Friday, December 30, 2011

Today's Figure Sketch

Today's 90-second sketch is a great disappointment to me, but if I am to be honest and keep track of each day's practice, then I will share it anyway.

As you can see, I spent way too much of my time erasing. Her head is way too small, her left shoulder is wonky, her left leg has no shape and I was working on fixing the lower part of her right leg when time ran out. Ugh!!

I have to remember the positives - her torso isn't too bad and her right thigh isn't too bad either, also her right arm was coming along pretty well.

I am hoping to get time to work on more art - I should work on the barn watercolor I have put aside for weeks now. I could probably finish it up today. I also want to try to make a couple more books today. I have been planning books in my head, but haven't made them a reality yet.

I will do the treadmill later and need to do a bit of dusting and sweeping. But as they say, "the best laid plans". Who knows how this day will unfold......

As for you, I hope you are not as wishywashy as I appear to be and that you are making time for yourself and your art.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Today's Sketch and Girl Tribe Art

Yesterday morning before their Mom came to take the girls home, they were very busy in the "little girls' room" while I was reading the blogs to which I subscribe. All they asked for was paper plates. There is plenty of paper and drawing supplies in the room. When they were finished they came in to share their art with me.

You gotta love paper plate mermaids!!

When I got up this morning I decided to try a 30-second pose thinking that maybe I could do that and not be tempted to erase as I have been with the 90-second poses. Ninety seconds seems like a long time, but the 30 seconds passed much too quickly. All I got done was the left side. So I went to the log of that pose and took another minute to turn it into a 90 second sketch instead. I found this pose to be much harder than the others.

I have to run into town this morning to do a bit of grocery shopping and then when I get back I will do my hour on the treadmill. While I didn't find time to jog when the furnace installers were here all day on Tuesday, I did get on the treadmill and did my hour yesterday after the girls went home. I do have a bit of house cleaning to do also. I'm pretty sure Miss K and Miss Z are spending the night with us on Saturday. I wonder if Miss K can stay awake to welcome in the new year.

I hope you are well and warm and that you will continue to share your art with me. I love looking at your blogs and seeing what you are up to.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Today's Sketch and Giveaway Plans

According to Site Meter, I've passed the 75,000 visitor mark and that is the point at which I was planning to have a giveaway. I am waiting to receive a really wonderful order in the mail at which time I will show the giveaway and set up the rules for being eligible for it. I am really geeked and can't wait to show you what the giveaway is, but for now I am watching the mail daily and will show it to you as soon as I get it.

Meanwhile, I am still keeping to my schedule of one Posemaniacs sketch per day and have a new one to show you.

And here is my little sweetie who spent the night with me last night. She watched me do the sketch giving her wonderful encouragement all the time.

I think she is my greatest fan. She always tells me that I am doing a good job and when I make mistakes or make a negative comment about what I am drawing, she is quick to tell me that I am doing a "good job".

I can't believe this year is coming to an end already, but am so looking forward to making next year even better than the last - at least as far as good health and daily art are concerned.

I hope you are doing well and that you are finding time for yourself and those you love. Do try to make time to do something creative today and do share it with us.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More Posemaniacs Practice and A Wren

I just realized as I was getting ready for today's 90-second sketch that yesterday's journal entry was incorrectly labeled 90-minute sketch. Surely in 90 minutes, I could have given that poor girl some realistic features and some hair!!

Here is today's attempt. I probably shouldn't tell you that this is supposed to be a female dancer. I think I've made her a bit manly. Of course, the fact that she has no hair adds to that look. I need to get more flow in my sketching to elongate her figure. Perhaps tomorrow I will do a better job.

And yesterday afternoon I was thinking about the absence of sound at this time of  year with the house all closed up and I missed the song of the wren. Here is a quick sketch of a wren.

And now, today's drama (actually it was yesterday's). We called a serviceman for our oil furnace that has been acting up lately. When he arrived he informed us that there was a serious crack and that he was required by law to condemn the furnace and shut it off. I was supposed to have Zoë last evening, so I went to her instead of having her delivered to me. While I was gone, the hubster sat down with a salesman and today we will have a gas furnace installed. This requires getting rid of the fuel oil in the tank so the installers will remove it when empty. This also means getting a propane tank and a delivery of propane so the furnace can be installed and working by the end of the day. This also means an outlay of several thousand dollars that I fully intended to stay in our "emergency" savings fund. I do suppose this is just such an emergency.

