Saturday, 30 October 2010


Is it really nearly the end of October? Is it really time to change our clocks and finally properly step into winter and its dark evenings!? I must have relaxed too much taking in the bright colours in the parks and haven’t noticed that lots of bloggers have already been talking about Christmas for a while! What does it make me: someone who’s behind or someone who’s just not in a hurry?

To be honest I’d like to stop the time and make the days at least a bit longer. I don’t understand people who get bored if there’s nothing decent on the television. I might get depressed thinking that there’s so much more I want to do and not the other way round. I certainly wouldn’t need anyone to entertain me… or to keep reminding me that it's "nearly" something. That's when I get stressed and, instead of doing something quicker, I stop completely.

I haven’t been stressed (not yet; wait till it really is nearly Christmas and I start panicking I haven’t got all of the presents), so I haven’t stopped. On the contrary, my blog has been neglected just because I’ve been trying to do too much: preserving autumn in between an old book’s leaves, knitting long warm scarves, painting pomegranates and still getting the garden ready for the immobilizing cold.

Well, looking on the bright side, tonight I'll get an extra hour. Will that help to fit everything in? This remains to be seen...

Monday, 18 October 2010

2 Good Weekends

I must admit we have been spoilt with the weather. I thought that by now it would be raining every day and that we’d have one of these miserable autumns where all you want to do is to stay indoors. But I don’t think I have a right to moan. Yes, we had some frosts and it is wise to start wearing gloves, but the last two weekends have been absolutely fantastic!

I loved our walk on the beach. The sea was very calm and the water was clear – just like during a summer month. Well, you could easily be fooled it still was summer!

And that’s what you see if you get to the beach early enough – before crowds of people have flooded to enjoy the clear air:

It must be really nice to gallop on a lovely horse taking in the scenery from above.

By the way, this reminds me of one photo seen in some magazine about the south of France, where they also take horses along the coast. I never thought I’d see anything like that in Lithuania though. France and, of course England, are countries with deeper equestrian traditions, so somebody riding a horse is not a rare sight. Meanwhile here, in Lithuania, it isn’t that popular – I think we are only starting to revive such traditions and I’m really glad about that.

And yesterday was all about leaves… After clearing some in our own garden we headed to have a look at the changing colours in a park.
The Green seems to be giving up and the Yellow and the Red are starting to prevail, before they force the leaves to slowly cover the ground.

It’s a constant battle even for the clouds and the sun. Look at that angry sky! Lucky this didn’t turn into a storm and the clouds were pushed away, so I could continue trying to capture yellow leaves spinning in the air before reaching the still green lawns.

At the moment it’s only one or two at a time, but any stronger wind will leave the trees naked… It will take time to get used to this, but by then we’ll be looking forward to seeing some snow – sooner or later winter will win the seasons' battle.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Colour Scheme

I’m trying to choose 12 photos for my 2011 calendar, but it seems it’s too hard… I have lots of photos that I like, but I need to stick to those that would represent each month best. So far I have chosen about 15 for January and wanted to put all of them on one page as little images, but I guess it won’t work – the pc is too slow to cope with high resolution and huge files. So I’m back to the process of slowly browsing through the photos I have taken in the last 5 years and noticing something I haven’t before.

I’m still obsessed with colour and I must admit I’m happy we have distinct seasons - this makes it easier choosing photos for eg for Spetember or October. Yet with all the red and yellow leaves around us I’m still fond of green and it's shades!

I’m sure I will figure out something, maybe will even change the whole approach and have a distinct calendar with images that are linked together in a certain way (lets forget the 12 months!). Hope this doesn’t evolve too much as I’m already getting too fascinated with the colour world and the weirdest titles someone’s come up with: atomic tangerine, banana mania, electric lime… Well, wish me luck.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

An Explosion of Colour

Usually I don’t have enough time for painting – there’re millions of jobs that need doing and a constant illusion that once these are done I’ll be able to do something that I enjoy. Needless to say, the stream of jobs is never ending… so I simply have to MAKE time.

What does it look like? Well, I wait till I can’t wait any longer and then stomp my feet and announce that I’m busy. I also try to shut my mind off, because if I didn’t do that I’d be constantly worrying that there are far more important things I should be doing.

