Friday, October 29, 2010

Footloose Friday and a Blind Contour

It would appear that I have the day off - no phone calls this morning. I have a whole day stretching out before me. I have a haircut at 11, have a book at the library and am hoping to catch Pumpkin Carving at Creative Live at 2. Other than that, the day is unplanned and wide open. I love this kind of day and am hoping to get started on more art projects.

Meanwhile, once the girls and their Mom went home last evening and the dishes were done, I headed for my art room and did a bit of coloring. I think this colored pencil bit is a little better than my past ones, but still need to work on it.

I'm guessing the Creative Live Pumpkin Carving is digital using Photoshop. I don't know if I will be able to watch it all because of the restrictions of my ISP and I really don't want to drive to Mason for a haircut at 11 and then turn around and drive back to the coffee shop there to watch the free Photoshop lesson at 2. I guess that is a decision I will have to make later in the day.

I attempted another blind contour of the same bald eagle that I used last week and all I can say is - I thought I would get better with each attempt. I'm not sure this is as good as last week's, but it is what I have for today.

I almost forgot about the giveaway - drum roll please - the random number generator has chosen number 1 as the winner.  Pooja, please contact me with mailing information. Thanks to all of you for participating.

See you in November - holy moley, what's the big hurry with this year. I've just gotten used to writing 2010 and it is about to be 2011


Thursday, October 28, 2010

This and That Thursday

I just got out of bed - it is a wonder the hubster wasn't holding a mirror under my nose to see if I was alive. I am usually out of bed by 7, but I did stay up until 2 am.

I had the girls yesterday and boy was it a busy day. My daughter just called to ask me if I could take them again today. Of course, I would never say no if I was going to be home.

The girls did a lot of art yesterday, but I didn't have my camera at the ready. Today I will take some pix so that I have memories long after I start to lose my physical memory.

All I have for you today is a quick sketch I did for little Miss 3. She brought in some absolutely gorgeous leaves and asked me to draw them. She wanted me to hold them down and trace around them and I did so on her paper. But then I wanted to see if I could do a quick sketch for myself. I am planning to try to add color later today if I get the chance. I am going to try colored pencils and try Nancy's idea of using a colorless blender.

Here is what I have so far:

It is now 2:22 pm and I am trying to finish this before my Algebra student comes at 3 and then Miss 7 gets here on the bus at 4:15.

My goal is to spend some time coloring these leaves after their Mom picks them up around 6:30.

I think I will try to put some color on my bird drawing also. I really need to practice adding color without getting so frustrated that I trash them.

Better go get ready for my tutoring session.

I'll try to have more to offer tomorrow.

Just have to tell you about David Kassan - you probably already know of him, but I just found out about him yesterday and I am totally captivated. Boy can he draw!

See you tomorrow...


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Warbling Wednesday

I'm trying to make my blog titles alliterative because I am running out of meaningful titles and it makes it more fun for me to name them.

I have a sketch of a bird to share today, so I think the title is both fun for me and somewhat meaningful. I really like birds and think I am going to have to make my next watercolor from one of my sketches. Watercolor is really difficult and just when I think I am getting better, I completely botch what I am working on.

At any rate, here is my bird sketch:

I think the branch needs to be a bit thicker especially on the left.

I also spent some time yesterday trying to add color to my girl sketch using several different media. I ended up putting most of what I attempted in the trash. I did keep my colored pencil one even though I don't think it is very good. I am having a really hard time blending whether I try to use my fingers, a blending stump or just the pencil.

I'll keep trying.

While I was looking at old pictures and scrapbook pages I'd made I ran across one of my favorite pix of the older first cousins. This picture was taken in the school gym just after preschool graduation.

I wish they would have stayed this age for a bit longer. I can't believe they are now in 2nd grade.

I was supposed to be driving to Niles and then Stevensville today, but the weatherman has advised against it. It is fairly calm this morning, but they are predicting high winds, possibly gusting to 60 mph later this morning and throughout the afternoon. I've decided to postpone the trip for a couple of days.