Here's hoping all will go smoothly today and we will be warmly ensconced in our living space by the end of the day. Meanwhile I have to go to the post office and the grocery store this morning, so the hubster has moved my car so I will not be parked in when the installers arrive. I do intend to get in my hour on the treadmill at some point today, but will have to wait and see how the day unfolds.

Here's hoping life is being gentle with you today and that you are able to find time for yourself and your art.


Monday, December 26, 2011

A New Journal with a Theme

For a long time I've wished I would keep journals by theme instead of so randomly and I've decided to keep a journal of "life" sketches. If you remember (or not) I won a lovely small leather hand-bound journal from Ricë at Voodoo Cafe in April of 2009. I've decided I can finally commit to write in it. Here is the photo of the journal that was taken back when I first received it.

I have been afraid to write in it because it is so special, but I've finally taken the plunge. This is my first entry - a 90-minute pose from the Posemaniacs site.

I am hoping to see progress as I work my way through the journal. The really nice thing about the Posemaniacs site is that I can access it from both my computer and my iPod touch. There should be no excuse for not practicing regularly.

Meanwhile, I've finally committed to 5 days/week jogging on the treadmill for an hour and a log of all the calories that make their way into this body. I found a really nice app called MyFitnessPal that keeps track of meals (with a large database of foods), calories, carbs, sugars, vitamins, fiber, etc. It also lets me track my workouts including calorie burn. For today I've completed 5 miles on the treadmill and have had a nutritious breakfast.

Miss Z is coming over later to spend the evening or overnight (I don't know for sure which) with me, so I'd best get the carpets vacuumed. She focuses in on any little speck and goes for it. And of course anything that makes its way into her hand goes immediately into her mouth.

It is 41º and sunny and the hubster is out taking the Christmas lights down.

Hope all is well wherever you are and that you are making time for yourself and/or your art.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas - Happy Holidays

We celebrated our family Christmas on my son's 30th birthday, December 21, because both of my children had the day off. We had a lovely time with lots of food and good cheer. Everyone was quite happy with their gifts. I think this may have been one of our best, least stressful ever.

Yesterday we traveled to the hubster's sister's house for the annual Holdwick Childrens' Christmas party. I finally got to meet the newest member of the family, Sylvia. She is a beautiful, happy baby who is 10 weeks old. This, too, was a fun gathering with lots of relatives and food and the much anticipated white elephant gift exchange. Miss P and Miss M rode with us (their mother had to work) and my son drove over with Miss K and Miss Z.

I finally began my redo of the Polish woman and jumped right into it with a 2B, 4B, and 6B pencil.  I used the smoother side of 140# cold press watercolor paper. Here is what I have so far:

Here is a link to the original photo.

I think the darks need to be darker, but it is so scary to really put a dark (besides the charcoal in her mouth and the pupils of her eyes) value on a face. I do think I need to darken the area under her ear and to the side of the eye on the left (her right eye). The nose needs more shading as well (not darks especially (except the nostril), but some difference in tonal value. I think this one is better than the first attempt - at least so far. It still needs work and I will tackle it again when I build my courage up.

Meanwhile, I am hoping you are having a lovely holiday season with your loved ones and that you get just what you want.

Wishing you a festive Christmas, Hanukkah, Rohatsu, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, and Yule. I hope I didn't miss anyone.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Last Try for the Polish Woman

I really wanted to add some values to the sketch of the Polish woman and was reminded by my dear friend, Nancy, about squinting to see where the values change. I couldn't wait to do the next layer. However, I think either the paper is didn't handle my layers very well or the paper I had under my hand moved too much and made the shading smeary, or I don't know exactly what went wrong, but instead of another layer of shading, I think she just looks messy.

I am so sad. I was beginning to really love her. Does anyone have any ideas for me? I'd love to make another attempt, but need to decide what to do differently. I am thinking I may try it on a better paper and try to handle it less. I am not at all happy with the lines emanating from her upper lip. They are much too pronounced.

