Thursday, April 29, 2010

Down in a hole

"Stonehedge barn and flowerbeds" by Hilary J England, 9" x 12" oil on canvas
I've been depressed lately, and it's affecting my work...everything is bothersome and irritating, and it's infuriating to me lately to paint outdoors, since the weather has been so uncooperative, it's like a black cloud is following me around, and it makes me really down.  I have alot of bad stuff going on personally, with Nicole now terminal with her brain cancer, and my Dad hanging on with his leukemia, and then throw in your every day annoyances and troubles, and presto!!  Depression.

I have been forcing myself to go out daily to paint, even though everything in my body screams out "NO!!"  I don't know if helps or it hurts...I guess it helps to get out of the house, but it frustrates me with my own lack of focus, and will to do it, and then I get upset with the results...a bad cycle to be caught in.

Still, I will try to push through this roadblock, and try to envision the light at the end of the tunnel.  It's tough right now, but hopefully, it will all dissipate soon...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Painting Series

"The meadows of Winter Mountain" by Hilary J England, 9" x 12" oil on canvas

Today's painting was not too far from home, but I had a bit of difficulty due to two of my brushes falling I was forced to work with on brush only, which, hey, when you're tossed lemons, make lemonade!   Plus, half way through the painting, I got stung by a bee...

Anyway, these are the obstacles you have to deal with when you paint outside...enjoyable nonetheless.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Beautiful weather and happy little ducks

The weather here has been superb.  I've been getting alot of painting done en plein air, one a day, but actually would like to step it up to two paintings per day...I know it's ambitious, but if I have the time and inclination, why not?

I painted at the canals in Walnutport today, with a little gaggle of ducks hanging around me in curiosity...which was just fine by me, since they are soothing little creatures, with an occasional quack, and mostly just sitting about preening their feathers.  The tone was so high today, it was as if the entire universe was in high key, the sun blinding, the newly budding trees and explosion of yellows, high tone greens and pinks, in contrast to the brown, murky canal...absolutely beautiful.

Alas, I tried to photo the painting when I got home, but the light didn't cooperate.  So, instead, I'll post the Conte drawing I did yesterday in Bethlehem of our lovely older model Grayce.  She was very cordial to sit for us for a while, and being that I forgot my paints, I was forced to retreat into Conte crayons, which I don't really like, but, hey, discomfort is good sometimes. 

"Grayce"  Conte on Ingres paper, 12" x 16"
I realized when I uploaded and cropped this drawing, it put her dead center, which is not how I put her down on paper--she was located to the right of the drawing, with her gazing profile to the left.  So, it's not me being very boring, just my photoshop is completely out of control!!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another day on Hawk Mountain

"Hawk Mountain on an ominous day"  by Hilary J. England  9" x 12" oil on canvas

I spent another day on Hawk Mountain--today it was very rushed, since it was overcast, and the threat of rain was pretty certain.  I enjoyed the time, although it was punctuated by hordes of children--it must have been class trip day!! 

The mountain was very overcast, you couldn't really see very far into the valley, but the gray sky had such a peace about it, although again, no hawks, just a scattering of turkey vultures soaring on the winds fanned upward from the valley floor.

While I was there, my mind was flooded with so many thoughts, I was actually thankful for the repetitive interruptions...the vista inspires my mind to flow, and many times, it seeps into places I'd rather would remain in the recesses of my mind, and makes me feel sad feelings, feelings of regret and loss, of time irretrievable, and I have a struggle on my hands...not with my painting, but to "close" Pandora's box back up again.  The painting actually keeps me in the "here and now," knowing it's something tangible, it's something I'm creating, I'm building, not tearing down, it won't go away unless it's physically destroyed, and it will be "loved."  All very soothing thoughts...

Anyway, I won't post another landscape until Friday, as tomorrow is some figure work....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day at Hawk Mountain

"Hawk Mountain, Springtime" 9" x 12" oil on canvas panel by Hilary J. England

It was a beautiful day on the mountain--I was painting at high noon, and the light was nearly blinding, with only an occasional cloud as a reprieve.  The view into the valley was serene and almost ethereal.  There were a few low flying turkey vultures hanging on the soft breeze, wobbling in the vacuum of the space above the valley.   It was as if they were being pulled by invisible puppet strings, or balancing precariously on a nonexistent tight rope.   I was able to listen to the sound of silence and breath in the sweet, clear air...  It was slightly scented of pine, new foliage, and a hint of manure, emanating up the gentle slopes, originating at the neighboring farms in the far distance of the valley.  There were very few distractions, aside from a plague of flies (maybe I smelled like food to them?), and an accidental tourist into the line of vision, but that's all expected.  All in all, it was a very serene afternoon.

I am intending on painting a painting a day outside --weather permitting or not--for the next thirty days.  Let's see how long until I have to eat my words with some strange, unseasonal weather!!!  Hopefully, not.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Home again

The Barnyard (after Respin) by Hilary J. England
11" x 14" graphite on paper
I returned home from Huntington Beach, California, yesterday afternoon.  It was a really long trip, and the flights were relentlessly full, so flying coach was like being part of a human sandwich--not fun.  It was over a twelve hour trip with the layover in Atlanta, and by the time I got home from Laguardia to Pennsylvania, I was nearly unconscious.  Thankfully I wasn't driving!!

