Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Costumes and Adirondack Chairs WC WIP

On Saturday I spent four hours at the Maple Street Mall working the hubster's shift since he can't while he is on crutches. I had a lovely time, met a new friend, and visited with friends that I don't see much except when I am up at the mall.

When I got home my two and their children came over in costume (the girl tribe, that is) and spent the afternoon with us. I managed to get a couple of pix:

I had a pot of chicken noodle soup started on the stove and the hubster called a pizza order in which the son picked up and they all had pizza except Miss Z - she had baby food, of course. And I had chicken soup when it was done.

This morning I drove to the daughter's house at 6:30 am and almost hit a deer on the way - I so hate driving in the dark. I got Miss P to school around 8:15 and drove Miss M out to my house. She has already had breakfast and we played a couple of games and now she is entertaining Papa in the living room while I write this. Later, she and I will take a shower and then I will get her to preschool by 12:30.

This weekend I finally got the cushions, shoes and bug stuff in bottles off the deck and moved all the furniture away from the screens for their winter setting. I then moved the grill into the screened porch and swept the open part of the deck.  And then I made time for some art. 

I worked on the Adirondack chairs a bit more and think I am finally beginning to like it. I'm not sure if it is done or not. I'll leave it sitting up so I can look at it from time to time and decide if it needs anything more or not.

I'm also working on an ATC. It has a watercolor background and then I sketched the rooster with watercolor pencils. I think I need to do a bit more blending of the colors, but overall I think he is rather cute. What do you think?

When I take Miss M to preschool I need to make a quick stop at the grocery store for candy for tonight (although we hardly ever get any kids), mothballs to put in the grill to keep the mice out and odds and ends for cooking. Hopefully after that I can spend a bit of time putting more color into the sky in the Leelanau sunset watercolor I am working on. I will share it tomorrow.

Tomorrow I have to deliver my framed and matted watercolor to the Potter Center where it will be displayed for a month. This is a non-juried show and I am not sure how many paintings are being featured. I am quite nervous about this, but think it is probably good for me to do. I am planning to take Miss P there one day during the month to look at all the art. She is very excited that I am participating in this event.

I hope you are having a wonderful day and that you are making time for your art,


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Watercolor Sunset with Lighthouse

I've begun the Leelanau sunset painting. So far all I've done is a wet in wet background of Hansa Medium and Lemon Yellow and a bit of Cadmium Orange. I am going to let that dry and then decide how I am going to add the next layer. Here is what I have so far:

The black is just a digital mat to make it stand out a bit.

I had a lot of fun with Miss Z last evening and until this afternoon when her Mom came to get her. She is really becoming a little person. 

I am hoping to work a bit on the Adirondack chairs this evening and tomorrow. I still have a lot to do on it. I also have to put a wire hanger on the picture that is going to be on display at Potter Center for the month of November. I am getting a little nervous about that.

I've reconnected with the ATCsForAll group and may be participating in an ATC exchange. It has been a long time since I've made anything quite that small and I am looking forward to it. I will share it when I have it made.

That's all I have for today. I think I have tomorrow off so maybe I will get more done then.

I hope you are having a wonderful day,


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Finishing and Beginning

I've decided to call the second barn attempt done and am moving on. I am planning to do a series of barns until I am happier with the results.

In the mean time, I have a framed photograph that I took at Good Harbor Bay in the Leelanau Peninsula many summers ago that I've always loved and wanted to try to paint. I have decided to give it a try. I took a photo of the framed picture, but it is almost impossible to get one without glare unless I want to take it out of the frame and I really don't want to do that, so here is my shot. If you can just ignore the reflection in it, I think you will see what it is I want to paint.

I've also added a bit of shadow under the chairs in my ongoing Adirondack Chairs work in progress. I still have a lot to do with it if it is to be saved, but for now I think the shadows, although not perfect, do help to ground the chairs.

I've done my two miles on the treadmill this morning and feel quite good for it. I am hoping to stay on that regimen for the rest of the Fall/Winter so I will be in good shape for Pensacola Beach in February.

I am getting Little Miss Z later this afternoon and keeping her overnight so will have a busy, fun-filled evening. She is a delight and is changing all the time.

I hope you are finding some fun to do today and am making some time for yourself,


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Surgery Follow-up and More on the Barn

I took the hubster to the doctor for his first post-op visit and things are looking really good. He has had very little pain thus far. They removed the huge plaster and wrap and we went to a medical supply place with a prescription for a compression sock and a pneumatic walking boot. He will not be allowed to put any weight on that leg for another two weeks, but will begin physical therapy next week.

