Friday, September 30, 2011

Artful Journal Update and Watercolor WIP

I tried to get some interesting photos of barns and Fall color as the hubster drove yesterday for our lunch meeting with my sister and her husband, but was unable to get anything worth showing. We talked about walking around Shipshewana after lunch and taking pix, but it was pouring rain by then and we just headed for home.  We had a lovely lunch and a good visit before transferring a 4-drawer file cabinet and some lovely garden rocks from their vehicle to ours. But the ride home was less than lovely. It poured all the way and there were more large trucks on the road than I've seen since the dreadful semi parade of the far north.

Nevertheless, we made it home by 5:30 or so and the hubster made chili for dinner. We ate in the living room while watching the game shows. I won a ton of money, including the bonus round on Wheel of Fortune and didn't do too badly on Jeopardy either.

I then spent a bit of time working on the watercolor that is in progress. I added the water to it and am puzzled by the spots in it. I haven't had something like this happen before. Could it be pigment that wasn't well mixed? Is it something from the brush? Is it dirt? I did brush off the paper before I began.
I am planning to put more color into the water so am hoping it will not be noticeable when all is said and done. Have you ever had anything like this happen to you?

I also decided it was time to sketch the pear in my Artful Journal and thought it would be fun to draw it as a letter in the word pear. I rather like how the word turned out - I used an alphabet I found in The Speedball Textbook as a model and I don't think the spacing of the letters is too bad. However, when it came time to put in the striped dish towel/tablecloth, I was at a loss. I found a red Pitt brush pen and began to put in the stripes. At about stripe number three the brush failed, so I switched to a Sharpie marker. Unfortunately, the color closest to red was a mauvy purple and I am not so sure I like how it turned out at all. I can't remove the color so I will accept it as a creative accident and share it anyway. I thought about adding shadows to the letters too, but really wanted the pear to be the star of this page, so left the letters flat.

Except for the "striped cloth" I am really pleased with how this turned out.

Imagine my surprise when I'd photographed the "pear" page and was preparing to upload it to the Artful Journaling blog, I was distracted by the arrival of an email from Laure Ferlita with the next assignment for this class. Would you believe the next assignment is "word art"? Does this situation fit the definition of serendipitous? I have no idea what I am going to do for the word art assignment, but may have to do something with Zentangle doodles. 

The Tigers are playing the Yankees this evening in the first game of the playoffs on the way to the World Series. We are playing there and I am looking forward to seeing Curtis Granderson, but have to hope he doesn't have his usual spectacular game against us. With Verlander on the mound, I am hoping we can beat the Yankees soundly. I do like a close game much better than a runaway, and hope I will not be disappointed with this one.
Tomorrow I have my son's Miss 8 and she is staying overnight. I am planning to make time to do some art and maybe a bit of cooking. I haven't made any monkey muffins in a long time. I have some hot Italian sausage and some chicken thighs thawing in the refrigerator and am planning to make some gumbo today. It is a perfect day for it - gray and wet.

I hope you are having a fine day and that the sun is shining where you are. If your weather is like mine, try to get lost in art, cooking, a hot cup of tea and a good book and really enjoy yourself. A day like this is a great one for losing yourself in some kind of project. I just hope the rain doesn't prematurely knock the leaves off the trees. I am anxious for Mother Nature's Fall show.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pear Practice and More WC WIP

I had the day to myself yesterday and expected that I would spend it in the art room, but found myself cleaning the laundry room, replacing the contents of the master bathroom closet (purging as I progressed), cleaning up my art room, and finishing a novel I was partway through.

I then heated up the homemade chicken soup from the day before and watched the Tigers with the hubster before finally spending a little bit of time doing art.

I finally tried the method of putting salt on wet watercolor and then brushing it off when the paint dried. The photo I shared yesterday had the salt on it, but it hadn't dried yet and now that it has and I've brushed off the salt, I have quite a different look. I am still planning to add some very dark color and then scrape much of it off to reveal the color underneath, but haven't had the courage to do that yet.

Can you see the texture in the hills? I think I like it.

I also have a new assignment for the Artful Journaling class. It is to sketch a pear or slice of melon in ink and then add color. I have always liked drawing with ink, but decided to practice this in my everyday journal first. I found that I just couldn't get the roundness of the pear just right and think it looks more liked a chicken ready for a bit of salt and pepper before being roasted.

As you can see I did a couple of practice ones on the left.

