Typical Day along Offa’s Dyke Path

Typical Day along Offa’s Dyke Path

Sensory storylines lesliemillerfineart.com

Achy Joints Lose Out

I feel my joints aching and a desire to reach the top as soon as possible for the next view. Just a Typical Day along Offa’s Dyke Path. Most days, it would take a good hour of hiking, before I could stop thinking about how my hips, knees, and ankles ached, from the previous day’s walk.  I have always had issues with my joints, very much exercise and they start screaming, good or bad I love to push my limits. That’s why I love these walking trips so much, how far can I go? Can I climb that next hill? Can Igo that extra mile? The answer is always, yes. Such a great metaphor for life.


Typical Day along Offa’s Dyke Path

typical day starts with a full English breakfast, around 8. Then it’s time to fill the bladder of our hydration packs. The bladder holds four liters. Try to finish the day with it empty. Time to say goodbye to our hosts and find the first acorn. Offa’s Dyke is a national trail, so it very well marked, by black and white, or carved acorns, and sometimes the Offa’s Dyke coin symbol or A carved post reading OFFA’S DYKE PATH. Easy peasy. Well, sometimes the vegetation has overgrown the signs. Scum buckets steal the emblems for a souvenir. Other times the livestock have rubbed the post clear out of the ground,so one must guess which way the arrow is facing. So you may not see the markers clearly or right away, this is part of the adventure, part of the sense of accomplishment. There were times when we would cheer to see those acorns.

Not all Distances Feel the Same

Most mornings the four of would walk together until lunch and then each couple would find their comfortable pace for the remaining miles. The average mileage was around 12 a day, for this trip. At home, I can walk 12 miles in a little more than 3 hours. We would generally stop for lunch around 1. If we were walking strong we could have between 7 and 8 miles in that four hours! This is nothing like walking at home. Uneven surfaces, unsure direction, stiles to climb, hills where your heels can not physically touch the ground, and the downhills on slippery footing slow you way down. Not to mention navigating around the sheep poop!
Offers Dyke Path, Wales - lesliemillerfineart.com

John contemplating the next hill

Home for the night.

The afternoon’s walk was a test of our strength, though refueled by a hand packed lunch we had renewed energy. Most hosts packed a lunch for a small fee. Usually, a sandwich that always in included butter, chips, a piece of fruit and a seat treat. Some we more elaborate than others but all of the lunches tasted great, after four hours of exercise.
The last couple miles we are more cautious about directions, as at this point we really do want any backtracking. 
Celtic Trails provided us a special sheet with our lodging for the night’s map, directions from the trail and a photo. Some place a phone number was necessary to arrange a ride to the home or inn that was miles from the trail, others we walking up to the door and rang the bell or stumbled into the pub and stopped for a cold hard cider.


Offa's Dyke Path, Wales - lesliemillerfineart.com

Another Gate along the trail

The End of the Day

The End of the Day always concluded with a recap of the struggles and joys of the day over a couple pints. Kathy, Charley and we would share dinner and stories of the day, the people we met along the trail, the times we got lost and the incredible views and unusual sites we passed along the way. 
By nine the bed would be calling me, I would fall asleep with a deep sense of accomplishment and smile of gratitude to be able to have such an experience.
Follow along each day of September  I’ll be adding a sensory story, inspired by a few sensory storyline prompts, I wrote to take me back to the time and space where the reference photos were taken. These stories may not jive (coincide) with the day’s painting. Hopefully, these sensory stories will give you a better sense of the place, of our experience, and of walking across Wales.
Feel free to share this project on your favorite social media sites.

Painting # 3 –#30paintingsin30days! 

lesliemillerfineart.com Painting 3-Cock of the Walk #30paintingsin30days!

I had my hands and iPhone inside the pen when Charley said, “they can be aggressive”. I had visions of a cockfight, with sweaty men all around cheering and jeering! That was it for photographing Roosters.

my High Noon

my High Noon

Following up. Earlier this month, I wrote about Imitation being the sincerest form of a compliment, you can read that article here.

I really wanted to share a painting I did awhile back, a copy of Teresa Elliott’s “High Noon“. Chosen as the official image for the Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale. But I didn’t feel it was right to show without her permission. I mustered the courage and asked for it. She graciously granted,( big smiles here!) She is in my Top Five list of current artists I aspire to emulate.

