The Brothers Zucchini

ImBiggest

In the vast land of Back Yard, two brothers lived next door to each other through the heat and humidity of Summer. Bubba Zucchini had a goal to produce the biggest and best zucchini ever known, while Jake Zucchini made it his mission to outlast them all.

IWillStand

As Autumn encroached on the land, Jake held his head high even as his limbs hung limp, weary from the toil of the season. Yet Bubba continued to nurture the over two foot long zucchini growing beneath his mammoth wings.

DyingZuchini

Preserved here in paint, the legacy of these two brothers will live in infamy, even though Jake has now succumbed to the natural course of things and is flattened to the ground, disappearing into the soil. Bubba is making a valiant attempt to continue sheltering the huge girth of his progeny. Soon, the gigantic zucchini will join the local Fair to compete for the title of Biggest & Best in the Zucchini family, thus making Bubba the proudest papa in the land.

************

**Good grief. What stories come floating in on a breeze as I stand washing dishes looking out the window at our backyard. I’m sure this happens to you too! Oh please do say that it does. Surely I’m not the only one. 😉

The Smell of Honeysuckle

HoneysuckleSmell

One day recently as I walked near my favorite Lane, I smelled honeysuckle! I could smell it before I could see it. And then, rounding the corner at the top of our neighborhood, there it was…a blanket of white and yellow vining in a tangle of overgrown weeds.

Bliss! You know how it is…

A hush of the scent comes wafting ever so gently on the morning breeze, blue skies dancing as the smell increases until it’s heady fragrance nearly knocks you over! But it’s a curious thing, this honeysuckle. If you go up to it, actually pick a stem of the flowers, they don’t look much like they smell. You expect to see some sultry, large-petaled, bright colored flower to match the fragrance that drew you in. Instead, you find small straw-like flowers in pale shades of white and yellow. And when you put the flower to your nose, hoping to breathe in more of its musky odor, you can barely smell it, causing you to wonder if you have the right patch of flowers.

Honeysuckle fragrance is best from an entire patch of it, rather than a single stem. I like that. It speaks to the whole “we are better together, than just on our own” thing.

******************************

Now…how to paint that smell? I put this challenge to myself, and stood for rather a long time in front of my drawing table. Eventually something came out of my brush. The above is my attempt. Here’s how my thinking went as I tried to paint the smell, without painting what honeysuckle looked like.

*What medium does honeysuckle suggest? The vivid heft of soft pastels? Heavy acrylics? Black & white pen? Watery watercolor? etc. I decided that watercolor was perfect for the ethereal smell of honeysuckle.

*What about the smell is predominant in my mind? Is it the light sweet aroma? Or the strong, heady odor? I decided I think of honeysuckle as being light and sweet with a few punctuations of the strong stuff. So my painting needed to be on the watery side to depict this airy fragrance.  Then have bits of more concentrated color and some splashes to denote the heavier smell.

*What small bits of its physical properties can I include but not describe? The fact that the fragrance wafts from the ground up was something I tried to suggest with the darker greens near the bottom of the page and the slight blue at the top. And the little stamen in the centers of the flowers seemed delightful and significant…so I added a few as “hints” here and there.

So this is how my mind goes with a challenge such as this. The cool thing is that if you posed these questions to many artists, they would come up with totally different paintings. Or even across disciplines, the results would be so varying. Why don’t you try it? Post it on your blog or FB, or Everyday Matters FB and share with us!

CHALLENGE: ??How would you paint, collage, stitch, write, sculpt, etc. the smell of honeysuckle??  (No need to be a professional at this…just have fun with it!) AND>>> let me know you’ve done this, so I can see it and compile them into a post later. 🙂

Mystery Man

MysteryMan

So the point of this rather odd little sketch made completely out of my head, is to ask a question: Who is he?

There’s this man, who stands on the side of Sedge Garden Rd. near the intersection with Kernersville Rd. He’s there every morning when I take Maddie to school. He’s there every afternoon when she needs to be picked up from after school activities. I began to notice him last Spring. And I’ve seen him there ever since.

He is always holding something up to his mouth or ear that looks like an old cell phone. He’s often talking into it. Sometimes, he has a pipe also. My sketch, all wonky and out of scale, seems to show him looming on the sideline. He actually blends into the wintry surroundings with his woodsy coat and hat. I wonder if others notice him at all.

My imagination takes hold of me…is he an undercover agent recording the comings and goings of a particular person? Is he a granddad who watches his grandkids walk to school and back while talking on the phone with a friend? Is he a writer recording the daily events of cars and passersby at a single intersection? Will my white Mazda 5 wind up in a short story or novel someday? Is he, as my husband suggests, simply listening to a CB radio? Does he live in the side-of-the-road trailers and this is his “front porch”? Does he need to come outside in order for his cell phone to have any reception?

No matter the season, no matter the weather, this guy is there. There’s a part of me that wants to stop and ask him kindly someday what he’s up to. To know his story. To discover the character behind the mystery. But then again, part of me doesn’t. The wondering about it all is just too fun!