Sometime this afternoon I will try the real thing in my Artful Journaling sketchbook. In the picture provided there is also a red striped cloth under the pear and it has lots of shadows and folds. It should be quite a challenge to draw it - and in ink....

Today I am getting my teeth cleaned mid morning and then the hubster and I are taking a day trip to meet my sister and her husband for a late lunch. They are bringing me a four drawer file cabinet they no longer want and I am planning to use it for art storage. I have it all planned out - acrylics in the top drawer, adhesives in the second, pastels in the third and paper in the bottom. I think my room will be so much more organized and I should have more counter and shelf space once I've moved these items into the file cabinet.

If you haven't yet entered the giveaway for My Memories Suite 2 digital scrapbooking software, you have until Monday, October 3, to do so. Find out more here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Watercolor WIP, Girl Tribe Art, Art in the Mail

It is a gray, rainy morning and I think my current work in progress reflects that fact. This morning I added the underpainting of the mountains. I am planning to go over the ones in the foreground with a very dark paint and then scrape most of it off to reveal bits of the underlying color. Here is what I have so far:

I'd love some input - ideas, suggestions.....

While the girls were staying with me, Miss 8 spent some time in my art room making a painting for me. I so love these gifts. She really liked the yellow and reddish skies I had painted as backgrounds on the last few papers I had prepped for her that she decided to try it herself.

I am so fortunate to have such arty girls.

I forgot to show you what I received in the mail the other day from my friend Suzanne in Luxembourg. She sent me a watercolor painting of mushrooms along with a card and a small picture of The Grund. You know I want to draw that scene.

If you haven't already entered the giveaway, go to the previous post and get your name in the drawing for the My Memories Suite 2 scrapbooking software. Here is a quick two page spread that I made this morning with photos of my Mom and Dad and a photo of the whole family circa 1963. I used one of the included designer templates. The whole process took about 3 minutes. Besides adding the photos, I changed the text on the right hand page from "Never Forget" to "Remember When".

The hubster just left for the dentist, my coffee has gotten cold and I need to do some housework (ugh!). I hope to see you tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Memories Suite Giveaway

It is Monday and as promised I am having a giveaway of the My Memories Suite 2 digital scrapbooking software. I was given a copy to try (It is very easy to make wonderful pages and there are lot of tutorials for those who would like some extra help) and a copy to offer as a giveaway.

I must tell you this is the easiest scrapbooking software I've ever used. I've tried Photoshop Elements and Photoshop and they had a pretty steep learning curve, especially the full blown Photoshop program. With My Memories Suite I was able to make a page quickly and easily and was impressed by the sizes that I could default to and by the amount of free background papers, embellishments, word art generator and more. You can even make a picture an embellishment; you can wrap text; you can make embellishments from background papers and so much more.

Here is what you need to do in order to be in the drawing that will be held on Monday, October 3.

1.   Go to the My Memories website and decide which Kit you like the best and leave a comment    telling me what you've chosen. You don't have to buy anything - just go look around. This gets you one entry.

2.  If you have a blog, blog about this giveaway with a link back to this post and leave another comment with a link back to your blog. This gets you a second entry.

3.  If you are a member of Facebook, leave a status update telling about the giveaway and leave another comment with a link to your Facebook update here. This gets you a third entry.

That's all there is to it.

Don't wait enter now!!


Artful Journaling and A New Beginning

I have finally finished the lemons page in my artful journaling class and have also finished the fortune cookie page. I am having fun with this class, but feel dreadfully inadequate. I am hoping to see some improvement over time and am trying to squash the inner critic - she is such a spoiler of fun and creativity!

Here is the lemons page:

And here is the fortune cookie page:

I have a new assignment to start today and am looking forward to having some uninterrupted art time to work on it and to do more on my new watercolor landscape. I finally scrapped the other landscape I was working on - can you say "overworked"? and have begun another. This one will be essentially a redo of the other, but I am determined to use a minimum of brush strokes on this one so I can keep it fresh and avoid another overwork. Here is just the sky that I did last night:

I am hoping to add the mountains today and will try to use a variety of colors with a minimum of brush strokes. I will share that next part tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I finally attempted to sketch a picture of Alex, and chose to use a Staedtler pen - scary!! I used the drawing Dan Kent posted as my model, but didn't get the likeness that Dan did. I may try it again in the sketch book where I originally sketched both Raena and Dan in pencil to see if I can get a better likeness. For now, here it is:

I think this is the next sketch I need to attempt:

Today I need to recycle (the bins are threatening to overflow into my parking spot in the garage) and pick up a few groceries. I think it is a good day to make some soup, too.