I just returned from my daughter's house where I picked up Miss M and Miss P. We have a busy day planned. Miss M and Papa are going north to visit the Maple Street Mall and do a bit of last minute Christmas shopping and Miss P and I are heading south to do some Christmas shopping and shop for Christmas dinner.

I don't know if I will have time to start a new sketch today or not, but I am almost sure to do some kind of art with my girl tribe and I will share whatever I do with you tomorrow.

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and that you are finding time for yourself. 


Friday, December 16, 2011

Polish Woman Layer 3

First of all I want to thank those of you who have so kindly given me suggestions for this current sketch in progress. I must say this is the most time I've ever spent on one sketch and I thank you for encouraging me to keep going. My original contour sketch looks so much less satisfying compared to the added layers. Here she is today:

I also have a couple of photographs that I took at Miss K's Christmas musical program last evening. She looks very angelic in these, but there is a little imp hiding inside (A very cute, playful one).

I used the liquify tool in Photoshop to disguise the out of focus kids in the background.

And here is her little sister, Miss Z, thoroughly enjoying the show:

Miss Z is coming to spend the night this evening. I am really looking forward to it. 

I've already done an hour on the treadmill, cleaned the bathroom and cleaned the kitchen, and I have some salmon fillets thawing for dinner. Now I just have to vacuum before this little one gets here.

I hope you are warm and dry and that you are finding time for yourself. Remember to take care of yourself during these stressful holiday times. Happy Holidays!!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Polish Woman Update and A Lovely Christmas Card

I decided to act on the advice given yesterday about adding a bit of shading to the sketch of the Polish woman and I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like (think JD Hillberry). Well the mental image and the actual sketch have a huge gap between them and unfortunately when you use charcoal for the darkest darks (pupils, inside of mouth and nostril) you can't erase it and you'd better not accidentally touch it when you are wiping the regular pencil parts - it smears terribly.

So here she is today. Is she better in any way? Or have a ruined her completely?

I finally finished the December swap item I was working on for the Watercolour Pencil Buddies group and will put it in tomorrow's post. And speaking of post, I was thrilled to receive this year's card from Vivian Swift. It's really cute.

Since today was the first time this week I had to chance to get on the treadmill, I stayed on for an hour and jogged for 1.5 miles and then walked uphill for the remaining 1.5 miles. It was a really good workout. I am still sitting here in short shorts and a t-shirt and am beginning to chill off. I think I'd best get in the shower and put on some warmer clothes.

We've decided that we are celebrating Christmas with our immediate family on my baby's birthday (I can't believe he will be 30 on the 21st). Both my kids have that day off. I am planning shaved ham, iced shrimp, cheesy potatoes and a big salad. I think my daughter is bringing a green bean casserole. I think I can have all my ducks in a row by then. 

I hope your preparations for the holidays are going smoothly and that you are remembering to make some time for yourself.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Polish Woman Sketch and Miss M's Art

I've attempted a sketch of the Polish woman that Nina Camic so graciously gave me permission to use and overall I am pleased with it. I think there is that "magic" something missing that would bring her to life, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it is. Can you help? You can see the original photo here.

Miss M at first thought the woman in the photo was a little angry, but then when I told her that this woman was beautiful and was smiling in greeting, she agreed that she was beautiful. She then said, "Her hair is beautiful, Nana. It's gray, but beautiful!" I had to agree with her. This is a face full of character and a certain charm. I'm not sure I captured that, but if you go to the original photo using the link above, I think you will be charmed as well.

Meanwhile, Miss M sat next to my computer sketching in her journal and made a self portrait while I was working. Here she is at work:

And here is her self portrait. Notice the ponytail off to the side. That is how I did her hair that morning.

Well, I am expecting Miss M again this morning. In fact, she will be here some time in the next half hour. I'm on my first mug of coffee and she and I will undoubtedly do some art, work some puzzles, and maybe snuggle together and watch a movie. I will take her to school around noon.

I hope to get a bit of time to do some art today and am hoping the same for you.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More Sketches

I have a couple more sketches from the weekend. I didn't get any art done yesterday as I spent most of the day grocery shopping and entertaining Miss P after school, including dinner at Red Lobster.

The first one is of the corner church that I pass every time I go the back way into Jackson. It is on the corner of Cooper and Zion.