Reminder: If you haven't yet entered the giveaway go to Monday's post and leave a comment. I will be drawing the winner on Thursday just after midnight (I guess that actually makes it Friday), but that means the deadline is Thursday at midnight.

I got all the way to the end of this post before I realized that my initial title (Tweet, Tweet Tuesday) really wasn't working for this Wednesday post. DUH! Sure glad I caught it before I posted.

I hope to see you tomorrow...


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I had a really busy day yesterday and finally settled down to work on some art, but I didn't prepare well and all was lost. I printed out four faces on the same watercolor paper to try different media, but didn't realize the grayish background that printed on each would interfere with the color I was using and the gray ran when I applied water. I will try again today. But today I will transfer the pix to the paper instead of relying on the printer.

Meanwhile, I thought I would share some of my "art" from years ago. My first venture into being arty was with scrapbooking. I only did the "hands-on" kind for a very short time, then I found Photoshop and my life changed forever. Here are a few of my favorites from that period.

I had such fun making this one almost 7 years ago.

It all began with the grandgirls. They were so photogenic!

This one seemed appropriate for this time of year.

One of my all time favorites.

Oh, the memories!

I'm thinking that maybe I should still be finding time to do digital scrapbooking. Little ones become big ones so quickly. These are great to look back on and I think the girls enjoy them more than any of  the rest of us.

I hope I haven't bored you with these nostalgic pix. Looking at old scrapbook pages was a very pleasant experience for me. 

If you haven't yet left a comment on yesterday's post to get in on the drawing for a box full of stamps, don't forget to do it before Thursday at midnight.

Gotta run. I hope to have a bit of new art to share tomorrow.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Links and a 40,000 viewer Giveaway

Before I get into today's post, I have a print to show you that I won just before I went on my trip to upstate New York. I forgot to show it to you and I know you really like me to share. I won this lovely leaf print from Karen Blados, one of my favorite artists. You probably know her; if not, now is the time to go check out her blog and see her amazing work.

It is even more beautiful in person.

The hubster and I spent a couple of hours with buckets of bleach and water washing the siding on his workshop yesterday afternoon.  It is 2-car garage size and is free standing. We only had to do three sides, but that was plenty. Neither one of us thought about how hard bleach would be on our hands and didn't wear rubber gloves and are paying for it today. My right hand is raw around the fingernails and between the fingers. It even hurts to type. It was an absolutely gorgeous day; 71 and sunny with just a bit of a breeze. We should have made flavored coffee and enjoyed that day in the swings, but his workshop looks so nice now, it was almost worth it.

The one good thing about being out there though is that I noticed again how lovely the mums are in the side garden. They are the most beautiful color. What do you think?

I have a few more links to artists' blogs for you today. I hope you find the time to visit them and let me know if one or more of them becomes a daily visit for you.

Oh, before I forget - the hubster found a new recipe in the local paper and tried it this weekend. It was wonderful and has made its way into our personalized cookbook. It is easy to make and is even better the day after.

I have a girl sketch that I am planning to transfer to watercolor paper and try to paint. I am thinking of doing four small ones on one sheet to compare them. I would like to try doing her in watercolor, pan pastels, colored pencils and acrylics. I will share when/if I get it done. Here she is:

Oh, I almost forgot about the giveaway!

Some time last Friday afternoon I had my 40,000 visitor to this site and to celebrate I am going to stuff a priority mail box with rubber stamps and send it to one of you. To get into the drawing all you have to do is leave a comment here and tell me what type of stamps you like - animals, faces, text, patterns, sayings.....

I will draw for the winner at midnight on Thursday, October 28, and make the announcement on Friday morning. Do leave me a way to contact you or be sure to check back so you can see if you've won.

Gotta run. I need a second cup of coffee and a quick bite to eat before I shower and head for my tutoring appointment.

Hope to see you again tomorrow.....


