Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pencil Sketches and A Kitty Update

Following my conditioning workout and my half hour run on the treadmill, I ran into town to take my brother in law to the hospital for outpatient surgery. Before I had a chance to sketch anyone in the family waiting room, it was explained to me that the patient probably would not be ready for me to take home until 5 or 6 pm. It was just 1 pm when they told me this. I followed his advice and after wishing him good luck and promising to be back to pick him up (and exchanging cell phone numbers) I went on my way.

On the way to pick up the BIL at his house, I stopped for gas only to find that Miss M and her mom were at the pump next to me. After leaving the hospital around 1, I called the daughter to give her an update and headed for the grocery store. I left a message on her phone. When she called me back it was to find that she and Miss M were at the Wendy's across the street. I waited for them and the three of us did a good grocery shopping. At the end of the shopping trip we parted company.

When I was ready to head back to the hospital (I decided that unless I heard otherwise that I would be back by 5 pm), I stopped at the daughter's house and picked up Miss M so she could go with me and then I would take her to my house. Her sister, Miss P, has two back to back hour long dance classes on Wednesdays. Miss M and I went to the hospital to find that BIL (Uncle Mike to Miss M) was ready for us to come back to see him. He was drinking juice and patiently waiting to be released. He was a bit dozy. When he was ready Miss M and I took him to a pharmacy for his prescription. The hospital had faxed it to them. I left BIL in the car and Miss M and I went to get the prescription, but it wouldn't be ready for about 20 minutes, so we took him home where we found his teenage son home from school and left him in good hands while we went back to the pharmacy. After taking the medicine to the patient, Miss M and I went to my house. By this time it was going on 7 pm and she and I were both tired.

Then the fun began - Miss M met the kitty and it was love at first sight. She has given her the name Ellabear (don't ask me because I don't know). We fed her some of the canned kitty food I'd bought at the grocery store and found a piece of string to play with her. Shortly thereafter, my daughter and Miss P came from dance class and we had dinner. It has been decided that I will call the vet my daughter knows and schedule an appointment for a complete check over and any shots along with a spay (I think it is a girl) and front claw removal. Once that is successfully completed, Ella (short for Ellabear) will be introduced into their household - hopefully Trevor the adult cat that already lives with them will be accepting.

After the girls went home, I decided to do a couple of sketches before retiring for the night. They were pretty quick and just outlines. I didn't do any shading or coloring.

The right arm (the one on the left) appears to be rotated out from the chair and needs some repair. Other than that, I rather like it.

This is one of those gorgeous yellow and purple irises with stripes of gold in it. I think I need to do a watercolor of this one of these days.

This morning my friend, Nancy, and I are going to life drawing class together and then we are taking her iPad to lunch at Panera to play with it a bit. After that I will call the vet and get the ball rolling on the kitty situation. Then, once I've done my obligatory hour on the treadmill, I will decide what kind of art to do.

What are you doing today? Are you finding time for your art? I hope so.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Two Sketches - One Ink, One Pencil

It is a beautiful, sunny morning. I can't believe May is just about over. Little Miss M is done with preschool for the year and Misses P and K will be done next week. It must be time to get out the hula hoops and frog catching nets.

Yesterday after cleaning my work play room, I sat down with my "Through A Looking Glass" journal and decided to sketch a bit. I looked through my reference photos for something to catch my eye and happened upon a house with a big front porch that I liked. I grabbed my Uniball Signo and began.

And then I found a photo I'd taken during my still life frenzy of a few weeks ago and liked it, so thought I'd try my hand at a pear with a glass of wine.This one is in pencil; don't ask me why. I try to use pen so I can't erase. My guess is that this one seemed trickier for me. I think the crop made it look like the wine is aslant a bit.

It is going to be a busy day today. I will be going to my conditioning class this morning and then will be taking my BIL to the hospital for an outpatient surgery. I am expecting to find some sketching opportunities there. I will take a sketchbook and my iPad. That way I can sketch, listen to music, read a book, or surf the internet (if they have wireless).

