Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Sharing with you life's little moments of beauty.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Morning Wash.

Charming brown and white cat, washing her face on the garden wall in Dresden, Germany
"Morning Wash" 7 x 5 watercolor © 2014

How lovely it is when you don't have to do all the gardening, but you get to enjoy all the benefits of seasonal flowers!  Our apartment in Dresden, Germany had the nicest yard with fruit trees and flowers.  Since it was located on a hillside, the yard sloped from the road above to the house, 38 steps down to the back door of the apartment.  Our landlords, the Sobotta's, called it the "fitness apartment".  It did get our heart rates up to carry groceries or luggage up or down all those steps!

I mention the hill because they had built a pretty three foot tall retaining wall of stone partway down.  I loved the red and rust brown colors of the stone.  This little cat loved it too, not for the color, but because the stones were warm in the morning, a perfect place for her daily face washing routine.  With the sun shining on her fur, she was having the best time.   I wanted to document this little moment of kitty joy.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Up A Tree

"Up A Tree" 7"x 5" watercolor on 140lb paper, ©2014 Tina M Welter
"Up A Tree" 7"x 5" watercolor ©2014
This elusive black and white cat used to haunt the backyard of the apartment we rented in Dresden, Germany.  I loved to see her because she reminded me so much of the black & white cat that my parents had on their farm, her name is Silky. 

Silky is a shy, temperamental stray that adopted my Dad.  He spent the time to get acquainted with her and she would often go on walks with him on the farm, complaining by meowing and sitting down if she thought he walked too far.  Dad often had some story about Silky's antics to share.  One of the most memorable is of he and Mom watching her hunt outside in the snow one winter and actually killing a pheasant.  Silky didn't seem to know what to do with it, so Dad went out and brought the poor dead bird in and prepared it for their own dinner.  Dad didn't like to keep animals in the house, but that didn't stop Silky from trying to convince Dad to let her in.  She would let them know it was time for her dinner every evening by standing up full length in the front window whenever she saw Dad in the living room.  He taught her to ride in the wheel barrow when he went to get wood for the wood stove and he even showed me how he got her to ride on the seat of the big swing he had put up in one of the trees for the grand kids.  Silky didn't seem too thrilled, but she did it for him.

Poor Silky was just as lost and confused as the rest of us when when Dad passed away so suddenly.  I'm so glad he shared with me his adventures with her, I'm glad to have those stories to remember.  He was so gentle with animals and people, I miss him so much.

I was sorry when the elusive black and white cat didn't visit our Dresden backyard anymore.   At least I did get this memorable moment of her peering up at us with her intense green eyes from her perch in the apple tree below.  I am reminded that it does us good to climb up and appreciate our surroundings everyday, right now.  Tomorrow can change everything.  Wise kitty.  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kaikoura Coast Inspiration

"Farewell" 7"x 5" watercolor on 140lb. acid free, cold press paper ©Tina M Welter 2014
"Farewell" 7"x 5" watercolor ©2014
Part of our journey when we were traveling north from Christchurch to catch the ferry at Picton, involved driving along the Kaikoura coast.  It was a grey day, but the steep rocks on one side and the ocean on the other kept it quite interesting visually.

I don't remember if we saw the signs for seals or just saw the people gathered at one of the pull-offs at the side of the road, but we decided to stop and take a look too.  Looking down the steep embankment, we could see and hear mother seals and their pups on the rocks below.  So exciting!  I didn't know if I could get a good picture with a grey day and such a long distance, but I saw this young one looking up at us just before he turned to go down the rocks. 

The look in that little seal's eyes captured me!  I knew if the picture was any good at all, I wanted it to be my first painting inspired by New Zealand.  Similar to how the swans captured my attention in Germany.  Since I had been painting so much in watercolor lately, I thought it would be interesting to try a watercolor painting before tried one with my oil paints.

This painting also gets the honor of being the first item I listed in my Etsy shop I just opened on-line.  Setting up an Etsy shop has been a goal for me for at least a year.  Thanks little seal for your inspiration!
Baby seal, Kairkoura coast, ©Tina M Welter
My "farewell" baby seal turns to go.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Thanks Again!

"In the Pink" 7"x 5" watercolor on paper, copyright Tina M Welter 2014
"In the Pink" 7"x 5" watercolor ©2014
One more post about the kind folks here in New Zealand.  Our landlady, Patsy, is next on the list.  After so many weeks of searching, we were so excited to finally move into our own apartment.  One of the things we definitely depend on is a good internet connection.  Everything seemed in order when we moved in, until we tried to sign up with an internet service provider.

One after another,  the different companies we chose sent their service people out here and couldn't locate the cable to hook us up!  Somewhere it was buried and possibly broken under a very long cement driveway. !!!  Patsy was so kind to let us come over and use her computer several times while we tried to figure out the puzzle.   She even shared with us "tea & biscuits" as they call it here.  Tenants before us had had internet and the apartment above us had internet, so there had to be a solution.