I thought Huntington, Newport and Long Beach were pretty, but places I would only like to visit, not leave my heart with.  We laughed about the "HouseHags of Orange County" living there, and again, although it's pretty, it's not much to my taste.  Too new--no old, mysterious Victorian homes, just a crunch of new dwellings.   My immediate impression was to be baffled as I was landing in John Wayne airport (yes, I snickered too) at the sheer abundance of homes in the suburban sprawl of the outer counties of Los was actually sickening. 

Do we NEED this much housing???  Why are we destroying the environment with more, unnecessary housing--why can't people stop being so damned selfish and buy an existing home?   There is a glut of existing homes, and instead buying one of these lovely "older" homes, these self-centered egotists go build in the middle of a beautiful, animal filled landscape, because they absolutely HAVE to have their own to their very own specifications LOOK at ME house.  Disgusting.   Deep down, I think there is a parallel to SoCA's obsession with supericial looks and youth involved in this thinking...

IMHO, there is nothing wrong with being successful and owning a lovely house--but there are many people that feel that this status makes them entitled, and they don't care who or what they hurt to have their egos stroked, and that's where overabundance stems from.  My feeling is that the powers that be need to stop the building in Southern California, and utilize the inventory of existing homes.

Northern California is much more understated, in a wonderful way.  The houses seem to "breathe" and
there seems to be a relaxation and calm that is absent in Southern Cali.  I love the cool gentleness of the more rugged landscape, and that "breeze" seems to flow into the population.  No heat and clutter...and yet, some swear by it!!  But, I guess to each his own, so to speak. 

The oil rigs off of Catalina were also a sad sight...the majestic Pacific views were basically overshadowed by these ominous looking monstrosities overlooking the beaches.  Terrible.

But, I was very glad to see my sis(ters), and be a guest in her lovely older little beach bungalow, and the tidal pools at Crystal Cove were enchanting, with the clusters of brightly colored anemones and little crabs...that literally made my vacation.  Plus, some local cuisine made for a fun time--some Chronic tacos, and a yummy In and Out Burger...we kept it simple.

Anyway, some new paintings will be coming forth, so I'll keep you posted!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Boiling cauldron!

"The Sand Bar" by Hilary J England

I am tired of the politics of art.  I don't want this to be a platform for a raging rant, but I'm so sick of the hypocrisy...

Back in the "dark ages," the Salon refused to show work that wasn't cookie cutter, exactly the traditional style of painting that all artists were forced to adhere to, and in essence, we've gone back to that standard.  Many galleries and reps want either the total garbage of "abstraction" in which it's more hot air and hype than it is any form of art, or the boring, restrained, constipated forms of realism that you get tired just looking at them...thinking, if this is the smug, bland world these people live in, I'm happy to be insane.

So, there it is...we're back to the traditions of the Salon.  If you do something that falls outside of these two genres, the elitist wanna be intellectuals look down their nose for fear of change...change that will rock the boat, or expose the hypocrisy they've grown to embrace.  Sickening indeed.

So, that's my rant.  I'm done with it...sorry for the impolite outburst!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, and as a believer, this is day always marks the beginning of a horrible yet glorious journey began over 2000 years ago, for our sakes...a permanent change in the universe, a cataclysmic shift in the cosmos...the opening and option of Heaven for us.  

I always cry when I think of the depths of pain, and to the limitless heights of Heaven Jesus decidedly accomplished for us.  To think that for the time he spent on the cross, how horrible it was for him, to be despised by all of Heaven and earth, the unimaginable pain and isolation he bore during that time.   As a parent, to is incomprehensible to me to think of my son being crucified, and me DESPISING him as he hung on that cross, which is what happened in those hours, when Jesus was separated even from the Father.  The thought is absolutely heartbreaking, and yet from the darkest recesses of pain, came the ultimate glory...the ultimate sacrifice brought the purest and most supreme love.

 From my human heart, I can't thank him enough, or love him more deeply for HIS love, his suffering, his beauty.  Thinking of the limitless options and choices he had at his disposal, a selfish God would have left us to contend with ultimate consequences to our actions, but instead he chose to love, and offered us that choice in return.  Thank you Jesus.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's!!!

Life Is Beautiful

The joke apparently is on me!!  Anyway, after almost getting run down by an 18 wheeler on a blind bend  on the highway, after my car konked out, with no shoulder to go to,  I was pretty freaked...especially with Cannoli in the car...if it had only been me, I might not as felt as much rage as I did...we made it narrowly off into the weeds before almost jackknifing the trailer...

After the pain subsided, and we waited for the tow, I felt like my senses were super-heightened...I always get like that after a total adrenaline rush, good or bad.  I realized alot of different things in those few minutes after, and even now...and I feel pretty emboldened by the revelations, and even inspired!  So, something good came from something "bad" and for that I'm so grateful. 

Here's my parting thought:

Life Is Beautiful by Sixx A.M. :

You can’t quit until you try
You can’t live until you die

You can’t learn to tell the truth

Until you learn to lie

You can’t breathe until you choke

You gotta laugh when you’re the joke

There’s nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive

Just open your eyes

Just open your eyes

And see that life is beautiful.

Will you swear on your life,

That no one will cry at my funeral?

I know some things that you don’t

I’ve done things that you won’t

There’s nothing like a trail of blood

to find your way back home

I was waiting for my hearse

What came next was so much worse

It took a funeral to make me feel alive

Just open your eyes

Just open your eyes

And see that life is beautiful.

Will you swear on your life,

That no one will cry at my funeral?

 Thanks Nikki and other fellow travelers for your long painful road that truly enabled this insight.

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