Saturday, January 30, 2010

Birthday Surprise and Artsy Blogger Links

Well, it is official; I am 58 years old and don't feel more than a day older than I did yesterday. I had a lovely surprise last evening. My daughter and her two girls came out for dinner. This is not that unusual. Sometimes she opens at work and gets home just before dinner and I think it is nice for her to come over and eat with us to avoid that stressful "it's dinner time and what the heck am I going to fix" time of day.

On this occasion, her 7 year old came rushing in and ushered me back to my art room and told me I couldn't come out until she came to get me. That is the moment when I knew this wasn't just the normal dinner visit. When she came to get me, I didn't notice anything different around the kitchen, so forgot about it. The hubster had fixed chicken and broccoli stir fry over rice with a lovely salad for dinner and we had a lovely dinner together. The 2 year old was asleep on the couch. She frequently falls asleep in the car, especially when she hasn't had an afternoon nap.

After dinner, 7 took me back to my art room again and told me to stay until she came for me. When she came to get me she asked me to close my eyes and she led me to the dining area. When I opened my eyes, 2 was on Mom's lap and there was a beautiful, unfrosted spice cake with two lit candles (a 5 and an 8) on it. I made a wish and blew them out while they sang "Happy Birthday". Spice cake is my favorite and I don't like frosting, so they also brought some frosting for themselves to add to their piece of cake.

Does it get any better than that??

A couple of days ago I received a birthday card from Liz Brooks, a woman in one of my Yahoo! groups that I'd like to share with you:


Isn't that lovely? I so appreciate the friends I've made online; they make my day many times in many ways.

I got up around 5:15 this morning to download some larger files during a time when it is not so busy and a time when downloads do not count toward my total allowed. While they were downloading I doodled on an ATC background that I had made earlier. It was a pink shade and I doodled with red. What do you think?

I really thought that red on pink would be impressive, but now I don't know. Is it a bit gaudy?

Here for your pleasure is a round up of some artsy bloggers you might want to visit:

Beading Arts
Cyndi is so happy that the third year of the Bead Journal Project has started. This year, she's making a bead embroidered bracelet for each month of the project.
Creative Dreamer
A tutorial to make your Valentine a fun little gift...

Gadabout Media
Valentine's Day means making heart motifs, so Chloe has found some funky and fun hearts to craft

Hankering for yarn
Noreen thought that designing a knitted bookmark for Valentine's day gifts would be a quick and easy process. Well! it turned out to be a real saga, but it was oh so worth it! The hearts and cables knitted bookmarks are just wonderful, and the pattern is now blissfully easy, since Noreen cracked the code on it. 

The Artful Crafter
How to use waterslide decals for decoupage under glass. Put your original designs anywhere with inkjet or laserjet decals.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I appreciate each and every one of you and value your time and encouragement.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Feeling Special

Tomorrow is my birthday, but today I am already feeling the love. I got a lovely card in the mail from Tolegranny of Art For the Creative Mind. What a nice surprise!

My friend, Nancy, and I were to go out second hand store scouting and it was my turn to drive and her turn to buy lunch, but in honor of my birthday she chose to drive AND buy lunch. We had a lovely time and found some goodies. I'll share those with you tomorrow.

When I got home, it was to find a vase of flowers on the table from the hubster:


Do I ever feel special! And to top it off, the first grader just called and she, her little sister and her Mom are coming out later this afternoon. The perfect ending to a perfect day.
I'm off to have some flavored coffee with the hubster and watch some tennis.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Very Cool Blog and a Giveaway

I found another blog that I just had to subscribe to today. It is written by a young woman named Bianca who lives in New South Wales. She is witty and very creative. The thing that hooked me was the cool mail art.

A large part of the reason I am telling you about her is that she is having a giveaway of lovely goodies on her blog. Here is a picture of what you can win:

She has a disclaimer on her site that says the toes are not included. If you like looking at mail art - and who doesn't - you've gotta go see this site. It is one of the best of its kind I've seen.

Go visit and see if you don't agree and don't forget to enter the giveaway while you are there.


