Friday, June 29, 2012

Life Drawing Class and Life

I'm still not feeling quite myself, but I went to life drawing class yesterday anyway. I only lasted about an hour before I had to leave. I did manage to get a couple of sketches done though.

I had some lovely comments/suggestions about watercolor work in progress and am planning to add some violet to the sky before deciding what else to add to the scene. Here is a photo from my sister Anne that I am planning to use as a reference for shape of clouds and placement in the sky.

I'm still feeling a bit wonky this morning - iffy stomach and soreness in my throat, but not enough to keep me down. I will be going to my fitness class this morning and am expecting the lovely Miss Z this afternoon. This time I am keeping her for two days in a row. I wish it wasn't so hot. I'd love to take her out to swing and lie in the hammock.

What do you have planned for today? Does it include time for your creativity? I can't wait to see what you've been working/playing with lately.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Today's Sketches and A WC Begun

While watching tennis and then baseball yesterday, I took my sketchbooks into the living room and busied myself by drawing a variety of fruit,

a book I am reading, 

my exercise purchase (tube) and the day's food diary,

And then after a rather scathing comment that rather hurt although I am sure it was warranted,  I attempted a watercolor wash. 

I don't know what it will become, but I am going to try to keep it loose and not overwork it. So far I like it but think I need to add some light grayish bits into the clouds to better shape them.

I am meeting a new friend at the life drawing class this morning where I believe we have a new model. I believe it is now a female. Afterward I have a few errands to run before coming home to more Wimbledon and the beginning of a larger watercolor. A friend sent me a link to a video of an ink and wash that was fun to watch and gave me the itch to do a larger. The sky above is on a postcard sized piece of watercolor paper.

I hope you are doing well and that you are finding time to be creative today.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More Virtual Travel and a Small Watercolor

I must say travel with the little yellow man is surely easier and much cheaper than the real deal, however it is impossible to see clearly what you want to see. There are situations in which you can't get the right angle or just the right distance from your objective and in some areas of the world, you can't set down at all - there are just photos available. I haven't yet settled for someone else's photo, but if I want to get to all the countries of the world, I may have to.

Yesterday I spent a bit of time in Ireland. I began in Bagenalstown, the town from which my great grandparents emigrated. He was a Fenlon and she was a Murphy, and needless to say there were oodles of both of these in that area in the mid to late 1800s, so I have been stymied in my search for more info for the family genealogy tree on that side. I didn't find anything that grabbed me, so I began to roam around the island. I found a really cute setting in Galway.

Later in the day, I was thinking about my sister who moved to Marquette late last year so I decided to go "visit" her. I found the lighthouse and decided it would make a good subject to sketch. I didn't notice until I uploaded it that I sketched it in pencil. That will have to be remedied.

I was waiting for the UPS man all day with a package from Amazon and it was getting later and later. I finally tracked the package online only to find that it arrived in the early afternoon. I forget that they use the post office as their final delivery person. Surely it will be delivered today. While I was waiting I planned to do a very loose painting of a jack in the pulpit. Did I say loose? As you can see it became a very tight, coloring book type painting. I really must start practicing looseness - perhaps with color washes and landscapes before trying to tackle flowers.

My body has been quite sore all week - could it be from sleeping on the floor for two nights? or is it just a fact that accompanies the aging process? At any rate, I've been resting my body and haven't worked out at all this week yet, but I am planning to go to the conditioning class this morning. I think that kind of stretching will be beneficial. I am not sure that pounding on the treadmill is as forgiving of the old joints.

What do you have planned for the day? Are you finding time to enjoy the company of your muse? Is she behaving and staying around when you need her? Are you finding time for yourself? I am looking forward to seeing what you've been up to when I check in at EDM and read all the blogs to which I subscribe. Do you have any recommendations of blogs about art journaling, watercoloring, collaging, or just fun people that you think I would enjoy? Even though I read lots of blogs, I am sure I am missing out on some really great ones.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Raccoons and Virtual Trips

We have had raccoon troubles before and chances we will have them again. They make a mess in the yard and often leave fecal evidence that is quite obnoxious. Twice in the past couple of weeks, they broke through the screen of the porch portion of the deck and made a huge mess. The first time, Ella was sleeping there and they made a mess of her litter and ate her food. Now we bring Ella in for the night, but the second time they broke in they still made a mess and ate some fake bird eggs that were part of a decoration. The hubster put out the live trap last night and apparently he has a captive this morning. We used the live trap once a couple of years ago and caught more than twenty of those critters in about 25 days. There is a law now that you cannot transport these creatures, so I guess we are going to have to find someone to come over and take care of them once we catch them. Ugh!!