A little kitty has found its way to our house (I am suspecting a drop off). It is very cute and friendly. I am not in the market for a pet, but I am quite taken with the little thing. I am hoping that if the hubster and I offer spaying and declawing, my daughter will take her. I don't have any kitty food and I don't think milk is all that good for a kitty, so I opened a can of Albacore tuna packed in water and gave her a bit. I think she loves me!

I believe the hubster came up with some kind of litter box and let her into the screened porch for the night. I guess we have officially taken responsibility for her. I really don't want to give her to the shelter, but am not in the market for a pet.

What do you have planned for the day? Does it include art? I am anxious to get started today and think my muse approves of the cleaning.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sketches in my Nature Journal

When I am jogging on the treadmill, I am mentally sketching the tree just outside. I've been intending to sketch it in my nature journal for some time now and have finally done so. I used my Caran d' Ache Neocolor II crayons. I really like their creaminess and how nicely they blend together.

And then the facing page was crying for a treatment, too, so I tried to draw and color a fall leaf similar to the one I won a long time ago from Karen Blados. I'm afraid mine does not compare to hers, but it was nice to have such a good likeness from which to model mine.

It was in the 90s yesterday, but we were supposed to have a cold front go through and the weather persons promised a cool, breezy day today.  It is a gorgeous morning, but not breezy yet. The outside thermometer reads about 64º, but the indoor temperature reads 78º, despite the fact the windows were open all night. I hope it is cooler in here before I decide to do my hour on the treadmill.

Once I've finished my commitment to the treadmill, I am determined to clean up my art room. It is knee deep and the hubster commented yesterday that he fully expects to find that I am lost somewhere in here and can't find my way out. It is so messy, I hardly know where to begin. 

Once I have my room more organized, I am planning to finally cut the niches in my altered book that I started some time ago. I've been paralyzed at the point of actually having to use a scalpel to cut the openings. I am just a tad nervous when wielding sharp implements. I will show you my progress tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I hope you are having a great day and that your muse is at the ready to provide inspiration when you need it.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Miss P in Color and A Hanging Basket

I decided to try adding color to my drawing of Miss P and started with colored pencil on Mi Teintes paper.

I really liked the tinted paper for this, but am pretty unsatisfied with the result. Maybe I should try sketching a barn instead.

I couldn't help myself, I wanted to try the picture in watercolor and I still was not happy with the mouth in the drawing. I copied the drawing onto watercolor paper making changes to the mouth and began. Oh, how frustrating watercolor can be. I decided to try to save it by using soft pastels to finish. I took the photo of the two of the attempts side by side on my easel so that I could really see the differences in them.

I like the color of the pastel drawing better than the colored pencil and like the mouth better. But I still think the mouth needs work. What about you? Which one do you like and why? How would you change them? I don't think I am done with this subject yet, but I am quite daunted by it. Maybe I will do a value study of this next. I am hoping to work with Mary Hertler Tallman in watercolor some time this summer and may try this subject again at that time.

I spent much of Saturday cleaning house in anticipation of our cookout on Sunday, but did take a break later in the day to sit in the "little girls' room" to sketch the hanging basket that can be seen just outside the window. I used Caran d' Ache Neocolor II crayons. I didn't sketch it first; I just started putting color in and had a good time with it.

I need to spend an hour on the treadmill this morning as the conditioning class doesn't meet today and I ate too much rhubarb upside down cake yesterday. My dear sister-in-law, Janice, makes a fabulous cake and uses soy milk just so I can have some. Do you suppose I can blame this roll on her???

I need to drive into town later to feed and water Trevor, my little girls' cat, and then I hope to drive around Jackson a bit to take some photos of interesting things to draw. I should just bite the bullet and find a place to sit and draw plein air, but it is going to be another hot one today and I really don't deal with the heat very well.