Patsy also lent us chairs when we needed extra ones and took us to the second hand shop to search for shelves for the used refrigerator we had recently bought.  She introduced us to some of her favorite places in the neighborhood like the local historic movie theater and the pie shop.

After several weeks, we finally found the one internet service provider that had a line to our apartment.  We were so relieved!  We were thinking we would have to move again if we couldn't sort this out.  This is why soon after I was back into the swing of painting I created a card for Patsy.

"Rose for Carol" 7"x 5" watercolor on paper, copyright Tina M Welter 2009
"Rose for Carol" 7"x 5" watercolor © 2009
You may have noticed a similarity to my "Rose for Carol" from 2009.  It is from the same photo in my files.  It is very fascinating to me to see how the same photo can evoke different interpretations of the same subject, that is why I sometimes paint the same subject over again.  I am also curious to see what I have learned over time.



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Welcome Home

7" x 5" watercolor on paper, copyright 2014 Tina M Welter
"A New Home" 7"x 5" watercolor ©2014
This week's post is another watercolor "thank you" card.  Yes, we have met some wonderful people here in New Zealand.

I mentioned last week the understanding of Paul and Gemma who we rented the room from while we were apartment hunting.   This week, it is their next door neighbor, Evelyn, that gets our thanks.

Due to all the stress, Jeff and I were having a rather heated discussion about why the oven wasn't cooking our pizza.  We were in the house alone at the time and didn't think anyone would hear us.  Of course, it really wasn't about the pizza, but that doesn't stop a good argument to blow off some general frustration.

Imagine our chagrin when we hear a gentle little knock at the kitchen door and a ladies voice asking "are you ok?...would you like some tomatoes & cucumbers for your lunch?"   Embarrassed, we opened the door and met Evelyn, who regularly does some yard work for her neighbors Paul & Gemma.

We introduced ourselves and apologized for being so loud.  She bravely invited us for dinner the next evening.  I'm not certain I would want to invite unknown people who had just been loudly arguing into my home!  We had a lovely dinner and met her husband and daughter.  Over the next few weeks, she introduced us to the wonderful Te Papa museum, took us for a drive up Mount Victoria, and then saved us a bunch of money and stress by helping us move all our luggage to our apartment.  What a gem!

The cat is Puggles, the family pet, and we happened to catch her napping at the house one afternoon.  I had Jeff get a snapshot of her on his iPod.  I thought she represented how we felt, we had finally found a box in New Zealand to call our home!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Queen of the Roost...

7"x 5" watercolor on paper, copyright 2014 Tina M. Welter
"Queen of the Roost" 7"x 5" watercolor c. 2014
We have finally arrived at the first painting I completed in New Zealand.  It was five months of unsettled life for us from Nov. 2013 to April 2014.  First, we attempted changing apartments in Dresden to try and save money in November.  Oh boy.  We packed everything up, moved, nearly froze, and then moved back to our original place.    In December, I did some sketching and rough paintings, but then we spent the whole month of January packing up again and getting ready to fly.  The middle of February, we ended up moving from the south island to the north island of New Zealand and then spent another month apartment hunting.

The couple we rented a room from in Wellington were so kind and understanding, especially when it was taking us so much longer to find an apartment than we planned. Our one week stay had turned into four. We agreed that we wanted to do something nice for them.  They had three mischievous little hens in their backyard who liked to get out of their pen and hide their eggs.  The big golden-red hen definitely caught my eye, what a beauty!  She seemed to think she was pretty special too. 

We moved into our apartment towards the end of March.  There is just something about having my own kitchen and a table I can work at that gets my mind back into the creative mode again.  After all that flying around, it feels so good to have a "roost" again!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Trouble Brewing...

8" x 10" oil on "Gessobord" copyright 2013 Tina M. Welter
"Trouble Brewing" 8"x 10" oil on "Gessobord" c. 2013
Hurrah, I am finally posting my last painting from 2013.   I chose to paint this trio of kittens for a couple of reasons.  One, they make me smile, and after the loss of my mother in July, it was so helpful to have these kittens to focus on.   Two, I relate to the black kitten.  The striped one is plotting mischief, but will get away with it, the orange kitten is clueless and just up for any type of fun, whether it leads to trouble or not.  The black kitten knows there is going to be trouble and she will probably be the one to get caught and blamed for it, yet part of her just can't resist seeing what will happen.  Curiosity.  It's not just for cats. 

It took a lot of time to finish this painting.  44 hours all together to be exact.   It takes more time to do three separate subjects and a complicated background, more than just one subject for a painting of this same size.   I thought I had learned this lesson when I did the Christmas manger scene with a kitten, see "Houseguest" from the Feb. 25, 2013 post "Second Christmas.  That one took 39 hours.  http://tinawelter.blogspot.co.nz/search/label/Christmas 

This is when I begin to tell myself I am ridiculous to think anyone will pay me enough for the real cost of my time for such a small painting.  I guess I can be happy that I am reasonably consistent in my painting time.  I can also learn to choose less complex subjects or paint larger.  Always lessons to be learned.  Who knows, maybe someone won't mind spending the money.