The Good, the Bad, and (Of Course) the Ugly

I'll start with the good, and I must say I am fortunate that I have lots of good in my life. I was able to get all the 2-page spreads done for the collaborative exchange I am participating in and get them into padded envelopes and addressed and I got the paper napkins ready to be mailed for a swap. The really good part was that the hubster was going out and agreed to go to the post office for me. He is really good! The bad part is that I forgot to get pictures of these pages. Hopefully the recipients will post pix and I can show them to you then.

Mail art is also good and I received this lovely card from my dear friend, Nancy, yesterday.

And today I received this lovely card from my Mom for my birthday. She assures me that I don't look a bit older than I did 10 days ago when she was visiting me. Can you tell she knows I like birds?

I have a couple of sketches also. First of all this little owlet:

And secondly this man (this is the ugly part) who just happened upon the page when I was writing the word Frog. I began the stylized F and realized it was a nose, so without much planning I added the rest of the face and he was born (for whatever that is worth).

That is all I have for today. It is absolutely freezing here today. The sun is shining but the wind is making it feel like -2 today. I am hoping for better weather soon.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Drawing Faces

I subscribe to many artists' blogs; some of them are painters, some are journalers, some concentrate on nature, some are following the EDM list. Many of them are working on faces, predominantly girl faces. I notice their faces are nearly always young adult faces and a couple of them are trying to draw younger faces. I find drawing a face that is obviously a youngster is very difficult, but I keep trying. Here is my latest attempt:

This is supposed to be my 6 year old granddaughter. I think you can tell this is a youngster face, but I'm not sure anyone would look at it and say, "That's Katie!" I definitely need more work. I mustn't forget the 3 Ps - practice, practice, practice.

My goals for the day:

To get all the collaborative book pages in addressed envelopes ready to go.
To get the napkins for a swap into an addressed envelope ready to go.
To get my inchies in an addressed envelope ready to go.

If I can accomplish these things early enough, I will drive to the post office and send them on their way. Otherwise that will be tomorrow's task.

I also still need to get my tax info organized; make an appointment for a pedicure (I got a gift certificate as a Christmas gift); go through my Spring clothes and decide which ones will accompany me on my road trip to the south; make vegetable beef soup; clean house (Gee, I HATE cleaning house); work on the Noah's ark collage/painting I am making as a baby gift (the baby was born on Sunday).

Sounds like a very busy day - I'd better get it in gear!

I hope to see you tomorrow.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Busy Day with The Girls

I had a really great day yesterday even though I had to go to the Secretary of State office to renew my driving license. My past experience in this office has always been of long lines and long waits and grumpy employees, but not yesterday. There was no one waiting when I got there and the woman who took care of my needs was quite pleasant. Of course, the picture makes me look like a thug, but that is to be expected.

I began the day by sleeping in because of staying up into the wee hours watching tennis (as I did last evening as well). So when I did get up, I grabbed a cheesy bagel and a cup of coffee and then headed to the daughter's house. The baby was thrilled to see me and helped her Mom do the dishes and then took a bath. She and I played and watched Barney while her Mom got ready to go. After the daughter got out of the shower, we headed out to do errands.

We bagan at the Secretary of State office and it was a treat (see first paragraph). From there we went to the Ground Round for lunch. Dana and I each had a cup of soup and half a sandwich and the baby had chicken fingers and fries. We were pleased that she spent time with each of us sharing our soup and didn't really eat that many of the fries. She was very well behaved and kept us entertained (quietly). I love it when a small child behaves well in a restaurant!

After lunch we headed to Sam's Club where I had to pick up a few things. The baby fell asleep on the way home from there. The daughter and I sat in her driveway talking for a bit while the baby slept and then I headed on home. I guess I would have to classify it as a family day, not so much an art day.

I did get a couple of sketches done and will share them with you. I am not totally pleased with the frog, but was happy to be drawing something besides faces and birds (although I still love drawing them).

And here is the zentangle I made while watching tennis the night before.

I have also been quite regular about walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes each day. Some days I leave the incline at 3.5 and walk at 3.5 miles per hour and other days I alternate the incline getting up as high as 7 and walk at 3.0 miles per hour. The really nice thing is that the hubster is also walking for 30 minutes every day.