I hope you are having a good day wherever you are. It is sunny and beautiful here and I predict it will be a very good and very productive day.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Sleep Deprivation and Photos

I am seriously sleep deprived. Miss 8 and Miss 4 have the reputation of sleeping in quite late on the weekends, but not while at my house. On both Saturday and Sunday they were up before 8:30. And Little Miss 7 months (who arrived just after the Lions beat the Vikings in sudden death overtime) is teething and has a seriously runny nose and was up at 1:45 am and 3:00 am and up at 6:00 am.

She is napping right now and I suppose I should be also, but I've had my two mugs of coffee and am thinking about breakfast. I have lots of art to do today - a couple of assignments for the Artful Journaling class and more work on my watercolor work in progress. I have the baby until about 3 this afternoon after which I plan to do some painting.

For now, I have some photos to share:

My girls each chose a journal and did some sketching.

This is one of the things Miss 8 was drawing.

Here are my "big" girls helping to take care of baby Zoë.

I started this blog post about 1 1/2 hours ago, but blogger hasn't been cooperating and baby hasn't been cooperating, so I will finish here.

I need to go wash bottles and clean up from breakfast while she is back down and hopefully sleeping.

I hope to have some art for you tomorrow.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Running with My Girl Tribe, Garage Sale Finds and WC WIP

I finally found time to work a bit on my watercolor. It is coming along, but still has a long way to go. I added a bit of color to the sky and significantly darkened the mountains. I added some color into the water. Here is what I have so far:

After Miss 8's basketball game yesterday, we came home and the girls helped Papa make pancakes for dinner while I worked to finish my chicken noodle soup for today. Here is a photo of the girls in their cooking regalia:

After dinner, while we were watching the Tiger game, the girls played a bit of dress-up.

This morning on my way home from dropping Miss 8 off at school, I came across a garage sale and was able to find some treasures. I bought a wooden wine box and a handful of children's books.

On Monday I will outline the rules for the My Memories Suite 2 scrapbooking software giveaway. I will try to have more examples of pages I am working on. I was planning to do a tutorial, but the ones that are already available are quite thorough and explain the software so nicely, it isn't necessary for me to do so. I will tell you that the software is all I could have hoped for. Stay tuned.

For now, I have a little girl (Miss 4) bugging me to work a puzzle with her and she is patient so far but is becoming a bit frustrated waiting for me.  I will say goodbye for now and hope to see you bright and early on Monday (I will have Miss 7 months then) with all the information regarding the giveaway.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Girl Tribe and Blind Contour

So I have survived the first overnight with Miss 8 and Miss 4. Yesterday I picked them up from school at 3:30, brought them home for a snack and then took Miss 8 to ballet practice. First she had an hour practice in Tap and then an hour in Jazz, Hip Hop, Fusion. It was a lot of fun to watch.

While she was in the first class, I sat outside a beginning ballet class (there wasn't a chair near her class) and did some quick sketches. These are practically blind contours since I didn't have my glasses on. I could see the girls pretty well, but couldn't see my sketches at all. They are not really very good, but I am practicing and that is what I think is important.

Sorry about the picture quality. The one on the right is a Mom reading a book.

It is spirit week at the girls' school. In preschool it was crazy hat day and here is what Miss 4 wore:

She's such a ham!

Today is crazy hat day at Miss 8's school. Here is hers:

Notice the scarf. She has been bugging to wear my scarf and I finally let her wear it to school today.

This afternoon after school Miss 8 has a basketball game and tomorrow is picture day. Miss 4 doesn't go to school on Fridays, so tomorrow may be a little more relaxing.

I have finished my September Watercolour Pencil Buddies swap and will try to get it in the mail tomorrow. Once it is in the hands of the recipient, I will share it with you.

I'm still hoping to find some time to work on my watercolor work in progress and may have something to share tomorrow.

While I was at ballet class with Miss 8 yesterday evening, the son called to see if we could take Miss 7 months on Sunday and overnight. I am thrilled that the hubster said yes.

