Friday, September 18, 2020

#398 • Frozen in Sweat

  

Click here to purchase this painting #398
http://www.claudiadiller.com/blog.htm

You gotta love the seasonal change here in Maine. One day you're drowning in your own sweat - the next you're encased in it. I would suspect that the next surprise will be a week of 90 degree temps in October. We've seen it before.

Does Mother Nature suffer from multiple seasonal personality disorder - a result of our meddling in her affairs? Or do we human beings simply refuse to believe we don't control everything and continue to be amazed and surprised - in denial, every freakin' year that when things don't go as we think they should, there is something terribly wrong? 

 Such a great life lesson - every year!

Frozen in Sweat • 8" X 8" watercolor framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Thursday, September 3, 2020

#396 • Face Masks

 
 

I've seen some beautiful face masks lately. For a long time I wore those disposable phthalo blue green shade medical masks. They are everywhere in my spaces, appearing, disappearing and re-appearing like socks in the dryer. At this point I'm guessing some of them might be months old. Nevertheless, I now own two cloth masks. The patterns weren't my first pick - I got to the sale basket too late, but they're pretty cool anyway, and I'm supporting a local entrepreneur. 

In the meantime, I'm seeing Mother Nature in her mask. She's protecting herself from us I think. She's wearing a lovely one right now - a lush green abstract against a blue bird sky. She's trying to set an example for visitors to Maine this long Labor Day weekend. Stay socially distant and wear your masks folks!

Face Masks 8 8" X 8" watercolor framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, August 17, 2020

#395 • A Safe Place

 

 

Everyone is looking for a safe place these days. Kind of feels like Maine is being sucked up by ETs who are trying to escape the ruined planet they left behind - leaving their less fortunate neighbors forced to deal with the aftermath.

For those who have been working on their spiritual programs for a while, our safe place, we are told, is in our heart and mind first, and then from there we now have the tools to create it "out there." But what if your "out there" safe space is no longer safe? What if no "out there" space is safe no matter where you run to. Scary isn't it!

Can artists help deal with fear by creating safe looking spaces for those who can't or don't know how? Does that help, or are we perpetuating a Ozzie and Harriet image that doesn't exist, and never did? Do we comment on the scary stuff - document it so it doesn't get repeated in the future. Or do we artists need to simply share our own truth - how we deal with fear. 

I've seen places like the above. I know they aren't what they appear to be, but they make me feel better when I imagine them. Is that okay? Can we just imagine these places as a possibility? Can they help us remember, albeit naively, what a safe place might look and feel like? Do these images help us all aspire to re-create this planet as a safe place for everyone?

I hope so.

A Safe Place • 8" X 8" watercolor framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, August 3, 2020

#394 • Life's Too Short



I've been kind of screwing off this summer. Sailing and gardening a lot, though gardening does have some redeeming qualities. I would argue sailing does too because it inspires me to do what I do for work. I think it's a COVID thing - life's too short.

Life's Too Short • 8" X 8" watercolor framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, July 27, 2020

#393 • Chawing

 Click here to purchase this painting #393

I have no idea where this whimsical little sketch of two fishermen chawing, especially during a less than whimsical time, came from. Maybe I'm trying to balance myself out.

Chawing • 8" X 8" watercolor framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

#392 • Coastal Memory

 Click here to purchase this painting #392

It's been a foggy summer along the coast of Maine this year. We've tried to get used to navigating through it, but you never get used to the fear of hitting something out there.  It's a bit freaky to hear a ferry boat but not see it, or be surprised by a big white sail as it suddenly appears out of the fog without a sound like a ghost ship.The worst is sailing through one of those shipping lanes that crisscross the bays. You hope to hell they are making a lot of noise because they're certainly not going to consider us anything more than a speed bump.

So...this sketch is one of my mental meanderings trying to remember what the coast looks like on a good day along the coast. We call them real estate days, and this is one of those paintings that sell real estate to unsuspecting folks from away, sad to say!

Coastal Memory • 8" X 8" watercolor framed to 12" X 12" • $250


Monday, July 13, 2020

#391 • Neighborhood

 Click here to purchase this painting #391

Neighborhood.

Neighborhood • 8" X 8" watercolor framed to 12" X 12" • $250


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

#390 • A Piece of a Place in Maine



 Click here to purchase this painting #390

I'm just messing around with watercolors and thought I'd paint a little piece of Maine. It really is extraordinarily beautiful here in the summer. The recent rain has greened everything back up, though the grass that got burned during the drought is still black. Never seen that before. But then there are a lot of things I haven't seen before during these turbulent times.

