Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane, co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments, relating to the topic, are welcome as it turns an article into a discussion, but must be in English, with no links (unless pre-approved), use of profanity, or threats.

Painting in header by Diane Widler Wenzel.




Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Samhain

by Rain Trueax

Most know that Halloween is October 31st, a holiday that some consider All Hallow's Eve, but it has Celtic and pagan roots where it is known as Samhain. Pagan holidays like Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain follow a yearly tradition of seasons with spiritual connotations. 

Samhain is the day when the 'other' side is closer to human life than usual, where some put up altars to their relatives who have departed because they feel the veil is most easily pierced. It's not surprising why costumes like ghosts or witches have been popular for the parties or trick-or-treating.

In my books, I've sometimes used these celebrations. Samhain is in one of my Oregon historicals, [Love Waits], and I plan it will be (with more of its spiritual meaning) in the work in progress. 

In the historical, it was for fun and showed the family's growing strength where marriages happened and children began to grow up. Jed (hero from Going Home) wanted to share with his Oregon family the Scottish and Southern traditions with which he'd grown up.

Here's a bit from the fourth in the Oregon series-- a teaser for the family as well as readers for what might be coming. 

from Love Waits:



Belle headed back down the hall and looked in on Rand before she went to the children’s rooms. The girls were already whispering and so she opened the door without knocking. Jessica seemed enamored of whatever Laura was telling her. She looked up at Belle. “Samhain,” she said. “That’s what it is next week. Did you know that?”

“No, I did not. What does it mean?”

“It’s when we play games and bob for apples, and something Uncle Jed called Puicini. It’s kind of fortune telling. Do you think that’s bad?”

Belle smiled. “Not at all. How do you play it?”
“You are blindfolded and then there are four saucers in front of you. They are moved around. The one you choose is what your next year will be full of.”
“And the saucers are each?
“Earth, water, beans, and money. I guess we all want money as not sure what the others would mean.” Laura grinned. “Uncle Jed said they do this from where he came. It’s a nighttime game. He said sometimes even with fireworks. I haven’t yet gotten to do it but they said we will tomorrow night.”
“It sounds like great fun especially the bobbing for apples.”
“It might be pagan.” Laura’s face took on a worried expression.
“It doesn’t sound like that,” Belle said as she helped Jessica out of her nightgown and into a dress. “It sounds like it is nature oriented. Working the earth and it yielding all you wanted, would be like a garden. The water would be maybe a trip.” She smiled as she considered other options. “Or enough rain to keep the land good. “Beans would be food, and of course, we know what money is, don’t we.”
“He said they sometimes decorate for it too. It’s also about the ones who... went before us. Kind of, I think.”
“Then even better.”
“Except, he said sometimes there are ghost stories,” Laura said. “That might be scary.”
Now Elizabeth and Jessica looked worried. “What’s a ghost?” Jessica asked.
Laura looked at Belle for help.
“Well ghost stories are just for fun. They are supposed to scare us but in a way that we know it’s not real. So you get tingles up your spine.” She reached over and tickled up Elizabeth’s back. “And they can be about mysteries where nobody knows what really happened, and they tell stories to try and figure it out. Does your Uncle Jed have some ghost stories that he shares?” she asked trying to turn this back to Laura. She hoped she had said nothing to interfere with what Amy had been teaching.
“Uncle Jed said he would tell us one. One he had been told when he was a little boy. It has to be in the dark though. He said anyone could tell a ghost
story if they wanted. Do you know any?”
Belle smiled remembering how she had admired her older sisters and wanted them to show interest in her. Now she had a niece. She had not thought how important a responsibility that was.
“Well, if I think of one, I’ll definitely share it.”
Laura, Elizabeth and Jessica smiled broadly.
“And I forgot,” Belle said, “head to the kitchen. Breakfast is ready.”

All images from Stencil
 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Part III: Diane Widler Wenzel on How I Hang the Pictures I Paint


A general description of a painting studio is a work place for painting fine art. I seldom work in my mostly storage for painting studio.



