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.

 

 

Time…

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The passage of time often feels hazy to me…Wasn’t it just the New Year? March marches nearer and with it, my design trip to NYC for Spring Market week and the launch of three more of my bedding /bath collections. There was a brief quiet lull in January but my design and travel schedule is beginning to ramp up again, I feel it. I am trying to gather and hold the energy needed for it all. {Breathe, Shell…}

In the midst of winter, I do my best to honor all the moments that come, instead of aching for time to move faster towards warmer months. Inside the warm cocoon of my studio, I am wrapped in light,… and although some days seem to stretch endlessly on, most are quite lovely when surrounded by that which fulfills. In those moments, time stands still.

Some new work has been coming from the brush and pen lately… a few surprises along the way, I do love when that happens. Like the one above, for example… it’s part of a series of paintings that all have a similar thread running through them. I l enjoy the visual continuity of a collection… subtle patterning that leads the eye. This one has the potential to be more, I think… so maybe it’s just a study. Time will tell.

A friend of mine from years back resurfaced in recent weeks. Along with a new website was the reposting of a featured blog post he had long ago written about me and my art. What a pleasure to re read those words. I remember feeling so honored at the time, and I still do. The article focused solely on his own reaction to my work. I felt such pride…I value deeply, that rare gift of feeling understood. The art and poetry he chose to share and write about was typical of my portfolio at the time. Interesting to me to see the ways my art has changed (and not changed) over the last 5 years.  I love being able to see that evolution. I invite you to read the post, here.

Original ink and Watercolor ©Michelle Rummel

To The Sea…

To The Sea...

Two days at the ocean to fill my soul well back up. A spontaneous trip that was needed, despite the hellish drive (15+hours total). And even if the weather was less than glorious, it simply didn’t matter…Awake at dawn to absorb the filtered light and it was so lovely, making all the colors softer, gentler somehow. I wished I had my paints with me at that moment to capture the subtle grays and greens. Really enjoyed the pier… from above, the water shone emerald. Standing underneath, it was haunting the way the tide slowly rolled in then crashed around pillar only to smooth out once again leaving a trace of foamy lace. Mid day, the largest sand dunes on the East coast called my name … a climb to the top, sandwiched between views of sea and sound. Loved the wind up there… And it carried all the way back to the shoreline, whipping waves wild and frothy, inspiring paintings yet to come…

See all the pics, here, on my website. And while you’re there, why not sign up to receive my Mailing List. Would love to include you ~

The Feel of It…

The Feel of It...

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

Orchid Love

Orchid Love

I spent all of yesterday painting as a foot of snow blanketed the ground. Seems winter is holding on…deep breaths and patience, required. But the silver lining of snowfall is the quality of light that comes along with it… more of that soft, white glow. It’s really lovely to paint by, and so I made the most of my too quiet day, and did.

I have never painted an orchid until now. Curious, as they are my absolute favorite plant…I have three that, when in bloom, provide me with significant personal joy (as well as excellent fodder for my instagram pics;).

Four paintings emerged, each with its own unique style. I think my favorite from the day is the watercolor that flowed from me the fastest… A quick sketch, where my hand was loose, my thoughts, gently free flowing. Not over thinking…rather, just feeling it, trusting in it and allowing myself to be lost in the moment.

Orchids… I am forever drawn to them. Someday, I’ll have a roomful:)

Here, a glimpse…

Original Watercolor ©Michelle Rummel