Friday, October 22, 2010

Fotoshop Friday and A Blind Contour

Want to see how a pretty good picture like this:

Can become a really nice picture like this?

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Open the picture you would like to enhance.
Step 2: Go to Image>Mode>Lab Color.
Step 3: Go to Image>Apply Image...Don't panic - it might look really funky in the beginning. You have two controls in this dialog box. One is Channel and one is Blending.
Step 4: Try the lab channel, the a channel and the b channel. With each one adjust the blending modes. You will most likely like the Overlay and Soft Light blending modes.
Step 5: Go to Image>Mode>RGB Color.
Step 6: Choose File>Save As...and give it a name.

Here are a couple of other choices just for fun:
This is the same photo using lab channel and Hard Mix Blending mode

This is the same photo using the b channel and Linear Light Blending mode

Do try this and let me know what you think.

Meanwhile it is also Blind Contour Friday. I think I am actually getting better at this. This is a bald eagle head and upper body. It isn't much, but I think you can tell what it is supposed to be. I did the whole thing including the eye without looking.

An update:

I've traded the Copic markers and have sold the Spellbinder Wizard. I still have the Zutter Bind-It-All and accessories for sale/trade. 

Hope you enjoyed this post.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

This and That Thursday

This is the view out my bathroom window when I got up this morning. You've gotta love the sun this time of year.

I just checked my email and I must say, dear readers, I really appreciate the time you take to read my blog and am appreciative of the comments you leave. You make my day!

I went to my watercolor class last evening and have added another couple of layers to the gazania painting. I am not happy with the bottom portion yet, but am planning to work on that a bit more. I also think I will add another layer to the background. I'd like it to be a bit darker and I'd like to glaze over the secondary parts of flowers to send them a bit to the background. What do you think? Would you do what I have in mind? Would you do something different? Would you do more than I am planning? Would you turn it over and start a new painting on the back?

Here is the WIP as it looks today:

The mats are digital. The painting is still taped to a board.

It looks like I have traded/sold the Copic markers and the Spellbinder Wizard, but I still have the Zutter Bind-It-All (although I have had an inquiry). If these deals do not come to fruition, I will repost to let you know.

I'm thinking that my 40,000 visitor giveaway will be on Monday. Right now,  I am leaning toward the giveaway being a Priority Shipping box full of stamps (not the mailing kind, the stamping kind), some mounted on wood and some unmounted. Do you think that would be a good giveaway? Be sure to check back when I make a decision of what the giveaway will be and how to sign up for a chance.

I hope you enjoyed the links to the artists that I posted about yesterday. I will be periodically providing others for you to look at. I am amazed at the number of artists out there and the wonderful talent and diversity besides.

Busy day planned today, gotta go.........


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What's Up Wednesday

I've decided to try to have a theme here on the blog each week day. It won't mean I won't still have photos and art work to share, but I will also have more direction in my posts. For "What's Up Wednesday" I would like to give you a few links to some of my favorite blogs. I cannot believe all the wonderful and talented people who have blogs and I am sure the ones I am aware of are just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are today's links in no particular order:


I hope you find the time to check out these artists' blogs. If you are unfamiliar with them, you are in for a treat.

And here is today's photo:

I don't have new art work to show you because I had Miss 3 and Miss 7 overnight and until about noon today. It was great fun, but my art room was neglected. I have my watercolor class this afternoon and hope to have something to show you tomorrow.

I still have some art supplies to sell/trade. Click here if you are interested.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October Sunshine

I got up quite late this morning, but then I didn't hit the sack until about 3:30 this morning, to find the sun shining brightly into the house and my energy level immediately increased. While I can't be in the sun much (I am a redhead (mostly gray now) with very fair skin and blue eyes), I really appreciate seeing the sun.  I've got to get out today with the camera and get some pix around here. My New York pictures are really nice and I am sure we will venture there again in the future, but Michigan offers many wonderful photo opportunities also.

