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“Seven Spring Lambs” by JR Nelson

This blog started out differently.  I had a preconceived notion of how this would go. Easily.  I do have a mighty work ethic when I decide to. I knew, even though I had prior commitments, I could still participate at a high level.  Well……. best laid plans, etc..  The concept of my Caerus participation was to inaugurate my new studio and get to work immediately. I also intended to start a new landscape series.  It usually takes many weeks for me to get comfortable enough to paint. Think of a dog circling round and round in a circle before he can lie down. Yes I know it’s an ancient response to root out snakes in the grass. Let’s not be literal here……  This is, instead, a tale of how I paint under extraordinary circumstances.

A few days prior to the start I cleared as much of my schedule as I could.  I moved my studio into my home dining room and moved the dining room outside, to create an “al fresco” place to eat  for the Summer. See pictures.  My studio is a tiny space but definitely workable.  Then I followed more of Nishi and Suzanne’s good advice and filled my larder. Food is an important part of sustaining my creativity (I also paint it) and so I made the extra effort to make a low-cal but scrumptious Jambalaya.   At least a gallon of it. Atmosphere is also crucial and so I set up my Bluetooth sound system and made a new room scent (I love to blend natural fragrances) and the whole space now smells of pomegranates, blood oranges, and French Vanilla.

Sunday Day One: was a beautiful day. I painted 7 hours with a break to go to an opening of an exhibit I’m in. I also saw the biggest Black Oak ever. It’s in the Marin Art and Garden Center’s riparian environmental garden behind the Art Building. It was too big to photograph.  I came back and worked on the new painting.

Monday Day Two: The work day started with 7 workman at 6:45 am.  It was my turn to get a new roof.  Hammering-more like pounding-and a huge air compressor over my head for the nail gun.  The whole house vibrated and the glassware clinked in the cupboard. I painted on my lambs for 6 hours. It was like trying to paint a Russian Minature with Parkinson’s.

Day Three: It’s enough noise to tempt me to stand at the bottom of the ladder and yell “IMMIGRATION”!  I have a trip to house sit in L.A. in a couple of weeks and I had to get my car serviced for the trip so I took it in and decided to use this noisy day to be my inspiration day off.  My Sister picked me up at the car dealer and we went on a new adventure. We went to Hunter’s Point (yes I know-Northern Watts) to a FAB garden design and nursery business “Flora Grubb”. Yes that is a real girl’s name. All the help are exceptional garden designers in their own right.  Young and very hip.  I have included some pictures. Then we made our way back for a late lunch at “Kitti’s Thai Food in Sausalito.  This is all ‘feeding my spirit” so bear with me.  It really got my color juices flowing.

I picked up my car and hear that it needs $1000 more unexpected work or the engine may blow up.  Thank you for sharing…… I get home, and the workers are done for the day, but have soaked my outside dining room’s hand embroidered red table cloth and cushions.  They came into my yard and took my hose sprinkler to cool themselves off on top the roof. It’s still up there. That event processed (a temper tantrum),  I finished the painting at 9pm. I started writing this Caerus journal and loading the images to share with you from my camera when Photoshop quit. Froze. Melted down.

Day Four: After a remote intervention by my MAC guy Photoshop starts working this morning.  Today I go for a second opinion on the car. Red Hill Motors folks. Write that one down.  Only $400 (instead of the $1000) but must be done ASAP.  Tomorrow.  I come home to more hammering and feel sorry for the guys. It’s 200 degrees on that roof. I have momentarily forgiven them and will not revoke their over-stayed visit to this country.

I have new painting plans for tomorrow if I can get a ride back from the mechanic in time.  If not I’ll use the time to go through my favorite landscape books for inspiration. Oh, one more thing: I practiced signing my paintings. Those who know me know I don’t sign the fronts. I decided I wouldn’t mind the look if I could imitate John Singer Sargent’s beautiful script. Fat chance. Wasted hours practicing. Problem is I don’t have the same letters to work with.  Those S’s and the  g balance his script.  J.R. Nelson looks blah.  All above the line. The secret to signing is having the right name. Maybe I’ll change mine to Sargent. I’m on my 3rd name already. What’s one more?

One last thing that I also mention on my artist page: I paint in oils and I’m not a color minimalist. Dried up paint is a money-waster.  I bought a 1/4″ thick piece of corner smoothed glass as a palette. Then I inserted it in to a Masterson box and kept it in the freezer between sessions. It stayed wet for 45 days and was still (mostly) usable.  This is my hot art tip for the day. Well, time to sign off and let someone else get a word in.  I’m on to the next painting. Happy creating!

JR Nelson

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