No floor in the studio yet, but my drawing table arrived. Unassembled. The three most feared words in the English language are "Some Assembly Required." Sometimes it is even called "Easy Assembly." That's when you know to run as fast as you can in the ...

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"The Creative Spirit" - 5 new articles

  1. Assembly Required
  2. Waiting for the Sunshine
  3. Good-bye, Hello
  4. Five Little Sparrows
  5. Portrait of a Bearded Iris
  6. More Recent Articles

Assembly Required

No floor in the studio yet, but my drawing table arrived. Unassembled. The three most feared words in the English language are "Some Assembly Required." Sometimes it is even called "Easy Assembly."  That's when you know to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.  Last week, besides the table we were also blessed by a chair and also a bench that needed some assembling.  The problem seems to be that most assembly instructions were written by aliens. And no, by that I don't mean people from other countries. These directions came from a galaxy far, far away - a planet where Part A connects to number 57, and the round peg actually does fit in a square hole, where triangles have four sides and left means right. Fortunately I am married to a man who is a genius at putting things together, so in each instance the end result bore a reasonable resemblance to the picture on the box. Not because of the clear, concise directions but because of Larry's great mind and perseverance.

At this point the drawing table is sitting by a big window in the living room.  Out of respect to the carpet and furniture,  I have to refrain from using any messy art materials, but I am grateful for a place to dream and to plan and to sketch. For now charcoal and graphite pencils will have to do, but it will be a thrill to unpack the pastels and paints when the studio floor is finally finished.  There are commissions to do, and paintings to paint - and they are waiting for me!

Waiting for the Sunshine

Waiting for the Sunshine
White Cat in the Window
Pastel 9 x 12

There are things to do,  people to see, money to spend and here we are stuck behind a window on a dreary, windy day. Lately it seems all we do is wait for the sun. Even indoor kitties like to have a little sunshine now and then.

We have been waiting for new flooring for the studio in our new home, and now it seems we must wait a little longer.  While removing the old carpet, the installers discovered a very soggy board in the sub flooring. They traced the problem to a leak between the siding and the window trim. Freaky, but fixable. Of course the new floor can't go in until everything is repaired, so a little more delay.  But I am grateful for this one - grateful we chose this larger room for our studio, grateful we decided that laminate hardwood flooring would be better for a studio than carpeting, grateful the heavy rain caused this problem to show up before things really deteriorated.  So there is a silver lining of sorts to these dark clouds, but I am still praying for sunshine.

Waiting for a floor

This and other paintings available through my online Gallery

Good-bye, Hello

A New Thing

Having a new home is an exciting and wonderful experience. Being able to live life on one level is a dream come true and I love our spacious, open floor plan. No more going upstairs to bed, or down stairs to do laundry. Yes, there is a finished, walk-out basement,  but I am not required to go there on  a daily basis. Only when I feel like it.  On the other hand, there are things I will miss about Woodward.  It is never easy to say good-bye to long time friends and good neighbors, but it is not as if we are moving to the other side of the world - or even the other side of the state. When the dust settles a little, I hope I will still be getting together with my painting partner Avis now and then.  No matter how tough or chaotic life becomes, painting and good fellowship always makes it better

I will miss my studio squirrel friend. He lives in the large tree outside my window and has become the subject of many drawings and paintings. He is also very good company and something of a comedian, often providing a much needed break from very intense work.

"Tiger Cat on A Red Chair," Pastel

Another furry friend,  the neighborhood cat, Maow.  I am sure he goes by other names aw well, but when I asked him "What is your name?" he said, "Maow,"  so that is how I always address him, and he always answers. He has become quite adept at squeezing through the door whenever it is opened, even just a crack.  I will miss him, but he has a home of his own, so he is OK. Not homeless, just sociable.

It hasn't been easy to leave our studio - so many good memories! But, I am also excited about setting up new creative spaces in our new home.  For our studio/office we chose the largest of the two guest bedrooms on the main floor. I felt a little guilty about this at first until we compared the number of days we expect to have overnight guests to the amount of time I will spend in the studio. No contest. If we ever decide to open a bed and breakfast (NOT on my bucket list. BTW) that might change, but for now this is the new Creative Spirit Studios. Of course it will require a few alterations. The carpet must go. Pencil and colored pencil artists and some who work in collage or acrylic may be trusted to work in a carpeted room, but I don't even want to try, especially not with pastel.  It has a mind of its own and a life of its own. Sometimes all I can do is get out of its way and watch it fly. Right now this does not look like much of a studio,  but imagine it with hardwood laminate flooring,  drawing tables, easels and special lighting.  It will take a while - two weeks just to have the flooring installed; the rest will follow in its own good time. I am learning a lot of patience with this move, especially with myself.  More photos will come.


Five Little Sparrows

Five Little Sparrows

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Luke 12:6

Sparrows fascinate me. Unlike other birds who arrive singly or in pairs, sparrows come to the feeder as a family group. Like hungry diners at a buffet or church pot luck, they seem to enjoy being together as much as they do the meal.  They may not be blessed with the brightly colored feathers or lovely songs of other birds, but they have a wonderful time. 

Sometimes paintings are made with a theme in mind, and sometimes the theme just happens.  This was originally about the cute little birds at the backyard bird feeder. I didn't make the connection the the "five sparrows" until it was finished. Foollowing the rules of composition, when painting multiple subjects it is usually better to have an odd number rather than even number. Three seemed too few, seven too many - the individuals would be lost in a crowd that size. So, there is the story of the five little sparrows. But not the whole story. The entire passage reads:
 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

It is comforting for me to remember, especially during difficult times, that God cares for all His creatures. And if He does not forget the most humble of his creatures, He will not forget you or me.

This is an acrylic painting on gessoed illustration board, 6 x 14.   Purchase information is available on my gallery, The Creative Spirit Gallery Art by Della Burgus


Portrait of a Bearded Iris

Bearded Iris
Oil on canvas, 8 x 10
I inherited my love for iris from my mother. Her garden was always filled with them and I remember looking forward to seeing the majestic flowers every spring. They looked like orchids, their petals were velvety soft, and their colors reminded me of the royal robes worn by kings and queens.  If there had been a variety named "Sunrise," Mom would never have gone to the nursery and purchased it anyway.  There was no money for iris bulbs in her world. You got your flowers by trading with friends and neighbors, or when people had to divide or thin their plants, they might give you some rather than throw them away. Then you would return the favor with some of your plants another time.  As a result, iris were violet or lavender, and occasionally white, or a two-toned gold and purple, but they were still beautiful.  My mother would have been thrilled to see all the colors and varieties of iris available today: black, white and everything in between.

"Sunrise" began life as an acrylic painting but I soon realized that the nature of the flower called for a more direct, impressionistic approach, than the thin layering process I had planned for it.  Most of the time I let the subject, or perhaps the composition, decide the medium,  and in this case, it was good to switch.  The soft blending and subtle colors of the oils were perfect for this beautiful flower.  Less detail, more "soul."  Spending more time with oils lately. It has been like rediscovering an old friend.

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