I spent a little time working (read: overworking) on the barn. I wanted the sky to be darker and screwed it up. I tried to put in the tree and it looked way too much like a lollipop, so I overworked it in a darker green and tried to reshape it a bit. I need to add a bit more shading under the eaves of the barn and the tree needs to be giving off a bit of shade as well. The grassy area needs some stuff to break it up a bit.  Ackkkk! I'm ruining another one.

I can only hope that adding the shadows and some interest on the sides of the barn and in the grassy area will save it a bit. I think it is still a bit of an improvement over the first one. At this rate, I'll only have to do about 100 more and I will actually get something that I am totally proud to share. I think I spy the "ugly inner critic" rearing her head.

It rained really hard just before we headed into town for the doctor visit, but then the sum came out and it was actually quite warm. The bank readout said 69º. That is pretty impressive for late October in southern Michigan, don't you think? Or as the yooper in me would say, "that's pretty warm for late October, eh?

I read a really good book yesterday that held me captivated to the very end. It is by Dan Chaon and is called "Await Your Reply". On the cover it says he also wrote another one called, "You Remind Me of Me". I may have to check that one out as well.

Here's hoping you are making time for your loved ones and yourself today,


Monday, October 24, 2011

Try, Try Again

I've begun another small barn watercolor. It measures 5 x 7 and so far I don't think I've messed it up. I've tried very hard to put down color and then leave it alone. I tend to be the master of overworking when doing watercolor. Here is what I have so far:

I also made a new soup yesterday and so far I think it is my favorite.

This is the recipe I used as a guide. I used hot Italian sausage and took it out of the skin. I didn't have zucchini or spinach and used a bit more beef broth and a little larger jar of great Northern beans. YUMMY!!

I also had my little Miss Z from Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon. She is such a delight, but so busy these days. She is into everything. She still isn't actually crawling, more like creeping, pulling herself along, but she is fast!!

She looks so much like her big sister, Miss K. The bib says "Will Smile for Food".  And I think she earned every bit I fed her!!

It is my Mom's 87th birthday today. This is the first time since Dad died in 1994 that I am not there to celebrate with her. I made my trip early this month before the hubster's surgery to make up for my absence on her actual day. She will have lots of company and a zillion phone calls and I am sure she will have a great day.

I am going to try to work a bit on the new barn watercolor and may try adding a bit to the Adirondack chairs as well. I may go into Jackson later today to watch Miss M at ballet class. She called me last evening to invite me to come. I could do the recycling while I am in the neighborhood.

It is a beautiful morning here and I am full of energy. I think the treadmill needs a good workout today as do I.

I hope you are having a great day and that you will make some time for yourself and your artistic endeavors.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Running with my Girls and My WC Barn

I drove into Jackson and met my son and Miss Z at the Lumen Christi track to await Miss K and her school mates for the Run For Education fundraiser.

It was really cold so after a walk around the track and meeting up with Miss K, Adam took Zoë home. I stayed and did 3 laps around the track walking and 5 laps jogging. I don't think I need to get on the treadmill today. It sure was fun to see Miss K with all her friends and the wonderful parent volunteers who participated.

I tried a watercolor barn on 5 x 7 watercolor paper and am not happy with it, but will share it anyway. This will be my benchmark to which I will compare the next ones.  Actually I am happy with the sky and the furthest back color, but as you come forward into the middle ground and the foreground, not so much.

I will try another one maybe on Sunday. I am getting Miss Z around 3 this afternoon and keeping her until about 3 tomorrow afternoon. I will try to get some new pix. I can't wait until she is ready to do art with Nana. It might be awhile - she is just 8 months next week.

I hope you are finding time for family and art today.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Another Old Barn Sketch and Shadows on Chairs

I seem to be stuck on the old barn theme, but then barns come in so many styles, shapes, colors, conditions, settings.... I don't suppose I'll ever run out of examples. I think maybe I need to try a watercolor of a barn. For now I've sketched another one and like it pretty well.

I recently bought a block of 15 sheets of 140# cold press watercolor in a 5 x 7 size and this might just be the ideal size to try a series of old barns on. I'll have to try one and see how it goes.

Meanwhile I tried adding shadows to the Adirondack chairs in my current work in progress and don't know if I like it or not. Are they too dark? the right color? I have positioned the sun very high in the right hand corner of the painting. Do the shadows look like they are in the correct position?  I know I still have to put shadows under the chairs in the sand. Do I use the same color over the brown or do I just put another layer of brown in those spots?  I'd really appreciate some input on this please. I know I have to add more depth and dimension to the grasses and the sand and I will get to that sometime soon.