A Piece of a Place in Maine • 8" X 8" watercolor framed to 12" X 12" • $250



Tuesday, June 30, 2020

#389 • Maine's Landscape Quilt!

Click here to purchase this painting #389

Once in a while I’ll be driving the backroads to Maine's western mountains in a minor cruise controlled-induced daze when as I crest another hill, a patchwork of colors and textures pokes me awake. The foothills are special that way, especially where remnants of dairy farms still dominate the landscape.

Not as cultivated and manicured as other states in New England I’ve been through, Maine can be proud of the inconsistent stitches of many different minds and hands that create the diverse landscape quilt it is.

Maine's Landscape Quilt • 8" X 8" watercolor framed to 12" X 12"  • $250

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

#388 • Summering in Maine


Click here to purchase this painting #387


Summering in Maine
So Marge, is it lup─źne or lupin(e)? 


Summering in Maine • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12"• $250

Thursday, June 11, 2020

#387 • The Old Fart and the Heron

  Click here to purchase this painting #387

This painting was inspired by a sailor I know - name never to be divulged for obvious and libelous reasons, and a special experience Tom and I had on our boat with one of his favorite feathered friends.

It was a beautiful sunny Maine morning out on North Haven island. I was cooking up some blueberry pancakes down in the galley when I sensed a not-usually-there-and-moving-but-staying-in-place-shadow cross the cockpit out of the corner of my eye. I then heard what sounded like something out of Jurassic Park. As I cautiously peeked wide-eyed around the edge of the companionway, I was surprised by a hulking presence perched on the lifeline. I quickly ducked back inside and waved Tom over - for protection of course!

We then both cautiously peeked around the companionway like two kids sure they were going to see a buzzard, me with my spatula just in case. Much to our great surprise we saw an immature heron balancing on our port side lifeline. Normally very shy, and certainly not what one would imagine to be as agile and athletic as a tightrope walker based on shape alone, I think the little one - though not so little, was just plain clueless about the do's and don'ts of human interaction.

Of course it flew away after one more peek, but we were both blown away by this visitation.

The Old Fart and the Heron • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250


Friday, June 5, 2020

#386 • The Work To Be Done

  Click here to purchase this painting #386

I was working on this before the latest civil unrest. I wanted to depict a neighborhood before Covid-19 - a bunch of kids doing their own thing together in a safe space. It was simply a privileged white girl's selfish idea of getting back to the garden.

There's way more to it now. It's a quest for me to see if community can exist like a beautiful colorful quilt -  patches of all kinds of cloth held together by little uneven stitching done by many hands. It's also a quest to try to understand others, and until I get it, to practice civility in the meantime.

No lecture here - I have my own dance with tolerance and civility going on.  But if there's one thing I've learned this past week, it's that the most important work to be done is in our own hearts, minds and communities before we can even think about sharing it.

The Work To Be Done • 8" X 8" watercolor framed to 12" X 12" • $250 

To see more of my work, please visit my website http://www.claudiadiller.com 



Tuesday, May 26, 2020

#385 • Spring Chorale

 Click here to purchase this painting #385

There's all kinds of serenading going on out there - it's a spring chorale. The birds, bees and wind have joined the undulating landscape with its textures, colors and movement. I'm no musician, but there has to be adagios, adantes, cadenzas, crescendos, decrescndos, flats and sharps out there. You name it, it's happening.

Spring Chorale • 8" X 8" watercolor framed to 12" X 12" • $250
To see more of my work, please visit my website http://www.claudiadiller.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

#384 • Daffodil Faeries

Click here to purchase this painting #384

For a good part of the day I allow myself to meander down that marvelous and magical road to make believe. Some call it a form of insanity. Others, like myself, call it a mental walkabout for medicinal purposes - mainlining fresh air to the brain.

It all began when I noticed a minuscule bug flitting around my studio. It buzzed my face, sat on my painting, and seemed to be genuinely interested in what I was doing. He's most active in the morning, maybe happy to have company after a long night alone in the dark.

I catch sight of my new little bug buddy as it flickers through a ray of sunlight, or see it jump out of the way just before I put my brush to paper. It got me to thinking about faeries - is this one?, and then daffodil faeries - 'tis the season after all, and then daffodil faeries riding bunnies in the moonlight - reaching perhaps.

It's strange where the mind goes. Stranger still is where it lands.