Here is another picture of Blue Mountain Lake from the trip:

I had a wonderful day yesterday with Miss 3 and am hoping to see her and her big sister and her Mom sometime today. I think they may be staying for dinner.

But I didn't get on the treadmill yesterday and I have to get back into that routine which means that when I am finished with this post, I have an appointment with the iPod and the walking machine.

I did get unpacked and did all the laundry. And, wonder of wonders, I dusted the living room. I swear it was an inch thick in there. I've been home two days and I've already tutored Algebra two times.  I did spend a bit of time last evening sketching and this is what I have.

I still need to work on my shading, but I don't think this is too bad.


I have a set of 36 Copic markers. I wanted them so much, but I still haven't used them and now I am engaged in the watercolor experience so don't think I will use them at all. I would love to have a set of Isabey Cat's Tongue brushes or NEEF Alvaro Castagnet Series 117 Brushes.  Or maybe you have something else related to watercolor, bookbinding, or sketching that you'd like to trade. Is there someone out there who would like to trade? or purchase them? It is such a shame to have them just sitting on the shelf.

I also have a Zutter Bind-It-All that I never use as I like to bind my books by hand. If you would like to buy it or trade for it let me know. I have the book "Bound 2 Bind" and two large boxes of rings, 2 medium boxes of rings and two small boxes of rings. Mine is version 1 and is light blue.

Another "toy" that I have that I no longer use is the Spellbinder's Wizard embossing and die cutting system. It does a wonderful job and they have wonderful dies and nestabilities, but I don't make cards and I no longer do scrapbooking. This would include all the dies that I have, too.

I would be so thrilled to trade or sell these so that I can get supplies that I would use. I hate to have good products just sitting around.

If you are interested, either leave a comment or email me.

The treadmill calls.......


Monday, October 18, 2010

Back Home Again

I'm back home and happy to be here. Somehow, somewhere on the trip I must have ingested something with milk products in it as I spent the last two days in misery. But prior to that the trip was perfect, even the rain didn't dampen it (pun intended).

The only thing is the pictures on the rainy day tended to be one of three types:

Raindrops in focus instead of the picture beyond:

Poor timing trying to get a pic without the windshield wiper in the middle of it:

Or a wonderfully serendipitous "watercolor" literally through the water. Isn't this spectacular? This is the original picture as shot.

And then there is the reward after listening to Miss Bossy Pants (the GPS) and a long rainy spell:

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. I just got a call with an offer to spend some time with Little Miss 3 today, so instead of a walk on the treadmill I will just grab a bite to eat and head into town to do the grocery shopping and then pick her up to spend a few hours with us.

I hope to get some art done today and will share with you tomorrow. Meanwhile, I am closing in on 40,000 visitors to my site so will have to have a giveaway later in the week. I have to decide first what I will giveaway and then get it set up. Stay tuned.......


Friday, October 15, 2010

Score So Far 3 to 1

We've had 3 perfect days so far - nice roads, sunny skies, beautiful scenery, little or no traffic.

But last night the weather service issued a winter storm watch for the areas all around us. It started raining around 9 last evening and is still raining. The forecast is for damaging winds and flood warnings. We already have reservations here tonight so we will stay. We are just getting ready to go for the continental breakfast that is included in our room reservation and we will decide what we are going to do today. I don't think a train trip or a boat cruise is in order.

I do have some pictures to share from yesterday and the day before:

This Moose is in the front on the Old Forge Art Center and I couldn't go by without taking his picture. We stopped at the Center, but all they had going on was a quilt show. Don't get me wrong, I love quilts, but didn't feel like paying to see them.

This is a quick picture out the car window of the hillside on the way to Lake George. We were happy to see that this area still had color.

This is Blue Mountain Lake. It was really beautiful and peaceful. There were several small boats on the lake. I'm guessing they were either fishing or just enjoying the weather.

This is a great, quick pic of the Hudson River. We stopped for a short time at a pull out on the road along the way.

