Sunday, May 31, 2020

May 31, 2020 Sunrise Sunset Oil Painting

Covid 19 Journal
There is light at the end of the tunnel!
The final ZOOM sessions are over.
I blogged about them here→→ Zoom Sessions 2,3, and 4
and here→→Mr&MrsMoo
The 4 photos are a progression over a period of time:
Each and every session that I ventured to my painting corner, I seemed to see something different.
I didn't like this,
or that was the wrong color,
or seriously, does the sky look like this?????? HA
Toward the end of the 'STICK A FORK IN IT' process, I realized that I was my own worst critic!
Shadows, reflections, focal points, blending, and putting finishing touches all came into play.
I've pushed myself these last few weeks during this stay-at-home season...... maybe more than I needed to, but looking back, I'm glad that I did. I've learned accepted a few character flaws concerning myself. I've also realized that personal growth is an ongoing process. Taking the right steps to grow and improve myself is vital to me.
                              NEVER GIVE UP πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

Saturday, May 30, 2020

May 30, 2020 Loch Haven and Familytime

Covid19 Journal
I wish I could capture in my photos, just exactly how much my heart soared todayπŸ’“.
Not only was the weather cooperative, the mere presence of parts of my family added to my excitement.
It had been waaaaaaaaaaay too long.
It was #heavenonearth.
The smiles, the laughter, the conversation.
Here is to a season of family, friends, laughter, and gratefulness.
Shhhhhhh..... don't tell anyone, but I think life is coming back!
 The kids were excited to be with each other.
I've never seen happier people!
Fabulous relaxing conversation..........
 Looking out in amazement..........
 Can't get much better than this! πŸ‘‡
 It is easy to forget the world's issues here πŸ‘‡
Everyone soaked up the moments.
It was a great day of love and fun.
Yes, we were in heaven πŸ‘‡
 ....... and so were they πŸ‘‡
It was time to rejoin the human race.πŸ’“
I could now exhale...............

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

May 27, 2020 Zoom Sessions 2, 3, and 4

Covid19 Journal
What a journal journey!
Here is a brief recap:
Beginning April 9, my solo painting sessions began.→→Oil Painting Session
Fast forward to May 7, I experience the first ZOOM session→→ Mr&MrsMoo, Sunsets, and Zooming
May 13, and 20th ZOOM sessions pushed:
my creativity,
my concentration,
my frustration level,
my patience,
my self-esteem,
my feelings of being sad, mad, confused,
and my memory.
I couldn't tell if I was zooming in or zoning out! πŸ˜…
It was supremely awkward.
(My compassion and sincere sympathies go to all ZOOM instructors. )
As a student, I wanted to be prepared.
I wanted to ask as many questions as possible, which meant I had to be ready and organized.
Paint Palette out✔
Easel set up✔
Lighting just the right angle✔
Enough coffee already consumed so as not to appear like I had no clue concerning what my instructor was saying. 😊✔✔✔
Oh, did I mention the technical aspects of Zooming, which involved my laptop, ipad, and iphone?✔
By the end of my 4th and final ZOOM session, May 27th, I was almost comfortable with the process.
Clearly ZOOMING has its perks.
Clearly ZOOMING reinforced Alan Greenspan's quote on communication:
"I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant" 
Clearly the learning for both instructor and student has been beneficial.
The reward for me was spending time on my own.
In fact, I spent more time painting in my little 'make-shift' studio than I did fretting over the Covid-19 virus. (Truth be known, however, I also spent a small amount of time wondering if I should take up another hobbie😒😒😒..... #notgonnahappen ).
Could it possibly be a reward for the instructor viewing the end results of her students!
Here is a collage of progressions of my 2nd oil painting in ZOOM.
Voila......... the finished Rembrandt   Sharpley oil πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡
And now, for the real zinger....................
I've begun and almost completed ZOOM painting #3
And started Zoom painting #4πŸ’₯
Well........ what exactly was I suppose to do when the rain kept me from being outside? πŸ˜‰
Stay tuned!

Friday, May 22, 2020

May 22, 2020 The sun is out, and my fitbit buzzed!