Today I hope to get the backs on all the pages I've done for the collaborated book pages swap and get my napkins in the mail for that swap. I also have to get my inchies in the mail. I am meeting a Geometry student after school to help him prepare for his final exam. I am still putting off getting my tax information ready for the accountant. I know it will only take one day (maybe most of the day, at that), but somehow I just can't make myself begin. I think I will have to come up with some kind of reward system for myself to help me get motivated.

My birthday is the end of the week and the hubster's is 3 days later. We are going to use the gift certificate for dinner that we got as a Christmas present and call that our birthday dinner. The certificate is for one of our favorite places to eat; a place we haven't been in quite a long time. I am looking forward to that.

I guess I'd better get started on this new day!


Monday, January 25, 2010

The Snow is Gone; it's snowing

I woke up this morning to grass out my window instead of snow, but now it is spitting a bit of snow. So far none is staying on the ground, but the weatherman is calling for snow the next few days. Frankly, I've had enough this year and would be happy to see no more until next November, but that is just me.

I spent lots of time arting around yesterday and have all the pages for my collaborative book exchange done except to do the backs and put my info on them. As they are received I will share them here, but for now just know that I am busily creating. I also spent some time cleaning up my computer files yesterday and came across some of my favorite photoshop pix from a few years ago that I thought you might enjoy seeing. Here is one of an eagle at the Toledo Zoo that I worked on to look like he was "coming out" of the frame of the pic.

And here is a Valentine's scrapbook page I played with of two of my grandgirls where I made it look like the baby's hand was actually holding the heart.

These two are my favorite scrapbook pages of cardinals in winter outside my house just off the deck.

And here is a collage I did of my Mom from about 10 years ago. She is such a sweetie - you can tell just by looking at her.

You can see the Mackinac Bridge in the upper right and her as a young girl to the left at the bottom and next to that a picture of her, Dad, her brother and his wife and her mother with a bunch of her 14 children and on the right bottom (just after the picture of her holding up the fish she caught) is a picture of her and Dad from long ago and just above that one another of her and Dad in their younger days.

I did make another zentangle last evening that I will share with you tomorrow. Today I felt like sharing some of my past art with you. I hope you enjoyed it.

I hope to see you tomorrow.


Saturday, January 23, 2010


I am working in my art room, but because I am making altered book pages to share I don't want to show too much until the intended recipients have gotten them. There are six people in each exchange. I have sent the first one, have the second ones done except to put backs on them, and have the backgrounds started on the last two. I am one of the people in the group, so I really only have to send 5 two page spreads out. I haven't decided how I will bind my book when my pages are received, but that can wait.

I am watching way too much tennis and staying up much too late in order to do so. Some of the women I really like to watch play have been already beaten - Hantuchova, Dimentieva, Sharapova, Clijsters, - to name a few. The men are really battling it out and I have been enjoying watching Nadal, Federer, Del Potro, Murray, Isler, Roddick; anything can happen and undoubtedly will.

I have been trying to sketch each day - didn't get to it yesterday. We went up to the Maple Street Mall to reorganize the hubsters space and get new pix for their website and then I spent much of the afternoon working with the pictures and updating the site.

Here is what I have drawn this morning.

Here is a picture of my work area. It needs some straightening, but I like to have things close by so that I don't have to get up all the time. I have put all the paints and colored pencils behind me on a shelf within reach, too.

And last but not at all least. I am sure I told you about winning the Copic markers from Milliande at Christmas time, but I wanted to show them to you. As soon as I get up the courage to try them I will share that with you also.

My daughter is bringing the girls out around noon to visit and have me copy some papers on my printer/scanner/copier for her. I've better get this bum on the treadmill and do a walk before they arrive. I hope to get more art done today that I can show you tomorrow or Monday.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Where is January Going and Why So Fast?

Can you believe it is already the 21st of January? Didn't I just watch the new year come in? I was going to be so much more productive in  2010, but I am behind already.....

I am getting some things done, but with the Australian Open in session I am not doing as much as I should be. I did try to do a bit of sketching while watching yesterday and this is what I have to show for it:

I'm not sure who she is supposed to be. She doesn't look like anybody I was watching, but then I saw so many faces, perhaps she is a composite of them.


And this is the bird feeder that hangs out the front picture window. I was hoping for a bird to land, but no luck at that time.

Meanwhile I am getting a bit of a late start this morning. I went into town with the hubster - he had to have his cholesterol checked before they would renew his prescription - and then we went to Bob Evans for breakfast. I had the best omelet with onion, tomatoes and spinach. It was done to perfection - creamy and delicious. Too often when I order an omelet it is overdone and the egg is hard and dry, but not this one. Yummy!

My goals for today are:

1. Walk the treadmill mostly uphill for 30 minutes
2. Empty the dishwasher and do the dishes that are in the sink.
3. Wash down the kitchen cupboards
4. Work on my collaborative book exchange
5. Watch tennis
6. Go to my Photoshop webinar
7. Burn the huge amount of files that are in my "Art Stuff" folder to CD or DVD and then delete them from my hard drive so I can start over without getting overloaded.

So I'd better get a start on it if I am going to get done.

Just got off the phone with my Mom. She has made an appointment with a woman doctor who is in St. Ignace and gave me her FAX number to have her biopsy results sent. She made an appointment for next Tuesday. I am so glad that she is following through so promptly.

It is a beautiful, sunny day, if a bit cold. The wind chill may be in the low teens, but seeing the sun is so invigorating (at least if I am indoors looking out or enjoying the play of the sunlight on the walls).

I feel as though I am rambling, so I gotta go!

I hope to see you tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Good News and ATCs

I finally heard from the doctor yesterday around dinner time. He had some pretty good news - the spot by Mom's eye is precancerous and should just be looked at again and then kept an eye on. The one on the lower part of her face near the neckline is a basal cell carcinoma, which he tells me is the very best kind (if you can call any cancer best). He needs her to have more removed to be sure they get it all and still wants her to have a biopsy of her mouth and/or tongue. I will follow up by telephone to be sure my sister who lives next door to her makes these things happen.

Meanwhile, last Fall my friend, Nancy, and I decided to participate in an Artist Trading Card Exhibition at Richmond Art Gallery. The exhibit was in Richmond, British Columbia, and the cards were on display from September 18 through October 30, 2009. 

We each submitted 9 cards that we had made, and we asked to have them traded rather than get our own back.  Time went by and we both forgot all about it.  Then we each got an email that said there was only one person working on doing the trades and sending them all out .... and, that there were over 300 participants! No wonder it took awhile. Thank you so much, Kathy!

Here are the cards I received:

I may have told you that I am involved in a 6 x 6 two page spread exchange through one of my Yahoo! groups. The theme of this one was "wish upon a star" and here is what I sent. I can show you now because she has received them.

The ones I am working on now have a theme of "ladies vintage hats/hairdos". Once they are received, I will show them to you.

I had my son and his daughter overnight last evening and she bought her stuffed dog, Puppers. She saw the picture of my youngest granddaughter and wanted to pose similar to that to have her picture taken.

It is too bad her eyes aren't wide open; this child has the most beautiful eyes! It was fun to have her stay overnight. I don't see her as often as I see my daughter's girls.

I am spending way too much time watching the Australian Open these days. I have been doing crossword puzzles while doing so; maybe I need to take my sketch book out and try to do some gesture drawing.

Hope to have more art to share tomorrow.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I didn't spend a lot of time in my art room yesterday even though I thought I would. My sister had spent the night again Sunday and I had a chiropractor appointment in the morning. Her daughter arrived to pick her up just as I was getting ready to go so it worked out very well.

When I got home I put the guest room back together, stripped the bed and washed the linens and ran the vaccuum. The hubster and I then went to the mall where he has a space and rearranged, added new things and took a couple of things back home. We had to stop on the way back to get some groceries and when we got home I made chicken noodle soup. We'd bought a rotisserie chicken while Mom was here and I saved the carcass especially for this purpose. The soup was fantastic (if I do say so myself ).

The Australian Open has started and I blame it for my lack of interest in the art room - I really like watching tennis and have several favorites.

