Thursday, June 17, 2010

Change of Scenery

From my yard to's that for a change of scenery? An unheard of extravagance for us...going to Jamaica. There is a story here..having to do with my husband's niece and her wedding, plus her mother. My husband's brother, sister-in-law, and their two children have lived in Chicago for many years...and thus have been far away from us with few visits due to the distance. So last year, the niece decided she was getting married and wanted a "destination wedding" with friends and family. Meanwhile, her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and has been going through many chemo treatments and bravely fighting off this cancer with an indomitable spirit. She is really energetic and amazing, and we are hoping she will win this fight. So...there was no question that we would do all we could to go to this wedding and spend some time with all of their family and friends.

We've never been to the Caribbean. And I have to say it was a resort destination, so we saw only a glimpse of Jamaica outside of the Sandals experience. And what we did see was a rugged island with a poor economy except for the resorts. The area around the airport at Montego Bay looked more like a flourishing city, but the area in between Montego Bay and Negril was pretty rough. The pictures here are of the resort. I was surprised, for some reason, to find the resort looked exactly like the advertisements for Sandals resorts. It is a playground for water sports and young sunbathers. And I am not a beach baby, so I had to be careful to not get too much sun. First thing in the morning was slathering up with spf 90 sunscreen, putting on a bathing suit, and loafing around in the pool until it was so hot outside I had to go find shade. A good bit of the time I was looking for photo shots that I thought I might use for paintings. The resort is manned with industrious and energetic lovely Jamaicans who were gracious and did all they could to make our stay wonderful. I was very impressed with them and have to say, besides the scenery, those people were the best part of the experience. (aside from being with our family, of course.) The resort does a lot of commercialization promoting itself over the week which I found to be annoying. But I realize these resorts are the backbone of the Jamaican economy and they need to do all they can to bring it on every chance they get.

Now for the next adventure. We returned on Saturday evening, unpacked and regrouped on Sunday and Monday, and Tuesday I had surgery. Sooooo, though I can type, I am still on pain meds and recovering and not close to going back to painting yet. It is not life-threatening or too serious, but will take me a few weeks to get back to normal. I am hoping by the end of next week I'll be able to get back to it. From spring, with adjusting to my Dad's death, this trip, the yard and house, changes with my husband's job situation, and now this surgery, I feel like we have been on a roller coaster. Not dull..certainly. For now I am heading back to bed and sleeping the rest of the day....but I wanted to share some of the scenes of Jamaica. The colors were fabulous and I will always be glad we went there.

'Til next time...

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Around My Yard

I'm going to be out of range for a couple of weeks...down the rabbit hole, up in smoke, into the wardrobe, missing in action, behind the looking glass, somewhere else, etc. So I was thinking about what you might like to look at while I don't post for a little while. I thought maybe you would like to see some of the pictures I've taken this spring around my yard and house for painting references. I usually don't show the surroundings very much, but I do live in the woods. My yard is a lot of work and yet I love the trees, the rocks, the flowers...everything but that dastardly red clay that is impossible to dig. It's like digging in brick. We have a compost system and over the years we have built up the flower beds with some better soil to assist the gardening. That has helped tremendously. As you can see, we have had some beautiful flowers this spring. There are more to come over the summer. Some Dahlias, Zinnias, and I am hoping for a few lilies. The Hydrangeas have out done themselves this year.

There is a story behind the cupola which resides on the very pinnacle of my studio. I used to own a company called Wild Hare, the logo for which was a running rabbit. This gave my family and friends the opportunity to give me rabbits for every occasion for several years. When we built the studio with a 4 hip roof, the top needed embellishment. My husband built the cupola and had a local sheet metal company make a copper roof for it. And then my children bought me the gorgeous weather vane with a running rabbit.....the icing on the cake. Ooh la la!! I love both the cupola and the weather vane and each time I look at them...I think about my dear family and I also think I should do a painting of that scene up there.

So there you are...hope you enjoy the scenery!

Picture are as follows:
1. Peonies
2. Irises
3. Begonia basket
4. Rabbit Planter by the studio doorway.
5. Piracantha by the Driveway
6. View from the Second Story - Hydrangeas
7. Cupola with Rabbit Weather Vane