Covid19 Journal.
After what seemed like 40 days and 40 nights of rain, we woke up to sunny blue skies!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!🌞🌞🌞
***Thankful for electricity, a dry house and most of the veggie garden survived,.***
My morning coffee outdoors was an AHHHHHHH occurrence! There is nothing quite like gazing at the sun and blue skies..... with sunglasses of course.😎
The flowering Mountain Laurel in our yard was drenched, and most of the blooms on the rhododendrons had fallen to the ground.
Today is the kick off for the summer season.
Today the also the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend.🌟🌟🌟
We've made the best of the COVID19 situation, (without too much whining and too many tantrums)
Being outside has helped.
Walking around our mountain took longer than normal.
The pavement was dry,
I could see my shadow,
and I had on a new pair of tennis shoes.
Being cooped up/confined/ and not able to do my normal 100 miles of walking per month, has played havoc on my mental wellness.
Yep, last year, I walked a total of 1,254.71 miles.πŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺ
Read about it here: 2019 FITBIT STATS
I was #oneproudwalker !
Then........ BOOM πŸ’₯πŸ’₯πŸ’₯
In late January, after being diagnosed with "ANGRY MUSCLES" in my left leg, I was forced to go easy on the walking. (like NO WALKING)
WHAT? me, not walk? you're kidding me right?
....... and stop wearing my fitbit?????
Bi-weekly trips to a great chiropractor, tylenol, ice packs, tub soakings, messages, stretches, and GRADUALLY working my stamina back to 'what-ever-I-had' last year has not been easy.
In fact, it has been HARD.
I lost my endurance, my enthusiasm, and my get-up-and-go.
And then the Greenway was closed.......😒
And I wasn't able to walk up or down hills.....
And I could walk only a short distance.....
And .... and..... and....
100 excuses.
Today ended my losing streak.
I did it!πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘
This number and the vibration that my fitbit made on my wrist, when I hit 10,000 steps was as exciting to me as running in a marathon!
Wow, those endorphines were moving around! 😍
Will I be able to continue?
Who knows.
My expectations have lowered a bit..... for now.
One thing for sure, I'll never take the ability to walk for granted again.
Yes, today was a stellar day.
The sun was out, and my fitbit buzzed!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

May 19, 2020 Happy Graduation Ethan!

Congratulations to the Class of 2020 !
What a first!
Online graduation.
William Byrd High School Graduation Online ceremony was a success!
"The Class of 2020 is the most resilient class ever for Roanoke County Schools!"

We watched the ceremony from the comfort of home.
Here is the utube video:πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡
Bravo to the technical teams that successfully produced an amazing experience for the students, the parents, grandparents, and friends. This graduation experience was a first, but honestly, I've enjoyed watching it several times. 
Ken Nicely, Superintendent opened the ceremonies with part 1(Part 2 TBD later this summer)
Without missing a beat, the administrators, principle, teachers, and students took the helm, and presented an hour's worth of memories, accolades, and entertainment.
I was WOWed, and (shhhhhhh don't tell anyone) shed a few tears watching!😭😭😭
It became obvious to me that this class of 2020 high school students was ready to take on the world.
These graduating seniors made their mark in high school
They showed their teachers,
their parents,
themselves, all of their strengths, aspirations, and dreams.
As the Pomp & Circumstance graduation theme song began (on line, of course,) the list of graduates rolled onto the screen......... just like in the movies!

David Scott performed  "FOREVER YOUNG" by Rod Stewart.
Emily Nicely, WB top Terrior, spoke.
Tributes were paid to a deceased member of the faculty.
Valedictorians spoke.
*******Teachers contributed.
(Side note here to say how much I appreciate every teacher that I know. During this pandemic, especially, teachers have exhibited at least 200% of their passion for teaching. The continued work and support showed the students that you cared for THEM). Thank you teachers!πŸ’“
One of the highlights of the evening, was watching a video produced by the students, depicting the experiences they lived throughout their tenure at William Byrd High School.
Oh what memories.....

Of course, special tribute was paid to the William Byrd Terrier, himself..................
Onward Ethan.
Your dreams are becoming realities, as I write.
Your eagerness to join the nursing field is already in progress, as you have begun your summer work at Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Congratulations and best wishes, Ethan Thomas Wood.
The world is in good hands with young people like you.πŸ’“
The end of the online ceremony included, once again, the graduating seniors with their ambitions, and destinations. And.... of course........ the "tossing of the tassel to the other side"!

