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 ~

Inspiration ~ Loie Fuller

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“I wanted to create a new form of art, an art completely irrelevant to the usual theories, an art giving to the soul and the senses at the same time complete delight, where reality and dream, light and sound, movement and rhythm form an exciting unity …” ~ Loie Fuller (1862-1928)

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“Expressive yet barely mimetic, beautiful yet utterly modern, and with the suggestion of transport to otherworldly realms, her synthesis of color, movement, and music resonated deeply with other artists who saw her…” ~  Carolyn Sinsky
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More, about Loie Fuller, here:)

Stardust

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One of my fondest childhood memories brings me back to time spent getting lost in the pages of a set of old hardcover books that sat upon my grandfather’s bookshelf.

My grandfather was a serious, stoic man… hardened by the life he led…almost always gruff and slow to smile. I was often fearful of him; his voice stern and his words, sharp. Our paths crossed very little,  except when I would get up the nerve to ask permission to enter his library and look through his collections of books.

His library was sacred space. A man of little means, he deeply valued his books and he spent his lifetime amassing a formidable collection. I was drawn to the space and learned early on that this was the way to his heart…he always allowed me to enter and choose a pile of books to quietly sit and sift through.  He had one particular collection that always caught my eye…There were about 20 books. They were big, heavy, dusty…with cobalt blue hardcovers, each containing pages and pages of stardust swept stories of far off places;  fairies in patterned petaled dresses and beautiful gossamer draped forest nymphs dripping with flowers and ocean waves tumbling with starfish and and seashells covered with glitter and always, always there were the most glorious mermaids with long flowing hair, it seemed. The illustrations were simply magical and they must have struck a deep chord with me as I sometimes catch myself adding, to the art I create all these years later, intricately detailed elements, not unlike those from the pages of those magical books .

This quick sketch from yesterday began, inspired by a photograph of a dancer that floated past me in the stream. As is my way for figurative sketches, I used the photo as a quick visual reference for shape but allowed my imagination and the free flow of ink to fill in the rest of the details. In the end, there is a joyful, illustrative quality that shines through in the lines of her … It brings me back and there is just something so lovely about that, I think ~

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

To The Sea…

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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 ~