What do you have planned for today? Are you making time for yourself and your creativity? I hope whatever you are doing, you are taking care of yourself and that your muse is not far away.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Life Drawing

I am so enjoying the life drawing sessions, and I think I am improving. I decided Kathleen Walker's advice in her comment from last week was spot on - I have my own feet and hands to practice on and they are available at any time, so I am still focusing on the whole at these sessions. I do find that my chronic tendonitis in my right arm can be a serious problem when sketching, especially when I am trying to be loose and sketch from the shoulder rather than from the wrist. I am in quite a deal of pain today as I have been for a couple of weeks now. This is such a strange condition to me. It will flare up and give me moderate to severe pain for weeks and then be gone for months at a time. I am trying to be patient and wait for it to subside. I'm afraid today I may have to resort to ice and Aleve.

The hubster installed a storm door with screen to the front entrance of the house and I am loving the light and breeze that is now available on the east side of the main part of the house. We've been talking about a storm door there for years. That entrance is surrounded by stone, so some framing in had to be done.

We (that is the royal we) also have a hanging basket on each side of the front porch that are lovely and begging to be painted.

Or maybe the wishing well in the front yard

I am planning to go to my conditioning class this morning and hope my right arm doesn't give me too much trouble. I may do half an hour on the treadmill when I return home if it isn't already too hot. I think we are expecting 90º today.

I am hoping to get my Miss P portrait onto watercolor paper this weekend and begin to add color. I think I will first try with colored pencil and then maybe try one in watercolor.

What do you have planned for this weekend? If you are in the US and celebrating Memorial Day, will you have family over? or will you be traveling to spend time with family and/or loved ones? Whatever you have planned I hope you have a great time and can also find time for yourself and your creativity.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another Try at Youth Portrait

I found myself staying up quite late fiddling with the sketch I did yesterday that was perhaps Miss P in 6 years time rather than at age 6. I opened yesterday's offering in Photoshop and did some cut and paste of the features - I wanted the eyes a bit closer together and the nose higher up on the face. I also did some cut and paste and rotate - I thought the nose was a bit off angle. I then used the transform tool to make the lips larger and to make the face rounder. The lines in the journal in which I sketched it began to disintegrate in this process, so I erased the ones over the face. This is what I had at the end of all that digital plastic surgery.

I think she looks younger, but still not my little Miss P. Also I think her gaze is too far to the right (her left).

I probably should have called it a day then, but I decided the lines were bugging me too much, so I tried to sketch this new version onto printer paper. Now I wish I'd used better paper as I think I would like to try adding color.

Still not really looking like her, but I think she looks a bit younger. I like the shading better, too.

Here is the original sketch for comparison.

This morning I am planning to jog for an hour on the treadmill and then get ready for the day. I will go to the life drawing class - thank you so much for the suggestions about focusing on hands and feet. I surely can use my own or the hubster's for practice. I think it was a good suggestion to continue to work on the "whole" figure and so I shall.

I am reading "Open" an autobiography by Andre Agassi and am quite enjoying it. I've always been a big fan of his. I've also downloaded the ebook "Falling Backward" a memoir by Jann Arden, a Canadian born singer/songwriter that I am a big fan of. I know I am not supposed to end a sentence with "of" but sometimes breaking rules is what I like to do. I love my iPad and am quite enjoying using it as a reader.

I hope you are well and that you are finding time for yourself today - again, I want to thank my readers, especially those of you who leave comments for helping me so much with your suggestions. I love this art community.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Pencil Sketch and Internet Problems

I had two guests overnight yesterday - Miss Z and her 8 year old sister, Miss K. It was very busy, but loads of fun. I tried to read the blogs to which I subscribe after Miss Z was safely in bed for the night, but until the last few minutes I had no internet access. The system said I had a good signal, but nothing would work. I hate it when that happens.