The perspective to the right is not quite right, but other than that I like it.
The other sketch is from an old jewelry ad with a very young Liz Taylor as the model. She is wearing one of her pieces that is now on exhibit.

Today I am working on a sketch of a Polish woman from a remote village that Nina Camic posted on her blog. If you don't know Nina you should definitely check out her blog. She lives in Madison, WI, and is a law professor. She does a fair bit of traveling - to Asia, northern France, Spain, to do a short teaching stint to an African village, and to Poland, her homeland. Her blog is called "The Other Side of the Ocean". Most of the blogs to which I subscribe belong to artists, and Nina is an artist of sorts. She is very good at the art of narration. She tells a captive story and accompanies each one with really nice photographs. You really should go check out her blog.

I will share the sketch with you tomorrow. For now I have to get in the shower as Miss M was delivered about an hour ago and I have to take her to preschool in about 45 minutes. 

I'm getting very close to 75,000 visitors and when I get there I am planning to have some kind of giveaway - I don't know what it will be yet, but I am thinking about it. Stay tuned for more information.

 I also hope to finish up the Adirondack chairs background and get it framed for hanging. I will share that stage with you when I get there.

I hope you are making time for yourself today and that you enjoy my humble attempts at sketching.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Girls, girls, girls

We've had a busy couple of days. We had Miss P and Miss M overnight on Friday and Miss Z and Miss K overnight on Saturday. Loads of fun, but I have a bit of a sore back today and I slept more hours than usual last night.

On Friday, I got Miss M around noon and then picked up Miss P from school at 3:30. I took the girls to the Henrietta Branch of the Jackson District Library for a Christmas party at 5. It was also the end of the silent auction and I was able to score a hand knitted neckpiece and 3 hand knitted children's hats. The girls each made two different crafts and Santa paid a visit. We had a great time.

Here they are enjoying the back yard.

On Saturday, Miss Z and Miss K arrived around 5 pm and after dinner of rice and chicken in gravy (provided by the live in epicure, Papa), we got Miss Z to bed and watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with Katie. Papa provided popcorn for the event. Here is my attempt at a sketch of Katie on the couch watching the movie.

I was following Dan Kent's advice about drawing people from  the side instead of head on.

As seems to be true of all siblings, the little ones always want to be in on what the older ones are doing, especially if that includes electronics and the younger one is still a baby.

Miss K is trying to ignore Miss Z and Miss Z is hamming it up for the camera, as usual.

And finally, I have for you the best of the sketches that were produced this weekend. This is Miss K's rendition of Tigger in several positions. She got the idea from the book Drawn to Life by Walt Stanchfield.

I must say, I should take advantage of my relationship to Miss K and get her to teach me some of her insights for sketching realistically.

As for today, I am not going to have time for the treadmill, but will be doing plenty of running anyway. As soon as I get cleaned up I am headed for Sam's for salmon, chicken, cereal, baby food, tissues, nuts, dried cherries, wine, and water. After that I have to stop at Meijer's for the rest of the groceries. I will come home and get things put away and then am picking up Miss P after school at 3:30. She and I are going to make the rounds of the second hand stores looking for snowpants, mittens and the like for when the girls are here and want to play outdoors.

I'd better get this body moving.

I hope you are not too busy today and that you can make time for yourself.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Girls, girls, girls

I decided I had to try to sketch Miss Z today and here is what I've come up with:

I liked it better before I started fussing with the near eye. I really need to do more faces, especially young ones. I'd forgotten how difficult babies are to capture.

I am expecting more artists/models later today. Miss M is being dropped off around 1 and then I am picking up Miss P from school at 3:30. We'll come back here for a bit and then go to the local library branch for their children's Christmas party. They are going to be doing crafts, wrapping up the silent auction and I understand Santa will be there. Should be big fun. The girls are staying the night with us. And then tomorrow evening I get my other two girls, Miss K and Miss Z. They will be spending the night then.

Busy, busy times, but full of fun and hugs and kisses.

I had difficulty going to bed last night and by the time I'd finished up in my workroom and finished the book I was reading, it was 4:20 am. I think I will be ready to go to bed this evening about 9 and hope I have a warm little one to snuggle with then.

If you don't know JD Hillberry, and you are trying to improve on sketching realistically, you might want to watch this video on YouTube. I tried to embed the video, but blogger isn't being cooperative this morning.

