“100 Flowers Project: Gates Block Garden”

Thank you to Mary Hart & the Gates Block Gardening Team.

“100 Flowers Project / Gate’s Block Garden,”  #63, #64, #65, #66, 2 ½” sq. each, watercolor & mixed media, © 2017, Wamala

I share this collection of paintings from the “100 Flowers Project” with gratitude for Mary Hart and the creative team who transformed the lot on Market St.  If you missed seeing the Gates Block Garden in bloom, keep a watchful eye this spring.  The space is tucked between The Flower Mill and the Gates Block Building.

Living one block away from this delightful addition to Lowell provided me multiple opportunities to savor the gorgeous array of blooms.  Every time I entered through the gate of the charming wrought iron fence, onto one of the little pathways leading around the various beds, I discovered new flowers to photograph for my “100 Flowers Project”.

The Gates Block Garden is yet another reason why I am looking forward to spring’s return.  Thank you to Mary Hart and the gardening team for this lovely addition to Lowell’s landscape.

 

 

 

 

 

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Confessions of this Painter

“Half Moon Bay Surf,” mixed media on panel, 13 1/2″ sq., © Wamala, 2017

I hear individuals speak about their bucket lists and am always curious to listen as they share their heart’s desires.  Travel destinations are usually among the items.  My own inventory includes a wish to savor the infinite, lush greens of the Irish countryside. 

When I lengthen my list, I must add spending time in NYC and Paris for extended stays.  I adore walking for hours in cities with abundant art and cultural offerings.  One of my favorite ways to holiday in an urban setting is to pretend I live there.  I revel in settling into a neighborhood and savoring the restaurants, architecture, shops and people.

Other travel destinations on my list are more elusive.  Those places are inward destinations.  Those trips are more about journeying, and less about arriving.   I have been traveling inward for decades to be present in places where I have created hundreds of paintings.  Those creations find their way into so many appreciative and loving homes.  That truth gives me a full heart.

The painting trips will continue, and to those I be adding the journey of writing a book.  It’s a bit daunting, quite frankly.  Recently, I started saying the words out loud – making it more real and wanting to hold myself accountable to reaching the goal. Right on cue, the inner voices, those gremlins that we creatives deal with quite frequently, started to question my ability to accomplish the aspiration of writing a book.

I am far more familiar and comfortable with paint, paper, canvases, brushes, etc., than the tools of the writer.  Fashioning thoughts, sifting through the multiple choices of phrasing an idea, driving to the center of a concept and then being brave enough to give it voice, in a manner that will be interesting for others to read . . . I’m confessing – this is a challenge that has been on my heart since childhood.   I am not sure exactly how I will arrive at this bucket list item being completed, but I am happy to share that I am embarking on the journey.

P. S. If you see me talking to myself, don’t worry, I am probably just telling one of those self-defeating gremlins to go take a hike!

Image:

“Half Moon Bay Surf,” mixed media on panel, 13 1/2″ sq., © Wamala, 2017

On view at the Brush Art Gallery & Studio, 256 Market St., Lowell, MA in the

Annual Brush Gallery Members’ Exhibition through December 23, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“100 Flowers Project” / a beginning

                  “100 Flowers Project” / multiple 2 1/2” sq. paintings, watercolor, gouache and ink, © 2017, Wamala

On July 29, 2017 I embarked on finding answers to some questions.  On that day I began the “100 Flowers Project.”  I wanted to know more about watercolor painting.   How does the medium react on various surfaces?  What is Yupo paper?  How does the texture of the paper impact the flow of the paint?   

As with any creative endeavor I have tackled, I start seeking answers to questions and inevitably other questions, and sometimes answers, arise.  Fascinatingly, the “100 Flowers Project” evolved to being less about painting, and more about people.

I have reached my initial goal of painting 100 flowers.  The “100 Flowers Project” has given me an opportunity to honor, remember, celebrate and appreciate some of the remarkable people I am fortunate to know.   

Now I find myself at another beginning.  More on what’s next in the life of the “100 Flowers Project” in future posts.

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The Bloom of Friendship / My Friend Linda

           Linda Fortier Goldthwait

I first met Linda at one of the communities where I teach my Elder Art Initiative Program. Linda and I became friends during several months of co-facilitating watercolor painting classes.

I was always impressed with the love and respect Linda demonstrated toward the people in her care.

Linda visited my home studio recently for lunch.  She gifted me with a lovely hibiscus plant and I learned about her new position in a different community.  Linda is currently a significant contributor in her role, where she uses many gifts, talents and skills.

“100 Flowers Project / Hibiscus from Linda,” 2 1/2 ” sq., watercolor, gouache and ink, © 2017, Wamala

In her words, Linda’s mission statement:    “I offer compassion to people suffering from drug and alcohol dependence, while they recover from an illness or injury.  I also coordinate activities to promote stress reduction, sober living, self-expression and fun.”

Thank you Linda~ your dedication and care is incredibly valuable to our society.