Earlier in the day, I was browsing photos on my computer and found a favorite of Miss P taken several years ago. I love the photo and think the sketch I did is a good one; it just doesn't look like the photo. I have a real hard time getting youngsters to look young. While I don't think she looks old, I also don't think she looks like she is only 6 years old.

Here is the reference photo - I can see already that I made the face too long and too narrow.

My son just picked up Miss K to take her to school. She had breakfast and got ready here. My son works the 6 pm to 6 am shift at work, so will take her to school before going home to get some sleep. Miss Z just got up and is sitting, snuggling with Papa in the living room. I am planning to go to my conditioning class at 9:30 and hope to see my friends Nancy and Julia there. Later today after Miss Z is picked up by her mother, the hubster and I will be going into town to pick up supplies for our Sunday family get together.

Miss Z is on the move and will need some attention any minute now. I think I will fix her some cereal and fruit for breakfast.

I hope you are having a good day and that you are making time for yourself.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pastels, Nature Journal and Mr. Turtle

I'd started a small watercolor of a sailboat moored in a bay in Lake Superior from a photo I took while in Marquette earlier this month. I decided I wanted to use the watercolor as an under painting and finish with pastels. Boy are pastels messy - the colors turned out muddy and I only have a starter set of 30 colors, which severely limits my color choices, but I don't hate it, especially if I look at it from across the room.

I added a digital mat in an attempt to make it prettier.

I also did a quick sketch in my nature journal using Caran d' Ache Neocolor II crayons.

Yesterday morning just as I was pulling out of the driveway to go to my conditioning class, I saw what looked like a large piece of tire like you see on the highway on the edge of our lawn. Then it moved and I realized it was a snapping turtle, so I pulled back into the driveway and ran for my camera. I kept my distance, but did get a shot. He does rather resemble a tire.

Quite the contrast to the wee painted turtle the girls found the day before.

I have Miss Z coming later today and she will be staying the night, so if I am going to get some treadmill time, it will have to be sooner rather than later. I only did a 30 minute jog yesterday because I'd also done my one hour conditioning class. The class doesn't meet today, so I will try for a 60 minute jog.

We have family coming on Sunday for our annual Memorial Day get together, so I suppose I'd best get the house cleaned. Of course, it is only Tuesday and it is not going anywhere. Maybe later in the week. 

I hope you are finding time to do some art and look forward to seeing what you are up to.


Monday, May 21, 2012

The Girls of Summer and A Bit of Art

I was overrun by girls this weekend - it was great fun, but I am really tired this morning. Miss 4 came to our house around noon on Friday and spent the night. We took her up to the mall so Papa could pick up a couple of things from his booth to take to the Holt Farmers' Market, and then walked to the local ice cream shop. It is really nice to have just one of the girls at a time. Miss 4's Mom picked her up around 11:30 on Saturday morning. Miss Z arrived around 6 pm and spent the night. She has become a very busy and determined girl, but what a lovely, if willful, child. I think I want to try a portrait of her in pastel. Miss 9 and little sis, Miss 4, arrived around noon on Sunday and were with us until about 8 pm. Miss Z was picked up around 3 pm. The weather has been so nice that the big girls spent much of their time out in the yard and actually found a small painted turtle in the creek. They gently put it into a bucket of creek water and brought it into the house to show us. They tried to find it some food until I persuaded them to release it back into the creek in case its family was missing it.

I did find time to do a bit of quick sketching. While reading the blogs to which I subscribe, I saw someone's "virtual paintout" art from Jerusalem, Israel. I decided to get the little yellow man and find a street scene that I could draw.

I also did a couple of quick pen sketches during a lull in the activities.

And did a watercolor pencil sketch in my nature journal.

The hubster just left for his yearly physical and I am planning to go to my conditioning class at 9:30. I hope to jog for an hour on the treadmill after class. And then the day is my own. I am beginning on a watercolor under painting of a sailboat in a harbor, which I am planning to finish in pastels. I hope to have something to share with you tomorrow.