In Part III the bedroom storage studio contains a large selection of easy to find paintings. They are assessable whether I need them to hang in a gallery outside the home or for experimenting with   throughout my home. In the doorless clothes closet two storage bins are on wheels so I can pull them out to for the paintings on the sides and back.


The small studio work area gets messy but I know where my watercolors, acrilics, oils, brushes are more or less. Also some of my tools for hanging pictures are on the shelves below like the studfinder, hardware for aluminum frames, hooks and screw eyes. Sometimes the tape measurer is there or where I was last using it, but can most likely be found in the kitchen drawer which also contains the hammer, plyers, wire cutter and screw drivers. Behind the workbench not in the picture is a step stool which often is a neccessity in hanging pictures since I am short. The pictures on the wall with pictures is wall storage. The antique grade school first aid cabinet contains ceramic pieces and collage items.


The open  storage cabinet is also on wheels important for a small room. I have plenty of wall space for paintings and a bulletin board for notes on coming shows, inspiring quotes, and reproductions of favorite works by other artists.


The cabinet has doors that open to a top shelf with new and used sketch books. The middle shelf has my oils and some framing supplies. The lowest one holds a wooden box for hauling paintings currently filled with framed paintings under glass ready to take to the next venue.

 
 
The clothes closet is converted to storing two rolling open cabinets for storing paintings and other supplies. The metal shelves were purchased from a family who used it as a pantry. The top half has finished work of mine and other artists and below I sort whatever papers that are in process.


I feel blessed to have a husband who is not only supportive but provides for my life as an artist by building art stuff and giving me space in our home and time to paint. My working painting studio where I actually paint is any place on our property indoors or out where I can hang a painting and set up my painting stuff.  Often I look at a once finished painting and think of a new direction. So I haul out my paint brush and add a stroke or two of paint. Most often I paint on our patio or I roll back the tablecloth from the paint drop cloth underneith.
 
In conclusion to this three part series I hope to interest at least one person to be more adventurous. Fearless enough to ask what if and then follow their instincts.  Buying or making paintings, then starting to bravely pound hooks into their walls in places they hadn't considered as ideal.  Then leaving empty wall spaces to compliment their groupings of paintings. 
Being creative is natural, satisfying, challenging and never complete. The feeling when overcoming the frustration in learning to master a new skill is very much the feeling felt from being a fine arts painter with a rich creative development.  In addition, I have found that I can be a continuously prolific painter in a limited space.  The thinking behind collecting and hanging paintings can be just like the thinking process of a painter.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Part II, Diane Widler Wenzel on How I Hang the Pictures I Paint.

I couldn't be happier with last Sunday's  lunch with visiting family to celebrate 120 paintings hung at home and then the public art opening at Albany Public Library's main branch.    A sister-in-law commented,  " I could hang way more paintings than I ever thought I could. "  upon seeing how I hang groupings between large empty spaces.  One of my daughters wanted a grouping of 3 paintings from the corner fireplace installation in the dining area. The home celebration and reception made me feel loved by my supportive family and friends.

Part II of how I hang paintings continues with examples of how empty spaces around the paintings are important to their effect on us.  Also covered are my experiments in hanging solutions in the dining area and the entry from the kitchen to the laundry room.

Dining with Paintings that Contribute to the Room's Ambiance

Below is Don eating and a panoramic view of the green paintings that he sees from his side of the table. I selected for him green, his favorite color. Green is clean looking and soothing.




Below is Diane and a panorama of what she wants to see - a cozy corner:



Walls of three entries frame paintings.
From the front door the eye is apt to look beyond on into the dining area with busy activity and also paintings.

From the kitchen entry to the dinette the view includes empty wall space.

The  hall from the back of the house. 