 

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Remembering Nana Helen

      “100 Flowers Project / Gladiolus for Nana Helen,” 2 1/2 ” sq., watercolor, gouache and ink, © 2017, Wamala

Nana Helen was in my life until I was 4 years old.  Last Saturday morning I woke up thinking of her.  She was on my heart and mind all weekend.  It was about this time of year, in 1966, when she passed away. 

From my parents stories about her, I understand that she had a gorgeous garden and enjoyed sharing her flowers with others.  All who visited her would take home a bouquet.  I love knowing that she embodied such a generosity of spirit.  This is the same spirit I am striving to embrace with my art and writing. 

Gladioli were some or her favorite flowers, so this week I am sharing a painting of a gladiolus in Nana Helen’s honor and memory.   

Nana Helen and Grampa Tilton, my brother, Mike and I, June 1966

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My Heroes, My Children

Yowana, Pamela, Jake, Jess at Long Beach, Gloucester, MA         May, 2017

My Heroes, My Children

The two experiences I have always wanted are to live my life as an artist and to be a mother.  Being an artist has not been an easy path, but it is a deeply gratifying way to honor what I believe is a calling.

Being a mom has also felt like a calling.  The story of how I have 3 accomplished children who call me “mom” could fill a book … or a movie screen.  For this short piece I will simply say that the richest, most deeply enjoyable moments of my life, have been spent with Jake, Jess and Yowana Wamala. 

These 3 amazing people are my heroes.  Honestly, when I wrote this line I started to cry.  I had to look up the word to be sure it was the correct fit.  The dictionary defines “hero” as “a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds and noble qualities.”

Yup – that’s what I mean. 

I selected to paint a beach rose, as the most recent time the 4 of us were together was in May, for a treasured weeklong vacation in Gloucester, MA.

I love you Jake, Jess and Yowana.

“100 Flowers Project / Beach Rose, for my Children, #101,” 2 1/2 ” sq., watercolor, gouache and ink, © 2017, Wamala

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My Mother’s Garden

“100 Flowers Project / My Mother’s Garden / Water Hyacinth, #100,” 2 1/2 ” sq., watercolor, gouache and ink, © 2017, Wamala

My Mom, Donna, raised five kids with my Dad. Some might say they are still raising us by the example of their lives and marriage. Mom and Dad started our family in their early 20’s – five children in 6 years! That was a full home and a busy life!
 
While we were young, in addition to being a great Mom, Girl Scout leader, cook, gardener, superb listener, pet caretaker, active and physically fit, she was, and is, a nurse. Mom worked nights to fulfill personal career goals and add to the family income.
 
These days my Mom continues to grow gorgeous flowers. Some of Mom’s many other interests include volunteering as a hospice caregiver and dancing – both with my Dad. Mom – Thank you for all you did, and continue to do, for our family and others. I am blessed to call you my Mom.

 

Donna & Bob Tilton

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My Sister’s Garden

“100 Flowers Project / My Sister’s Garden / #93, #94, #95, #96,” 2 1/2 ” sq. each, watercolor & mixed media on various surfaces, © 2017, Wamala

My sister, Patty, is one of the most caring, thoughtful, and generous people I know. 

Because we live hundreds of miles apart, we only see each other a few times a year.  Between visits we content ourselves with phone chats, texts, hand written notes and facebook updates. 

The love in her heart shows in her garden, as in all other aspects of her life.

These blooms are from Patty’s garden in late summer.  I am so fortunate to have Patty for my sister!

Patty Radford, the gardener who grew the flowers I painted in this post.

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“100 Flowers Project: Filbert Steps with Friends”

“100 Flowers Project / Along the Filbert Steps # 87, #88, #89, #90,” 2 1/2 ” sq. each, watercolor & mixed media on various surfaces, © 2017, Wamala

Filbert Steps with Friends

we set out . . .

to find the entrance

to the Filbert Steps –

to scale Telegraph Hill –

to reach the Coit Tower 

to climb to the top –

to see the views.

Kevin Staid, my sweetheart, striking a pose amidst the lush foliage.

we found the Filbert Steps!

an eight block stroll

from Ghiradelli Square,

brimming with history,

cozy homes,

and lush,

loved gardens.

View from the base of Coit Tower, San Francisco, CA.

every step

was worth the trip –

rewarding all

with distant views

and prolific blooms.

the delights were

all along the journey.

Mike & Nancy Wormwood, taking a breather & enjoying the views as we make our way up the Filbert Steps to Coit Tower. 

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“100 Flowers Project – Walking with Family”

“100 Flowers Project: # 81, #82, #83, #84,” 2 1/2 ” sq. each, watercolor & mixed media on various surfaces, © 2017, Wamala

It’s a good thing that my family and friends are patient folks!  Everywhere I walk these days I am a little slower than usual. Ever on the lookout for colorful blooms for the “100 Flowers Project.” 

My brother, Steve, and his fiancee, Dawn, recently visited Kevin and I in California.

In this part of the world there seem to always be flowers in bloom.  Both wild and cultivated plants flourish.

Thanks for a fabulous visit Dawn and Steve.  These little paintings are inspired by our day in San Francisco and Half Moon Bay.

 

Visiting The Interval, our favorite cocktail spot in San Francisco.

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