Tuesday, October 30, 2012

List It Tuesday

Aimee at Artsyville is hosting List It Tuesday again and I thought I'd participate once more. This week's topic is Quick Fixes - things you could do in a flash that don't get done. So without further ado, here is mine.

Each of these items on my list would only take a few minutes to get done, but I don't think of them until some inopportune moment and so again they don't get done.

What quick fixes are you putting off?


Home Again and More Mail Art

I'm home from my visit to my Mom's for her 88th birthday and the weather has taken a turn. It is cold and windy here this morning. My heart goes out to those of you on the east coast where the storm is wreaking havoc. I have a couple of photos to share from my visit to St. Ignace. Here is one of Mom and the 11 of her remaining 13 children. My brother, John, lost his battle with cancer four years ago (I can't believe it's been that long already) and my oldest sister, Pat, who lives in Florida, wasn't able to attend; and my youngest brother, Joe, who lives in Texas, couldn't make it. For those of you who might be reading this and know my family a bit the ones standing (from left to right) are: Kathy, Mary, Molly, Tim, Anne, Mike, Dan, and Jane. Those of us sitting are (from left to right) Susie, moi, Mom and Margaret.

And here is a photo of the Mackinac Bridge that connects Michigan's two peninsulas, joining Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. I never tire of this sight and the approach of this man made wonder is always a sign that I am nearing home. The weather was chilly (mid 40s) while I was home, but it was beautifully sunny.

And when I returned I had two more mail art postcards from the Autumn Swap. One from Stephanie Chao,

and one from Kit Gonzales Moore,

I have an appointment with the chiropractor this morning, but don't think I will make it to the Yoga class. The hubster and I are planning to spend some time helping my daughter get her garage dunned out so she can park her car inside now that inclement weather is upon us. I think that will be a good workout.  And then I think the daughter and I may go to the gym and join up.

How about you? Are you safe from this storm they are calling Sandy? Are you enjoying electricity? Does that mean that you have a chance to do some art today? Do share.....


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hummingbird Stamp and Mail Art

I found a hummingbird image in one of the books in the little girls' room and decided I really needed a hummingbird stamp. I must admit there is something very soothing about carving, even when I make mistakes. I also tried my hand at a dead tree to use in my mail art with a Fall theme.

And I got the postcards ready to mail, but because I am leaving early this morning to go north and the deadline for mailing them is actually mid-December, I will wait to post them until I return early next week. I will drive into Leslie to mail them as the ladies there really appreciate seeing the arty things I send.

I used a filter to obliterate the addy.

I had a wonderful workout in my personal training session yesterday afternoon and shortly after I got home Miss Z came for the night and then my daughter and her two girls came for a late dinner. It was wonderful to have the three girls here together. The baby really loves her two bigger cousins and they all had a great time.

I've had a shower this morning, but need to go blow dry my hair and get packed while Miss Z is still sleeping. Then I will have a quick bite and play with her for a bit before I head out. I am taking my camera with me and my iPad, so if I get a chance I will post from the road.

What are you up to today? Does it include travel? art? baking? Do share.....


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mail Art Progress and A New Stamp

I took my 15 watercolor post cards that I'd cut to size for my mail art swap outside yesterday and put them on an old sheet from the hubster's workshop. I spray painted them on one side with Grape Jelly and Lady Bug Fireworks inks and sprayed them with Liquitex Yellow Oxide spray paint on the other side. I just needed some background color on which to stamp. I've arranged them on my drafting table with appropriate stamps and think I am ready to begin, but then I think, "I should make more Autumn themed stamps, maybe a sheaf of corn or a bat, or maybe a scarecrow." And then I think I am never going to get these finished and in the mail if I keep thinking I don't have the right handmade stamps for the job.

I made a new bird stamp last evening. I'd found a really cute bird shape on a folk art calendar that I'd saved from 2007, and decided I'd like a stamp like that. I messed up on one of the toes, but overall I like her.

My hamstring feels much better today after resting and icing yesterday so I am ready for my personal training session this afternoon. I am really looking forward to it because I will then be out of town for the rest of the week and won't return until Monday.

It is Mom's 88th birthday today. There is a small party for her that on Saturday in the commons room at her apartment complex. Rumor has it that 11 of her 14 children will be there. Mary, Anne and I will be staying at Mom's and I anticipate a really good time watching the World Series, playing cribbage, scrabble, and Yahtzee and working crossword puzzles. There will undoubtedly be trips to the second hand store and to the Moose for a Friday night fish fry. I am planning to have the perch. Pasties are probably on the menu at some time during the visit as well.

So, I guess today I will be doing laundry and packing for my trip. I am really looking forward to this visit as I probably won't be going up to the UP again until the Spring, maybe not until Mothers' Day. I am picking up my sister, Mary, and it will be so nice to have company on the four hour drive. I usually make the trip alone and it can get really tedious on the highway with only myself for company.

What are you planning to do today? Will it include communing with nature? making art? baking? or some other creative enterprise? Do share.....


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fragmented Watercolor and Nature Pix

I am having a lot of fun with the latest watercolor that I call fragmented watercolor. I traced my last watercolor outline and then drew lines through it. While adding color, I am treating each segment as a separate piece. This is what I have so far.

I liked how it was progressing, but the lines were bothering me, so I decided to make them more a part of the picture. I outlined the parts of the picture including the lines. I think I like this better.

It still needs shadows and some background, but so far I like it quite well.

Meanwhile, I worked on the Van Gogh-ish flowers on the windowsill and came up with this as my value study. We were instructed to ignore the flowers, so I tried to do that.


Late yesterday afternoon, the hubster and I drove to Haehnle Sanctuary just south of here to check out the Sandhill Crane gathering. We went for a walk on the mowed path and observed the park itself while listening to the calls of the birds. The sky was flat, colorless, but there was still some color in some of the surrounding trees.

We saw a couple other living creatures on our walk.

The lake where the cranes congregated was about 1/2 mile away from the bench where we were sitting. I used my 20x zoom Canon point and shoot camera and was able to get a picture of them. The quality is not what I wish it was, but I am still impressed with the zoom on this little camera.

I could not believe the number of cranes that arrived while we were there. I wanted to come up with an alliterative phrase for them, like a cacophony of cranes, a crowd of cranes, a crateload of cranes, a cluster of cranes, a carload of cranes, a cornucopia of cranes.....

I finally looked it up and a group of cranes is called a sedge. Not exactly the lilting off the tongue I was looking for, but for what it is worth, the hubster and I witnessed a sedge of cranes last evening.

I am quite sore from yesterday's conditioning and core class and my left Achilles' tendon is still bothering me, so I am not going to yoga this morning. I am, however, going to the chiropractor.  I spray painted the post cards I'd cut to size for the swap that I am involved in and will try to work on them this afternoon. I will share them with you when they are done.

What about you? What are you doing these days? Are you out of doors enjoying this warm weather before the big chill? Are you finding time for your art? I'd love to see it....


Monday, October 22, 2012

Watercolor Still Life Finish and A New Beginning

Miss Z was with us from the time I got home from my Friday personal training class until around 1:30 yesterday afternoon. She is so much fun, but so much work, and she is growing so fast. She is quite the talker these days and is such fun to talk with. Here she is in the little girls' room playing with a bear that is as big as she is,

After she'd gone home, I decided to add some shadows to my still life and then put a light layer of paint over the entire picture and put scrunched up plastic wrap over it all to dry. This is what I have as my finished painting.

Somewhere, but I can't seem to find my reference, I read about an interesting method of painting in which you draw sections on your drawing and then paint each section separately so that your painting is fragmented a bit. Here is what I've drawn - does anyone know what this is called or maybe where I've encountered this idea?

Today I am planning to finally work on the Van Gogh flowers on a windowsill. I will try to use various grays of watercolor pencil to make a value study and get it posted to the Watercolour Pencil Buddies group. And perhaps I will begin the fragmented watercolor painting.

For now, I need more coffee before heading for my conditioning class. And then, except for a bit of dusting and bathroom cleaning, I will have time to spend in my art room playing. My Mom turns 88 on Wednesday and I am picking up a sister nearby and heading for the Far North to help celebrate. I am really looking forward to the visit as I will see lots of sisters and a few brothers and it will surely be a great time.

What about you? How are you doing these days? Are you finding time for art? Do you have anything you'd like to share with me? If you leave a comment, I can follow your link back to your blog. You wouldn't believe how many of the blogs I subscribe to have been found in that way.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Watercolor Still Life WIP

I spent much of yesterday cleaning house and then watching the Tigers clinch the American League Pennant. Afterwards I began the task of choosing a still life to paint. I chose the top left even though more of you liked the bottom right. Something about the angle of the rectangular books and the trio of rounded is the beginning sketch,

I began with the background in a purplish color and added salt to it. I was expecting magic, but I got ugliness. But I persisted. I added a bit of color to the books - as it turns out, not the color they really are. Then I added a bit of color to the fruit. It is not at all like I pictured it, but it is not done yet. I need to add more contrast to the colors and shadows.

At this point I cannot decide whether to add shading and then do a glaze overall with plastic over it to create interesting texture. Or whether to begin to add interest with pastels or colored pencils. Comments/suggestions are more than welcome.

This morning I am getting my teeth cleaned and then have to take a camera battery back to Best Buy. It will not power my camera. I probably should have insisted on the Canon battery, not a generic. I then have the middle of the day to play in my art room. In the afternoon I have a chiropractor visit followed by my personal training workout. When I get home Miss Z will be here for the weekend.

What about you? What do you have planned for today and the weekend? Does it include family time? art time? baking or homemade soup making? Do tell....


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Still Life Sketches and Blog Links

So I played with the still life set ups a bit more yesterday and then got out my sketchbook and gave it a try. I did these fairly quickly to get an idea what it is I want to start with on watercolor paper so I can try to paint one of these.

I think I like the one with the three pieces of fruit and the empty pitcher better than the second one. I like the fit of the pitcher behind the books better than in the other one. Perhaps today I will get it onto watercolor paper and get the paper taped onto my board so I can begin painting.

I don't know for sure what else I am doing today, besides cleaning. On Sunday when three of the grandgirls were over for dinner, they were playing with cardboard boxes making houses with them. Apparently one or more of them had some styrofoam packing material in them and there is a mess of little white pieces that really need to be swept and vacuumed before the baby arrives tomorrow for her stay.

I made a quick bratwurst soup the other day, but it is too thin. Today I will doctor it with either barley, rice, or more veggies and cabbage. I haven't decided yet, but I must rescue it. I really don't like thin soup and neither does the hubster.

Later today my daughter and I are planning to go to the gym and work out. There is a gym in Jackson that is $10/month with no contract. They are open 24/7, which works really well for the daughter as she works late several days a week. It will be interesting to see what they have to offer for this ridiculously low price. And speaking of gyms and workouts, yesterday at my personal training session, I was actually able to balance on the ball on my knees for several seconds. Now just to get it so I can stay on indefinitely. 

Some time ago I was talking about all the wonderful blogs I read and that I should provide a few links once a week and I did once, but I've forgotten about it, so today I would like to do that. Here are a few links to blogs that I look forward to each day.

View From the Oak - Lin Frye
The Fading Rose - Gillian Mowbray
A Painter's Year - Susan Abbott
Art Hearts Place - Barbra Joan

So, what are you doing today? I can hear the rain beating down outside my windows, so a morning walk in the yard is out of the question. I can't decide whether to get started on the housework and be done with it or procrastinate here in my art room for a bit.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WOYWW and Salvation Army Finds

And so another Wednesday is at hand and I still haven't appreciably cleaned up my art space. I do want to participate in WOYWW, so I just got the camera and took a photo without tidying first.

As you can see, the fan that probably won't be needed until late April is still there and the space is still not ready for my next watercolor attempt. Perhaps later today I will get to it.

