Saturday, September 15, 2018

My new North Carolina Art Studio

I'm happy to say that my new art studio is done. We were able to spend all day yesterday working on getting it set up because of hurricane Florence. We are on the fringes of it and did not get any bad weather yesterday but because they were telling everyone to stay home we did.  That gave us a whole day to work on the studio. We are getting some rain today so will stay home again and I will start a new painting.  It is over 3 months since I held a paintbrush in my hand. 

Here are photos of my studio.

The studio is located on the second level in the open loft area.  This is the largest work space I have ever had.  The size of the room is 17' X 17' which is even bigger than the basement studio I had in MI.  Roger installed peg board on one wall.  I set up my painting area by that wall.  My prep table and framing table are in the middle of the room.  I have two places that I put my grid walls to hang new paintings.  You can see one set of grids in the above photo with a few of the paintings I brought with me.  The photo below shows the other set of grids with a few more paintings but a big empty area waiting for my new work.

The room is big enough for me to have a sewing corner.

This is a table with the small art I did before we left Michigan.  I was thinking ahead to the Holiday Show when I decided to concentrate on working on small paintings.  I had no idea at that time that I would  be leaving MI and moving to NC in July!

I don't think I mentioned in my last post that I joined the Burlington Artist League.  They have a gallery in the Holly Hills Mall.  I plan to show my work there and will be entering their Annual Regional Fine Arts Competition.  I will be attending a meeting next Thursday.  I am happy to be able to meet other artists and to get information on opportunities to show art.

The next photo is a close up of my painting area.  In the past I have had Roger build me long narrow shelves for my paint bottles.  They always looked nice but I usually removed the bottles and set them on my painting table when I was working on a project.  I decide to try something different this time.  I set all the bottles on a desk grouped according to color.  I can look at the color spot on the top of the bottle to pick out what I want.  If this doesn't work I will then have new shelves built.  I have always liked having a U shaped painting area.  I work on a low table propping my canvas on my knee.  I have everything I need handy and can swivel my chair around to get what ever I need.  I think I am going to like working here.  I got a new colorful lamp that I can adjust to give me lots of light.

The one negative to this shop is that I have no sink in the room itself but there is a bathroom close by that will be my source of water. 

Here is my "Brag Board" and my Art Studio letters which I proudly display.

And.... here am I ready to start painting in my new studio. 

I have been thinking of what subject matter to paint and realized that everything old is new again!  No one here has seen my colorful animals or for that matter anything I have painted before so I will dig out the old patterns and do new versions of things I have done in the past before I move on to new subjects.  I'll post photos of my "NEW-OLD" as soon as I get paintings completed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Home remodel update and hurricane information.

We have been in NC for two months.  If you have watching the news you know we are in the path of Hurricane Florence.  We are close to 200 miles from the coast and have no mandatory evacuation orders so we are going to ride it out.

18 years ago our daughter Kim started college in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Less than a month after she got there Hurricane Hugo hit that area.  We are beginning to wonder if we are hurricane magnets!  Joking aside, we have done everything they recommend to be prepared for long power outages. The hurricane should hit land later Thursday or Friday.  We should feel the effects shortly after that. I'll keep everyone updated as long as we have power.

We have finished all the wall painting in the main downstairs area of our townhouse.  Everything is unpacked and we have a new stove and refrigerator and microwave.  There are still more projects that we want to do like new counter tops and installing tile on the kitchen floor but we will do those sometime in the future.  We want to get our work shops set up first.  Here are some photos of the freshly painted great room area and our office.

This is the view standing by the front door looking into the entry hall.

This is the great room which includes the living room, dining room and kitchen.  The two arched doorways lead to the office.

This is the office.  The title of the painting is "Stormy Sky" which seems appropriate for a hurricane heading our way.

This is the dining area with the kitchen to the right.

Here is another view of the kitchen and the stairway leading upstairs to the loft and guest room.  You also can see the front hall and the angled wall which leads to the hall with the garage door, powder room and laundry room. 

As you look at each room you will see paintings that have moved with us from Tucson to MI and now here to NC.  In fact I have one that I did when we lived in Ohio over 50 years ago. Here is a photo of that painting which has hung in a prominent place in each one of our homes.

Here are our new appliances and the new back splash.  Roger did all the work. 