I did my 2 miles on the treadmill yesterday, with a slow jog for 1.5 of them and it felt great. I think I'm going to do that again today.

It is still gray and rainy here today, but we are fortunate that we didn't get all the rain they predicted and we have power. It appears that many in the area are not so lucky as we are.

Have a great day and try to make a bit of time for yourself while you are at it!!!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Barn Sketch and Watercolor WIP Update

Well, I've read many times that watercolor (or any painting) goes through a really scary stage(s) before it is complete. I am hoping that means I am on the right track. I still haven't added shadows to the chairs, but have been working on the sand and grasses. This is by no means complete. I just hope I can resuscitate it before I get to the final stages.

I've also been looking at pix of old barns and decided to try one. I found that the barn and outbuilding with a few trees wasn't quite complete and then saw this one (almost the same set up) on Kathy Los-Rathburn's blog and decided to add the fences and foreground grasses. I hope she doesn't mind - this is after all just practice in my art journal. If you aren't familiar with Kathy, you should definitely check out her blog. She is doing a series of 5 x 7 pieces for an exhibition gala in Chesterton, Indiana, and hers are in wonderfully colorful watercolor. If she is in northern Indiana, I may have to check out when she has workshops and go meet her.

Here is my pen sketch:

Unfortunately you can see the caligraphy practice on the backside through this.

We lost power for about an hour this morning and I was right in the middle of the salting of the foreground sand in my watercolor so I sat in front of the living room window and worked crossword puzzles until it came back on.

I am planning to do a bit of a workout this afternoon. I haven't been on the treadmill in weeks and I miss it.

It is a cold, rainy day and we are expecting it to rain for a few days in a row - gray and depressing. I think I will put on some loud rock and roll and make my own sunshine.

What are you doing to banish the blues today??


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Watercolor Work In Progress

So far all I've done is add a bit of underpainting. I have no idea how to paint sand - I think it needs speckles of colors and I think I need to put the beach grass in such a way as to convey hills and distance behind the chairs. Any ideas would be appreciated.

I am thinking I need to put in some variation of color in the sand directionally behind to indicate hills and distance. I am planning to put in some beach grasses in greens, browns, yellows. Does that make sense at all?

I need to go to the store later this morning to get milk, bananas, soy milk, Claritin (the hubster is experiencing a lot of sneezing and runny eyes), chicken broth, etc.  Dana and the girls are coming out for dinner this afternoon, so I have some chicken breasts thawing and will make rice and a vegetable to go with it. Miss M is still running a fever between doses of her medicine so is not yet back in school.

Miss K is supposed to be running at the track at Lumen Christi tomorrow morning as a fundraiser and I am planning to go if the rain holds off. Meanwhile I am trying to be a good caretaker. There is a fine line between doing too much for the patient and doing too little. 

I stayed up until after 3 this morning to watch the next video lesson in the Artful Journaling class and so slept in until 9:30. The hubster had already made coffee and managed to get himself and the coffee in a locking travel mug into the living room and into his easy chair. We've each had a bowl of cereal with blueberries and are ready to get this day started.

Are you making time for yourself today?


Monday, October 17, 2011

Housecleaning, Girl Tribe Art, and A New Watercolor in Progress

I was quite a busy girl today. I decided the house was seriously in need of cleaning so I began in the master bath. From there I dusted the master bedroom and living room. I then swept the floors and shook the rugs and did the vacuuming. I gave the oak table in the eating area a good cleaning and washed down the dining chairs. I got my long handled duster and swept along all the edge of the ceiling all around the house. I also did two loads of laundry. I was saved from continuing into the back of the house by my son bringing Miss Z out for a visit.

I finally have managed to start my next project in watercolor. I talked with my sister today and told her I was planning to do a landscape of a church and I was thinking of incorporating a fence and perhaps a portion of a cemetery alongside. However, once I cut my watercolor paper to size, I was seized again by the need to finally do a scene with Adirondack chairs. So without further ado, I drew two chairs and then decided to have them facing the water (which will not be shown) and to have sand dunes and part of a fence behind them. Here is what I have for my initial drawing:

I realize it is difficult to see, but if you click on it you should get a bigger picture. I did try to darken it a bit in Photoshop.

I also have a photo of Papa drawn by four year old Miss M while she was spending some time with us this weekend.

She even put glasses on him. I don't think she has done that before.