Do you have mystery people like this in your neighborhood or town? Kernersville seems to have quite a few. I wrote about (and drew) this guy several years ago. I did actually stop and ask him if I could take his photograph, to which he replied, “Five dollah, five dollah!” So I paid him the $5 and got a few good reference pics for the drawings. There’s also a dancing man at the corner of one of our major intersections. He isn’t so much a mystery (since he’s gotten a good bit of press:) but he’s certainly a character we consider to be Kernersville’s own. All these folks make small town living interesting and delightful.

The Balloon Tree

IMG_0114

I sit outside, in a brief interlude of warmth and peace, gazing up at the winter trees. An idea begins to form…those lines, those lovely lines…they make shapes, hold spaces where shape resides.

The idea I have doesn’t take shape fully yet. I’m searching, thinking about these spaces and the shapes that inhabit them.  I can’t sleep ’cause the formless shape won’t let go. I rise early to search it out on paper. I draw.

The shapes that come out are round inside those lined spaces. I didn’t know ’til now. All these circles, these doodles in the tree, the tree that sits IN the path, with a couple others off the path. Why am I drawing this? I still can’t make it out.

I’m nearing the end of my search, my doodling, and one circle, which has lifted off the tree develops a tail and becomes a balloon. A balloon! Oh! How fun! But I still don’t know it’s significance, or why, or what for.

I paint. White opaque gouache mixing with the watercolor, some light tones, some vibrant. Enjoying the process of searching. I “finish” the doodled page wondering what it is, why I had to get this thing out of my head. Would this just be a searching page with no answer? That’s ok.

I go to rinse the chalky water out of my bucket, I clean dishes leftover from the night before. I wonder, a bit frustrated with myself (once again), why I do so many different types of creative stuff, even different types of drawings and  paintings? Why can’t I stick with just one thing? Just splashy watercolor? Or just pastel? Just portraits? Or just knitting? JUST ONE THING?

And it hits me full force, hands in the sudsy dishwater. It’s my tree. My creative tree. Full of bright colored balloons sitting there waiting for the right breeze to come along and nudge them free. No two balloons exactly alike.  Some have shades that are similar, but each one waits to be loosened from the lines. To rise gently and softly, without fanfare, off into the great beyond.

I’m no longer frustrated with myself. I get it now. It’s all ok, these differing ways of creating. It’s because of my Tree, and I like that tree. And there are many balloons yet to be released. And I can’t wait to see what each of them is going to be.

Thank you for checking in on the Balloons that get nudged out of the Tree. Maybe you have a Balloon Tree too? Please share it with me. 🙂

Dropping Down

 

This moment, right here,

is where i need to be.

Drinking in the lines & curves of the NOW life

which is SO unassuming,

SO simple,

perhaps not even note-worthy.

And yet…in drawing,

i find worth and value

in just BEING.

BEING still,

being focused on here

and not on there.

This dropping-down

of the straw-pen

into the milkshake of my life

is like placing the needle

of the record-player

onto the vinyl disc:

i begin to hear the music…

softly at first…

then stronger as the needle traces the lines

round and round my life

AS IT IS

right now,

in THIS moment.

-jpe

from my daily writing journal. 11.11.2012

Random Acts of Paper: Part 4 (Final)

This last card made me think of “Winken and Blinken and Nod sailing off in a wooden shoe…sailed on a river of crystal light, into a sea of dew.” It’s one of my favorite songs!

Not much going on with the back side of the card. I was “done”. You know, the itch had been scratched. And I put away the bits of papers for another day.

Little forays into creating with different mediums is so much fun. But it isn’t long before I’m longing for the simplicity of a pen and watercolor.

Random Acts of Paper: Part 3

Trees! I have a fascination with Trees! When I finished making this one, I kept thinking “Chicka Chicka Boom! Boom!” which is from a favorite children’s book by that name and features the alphabet climbing a tree.

I really should have photographed this upside down so you could see the little tree on the back of the card. I liked it. This one is titled, “A Wishing Tree”.

Chicka Chicka Boom! Boom!

Random Acts of Paper: Part 2

This is the second collaged card I made. It was cool to take a background paper and look at my pile of scraps to see what would work with the card stock. It almost seemed like the little scraps would whisper…yes, me! and me! oh no…i just won’t do with that blue! etc.

Not as much going on with the back of this card. But I titled it “Waterlily Nite”. Children’s books and songs were floating in and out of my head with each one.

Random Acts of Paper: Part 1

Until I have a chance to create a post about our awesome Walk Day, I’ll share this with you. I had another creative itch to scratch last week…except this time it was paper collage! I decided to make cards. I liked using the little bits of throwaway papers I have and seeing what I could come up with.

This was the first of four I made. I felt I had to title them. This one is “Breezy Fall”.  These are not the best photos. The colors in the top one are truer to the actual collaged card.

Maybe I’m Just A Little Girl…

This is the refrain from one of my FAVORITE songs by one of my FAVORITE musician/singer/songwriters: Mindy Gledhill.

You just gotta listen to her music!

It’s the most wonderfulest!