I didn't go to the fitness class yesterday morning. I really was feeling under the weather. I feel a bit better today. I woke up a bit dizzy and achy yesterday and had two little girls to spend the day with. I made the most of it. We did a bit of art and played out in the yard. Then while they took a shower I made pancakes and then later in the afternoon I found a couple pieces of large cardboard and they each made a poster. We had a pretty good day, but my heart really wasn't in it.

Last evening during the Tigers vs Rangers game, I came back into my art room and tried to do a couple of ink sketches from my virtual travels. I didn't take as much time with them as I should have, but I will share them anyway.

I should have added a bit of color before posting them. Maybe I will do that some time today and show you the difference tomorrow.

The hubster and I are going into town this morning for breakfast, a visit to Lowe's for some building supplies, and to Meijer to get some groceries. I don't have a plan for later, but need to do some kind of exercising. My right hip and upper leg have been so sore lately that the treadmill doesn't seem like the right thing to do. I may just try some floor exercises and a bit of weight training.

What do you have planned for today? Are you watching any of the Wimbledon matches? Are you finding time for your creativity? I am on my way to look at the offerings from the many blogs to which I subscribe and those of you who leave a link at Leah's Creative Every Day site and expect to see many wondrous things.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Back Home and A Couple of Ink Sketches

The visit to the far north with Miss P was quite nice; she met lots of family; we walked our legs off; we slept on the floor and I am just a bit out of it today. I have my two little girls today - Miss P and Miss M. Miss P is not feeling well and Miss M is full of it already.

The memorial for Aunt Mary was very nice (if over an hour in a very hot church) except for the fact that it was difficult to understand the heavily accented Polish priest. I had a nice visit with several of the cousins that I don't get to see very often.

I did get a chance to do a couple of ink sketches yesterday. One of them is of the Ojibway Museum that is in St. Ignace.

And the other is a street scene from Google Maps of Tideswell, England.

I am planning to add just a bit of color to each one, but am being bombarded by a little voice asking me when I will be available to play, color, jigsaw puzzle.....with her. So I think I'd better wrap this up and do a bit of Nana duty.

I hope you are having a good day and that I will get a chance later today to visit your blogs to see your work.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Virtual Sketch and More Altered Book Pages

While walking around Europe yesterday morning (you know, with the little yellow man), I happened upon a lovely building in Doetinchem, The Netherlands. I spent way too much time on this one, but am developing a method for getting the perspective correct and will hopefully get more efficient at it. I first put in the vertical lines paying close attention to their relative beginning and end points. I then used a line in Photoshop to get a feel for the relative slant of each horizontal line. I am quite pleased with the result.

I added a bit of color to the lovely flowers with a colored pencil.

I was actually so engrossed in getting this sketch on the page that I was almost late for my hair cut appointment. When I explained to my hairdresser that I was walking the streets of Europe with the little yellow man, she was greatly amused.

Later in the day, I spent some time with my Neocolor II crayons and some magazine cuttings to add a bit to the altered book. I am beginning to lighten up a bit and am enjoying this activity more and more. I didn't use gesso on either of these 2 page spreads, but I am finding myself peeling gel medium off my hands even after having washed them. You gotta love messy!

I see a bit of corner roll on the magazine flowers. I'll need to add a bit of glue.

Just getting started with these two and having quite a bit of fun.

I am driving to my Mom's this morning with Miss P to visit for a few days and attend a memorial service. We will be leaving in about an hour. I think I am packed and ready, but I have to clean out the car a bit in case I end up doing a bit of chauffeuring while I am there. Miss P and I have packed our electronics, a couple of novels, and our sketchbooks along with some pencils, pens and colored pencils. We are hoping to get out and about and do some plein air sketching, something I don't do enough of and that Miss P has never done.