 CHEERS!!!!!!!!!!!!! and welcome to the beginning of the best and rest of your life! πŸ™ŒπŸŽˆπŸ’₯πŸ’“πŸ˜

Friday, May 8, 2020

May 8, 2020 'Mr&MrsMoo', Sunsets, and Zooming

Covid19 Journal.
Well, for now, until I see a few more strokes to add,
or a few more shadows to include,
or a few more splashes around that ear,
or... or... or...πŸ˜€
Yes, finally I finished my 36"x 36" "Mr&MrsMoo" oil painting.
Painting here at home instead of in a classroom has been a challenge.
I blogged earlier.....(was it a month ago already???) in reference to my experiences, concerns, thoughts, regarding the process of  painting on my own.
Read about hereπŸ‘‰OIL PAINTING SESSION #2
Funny thing happened on the way to my easel.
My fears subsided.
My expectations were lowered.
I took a deep breath.
I remembered that it was just paint.
Hanging on the wall!
My first zoom instruction was a success!
1. I had previously chosen a painting by another artist, to use as a reference.
2. I checked to see that I had the palette of colors and supplies necessary to tackle the next project.
3. I had done the underpainting over the entire canvas (per directions from art instructor)

4. I had my paints, pen and paper ready to take notes, and laptop set up for the zoom call........
Easy so far, right?
What could go wrong?
Now I have to laugh at myself.
All of my well intended preparations turned to mush.
How is this for organized chaos??πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡
I scribbled notes on my drop cover paper as she was giving instructions. 
Thirty to forty minutes of zoom time left me feeling inadequate, disregarding the fact that my art instructor was:
beyond remarkable,
and fantastic. 😘
I have never felt as unsure and incapable as THAT PARTICULAR moment when the session ended.
"Did she say this? or did she say that?"
"What am I suppose to do first, this or that?"
"Oh crap, I can't read what I wrote!"
"I can't remember what she said!"
"EWWWWW.... I just smeared paint all over my hand and shirt."
"Where are my paper towels...... oh wait, I'm not using paper towels right now 😁😁😁".
"And what made me think that I didn't need to wear old clothes or an apron to keep from getting me covered with oils?"
"Which purple did she really intend for me to use, the ultramarine violet or the dioxazine purple?"
"Why didn't I record this, so I could replay it over and over?"
My self confidence was suddenly in short supply.
My brain had momentarily shut down.
Any one out there have moments like this? (I'm telling you, I SHUT DOWN πŸ˜•)
This is suppose to be fun, right?
Fear had crippled me........ until.........
I brushed the first color on my canvas.🎨🎨🎨
Then the second,
and third,
and forth,
and fifth.
Instantaneously, I forgot about time.
Of course, I also forgot some of her explicit instructions.
I hurriedly finished eating dinner, so as to return to my 'make-shift' art studio.
My obsession with blending colors had returned.
Truth be told, I was not quite as confident as I would have been in her classroom.
But these are unique times for personal growth.
Personal growth takes time..... and right now, we all seem to have an abundance of TIME.

Surely you can see the beautiful sunset here, right?πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„
My assignment has not yet been completed for my next zoom session.
For now, here I go........... into the abyss of color.

Monday, May 4, 2020

May 4, 2020 Birding 101

Covid19 Journal
Cheers to countless possibilities!
Identifying birds by sight  πŸ‘€πŸ‘€πŸ‘€
...and soundπŸ‘‚πŸ‘‚πŸ‘‚
ID guide,
and of course, my camera 😁.
The early Monday morning adventure was a success.
Pictured here πŸ‘† is a  SWAINSON'S THRUSH.
Below is a 30 second youtube video of the sounds made by the Swainson's thrush.

Notice a hint of orange around the beak.
Also noticeable is the bold buffy eye ring and buffy breast with dark spots.
These are fairly common and found in moist woods.
Ron and I met another friend (Garland) this morning at the Roanoke Mountain Campground.
Unbeknown to us were 5 other 'Birders' arriving at the same time.
Would you believe......... we knew 3 of them πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€ (Carol, Carol, and Barry)
We also met the President of the ROANOKE VALLEY BIRD CLUB , Kent Davis.
Did I say that these people are a unique breed of people?
They know their stuff..... BIGTIME.
Kent was generous with his knowledge.
His suggestions for beginner birders were helpful.
Times, places, apps, how to listen, how to look, etc.
They are serious about finding
After spending a brief time with them this morning, I have to confess, I see the lure and fascination.
Watching them (creep up,sneak around,hold their breath,use their phone apps for identification,whisper,check in on e-birds, check off their bird list,occasionally mock a bird call, and keeping their hands glued to their binoculars)... was worth its weight in gold.
The looney birds were out in full array this morning. 😍😍😍
Birding for beginners, such as me, can be done anytime, anywhere.
It is very low-cost, after the initial investment of few accecessories.
The National Park Service provides a practical guide here πŸ‘‰ BIRDING FOR BEGINNERS
Yippee to future birding extravaganzas.
I suspect we will be tip-toeing around very early in the days ahead.
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh......... LISTEN, WATCH
Books, mobile apps, and laminated charts are numerous.
Here are a few: