Not Unrelated

The leaf at the foot of the stairs was batted down from the second floor, one step at a time, by Smithers in the early hours of the morning. It must have been the most fun Smithers has had in ages. She probably reached the bottom step and wished the flight went on forever.

Smithers is also responsible for the color scheme on this spread. I dipped my brush in a Windsor & Newton half pan in the dim light of the evening, and took a brush stroke on the page. I’d been aiming for burnt umber but I got aquamarine! Noooooo!

For a moment my mind could not resolve my inability to remember which colors were which in my palette—I’ve been using it for more than 10 years. I replace the pans as they are used with the exact same colors because I am comfortable with these colors. How could this happen??? I actually returned to the pan for a reload thinking perhaps it was a bit of aquamarine on top of the umber…nope.

How did this happen?

Then I recalled Smithers sitting in front of me the week before. Looking me in the eye, looking down at the closed and dry palette, using one deft swipe to send it crashing to the floor. It fell from the height of the coffee table, so what harm could it do?

I groaned, “Smiiitherrrs.” As I picked it up from the floor, I noticed one of the paints (not the pan, just the dried paint) was sitting on the floor next to the still closed palette.

Apparently, Smithers is magic. Ha…she wants me to think she is, but I can appreciate physics and force enough to understand the dynamics that allowed the palette to eject a small block of dry paint, and then come to a rest face down and closed.

I picked it up and put the paint back in its proper pan. There was a white hole where my burnt umber should be.

Kind reader, I crawled around on my floor in multiple sessions over the next three days searching for that missing chunk of paint—swearing at the rotten cat the whole time.

I’d resigned myself to ordering a new burnt umber half pan for the set, when I discovered the aquamarine pan had two lumps of paint! AHA!

It took the top chip out of the pan and put it back in its proper pan with a small feeling of relief washing over me, and a heart filled with forgiveness for Smithers…that sweet little scamp.

Last night was the first night I painted with my recovered palette and the paints were in the wrong place!

Smithers might be magic.

Both the burnt umber and the aquamarine had been dislodged from their pans in the short fall, they had then switched places COMPLETELY in the air so that, upon coming to rest, the burnt umber was in the bottom position of the aquamarine pan.

That is quite a feat of acrobatics in such a short distance.

Since I am currently under the influence of the Olympics, I believe I need one of the snowboarding judges to tell me what type of twisting madness was involved.

Not unrelated…everything is a little interconnected and fun to watch.

Walking Trees

If you’re a Tolkien fan, Ents spring to mind when walking trees are mentioned.

Prior to 2018 I had no further mental reference than Ents myself. But then I had the opportunity to stand under the Banyan tree in Lahaina Maui. That was a magical treat.

For the landscape company that maintains the tree, the mere mention of it probably makes their backs ache. A Banyan tree in the wild is a dense and impenetrable life form. The one in the center of Lahaina has been carefully sculpted to make rooms for a brick paved party with seating under its protective branches.

This sloppy bit of scribbling is my mental picture of this…

Photo by PaulT (Gunther Tschuch) taken in September of 2018. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HI_Maui_Lahaina_Banyan_Tree_Park2.jpg

That is all one tree! The tree branches grow so far they send down support trunks.

We are the limit of our own experiences. I still look at the Banyan and feel amazement and wonder. Anyone from Lahaina would say, “it’s just a tree, what’s the big deal.”

The big deal is that even with all of our shared experience as humans— eating, drinking, and sleeping on this planet—there were Banyan trees in your life from day 1, and it took me more than 50 years to find out they exist.

I may have seen a picture of this tree at some point in those first 50 years, but my mind would have considered it a copse of several manicured trees instead of one large tree.

The big deal is that I know a lot of stuff, but I am still learning.

A slightly smaller deal is, with the stack of craft paper I got from just one package, I have plenty of opportunities to make a much better rendering of this beautiful tree.

Pipevine Swallowtail Mixed Media

How do I know it’s a Pipevine Swallowtail? My 2021 National Wildlife Federation calendar titled “Treasures of Wildlife” told me.

It also told me the photographer’s name is Robert Day from Daybreak Imagery.

I respect their copyright despite the fact my use is not for profit, so I’m not going to show you the original photo. Instead, I encourage you to visit their online gallery. Richard and Sue Day are talented photographers so you’ll enjoy the visit. You may want to set a timer before you click through so you don’t lose too much time browsing.

Here’s the mixed media (iridescent watercolor, ink, and watercolor pencil) piece I made from it:

Pictured again with a little tilt for the light and iridescent paint to show off their shared talents.

I think I need to do a little reading about this butterfly. The University of Florida has a “Featured Creatures” page about them. Apparently that luminescent blue is an aid in mating.

Time to go to work. Have a great Tuesday!

Teeny Mountain Ranges

It’s been a strange day. I had a plan for the day, and Mother Nature’s desire to play with power lines using gusts of wind has diverted me from my tasks.

My calendar got a pocket yesterday, and I had a couple of pieces of construction paper scrap in the pocket for some other time.

Now turned out to be the other time. Inspired by @estherup TikTok posted to Pinterest (search finds no match for me to link).

I made teeny mountains.

You may have noticed I mentioned scraps with an “s”. I had so much fun doing the first one, I made a second one for my altered book.

This time I made a winter mountain scene using a chalk pencil that was part of a SketchBox. I’ve taped it into the altered book to preserve the chalk, but there was a little smearing on the far right mountain top as I taped it into the book.

The resulting smear reminds me of a wind-blown swirl of snow lifted from the mountain top. And just like that, this post comes full circle to the effect of wind driving action.

Rose for 5-Day Challenge

I’ve been having some fun in my altered book. Sunday’s cosmo prompt filled in one side of the spreads hide-away page.

This morning I came across a Facebook post of a David Suzuki quote (text below in case you can’t read my mediocre handwriting):

The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are biological kin, not resources; if the planet is our mother, not an opportunity—then we will treat each other with greater respect. Thus is the challenge, to look at the world from a different perspective.

David Suzuki

The flower challenge for Monday morning was a rose.