We recently spent a few days in upstate New York visiting with extended family of Mr Pict’s while his parents were also in the country. The couple with whom we were staying own a boat so – on our first full day there – we were treated to a trip out on Canandaigua Lake. Canandaigua is one of New York’s eleven finger lakes. I learned it was 16 miles long and 1 mile wide (hence the “finger”) and was about 130 feet deep on average – but sinking to 276 feet at its deepest point. Humphrey Bogart used to vacation at Canandaigua so it’s an upscale kind of place. We saw plenty of incredible properties lining the shore as we headed out on the boat, some of which had their own funicular systems for getting down the steep hillside to the water’s edge.
Our kids had never been on a powerboat before so this was a first time experience for them. They were unsure of the motion of the boat, especially when it slammed into and crested the wakes of other marine vehicles. They were especially not enjoying the motion when Mr Pict was given a turn at driving the boat. What they absolutely loved, however, was getting to tube. A large inflatable was launched into the water and pulled behind the boat with the Pictlings (and sometimes their dad) clinging on. There were zero complaints about the motion then. They were grinning and laughing the whole time as they were flung around on the tube. At first they were tentative and asked that the speed be kept to a minimum but soon they were using their hand signals to request higher speeds. Our youngest, who had been the most reticent to clamber on to the tube, didn’t even bat an eyelid when he and his father were pitched off the tube and into the lake.
After a few hours out on the lake, we pulled into one of the marinas and enjoyed an evening meal at one of the bars there. We felt like we were really getting to experience a little sliver of life as part of the boating set. I think our kids might be wanting a boat now.
Last week’s Colour Me Positive prompt was on the theme of Courage. While the theme and the supporting quotation failed to spark any creativity in me, the optional prompt to incorporate a boat did. For some reason, an echo from childhood reading and singing perhaps, the first thing that popped into my head was Edward Lear’s poem ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’. I drew around a side plate in pencil to provide me with a circular frame and then I drew the characters and their pea green boat in ink in a fountain pen. I used watercolour pencils to add colour. Simple.
This week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Mati Rose McDonough and was titled “Treasure Seeking”. The focus of the lesson was to create an abstract background and use gold leaf.
I have not used gold leaf – not even faux gold leaf – in many a long year, not since I left High School actually. It is wonderful stuff and I love the impact it has on a piece of art. However, one of the commitments I made to myself was to work with the materials and media I already have and to make substitutions where required. Other than a splurge on Neocolor II crayons and Posca paint pens – which I assessed looked pretty necessary for the Life Book course – I have been very self-disciplined and stuck to that. Of course, my Amazon wish list grows longer every time I watch a tutorial but as someone who enjoys being thrifty none of the wish list items are leaping into the virtual cart. So I had to make my response to this lesson work without gold leaf. My solution was to paint a piece of paper with three different gold acrylic paints blended together by scraping them on with an old plastic card. I was then able to use that “gilded” paper for collage.
Mati Rose McDonough’s video tutorial encouraged we Life Bookers to create an abstract background using whichever techniques we felt inclined to use. I struggle with creating truly abstract art work. I can work in an abstract style so long as I am making the shapes and marks resemble something. Therefore, I could not stop myself from seeing the paper as being divided up into sea and sky. When I added the drips, in three different colours of blue, at the top of the page, I saw them as storm clouds and rain. When I added spatter at the bottom of the page, I saw it as sea spray. I added the hot pink dots, in three different sizes, for a punch of colour contrast and also to try and add a slightly more random element. A line of sparkly tape and some flags cut from gelli plate prints helped tie the colour scheme together. I used paint pen to add the mast and anchor and alphabet stamps to add the phrase “find it and treasure it” to the golden hull of the simplistic boat.