Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mini Vacation in the Far North

I must admit we often jokingly refer to the UP, especially the western UP as the Far North. We were only as far as Marquette. It is actually several more hours to the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. We drove in light rain all the way to St. Ignace where we stopped at my Mom's for a short visit and then continued on to Marquette. It was sunny by the time we got there. My sister, who used to live just two hours from me, moved there last December. She is now about 7 1/2 hours from me, which means I don't get to see her nearly as often.

One of the highlights of the visit was meeting Joan and Paul Haara for dinner. Joan has a lovely blog with gorgeous photos of northern Michigan and writes with a lively, humorous style. You really should visit her. We met in the pub at the Landmark Inn and I had a wonderful whitefish with tart cherry sauce and sweet potato fries. I don't know what I was thinking, but I forgot to take my camera with me - duh! We had a really nice dinner and visit and then ran into Joan at the Outback Art Show the next day. I sure wish she and my sister lived a bit closer. I also introduced myself to Helga Flower at the Art on The Rocks art show. I am taking a class with her in Okemos in September.

We stayed with my sister and her husband for three nights and had a grand time. They are really good hosts. We walked a lot and watched the Tigers and ate really good (not always good for you) food. Tom (the husband) grilled whitefish for dinner one night that was out of this world good. A part of our trip was an anniversary trip on the Sunset Cruise at Pictured Rocks that leaves from Munising, which is about an hour east of Marquette, and on our way home. The weather had been beautiful the entire visit and was still beautiful as we waited for the boat to load. Wouldn't you know it, about five minutes into our cruise, the skies opened up and it poured. I went inside to wait it out, but it wasn't going to quit. It did lighten up a bit, so I stood out in the open area and took pix.

This is the Grand Island Lighthouse, which is no longer in use. This is at the very beginning of our cruise. No rain yet.

This is the next photo I took through the window of the lower deck. Interesting, but not what I was hoping for.

I took my Panasonic point and shoot camera as my "good" Canon SLR has lost its ability to auto focus. It is 10 years old, so I suppose it was bound to falter in some way. I am quite pleased that even though I was standing in a light rain the whole time, the photos really didn't turn out that badly. I can only imagine what they might have been like with the sunset adding its influence.

The water really was this green here and so clear you could see the rocks below.

This tree is surviving on the top of this rock because its roots span the space between it and land - amazing!

There is a promontory that is called Indian Head because it is thought to resemble the profile of an Indian. I didn't get a good photo of that, but I do see a bit of a partly turned away profile on the right edge of this outcropping. Do you see it?

The sky was intermittently beautiful even in the rain.

And as we headed back, I saw just a bit of a rainbow.

I hope I haven't totally overwhelmed you with the number of photos in this post, but I had a devil of a time weeding out what to show.

We stayed overnight just outside of Manistique on Sunday night and then made a quick stop at Mom's for another quick visit before heading home. It is always so good to be home regardless of how much fun I've had while away.

I am meeting a girlfriend in Lansing later this morning. We don't have a plan, but it will be nice to spend some time together. She and her husband have a summer place in Ludington and are gone much of the summer, so we try to find time to get together whenever they are back home.

When I get home I plan to work a bit on the next assignment for my Going Green class and hope to have something to share tomorrow. What do you have planned for today? Does it include family? friends? art? Do share!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Watercolor and Art Journal Spread

Just a quick note this morning before we hit the road to visit my sister and to see my blogger friend, Joan, of the Retirement Chronicles

I did get a chance to do just a bit of art yesterday. The watercolor flowers aren't real flowers. They appear to be a cross between a brown eyed susan and a sunflower, so I am calling them sunflusans. I think I will be a flower geneticist in my next life or in my watercolor endeavors.

And I was able to work another two page spread in my art journal.

It is thundering and raining and I am running just a bit behind if I intend to be on the road by 8 am. I hope to have some pix to share when I return. Meanwhile, I hope you are finding opportunities to do some art and will share it.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Art Journal, Sketching and Flowers

I guess I have an admission - I am addicted to image transfer. The more I do, the more I want to do. It is such an easy way to add another dimension to a mixed media piece. I decided to add a bunny from a napkin to the left hand side of the page and some dictionary pages. After adding a bit of watercolor, I looked through a couple of magazines for images and found two that I liked, so I did image transfers using gel medium. This spread isn't done yet, but I am liking it so far.

Here is a close-up of the texture:

While looking for the newer pieces to take pix of to share today, I found a little sketch from Monday while the girls were here. When waiting for gesso to dry, I often find a way to begin another page. This time I sketched a banana and an apple and used a stencil to include a graphic to the page.

And while walking the yard I decided to take a photo of this part of the garden that always seems to me to be calling out a friendly greeting. I really should try to do a loose watercolor of these.