I did make a couple of quick sketches last evening (with "quick" being the operative word). One is of a girl I tried to do in the manner of Milliande in her journaling video I watched yesterday where she starts with a circle and goes from there. You can watch it here:

Milliande has been doing a video each day this month with a different art journaling technique. She is fantastic!

Here is my quick attempt. I did erase the lines:

I also drew a quick chickadee. This is the most common endearment my Mom uses. I am not totally pleased with either of these, but for quick sketches, they are a start.

For today, the first thing I need to do is clean up my art room - it is a very big mess!

This afternoon I have to make the call to the dermatologist to find out if they have the results of Mom's biopsies yet. When I called yesterday, as instructed, the results had not come back yet.

I intend to begin the next two pages in the collaborated book swap I am doing, but won't be able to share them until the intended recipient receives them. I am still waiting to hear from the first ones that I sent out more than a week ago.

If I am going to get moving on this art room mess, I'd better get a move on.

I hope to see you tomorrow!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Back to the Routine

My sister and her husband arrived to get Mom around noon yesterday and we had a short visit and coffee before they got on the road for the final 4 hours of their return journey from Florida.

It was so nice to have her as a visitor. She is high maintenance and easy care combined. Those may sound like opposites, but they aren't. She needs lots of help, but is very independent when necessary. She has a very sharp mind and loves to play cribbage and yahtzee and work hard crossword puzzles. We also watched Jeopardy a few times.

On one of our trips to Goodwill I found a book that I may use for a class at Hollander's. I only need the covers and I thought it looked cool.

Several of the days that Mom was staying with me, we had Morgan, my youngest granddaughter for several hours. She is a hoot and loves posing for pictures. Here is one of them:

My first born granddaughter turned 7 earlier in the week and celebrated with a party at the roller skating rink on Saturday. She asked me to make the wrapping paper like I did last year, so I made a gift bag and painted Sponge Bob on it:

While the birthday girl was out skating, the DJ put on a song and congratulated her. The 2 year old pointed at the speakers when the song began and said, "Justin Bieber" as if she knew the singer. I asked the DJ and sure enough she was right. They sure start young these days.

It feels good to be back blogging today and I hope to get back into the "creating every day" routine I had started.

I will get the results of Mom's biopsies today and am hopeful the news will be good.

I hope to see you tomorrow!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Different Kind of Art

I have been away from the art room since Mom arrived, but I'm not complaining. We are having a good time. The hubster is not a game player, so I have to play catch up when I get the chance. My sister, Mary, stayed overnight again last night (we are going to Firekeepers this morning and her daughter will pick her up there.) and we had a very good day.

As far as being creative, I'm pretty sure making pancakes for breakfast and making banana oatmeal muffins for an afternoon snack count as creative activities. I also left for about 2 hours to drive to Stockbridge and tutor for an hour.

I am thrilled that I was able to get my Mom an appointment with the specialist for tomorrow afternoon. I am trying to be optimistic and hope it is a simple skin cancer that can be removed in the office and needs no follow-up.

I am still hoping to get a chance to sketch Mom while she is here. I am used to seeing her dozing in her chair when I visit her at her house, but her house is small and the windows are small and she can't really get up and get around that much. She lives in the middle of the woods and doesn't drive and the sister who lives next door doesn't like to take her places. So far while she has been here, she hasn't dozed at all. We are either talking (animatedly), playing games, working crossword puzzles, or going some place. I think this visit is so good for her.

On Thursday, my niece, Sarah, who is very close to Grandma (my Mom) is coming over for the day to visit. She grew up next door to my Mom and saw her just about every day while she was growing up. She is coming to visit and we may go to Lansing to the Goodwill with her as an outing.

Gotta go; Mom and Mary are arising and the house is coming alive.

Sorry I don't have any art to share, but maybe tomorrow.....


Monday, January 11, 2010

Mom's Here

Mom arrived midday on Friday and we've been having a blast, even if she did skunk me the first cribbage game we played! She has been having some discomfort in her mouth that she felt was thrush and was unable to get in to a doctor in her area until April, so on Saturday I took her to the local hospital where they treated her quickly and warmly. They prescribed a pleasant tasting rinse and swallow antifungal, but warned that they thought a spot on her face was definitely cancerous and absolutely must be removed and that she needs to have a biopsy done of the "fungus" in her mouth in case it is mouth cancer. They tried to call a dermatologist, but being Saturday, they were unsuccessful. I am going to try to call this morning and see if by some miracle I can get her in while she is here.