Yesterday my daughter and I went to the Salvation Army store in Howell to shop. On the way we stopped at Aunt Jan's for coffee. It was a very nice visit, but Jan had an art class in the early afternoon, so we didn't stay long. I didn't get photos of the things my daughter found - a couple of shirts and a handbag - but I did take photos of my finds. I was lucky enough to find a pair of snowpants for each of the smallest grandgirls and you should know that these items might be the most important things for Nana to have on hand in the winter in southern Michigan. The girls love to go outside in the snow and these are a must. Children's items were 20% off.

Snowpants - they should fit Miss Z and Miss M.

I also found a pair of shoes for myself. They still have the tag on them and they fit perfectly.

They were tagged $22, but I got them for $5.99.

This morning I've been playing with still life arrangements and must admit I am not at all sure which, if any, I will attempt to first sketch and then paint. How about throwing in your two cents - which of these do you think is the best candidate, or is there some arrangement of these things that would be more eye catching? Then I am looking at the first photo in this post and seeing the pitcher with the brushes in it - see it on the left back of the table? Maybe that would be a good addition/replacement in one of these.

I have my personal training class this afternoon and am looking forward to it. Other than that I don't have a plan, except the hubster just said it was supposed to get to 70ยบ today, so I am thinking something out of doors. What about you? What do you have planned for the day? Does it involve artistic pursuits? Are you willing to share? Do you have a blog that you'd like to give me a link to so I can see what you are up to? 


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

List It Tuesday

I almost forgot about List It Tuesday. I spent the day with my daughter and told her that because I want to move so badly I couldn't think of anything I love about where I live. And then after we got back to my house and were sitting out in the sun on the deck drinking coffee, I had to reconsider.

So without further ado, here is my list:

To see others who participate or to participate yourself, go to artsyville and check out Mr. Linky.


Cat and Leaf Stamps and Mail Art

I didn't go to my conditioning class yesterday morning as I couldn't seem to quit sneezing and blowing my nose. We share bands and balls and I just didn't think it would be right to be spreading all those germs. I did practice balancing on my ball. I am getting better, but am not ready for the photographer yet.

I did spend a bit of time carving in the afternoon when I felt that I was going to have to have a nap. I didn't want to go to sleep because I needed to get to the post office and I had a Friends of the Library meeting in the afternoon. The post office and the Henrietta Branch of the library are very near each other. This time I carved a folk arty cat and a whimsical leaf. I am beginning to think I am addicted to this carving. I have so much pleasure making them. I do believe it is time to try another face.

I think I mentioned that I was participating in a postcard swap whose focus was hand carved stamps. I received my first one yesterday and is it beautiful! And such a large stamp. Isn't this gorgeous? It is from Donna Barnitz and I feel quite special to have such a treasure arrive at my door.

Today I am going back to the Salvation Army in Howell, but this time I am taking my daughter with me. It is so much fun to spend a day with her. She is much better at looking for treasures, especially of the clothing variety. She is looking for work clothes and I am looking for fall tops. We will have lunch out and come back when we want to. Neither of us has any obligations today. What fun!

The Tigers are on this evening, so I will be spending some time in front of the TV, but watching baseball is such that I could be working on some art at the same time, just not something messy. Maybe I will begin my value study of the Van Gogh flowers that I've been assigned.

What about you? What are you doing today? Does it include a bit of creativity? Do share...


Monday, October 15, 2012

More Hand Carved Stamps

Another busy weekend and Monday has arrived much too quickly again. We got a lot of rain this weekend, and I saw a rainbow. The strange thing is that I saw the rainbow before the storm. I think it must have been the back of someone else's, but that didn't make it any less beautiful.

You may have to click on the photo to make it bigger in order to see it.

We invited the kids and their families for dinner last evening, but the son already had plans. But he did send Miss K along with Dana and her two. I made a big meatloaf with mashed potatoes and corn and I'd purchased an apple pie at Meijer's earlier in the day. We had a lovely meal together - I think it is that time of year to make this a biweekly plan.

The Tigers have now won the first two games from the Yankees in the ALDS and the best thing is that they won them at Yankee Stadium. Winning away from home is generally more difficult than winning at home. The next two games will be in Detroit - wish I had the means to get a couple of tickets so I could take the hubster and my new 20x camera.