I've been a busy little cook over the weekend, too. I made a beef stew and a pot of chicken rice soup. I do so love soup on these cool Fall days.

I did a bit of Geometry tutoring this afternoon as well, so feel my day has been quite busy and complete - I've done grunt work (housework), brain work (tutoring), and arty stuff in my work room.
I also mailed off my October swap to my partner in Ontario, but forget to take a photo of it.

How is your day going?


Friday, October 14, 2011

Busy, busy

Yesterday afternoon I went to Miss P's basketball game; Miss M was there and sat with me to watch. After the game their coach/Dad took the team to the ice cream shop up the road. I took Miss M in my car and followed them there and then took the girls home with me. I had gone into town earlier to buy a frame for my watercolor and to pick up a few things for dinner.

When we got home it was almost 7 pm, so I quickly made pork chops and corn with garlic bread (I let the girls decide what was for dinner) and we ate. I then took the girls to their Mom's house where Miss M colored with me and Miss P got in the shower. We visited and gave their two cats lots of love before the girls went to bed at 9.

After their Mom arrived home, I visited a bit and then drove home to check on the hubster and the Tiger game and then washed up the dinner dishes before hitting the sack.

I got up early this morning so I could watch the next video in the Artful Journaling class and then did the assignment. It amazes me how when Laure says she did quick sketches hers look so good and when I do quick sketches mine look so lame. The assignment was to fold an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper and then do 4 possible sketch arrangements for the next page in the journal. I couldn't think what to do, but you know how I love barns so I chose a farm theme.

This is the page opened up and scanned.

My daughter is bringing Miss P and Miss M out around 1:30 this afternoon and they will stay either until she gets off work around 9:30 or overnight, I don't know which yet. Miss P has an early release today and Miss M doesn't have preschool on Fridays.

Here is what my watercolor looks like framed for the exhibition. I forgot to sign it, but will do so before I enter it.

I have a question: where do I sign it? in the light blue water on the lower left? up the green part of the reflection along the lower right side? below the brown of the ground under the trees on the right side? Is there a right place to sign a painting? Do I print or write in cursive? Do I make it legible or arty? As you can see, I am full of questions. Those who know me well might say I am full of something else altogether .

I'd better get this day started or I am going to be behind all day.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Bit of Art

I've finally spent a bit of time in my art room since the hubster's surgery (I'm afraid I am not a very good nurse - I tend to hover) and spent that time working on an assignment for my Artful Journaling - Foundations class. The assignment was two part: make a page of borders and make a page using a border.

Here is the page of my borders:

I'm afraid these are not very "arty", but they will have to do for now.

And here is the page I made using a border:

I am hoping to get into town today to pick up some mats and a frame or two from Michael's so that I can see what my watercolor is going to look like when finished. Meanwhile, I think I need to get on the treadmill and get my routine going again.

I am planning to make some lamb stew later today and start to think about meals for the next few days. I am not used to doing all the cooking and I'm afraid it shows, but so far I've had no complaints.

I have to watch the Tigers again today - they must win to stay in it! 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Surgery Update and Scrapbook Pages

The hubster's surgery on his Achilles tendon went very well and I got a very good report from the doc when the surgery was completed. He is not allowed to put any weight on it until the follow up visit in about 2 weeks. He is finding that crutches are a big drag and his sciatic nerve is not at all happy with the stress placed on his backside while using them. Thanks for all your well wishes.

I intended to do some sketching while waiting for him, but found myself working crossword puzzles and listening to my iPod instead. We got to the hospital around 6 am and were home about 1 pm. The hubster slept for a bit in the afternoon and I probably should have as well. We watched a great Tiger game later in the evening and then made a night of it.

I had a lovely surprise in my email this morning from the people at My Memories - they have some freebies on their site and I couldn't resist trying one of them out. They come as png files and can be used with the My Memories Suite software or independently. Here is what I put together this morning:

I used the quick pages to make this two page spread, but the freebie comes not only with the two quick pages, but all the elements used to make them. That means you can custom them to your own needs. You can find the freebies here. And if you are interested in the software you can use the code in the sidebar to get $10 off.

A big thank you to all of you who took the time to comment on my two watercolors. I am planning to use the trees with reflections as my exhibit piece and am hoping to add a bit to the "blob" on the left to make it look more convincing. I'll share the finished piece when I think it is done.