Meanwhile, my sister Mary arrived midday yesterday and the three of us went to Bingo. It was a lovely place and the prizes were wonderful, but the three of us were silent - no bingos. We are planning to try again next Sunday. Mary spent the night and we will surely have a good time today as well.

My daughter and her younger girl and my son and his daughter brought some pizza out and we had a really nice couple of hours visiting and playing yahtzee.

This morning I will make the call to the dermatologist and the result of that call will determine what we will be doing for the rest of the week. We are planning to go to a wonderful Salvation Army store in Brighton and a book store for sure. The rest is wide open and we can play it by ear.

I only have a tiny drawing to share today and he is a drawing of a cute little frog my friend Nancy had on her blog (hope you don't mind Nancy).

The coffee is on and the house is beginning to stir, so I need to get off the computer.

I hope to see you tomorrow!


Friday, January 8, 2010

Winter Wonderland

It looks like January in Michigan out there! By the time I went to bed last night we had about 5 inches with a couple more inches expected overnight. It is dark out, so I am not sure what the total is, but all the schools in the Lansing and Jackson areas are closed. For students and teachers that is such a bonus when a snow day falls on a Friday or Monday - 3-day weekend!

I am expecting my Mom some time today. She was originally expected to arrive around noon. I am not sure if this latest snowfall will have an impact on that or not. I still have not dusted the living room and the shelves in the dining area. Hey, I still have this morning. It is also a treadmill day, so I'd better get my hour in a little earlier than usual so that I can get in the shower and be presentable by the time Mom is delivered.

When the storm was in its infancy, Nancy and I went into Jackson and spent a bit of time at Encore!, a second hand store. I found a few bits of hardware (you know, steampunky stuff), a really cute bell with birds on it for Mom (in case she needs me and I am at the other end of the house) and some lovely alphabet cookie cutters that I think will work quite nicely as stamps. We then enjoyed a lunch at Panera's - the black bean soup was delish! and got home before it got too bad. I was home by 1:30 and the roads were already quite tricky.

I do have a couple of small sketches to show you. I've tried another mandala using the ideas from the video I posted in an earlier post. I like this one, but again near the center it is a bit jumbled. I need more practice.

And, I have been seeing so many people whose blogs I read daily making girl faces again that I had to try one myself. Most of the ones I've seen are painted, mine is just sketched, but I like her.

I guess I'd better qualify her as a "quick" sketch - poor child has no eyebrows!

I am thinking I may try to do a quick sketch of my Mom while she is here. That is if she doesn't mind too much. I am more likely to try to sketch cribbage boards, cards, dice....

I am planning to make a batch of banana oatmeal muffins this morning and have some homemade bean with ham soup thawing in the refrigerator. I guess that takes care of afternoon tea (muffins) and dinner except maybe I'll make a batch of corn bread muffins to go with the soup.

One of my goals for 2010 is to only blog on weekdays. I found that sometimes in 2009 trying to blog every day was a bit much. That doesn't mean I will not be creative every day, it just means I won't be sharing it on the weekends.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Zentangles and Inchies

I have been mentally working on ideas for an inchie swap and finally sat down in the living room last evening and drew a zentangle on a 6 x 6 Strathmore Bristol smooth artist paper. My idea was to make a large zentangle and then cut it into 1" x 1" pieces. Here is what I have come up with on the 6 x 6 page:

I like it overall, but still feel that I am not very good at this and that I need more variety. There is something very satisfying about this whole thing, though. Parts of it I absolutely love and parts not so much. At any rate, it is what it is and I think I am getting better each time I try one and that is surely the whole point.