The cool colored green paintings and white matt make the warm colored collage dominate the grouping. The collage is suppose to be the first thing seen.  Then looking at the collage the eye is directed leftward by a  shape pointing to the warmer colors in the green paintings, thus the eye moves around this grouping. The green vertical painting with a black matt counterbalances the warm collage. For me this group works. I hope that it works for others. Purhaps the reason Don slows down as he eats is because he has some greens around him.
To frame or not or hang out from a corner?
Two of the paintings and the collage are framed with oak frames made by my fantastic partner, Don. The paintings that are unframed work better in a grouping?  Or do these frames isolate them acting as obstacles preventing the eye from moving from painting to painting?
I feel none of my groupings have to be perfect because my hangings are works in progress. I am learning and do not know all of the answers. I like to ask, "what if," as I decide the next grouping.
 
An innovation for me is to draw attention to corner paintings by hanging them so the sides are on opposite walls. The kiddy corner arrangement makes them more dominant especially when walking down the hall from the back of our house.  From down the hall the left side wall is at too much of an angle to see what is happening in the paintings hung flat to the wall. Corner paintings work less like windows on the wall and more like a three dimentional architectural fixture that I have difficultyillustrating in a two dimentional picture.
For the coldest wintery nights we remove paintings close to the fire box and keep a fire burning.


 Paintings are clutter busting by creating distance in tiny laundry / fly tying / utility room.  
In this cluttered place I see the painting before the clutter. How about you?

After adding a painting with deeper dark green depth to the wall behind the sink,  there is a greater sense of depth. I feel less cramped.
Because of the humidity of the laundry room I do not leave pictures here for long periods especially during the winter. 


Rotating paintings is a favorite way to get inspired for making more paintings. Some of the ones I will be rotating are stored in my studio.   I will show my studio with storage cabinets in the next blog, Part III, How I Hang the Pictures I Paint.



Saturday, October 21, 2017

Part One: Diane Widler Wenzel on How I Hang the Pictures I Paint



This post is about hanging art in my home but first a brief announcement.
Everyone is invited to my painting exhibit, "Water Speaks,” opening tomorrow Sunday, October 22 at the Main Albany Public Library upstairs in the periodical area between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM. The library is at 2450 14th Ave SE. The paintings can be seen during regular library hours until October 31st.

I am Diane Widler Wenzel, a fine arts painter with a large collection of my own art. Over the past 65 years I have sold some of my art but still have a big representative collection of my own creations. I like to live with my paintings so I rotate them. I swithch paintings around every time I start to clean house. Revolving art gives me a lift in spirit like living in a newly remodeled home. A recent epiphany came to me while washing windows and hanging 114 works in my home to show to possible clients.

The way paintings are displayed in a home can change how we feel.   You bet they can.  Painting groupings can even improve how I feel about my spouse's habits and different likes.

My husband Don and I live in a 1950's vintage, 1,200 square foot, one story, ranch style house. The living room is long and narrow with a long gallery wall facing a large picture window providing north light.This gallery has expanded over the years to every available wall space in the house creating an uncomfortable, visual stimulation overload. Bright active paintings were jumping out at us everywhere. So I have come up with ideas on how to hang more and more paintings so they both energize and sooth us. My aim is to make our home beautiful for both of us.
When hanging my painting I consider the views of my work from the locations we occupy during our daily doings.


For 32 years on my living room gallery wall I have auditioned my latest work next to older pieces for comparison. Also, I view them here before choosing the final touches. Since my epiphany I understand Don and I view the wall differently from our different easy chairs, the computer, the coach and when we enter the house. Don and I gravitate to different places with different views of my paintings so I can select his favorite impressionistic works where he is most likely to see them. I place more abstract warm and active paintings in the locations I see them.
I didn't use to think as deeply of how my work was effecting Don. Now I understand that my husband and I want to live in a comfortable space for both of us where we can be free to spread out our activities without the confines of decorator magazine perfection. He can lay out his fishing gear and prepare for his next trip. I can paint in either the livingroom or dinning room when it isn't nice enough on the patio.
 The shape of space around the pictures in a grouping is very important in making an overall impact.
 
Intuitively I have hung the largest paintings at the entry into the living room creating the impression that the wall is longer. The spaces between paintings is larger at the entrance than between the paintings at the end. The stair stepping of heights, and different sizes create an interesting negative space around the paintings. This shape around the pictures makes an overall casualness that impacts our feeling about how we want to live.
 
