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Archive for the ‘landscape’ Category

That Blue Light Just Before Dawn

That Blue Light Just Before Dawn

That Blue LIght Just Before Dawn, oil on canvas, 10″ x 10″ ©SCurtis 2016

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In the Garden

In the Garden


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Eternal Rocks: Katahdin Stream Falls

Eternal Rocks: Katahdin Stream Falls


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Inching My Way Back




“Summer Clouds Over Hills,” oil on canvas, ©Sukie Curtis 2015

I have a confession to make: sometimes I get stuck, really stuck.

A lot of time can go by when I don’t paint. My paint-avoidance might begin in the somewhat natural let-down just after a particular “push” to finish pieces for a show or some other external deadline. Sometimes other things–like family events, travel, a change in schedule or in who happens to be home when–come into play.

Soon a week become two weeks, and two weeks become a month, a month becomes two months. And the longer it goes, the harder it is to begin again; and the harder it is to have much confidence in myself as a painter. It’s a bad deal all around!

I know I’ve mentioned this phenomenon before (and probably will again)! I am remembering a thought expressed in the book, Art and Fear–to the effect that art-making is about not giving up, about finding ways to start over, again and again.

As you may have guessed, I’ve recently been in one of those stuck places, built of circumstances and stuff like fear (fear of failure? of course! fear of success? probably that, too!) and all sorts of tiresome arguments within myself.

And the process of inching my way back has been built much more deliberately and intentionally than the process of getting stuck. Some of my tricks and tactics include drawing for fun, low-key sketching and playing with watercolor pencils–just to keep my hand in the game and to remember the pleasures of lines and color.

Then came giving my paint brushes a long overdue, thorough cleaning. (Another confession: I am NOT a diligent washer of my brushes. I cheat and skimp in that department.) And then I scraped old blobs of paint off the glass surface I use as a palette. So everything was ready!

Last Sunday when the house was empty of other people, I too was ready to paint. And painting over some older paintings that I wasn’t happy with seemed just the place to start.

The painting pictured above, “Summer Clouds over Hills,” is one of the results. The skies lately have been beautiful and full of fascinating, ever-changing clouds. I have a feeling this is not the only cloud-scape I will be painting!


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Summer Clouds Over Hills

Summer Clouds Over Hills


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Skylight View


Sketchbook page: watercolor pencil, oil pastel June 13, 2015

Morning by morning

my skylight teaches me this–

clouds never stay put.*


*Except when they do, or seem to, as on an overcast day when the sky seems “stuck.”

But on other days–days of clearing winds, for instance–the view through the skylight near my desk is constantly changing. The light and shadow in the treetops that frame the lower portions sharpen and blur, sharpen and blur, repeatedly. And the hues of green change with them.

And the clouds! Sometimes they meander across more or less horizontally. Sometimes they race from top to bottom of my view, traveling more or less in a southerly direction, I think.

Clouds shape-shift. Thin clouds seem to evaporate or grow so thin and so distant as to disappear.

Other days everything moves much more slowly. Imperceptible movement within a field of uniformly pale grey. Not my favorite days, those “stuck days.”

But then, we don’t get to choose the weather, do we?

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Two Paintings, Two Haiku


Surprised to Come Upon Roses, oil on canvas

Mornings come and go–

the cardinal’s liquid song

announces this one.


Above and Beneath, oil on canvas

Above and Beneath, oil on canvas

Salt tang in the fog–

the grey-green dampness dripping–

the red bird redder.



These two paintings were painted long ago (the first, late last year? the second, almost two years ago). I wrote the two haiku this morning.

And then it occurred to me that they make an interesting pairing of words and images.

The two paintings are currently part of the show, “Abstract,” hanging at River Arts in Damariscotta, Maine through June 25. If you’re heading through mid-coast Maine, stop in to see a large and interesting mix of pieces spread through several rooms.

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Islesford Clothesline

Islesford Clothesline


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The Power of Orange


Mandarins, Stems and Leaves, ©Sukie Curtis 2015

Deep in the grip of winter, with deep snow everywhere you look outside, it’s nice to get some color indoors. Fruit, flowers, fabric, paint–anything to brighten things up!

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Saints in the Snow


“St. Francis is head and shoulders above the Buddha,” I remarked wryly the other day–between last week’s blizzard named “Juno” and this week’s latest snow.

Bekah heard me from the other room and said something like, “Oh, I don’t know about that.”

I was actually making a statement of fact from physical observation, not one of opinion about the relative merits to humanity of St. Francis and the Buddha.

“Look out the window, and you’ll see what I mean,” I said.

At that time, before the latest nine-inches-plus-drifting that arrived two days ago, our backyard statue of St. Francis still showed his head and shoulders above the accumulating snow. As often happens, his shoulders were draped in a thickening white mantle, and he cradled in his hands what looked like ever-growing snowbirds.

But now (see the above photo), far less of Francis’ shoulders are visible.

“And the Buddha?” you may be wondering. Where’s the Buddha?

The Buddha’s head is that small peak to the left and behind Francis, close to the center (left-right-wise) of the photo’s upper section. I like knowing that underneath it all, the Buddha is still sitting, smiling slightly, unperturbed.

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