Roger is installing a pegboard wall in my loft studio.  It should be finished this afternoon.  I will start working on setting up my painting area as soon as he is done.  It should not take me long to do.  I will be able to start to work on art soon.  I have an incentive because I discovered the Burlington Artist League Gallery in the Holly Hill Mall.  I have joined the league and hope to start showing art in the gallery soon. 

My next post should be photos of my new studio and new art that I have created!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Flowers in our yard

I love to paint flowers but, to be honest, I cannot grow them.  My mother had a green thumb.  I'm sorry to say that I do not.  In AZ we had cactus in our yard and they required no care.  That was perfect for me.  In MI we built a flower box and put in annuals the first spring there and they grew and basically were no work so in the fall we planted tulips and daffodils and this spring they bloomed.  So far so good.  In early May we planted annuals again.  By the end of May we had put the house on the market and when it sold we took a trip to NC to buy a this house.  When we got back I realized some bunnies had eaten most of the annuals we had planted.   Since we were moving I decided not to replant.  The new owners could pick what they wanted to fill the flower box. 

Now we are in NC with a yard full of all kind of bushes and plants and flowers that were planted by the previous owner.  Our homeowners association mows the grass but I guess it is up to us to care for the plants.  For the first month we didn't worry about the yard but recently I realized that things were getting out of control.  I didn't want to take Roger away from the inside projects so I decided to do something about the plants myself.  Armed with a pair of clippers and gloves I set forth into the yard.  There was a huge shaggy looking plant right outside of the front door that attacked me every time I got in the car.  I started there and cut it back to almost nothing.  It smelled wonderful as I was cutting and I found a tag saying it was purple sage.  It has started to regrow so I don't think I killed it.  I proceeded cut back anything that looked shaggy and pulled out anything that looked like a weed.  I left some of the bigger shrub type of plants alone.  Roger can trim them back in the fall.  I have identified some of the things and have no idea of what others are.  I will have to do some Internet research to find out what we have and how to care for them  We hope to put a small front patio in next year so some of the plants will be removed.  I took photos of some of what we have.  Maybe someone can tell me what they are. 

When we first moved in I saw something growing at the base of the little bird feeder and thought it was a weed but I was too busy doing inside work so let it grow.  I'm glad I did.  This is what it turned out to be.
I assume a sunflower seed fell out of the bird feeder and took root.  I took some closeup photos.  This first closeup shows a visitor to the sunflower.

Here is another closeup taken after the bee flew away. 

There are three big flowering bushes that I thought looked like hollyhocks but found out the are Rose of Sharon.  Our daughter who passed away was Sharon so they have special meaning to me.  They seem to be different varieties.  One has purplish flowers which look a little different than the other two that have pink flowers.

There are two huge flowering bushes that attract butterflies.  They have a fuchsia shaggy looking flower.

We have a 6 ft. tree that has purple blooms.  I've seen others like it in the neighborhood but don't know what it is.  The Crape Myrtle trees have pink flowers so this is something else.

There are small patches of other types of flowers scattered through out the yard.

Then there are all the green things growing everywhere.  Small trees, bushes, pampas grass, even something that looks like holly.

This is only a fraction of what is growing in our yard.  I did not take pictures of everything.  There is pine straw covering the ground around the plants. 

You can probably tell that my knowledge of plants and gardening is very limited.  I have no idea of what most of these growing things are and no idea of how to take care of them.  Hopefully we can figure it all out.  Arizona plants were so easy to care for, which reminds me, we have a small prickly pear cactus growing in the yard.  It is kind of sickly looking but I know they can flourish here because a neighbor up the street has a huge beautiful one growing in their yard. 

So much for the yard, as for the inside of the house, things are moving along and it won't be long before I post photos of what we have done so far. 