I didn't get much art time this weekend. On Saturday I attended the Wizard of Oz with my friend Carol. It was put on by the Town Hall Players in Stockbridge and it was delightful. I'd never been to a local theater production before and I was quite impressed by it all. Ms. Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West was played by a former SIL of Carol's and I was asked to take a photo of them afterward.

After dinner and the Tiger game, I retired to my room to do a bit of carving. I carved a feather and a glass.

This morning I have my conditioning class followed by the core floor exercises and then I have another handmade journal to put in the post (thanks, Sherrie). Later I have to go to Best Buy to return a battery they told me would work in place of the Canon one for my new camera - it doesn't. And then later this afternoon I have a Friends of the Library meeting. I hope to make some time for art in there somewhere.

What about you? What are you up to today? Does it include time for the creative you? If so, do share,


Friday, October 12, 2012

Quick Sketches

Another frosty morning here in southern Michigan, and the baseball fans are relieved and happy today. The Tigers had to go 5 games with the Athletics to take the ALCS, and the fifth game was a rout with Verlander pitching a shut-out. It was a fun game to watch, but I am still waiting for the big guys' bats to begin to do some pounding.

Before the game, I took a bit of time to do some quick sketches of the still life candidates that I purchased at the Salvation Army store in Howell. These are just contour sketches. Perhaps I will try to add shading later.

This morning I am busy getting a package ready to send to Maine. On the way home from the post office, I will stop at Pregitzer's to pick up my biweekly produce as part of the Community Supported Agriculture program. I think there will only be one more pick up this season. I am hoping to get some winter squash that will work well with a pitcher or two for a still life set up and then I'll try a watercolor.  Later this afternoon, I have a chiropractor appointment and my personal training workout. I didn't make it to my Wednesday session and I'm anxious to do the balancing and weight training again.

The Town Hall Players of Stockbridge are performing The Wizard of Oz this weekend and I will be going with my friend Carol tomorrow. I've not been to local theater at all and am looking forward to the experience. One of these evenings before it becomes way too cold, I want to go to the Haehnle Sanctuary to see if I can get pix of the thousands of sandhill cranes that are reported to gather there.

Yesterday I spent a bit of time picking up the little girls' room, but am not altogether happy with the result. There is way too much stuff in there. What I really need to do is begin a decluttering of the spaces in my house and that room would be a great place to start. I know that the closets need to be winnowed as well.

And I would like to carve more stamps. For those of you who've asked for a tutorial on stamp carving, I can lead you to a couple of great resources - Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's Stamping 101 class, which is available online. This was my introduction to this art and I was very happy with the instruction; there is also a site through the letterboxing community with a step by step tutorial for beginners. You can find it at atlas quest. And there is also a very good tutorial at Ishtar Olivera, which is presented both in English and Spanish. I am sure there are many others out there, as well as YouTube videos. I hope my links are good for you to get started.

So what are you doing this weekend? Does it include outdoor activity? Are you finding time for your art? Are you willing to share - if not here, perhaps at Creative Everyday or in a Yahoo! group like Everyday Matters? Or do you have a blog or another venue where you post? Do share...


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pumpkin Stamp, A Lovely Visit and Treasures

Before I left to get my haircut and visit my SIL, I carved a pumpkin stamp that seemed like an appropriate subject for this time of year.

I had a full, fun afternoon and evening in Brighton that began with a visit to the Brighton library where a book sale was in full swing. I bought 12 novels for myself that will be devoured and then passed on to my daughter and/or my sister. I also bought a great trivia book called "Joel Whitburn's Pop Singles Annual 1955-1986 compiled exclusively from Billboard". This is sure to provide a wonderful trip down memory lane and will surely tweak my memory of years past.

After the library we went to the Salvation Army store in Howell where we found more treasures. I purchased a few containers that we thought would be good candidates for still life objects. What do you think?

I was planning to get a still life set up put together this afternoon and begin a sketch, but I am picking up my next box of farm goodies tomorrow morning and there are sure to be some winter squashes that will probably go with the pitchers in a very pleasing way - so stayed tuned. I also found a very quirky matted print that will be framed for my quirky Miss K for her room at her Dad's house. Isn't this a great find?