It is very warm here this morning, but is quite overcast. We were expecting thunderstorms overnight, but didn't get them. Perhaps they will arrive today. We really need the rain.

I hope you are doing well and that your muse is alive and well and that you find time for yourself today.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Rooster Sketch and A Quick Beach Scene

I really love roosters and chickens - I don't necessarily want to have one of them, but I find them fascinating to watch and sketch. Recently I bought a couple of placements at the dollar store; one with a rooster and one with a fruit still life. The rooster was looking at me yesterday and begging to have a sketch done. What could I do?

As you can see it is a 2-page spread and this little book doesn't quite open flat.

I've been watching some YouTube videos lately, some of which are presented by Matthew Palmer. He did one of a beach scene that I decided to try. I am still having trouble getting just the right mix of paint and water. 

Overall, I am disappointed in this, but I am quite pleased with the sky. After the sky dried and I was ready to start the water and the craggy bit things began to go a bit downhill. I dropped a wet brush into the craggy part; my color for the water was way too watery, and the sand wouldn't cooperate at all. After letting the whole thing dry, I worked on it some more, but this just made it worse. This is postcard sized and was good practice. Perhaps I will try again today.

I have a conditioning class this morning and think I am having lunch with Nancy and Julia afterward, so I'd best get this day started. I hope you are doing well and that you are finding time for your self and that your muse is standing by.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life Drawing and Life In General

 Before I start today's post, I'd like to thank all of you for your wonderful comments and for all the positive energy you are sending my way. It made my day!

I drove into Jackson for my Life Drawing class this morning only to find that I had no cash on me, so I will owe double next time. I'm not sure what I was thinking (or not thinking) this morning. It felt good to be sketching again. I did a bit of drawing at Mom's, but not much.

Here is my first two 5 minute warm ups

And then I stayed for two 20 minute poses. I really have a hard time with hands and feet and am always tempted to just print the word "hand" or "foot" in their stead.

I always feel that I have to draw the entire figure, but wish I'd remember to just focus on some portion of it - like a hand or foot. Maybe I could see some improvement if I would do more of that.

I have a watercolor that I started a long, long time ago that has been calling to me. I think it needs shadows. Whenever I look at it I think it is too one dimensional and is mostly mid tones. I will be working on it a bit today and will show you my progress as I go. Comments and suggestions are certainly welcome.

I finally unpacked this morning before I headed to town for the life drawing class, but have quite a bit of house work to get this place ready for the annual Memorial Day party that we host here. I hope you are healthy and happy and that you are finding time for yourself on this fine May day.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Life and Family

I've been away up north in the UP visiting family for the past 10 days or so and although I've been reading your blogs, I haven't been commenting much. I took my iPad with me, but stayed with family and didn't really take the time.

Just before I left to go north, I went to the ophthalmologist because I'd been experiencing some fuzziness in my only sighted eye. He found that I am in the early stages of age-related macular degeneration. The doctor thinks the vision problems that I presented with are another iteration of my "aura without migraine" history. I was so shocked at the diagnosis that I didn't ask questions. I have since done much research and found that you don't usually go blind from this condition, but you do become legally blind. This means no driving, difficulty reading, inability to recognize faces, and problems seeing the world in color. The "good" news I found in the literature is that for most people who are diagnosed, their other eye takes on much of the sight and can be really helpful. However, I am only sighted in the affected eye. The other eye suffers from a combination of amblyopia (lazy eye) and farsightedness and is not correctable. I am determined not to let this diagnosis reduce the quality of my life until there is a noticeable difference in my vision.

I drove to St. Ignace to spend two nights with my Mom, who also suffers from macular degeneration (she is 87 and is coping quite well). We played a lot of cribbage, watched the Tigers baseball games, and visited my sister Mags who has MS and is wasting away (I am blown away by her positive attitude and feel I have much to learn from her) and my sister, Molly.

