Over the years I have found it extremely exciting to put my hand to a number of things. The largest challenge is to focus on one thing at a time and do it well. I have always been more of a projects type of person. When involved in the project, I can become thoroughly committed to that project, at the expense of other things. Meals? Oh yeah, guess I need to eat... or fix food for the family. Sleep is also another expendable issue. Projects and deadlines seem to take priority.
I always wanted to paint. I would look at scenery and want to try to reproduce it. One day I picked up some paint and brushes from a craft store and thought I would try my hand at it. It turned out to be a total disaster. I had no clue where to begin. I tried to paint a sun in the middle of the canvas. This might sound somewhat silly to a number of you but when I saw other paintings with a sun on them it looked so simple.
Since those early days of trying to paint, I had the opportunity to take some lessons from a good teacher. She was very helpful in explaining where to begin and what supplies where needed. Everything from what type of canvas to use for the type of medium you were going to use. Everything from water colour to oils.
One of the most important thing that I learned was that for painting you work from the back forward. You establish the sky, then lay in some clouds (because they go across the sky), adding distant mountains, then moving to closer mountains. Trees grow on the lower areas of mountains and snow often is found on the tops of mountains so those things are then added.
I was challenged to think how things grew. Grasses, trees, flowers all come out of the earth. It makes sense to have the ground put in place first. Now I realize that things begin to expand once the initial foundation is put in place and you can add other trees in front of the first line of trees, etc., but the general principle is there - Background to foreground, ground - up.
Check out some of my oil paintings.
I started writing the Sunset Sapphire Novel during the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge of 2011. It was amazing to write just over 52,000 words during the month of November. This is an annual event that has thousands of participants from all over the world. Through this first experience of writing such a large work, I discovered the need for research, and plenty of it.
All of a sudden I found myself asking questions about the geography of the area in the mid 1700's and needed to find accurate maps. I realized that I had limited ideas on the decorations used to make a villa in Spain ready to celebrate the Christmas season. No pretty red bows except those made of cloth. No sparkling lights adorning the trees. Come to think of it, were there fir trees available in Spain to decorate like we do today? Many of the trees were cut down to provide wood for cooking or keeping warm.
Once I got going on this novel I realized that it was a story that could not be contained in just one book, thus the trilogy was born.