I have a haircut scheduled for late this morning and then when I return, the hubster and I are going shopping to find him some nice casual clothes. We both spend most of our time in messy work play so that our kickabout clothes are really kickabout. I am looking forward to helping him find a couple new things. Later today I will decide what I am taking on the trip to the far north and will get packed.

What are you up to today? Are you finding time for yourself? Are you willing to share what you are working on/playing with? I can't wait to see it.......


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Art with the Grandgirls and Watercolor Landscape

We had a very full day here yesterday. Miss P and Miss M stayed overnight on Sunday and we spent a couple of hours at the kitchen table with gesso, gel medium, paper napkins, magazines, scissors, wax crayons and acrylic paints. We had a blast.

These are Miss Morgan's pages. She is four and loves to color. The bunny is a paper napkin and the girl at the mailbox is an image transfer.

These are Miss Payton's pages. She is nine and is definitely an artist in her own right. The wrapped up money is an image transfer and the butterflies are a part of a paper napkin.

And I got some work done in my altered book as well. I added to the first two below that I showed in progress before. And began the bottom two.

And I turned in my homework for the Going Green class. I am not altogether happy with the landscape, but there are parts of it that I like. I can't wait to try another one. I added a digital mat to set it off.

I took the girls to the library for a comedian/magician show and they had a blast. Afterward, we met their Mom at her house and we all went to Kohl's shopping. Boy is Miss P a good shopper. She and her Mom helped me pick out several shirts and pants and were the best judges/critics. I hate shopping and typically end up with an armload of clothes in the dressing room and then after an hour I am hot and irritated and don't find anything I like. I actually came home with a nice selection of nice casual summery clothes. I find since I retired I mostly own kick about clothes, most of which have either paint or gesso on them.

Nancy and I are going into Mason this morning to play with our iPads at the booksellers/coffee shop and I will actually have something besides my khaki capris and pink print shirt to wear. Don't get me wrong, I love that outfit, but it was about the only thing I had to wear except jeans and t-shirts and it is way too hot for jeans.

What do you have planned for the day? Are you sweltering in this heat? Or are you too cold on the other side of the world? Whatever your situation, I surely hope you can find the time to do something for yourself - maybe something creative you can share....


Monday, July 23, 2012

Art Journal and Watercolor Landsacpe Beginning

I've had another busy weekend, but I did manage to do a really good hour workout Saturday morning with weights and I wasn't overly sore the next day - tight, but not really sore. I think I will do it again on Wednesday. Miss D and her two girls, Miss P and Miss M, came over for dinner last night and the girls stayed overnight. They will be with me today while Miss D is at work. She and I managed to get a 2 mile walk in after dinner while Poppa stayed with the girls. After dinner the girls and I set up at the kitchen table with our journals and some stencils to play.

Earlier in the day, I'd finally taken the first step to tear a page out of a 1931 Funk and Wagnalls dictionary and used it in pieces on a two page spread I was working on. I then put a wash of watercolor over them. I am planning on an image transfer over the top some time today.

And in my Going Green class, we are to do a landscape to play around with different greens. I've sketched my scene in pencil and added the first two washes. As you can see, I have some issues, but it is very early in the process yet, so perhaps I can overcome them. If not, I have more paper and I will try again.

I am hoping to spend some time with art supplies and my little girls (I still call them my little girls even though Miss P is 9 and Miss M is soon to be 5) today and will share our arty outcomes with you tomorrow.

The hubster and I had our 34th wedding anniversary yesterday and are going to the far north to celebrate later in the week. We will stop at Mom's on the way to Marquette to visit my sister and her husband and then may spend a bit of time at Pictured Rocks on the way home. I may be away from the computer for most of that time, but hope to have lots to share when I return.

Dan Kent at Dan's Canvas shared a watercolor that he did on Tyvek in a post yesterday and I have a roll of it, so I think I will play with it some time either today or tomorrow and can't wait to see what I can do with it.  If you don't know Dan, you have to go check him out. Not only is he a good artist, but his humor is wonderful. Interestingly, his piece on the Tyvek was trees, which is the subject of my Going Green class right now.

It is supposed to be another brutally hot and humid day today, so the girls and I will be staying indoors. I hope you are comfortable wherever you are and that you are finding time for your creativity and your loved ones.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Exercises, Cooking and Art

I began my day by driving to my daughter's house from where we walked just over 5 miles. What a great way to start the day, especially since for the first time in about a month it was cooler than 75ยบ in the early morning. From there I drove to the farm where I got the first installment in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. I signed up for the every other week box. Since we are in the midst of a serious drought (we did get a lovely rain last evening), the box was small as was the produce inside, but we got a basil plant, summer squash, yellow peppers, small ears of corn, and some tiny onions. I used a zucchini and a yellow squash with the onions and some basil and did a basic stir fry to which I then added scrambled eggs and tomatoes. We called it lunch. It was delish!

