Frutta V

Frutta V
Maria's Best Selling Giclee Print to Date

Saturday, August 18, 2012

True to Nature: Poets & Artists En Plein Aire

Day 226, 2012 AD

"Nature I love, and next to nature is art"

                                                                Maria Liberto Bessette

Simply stated en plein air is the art of painting directly from nature. The artist responds with quick and spontaneous brush strokes to capture the true effects of color and light
Painting outdoors started in the late 1700's. Landscape painters in France began taking their oil paints to the field in pig bladders. And by the 1840s, collapsible tin tubes were being introduced.

It was about this time that Claude Monet (1840-1926), Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), and Alfred Sisley (1839-1899) started the Impressionists group.
By 1869 Monet and Renoir were using portable easels and traveling paintboxes. They painted rapid studies in free sketchy brushwork, attempting to capture fleeting moments.  The basis for outdoor painting techniques were firmly established although methods and palettes would change. 

Many might think Impressionism is the style of choice by current plein air artists.  Each artist develops his own unique way of seeing,  their own style and choice of mediums. But all have one common theme: truth to nature.

It is therefore only fitting that the love of nature and creativity is also the subject to the gifted writers and poets. 

Below is a sequence of penned works and plein air painters

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time." -   John Lubbock


An artist is just like a lake:A mirror that's alive;
With trees that shimmer, laugh, and shake,
And high clouds hung like towers.
Why do we watch a mountain quake
As feelings dip and dive?
The worlds inside and out will make
A moment that is ours.
Nicholas Gordon

Maria painting at Wyoming Park,Wyoming DE 2012

 "What makes for great art
is the courage to speak and write and paint
what you know and care about."

Audrey Flack

We are alive our very breath singing.
We live beyond certainty, constantly stretching.

We are the lucky who live beyond,
in a swirl of questioning,
broadening. Reach...
We stretch in our borderless
matrix of gestures,
our instruments urge us,
our melodies carry us...
towards where you sit,
in that daring front row.
You await our flowering intonations,
the hint of the glorious flourishing new.

Maria painting at Willow Rock Gardens, Clayton DE, 2012
Paintbrush, melodies, give us their clues,
In hours of practise, its you were befriending.
Authentic, blended and lifted, we woo
the small beauty of a perfect ending.

Maria Painting at Mirror Lake, Dover DE, 2011

With golden fingers our harmonies fuse,
the secrets of the gardens weve tended
the streggle for the pure, authentic,
were dancing on strings,
towards a God amused,
a cosmos applauding.
What weve tried to accomplish,
at such great odds,
is beauty, melding audience with artist.
Humanity flourishing true.

We are the workers who bring you the true
and the new and the old again, remade for you,
we are alive, our breath has a view,
Weve striven and surfaced, and now were all new.

Maria Painting at Lavender Fields, Milton DE, 2012

"Nature I love, and next to nature is art"

                                                                Maria Liberto Bessette

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Comback of Natural Shampoo Bars

My Sudsy Natural Shampoo Bars

Day 225, 2012 AD in the Artful Life of Maria takes you on the clean journey of creatomg shampoo bars.  And why not, if you are a soapmaker, you already have the ingredients, so you would definitely want to make shampoo bars. 

When all soap was made by hand using a long difficult method of leaching ashes to make lye water, rendering animal fats and mixing all that together. After hours of stiring over an open fire the end result was anywhere from a soft soap to a hard mass.  This soap was used for everything that needed to be cleaned, laundry, dishes, floors, animals and human bodies and scalps.   Even after soapmaking became more sophisticated  - soap bars where used for bathing and shampooing of hair. 

18th Century Soap Making

Shampoo bars have made a comeback with today's focus on natural bath and beauty products, as well as assurance of less problematic air travel.   But them in your travel cosmetic bag and go.

Making your own solid shampoo is a great way to provide a healthy alternative for your hair. Shampoo bars, lacking moisture content, don't require the same preservatives and chemicals that commercial shampoos need to keep out bacteria. Thus shampoo bars are healthier for your hair and will last longer.

Lavender Shampoo Bars & Coconut Lime Verbana Shampoo Bars
by Coastal Cottage Soaps

The Coastal Cottage Soap - Shampoo Bars  provides customers with  a great scented product that will nourish your hair for its best possible look and condition.

One customer purchases these bars for her outdoor shower near her pool.  They are easier for kids to use and there is less product waste.

Now after curing for about 1 week or more they can be packaged for customers. 