I am ready to start work on my art studio.  I have a fair amount of space in the loft area upstairs.  I'm just not sure how I will set things up.  When we lived in Ohio in our big house I worked in the basement which was unfinished.  I had an old workbench and picnic table that were my work area.  I was doing only craft items at that time.  I spent most of my time teaching decorative painting at various adult-ed classes in a couple of schools and craft stores.  When we sold the house and moved to a small condo I used a walk-in closet for my painting area.  I had a full time job managing a photo studio and my painting time was limited.  In 1996 we retired and moved to AZ and I had a small area in the laundry room.  My father lived with us and when he passed away I took over his workshop for my studio.  That is when I started canvas painting and my art career took off and I was doing exhibitions and selling almost everything I painted.  My shop was small but efficient. I had a sink with a counter and walls to hang frames.  I used one of the guest bedrooms as my gallery of finished paintings. Then we moved to MI and had a big finished basement.  I loved my studio there. I had a long counter with a large sink and plenty of wall space to hang art and empty frames. Now I must start over and try to figure out how to convert a carpeted loft into an art studio.  I will have to use the guest bathroom as my water source.  There is little wall space because there are so many windows.  I do have a large closet and plenty of room to set up my grid walls to hang finished paintings.  It will be a challenge but I'll get it done.

Since this is an art blog I thought I should post a couple of works of art I did in the past.  Here are some that feature sunflowers.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

A walk around the neighborhood

It is four weeks ago today that we moved into our townhouse in NC.  We have accomplished quite a bit in that time.  All the boxes have been opened and most are unpacked.  Some walls have been painted but there is lot more painting to be done both on the main level and upstairs. 

I mentioned in my last post that our son Brian came for a week shortly after we moved in to help with some projects.  He plans to come again next week to continue to help us.  This past weekend our son Mark and his wife Leslie came to visit for 5 days and also helped with some projects.  They lived in this area for three years so were able to introduce us to some new restaurants.  I'll do a post sometime on all the great places to eat that are close to us.

Our list of things to do seems to be never ending but that is okay because we enjoy the remodeling process.  We have new appliances on order and they will come next week.  I am still moving furniture and decorative items from here to there trying to decide where they look best.

 It will be awhile before I set up my art studio but at least I have did an inventory of all the boxes that are in the area I will be using.  I have unpacked most of them and are sorting things out and getting ideas of how I will arrange my work area. 

I am not ready to post pictures of our latest projects because we are still working on many of them.  In the mean time I thought I would give you a tour of our neighborhood.  We try to take a walk every morning and evening. Here are some photos I took while we were walking this morning.

I took this photo of the sun coming up over the trees as we were heading back towards our house at the end of our walk today.  The glare blocks out all the houses but you can see that we live on a tree lined street.

This is the tree that is between our townhouse and the one next to us.  We are the corner unit with a street in the front and side of our lot.  We still can't get our car in the garage because of all the boxes full of Roger's tools, etc.  Roger is a very organized person and if you have seen the photos of his workshop in past posts you will see what he hopes to have here.  He plans to use half of the garage as his work area.  Like my art studio, it will be sometime in the future that he will get it done.

Our side of the street is town houses and the other side of the street are single family homes.  These are a couple that are across from us.

The neighborhood pool is on the corner of the other end of our block.  We have not used it yet.  We have been too busy with our projects.  One of these days we will get there. 

This last photo is of some of the trees that line the streets of our neighborhood.  It is such a beautiful, peaceful place.  We enjoy our walks.  In MI we also took walks and it was very pretty but we did not have much choice of where to walk.  Every walk was the same route.  What we like here is that we can vary where we walk. Every time we go out we head in a different direction.

I'll do another post in a couple of weeks and by that time I should have photos of some of the work we have done.  Hopefully I can get my art studio set up soon and start painting again.  For the time being my artistic side is being an interior decorator! 

Friday, July 27, 2018

My first post from Gibsonville, NC

We have been in our new townhouse for 2 weeks.  I finally have wifi and Internet so I can do a blog post. 

We left MI on July 6 and arrived in NC on July 8.  We had to spend a few days in a motel until the closing happened and the previous owners moved out.  We moved in on July 12.   Here are two photos.  The first was taken just before we left to head to NC.  We are standing on our front porch of our MI home.  We will miss that porch.  The second photo is us standing on our front stoop here in NC.  We will be unable to put a porch on this house but we have plans for a little front bricked in sitting area.  That will probably be a project for next year.  For now, we will be working on the interior.

We were here only a few days when our son Brian came from OH to help us get started on the first project. Originally I had planed to use the downstairs sun room for my art studio but, after moving in, we decided to use it for our office and put my studio in the upstairs loft area.  This first photo is what the room looked like on moving day.