The more active are the color contrasts,
the greater the need is for a larger surrounding empty space and order.
 
 

Hanging next to the window is a painting called “My Palette My Table” in which I, with an open bag, stand small, practically unnoticeably harvesting lushious color. This painting is energizing to me but also is orderly because of the repetition of squares. Repetition goes beyond the painting. Squares and rectangles in my chair space include the stacking of abstract square paintings on the white wall, the lamp shade, the Guatemalian tapestry and the picture window.
I view this island of energized order at our computer desk where I am immersed in an island of clutter, I am too close to the gallery wall to see the casually hung paintings but I do see Don's island of doings and an occassional hat or pair of sandals. For a rest I can turn towards the window and my corner chair with the energized large painting made orderly with repetition of squares within and surrounding the painting. Then beyond to the empty front door area with empty walls.
A balance of motion and rest is not a newconcept to me but now I can apply with love to my relationship with my husband. It is as true in a painting as it is true when considering how to hang paintings in the architectural spacet o make a home our oasis of activity and rest.

Coming in Part Two of How I Hang the Pictures I Paint will be about our dining area, kitchen and laundry room. I will share ideas on making better use of corners that get visually lost. Discuss museum wrap, frames and  framing pictures with the architectural elements in the room.  Part Three I will show my studio/storage with ideas for storing more art in a small space with easy access for making rotations throughout our home.


I believe every painting collector has a different living space and different needs that their collection can satisfy. Collectors not only own a part of someone elses creativity but they can embark on a personally rewarding, creative journey of their own in finding what gives them the most satisfaction in how they display their collection. Perhaps some of the principles I have discovered here and the ones in future posts will be adaptable to your own collecting process. I hope you will share some of your experiences here in comments. I am still learning.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Rainy Day co-author Diane Widler Wenzel

by Rain Trueax


In 2004, with no real idea what I'd do with it, I began blogging. I did it for almost two years and thought-- I don't want to do this. A few months later, I had second thoughts, but someone had already claimed the title I'd been using. Fortunately, I had saved the posts and put them into a new blog I called [Age Old Beauty]. 

In 2006, I began this blog and have continued, once in a while with some doubts but kept on through them. I basically like connecting with readers, sharing my ideas, and now and again getting comments. It's been fun.

Now I am starting something new with it-- taking on a co-author. I have debated how to introduce her here, as we share a friendship over 50 years. Wow, that's hard to take in-- basically as long as our respective marriages. Our husbands actually met before they met us. When they entered grad school, we all headed for Arizona, found apartments in the same complex, swam in the community pool like fish, hiked and explored. She painted everywhere we went. I did some too but mostly I wrote-- my first manuscript got it's first rough draft in that apartment. When we returned to the Northwest, the friendship lasted past starting families, seeing them grow up, and finding ourselves heading into old age.

What I tried to decide is how to introduce Diane Widler Wenzel here. Do I do it as that longtime friend, with lots of shared photos including most recently in the spring renting a house together at the beach or do I do it as how I've loved her art through the years, have many of her paintings on our walls, and enjoy seeing what she's doing as she creates new work constantly? Maybe a little of both.

So starting on Saturday, Diane will be posting here with sometimes about her art but also about whatever else piques her interest. She is a very talented painter but more than that, an interesting woman with diverse ideas on many things. We often don't agree, but we always can discuss and respect each other's views. I have no idea what she'll choose to bring to this blog-- to me, that's exciting.

