If you love Cape Cod as much as I do, maybe visit often, or even own a summer house, perhaps you would like to bring your Cape Cod house or Cape experience home with you?
Chatham Fish Market
I read a book once by Peter Mayle, A Year in Provence, and loved one line in the book that went something like: We saw the house in the afternoon, and by dinner we had mentally moved in. That feeling was something like when I went to Chatham for the first time. After my first afternoon, I knew this was where I wanted to summer, own a cottage, and it became in a blink of an eye my "happy place".
I just finished this larger canvas (24x36) of the Chatham Fish Market and was pleased with it. Now I just need a house in Chatham to hang it in! Actually, I may approach some galleries in Chatham this summer and see if I can get some of my work placed -- but that always seems so daunting as a few have turned me away before - or made comments such as, 'well, we like to show "local" artists'. Eventually, I tell myself, since I have already mentally moved there.
I take breaks from painting - not by choice, but due to life. I work, have a family, am a single parent, and I have other commitments and things I am involved with. There are weekends that start off where I look at my canvas, excited to get started and I think, I will just get the laundry started and then get started
, or I should go shopping first and start this afternoon
, or the phone rings and company is on the way . . . and before I know it its Sunday night. Life.
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Me at Paint Nite[/caption]
But with life getting in the way of too many weekends lately, I decided to schedule some time with a friend to attend a Paint Nite
in my favorite location - Chatham, MA. You may have heard of these events - they set up in a bar or restaurant, bring all the supplies, and an instructor guides a room full of (mostly) women sipping wine through a painting in two hours flat. Not exactly what I had in mind for my next artistic creation -- but I found it was fun! And, more importantly, it reminded me that art is part of my life and I need to make time for it - even if scheduled into a two hour block.
By taking a step back, and participating in a class that I thought was strictly for novices or beginners, I was able to move forward and get my head around the realization that my artwork is a part of me that I should not ignore. I am happy when I am creating - whether writing a book
(I write, too) or creating a painting or doing something crafty . . . By putting all of life's responsibilities first, not only would I never really find the time to paint, but the frustration of looking at those lovely blank canvases week after week is enough to drive you mad . . . and then who cares if all the socks are matched up in the laundry basket?
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Our two hour masterpieces![/caption]
Also, I found that by letting myself approach the class as just a fun night with a girlfriend over wine, relaxing and talking, not expecting to gain much, I learned a new trick. Something simple that I may have learned years ago and forgot, or never knew at all - but it gave me a sense of excitement to get home and paint and try this technique again.
Lastly, even if you paint as just a hobby - or never painted at all - I would suggest trying one of these Paint Nites as an entertaining night of exploration. All 32 of the women (and one man) at Chatham Bars Inn the other night let their inner artist out, had fun, and went home with a new creation. And isn't that what life is really about - having fun, being creative, enjoying friends and continually learning and pushing yourself to try new things?
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Paint Nite held at Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham MA[/caption]
I just returned from our annual family vacation to Chatham, MA. In years gone by, we stayed at a great resort by the beach - Chatham Bars Inn - but as my sons have grown, and we needed more space, renting a house has been the best way to go. Now, I don't look for a house by the beach like you might think. . . I look for one in the small village area. I find its best so that they can walk to the penny candy store, ice cream shops, Veteran's field where they can catch a Chatham A's game, and the old Ben Franklin store . . . and I
can walk to the small art galleries. And there are a LOT of galleries in Chatham to poke around in!
The art galleries in Chatham offer both high-end well known artists and local, lessor known but talented Cape artists. The majority of the shops show oil, acrylic, and watercolors - and of course offer giclee
prints - but there are also some interesting stores to go in with fish rubbings, ink prints, carved pieces, glass, pottery, and The Artful Hand that includes all sorts of whimsical pieces for the home.
But what I really enjoyed this year was the Sharks in the Park
. If you are not from the New England area, you may not have heard about the Great White sharks in the waters off Chatham - how they go after the exploding seal population that make Chatham their summer home, or how some marine biologists believe Chatham has become the Great Whites breeding ground -- but Chatham, in its artistic way, has welcomed the Great Whites . . . into their parks.
Sharks in the Park is a summer display that is moving from park to park, and set up in front of village businesses, showing the same four foot long cut out shark but uniquely painted by local artists. I should have taken more pictures, but I was instead caught up in walking through the shark groupings and admiring the work. I did, however, capture two quick 7 second videos and a shot in front of the Eldredge Library and the Cape Cod 5 Cent Savings Bank.
The 50+ sharks will be auctioned at a gala on August 1 at Chatham Bars Inn so there's only a few days left. Hope you enjoy the two small (and admittedly amateurish) video snippets I was able to capture for Twitter - along with the help of my niece who came down for a visit!
Shark video one
and Shark video two
Last week I kicked off this blog, and in doing so, announced I was off to start a new painting. I quickly discovered I needed to go shopping for canvas, paint and a few new brushes (an artist can never have enough brushes). I returned home and searched for a photograph to paint and when I finally selected one, it was too late to get started. Instead I left all my new materials and printed photographs out for the next morning and had a hot fudge sundae with the kids.
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"Greeting The Morning Sun" ~ Chatham, MA ~ Oil, 16x20[/caption]
Over the course of the last week, depending on drying times of the paint, I completed my painting of the Bay View cottage at Chatham Bars Inn. The cottage sits high on the property near the main inn and overlooks the ocean. The South Lawn is visible below by the shoreline where the Inn schedules family activities like wiffle ball and croquet and there is a line of Adirondack chairs waiting in the early morning sun for vacationers to sit and enjoy the view.
During the week I watched a lot of movies while painting - two are listed in the title of the blog. I also took pictures along the way to document the painting -- hope you enjoy the video of the process
. I am off to start a smaller work this week before I leave for Chatham . . .
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Chatham Bars Inn Gazebo, Chatham, MA[/caption]
Over the years I have had places online where I could direct people to my artwork - mostly family and friends. I never really put the time and energy into building my online portfolio, yet somehow I was able to actually sell some of my work, take commissions, and attend a few local art fairs. This is a bigger leap for me - a more visible way to share my completed work and, as sometimes happens with artists, a way to motivate me to continue to produce.
Today I am planning to start a new painting. I pulled together photos from my last visit to Chatham, MA . . . my favorite place. Chatham, and the ocean in general, have always been an inspiration for me . . . a place where I am happy, relaxed and my mind can wander creatively. I guess it's no wonder then that I enjoy painting the ocean, our great New England lighthouses, and of course the place where I want to be right now with my canvas . . . Chatham.
I will start posting some of my work and will continue to add over the next few weeks until I find my way back to the beach, get my toes in the sand and my head in the clouds.