Daffodil Faeries • 8" X 8" watercolor framed to 12" X 12" • $250
To see more of my work, please visit my website http://www.claudiadiller.com

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

#383 • Lightning Bugs

Click here to purchase this painting #383

Chasing lightning bugs was an annual event when we kids were growing up in Connecticut. There was a big field beyond our backyard that was loaded with them. I do remember catching a few in my gently cupped hands, which was an art form. Injuring one would be unforgivable. And I never used a jar. They were too magical to be caught and imprisoned. 

We used to call them lightning bugs, but I guess they were called fireflies beyond our neighborhood tribe.  We were correct in calling them bugs because they are in fact beetles, not flies, but beyond that,  lightning bug vs firefly depended on where you grew up.

"As meteorological researcher Jason Keeler noted, the areas where people say "lightning bug" seem to overlap with the parts of the country where lightning strikes are particularly frequent."

"In 1949, linguist Hans Kurath found that "firefly" was particularly popular in large cities on the East Coast. Later, the Dictionary of American Regional English found that "lightning bug" was the more common term in the South and Midwest, but not the Pacific coast."

Here's the whole story if you're interested.
https://www.businessinsider.coclm/firefly-lightning-bug-english-language-map-2018-7

Lightning Bugs • 8" X 8" watercolor framed to 12" X 12" • $250
To see more of my work, please visit my website: http://www.claudiadiller.com

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

#382 • Simple

Click here to purchase this painting #382

I passed this house on one of the islands last summer.  I couldn't get over the flowers. But looking at it again, the simple lines of the house are what catches my eye now.

I've found myself craving simple these days. Reorganizing work space, cooking space, de-cluttering drawers and closets - looking for clean lines and simple panes of color. It's a way of seeing I suppose, but these days maybe more a way of being.

Simple • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Thursday, April 30, 2020

#381 • Maine Is Shut Down, But Not Our Neighborhoods


Click here to purchase this painting #381

Maine may be shut down, but it continues to slowly open up to spring. She's beautiful in her isolation - Maine that is. We may be glimpsing what she was like before she got herself marketed as "Vacationland." Flowers are coming up here and there. Farmers are tilling and planting their fields. Folks are digging up land in their backyards to plant gardens for the first time in a long time, or maybe for the first time ever. Animals are daring to come out of hiding, and so is the neighborhood.

We're learning to re-arrange our lives, to be creative and resourceful in order to accommodate the unknown. We're teaching ourselves how to deal with obstacles and bad news. We go for walks every morning with our neighbor, come back to work as best we can from home, and do chores around the house. Then we go for another walk after dinner.

We've tried to maintain a routine of walking to keep in touch with folks in the neighborhood. It's been fun. We're usually stopped along the way. I can't remember ever having walked through the neighborhood, stopping to chaw with folks on their front porches, in their garages or yards. It's been good for us.

Maine Is Shut Down, But Not Our Neighborhoods • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

#380 • Spring Choir Practice

Click here to purchase this painting #380


Spring choir practice around the robinhood up here has been going strong this year. Screw the snow, they gleefully sing!

In celebration of Earth Day, it is my supreme honor to present a virtuoso solo by what could be a member of the Riverside Street Royal Red Breasted Robin Revelry Recital Choir.

Let it be a reminder that all of their wee little voices need to be counted in this global interspecies struggle to save the blessed Mother of all birdfeeders, Earth.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKMctAF6YMc 

Recording courtesy of  TheBackyardBirder - Corey Schmaltz

Spring Choir Practice • 8" x 8"acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $300

Friday, April 17, 2020

#379 • Oh Mother, Let Summer In


Click here to purchase this painting #379

Like everything else going on right now, we have no idea what our planet is going to look like in the near future. Let's hope it's a lot better for a lot more people, and that damn, we don't forget how good the air looks right now.

Little white flecks are swirling all around me here in Kingfield. It's like someone shook my snow globe and put me back down where I was just a minute ago. The time has come to conjure up everything I'm made of, to beg and grovel on my knees, to cry lordy lordy great Mother almighty please let summer in.

Oh Mother, Let Summer In • 8" X 8" acrylic frame to 12" X 12" • $250

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

#378 • Keeping My Eye On The Ball


 Click here to purchase this painting #378

Probably one of the hardest lessons I had to learn as a ballplayer growing up with three athletic younger brothers, was to keep my eye on the ball. It takes a lot of guts to hold your eyes wide open when you have a 60mph hardball coming at you from a brother you hope you didn't piss off. It's an act of courage to stand your ground, to stop the ball dead in it's trajectory to your head - even though he promised he didn't mean to bean you. But you have to do it if you want to play the game.