So much to do - it is starting out a beautiful day and I'd better make the most of it.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Surrogate Parent, AJE, and More Digital Scrapbooking

Beginning today after school, the hubster and I are "parenting" Miss 8 1/2 and Miss 4 until Sunday. I think I'd better start getting more sleep in preparation. I didn't go to bed until 4:30 this morning. I was downloading free stuff from the My Memories website, uploading old patterns and embellishments that I made in Photoshop many moons ago, and watching watercolor videos in YouTube. There are some wonderful tutorials for this software, too. I can only use this much bandwidth between the hours of 2 AM and 7 AM, so sometimes I am up most of the night.

I was able to verify that all my old files work just wonderfully in the My Memories digital scrapbooking software and I have another couple to share with you. The pictures are from when the girls were little.

This photo is one of my all-time favorites. This little one is now 8 years old.

What great memories I have of those all too fleeting days.

I've begun to make some new memories as well. Yesterday after school my daughter brought out her two girls so we could have a little celebration for Miss Morgan whose birthday we missed this past weekend. I bought cupcakes and ice cream and picked up some "school" books and a pair of slippers for her presents. She was thrilled with the whole celebration.

As you can see, I made the cupcakes myself .

Big sis - posing.

I have begun to have so many interests again that I think I am going to need a schedule - maybe something like:

Monday - bookbinding
Tuesday - watercolor
Wednesday - digital scrapbooking
Thursday - journaling
Friday - sketching
Saturday - watercolor pencil
Sunday - oil pastels

Oh no, I've already run out of days!!! What about photography, digital art, mail art, acrylics, collage, crochet..... and just where does housework fit into this schedule.  So much art, so little time.

Meanwhile, while waiting for my downloads to arrive, I began adding to my new journal as part of the Artful Journaling - Explorations class. Here is the cover page (in progress). It needs color and doodling before I can think of it as complete.

I'm thinking the letters need some layers in other colors and perhaps the word "Explorations" needs to be added into the background maybe on a diagonal.

And here is the beginning of the "Lemons" assignment:

It needs the addition of color and decoration. The bowl is white with dark blue stripes and the lemons have a bit of yellow, gold and green. It is a bit light, but if you click on it I think you will be able to see it better.

I've had a couple of cups of coffee and now need some cereal and fruit to get this day started. I think I am going to get back to the watercolor landscape I've put aside. I hope to have some progress to share with you tomorrow.

Meanwhile, if you like what you've seen so far in the digital scrapbooking part of my posts, you can use the coupon code in the side bar to get this amazing software at an incredible price. I will be putting together the rules for the software giveaway real soon. I would like to have ways you can enter more than once and would love to hear if you have ideas besides either a post on your blog linking back to me or a visit to the website to choose a favorite designer pack. 

It is almost 11 am already and I think I'd better get this day started.....


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Artful Journaling and More Digital Scrapbooking

I had a lovely time with Nancy yesterday despite the fact that the antique mall that was supposed to be out first stop doesn't open on Mondays. Another reminder that a phone call ahead of time doesn't hurt. We stopped at the lovely corner market that I think used to be called the Common Market, but now has another name. I've searched online for a small specialty grocery in Chelsea, but have failed to find it. At any rate they have a lovely assortment of things that you don't find at your big grocery store.

I chose a bottle of red wine based on the recommendation of the people buying at this store and the hubster liked it very much. I also purchased a sourdough roll for us to split with the rabbit stew I made for dinner last evening. I have yet to try the honey mustard salad dressing, the chipolte sauce and the brown rice.

We stopped in at Back to the Roots, a fair trade community store, which now has a lovely cafe inside. We decided to try it for lunch. We each ordered hot tea and then a sushi selection.  I had  a lovely entree called Crunchy Veggie, which was tempura asparagus, avocado, spring mix and teriyaki sauce. It was wrapped in rice and seaweed. It also comes with bell pepper, but I opted to leave it out. I believe Nancy had the California Tempura and she liked hers very well too. She also had a bit of their soup of the day, which was a squash soup. I really wanted some, too, but it was cream based. I am sure we will be eating here again.

We also stopped at Bumbles Dry Goods where I found some lovely wood book marks and some handmade wooden salad tongs. I love Bumbles. They always have something that I've just got to have and everything is handmade.

Last evening I finally did some work in my Artful Journal and here is what I have to share:

Just the beginning - I think the adding a bit of blue to the yellow worked just fine, but the one to the right of the yellow square in which I added a bit of yellow to the blue didn't come out quite right.

I made my red much too watery and am not very happy with this page, but this is a learning experience and I am hoping I will learn how to use the water brush better in the coming assignments.