Thanks, Pooja, for the link to this one. I can't wait to see his next one.

I am seriously in need of another mug of coffee and then I want to pick up in here a bit in preparation for little girls to have some space in which to create.

I sure hope you are finding time to be creative today.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Quick Sketch and Miss Z

We had a lovely lunch yesterday at Olde Peninsula in Kalamazoo. We met my sister and her husband to say goodbye and wish them a safe move. I will see them again in the Spring when I make the long trek to the far north where they are moving. It was a bittersweet meeting and went by much too fast. On the way out of town I spied a really cute yellow house that appeared to be small, but had three stories. I tried to keep it in my mind's eye all the way home, but had lost some of the detail by then so I got on Google map to try to find it. I was successful finding it, but it definitely lacked the lovely color and detail that it had in person. Nevertheless, I tried to do a quick sketch. I am not all that pleased with it, but am glad that I managed to put pen to paper.

We arrived home about an hour before Miss Z was delivered to spend the evening and overnight with us. She got up this morning around 8:30, got stripped out of a very weighty wet diaper and into a nice warm bath in the kitchen sink. Then it was clean warm clothes and breakfast of cereal and a mixture of pears and blueberries. Then we played for a couple of hours and then it was time for the mid-morning bottle followed fairly quickly by a stinky diaper change and then a bit of a rock in the glider with Nana. She is now taking her morning nap. Here she is just before nap time.

I'm not absolutely if this is "angelic" or "impish". She sure is a fun baby and is standing at every opportunity. She pulls herself up to anything she can get a hold on. It won't be long before she is able to get into all the things she shouldn't. She will be here until mid afternoon when her Mom gets off work.

The hubster is at physical therapy and is taking his truck in to have the brakes looked at. They have been noisy and uncooperative the past few days and I think it is time to have someone look at them. I hear him coming home right now. 

I think I am making sausage and eggs or pancakes for breakfast this morning and suppose I should get that started as it is almost 11:00.

I hope you are having a warm and creative day.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Preparing for the Holidays

We had a busy, noisy household last evening and the house is now decorated. The pictures I took didn't turn out - it seems like either the subjects were moving or could it be that the photographer wasn't absolutely still. I will take pictures of the finished decorations soon and share them. I intended to get pictures of the decorated  cookies, but they are no longer available. We sent some home with each of the kids and then the hubster polished off the few that were left here.

I do have a lovely drawing to share that was produced by Miss K and left here for Nana and Papa. I am amazed by her talent and creativity.

I've begun my holiday swap for the Watercolour Pencil Buddies group, but will not share it just yet. I will remember to take a pic this time and share it after the recipient has received it. 

Today is the anniversary of my Dad's passing in 1994 - such a long time ago already. He and my Mom were married in 1942 and brought 14 children into this world. My Mom recently celebrated her 87th birthday and is doing quite well. I lost a younger brother to cancer a couple of years ago, but the rest of us are still of this world and in various stages of the aging process.

My closest sister (both geographically and emotionally) is moving to Marquette in a little more than a week. That means that instead of being just 2 hours away she will be about 8 hours away. While I am happy that they have made this plan of theirs work, I am selfishly sad that I will no longer be able to jump in the car and go over for a short visit. To visit her in the future will take some planning and a quick weekend trip will no longer be feasible.

The hubster and I are meeting her and her husband for lunch today in Kalamazoo. I am really looking forward to seeing them one more time before they make the journey to the far north.

Miss Z is coming over this evening to spend the night and then I have both Miss Z and her sister, Miss K overnight on Saturday. I think Miss K and I are going to have to find time to do some art while she is here. Who knows I just might learn something useful from her.

I've had my two mugs of coffee and think I'd better get this day started. I hope you are having a wonderful day and that you are making time for yourself.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

I thought I had yesterday planned out pretty well early on, but as will happen, things didn't quite work out as imagined.

I worked out by jogging on the treadmill for 2 miles, ate a bowl of cereal and took a shower. I then took the laptop and some things I had for Miss P and Miss M and headed into town. First I stopped to take my glasses in to the place where I got them last week so they could make adjustments to them. That took longer than expected because they were busy. I've never seen more than one person there at a time in the past, but there were four people waiting. I visited with another grandmother while waiting my turn.

