Domino Effect

lifetime of losses
hoarded dominoes
arranged into increasingly
intricate patterns
numbered surfaces blurred
edges worn shiny
smooth
by anxious hands
which will be the one
that topples
me over
sending them
all cascading
one by one
to the floor?

© 2019 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

 

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My Realistic Morning Routine

With two little girls, mornings are officially the craziest time for me.
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Watercolour paintings of Porto

A belated Happy Easter to all and an immediate apology for the brevity of this post which I’ll try to make up for with a sprinkling of watercolour paintings of Porto!

First off, if you haven’t sampled the delights of Porto, then I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so – it’s wonderful! We spent a fabulous five days/nights there and left feeling that we’d barely scratched the surface of everything it had to offer (and please don’t let my paintings put you off!)

In true holiday style, I picked myself up a little vacation reading at the airport in the form of The Art of Watercolour magazine. It was a title that I was aware of but hadn’t read before. I’ll have to save a fuller review for another time, but of everything in the magazine, the image that resonated with me most was a predominantly monochrome painting by Alvaro Castagnet.

I’ve always admired his work and particularly his ability to find or portray light in often unlit scenes in the traditional sense. I didn’t realise it at the time but this was a little like a premonition for what lay ahead during the holiday.

I’d packed a little A5 sketchbook and my trusty Frazer Price Palette Box in the hope I’d find time to make some use of it. Here’s my first quick sketch study paying homage to Alvaro Castagnet:

Sketch after Alvaro Castagnet

The premonition element of this lay in the fact that during our time in Porto, it was almost always grey, overcast, and invariably raining.

Here’s another quick sketch of a view in one of Porto’s many squares:

After the rain, Porto - a sketch by watercolour artist John Haywood
After the rain, Porto

And another of a brighter moment at Porto’s main Sao Bento train station:

Sao Bento train station, Porto - a sketch by watercolour artist John Haywood
Sao Bento train station, Porto

These two sketches were my favourites from the trip. I think this second one will make the basis for a larger painting as I really like the way the shadows create a frame within the frame.

I was eager to get home and try to do some other paintings based on the holiday. I still had it in mind to try to channel my inner Castagnet and develop a more monochrome image than is my usual preference. I’m not sure it’s the most exciting subject matter, but here’s how I got on with trying to capture a rainy day in Porto:

Metro crossing Pont Luis Bridge, Porto - a painting by watercolour artist John Haywood
Metro crossing Pont Luis Bridge, Porto

From a purely technical perspective, I was broadly happy with this. The more I looked at it however, the less appealing I found it as a subject matter and as a composition.

Fortunately, the sun did make the odd appearance and blessed us on our final day with its full attention! To celebrate we got a tram that ran along the river Douro to where it met the sea. Along the way, I saw what I thought was a lovely view from the tram window. Once we got to the end of the tram-line, we walked back along the river bank and eventually reached the point where I was able to fully soak the scene in and get some good reference photographs.

Here’s my interpretation of the view:

On the bank of the Douro, Porto - a painting by watercolour artist John Haywood.
On the bank of the Douro, Porto

I’m really pleased with how this turned out and still have time to get this mounted and framed in time for my Open House exhibition!

On that note, the pressure’s building daily now! I spent a torturous day cutting mounts and backing boards and these are all stacked up now and awaiting assembly.

I have in mind the hang I’ll be going for, which will comprise seven half sheet sized paintings and four quarter sheet paintings, plus many more that need to be mounted, wrapped, labelled and priced ready for display in a couple of print browsers. It’s still all do-able, but there’ll definitely be some midnight oil being burnt over the next few days!

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Shade

It’s a civic resource, an index of inequality, and a requirement for public health. Shade should be a mandate for urban designers.

Read on Places Journal

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TUESDAY, APRIL 23 DEADLINE UPDATE

Our apologies to those of you who have tried to get last minute submissions in for our There Is Strength In Our Stories Event. We received such an overwhelming amount of submissions for There Is Strength In Our Stories and the upcoming anthology But You Don’t Look Sick that Submittable froze our calls yesterday.

We WILL accept submissions to There Is Strength In Our Stories by email until midnight EST tonight at indieblucollective@gmail.com.

Your submission should include your name/pen name EXACTLY as you want it to appear online and a biography of 75 words or less.

Writers and artists can submit up to three pieces of creative work (poetry, prose, essay, and/or original artwork.) Pieces of writing should be limited in length (under 1,500 words.) Using a pen name or publishing anonymously is acceptable.

Please do not consider nonacceptance as any diminishment of your experience.

Submission of previously published pieces is acceptable if you still own the rights to your work.

Artwork can be submitted in black and white OR color and should be 300 DPI.

Using a pen name or publishing anonymously is acceptable.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience but are thrilled by how many submissions we have received. The diversity and quality of the work has been outstanding.

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The Weird Place Review

If your friends went through a mysterious door and got lost in an alternate universe, would you come to their rescue? That is the setup of The Weird Place, a […]
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Jazz In the Wee Hours

3 am
I am sleepless
restless
while the
house slumbers
around me
soft jazz
keeps me company
while I write into
the stillness
very faintly
I start to hear
a hidden drum
low
subtle
rat-a-tat-tat
rat-a-tat-tat
a heart beat
rhythmic and
hypnotic
the night suddenly
comes alive
pulls at
my consciousness
brings me closer
to the speakers
starts to thrum
in my blood
I am entranced
enchanted
fascinated
who is this musician
who has stolen
stealthily
during these 
wee hours
and seduced me
with this clandestine
percussive beat?

© 2017 Revised 2019 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

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A Week of Wellness

We flew the whole CINCteam out to Austin for a week of wellness, meditations, group activities, and spa treatments.
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Elsewhere: Wool dogs and whaling wraps

Hi!! I meant to have this ready to post on Friday, but last week was a week of (good) distractions and (non-tragic) complications, so here is it for your Monday enjoyment instead— — Don’t miss this one: Andrew Sean Greer on the virtues of questionable taste (thx, DG) — Beautiful short video of indigenous Chinese […]

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One Year Ago Today: Undone

my quiet stretches out
like a web of shadow
words unsaid
black diamonds
that glitter on delicate strands of moonlight
shining through frosted windows

I kneel
naked
vulnerable
in the shadows cast by candle flame
I am undone
brought low

I have no language
to express need
no words
to beg for comfort
only silent tears
averted eyes
aching heart
weary head
fists clenched
to mask the shaking

have you learned me
enough
to understand
that tonight
the first move is yours to make
that you must be the strong one?

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

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