I also spent a bit of time with the My Memories scrapbooking software to make a couple more pages. The one with Zoë I made using one of the built in designer pages. I just added the pictures and the text; the wedding page I made using the custom options and adding my own background and embellishments.

The embellishments on this page were purchased from Scrappers Guide.

Stayed tuned - I am about to announce how you can win a copy of this easy and fun digital software.

My daughter is bringing her two girls out after school today so we can have a celebration for her younger daughter who turned 4 on Sunday. That means I have to get it together and go get some cupcakes and ice cream. I also have to get the gifts wrapped and a card made.

Time to make my move.......


Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Wedding and Family Time

I took art supplies with me when I went up north on Saturday for a family wedding, but didn't get a chance to use them. I did get lots of family time though.

The wedding was at The Headlands, just outside of Mackinaw City and the scenery was spectacular. What a great place for a wedding. I didn't get very many pix, but here is a pic of the happy couple just after the ceremony. My youngest sister, Susie, was just in front of me, so you get to see her lovely hair as well.

It was quite a gathering. My siblings present included: Tim, Anne, Kathy, Molly, Mike, Jane (the mother of the bride), Dan, Joe, and Susie. There were also a plethora of nieces and nephews, and many friends of the bride and groom.

I also took pictures on the way home, mostly of things that I thought would make good subjects for drawing and/or painting. Here are a few:

This one was actually taken after my life drawing class at Ella Sharp Park.

I an driving over to Nancy's house this morning and then we are taking a trip into Chelsea to look at the antique mall that is housed in the former bowling alley among other things. I'd better get myself into the shower and get ready.

I hope to have some real art to share with you tomorrow.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Feeling Better and Life Drawing

I am feeling much more like myself today and it is a good thing. I am picking up Miss 8 1/2 and Miss 3 (who will be 4 on Sunday) after school today and they are spending the night with me. We will surely find time to do some art and I will happily share it with you tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I went to Ella Sharp this morning to attend the life drawing class and spent a couple of hours. From there I went to the grocery store to buy a few things and filled the car up with gas. I am now home and ready to finish the chicken soup I began last evening.

But first I will share with you the sketches I attempted today at the life drawing class:

I really need to learn how to do foreshortening in order to draw figures in perspective.

Does any one know of a tutorial on foreshortening that they would be willing to recommend? I am really enjoying the camaraderie of the drawing class, but would like to have a hint about how to improve.

I hope you are enjoying this lovely, cool weather. I am about to join the hubster on the front stoop for a spell before adding some veggies to my chicken soup.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Watercolor WIP and More Digital Scrapbooking

I didn't get a thing done yesterday - wait a minute - I did get the oil changed, the tires rotated and a software update recall issue fixed on my car and went grocery shopping with my daughter. I think I did a lot yesterday, but not much art.

I really wasn't feeling well in the afternoon. I actually spent some time lying on the bathroom floor and then on the couch with a cup of hot tea and a cold cloth on my forehead. I am not so sick today, but am not quite up to par, either.

This morning I spent a bit of time adding some mountains and some trees along one of the closer hills to the watercolor work in progress and I like that addition.

As a reminder: here is what it looked like yesterday:

And here it is today:

I know it has some issues, but so far I like where it is headed. I sprayed a fine mist over the background mountains to achieve some texture and maybe that wasn't the best idea, but I am experimenting and learning as I go.

I am also spending more time with My Memories Suite, digital scrapbooking software, and I must say so far I am really enjoying it. I downloaded the User Guide and am finding it very helpful. I have also found their blog and tutorials. I will continue to share with you and when I've played enough I will give you a full blown review of this product. Meanwhile, if you are a scrapbooker and would like to learn more about this product, you can follow the link above. There is also a link on the sidebar with a code that will save you $10 when you purchase. As a person who purchased Photoshop for digital scrapbooking at a whopping $650, I can only shake my head in wonder at this product that is less than $40, and with the savings code, it is less than $30. What's more, it is a download so there is no postage to pay.

Stay tuned for more on this product including a giveaway of one software package which will be announced here in the near future. This giveaway will be available to anyone in the world as there is no postage associated.

Meanwhile, let me share with a lovely wedding card I made using this software this morning. I used a photo from my own yard, added a mat and text in My Memories and printed in onto a prescored card that I had purchased some time ago from Red River Paper, my favorite source for paper.

I think I'd better go eat breakfast and get this day started.