I am way behind in my assignments for the Artful Journaling class and hope to get to them some time today. I have to run some errands and should get back into the workout routine. I have another Tiger game today and am hoping we can win again to make the series 2 - 2 before we head back to Texas.
I am hoping to have some art to share with you tomorrow and am wishing for you a wonderful, artful day.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Home Again with Miss Z

Miss Z came over last evening to spend the night with us and she is right here in her high chair keeping me company while I write this. Actually she began to fuss and she only fusses when it is time to eat. So I gave her a bottle and put her down for a nap.

Before she arrived yesterday, I made some Chorizo Soup which turned out really well and we had some for dinner. I made a double batch so I sent some home with Miss Z's Mom.

It is a really easy recipe and only takes about an hour from start to finish. Here is the recipe:

I gessoed over the water on the old watercolor that I was working on and then watercolored over it, but was still very disappointed, so when I arrived home yesterday I started a couple more. I have two of them and like one of them quite a bit more than the other. Of course, the hubster likes the one I don't like, so I'd like to ask you this:  Should I use one of these as my entry in the non-juried exhibition? If I should use one of these, which one? Should I trash these and begin again?

My daughter just called. She is sick (possibly strep; she is seeing the doctor at 1 pm) and wants me to pick up Miss M after school this afternoon and take her to ballet practice. That should be fun and I will take my camera and see if I can get some decent pix.

The hubster is having surgery on his Achilles tendon first thing in the morning so I will be spending most of the day at the hospital. I should have plenty of opportunity to do some sketching. I'll check in sometime tomorrow after we get home.

I'd really appreciate some feedback on the two watercolors above.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Last Day In St. Ignace

This is the last day at my Mom's and she's been keeping me so busy that I haven't done any art or taken any pictures. We've been on the road every day - to the grocery store, library, the bank, out for tea, to Hessel and Cedarville, to visit Molly and Mags, and today we have a doctor appointment, a visit with Hilda, and out for fish fry dinner.

I brought my art supplies with me, but Mom really enjoys having company doing crosswords and watching the Tigers (what a nail biter last night, but the boys persevered and are on to the next round), so my supplies are just sitting in the guest room.

I am leaving at the crack of dawn tomorrow so that I can be home before noon. Miss P (formerly known as Miss 8) is going to spend the day and overnight with me. We are definitely going to do some art. I have to get working on my landscape that has a space reserved at the Potter Center for the month of November.  I was unable to fix the one with the spots in it, so will begin anew. I will share my progress with you once I get started.

For now, I will leave you with a picture of my Mom and Miss 4 (when she was just 2 1/2) when my Mom was visiting me a year ago last Spring).

I hope you are enjoying this wonderful weather and that you are finding time for yourself and your art. 


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We Have a Winner and I'm Hitting The Road

I am happy to announce that the winner of the My Memories Suite 2 digital scrapbooking software is Julie. Thank you to all who entered. Don't forget even if you didn't win in the giveaway there is a $10 off coupon on the sidebar.

I overslept this morning due to the lateness of the Tigers/Yankees game last evening. I am heading to the far north to spend several days with my Mom so after I have a couple of cups of coffee and grab a quick shower I am hitting the road. I am taking my laptop with me so will be posting and sharing from there.

Gotta run.......


Monday, October 3, 2011

Girl Tribe and My Troubled Watercolor

I think I've finished my watercolor, but I think it is ruined by the pigment spots in the water. Is there any way to rescue it? I may have to start over and not use the offending Ultramarine or figure out how to use it without it settling like that. I was planning to use this for the exhibit I have a spot in for the month of November. Does anyone have an idea if this is salvageable? At any rate, for what it is worth, here is the finished product:

Here is some art by my Miss K who spent Saturday evening and overnight until Sunday late morning with her sister, Miss Z at our house.

In my Artful Journal class,  the next assignment is to do some Word Art. I used to do quite a bit of word art using Photoshop. As a matter of fact I sold a few pieces and I have the originals to show you. What do you think of this kind of art?

I think the assignment for the class was to make a journal cover and to do it by hand using watercolors, so I have to do some thinking and decide what I will do. When I have it decided and put it together, I will share it with you.

I am driving up to my Mom's tomorrow and staying until early Saturday morning. I am sure to have a great time and hope the weather cooperates and that I get lots of pix of gorgeous Fall color. I will be taking my computer and hope to have things to share with you while I am gone. I will be taking my journal and some watercolor supplies so will have no excuses for not being creative.

For now, I will leave you with a lovely smile from Miss Z:

Reminder:  I will be drawing for the My Memories Suite 2 digital scrapbooking software around midnight tonight. Get your name in here if you want a chance to win.