She also has an open house at the Albany Library here in Oregon from 1-3 on Sunday. If you are in the area, come check out the many paintings she's had hanging there. Diane is generous with her art, hangs it in many places to share with others. Her philosophy toward that art will be one of the many things she will be sharing as she joins Rainy Day Thought.
 from 2013 when Diane also hung her work at the Albany Library

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A special day-- October 18th will always be

by Rain Trueax

Some many years ago, on this day, I became a mother thanks to my daughter's arrival. There are some moments in life that a person always remembers and for me this day is definitely one of them. I had no idea then how much I'd love her, how that love would never lessen, that I'd always worry if something wasn't going well with her, that I'd always be thrilled when she had a success. Being a mother was life changing for me-- but I went into it without a clue lol

 Photos taken on the way to hospital

 he didn't understand why I wanted these photos but you humor a lady in labor.

 first Christmas as a family. She was 2 months old :)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Louise Balaam

by Rain Trueax
 
Let me admit at the onset that I love paintings of many sorts. My favorites though are abstracts or very impressionistic landscapes with intense colors. I've seen abstracts in pastel colors that do nothing for me, but give me one with intensity, and I'm sucked right into it. I want to study it and see-- how'd they do that! how did they decide what was needed? What should not be shown? I am in awe of the gift and skill.

Mountain of the Angels Bright Clouds by Louisa Balaam

Unfortunately, I have no talent at all for painting abstractly. If I did, I'd be doing more painting. I love the feeling of working with a brush, using color, but nothing ever turns out as I want when I try to reduce it an exciting image. It's easier for me to find artists I love (but usually cannot afford) than to paint something myself-- even though I have huge stretched canvases just waiting for the moment when I can do it... It hasn't yet come. 

Dark Blue Gray and Slanting Light by Louisa Balaam

When online and I come across work by a new artist, I am like a kid in a candy store. I love those that have the dynamics of a landscape but feel abstract-- like those by English painter, Louise Balaam. I liked how her paintings (the ones I saw) are on square canvases, while most painters use rectangles. I think it works to give it that abstract feel while it's also an expressive landscape. I like how the paintings have the kind of energy that is universal-- specific to one place and yet could be many places.

Sadly for me (good for her), I learned that while I can admire, I cannot afford one of her paintings. If she ever does prints, I might be able to afford one of those. I don't buy art as an investment. I buy it because I adore it and want its energy on my walls.

At the Top of the World Birdsong Overhead by Louisa Balaam

I appreciated Balaam's statement about her art philosophy. It is what her art says to me and also how I see my writing. Powerful creative energies filter through all true arts-- in my opinion.
My work is inspired by an emotional response to the natural world, in particular to the quality of light, which is a vital part of the mood of the paintings. I draw in the landscape and then paint intuitively in the studio, so that the work both has a sense of place, and yet can also evoke memories and personal interpretations in the viewer. There is a sense of intimacy and intensity, and the idea of a glimpse into a remembered reality. My paintings relate to the English landscape tradition – Constable’s oil sketches are an important influence.

I like the sensuality and depth of colour of oil paint, used in direct and gestural brushstrokes, which assert the materiality of the oil paint and of the painting’s surface. I often work in oil on panel, which allows me to scratch into the wet surface. The meaning of the work emerges from the language of paint, which is allowed to be itself before it is a description of something. I am fascinated by the capacity of paint to express things which cannot be put into words: a mysterious process takes place whereby the marks of the brush work on a subtle level, setting up an emotional and poetic resonance.

I paint intuitively, so the painting becomes an entity in its own right which starts to make its own demands – in a sense, it begins to answer back.
© Louise Balaam
She considers her work to be expressive landscape paintings. I like that idea and that she begins with bringing a drawing back to the studio and letting remembered energy be the painting.

To give an idea of her work, I took a couple of images from her site. It wasn't easy because I liked all of them (but isn't that second one fantastic, probably my favorite). I love huge paintings. Wouldn't that one look fantastic at four foot and on a wall!

Head on over to her site to see more work, sizes, and galleries. To me, it was inspiring. There wasn't one piece there I couldn't imagine in my Tucson house, which has mostly western feeling paintings but these would fit right in

Saturday, October 07, 2017

music speaking to and for us

 image from Stencil

It was a difficult week... or month... or year. Writing about it does not feel productive. I heard though the words below shared in Facebook; and although I liked Tom Petty a lot, I was not familiar with all his music. The lyrics to this one seem to say so much about what we as humans go through to exist and hopefully prosper. We aren't all the same, and we never know what someone else might be thinking-- sometimes even someone dear to us.

