The other coast…

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“The sea can do craziness, it can do smooth, it can lie down like silk breathing or toss havoc shoreward; it can give gifts or withhold all; it can rise, ebb, froth like an incoming frenzy of fountains, or it can sweet-talk entirely. As I can too, and so, no doubt, can you, and you.”  ~Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings

Time spent on the other coast, the one I was born on but barely know. Here, the air is misty and the waves have their own unique rhythm.  The rocks, the colors, the sand, the rugged terrain…they are wildly alluring and moody…A mystery to discover. And yet, this coastal seascape also has elements that feel completely familiar and known…stunningly beautiful…home.

My first real day there, even without the sun on my skin, I felt the usual flood of joy and peaceful calm wash over me as I watched the water roll in and out while safely standing on sand. Not so, the next morning, when, feeling the jet lag, I woke ridiculously early and ran alone high up along the jagged coastline into the fog. The sea was fierce at 7am. Raging a bit and crashing loudly into exposed rock as the tide fought to roll back in. Misty sea spray on my face, from my safe perch I watched, predictably gleeful at the majesty of it all but notably nervous too, similar to how I often feel when summer storms roll in.  Yet, feeling brave and buoyed by the love around me, I stayed and smiled and I watched in awe and I listened to the sea song, tapping fingertips as my heart kept the beat. Nowhere else on earth that I can hear myself more clearly than when this close to the ocean I so love.

I slowly walked back through wet manicured lawns to the place where my sister and mother were sleeping. My jeans, soaked at the hem. Coastal sand and stones stuck in the tread of my boots. My hair a mass of tangled wet curls. Breathing deeper… Feeling calmer. Feeling sleepy. Feeling it all.

 

 

Afternoon Reverie

 

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I am noticing that I do my best painting in the late afternoon. The quality of light is really nice at that time of day and it’s usually much quieter in my studio. But I think more than both of those things, by afternoon, my internal rhythm, which can run a bit fast… has finally slowed enough to let me really relax into the painting. Breath is deeper, my hand a little looser… my mind clears and I get lost in gentle thoughts… it’s a state of complete ease. And it’s in these moments that I stray a little farther creatively and try new things, like painting with more water than usual, then letting the water pull the pigment from the brush rather than having my hand control it as I usually do. Results can be…surprising… but the name of this blog is appropriately titled, Risk Delight…  so there you go.  I do hope my artwork delights you from time to time.

It’s natural for me to emphasize the smaller, delicate details…maybe the ones that are a little off the beaten path that you wouldn’t first notice…like the crevice between the rocks or the shadows of the shells that lay just below water’s surface. Or maybe I will choose to highlight the edge of a cloud rather than the cloud itself. Or that mysterious sliver of light where sky meets the sea… it always seems so elusive. My seascapes attempt to honor those details and those less travelled/less seen places that I am so drawn to. How to show you what I see and feel? I continue to try to find new ways of bringing my vision uniquely to life.

All Original artwork ©Michelle Rummel/ Shell Artistree LLC ~

Tangents…

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It began with a massive reorganization of my files in an effort to make sense of the hundreds of visual images that I tuck away over time. Swatches of color… honey golds, watery blues, mossy greens. Images of flowing lines, petals, leaves, light, love. Some will be used as reference for new collections down the road. Others will get pinned to my studio bulletin board simply because I like to look at beautiful things:))

In the midst of all this eye candy,  an ocean coastline photograph that a friend had posted online floated to the forefront of my vision. An instant pull, a voice inside… “paint me”…. So I did. I pushed scraps of paper aside, made room for my watercolor pad and began a very loose and quick rendering. As always, I painted what I felt far more than what I actually saw… usual for me, my mind brings me there and it’s different somehow. More so, the place I imagine it to be.

It’s been a while since paint flowed with ease and oh, it felt so good. And so I kept going, taking advantage of the calm and the quiet. Wrapped warm by the soft light over my shoulder, a fashion illustration inspired piece emerged from my ink pen.. I quickly painted a dress on her that I would wear… I piled her hair on top of her head and enjoyed the satisfying feeling of designing a look, a mood with simple line, minimal color and easy brushwork.  Within minutes of starting, as breathing was a deep and steady sympatico…I felt her complete and I put the brush down.

And then I ate a proper lunch, because a girl’s gotta eat.

Not bad, for a Tuesday;))

The Magic of Roses…

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When I was a little girl, we lived next door to a man who tended the most beautiful roses. Brick walkways covered with moss led to a small but well loved garden. Rosebushes lined the beds… all colors, all kinds, identified by tiny tags sinking into earth. My favorite of all were the apricot roses…The most special in all of the garden, he told me. Sometimes, he would let me walk with him as he watered and fed them…I wasn’t allowed to touch them, too delicate, he’d say. But every so often he would bend a stem towards me so I could breathe that blossom in. And on the luckiest of days, I’d collect the fallen petals from the walkway and hold them in my hand so tightly till they were bruised with love. My very first treasure:)) I was enthralled with that garden and all that grew there. There was magic there. Every time I see a rosebush I remember:))

So much beauty and treasure in my life. I am so grateful for all the moments and spaces in between.

Lovely day, all… make it amazing ~

A Fine Line

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I have found the world’s smallest paint brush.  It barely holds enough paint for one fine lined brushstroke at a time, which makes the process of painting very slow and quiet, almost meditative. Which means I can concentrate on my breathing. Which, if you are me… is a very good thing. I am learning… ~

Original watercolor ©Michelle Rummel

Tide Lines

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Lovely, getting lost in these lines for an afternoon.

Inspired by my recent walk along the coastline to my rock jetty and back. I spent hours just observing the subtle patterning left in the sand that the tide left behind every time she rolled out.  The beautiful, gentle way the lines connect… a softness there that speaks to me.  And it brought me back to a day last summer when I ran along the sand with wind at my back, eager to beat the incoming tide…to reach for what I love so dearly… ~ 

Original Ink and Watercolor ©Michelle Rummel

The Feel of It…

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Design work has pulled at me daily for months. I love it…every consuming part of it. It’s been a very big project; 6 distinct bedding collections for a very prominent manufacturer that will launch at Fall Market in NYC…a huge undertaking that has been just as much a personal challenge as a professional one. Two of those collections have now been sent off to production…two more technical packages for beds 3 and 4 were printed today in my studio… The final 2 beds will come together in the next two weeks. I am so pleased I can barely contain it…surely those who know me well will just take one look at me and see, beyond my tired eyes, the pride I feel. It spills from me.

And so this week, with one major deadline almost behind me, in the gentle lull of a peaceful moment, I finally took a very deep breath. And somewhere in that quiet space between, I realized just how much my fingers ached for the brush. So I painted.

This one began as most do… a very quick sketch to get the form down. I wasn’t sure of it at first. I drew her free hand and I felt my fingers tighter than I like…I struggled a bit with proportion but eventually, the shape came. Watercolor next…a light touch, my usual palette…comfort in watery blues. I felt her neither here nor there until I detailed in some ink which added something indescribably wonderful to my eye.

And that’s when I realized how much I miss the feel of it…and when I say that, I mean more than just the way the brush feels in my hand…but also the way I feel when I am lost in a moment of creation. It’s a spark of sorts that fuels me on, effortlessly. Like a whisper that says, breathe….

In those moments, I listen…I smile slowly with closed eyes…I come alive.

Original ink and watercolor ©MichelleRummel