It is time for a cup of coffee. I think we can get to the breakfast room without going out in the rain. I'll try to post again tomorrow. 


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Back in the USA

We got up early on Wednesday and walked down to the Falls again. The day time pix were even nicer than the ones from the evening before.

We had a lovely drive taking back roads most of the time (I suppose to be fair I shouldn't call them back roads. They are secondary roads). The roads were in very good shape and the traffic was ideal. We ran into our first real construction zone about 15 miles from our destination, Old Forge. We lucked out as to our timing; the road was down to one lane and we arrived just in time to make it into the active one. The car behind us was the last one going our way. When we arrived at the other end about 10 minutes later there was a very long line waiting.

The Adirondack mountain area is almost devoid of leaves. There is color here and there, but for the most part we are a bit late. The woman at the desk at The Forge Motel said they'd had a very heavy rain a few days before that took most of the leaves off the trees. 

When we first arrived on the American side via the Rainbow Bridge, we stopped at the Whirlpool Park where I got this picture. There appears to be a gondola that you can ride across the chasm separating Canada from the US.

I took pictures out the car windows along the way when the hubster was driving. I didn't take any while I was driving (grin). Surprisingly some of them turned out quite well. Here is one of a barn that I rather like.
Today we are driving to Lake George. It is cloudy, but sunny and we are hopeful of a lovely drive. I will try to get some pix today to share.

Gotta go. I am posting this from the lodge (the only place at the Forge Motel where I can get access) and it is really hot in here. I am dressed in flannel pajama pants and a heavy sweatshirt (my outdoor wear).

I did a sketch last evening in the room of an artificial flower arrangement. I haven't taken a picture of my sketch yet, but may be able to share it tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First Day Of Vacation

So here we are in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. We waited until after dinner to walk down to the falls, so I took pix in the dark, but I still think they turned out pretty well. What do you think?

The drive was fantastic with just a bit of construction and mostly smooth roads. There was quite a bit of traffic once we got to Hamilton, but all in all it was a great day. I think we may have to walk down to the Falls tomorrow morning in the daylight in order to get more pix and then we are going over to the American side and heading to Old Forge, NY, in the Adirondacks.

I haven't done any art yet, but hope to get some sketching done tomorrow on one of our stops along the way. 

I don't know if we will have internet access in Old Forge, but if I do I'll post tomorrow. Otherwise I will have a lot to show you the next day.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday, Monday

I'm getting seriously frustrated with the weather. I'm trying to get into the jeans and long sleeved shirt thing and Mother Nature keeps upping the thermostat! What gives with that. It was 83º here yesterday and while I love a lovely warm day this time of year, I'm thinking more like 68º. I don't even like 83º in the summer time.

I've checked online to find out what the temps are expected to be in the Adirondack area of New York for this week and it looks lovely. Mostly in the upper 50s. Now that is sweatshirt weather. I'm hoping to get out and do some walking and sketching, so I think layers are in order. I am planning to bring some pencils, pens and a small watercolor kit and am hoping to get better at small sketches with just a touch of color.

I guess I will be packing this evening as today is pretty full. I am tutoring Calculus at 10:30, meeting my daughter and Miss 3 for lunch, and then tutoring Algebra at 3:00. There is also a good chance I will have a tutoring session around dinner time.

I do have a bit of art to show you from this past weekend. I have started on the Gazania and am getting a bit frustrated. I know how I want it to look, but somehow between the brain, arm, paintbrush and paper, it gets lost in translation. Here is my first two layers.

I'm wishing now that instead of letting the yellow layer dry before adding the orangey color that I had just dropped the orange/red into the bottom of the wet yellow and let it bleed up.

This morning I woke up at 5:00 and decided to take advantage of the time that HughesNet allows me to watch videos and looked at a couple of watercolor YouTube videos before trying to apply the background to my work in progress. I am afraid watching the videos did not help much.

I think this must be the awful/awkward stage.

