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Painting-Lovers in Autumn

This is one of my all-time  favorite paintings. I painted it before I started blogging about painting, so I wanted to tell you about it. Over the next little while, I’ll also do a few posts on the paintings in my shop that I haven’t written about yet. They’re all significant artifacts of my life, they deserve to have their stories told.

Four years ago this month, Sam asked me to marry him. As I sat on Santa’s lap and told him what I wanted for Christmas (guess what?) Sam dropped to one knee and presented a Ring-Pop with my gorgeous engagement ring on top.

We didn’t have any money, so we joked that he’d have to propose with a Ring-Pop. Yes, I ate it afterward. And my actual ring tasted like grape.

That’s a cute story, but it started with the preceding autumn.

I love how the light changes with the seasons, and I remember the light of that autumn was very gold. Everything glowed during that time. Every night, the sunset lit the sky on fire.

That’s how it always is when you fall in love.

24X30 Acrylic on Canvas

This piece is available for purchase here.

New Painting: Ribbon Dancer

I actually started this one in late September, but I just finished it last week. Sometimes it just works out that way, and that’s fun. I have a few other unfinished pieces floating around,  but the time will come.

The inspiration for this one came when I took a drive through the mountains with my husband and two of our good friends. I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it was, so of course my artist brain was going nuts. I was so enthralled by the yellow leaves and glowing sunset that I forgot to take pictures or sketch anything, which is fine too. Sometimes it’s better to look and soak in the moment than waste it by trying to capture it.

I spend the week after that reading nature poetry and taking lots of walks, try to process what I’d taken in. Finally, I painted this. I usually use references as loose guides when I paint trees, but this time I wanted them to look less realistic and more cartoonish, like story book trees. I collaged red tissue paper and string, scraped the paint on with an old library card and built up the texture by adding layers of bright color. Finally, I added a poem by my favorite poet, Emily Dickinson in the red sky, written in sumi ink:

Nature rarer uses yellow
Than another hue;
Saves she all of that for sunsets,–
Prodigal of blue,Spending scarlet like a woman,
Yellow she affords
Only scantly and selectly,
Like a lover’s words.
It just fit so perfectly.
It wasn’t quite finished, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to add. There was no figure yet, so it didn’t feel complete to me without the juxtaposition of humans and nature.
Then last week, I was going through one of my pinterest boards (by the way, if you really want a thorough look at my brain, follow me on Pinterest) and I found a picture of a woman dancing with a ribbon. Something clicked in my brain, and I knew I wanted to paint a ribbon dancer celebrating her own joy and the beauty of nature.
So I did.
This piece is available for purchase here.

Autumn Walks

One of my favorite things to do in the whole world is walk. I usually walk pretty fast, but sometimes I just take my camera for a nice, long, slow walk. Fall is so pretty.

Then, of course, I feel inspired to come home and paint.

My November Gratitude Project

Before I jump in today, I’d like to announce that several of my paintings are now available on Etsy! Also, for the time being I’ve decided to showcase my art and life as an artist here on Handprint Soul, because this is my cozy little online home and it feels right. Will this change the blog? Slightly. Many  of my posts will be more creativity and art oriented, but that is the place I’m in right now. I feel that this will only enhance Handprint Soul, and I’m excited!

Every year around this time, my energy and mood takes a noted drop. I wrote about this last year as I tried to accept and appreciate the coming of winter. This year, I’ve decided to celebrate the inevitable as well. I plan on writing a post about my plan for dealing with winter blues later, but for now I want to share with you the little ritual I’ve created for myself this November.

Premature Christmas displays aside, November is the month in which we typically give thanks for what we have. I believe that gratitude is one of the keys to happiness, and changing my mindset to one of gratitude is what truly lifted me out of years  of depression.

I wanted to make gratitude a more conscious act this month instead of just waiting for Thanksgiving, so I created a ritual to celebrate both the seasons and the many things in my life that fill my heart with thanks.

Every day on my walk, I pick up a leaf. I usually go for the pretty, colorful, well-shaped ones. When I get home, I use a marker to write something I’m grateful for on the leaf, and I save it it a box. So far I’ve given thanks for my husband, my body, the seasons, education, and even gratitude itself because it’s like Miracle Grow for the soul. On Thanksgiving Day, I plan to cap this project in a special way. It’s a secret. And by secret, I also mean that I haven’t completely decided what to do with them yet. I have a few ideas, but I’ll wait until the time is right to decide.

How do you give thanks? Do you have any gratitude rituals?