I'm using this memory to help me navigate the times. I'm going to keep my eye on the ball. Wash hands a lot. Don't touch face with hands. Practice social distancing. Wear a mask if it makes me feel better, but still practice the above. And don't forget to eat well, exercise and stretch.

I'm also using it to focus on that great white ball of light at the end of the tunnel. It's there. It reminds me I'll see my kids again in person. I'll be able watch my grandchildren play ball before they hit the majors. I'll be able to teach them to play tennis before I'm too old to lift the racket. I can hug my family, friends and neighbors before they forget what I feel like. And, God... I can start biting my nails again.

Keeping My Eyes On The Ball • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

#377 • And So It Did

 Click here to purchase this painting #377
The gulls didn't doubt
the sun would come up
that day
or any day.

So it did
like it always does
and it was beautiful
like it always is.

Friday, March 13, 2020

#376 • The Birdies Keep Tweeting

Click here to purchase this painting #376

It wasn't too long ago that we were all preoccupied with the coming of spring - was it going to come in like a lion or a lamb. We all know that our lives can change dramatically in an instant. But when you look around expecting Mother Nature to feel your pain or to at least sympathize, the sun continues to rise and set, dogs bark and cats howl, and the birdies keep tweeting. The joy and hilarity of the wild kingdom flirting with itself moves ahead on schedule - albeit a little early these days.

We do not get off the hook for what we've done to this defenseless planet. When the pandemic has run its course, maybe we will finally realize and remember what it is like to be vulnerable and helpless against the most powerful force.

The Birdies Keep Tweeting • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250

Thursday, March 5, 2020

#375 • The Serenity In Just Looking

Click here to purchase this painting #375

One of the great things about surviving in Maine is, well, that you can survive in Maine. Serenity is an inside job, but unless you're a guru, we all need inspiration. Sometimes jump starting is simply taking time for a lookabout. There's a lot of serenity in just looking at big wide empty spaces.

What foresight our past leaders had to preserve vast empty areas in this country. These spaces are a gift, a slice in time outside of progress and a break from our busy bossy brains. They're an opportunity to reset, reboot and go blank so that we can better connect with ourselves, our bodies, and when we return to commerce, our fellow human beings.

 The Serenity In Just Looking • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250



Wednesday, February 26, 2020

#374 • When the Cat Melts Into The Rug

 Click here to purchase this painting #374

I must preface this by stating that Gus is very well fed and cared for by his parents. But like the rest of us, he knows a sucker when he sees one.

It started the day Gus took a cruise down the street and stopped at a new person in the neighborhood's house meowing that pitiful, anguished and well rehearsed meow of his. The stranger let him in and posted a lost cat notice on Facebook. Over 10 people who had Gus' MO, answered acknowledging the rascal with adjectives like mooch, scoundrel, and user. The only one who didn't see the post and thought Gus was really lost and starving was Drew, who gave him a can of cat food and some shelter from the elements.

So now and just about every day, Gus makes a beeline for Drew's house, a quarter of mile down the street, where he spends the day. He's fed and settles in for a nice long nap. When Gus indicates he is ready, Drew scoops him into his arms and drives back down the street to Gus' dooryard where he is dropped off for the night.

Once in a while the little mooch will sneak back over to our house after Drew drops him off and try to cop a handful of Smartfood from Tom. Usually successful, he'll clean himself, curl into a ball and disappear into a warm spot on the rug in front of our stove in the living room. He melts into that rug like butter melts into a piece of warm toast.

When it's time for us to head upstairs for the night, Tom puts on his jacket and boots, scoops the beast up into his arms and carries him back across the road to his own home for the night. The following morning, the whole sucker routine starts all over again, like clockwork.

When The Cat Melts Into The Rug • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

#373 • Oh, To Just Sit And Wonder



Click here to purchase this painting #373

I've been doing a lot of wondering these days. There is a lot of stuff to wonder about out there, but if you really want to take a break from everything out there, you need to narrow everything down to wondering about something like, well...wonder!

What is wonder?
Where does wonder come from?
Why do we wonder?
What does wondering do to us?
What does wondering do for us?
Can we wonder upon a star or just wish?
Is wonderful the end result of wondering about wonders?

This exercise could fall under the category of meditation I think, because in the end you still have no idea what it all means, nor do you care.

Oh, To Just Sit And Wonder • 9" x 9" acrylic • $250

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

#372 - The Love Bandit

Click here to purchase this painting #372

Every year on Valentine's Day morning, folks in the city of Portland wake up to a trail of red hearts printed on 8.5 X 11 copy paper. They wind through the city, taped to shop doors and windows like a Love dragon putting us on pause for a moment to smile. I attribute this magical mystery tour to the Love Bandit - a mythical figure who, under cover of darkness, flits under awnings and over rooftops, through darkened streets and back alleyways, spreading simple red hearts and whatever message we want to attach to them.