What about the inspiration? One could argue that with such an artificial “making of time” there’s no space for it, but I’d say that the emotion is being accumulated for a long time and then results in a better outcome. If I could drop things whenever I’m inspired by something I see, by now I’d have about a thousand paintings, but I’m not sure I’d be happy with the result.

Well, this time I must have been seeing too many bright colours – green and red apples, orange chilies, yellow and violet plums… This kept building up and exploded one afternoon on a square canvas. (You have a rare opportunity to see what it looked like in reality and then probably to think I’ve gone a bit mad with the colours afterall…)

So what do you make of it? At the time I was painting everything seemed right, but now even I think it’s too bold! Anyway, just for fun, I turned to the psychology of colour and had a look at the basic meanings of colours and if there’s anything that could be applied.

Red: If you want to draw attention, use red. It is often where the eye looks first. Red is the color of energy. It's associated with movement and excitement. Red is not a good color to over use but using a spot of red in just the right place is smart in some cases (one red accent in a otherwise neutral room draws the eye; a red tie with a navy blue suit and white shirts adds just the right amount of energy to draw the eye. Red is the symbol of life.

Blue: Ask people their favorite color and a clear majority will say blue. Much of the world is blue (skies, seas). Seeing the color blue actually causes the body to produce chemicals that are calming; but that isn't true of all shades of blue. Some shades (or too much blue) can send a cold and uncaring message.

Green: The color of growth, nature, and money. A calming color also that's very pleasing to the senses. Dark forest green is associated with terms like conservative, masculine and wealth. Hospitals use light green rooms because they too are found to be calming to patients. It is also the color associated with envy, good luck, generosity and fertility. It is the traditional color of peace, harmony, comfortable nurturing, support and well paced energy.

Yellow: Cheerful yellow the color of the sun, associated with laughter, happiness and good times. A person surrounded by yellow feels optimistic because the brain actually releases more seratonin when around this color. It is the color associated with optimism. It has the power to speed up our metabolism and bring out some creative thoughts. Some shades of yellow are associated with cowardice; but the more golden shades with the promise of better times.

Orange: The most flamboyant color on the planet! It's the color tied most this fun times, happy and energetic days, warmth and organic products. It is also associated with ambition. There is nothing even remotely calm associated with this color. Orange is associated with a new dawn in attitude.

Right... So the painting is sending on one hand cold an uncaring (blue), on the other happy and optimistic (yellow) message. As these too meet down the middle could we say there's some balance? Not too much red and enough orange - warm and energetic, oh, and ambitious! Also hopefully a new dawn in attitude. And the light green? I hope it's for good luck.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Cold Weather Alterations

We’ve had our first frosts. The neighbours’ roof turned white and the ground for the first time, after the rain we’ve had, felt hard. I could almost see a smile on the dogs face – huskies would always choose winter over summer.

We’ve also had our first cold victims in the family. Their runny noses and sore throats remind me that it’s time to start putting on warmer clothes (even gloves!). Occasionally we might get the sun out, but this doesn’t mean that the wind’s not cold. I don’t like all this, but at the same time I know that it will get worse…

The last of the crops is being dragged into the house, everything neatly put into the freezer or jars. We might as well be giant squirrels, getting ready for the cold period! It certainly feels that way, especially when I’m picking walnuts :)

Even the cuisine is being altered and adjusted to the weather outside. We drink more hot tea and cook more thick soups. And while the other part of the world is saving their pumpkins for Halloween, I gladly chop them up and bang them into a pan.

This one came from our garden. I love the colours and the sweet scent of melons that filled the kitchen when I cut it open. Back in spring I got a few little plants from a friend of mine, who told me that the seeds were ridiculously expensive. I wonder why, as even the little pumpkin was full of them! (I would gladly share them with a keen gardener.)

Anyway, the soup might not be as fancy as the one cooked by Jamie Oliver, but it tastes really nice. All you need is some meat, for making stock, the usual soup spices (I put pepper corns, bay leaves and salt), carrots, pumpkin, potatoes and a stem of celery. Cook vegetables till they’re soft and then, using a blender, turn everything into a puree. Of course don’t forget to take out pepper corns and bay leaves before you do that.

Right. The sun is out! It's one of these rare moments, so I'd better jump into my wellies and do something useful outside.