I started a new print last night while I listened to the baseball game. Good to be back home and working. And yes, it's my same tree I can't stop drawing. I did this sketch back in January and had no real plan for it. I just saw the moon and wanted to draw. I'm grateful to the Memphis Urban Sketchers for getting me more in the habit of ongoing drawing. It's nice to have that much material to leaf back through and be inspired by.
Marian and I had a slow start and enjoyed quiet time sitting and sketching and people watching in Central Park again. The weather was Warner yesterday, so sketching was more fun without freezing hands.
I really liked the Belvedere Castle rising up out of the rock, though I didn't do it the justice I would have liked. Another time I'll have to try it in watercolor.
We ended the trip with a matinee of It's Only A Play starring Nathan Lane. He is Marian's current obsession and crush and the reason for the trip. It was fun, but Marian and I agreed we both feel great about the state of Memphis theater. Three Broadway plays this weekend, and none of them sent me flying high out of the theater the way a number of Playhouse on the Square productions have made me feel lately. I'm glad to visit the big city and delighted to live in Memphis.
Dinner at Pylos for truly great Greek food, which we do not so much have in Memphis. It was a delicious meal, and the clay pots hanging from the ceiling also charmed me. It was a perfect end to a fun sister trip. We appreciated our New York sister showing us around her 'hood.
We spent some time in Central Park yesterday. I'd read Olmstead's biography some years ago and wish I'd had time to reread the relevant sections before this trip. I love parks and public spaces, especially ones that give access to huge trees and a bit of nature in the midst of a city.
I'm in New York visiting one sister and celebrating a birthday with another. We're mostly here to see theater, but I'm doing a bit of sketching as well, of course.
Above is my taxi ride from La Guardia, and below is the view from the diner where we had lunch. I was so happy we snagged a booth in the window.
We went to see Helen Mirren in The Audience last night. I was so excited to see her on the stage.
I came home from another dance weekend and started another painting. I like this trend. Dancing is definitely good for you.
Here is the first day's work. It's oils and 18x18". I moved it around a little bit more and forgot to take a final picture, but I was happy with the first round.
I'm off for another weekend with my sister, so there will be sketching instead of painting the next few days, but I'll get back to this next week.
I've been out painting in the forest again. It's a very good day when I can call the woods "my office." Mr. Darcy likes those days too. I've been utterly thrilled by the wildflowers this year. Truly I am every year, but I'm not really a flower painter and have always been unhappy with my efforts. This year the markers and the small watercolor sketches have let me capture my favorite wildflowers, and I'm really having fun.
Above are a couple of more finished watercolors. Here are a couple of quick, on my dog walk sketches. Someone dug out the jack-in-the-pulpits I knew about last year, and I was heartbroken. My photographer friend Peter Ceren, also taking lots of wildflower shots in the Old Forest, found a new batch and gave me directions to find them. They are lovely, and I was delighted. I'm also still in love with the mayapples.
I spent a rocking Saturday night at Kinko's last night, using their over-sized scanner to scan in some of my recent prints for my upcoming Dixon show. They want some images to use in their newsletter. It's getting real! The curator is coming out to see what I've got so far early next month. There's some pressure there, but I really love creating a show for a specific space and making work that will hang together thematically and visually. When I'm doing it for an actual museum show, that's just amazing.
So here are a few that are finished and ready. I have several more I'm still getting final prints of but that are mostly or fully carved. Above is Rainbow Lake at Overton Park.
Below are two images from Country Workshops, the wood working school I house sit for occasionally and visit friends at in between times. It's one of the wellsprings of my work over the last dozen years.
This last one is a tree from one of my sketchbooks. I only had a line drawing of it, but it was enough to make a print from, and I couldn't resist the shape of this beauty. It's also my first print on black paper, and I like the effect that gives. I'm going to keep my eyes open for more subjects that might be suitable to try on black.
I got to show off one of my favorite places on Saturday. I led the Memphis Urban Sketchers into the heart of the Old Forest in Overton Park my wildflower glade that was blazing with wood poppies, trillium, phlox, and mayapples. I'm continuing my love affair with mayapples this spring. I'm planning a possible three part print of them (I'll do one first to see how it looks), so I sketched some more closer up to give me a bit more information to work from.
Even some long time Memphians didn't know the beauty we have hidden in the forest. It took me years to find it myself. People didn't much go into the center of the forest when I was growing up, but I have loved finding it. I always say that I have the best of all possible worlds. I live in the heart of the city and walk in a forest every day. It was fun to share the magic.
Before diving into the forest we met up by my favorite tree. Elizabeth laughed at me for sketching it yet again.
Of course Mr. Darcy went with us. I don't go the park without him.
This is what can happen when you live with an artist. Someone is likely to grab you when you're not even out of your bathrobe yet and say, "I need you to be Jesus for five minutes!" I have a very patient housemate, who posed for this piece that was commissioned by First Presbyterian in Holley, NY, for their Easter season bulletin covers.
A friend of mine saw both this and the barred owl photos from a few days ago and suggested Neil would make an equally good model for St. Francis. I can't stop thinking about it. I may need to do a print. The owl is available to come back and model on Neil's shoulder. And Keith Gaskin at MTS, where I have a show up, just commissioned an oil painting of St. Francis with his own lab in it. I saw it during my opening and was utterly charmed. Mr. Darcy and Bugsy (Neil's dog) will have to be in a print if I do one. I'm trying to focus in on landscapes for my Dixon show, but I may need to do this on the side.
My show at Germantown Performing Arts Center this month has its opening reception on Friday night from 5:30 to 7:00. The show is new watercolors from Paris, done on my last trip there, so come have a mental vacation and a glass of wine if you're free. It's open to the public, so bring any friends you think would enjoy it.
Above is the Place des Voges. All watercolors are 7x9" and $135, except one larger one. Come see!
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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