I have been very busy with cleaning and rearranging my studio, which is in the basement and shares space with many other things. We have a refrigerator down here, the dog crate, food storage, and exercise equipment, including a large treadmill. It had become a place to stash extra stuff which had no immediately apparent use in our lives. So, it was time to unload some stuff and make the space more usable. We are still in the process, but it is so much better. Without so much stuff, it is much easier to clean, too, which is something I am not good at and have no real desire to do, but it must be done. Here is a couple of before pictures and an after:
These pictures were taken after we had started the process of cleaning and rearranging. It always seems to get much, much worse, before it gets better. But, this gives you some idea of what it was before.
Now the after. This photo is just one corner, but it is the painting and computer areas. I have my still life stand, which is actually a wine rack which is built for bottles underneath and glasses to hang from the top. I taped some cardboard along two sides and hung a light on the side and it works great. I will need some dimmer bulbs, because the light is way too bright. I am still not finished with the little things like putting things where they belong and cleaning details, but it is looking so much better. I love having floor space to walk around and breathing space. We also installed two LED lights in the middle of the room and it is almost like stadium lights when they come on. When I first turned them on, I thought, “We built it and now they will come.” Who is coming? I don’t know….
Okay, now for Eggbert. My first painting in my new studio. This is oils on an 8×10 stretched canvas. I really enjoyed painting this. I found myself singing while painting. I used yellow ochre, naphthol red, burnt umber, ultramarine blue, and titanium white, and a little linseed oil. I used two brushes, one for the background and eggcup and one for the egg. By the way, do you know which came first, the egg or the eggcup? Have any of you ever used an eggcup? Have any of you ever eaten soft boiled eggs? I don’t recall doing either of them, myself. I love a nice runny yolk with fried eggs, although we don’t eat eggs, anymore, and we don’t have chickens, either. That’s another story. Well, without further eloquence, allow me to introduce Eggbert:
When I got to France I realized I didn’t know very much about food at all. I’d never had a real cake. I’d had those cakes from cake mixes or the ones that have a lot of baking powder in them. A really good French cake doesn’t have anything like that in it – it’s all egg power. — Julia Child
Guess what? I have been reading. Here is a list of some of my latest books. I must remember to write them down as I read them, because I know I am missing some.
Deep Work by Cal Newport. It is a very good thing to know, what he has to say about deep work (what he calls intense concentration), but it is not a very exciting book. I actually have not finished it, because I got to a certain point and had to take off and institute some of his suggestions. I will finish it soon.
A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (Wolgemuth). This is a lovely book that helps you to get motivated to have a regular and very satisfying devotional time every day. I am not very good at it, so I need all the help I can get. Nancy is a powerful woman of God and I am very glad to sit at her feet and learn from her. I have not instituted all her suggestions, in fact, I am using the app from You Version on my kindle. It sends me a verse of the day and reminders to read my bible and pray, every day. That helps me quite a bit. But, Nancy’s book is a worthy read, too.
Vittoria Cottage by D. E. Stevenson. I don’t know how to describe this book, except to say that it is a soft and lovely book about a family who lives in a cottage in a small English village around the end of World War II. I love these kind of books. There is enough tame action to keep me interested. Rather along the lines of Jane Austen or Dora Jesse Saint (AKA Miss Read). I read another book in this series, but didn’t know, until halfway through the book, that I was on book three (Winter and Rough Weather). I finished book three, but now I need to find book two and read it before going on.
All Done By Kindness by Doris Langley Moore. Oh, wow! This book was one that I just could not put down. I would walk around the house, doing what needed to be done, with the book in my hand. I’m glad it was a kindle book, because carrying the kindle reader around is much easier to do when folding laundry or doing dishes. LOL! So exciting. It is a novel of intrigue in the art world and it takes place in a small village with occasional forays into London. I was so satisfied with this book that I immediately read another of her books, called Not At Home. This one was quite strange. I got upset with the main character many times and would slam the book down and say, “I wish she would just stop and do what she knows she needs to do!” But, then I would pick it up and see what she did next. It was frustrating, but I couldn’t stop reading it. After it was all over, I’m glad I continued. It was different, but very good.
The Unstoppable Creative by Todd Brison. Some time ago, I read his first book, called The Artist’s Curse. It was very good and spoke volumes to me. This one was very good, also. Both books are a tremendous pep talk to me, who gets discouraged far too easily in my walk as an artist. He is a writer, but he speaks to all artists and he is very encouraging. This was an audio book and the author read it, which made it even better. He is a good reader and he is enthusiastic about it, because, well…it’s his book, after all.
Nuts by Kacy Cook. This is a children’s book which is about a family who ends up raising two baby squirrels which fell out of a tree in their yard. It is cute, although I got a little tired of the main character lying to her parents. But, in the end, it all came right.
Candles in the Dark by Amy Carmichael. This book is a compilation of extracts from the letters that Amy Carmichael wrote from her sick bed during the last twenty years of her life. She was a missionary to India in the early 1900’s. I love to read Amy Carmichael, although it stretches me and convicts me quite a bit. Such words of wisdom and poetic loveliness all emanating from a bed of pain and inconvenience. A beautiful book.
The Caxley Chronicles (The Market Square and The Howards of Caxley) by Miss Read. These two books are by one of my favorite authors (of hundreds) and it takes place from just before Queen Victoria died until about 1950. It chronicles the life of two families in a small town in England. One patriarch is a baker and one is a man who sells metalworks like pots, pans, agricultural tools, and lots of other things made of metal. They both have their businesses on the square facing each other and they both live above their shops. The tale goes through both world wars and many changes to their lives. Wonderful stuff, as usual.
The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers. Oh! This book! So good! I was given it by a dear friend and when I tried to start it, I just didn’t like it and couldn’t get past the second chapter. But, recently, I tried again and I guess it was time. I couldn’t put this one down, either. It is about a graffiti artist, who has a bad history and his future doesn’t look so hot, either, but although his graffiti is done anonymously, he is enjoying success with paintings on canvas which are hot sellers at the local gallery. Personally, his life is a mess. Enter a serious and proper young lady, hired through an employment agency to be his personal assistant. She is a Christian, also, and let’s just say that they don’t always get along and the Lord is the only one who could keep her at that job. Thankfully, she was not his type, so she had nothing to worry about in that way. This book is a deep and hard roller coaster ride. Such a good book!
The Diary of A Country Parson 1758-1802 by James Woodforde. I am currently reading this, very slowly, a little at a time. This is a very easy, not too exciting, mostly amusing look at a quaint and quiet life.
My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired by Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander. This is interesting, but I have to roll my eyes at some parts of it. People are so weird. I know I am weird, but my weirdness is familiar. LOL! Anyway, there are a few things in this book I can use. The rest I will leave and move on. Success is relative, by the way.
So, this is what I have been reading recently. What have you been reading? Have you read any of the above? Do you read at all? I don’t know if I would continue to breathe without reading. I love it. Art, books, coffee. Yeah!
You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. – C.S. Lewis