roses $125

We spent a day in Fernandina beach, the low country where the atmosphere is moist and briny.  We.explored the historic old town, paddled in the sea, checked out the lighthouse, and drove in the late afternoon to Sarasota.  At El Toro Bravo we ate spicy flavors that make you whimper. This has to be the best Mexican restaurant in the state. We walked on the beach often, but didn’t have time for Pickleball.  Our days were interrupted by lookers.  Damn.  It is no fun living in a house on the market.

 

Big Blue Sails

                                                                              Blue Sails $125

Windy Day

Windy Day $125

Dinghy Colors

Dinghy Colors $125

Neither did I want to be happy in a place that we have decided to leave, but we loved our bike ride on Anna Maria Island, Fort Myers on a wet day, the search for sharks teeth at Venice,  breakfast and a meal on Longboat with Pat and  a birthday celebration for Bruce.  It was tough to leave.  The Prius was overloaded with art, and personal items from the condo.

 

 

 

Offshore

Offshore $125

We stayed with the Franklins. They now have 170 acres of glorious Black Mountain. They see the sun rising each morning above layer upon layer of Blue Ridge Mountains. With perfect foresight, and lots of prayer, these two have all the eventualities of old age taken into account.

Back on the road, we ate fast food laden with enough additives and preservatives to extend our lives by a couple of years, and caffeine to keep us alert till we reached home late on the Sunday night.  It is pleasant to be back in cool Ohio.

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My first Group Ride…

Blue bike

The Blue Bike $125

For my amusement, and for exercise to offset those hours at the easel, I have a Fenix road bike. It is said that anyone can become a cyclist merely by declaring that they are one!  Turn pedals. Don’t hit anything or fall off.    I have done a few solo practice runs, and have a moderate idea how to shift among 21 Shimano gears.  So I thought I’d take a look at the local cycling club.  They meet on Tuesday evenings and since I was teaching my small art group, I really had to really hustle… I checked my tires put on padded knickers and my helmet, not really a good look on me, and headed off. I had no time to change my painting shirt but I had a couple of water bottles in a small backpack, turned on my blinky back light and hustled up to the Shop.

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Ready for the Fourth $125

I labored up the hill, in a hurry to get there by 6.30.   A dozen lean riders looking as if they just stepped out of the Tour de France, in their tight clingy superhero triathlon skinsuits with cool logos plastered all over, thought I didn’t look like much!  I circled around grabbing a breath but by the time I am back on the road they are a blur in the distance. By the time I reached the top of the hill, they are out of site.  That was it.  No chance.

 

A real cyclist came up just a couple of minutes behind me.  This was his second tryout with the group. He thought tonight there were no C riders (beginners) because the route was very hilly, if I’d checked the website I would know that. Only the A and B riders like the challenge. He noticed my inferior pedals, and didn’tcare for my gear shifters, but he stayed around for a few miles and some tough hills, then I turned back. I knew he was hanging around in case of an incidents and it had already been a workout.

The moment he was out of sight I made some radical move with the controls and my chain jumped the gear wheel.  I pulled onto the grass, and persuaded it back but ended up with black greasy fingers. I didn’t want the oil on my nice white handlebars.  I reached home, run out of battery on my flashy red light…out of water….hot.

I think I need a little more practice.

shopping

French Alley $125

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