I think there's something very special about what I will assume is an act of Love. For me it's a reminder that when we all come to the end of this grand experiment we call life on planet Earth, there's a good chance we'll be judging ourselves, if we have half a conscience, by how well we did Love. So thanks Love Bandit - whoever you are. I hope the Universal Truth that "what goes around comes around" is your most just reward!

The Love Bandit • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X12" • $250



Friday, February 7, 2020

#371 • Confusing Snowflakes With Sailboats

Click here to purchase this painting #371

I was going to paint snowflakes because...well... it's snowing right now. They're everywhere - I'm totally surrounded. But for some reason, rather than snowflakes, I saw sailboats. Why this happens, I do not know. Is it because I have to work and can't ski? Is it because I would rather be sailing? Or is it because my brain short circuits now and again and simply confuses snowflakes with sailboats?

Confusing Snowflakes With Sailboats • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

#370 • Gus' Rocking Chair


Click here to purchase this painting #370

It's a beautiful end-of-the-day summer afternoon. I slowly climb back up the hill to the house after a long day in the garden, looking for some cool shade and the solace and comfort of my favorite rocking chair on the front porch.

As I round the corner, I stop short. Rats! There's a cat spread out in my rocking chair! It's our neighbor, Gus. He beat me to it again. I have a love/hate relationship with Gus. He poops in my flower beds, but is one hell of a mouser.

Bug off Gus, I say, stepping up to confront him!

I got here first, he replies, yawning and looking up briefly from that nice thick cushion with his big emotionless but gorgeous yellow eyes.

C'mon Gus, I'm tired. I just want to sit in my rocking chair for a bit - get a load off, you know?

He slowly puts his head down on his paws, closes his eyes and purrs softly in to his nap, claws locked in place. It's been a tough day, he sighs.

Damn! How does this happen, I ask shaking my head as I ease this tired old body down on a hard porch step.

It's winter now and Gus' rocking chair was put away in the shed last fall. I don't have to deal with the insufferable little beast until spring. But I gotta say, I think I actually miss loosing out to the old rascal.

Gus' Rocking Chair • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250




Wednesday, January 22, 2020

#369 • It's Just Laundry On The Line

Click here to purchase this painting #369

It was a beautiful summer day on Vinalhaven. We were stretching our sea legs one afternoon, when some laundry lightly lifting and settling on a line caught my eye and ferried it over a scene people pay thousands of dollars to see in person. It was simply ordinary household stuff hanging out to dry in front of an old white house with an old gray fence set in an almost all wild flower garden with a lawn that could use a mowing.

It's what made Martha Stewart rich and famous. She took what we already had - but had taken for granted, remembered it in some expensive-looking-reminder-of-the-good-old-days packaging, and sold it back to us for an enormous amount of money, convincing us it was a brand new idea.

It's Just Laundry On The Line • 8"x8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250

Thursday, January 16, 2020

#368 • For the Firsts


Click here to purchase this painting #368

Carrabassett Valley is one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever meander through. Fall gets top billing when it’s lit up like a foliage cinema set only a higher power can imagine. But winter is when the valley really shines, literally, with ice a snow, and the cool steel blue of the mountains is the prevailing state of mind. Winter is the season reserved for wild things and those who live here year round, those who venture out to elevate their standing with the elements, always to be humbled.

When the weather has turned just this side of brutal, I'm reminded of those pioneers who took the challenge way before a lot of us were even born. This sketch, sans telephone poles, is for them - the firsts who dared make the trek before skis had edges, pataguchi made quick-dry, and ski lifts turned all of us soft.


For the Firsts • 9" x 10.5" acrylic unframed • $250

Friday, January 10, 2020

#367 • Those Peaceful Creatures of Belgrade Lakes

Click here to purchase this painting #367


There's a horse farm on Route 27 just outside the village of Belgrade Lakes. It was sold off to some folks who had a few horses too. But then they posted a political sign that utterly destroyed the concept of a little piece of heaven. They're gone, unfortunately their vote is not, and a forlorn looking sale sign is what now describes the property. It's been that way for a few years.

I will immortalize those classic white outbuildings before they become some ugly else. God - I hope someone saves it. There's something about horses in a field that gets to me. They're such beautiful, peaceful creatures.

Those Peaceful Creatures of Belgrade Lakes • Acrylic • $250