After Brian came the first thing we did was to empty it out and take down the shelves over the windows.  Here is the empty room.  Brian is painting the ceiling.

Here is what the finished room looks like.  I'll post a picture with our office set up in a later blog post.

Another thing we did was to change out a light fixture that is over the dining area table.  The one the previous owners had was not our style.  The first photo is the one that was here and the second photo is the replacement.

It will be awhile before I have any new art work to post.  This photo shows the loft area where my studio will be.  Right now it is filled with boxes and stuff.  It will be many weeks before I get it to where I can use it to paint.  For now, the only painting going on here is on the walls.  The whole place needs new paint including ceilings and trim.  The sun room (or should I say office) is completely done.  We are just doing the walls in the other rooms and will go back and do ceilings and trim at another time. Here is my future art studio.

Our bedroom and master bath are now usable.  We will do the wall painting after we finish the great room.  They need done but can wait till we run out of projects in the rest of the house.  We did install glass doors on the shower.  Here are photos of both rooms.

I hung some of my art in these rooms because it will be a while before we get around to painting the walls.  It makes it feel more homey  with art on the walls.

This blog is a way for me to keep track of all our remodel projects along with all the art I produce.  As I look back on old posts it brings back memories.  First of our Tucson years and how my career as an artist progressed.  Next came the three years we spent in MI and the fun we had with all the renovations we did to our house there.  I had the wonderful art studio and enjoyed the time I spent there creating new art.  Now we are in NC and starting all over again.  Even though we have only been here a few weeks, it is starting to feel like home. We love the area and especially our neighborhood.  We have met many of our neighbors and everyone is very friendly.  I'm looking forward to the time when my studio is set up and I can start painting again.

We have fallen into a routine of getting up early and taking a walk every morning.  We work on the house during the day with trips out to Home Depot or the grocery store and other necessary places that go along with moving to a new state.  We also try to take a walk every evening.  We are living a very active life style. 

I'll end this post with a photo I took of a butterfly on a bush outside the window of our dining area.  I think of it as a symbol of the beginning of our new life in our new home in NC.

As we get older we reflect on our past life and the areas we lived in starting with our many years in Ohio then our retirement to Tucson, AZ.  We left AZ after 20 years to move to MI for family reasons.  Our 3 years there were good years but we had a hard time with the winter weather so we knew it was time to move some place warmer.  We chose NC because all our family members are still in this time zone and all are less than a 700 mile drive away.  We enjoyed each place that we lived and had many friends we had to leave behind.  We try to keep in touch with most of them and hope to see them in the future as they visit us or we visit them.  We will make new friends here.  Life is every changing. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

My last post from Three Rivers, MI

A week from today we will be in NC closing on our townhouse.  It will be the beginning of our new adventure.  Since my last post we have been busy packing everything we own and also getting rid of things that we felt it was time to part with.  We are ready for the movers to come this Thursday, July 5 and we will leave on July 7 to head south to our new home. 

Our three years in Michigan has been quality time spent with family.  We have enjoyed every minute of our life here.  We have made friends through bowling, the art community and church.  We will miss all of them and expect to have them come visit us in NC.  Hopefully we will make new friends in our new community through the same places.  We also plan to join the senior center. 

We have enjoyed our home here.  Our biggest "hobby" has been remodeling the house.  We had such fun doing every project.  Since we got married 58 years ago we have owned 4 houses and remodeled each one of them.  We loved those houses but never looked backed as we moved on to the next one.  We will say good-by to this house and wish good luck to the people who will live here next as we head down the road to our new townhouse with ideas for what we will do to it.

There is one thing I will miss that I have here and that is my LARGE art studio.  Having a basement allowed for Roger and I to have space to spread out as we worked on our art.  We will have to get creative in how to utilize smaller areas that we will be using for our studios.  I am sure we are up to the challenge.  Here is a photo of my now empty art studio.

I created a lot of art here.  I am going to post photos of some of my favorite MI paintings.

These are only a few of the paintings I did while living in MI.  If you go through my older blog posts you can see all of my MI work and if you go back even farther you will see all of my AZ work.  It make take a few weeks or even a month or so before I am able to set up my new studio and start work on my North Carolina collection of paintings.

In the mean time, as  soon as we get our computers set up and have wi-fi, I will start posting photos of our new home.