After cleaning up the kitchen and cleaning the bathroom, I decided to cook some lentils that I'd been planning to use for awhile. To those I added some sauteed onions, celery, canned tomatoes, and chorizo along with some cumin and just a pinch of salt. Yummy soup. I didn't really follow a recipe, just went with my soup making instincts. Here is a photo:

I've also started my homework for my Going Green class. I am supposed to try to mimic tree shapes by manipulating the brush in a particular way. I don't think I've got it yet and may have to try some more before handing it in.

And I've been playing in my altered book/art journal some more. Today I just tried another image transfer on each of the facing pages. I am so addicted to image transfers.

I don't know yet where these pages are headed, but once I decide I'll share. 

I've also been traveling with the little yellow man and have a couple of sketches planned - maybe later today. What?! It is already 4:15 pm? Where has my day gone then?

I'd better get this body going if I plan to get done all the things that are on today's list. Of course, there is always tomorrow.......


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Getting A Late Start

Miss Z and her big sister, Miss K stayed the night with us last night. I am happy to report that I got a good night's sleep. Miss K slept in a sleeping bag on our bedroom floor.

The girls and I had a fun morning playing and visiting until Miss Z went down for a nap and then Miss K and I played with art supplies.

I worked in my art room on a new 2 page spread:

First layer - black gesso blotted with a paper towel.

2nd layer - images from the yellow pages.

Third layer - stamps with acrylic paint and writing with white gel pen.

I am planning to do more, but am not sure what yet - maybe some random paint spatters or drippage (don't you just love that word?) and perhaps an image transfer.

Meanwhile, while I was at work in my secret dangerous lab art room, Miss K was at the kitchen table with an old issue of Real Simple, a pair of scissors, a blank journal and a glue stick. This is what she's come up with for her first page:

I so love the art my grandgirls produce.

I am hoping to get started on my next lesson for my Going Green class after the girls are picked up this afternoon and hope to have something to share with you tomorrow.

What are you up to today? Are you being creative? I hope so and I hope you will share what you are doing. 


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hot and Steamy, but Raining

I thought I was going to go down and have to be resuscitated in the conditioning class this morning. It was cooler but very humid and the fans quit working. By the time I left there, I was soaked through and my water bottle was empty. But it started raining on the way home and so I am a very happy person right now. I just hope it continues to rain all day. I don't need a great downpour; I would be happy with a fine rain for hours and hours. As soon as I got home, I ate a handful of cherry tomatoes and am drinking my first of what I think will be several bottles of cold water.

I did find time to do some art yesterday and I have a green thumbnail to prove it. I don't think these are done yet, but I like them so far. I used some Peerless watercolors on these two pages. Peerless watercolors come on small cards and are activated when you wet them.

I also did a bit more on the previous day's pages. I did find that dabbing some gel medium over the flowers "set" the Gel Sticks and thanks to your suggestions I found that using them a bit less thickly is the way to go.

I think both of the spreads are crying out for either some journaling or a sketch or perhaps an image transfer. Who knows what will transpire between now and the time at which I think they are done.

I did a couple of pencil sketches in my favorite repurposed journal. I made this one last summer and it is my favorite one so far.

It is a nice carry along size - about 4" x 6.5".

Lillian Kennedy has a site called Weekly Art Lesson and I used her guidance to try this Adirondack Chair. I have rather a penchant for these chairs as besides loving to sit in them, the hubster builds them.

And I love pears, both to eat and to draw. I don't think I've ever seen a sketch or a painting of a pear that was wrong. Pears are very forgiving and are not geometric so are much easier to draw than a bicycle or a building, say.

I had to lighten this one quite a bit because it was being overwhelmed by a much darker pen sketch on the back side of the page.

Last evening my daughter brought her two girls and a friend of the older one for dinner and then she and I left the girls home with Poppa and walked for about 2 miles. It was in the nineties and there wasn't a breeze at all. Ugh!!! But we were both quite proud of ourselves for sticking with our plan.

I did take a very cool shower when I got home and then put an ice pack on the nape of my neck for about 20 minutes. Very refreshing. As was to be expected, after my previous sleepless night, I went to bed around 11 last night and the hubster had to wake me at 8:30 so I could grab a bite to eat before my conditioning class. Here's hoping I can get a regular night's sleep tonight.

It is a day when I get my new lesson from Vinita for the Going Green class, but I am already over my allotted 5 GB from AT&T (last month the internet portion of my bill was $140 - this cannot continue). I am already over my allotted 5 GB for this month and have 16 days to go. I think I will have to drive to Mason and have some iced tea at the Booksellers coffee shop and do my browsing/surfing there.

And how are you doing? Are you in extreme heat? How are you dealing with it? Are you making time to be creative? Or are you merely surviving? I surely hope your muse is with you and keeping that awful inner critic at bay for you while you play in your art space. I'd love to see what you are doing.