Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, May 30, 2016

Seed Work for Authors and Artists - Visiting the Trees

"Through the Branches" acrylic/canvas ©Mary Montague Sikes
I belong to the Chesapeake Bay Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, and the group is working on an ambitious project that isn't really new but involves creative thought and effort. Over the past few months, we have produced work for a collaborative exhibition that will go on view at the Mathews Bay School on June 4. "Painting, Poetry, and Prose, a Creative Encounter" brings together artists and writers who study each others work and become a part of the artistic process.

My seed art piece is actually a small sculpture I formed in Montana talc a few years ago. I don't know if a writer has been inspired to make a statement in poetry or prose about this three-dimensional work, but I hope she has. I'll find out soon.

In reading over the seed poetry and prose, I was drawn to a poem, written by Bev McMillan, titled "In the Trees". I love trees. From my writing studio window, I gaze into woods where long ago Pocahontas probably played. This forest edges a creek that flows from the Mattaponi River, and I wonder if Captain John Smith in 1612 perhaps journeyed up our little waterway as he mapped our tidewater rivers long ago. Maybe he even climbed up the bank and explored our woods.

Over the years, I've painted our trees many times, often with my children in the foreground. Sometimes I stare into the woods and wonder what these trees have witnessed with so many people passing through time.

Like the author of the seed poem, I believe, "Everything has been in the trees."

Friday, May 13, 2016

Reflections on The A to Z Blog Challenge 2016 #atozchallenge

This year I decided to create a Heart a day for the A to Z Blog Challenge. This was a fun project, and I am very happy with the painting that I finished during April.

My "So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air" will soon be on display at Crossroads Art Center in Richmond, Virginia. This painting shows visually the significance of the words we use and upon which we reflect. My painting starts with an Aching Heart, continues on with Broken, Cheating, Dramatic, Fragile, Reckless, Shattered, and more all the way through the alphabet. Most of the hearts represent an emotion.

As a romance author, I wanted to choose words that reflected the emotions I might use when writing a story or a book. Some of the letters did not have a word that worked for a heart, so, in those cases, I sometimes chose a color, like "U" is for Ultramarine Blue and "Y" is for Yellow. Since yellow is a favorite color of mine and represents sunshine, I didn't think until later how Yellow could also represent the heart of a coward. In my painting, the Yellow Heart is that of a bright and cheerful person.

To the right, I show some of the pages from the sketchbook I used as I planned my painting. Each day I posted in my blog the new acrylic heart I created on the canvas. The quick drawings from the sketchbook are done with pencil and soft pastel sticks. They gave me an idea of what I wanted to paint on the canvas, but often the ideas changed when my brush touched down and started to spread the delicious wet paint. The color took over.

That's similar to what happens sometimes when I write a book.The characters take over and do something completely unplanned.

I believe my finished painting demonstrates the importance of the words we choose as we write and as we speak. Here is "So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air" as produced during the A to Z Blog Challenge in April.
"So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air" acrylic/mixed media on canvas ©Mary Montague Sikes

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Good Wife Goodbye

In the midst of reflecting on this year's A to Z Blog Challenge, the series finale of The Good Wife occurred. Since I was captivated by this program for all of its seven seasons, I had to watch the last episode immediately. I had to put aside all my reflecting about painting little hearts the entire month of April. I had to think about how Alicia in this final TV series event must have had an exploding heart that went far beyond my shattered heart from "So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air".

As a romance author, I expected a "happily ever after" ending to the series. After all, Alicia had been through so much for Peter. She had truly been the good wife to him. But that was not to be.

I suppose the return of Will in the final episode should have been a foreboding of how it all would end. After all, Will was the love of Alicia's life, and when he died that event dealt a crushing blow to the series.

Another revealing point was when Alicia touched Peter's hand (as her lawyers instructed her to do) and Jason saw it. That was yet another indication of how it all would end. How could the Good Wife be anything but the good wife in the end? Jason saw that and knew he would always be second for Alicia.

Then there was the slap that Diane administered to Alicia. That slap had great meaning. It slapped Alicia back into her place. In the end, while standing by Peter, Alicia had betrayed everyone, including Diane who had always stood beside her through her many trials and tribulations.

This was not the way I expected the series to end. But upon reflection, it was the only way. The show had to live up to its name, The Good Wife.

Perhaps there will be a spinoff series in the future. I hope so. I would like for Alicia to discover true love and happiness. I would like for her to desert Peter forever.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Completed Hearts Canvas is Here #atozchallenge

"So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air" 24 x 48 acrylic on canvas ©Mary Montague Sikes



My painting with 26 hearts from the A to Z Challenge is completed, I think. There are several images I am tempted to brighten or to change in some way. But I don't know if I actually want to make any changes.

What do you think? These are little heart paintings from the day to day posts. Together they now compose the 24" x 48" acrylic/mixed media painting, "So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air". Should I make changes or leave it like it is? It's hanging on a wall in my studio, awaiting a final gloss medium finished coating.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

"Z is for Zealous Heart #atozchalllenge

"Zealous Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Z" is for Zealous Heart for the last day of the A to Z Blog Challenge. This is the final heart on my painting, "So Many Hearts Dancing in the Air".

A zealous heart can have many meanings. A person might be super active and vivacious to possess this heart. It's an exciting and colorful heart to have.

This is probably the strongest of the little heart paintings on this 24" x 48" canvas, and it is located at the far bottom corner. Not a good thing artistically. As the last painting, it is pulling into the canvas or is it pulling away?

The painting has more of the acrylic gel and Golden acrylics. It is upbeat and fun.

Next week, we will revisit the finished canvas. I hope you will tell me what you think.

Thank you, everyone who has visited this project. Thank you, all the folks who have made the A to Z Blog Challenge possible again this year.