CCS Men's Shampoo Bars

Look for Coastal Cottage Soaps travel pack of 3 travel size items: shampoo bar, 1/2 size bath bars and jar of aloe vera body cream on the market soon!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Quest for Plein Air Painting Inspirtional Locations

Day 224, 2012 AD

Visiting a Working Vineyard for Inspiration

Maria Painting at Wyoming Park, Wyoming DE

Their is an ongoing quest to find inspirational locations for our group of Plein Air Painters.  Somehow this falls to me, but not by accident.  A group of my artist friends have been painting outdoors for well over a year. We love the safety, the camaraderie of being together, being outdoors and being creative. 

Everyone knows about FaceBook, networking and social media marketing.  It is a wonderful way to announce, invite and publicize any event.  I organized a FB group page: 
Plein Air Painters of the Mid-Atlantic, opening up the group to any interested artist.  I am happy to report that our little group of 5 has increased to 25 in one year.  There are always suggestions about locations, but someone needs to check with the site owner, museum, historic site or property owner.  Oh sometime directions, carpooling and other matters need attention. 

Visiting the Vineyard

Back to looking for inspirational locations.  Many sites have houses, barns, sheds, fences, gates, historic architecture.  Other locations offer beaches, dunes, ponds, rivers, lakes, creeks, foliage, hedgerows, trees, forests.  Agritourism sites offer, gardens, flowers, livestock, orchards, farms, pastures and more.   Our very small state of Delaware does offer an array of locations in all 3 counties from the rolling hills of wealth estates in the north through farmland and historical sites to the ocean beaches in the south.

LaManchia Goats at the Vineyard Farm

Another benefit of advance planning promotes the culture of creativity and partnership with the specific painting location.  In many cases artists are anxious to expand their knowledge of beautiful artistic locations and promote awareness of historic and agritourism sites within our region.

The quest continues for inspirational locations where artists can gather informally to share their love of outdoors.

A gathering of Plein Air Painters of the Mid-Atlantic
 (a few painters could not make this session)

Best to all of you and please think about being creative and then be creative.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Recreating Farmer's Markets "Farm to Market & Farm to Table."

(223rd day of year 2012)

Some History of Delaware Farm Markets
I am old enough to remember the produce, cheeses, breads, eggs and meats being sold from vendors who lined the streets of cities and towns selling from crates of goods from their  trucks and cards.  The photo below is of an even earlier era. 

Farm Vendors with Wagons on King Street, Wilmington DE, cir 1910 

Farmers and Hucksters began selling their goods and produce on King Street in Wilmington in the 19th century.  It tells the visual story of what the market looked like 100 years ago.

Farmer Vendors, Downtown Wilmington DE  Approx Date 1920-1930

The tradition of farmers getting together and selling their products directly to customers has been around a long time. In fact, for most of human history, such open-air markets were the only way most people could access a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. It wasn’t until after World War II, when big growers and big supermarkets came onto the scene, that farmer’s markets took a back seat in the mind of the consumer. While supermarkets filled with a wide variety of produce still sell the majority of fresh foods in the United States, the farmer’s market is making a comeback. More and more, buyers are recognizing the many benefits of buying produce directly from the farmer.

"I love the sense of community at the Riverwalk Farmers Market in Milford Delaware, where I have been a vendor for 5 years."

Today's Farmers Markets

It is still the same scene from a bygone era when consumers regularly purchased fresh foods from local farmers at open-air markets. It is becoming a common trend that is taking place throughout the country right now, almost every day—at farmer’s markets everywhere. Farmer’s markets have long been a part of human culture, and began thousands of years ago when the first farmers had produce to sell and the first consumers had a need to buy it.

 While farmer’s markets are a great way to boost a grower’s income, they also provide a chance for both farmers and buyers to interact. Vendors particularly enjoy the social aspect of farmer’s markets and look forward to the chance to meet customers and discuss their product.  Customers can relate to the farmer, their farm and their products. 

Marketing the "farm to table" concept and knowing you are helping a small business owner in your community, will also benefit your community economically.  Many other great products are created and sold at market, such as cheeses, jellies, jams, pickled items, delicious breads, pastries & baked goods.  Seafood, meats, prepared foods, dried and fresh herbs, live floral arrangements, soaps, lotions, and handmade crafts are among other commonly offered items.  

Our products made at home under the name of COASTAL COTTAGE SOAPS is a 5 year old cottage industry. We are long standing vendors at a rather local Farmers Market, co-sponsored by Downtown Milford and the DE Dept of Agriculture.  This market is the main venue for selling our products.  Using home grown herbs and botanicals and locally grown ingredients when possible I produce a variety of natural soaps for all genders including laundry and doggie soaps.  Many customers come back time after time, year after year which establishes a better relationship than  a "brick & mortar." 

Delaware's Farmers Markets continue to become popular, prosper, grow and increase in number.  The small state of Delaware with 11 regulated farmers markets grossed over 1.8 million dollars in 2011.  Do you know where your food comes from?

Meet you at the market!