Monday, July 11, 2016

Wishing I were there

Well, I am back from vacation.  I confess that I am struggling a bit with the post-vacation return to reality.  Laundry? Housecleaning? Bill paying? Meal planning? Who cares. I want to sit and read and paint and poke around on my ipad, in that lovely vacation mode of having nothing more pressing to do than wonder what relaxing thing to do next.

So I am prolonging (and reliving) the excursion by scanning my sketches and uploading my photos and telling you all about it.

For this adventure, Miss C and I packed up the car and headed north, with Whidbey Island, Washington as our ultimate destination. It's two days' worth of driving from here, so we had planned stops in Oregon on the way up and back which proved fun as we were able to connect up with Miss C's aunt and cousin on the way which was very fun. C's 9 year old cousin has fallen in love with horses so we had a breakfast filled with horse photos and talk. It was fun to see them connect on a new level around a common passion.

 I'd rented a charming cottage outside of Coupeville for the week, and it turned out to be perfect. The shot above is the view from the whole back of the house -- so I'd seen this from the outside deck and the living room and dining room and master bedroom.  I loved getting up in the morning, making coffee, and settling inside or out (depending on weather) to gaze at the water and look across at Camano Island.

 There was a lot of wildlife in the yard.  Each morning and evening I'd find bunnies hopping around the garden. This mom and baby pair did a lot of playful chasing which was fun to watch.

How fun to be greeted by bunnies every morning!

I did a lot of exploring and sketching and painting. I was struck by how inspired I was to draw and paint -- perhaps because of that relaxed vacation feeling of having no chores at the back of my mind to make me feel like I should be doing those instead, also from wanting to capture new experiences and places, I guess.

I have the practice of painting the place where I'm staying as a way of recording that memory, and I had fun doing this of the house we were in.  Something about drawing a plan of the interior is very fun and satisfying to me. Maybe I should have been an architect.

I had to take a stab at painting the view of the cove, of course.

On one drizzly day, I spent some time painting some of the flora from the garden. There was a huge holly bush in the yard, with a few red berries peeking out from the mostly green ones.  I guess there are early bloomers in every crowd.

I did a bit of out-and-about sketching, too. In the town of Langley, there's a bronze statue of a boy and his dog, and I had a pleasant bit of time sitting in the sunshine sketching and painting it.

I also spent some time at the Useless Bay Coffee Company in Langley, which I love for its great food, coffee, and beautiful patio.  I started painting a view of the doorway near my table, then as I sketched I started talking with a couple who've lived on the island for 30 years. It diverted my attention and the result was sort of a muddy mess, but still, it was fun and I'll remember that nice conversation when I see this in my sketchbook. Every time I've been out in public sketching on Whidbey Island, I've gotten into interesting conversations with people and have discovered that there are a lot of artists who are eager to come over and introduce themselves.

The quiet times were interspersed with wonderful visits with friends, delicious meals out (oh, those Penn Cove mussels!) and even a delightful visit from a dear and special friend from Maine who happened to be in the Seattle area over the holiday weekend. So we packed in a lot of fun for a 10 day trip.