Longhorn copy of Teresa Elliott's High Noon.

My compliment to Teresa Elliott’s High Noon

Striving for Excellence

Striving for Excellence

fox with moxie WIP

fox with moxie WIP

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence”
― Vince Lombardi

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”
― John Wooden

“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”
― Booker T. Washington

My art mentor had charged me to “Strive for Excellence”. I’ve been thinking about what that means to me and to my art.

Painting Mostly Everyday

Painting Mostly Everyday

beauty&grace lesliemillerfineart.com

Beauty and Grace

Well I am finally back to painting mostly everyday. Daily painting is a practice I whole heartedly believe in for growth and development as an artist. It been a challenge to buckle down and get organized after the move.

Our New Home- Tubac,AZ

The building of the house here in Tubac was completed last November, the hardscape and landscaping was not. We have been concentration on that since our return. Tubac is a very small but friendly and active village south of Tucson. When we are outside working many neighbors and visitors to the resort pass by on the walking trail behind our house. I get easily distracted chatting to our many new found friends.

Then there is the village of Tubac, just a ½ mile away, filled with art galleries and unique shops and more interesting and friendly people.The weather is so marvelous and the views incredible I want to be outside all the time!

Cultural Happenings

Since our return there have been numerous events to keep me from painting, luckliy they have been very inspiring. A gallery opening, an art festival, Anza Days a historical reenactment, and Día de Muertos.

I have been painting though here are some of the results, some still in progress.

betatakin ruins

all-dressed-up-&-no-where-to-go-Leslie Miller Fine Art

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go-Leslie Miller-SOLD

DPW Challenges

DPW Challenges

Moonlit-RavenSometimes when I can’t decide on a daily painting to start I’ll look through the daily painting challenges at Daily Paintworks (DPW). It’s not because I have hit the dreaded artist block, it usually cause I cannot narrow it down or focus. Sometimes it’s a technique I want to improve on or a palette I would like to limit myself to, OR it just cause I love a challenge.

It’s never been said that I am not competitive. It’s not even so much that I want to compete against another. It’s more about rising to the challenge.

If it's challenging you, testing you, and pushing you... then it's helping you become more of who you're meant to be. -Mandy Hale

If it’s challenging you, testing you, and pushing you… then it’s helping you become more of who you’re meant to be. -Mandy Hale

This particular challenge: The Raven challenge  is to paint this black Raven by mixing your own blacks.
The important thing is to have interesting values, reflective colors and some blacks to describe it.

I created black using Ultramarine Blue dark with Burnt Umber. I didn’t use the given image of a raven but another I had found on Pinterest.

To my pleasant surprise this morning, i found it had been chosen as a DPW Facebook pick and a DPW auction pick!

Day 2 of 30 in 30, 2014 edition

Day 2 of 30 in 30, 2014 edition

Lucky# 2 of 30

My husband John and I recently went on a three week walking trip Coast to Coast across England.Since we returned I have been rendering value drawings representing each day of the journey. I plan to do a series of 16×20 oil paintings, more to come later about that project. I mention it because it’s been 6 weeks since I have actually painted anything.

I joined this challenge to get back in the swing, to become a better painter, a better colorist, to see if a style of my own might emerge. In conjunction I also signed up with wordpress to start a blog and plan to start offering my daily paintings for auction on daily paint works. No pressure.

I actually painted something yesterday, a small study for one of my Coast to Coast series. It was a complete and utter failure. I was too embraced to show it as painting #1 of 30.

I have been painting for 5 months, it should not come as surprised to me that not every painting is going to be a keeper, that i don’t have clue yet what I am doing. I forgot to oil the surface, so i did it after I obliterated the white of the board. I didn’t have a clear plan of how I wan’t it to look. I didn’t take the time to mix the main colors, in the amounts needed for a cohesive color scheme. I was tired, I had walked 7 miles, prepped dinner, and had run a few errands before I got started.

I am reminded of Richard Schmids  list of common mistakes in his book Alla Prima II. Best book ever if art is your desire.

So to today. “Lucky” I love hares for their crazy expressive eyes, their long haunches and extra larges ears. I imagine them as creative creatures, nomads, having a great sense of survival and good humor. They are the bohemians of the animal world.

Think I’ll add it to the challenge gallery.