From there I drove to Panera for coffee and internet. I upgraded my system software and purchased MacKeeper, a multifunctional software for the Mac. I did a few sketches while waiting for the software to do its maintenance for the first time on that machine. I wanted to sketch some of the people in there working and visiting over coffee, but it seemed like every time I looked at a potential subject, they were staring right back at me as if daring me to start. I need to work on my drawing in public persona.

While I was at Panera my daughter called to ask if I could take Miss M to ballet instead of taking Miss P out during the class. She (my daughter) had worked late the night before and had to go in at six am on Monday. I told her I would pick up both girls and take care of ballet so she could have a nap. I finished up my coffee and computer work and headed for school. I fully intended to buy a cranberry nut bagel before I left Panera, but totally forgot. Just think of the calories I saved. Of course, I made up for those calories once I got home. The hubster made linguini with clam sauce for dinner. Yum! Yum!

I got to school a bit early so listened to my iPod touch and played Pinochle on it while waiting. Then I got out my sketchbook to try my hand at drawing a vehicle in the parking lot. My perspective really needs work and I am planning to work on that.

While I think you can tell what it is, it was much longer than that appears to be and the top wasn't visible at all. I added the curve to the top at the end to make it look "right" to my poor little left brain.
It is not at all what I intended, but it did get me drawing from life. By the way, the book I am reading right now is "Harley Brown's eternal truths for every artist". I borrowed it from the Peter White library in Marquette through MeL (Michigan eLibrary). I so love having the option of searching for a book by title, keyword, author, title and a slew of other options and then being able to have them ship it to my library branch for me. I feel so special!!

I am planning to get on the treadmill again today and then do a bit of clean up of the house in anticipation of the kids and the grandgirls coming over this evening for the annual decorating. I know my daughter and her girls are planning to be here for dinner and I am going to bake some refrigerator cookies and have some frosting and food coloring available so the girl tribe can do some art when the decorations are up.
It doesn't feel at all like Christmas to me yet. The time since August has been a blur and I've not had time to adjust to the fact that it is December, but I am sure the girls will get me in the mood. We will play holiday music and do lots of laughing and sharing.

I hope you are getting a chance to spend time with loved ones this holiday season and that you also make some time for yourself.


Monday, December 5, 2011

A Bridge and Other Stuff

I spent a good portion of the day with Nancy on Friday. We went to an antique mall near the outlet mall in Howell and then spent a bit of time at the outlet mall. The antique mall is very large and we didn't get through all of it before we decided it was time for lunch. We will definitely have to go back there. We shopped a bit for the grandchildren before heading back home. We weren't able to fit in the huge Salvation Army store they have in Howell, so that, too, will be saved for another time.

At the antique mall I bought four antique drawer pulls for the hubster to make a towel rack from.

I also managed to find a few new old books to repurpose into journals. 

I found a book at the library that has really spoken to me about the value of drawing from life - not so much from photographs, which is mostly what I have done so far. So with that in mind, I took a sketch book into the north bathroom and sketched the bridge the hubster built over the creek.

It is garbage day so I mustn't forget to get my waste baskets out to the dumpster. I put on my workout clothes as soon as I got out of bed this morning so that I wouldn't find an excuse to put it off. Later today I am going into town to have my new glasses adjusted and then picking up Miss P so we can spend a bit of time together while her little sister, Miss M, is at ballet class. I had Miss Z overnight on Saturday and we had a lovely time.

The kids are coming out with the girls tomorrow evening for the annual hanging of the dated Christmas ornaments. I hope to get some pix and I suppose I should pick up some cookie dough and frosting, along with some food coloring so they can decorate cookies.

I think it is shaping up to be a busy day as usual. I intend to make time to do a sketch from life at some point in the day and will share it tomorrow.

Also, before I close for the day I wanted to tell you about an online art ad site, Artmarket,  that has free ads from now until December 10th. I put up an ad there for my repurposed journals. I think even after the free period is over the ads are very affordable and it's a great place to patronize.

I sure hope you are having a great day and that you make time for something creative.


Friday, December 2, 2011

More on the Adirondack Chairs

The last time I worked on the Adirondacks on the Beach painting, I decided I wasn't at all happy with the dunes behind the chairs and I walked away in frustration. That may be part of the reason my muse went AWOL. Each time I would look at the painting (I intentionally left it up where I could see it.), I knew I wanted to change up the background, but I just couldn't get past the mental stage.