I then drove to Marquette to visit my sister, Anne, who used to live just two hours away and is now about 7 hours north. We had a great visit. I love her condo and the community where she lives. One of the days I was with her, we drove to Michigamee to visit my blog friend, Joan, of The Retirement Chronicles. What a great visit that was. We clicked right away. I can't wait to go visit her again.

I have just a little bit of art to share with you and then I have to jump on my horse and get to my daughter's house to get her third grader to school and bring Miss 4 out here. I am getting my hair cut and my first pedicure of the season this morning, so Papa will take Miss 4 to afternoon preschool later.

I will be visiting you later today and hope to really catch up with you. Until then, I hope you are doing well and that you are finding time for yourself and your creativity.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

This and That

In the past couple of days I've been doing a bit of sketching in between bursts at the watercolor/soft pastel beach scene and haven't taken the time to post them, so today is a bit of a miscellany. First up, a large flower trillium, which I sketched from a picture in my "Wild Flowers of North America" book.

This is in my Rhodia journal that I love, but the pages are a creamy color and as you can see the back of the page shows through.

I also did a quick sketch of a turkey that is actually a composite of several photos online and life. It is amazing the number of turkeys you see in the fields these days.

I should probably add some color.

I've added another "nature" drawing in my Dutch book - this time Pears hanging in a tree. I do seem to be going through a pear phase, both in my art and in my diet. I love pears!

And, last but not at all least, I've worked a bit more on the latest self portrait and am declaring it done. As a matter of fact, I think I will now use this sketch as my avatar as the one I am currently using is more than 5 years old.

This morning I have my life drawing class and will try to do freer sketching. I have some Conte sketching crayons now and am looking forward to trying them. I may take some colored pencils, too. I have a few errands to run and need to stop in to see Miss 4 to see if she has something I can use as part of the niche treasure for my altered book. I'd really like to try my hand at collage in the front of that book once the niche is done. I haven't done that kind of art in a while and remember really enjoying it.

I hope you are having a wonderful and productive (or lazy, as it suits) day and that you are finding time for yourself and your creative side.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Playing With Pastels

I did a bit of research about soft pastels online and found that nearly everywhere I looked the beginner was being advised to take the paper off the beautiful new colors and break them into more useful sizes. It took me several days to actually do this (something just seemed wrong about "defacing" brand new art materials), but I'd decided to try to add some soft pastel to my watercolor beach scene, so I did it. Here is some of the mess:

I am so thrilled to find that the baby wipes that I used to clean my fingers off in between colors have dried and the color doesn't appear to be coming off when I rub. I think these will have to find their way into my mixed media altered book.

Once I had removed the paper and broken the soft pastels I was ready to try adding some color to the watercolor beach scene. The paper is extremely textured so I wasn't sure how this was going to go. After the first attempt, I emailed a copy of the picture to my dear sister, Anne, for some feedback.

She thought it was really nice with the added color, but wished the chairs were a bit larger and that the shadow on the beach  wasn't quite so blue and dark. I really wanted the sky to be the main focus of the painting with the chairs being a secondary focal point, so I didn't change their apparent size, but did try to add a bit of shadow to them. I tried to put a bit of lighter color into the shadow on the beach, though. My own critique was that the fences (particularly the one on the right) were lost a bit and that the diagonal swipe of blue in the upper right sky was too linear. Here is what it looks like now. I don't know if this is the end or if I will "fiddle" more.

I think I like this one better, but would really appreciate any feedback you are prepared to offer.

I am hoping to do a bit more organizing of these pastels. I bought an art storage thingy via an online art blog from someone in Florida (sorry I can't remember from whom) and think, based on the searching I did online yesterday looking for storage ideas,  it was intended for pastels. It is about 15 inches wide, 9 inches deep and has three drawers. Here is the one that I put one piece of each color into.

I tried cutting up the 1/4" foam that was over the original pastels in their box, but it is not working very well. I think instead I will put a bit of rice in the bottom of each compartment (another tip I read about online) and assign one compartment to each color group. I'll let you know how that works.