I still have lots to do - there is a dark color closer in to the center and I need to lift out a few pistils or whatever those lovely little things in the center of the flower are. I also have to figure out how to get the flower to look 3D and how to make the petals look more individual. So much to figure out!

I do have a wonderful work of art to show you that the hubster finished this weekend. Have you ever seen anything like this before?

This is called a Jefferson Chair or Bachelor Chair.

Sorry the picture of the 3-position chair is not the best. I took them out on the deck and between the Adirondack chairs, the grill and the bird feeders, it was hard to get a good shot.

And of course I have a photo to share with you today.

I think it must be time for my first mug of coffee and then once the hubster arises I would like to get on the treadmill before I officially start my day.

What do you have planned for today? Did you do anything special for 10/10/10? I tried to zero in on 10:10 either am or pm, but somehow missed them both. Maybe I'll do better on 10/11/12?

I'll try to post from the road and hope to have lots of lovely photos and some artwork to show you. I am really excited about this trip and am hopeful we can keep it loose and spontaneous. I don't like to plan too much as it makes a vacation seem like work. I am hoping we can just "go with the flow" stopping wherever and whenever we choose.

Gotta go!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Photo of the Day and A Blind Contour

Today's photo is one that was taken at Kensington Park near Brighton, Michigan. I adore the color and the peaceful setting. Wouldn't you like to meet here for lunch?

We are leaving for the Adirondack mountains on Tuesday and are tentatively planning to stay in Lake George as our base and take several day trips from there. Burlington, Vermont, is one of our planned excursions. We are planning to go through Canada and Niagara Falls and are thinking about coming back around the north side of Lake Ontario.

Anyone have any other ideas for us?

I am anticipating a lovely trip as the color is reported to be at its peak right now. I am taking two cameras - a point and shoot and my SLR. I am also hopeful of getting some sketching done and am taking sketching supplies as well as a small watercolor kit.

Today is a day to do some errand running and trip planning. We will make a short trip into Jackson to buy a couple of sweatshirts and are planning to borrow a GPS from the hubster's brother.

And as today is Blind Contour Friday, I have a self portrait blind contour that was done shortly after my latest self portrait. I think I really have to slow down when doing contours blind as I am not very good at them yet.

It's rather simian isn't it? And look at the size of that schnoz?

I am hoping to color my self portrait using several different media to see what I like the best. I'll share when I get some done. Meanwhile, I tutored Algebra last evening and have an appointment here tomorrow at 10 am and again on Monday at 3:00 pm. I have also been contacted to tutor some Calculus. That would be so wonderful. I don't want to lose my knowledge of it and using it is the only way to preserve it.

Hope you are having a lovely day and a splendiferous weekend!!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's A Girl and More Watercolor WIP

There is another child to be born into my family in late February and I just found out yesterday that it is to be another girl. I think I am growing a girl tribe. My daughter and I were talking last evening about all the girls being born in our family, so I decided to actually do a count both on my side and on the hubster's side.

On my side there are 10 girls and 10 boys, but on the hubster's side there are 10 girls and 1 boy. On my side of the family from 9 girls and 5 boys the incidence of girls is the same as boys, but on the hubster's side from 6 boys and 2 girls the incidence of girls is overwhelmingly greater. I don't know what this means, but I did find it interesting.

I went to my watercolor class last evening and added some layers to my fisherman painting. Much of it I like and some of it needs work. Here is what I have so far:

 I still need to darken the front edge of the middle field and rough up the trail leading to the fisherman. I'd appreciate any other suggestions you might have for me.

 I've been looking through my pictures to see what I might attempt next and have decided to do a close-up of a gazania. I think I have shared this photo before, but I don't think an encore would be all bad. This is the one I will attempt to represent in watercolor:

No plans for today except to walk the treadmill and begin the sketch for this gazania watercolor. Anything else I accomplish will be icing on the cake. 

I am still tired - yesterday I thought I had sleeping sickness. I could not stay awake. Maybe I should add a nap to today's agenda.