On Thanksgiving Day, my sister in law mentioned that she thought I could change the background and she agreed that adding a grassy hill behind would be a possible solution and perhaps that little bit of reinforcement helped me to finally begin. My sister in law is quite a good watercolor artist and I trust her input.

So, for what it is worth, here is what I have so far - be aware that this is just a rough in to see if I even like the idea of green behind. I now have to decide just what that hill is going to look like - shall it be just grasses with a bit of variety of color in it? will there be a few bushes? Perhaps some small trees?

I am spending the day with my dear friend, Nancy, and hope that just being with her will make some of her "artiness" transfer itself to me.

I will be at East Jackson High School with the hubster tomorrow at a craft show sponsored by the band boosters. That means that we have to pack the truck this afternoon. The show is scheduled to run from 10 am to 4 pm. I think set up begins at 6 am, but I am hoping that means we can go around 8. The hubster makes and sells lovely wood crafts. I am expecting that we will be displaying forts, barns, walking sticks, a variety of signs, towel racks, coat trees, bird feeders.... he may have some things that I haven't seen yet.

Miss Z is coming in the evening on Saturday and staying overnight until Sunday afternoon. I am so looking forward to that. She is pulling herself up and standing now and is so much fun. It won't be long before I have to put locks on the cupboard doors in the kitchen and put the doorknob thingys back on. It seems like I just took them off from when Miss M was at that stage.

I am hoping to make some more journals in the near future. That means I need to get to the print shop and get some paper cut to size. I just bought a new tool from Amazon. It is a Neiko hand held power punch, which is actually for metal punching, but I am hoping it will work with book board to make the process of punching holes easier. I will let you know how it goes. I suppose I should get some made soon so that I can offer them for sale as Christmas gifts. I know that a handmade journal is a great gift and I've already put it off too long. 

I do have some at if you haven't been over to look lately.

I am hoping to spend more time making art this month and look forward to sharing it with you. I must say I've missed both my art and you. I hope you are warm and secure in your art space and that you are finding time to create.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Missing in Action (Or Inaction)

I've not been blogging because I haven't been doing art. But I have been reading a plethora of novels and have been reading watercolor books and mentally planning my next art piece. I have also been mentally planning the next steps in both the Adirondack painting in progress and the barn scene painting in progress. I just can't seem to get past the thinking stage.

But I have been encouraging my little ones to sketch. Does that count?

I was given a couple of angels as a gift when I participated in my nephew's wedding in the far western UP last year and my little one is in love with them. Miss M sketched her rendition of them (with just a little bit of help).

Miss M drew everything except the arms; I helped with those.

I helped with the arms and the words.
I awakened to a beautiful sunny wonder world of snow this morning and couldn't resist opening all the blinds around the house and getting a few pix. Here is my favorite so far. 

I have to drive out to the Potter Center this morning to pick up the watercolor that was being displayed for the month of November and I need to stop at the grocery store while I am in town. I am also planning to spend some time with my daughter at her house to help her get her iTunes set up and get her iPod ready for use.

Who knows, maybe I will actually do some art today......

I hope your muse hasn't deserted you. And if you happen to see my muse would you please send her home.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful Again Today

We woke up to no heat at our house this morning. It is a crisp 59º in here, but I am quite able to find good things about it and be thankful that:

the baby didn't spend the night last night
it is 51º outside and sunny
the roads are clean and dry for my trip into town to purchase a new sprayer/filter
the store where I had to go to get them is nowhere near the busyness of Black Friday
the hubster will replace the filter and we will warm up prior to the baby's stay with us today

On Wednesday Miss M and Miss P spent the day and we went out to lunch. We each took a journal and did some sketching while waiting for our food. I decided to try to sketch my fork and the girls followed suit. Miss M drew hers still wrapped in a napkin; Miss P drew hers without even looking at a fork, and mine has a knife added and could be better. But we all sketched together and had a stressless wait for our food.