My idea is to cut it into 1 x 1 pieces and then choose the most interesting 9 to use for the swap. As a visual aid, I opened this file in Photoshop and then chose 1" x 1" squares in two ways. In the picture below, the 6 inchies above the black line were separated from the first inch along the left side of the 6 x 6. The 9 below the black line where chosen by setting the marquee tool to 1" x 1" and then selectively cutting out parts that I found interesting.

My question is this, would this be a legitimate way to generate inchies in a black and white theme? Would you be happy to get something like this as your part of a swap?

Personally, I think I like the 6 at the top that were generated by just cutting along the left edge. I am almost certain that is what I will do, but would really appreciate some input.

On another topic, I finished by two page spread for the collaborated book swap and will get them in the post today. I actually remembered to take pictures and will share them after they are received at the other end.

And I did a bit more work on my bird adding a bit of green around him to the background using a sea sponge and a couple different colors. I am calling him done (at least for now). I am almost certain I am going to keep the background and redo the bird. I am thinking I could just put a watered layer of gesso on him and start fresh with the colors. I want to tone down the blue and maybe do just a bit of reshaping of the body and tail feathers. I think I may also need something in the upper left for interest.

Well, my friend Nancy is due at 10 and we are going on an outing, so I think I'd better get around. I hope to see you again tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010



I had the whole house to myself just about all day yesterday, but spent very little time in the art room. But my house is clean (except to dust the living room), the laundry is done, the rugs are cleaned. I think I am just about ready for a guest.

I did take time while taking a break from the scrubbing to doodle a bit in a little journal I usually keep nearby. It is different than what I have done before. I stumbled upon a video about making a mandala and tried that idea. My symmetry isn't all it should be and it is a little messy in some parts, but overall I like it.

I really liked the simplicity of the video and hope you like it too. At any rate here is mine:

The hubster and I are taking my car in for a major tune up this morning and then I am coming home to finish the "Wish Upon A Star" book pages I am working on. I also have to begin the 9 inchies in a black and white theme. I think I know now what I will do. I wonder if I can make 1 inch mandalas or if I should make a large one and then cut them. Hmmmmm.....

More later.....


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Arctic Blast

Boy, has it ever been cold. We have a flowing creek in the backyard and it seldom freezes across, but for the last week it has been frozen solid. The temps have been decent, but the wind chill has made it feel like single digits for about a week already and I don't see an end in sight.

So I am hunkered down in my art room playing and trying to ignore the weather. I am having fun working on a two page spread for a book swap I am involved in, but will wait to show it to you until after the intended recipient gets it in the mail.

I have touched up my bird canvas - I'm still not sure it is absolutely done, but it is for now.

I also have started a new art journal. So far it is more journal than art, but I am trying to adjust to a new size. My first art journal from last year was about 6 x 9 and felt pretty substantial. This new one is 5 x 5 and is quite small. At first I only wrote in it and then I decided that every page needed a sketch of some kind. So here are the first two pages.

The flower doodle was prompted by a lovely thank you card I got from The Philosopher Artist for sending her the origami book she won in a giveaway here on the blog. The sketch on the right was supposed to be a woman, but somehow became a boy. I'm not sure what made it so - the square jaw, the short hair, the strong nose....??

The hubster has gone to a funeral back in his home town and had to leave at 6 am, so I got up with him and made him some breakfast and coffee before he headed out. Now I have all day either to get the paperwork for 2009 in order for the accountant or get this blasted house cleaned from stem to stern before my Mom arrives later in the week. Actually, I should probably have time to do both. But that probably won't leave me any time to do art and I need to do some art to keep myself happy and sane.

I'm thinking I'll probably put on some loud music - Adele or Tori Amos or Imogen Heap or Jem or Coldplay or...maybe all of the them and do some uber cleaning. I believe the CD player holds 6. I'm thinking I could get a lot of cleaning done while six CDs play themselves out. And then I will reward myself with some art time. The tax records may have to wait until tomorrow.

As soon as I finish this and my second cup of coffee, I am on it!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Pink is Not My Favorite Color

Pink as in pink eye, that is.... I seem to have gotten conjunctivitis (pink eye) from my darling little girls this weekend. It is quite annoying, but not serious. Yesterday I woke up with my right eye stuck shut and it oozed and burned all day. By last evening both eyes were stinging and running. I don't think I will have to be seen for this (I hope), but I should be able to get a prescription for the eye drops called in.