Also on Facebook I heard someone find fault that people were making a big deal over Tom Petty dying when so many others were. The thing is, some people make a bigger difference to more people. Song writers like Petty fall into that category when they speak to life and what it's all about. He is a loss to his family, especially when he died before what we see as his time, but he's also a loss to the rest of us who won't hear the next song he writes. At least though, we have what he had already written and performed.


Shadow people, what's in their head,
In the car next to you, when the light turns red?
Could be thinking of love, might be thinking of hate.
I guess it pretty much could go either way.
Shadow people in shadow land

That one's thinking of great art and eloquent words.
That one's strapped on a gun and joined up with the herd.
That one's saving up water, got some food stored away,
For the war that is coming on the judgment day.
Shadow people in shadow land

And this one carries a gun for the U.S.A.
He's a 21st century man.
And he scary as hell, 'cause when he's afraid
He'll destroy anything he don't understand.

Well I ain't on the left, and I ain't on the right.
I ain't even sure I got a dog in this fight.
In my time of need, in my time of grief,
I feel like a shadow's falling over me,
Like shadow people in shadow land.
Shadow people in shadow land
Shadow people in shadow land
Waiting for the sun to be straight overhead,
'Til we ain't got no shadow at all.

Shadow People

When I went looking for the year he had written it (it was released on an album in 2014), I came across this:
The singer explained to USA Today: "I'm not extremely political. I just look at what makes sense to me. I would think we'd be in the streets demanding that our children be safe in schools. I see friendships end over politics. I've never seen such anger. That's not how it's supposed to work. In a two-party system, ideas are argued and you compromise. You're not supposed to stop the process." 
 It has not gotten better is about all I can say regarding that...

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

yes or no?

Yesterday's post about a contest is concluded. A winner was found by random drawing. If you didn't go there, the question I asked was one intended to be helpful to me as a writer-- What age heroine do you prefer and can there be an age where she's too old for you to be interested? Paraphrased as I can't remember the exact wording.

There are a LOT of contests online from various sources. Do you think they are good, bad, or indifferent?  Sometimes it seems to me there is something going all the time. Are they distractions? Beneficial? I really wonder about it with no answers for when I should participate or not. Authors, although we are also readers, don't enter into giveaways from other authors. It's considered for the readers. My question is how often should I do it as they take time away from writing.

It is fun to give others presents though. With author contests/giveaways, the hope is a new reader will discover a book or that someone who can't afford books will get them. Random drawings mean there is no way to be sure that happens. These 'events' are considered promotional, but I've never found it was for me. 

Anyway, any thoughts on it? Do you like contests? Lotteries? Giveaways?

 

Monday, October 02, 2017

Marvelous Monday


 As with many writers, I belong to an assortment of groups of various sorts. On Facebook, one of mine is for contemporary western romances. This doesn't mean cowboy but does mean a western ethic that permeates the stories. Unlike some writers, who prefer one genre or another, I enjoy writing historical, paranormal and contemporary romances-- but always the romance and the cowboy up ethic. 

As part of belonging to groups, sometimes there are events and contests. One for Contemporary Western Romance is called MARVELOUS MONDAY. When the idea for making Monday special by a contest came around, I said, hey, count me in and took a date. I then promptly forgot about it.

Sunday, with it being a new month, I turned over my calendar and there was the 2nd with the words-- MARVELOUS MONDAY! I felt a moment of panic and then thought how lucky I had turned the calendar over with enough time to figure this out as to what I'd do for a prize. 

Checking over what others had done, I created a banner and decided on the prizes-- two signed contemporary paperbacks, a necklace, Christmas ornament, bookmarks, and one that doesn't show up on the banner-- $10 Amazon gift card. To enter, answer the question (there are no wrong answers), and be willing to give me your address for both the package and where you want the gift card to be used.

If you have already joined Contemporary Western Romance, then answer the question (where there are no wrong answers). The random drawing will be Tuesday morning (Ranch Boss does that job with his cowboy hat and numbers). If you have not already become a member, join up. It's a place to find out about new books in the contemporary genre-- and there is always Marvelous Monday!