Bird & Sunrise photo

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

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. 

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.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Only the Shadows Remain...

11"x 8" watercolor on 200lb paper, copyright 2013 Tina M. Welter
"Pfirschbaum" 11"x 8" watercolor on paper, c. 2013
I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I was going to give the "Royal Iris" painting to our kind landlords in Dresden, the Sobotta family.   Upon reflection, I decided the iris was my favorite flower and I wanted to paint something for them that was more representative of their tastes.   The artwork they had hanging in their home was more abstract than realistic.

In those fall evenings, Dresden has the loveliest shadows from the low, intense red sunsets.  One evening, I noticed the shadow patterns from the peach tree in the yard on the white concrete wall of the stairs just behind the trees.  Aha! Inspiration!  I ran for my camera.

I was a bit nervous since I had never attempted a painting quite like this before.  I chose watercolors because I wanted the softness of the shadows and I struggled a bit trying to get the layers of color not to have hard edges.  Plus, layering blue over peach created some brownish tones that were not exactly what I wanted.

"Pfirschbaum" (Peach Tree) framed
Framing the finished piece on a tight budget was another hurdle.  I re-purposed a gold frame I had been given by spray painting it blue and then hand painting over that with black acrylic.  I then added another final spray of varnish to protect the paint.  The blue underneath matches the blue in the painting, and is visible in the braid work around the frame, which is what I wanted.  Success!

This painting is a departure from what I usually do, the Sobottas were really happy with it, so that is the main thing.  I think I would like to try it again with oil paints, just to see if I would like it better.   Any thoughts or comments?


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Remembering Cairo

7"x 5" watercolor on "Aquabord" copyright  2013 Tina M. Welter
"Cairo" 7"x 5" watercolor on "Aquabord" c. 2013
Several years ago, my niece Amy got this lovely kitten when she was first married and named him "Cairo".    When I first met him, I was impressed by his long-leanness and the distinctively beautiful dark patterns in his fur and around his eyes.  Over the years, Amy would mention that she would love a painting of Cairo and I suggested she try and photograph him relaxing in his favorite places and most important of all, where there was one good light source shining on him, preferably sunlight.

Why sunlight?  For me, it often makes all the difference in being able to see the true colors of what I am trying to paint, plus adds the wonderful shadows and highlights that give the illusion of three dimensions. 

Amy told me she had taken some photos, but being super busy, she didn't send them to me.  The years passed, then last fall I saw on her facebook page that her handsome Cairo had passed away and she had posted one of these photos.  It was perfect.  Cairo was relaxed, in one of his favorite locations, and the sun was lighting him up softly.   It is always hard to lose a favorite pet, and I was glad to be able to do something to comfort my dear niece.   

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Great Addition to My Favorite Flower...

7"x 5" watercolor on "Aquabord", copyright Tina M. Welter
"Royal Iris" 7"x 5" watercolor on "Aquabord" c. 2013
Last summer when we were living in Dresden, Germany, I was searching for a subject to use as a "thank you" painting for our excellent landlords, the Sobotta family.  After a year there, Jeff was finishing up his Master's degree and we knew that soon we would be looking towards our next move.

The Sobotta's yard usually had some charming seasonal flower blooming and I noticed this lovely royal purple irises.  I adore Irises.  I like the sparkle of their petals and and the complicated play of sun and shadow on them, plus all the variety of colors.  They always remind me of summer in Utah where I grew up.

I actually prefer painting flowers in watercolors, but one of my biggest complaints about watercolors in all the fuss it takes to frame them.  I had found a possible solution, a painting panel by Ampersand that is called "aquabord".  You can just varnish your watercolor like an oil painting, which means no mat-cutting and no glass!   I was itching to try it out.   The result is this little painting "Royal Iris".
I really liked the aquabord.  My favorite thing was that it was easy to lift color and re-do a section, something that can be really frustrating on paper.  I also think the colors seem more brilliant.  I am attaching a link to their site just in case anyone else has been looking for a similar solution.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hello Again...

Sunrise view from our apartment in New Zealand
Sunrise view from our apartment in New Zealand
I thought a little explanation might be in order since the date on the paintings of these next posts will be from last year.

It takes awhile to digest a heaping helping of change!  The death of my parents and moving from Germany to New Zealand really took a lot of my focus and energy.  Even at that, I certainly didn't think it would be six months before I would return to my blog.   You never know with life, I didn't expect it would take over 7 weeks to get internet to our apartment in New Zealand either!  

Recently, I was organizing my art files as suggested by Alyson B. Stanfield in her wonderful book "I'd rather be in the studio!" and I found my blog was such a helpful resource for me.  It also helped me remember why I started the blog in the first place and rekindled my desire to share my work with you again.   I do have four paintings that were completed last fall/winter of 2013 that I will post in order.

Thanks to all of you for you kind comments and encouragement.