Jan had also saved a pile of travel brochures and magazines for me to use in my mixed media journal and I am thrilled that she thought of me.

And she also showed me her works in progress as well as some of the paintings she's done since the last time I was over - they are so lovely. Sorry, I don't have pix. But while we were in her art room looking around she gave me two books to borrow and I am anxious to do some sketching and painting from the ideas in them.

So I am back home and reveling in all the goodies I have brought with me including the warm feeling of spending time with my dear friend. She took me to Lu & Carl's in downtown Brighton for a burger and fries at the end of the afternoon on Wednesday and it was delish! Except for the humiliating loss of the Tiger game where we appeared to be cruising into victory, it was a great getaway.

Today I am going to begin a sketch on watercolor paper and try to achieve a loose painting by dropping or pouring paint onto a wet watercolor surface and see where it leads me. What about you? What do you have planned for today? Does it include creative time for yourself? I hope so. If it does, please share it...


Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I didn't get much art done since the last time I "talked" to you, but I did have a nice evening with my daughter and her girls. We had hot cider and donut holes for a snack and then baths and bedtime for the girls. Dana and I watched "Salt" that she had borrowed from the library. Unbelievable, but a good watch. I slept better than I have the last couple of times I stayed and the morning was a pretty good one.

I have decided that I have to be more honest about my work space. The last time I participated in What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday, I only showed a close up of a fairly uncluttered space, but today I decided to be more honest. Maybe it will help me to overcome the procrastination and do a bit of picking up and rearranging in here. I have three four separate work spaces in my art room and will share each one with you today. I was really tempted to tidy them up before snapping the pix, but as you can see, I didn't.

My computer station built into bookshelves by the hubster.

My mixed media/art journal/stamping space.

My watercolor space. I think the fan can be put away for a few months.

This is my drafting table the hubster built for me. It needs a serious clean up and the stool needs to be cleared off before I can sit here.

The volunteer stint at the library used book store went fairly well, but was a very long four hours. I was the best customer of the day. For $2 I got a handful of large print books for my Mom, a book about the crusades for the hubster and several books and a couple of magazines for myself.

Today I have a haircut and then am driving to Brighton to the Livingston County Library book sale with my sister-in-law and am spending the night at her house. I am expecting to have a great time as I always do when I spend time with her. She is a multifaceted, multi-talented artist who always has something fascinating to share with me. I may even get some sketching and/or painting done while I am there.

What about you? What are you planning for the day? Does it include creative time? Do share....


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Projects, Mail Art, and List It Tuesday

I have a couple of projects that I am supposed to be working on, but I've been procrastinating on them for about a week now. I did, however, start getting supplies together. One of the projects I am involved in is a post card exchange using hand made stamps. I cut enough watercolor paper to size yesterday and then started thinking about mail art. This led to the carving of a few new stamps that may or may not be used in this exchange.

I have questions about mail art that I am hoping to get answers to. When you exchange art post cards, do you put them in an envelope to send them or do you send them with the addy on the art itself? Do you make art on both sides and just have a small part of the back where you put your info and exchange name? If you only art up one side, how do you keep the other side pristine? I always seem to get paint on the edges of the back of my art work! Am I a slob? Does this happen to you? I am hoping you can help me out here.

In other matters, I have a value study in greys that I am supposed to be working on using a Van Gogh flowers sketch provided by the lovely Maer. I really must get started on this sometime today so that I don't end up rushing it.

It is List It Tuesday again today and the lovely Aimee at Artsyville has suggested a list of things I am a Sucker For, so here goes:

Today I am a volunteer at the Book Cellar at the downtown branch of the Jackson District Library and then I will come home for a bit before heading for the daughter's to spend the night. She rented "It's Complicated" last week and it was a hoot. I think she is renting "Leap Year". She is a dear to bother to entertain me on Tuesday evenings. Now if I can only figure out a way to actually get a good night's sleep there. She has to be to work at 6 am, so I will get the girls up at 7 and get them ready and onto the bus.

What about you? What are you up to today? Does it include cooking? sewing? drawing? painting? Do share...