Meanwhile, I have some art to show you today, and not just mine. I had a "guest" artist in my studio over the weekend and she produced some lovely things as well. Here she is hard at work on a butterfly she is making:

She also produced the following on an 8 x 10 canvas panel. Here is her background that we left to dry for a couple of hours.

And then here is the second step:

As a final step she added a variety of upbeat words using varying colors of Pitt brush pens. The words included fantastic, fun, art, happy.... She has taken it home with her, so I am unable to get a final picture of it, but I think you can see there is an artist blossoming here.

Now on to the art I produced this weekend - I am afraid it is not nearly so colorful, but I am after all just a beginner. My young artist friend featured above has all the confidence of the very young and I am trying to recapture that feeling.

Here is my background:

 And here is the second step:

I probably should have stopped here, but I thought he was too one dimensional so I added more layers of color, made his tail a tad longer and the white of his eye a tad smaller. I don't think he is done yet, but I am not sure.

I like the breast area better and the eye, but the underside of the tail needs work and I think he is too blue now. Of course, he doesn't have to be a real bird does he? I do think that before I decide he is done I would like to add a bit of greenery to the branch/tree in which he is perched.

I have also started another page in my art journal. I forgot to take pictures of the process, but I began with color and paper scraps (including a dove chocolate wrapper) and then began to write words and smear white paint with a credit card. I have no idea where this is going, but my hands are itching to paint a face over this - sometimes I am not sure whether my head or my hands are in charge of this art.

 I actually think I see a piano player on the left with funky hair that is trying to get out.

I have the backgrounds of two 6 x 6 book pages I am making for a Yahoo! group exchange done and will work on the main art work today. I will not be sharing these at this time in case the intended recipients should be reading my blog. Suffice it to say I am pleased with the beginnings and have a ton of ideas that would suit the desired theme.

I am also working (only in my head so far) on 9 black and white themed inchies that are due in February and am continuing to practice the alphabet with my left hand. My young artist friend (the oldest of my grandgirls featured above) thinks it is silly, but cool and compliments my on my attempts.

My Mom arrives for a week's stay on Friday. My cupboards are bare, my house is filthy, ACK! I am planning a trip into town to do the grocery shopping later this morning. The house cleaning will get done a room at a time beginning some time this afternoon. It is a treadmill day (I have been walking at 3 mph at varying inclines for an hour every other day) and I am looking forward to that.

The hubster is leaving for a funeral in the thumb area tomorrow morning early, my car needs to go in for 100,000 mile servicing, I need a haircut, I need to make my daughter's favorite chicken soup, I need to strip beds and do laundry. I think I'd better get started!


Friday, January 1, 2010

2010, A New Beginning

Happy New Year!

It feels like a fresh start this morning. My daughter and her two little girls will be here shortly. We are keeping the girls for her while she is working today, tomorrow and Sunday. I am planning not only to be creative each of those days, but I hope to have fun making art with the almost 7 year old.

I am continuing to practice my printing with my left hand. I am not sure it looks any better, but already (this is just the second time) it didn't feel as awkward. I have a feeling I am going to like this "training". I can't wait to get the opinion of my grandgirls. As for my new journal page, I have some pix. Here is the first stage of adding color. I used a watercolor pencil to put some color down on her face.

I then used a combination of colored pencils and water soluble wax pastels to add more color.

I added some background texture and worked to try to get some depth in her face and eyes. I am not at all happy with the purple "dress".

So I added some tissue paper and a thin layer of Golden Molding Paste.

Here is a close up to show the texture:

And finally, I added a few doodles and some stamping to finish her off (no I didn't kill her!)

All that is left is to outline her face and neck with a fine black marker, which I did this morning and she is done.

I am very happy with the eyes and feel I am getting better at getting layers of color on the face. I had fun playing with this one, and can't wait to do another.

My new art journal arrived from Dick Blick yesterday so I have a new small journal to begin the new year with (with which to begin the New Year) I know, I know. I don't know what my first day will look like yet, but I will definitely make time to start the new year by being "Creative Every Day".