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house yesterday. My kids came with the girl tribe, except for Miss K. She was with her mother this year. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, squash (provided by my dear SIL), green bean casserole, two kinds of dressing (the hubster made traditional and I made a sausage and dried cherry variety for the first time), ham (brought by a dear BIL), and three kinds of pie (BIL brought pumpkin, I made cherry, and the hubster made apple.). We had a lovely day.

Here is the table just before we sat down - I forgot to get a picture of the turkey just out of the oven. It was beautiful.
Nephew Evan and Niece Drew had just found a seat.
And here are the pies:

The hubster has the furnace running and now is waiting for me to join him outdoors to rake the last of the leaves. He will do the tractor and I will do the raking. He is unstable on his foot still and the last time he raked alone with a fracture boot on one foot, he hurt his back and it is still a bit sore. I will go help him and we will actually have fun because we always do when we work together - at least I have fun. I wonder if he does, too.

Gotta go. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend and that you had a lovely Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

RIP Faith

My daughter's little girls, Miss M and Miss P, had two cats - Trevor and Faith. They were both rescued from the shelter. They had Trevor first, but he was Mr. Adventure and got out one day and was gone for about a month. My son saw a cat of similar color squashed in the road near their house and was pretty sure Trevor had gone to that big cat farm in the sky. The little girls put out posters and patrolled the neighborhood to no avail and their Mom said nothing about the cat in the road.

After some time, they went to the shelter once again and picked out Faith. She was smaller and still had claws, but Miss M fell in love. Shortly after they brought Faith home, Trevor showed up at the back door and they've had two cats since.

Not too long ago, the three girls moved in with the Dad and took the cats, but that household has a pit bull that is an indoor dog and Faith was terrified. She wouldn't even come out to eat. The girls are now back in their mother's house with the two cats and have been for several weeks. Trevor was his big "no problem" self, but Faith was terribly thin. We gave her lots of love and food and expected her to bounce back, but after all this time she was just getting worse and worse. She was taken to the vet yesterday to see if this was an inexpensive treatment thing only to find that she had something terribly wrong with her liver. She was put to sleep. Only Mom was there, but she was in tears. The vet wrapped her in a towel and gave her a box to transport her in.

The three of them buried her in the backyard and Papa will help the girls make some kind of marker for her - much sadness for these two little girls.

The girls are coming for dinner tonight and staying overnight. I think we are going to draw and paint Faith. Maybe this will offer a bit of catharsis for them.

I just did a quick sketch this morning, but used a Staedtler liner so the eyes are a bit much. Next time I will sketch her in pencil and then use watercolor or watercolor pencils to add the color. Here is what I have now:

And here is the reference photo provided by the girls:

We'll miss you, Faith.

Today, the hubster has physical therapy followed by a follow-up doctor visit and then the three girls are coming out for dinner and the little ones are staying overnight. My daughter has to be at work at 6 AM tomorrow. Miss M doesn't have preschool tomorrow and Miss P has half a day. I will take her in at 8:30 and pick her up at 11:45. Meanwhile the hubster has the dentist at 11:20 and one of us is scheduled to work at the antique mall in Mason from 2 until 6. Busy, busy, busy.

I guess the house will have to get a reclean in the afternoon after the girls go home and before the pies are made. I may do some of that cleaning today. The hubster is out right now removing the bird feeder from outside the front picture window so that I can clean the window. It is a tad cold to be washing windows outside, but it is a mess. Gotta love those birds, but they make a mess of the window. We may move the feeder further away into the yard.
I hope you are staying warm and are enjoying the build up to the Thanksgiving holiday. The thing I am looking forward besides having lots of family around is the wonderful aromas that will be experienced from Wednesday until we eat on Thursday.


Monday, November 21, 2011

A Real Post on My Repaired Computer

Shortly after I posted my little blurb this afternoon, the computer shop called to tell me that my computer was ready and that they were able to retrieve all my data. Hallelujah!

Now I can show you some of the art I've done in between reading some really good books.

First of all, I thought you might to see what my computer looked while in kernel panic.

Scary, scary!!!

Here are a couple of sketches I've completed in the past week:

While I don't think any of them are particularly special, it does me good to be able to share them and my little girls think they are super - they are so nice and are my biggest fans.

The rest of this week is going to be very busy, but I am hoping to spend some time in the art room and make some progress on both the farm scene and the Adirondack chairs. Hopefully I will have something to show next time I get a chance to post.