Well, it is almost 1 pm and I haven't had breakfast yet. I suppose I need some brunch actually. I am happy to report that I did make it to my conditioning class this morning and have already made a good start on this day. Who knows what the rest of this lovely day will bring.

I hope you are doing well and that you are finding time to be creative. Please do give me a critique on the soft pastel over watercolor beach scene that is in this post above; I'd really appreciate it.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Bit of Art and A Boatload of Frustration

I have a bit of art to share with you this morning and then I will clue in to what is happening in my little world. Maybe you will have something to say to help me get over it or maybe you even know the answer to life's little dilemmas.

First the bit of art - I am still playing in the Dutch book and I am using a book I found on sale for $3.99 at Schuler Books some time ago, "A Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers in North America" for reference.

When I was showing this one to Miss M the other evening, she was caressing some of my brushes - she loves the softness of them. She just happened to have a fan brush and wanted to see how to use it. So I spritzed a bit of watercolor that was in the palette and let her have a go at it. That is what the green and red strokes at the bottom are.

I am also working in my Rhodia notebook that I was given a couple of years to review - actually I was given two and gave one of them away on this blog in 2010. I sketched half a face in a doorway and am quite pleased with how it turned out (well maybe not the nose so much).

And the last bit of art in progress - four small sketches (about 4.5 x 6 inches each) on watercolor paper. I haven't decided if I will use Neocolor IIs, oil pastels, soft pastels, add some color to them, but will keep you posted.

Trying to do little girl faces to be recognizable is very difficult. I worked on Miss M's face for hours and finally gave up at 4:30 am and went to bed. You can see it is much darker than the rest of her. Fiddlestix! If you click on it you will be able to see the four sketches more clearly.

And I also tried my hand at a landscape with a cabin in it from a photo I got through a national park website.

I hope to get some work play in on these sketches today. I was up so late last evening because my LaCie drive that I just purchased is failing to do Time Machine backups to keep all my data safe. I went to the LaCie site and did some troubleshooting yesterday early afternoon, part of which advised reformatting and then zeroing out the drive which took all day during which time I couldn't use my computer. It didn't finish that process until late last evening, so just before turning in for the night, I set it up as my Time Machine back up drive. GRRRRRRR! I woke up this morning to the same error message I was getting before doing all that troubleshooting. I've sent an email to the LaCie support team to see what they can do.

I was so happy to hear that I could "fix" my pastel drawings with hair spray, but that has eluded me as well. First I bought the only kind of hair spray they had at the dollar store, but it was way too wimpy. The instructions on it actually suggested spraying damp hair before using a blow dryer and then adding more when hair had dried. The last time I was at Meijers, I purchased a can of Extreme Hold hairspray and tried that. No luck - if I run a finger over the artwork, I still lift color. GRRRRR!

I went through the drawer in the filing cabinet in my work room which holds my gesso and other Golden products to see what I had in there that might work instead of buying new fixative. I found I have Krylon Workable Fixatif, Grumbacher Matte Workable Fixative, and Grumbacher Matte Final Fixative. I don't know how old they are, but can't find an expiration date on any of them. If it ever quits raining and/or the humidity decreases a bit, I will take my Mi Teintes journal out and try one of these in the hopes of finally achieving success.

I didn't go to Zumba last evening as my stomach was a bit queasy - maybe all that frustration I've been holding in - and now I feel really out of sorts. I guess I will get on the treadmill in a bit and see if I can chase the blues away.

On a more upbeat note, I got a call from the library to say that a few of the books I'd reserved through MelCat had arrived and when I went over there I found that I actually had 6 books - all about either pastels or watercolor. There is one by Jackie Simmonds that I am absolutely in love with - maybe it will be my next purchase for my art room library.

Thanks for listening to all my complaints (if you actually read this far) and for all your support of my attempts at becoming a better artist. I hope you are having a great day and that you are finding time to be creative in your world.