Friday, May 12, 2017

South Korea. May's Virtual Paint Out

This month our Virtual Paint Out Group traveled to South Korea.

South Korea is a beautiful country located in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. Occupying about 38,000 sq mi, it is slightly smaller than Kentucky and home to about 51 million people. The peninsula is also surrounded by almost 3,000 volcanic islands.

The climate is temperate, with heavy rainfall in the summer, pleasant spring and fall temperatures and cold winters. The terrain is a mixture of forested hills, stunning rocky mountains, lush coastal plains and some tropical jungles. There are 21 National Parks in South Korea, but the only areas of true wilderness are the mountainous forests.

The country is split into North and South Korea and shares one of the world’s most heavily militarized borders, but in the minds of most of its citizens, it remains a single nation that cannot be divided. Over the past four decades, South Korea has achieved incredible economic growth and global integration to become a high-tech industrialized economy. North Korea, closed to Google Maps, remains a mystery.

View from Wolchulsan National Park, South Korea
9x12, oil

This painting is available in my Ebay Store - Virtual Paint Out.
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tunisia, April's Virtual Paint Out

Tunisia, in northeast Africa, covers 64,000 sq mi. and has a population of about 11 million people. It is bordered by Algeria, Libya and the Mediterranean Sea. It is an ancient culture dating back to 5000 BC.

The northern mountainous region has mild rainy winters and hot dry summers. The fertile eastern coast is one of the world's premier regions for olive cultivation. The flat south and central plains are semi-arid, merging into the Sahara Desert.

A Code of Personal Status was adopted shortly after Tunisia’s independence from France in 1956. This law gives women full legal status and applies to all Tunisians regardless of their religion. This remains one of the most progressive civil codes in North Africa and the Muslim world.

Education is given a high priority. A basic education for children between the ages of 6 to 16 has been compulsory since 1991. While children generally acquire Tunisian Arabic at home, when they enter school at age 6, they are taught to read and write in Standard Arabic. At the age of 7 they are taught French, while English is introduced at the age of 8.

Dar Elbidha, Tunisia, 9x12, oil
Dar Elbidha is a luxurious resort on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

This painting is available in my Ebay Store - Virtual Paint Out.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Brown Zippered Bag

Rural communities like mine, without a physical library, are eligible to receive books by mail from the Maine State Library. Library books are ordered through their website catalog and are sent by mail to the patron’s home. The only cost is the minimal return postage. It is a excellent service, eliminating the drive to a library in a neighboring town.

I do miss visiting the actual library. The grandkids and I have spent lots of time in the Belfast library, but finding that much anticipated brown zippered bag full of books in our post office box is a delight.

As a child growing up in Connecticut my girlfriend and I spent many hours in the library. We would walk from my house, through the neighbor’s back yards, into a small patch of woods, then to the railroad tracks that ran behind The Bon Ami Soap Factory. We followed the tracks into the north end of town, walked past the few shops, past The Blue Moon Tavern and on until we reached the library.

The library was a small stone building. The four rooms had high ceilings, dark paneled walls and ornate trim. I can still picture the tall shelves of books and the little wooden foot stools used to reach the highest books. There was that calm sense of quiet that only a library has and the wonderful smell of books. A librarian worked behind a tall counter, busily stamping and sorting books. She always gave us a stern look to remind us that only whispering was allowed. After carefully choosing our books, we returned home by the same route.

It’s sad how times have changed. There wasn’t any danger back then for two young girls to walk that route alone.

This morning we received a brown zippered bag from the state library and spent the day reading, trying to ignore another gray day and snow falling on this first day of April. I’m lucky to have a husband who loves books as much as I do.

No painting today, but I did find out that our Virtual Paint-Out for April is Tunisia in northern Africa. Another challenging trip……  Maybe tomorrow……..

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Monday, March 27, 2017

March in Maine

March in Maine is like an unruly child. Days of sunny blue skies, warming temperatures and melting snow change overnight to gray skies, cold temperatures and snow squalls. It’s a month of sweet smiles and temper tantrums.

We still have a foot or so of snow on the ground, but bare patches are showing here and there. Deer are seen foraging in the bare ground and the cold nights and warmer days herald the start of our maple syrup season.

The red wing blackbirds (my personal harbingers of spring) have been here since the first week of March, almost three weeks early. Hopefully that means an early spring even though today we had snow and freezing rain again. Our sons now have to travel farther north to grab a few more weekends of snowmobiling.

I did get my studio cleaned and reorganized. March snow storms have added to the snow coming off the roof and onto our back deck. This has prolonged the “igloo effect” in my studio. The dense snow pile blocks the daylight and adds a bluish cast to the darkened room which is surprisingly cozy.  

I’m still working on digitizing our old slides and they are providing some great reference photos. This is a slow trip down memory lane for us. My husband and I first view them to decide which ones to keep. Then I scan the chosen ones onto an SD card, color correct them through Photo Shop, re-size, sort and file.

Our Virtual Paint Out Group went to Ghana, West Africa this month. That was a difficult region to paint but I did find an interesting scene, painted and posted it to the group's site. No matter where he sends us, I enjoy exploring and always submit at least one painting. Our group has certainly covered many miles over the years. Wonder where we are going in April?

There are only four days left in March and I am so looking forward to April. This unruly child has been extra naughty this month and needs a long nap.

Stay warm and well. Thanks for visiting. See you in April!


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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ghana, W. Africa - March's Virtual Paint Out

Another interesting trip with our Virtual Paint Out Group.

Formerly known as the Gold Coast, Ghana is a small country on the western coast of Africa. With a land area of approx. 92,100 sq mi, slightly smaller than Oregon, it is home to almost 27 million people.

It is a land of grassy savannas, sandy beaches, dense tropical jungles and dry plains. This red soil is very common. Ghana is a major exporter of cocoa, gold and lumber.

Ghana, West Africa, 8x10, oil.

This painting is available in my Ebay Store – Virtual Paint Out

To see all my paintings from all of our virtual destinations - Virtual Paint-Out.

Thanks for visiting,

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Tennessee - February's Virtual Paint Out

This month our Virtual Paint Out destination was the state of Tennessee. We were assigned a small area south of Nashville to Route 840. I chose the rural town of Franklin. This was another opportunity for me to employ my figurative art class into this simple landscape.

Skipping School, Franklin, TN
9x12, oil

February is my quiet month. After a very busy December and January it's great to use this month to catch up on little projects, read and just relax.

One of my not so little projects this month is converting our old slides into digital images. I found a great item on Ebay that scans my slides onto a sd card that I can load into my computer. Then I can sort my slides and correct the images in PhotoShop. This long overdue project is time consuming (I’m only halfway through) but seeing those old images again has been wonderful. And some of these old images will make good painting references.

Thanks for visiting,

This painting is available in my Ebay Store – Virtual Paint Out

To see all my paintings from all of our virtual destinations, please visit - Virtual Paint-Out.