Between the oils I have from a class at OSU & Bob's Grandfather's paints that his mama gave me, I have tons of oil paints just waiting to be used. Lately I've been focusing on acrylics and watercolors since that's what classes I've been teaching & because they dry faster & brighter. But now I'm really craving a better quality of paint with more depth & I miss oils - I haven't used them in 2, maybe 3 years. Inspired by a more earthy toned pallet, I find myself eager to move through these deeper more natural tones with oil paints.
Today, it is common to mix the paints with Mineral Spirits, Linseed Oil and other chemically thinners & thickeners. Walnut oil is all natural and is what the great famous painters of the past used. Only recently we started to add all the fillers and toxins that are in popular store paints & mediums. Using these mediums is how I was taught in school, but I'm interested in starting to mix the paints with Walnut Oil instead of Linseed Oil. I found a great video today on a lady who put together a Natural Earth Pigment paint set. Been doing a lot of research on more natural materials.
I've got about a billion ideas, but am going to work through some experiments with the unfamiliar materials on small wooden tiles since I haven't worked with them in a while. They feel like butter when you paint with them and allow much more blending and manipulation of the paint. I'm really excited to work with these (and maybe get crazy & combine them with other panting mediums as well-gold leaf, watercolor, photo transfers?)
It was exciting to get these out!! And I'm so grateful for the paints that were his grandpas. It's super special & he really liked oils...these tubes are huge & theres even a full introductory oils set with a chart! Wow! :)
After some conversations about which Native Americans use to reside on this land & after Max brought up Sweat Lodges the other day, Bob and I started doing some research. We found a book in the cottage called "The American Indian Craft Book," found helpful websites & decided to build one of our own. Something similar to a sweat lodge can be found in different ancient cultures as a ritual for healing, cleansing, and reaching higher consciousness. The health benefits of sweat baths include: cleansing the toxins out of your body; extreme heat kills bacteria’s and viruses, spiritual renewal and purification of the mind, soul and spirit.
They are built near a fire pit and hot stones are brought from the fire into the center of the pit, then water is poured on the stones and it creates a sauna type experience. This ritual was done to purify and cleanse individuals. We got the structure built today and it rained halfway through, making the sapling really easy to bend.
Got a big delivery, hopefully enough for a few months! Took us over 3 hours to stack into the woodshed. It's keeping us warm & inspiring me to get back into wood working, and choosing tree based materials: papers (homemade preferably) paper mache, wood, ash, recycled paper products and whatever else I can come up with after some experimentation...
Water is still on for a few more days! Getting by just dripping the water until the temperatures get really cold and STAY really cold. Today its going to be 36 degrees, so not too bad at all..everything is melting. The stove keeps us really warm.
Our oven broke- but we're getting a toaster oven soon! & our propane ran out, so hot water is kaput as of yesterday. Slowly slipping into being a "dry" cabin...time to get the outhouse ready!
We have a system for our dishes, and we are starting to practice while we still have running water. Time to bulk up on some food again too before we get snowed in :)
Our friends Max and Holli came to visit for a while. We had a nice few days together, and Moo Moo came too. Hunting season began so when we went on hikes we had to put the pups in their bright orange life jackets, and Moo Moo needed something, so she got the 80's rocker wig strapped on her. Our pups and Moo Moo are best friends.
This is our heat source for the winter! Got $300 worth of wood delivered the other day...should last us a couple months. It's nice chopping up the wood that will keep you warm and having to tend to it to stay heated. We normally both wake up once a night to fill the stove with wood again. Luckily there is a built in fan that pushes the hot air out and creates air flow inside. And we have this copper tea pot that always has a little bit of water in it to keep the cabin humidified. Important in the dry winter months that are ahead of us!
This is the Au Sauble River. The top of this sand dune is about a 7 minute walk from the cabin. It's a very special place for many reasons, and has inspired a few paintings. In the summer we take our kayaks all the way out there and fish and bask in the sun & watch the epic sunsets from the water. I've never been here in the winter until now, and just the other day the wind was blowing down the river, straight up sandhill, most powerful wind I think I've ever felt.
Bob caught another big trout...this time 28'' and 8.5 lbs! We ate part of him for dinner, and froze the rest. The pups are loving it up here...constant cuddles. Our oven broke, but we are getting along! Not eating much meat other than what we catch/hunt. Hopefully a deer happens, gun season just started yesterday so we are staying at the cottage for the most part while all the hooligans hunt over the weekend.
A care package came in the mail from Grammy....TONS of great supplies. This ARCHES paper is amazing. So thankful for my Grams and this generous gift! Both of my Grandmothers paint- talk about inspiration!
We woke up to snow today. Looks so beautiful! Definitely a change from snow in the city..I don't mind it when it's untouched and lovely!
Jessica R. Willis
Artist of many mediums inspired by nature and philanthropy