I will try to post while I am gone, but if for some reason I can't I will definitely have lots to share on my return. I'd best get in the shower and get this day started if I am to arrive in the early afternoon.

I hope you are having a great day and that you are finding time for yourself and your creativity.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Art Sale, A Rework of the Ceret Sketch, and More Altered Book Fun

I had a wonderful time at the JCAA Artist Garage/Bake Sale last evening and I met some new, fun people. Actually I met a woman in the parking lot as I was arriving who felt like a friend from the very first. She actually has spent some time in the town in which I grew up. I feel that she is a kindred spirit and those are not easy to find. I am hoping to get to know her better soon. It is unfortunate that she lives as far south of Jackson as I live north of Jackson; but we are planning to meet at the June 28 life drawing class and we'll see how it goes from there. I did sell a few things, but was unhappy to pack up much of what I took there to bring back home.

Any of you who know me well will not be surprised to find that I redid the Ceret, France, sketch in ink. It is after all the first sketch in a new Moleskine and my intent was for it to be my Virtual Travel journal and to be in pen and ink. I may try adding a bit of color, but fear the pages were not meant to take water. I think I like the sketch better in ink - and that is a good thing as I erased the pencil work on this page. I think it is a better composition anyway and the people seem to be more noticeable. I am trying not to put so much detail into my sketches. As you can see on the rounded wall on the left of the sketch, I put in far too many of the horizontal lines. I think I just needed one to indicate the curve of that wall.

I also spent more time in my altered book yesterday and I must thank you for your comments. When I apply gesso today, I will try putting it on thinly with a credit card (if I use it at all) and see if I get better results that way. I must admit that I was emulating Donna Downey whose videos I watched with the little girls when they were here. She was putting her gesso on quite thickly - I just remembered she was using a journal she made herself with watercolor paper. Quite a different proposition to these thin book pages.

I don't think these are done yet, but I've moved on.

I'm really liking the beginning of this two page spread.

The first two pages above seem a bit discordant to me and I think I will probably add more to them. Both the words on the left hand page and the flower on the right hand page are image transfers gone wrong. I wasn't able to remove all the paper and haven't decided whether to leave them like that or see if I can remove some of the paper so that they aren't so filmy. The problem is that when I started to be more aggressive in the paper removal of the paper on the text one I removed some of the words themselves.

I do like the latest 2-page spread I am working on. I didn't gesso it first and that is working for me. The striped part on the left hand side is an image transfer that didn't quite work out. There was actually a quote from The Lorax on it that hasn't come through - but I love the colors and was happy to find some flowers in an ad in a magazine to go with them. I may work a bit more on this today.

I have an appointment to get my hair cut today and it needs it. I am a bit shaggy. Miss P is coming this evening to spend the night and she and I are going up to St. Ignace to stay at my Mom's for a visit and for Aunt Mary's memorial service. I am anticipating a very good time. She and I are taking a few art supplies and will be doing some walking and sketching for sure. I'm not sure if I will be able to blog with my iPad or not, but you know I will try. I will be sharing our adventure and artwork for sure either while we are there or when we return.

I am not going to my conditioning class this morning because of my haircut appointment, so I need to make time to spend on the treadmill. And then I have to do some head scratching to decide what to take up north.  I am afraid it is going to be another very hot day and that means I won't be spending much time out of doors, but then again both the treadmill and the art supplies are indoors, so I'm in luck.

What do you have planned for today? Are you making time to be creative? Are you sharing it? I'd love to see what you are up to.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Virtual Travel Journal & Altered Book Progress

I am so very not happy with the results of my altered book experiments. The gesso isn't drying well, the pages seem sticky, and my image transfers have a pretty low success rate. I've been trying gluing several pages together before adding gesso and leaving the pages open to dry before putting clean waxed paper between. This seems to be working better than what was happening previously.

I have a couple of 2-page spreads to share, but they are not what I would call "good" pages, but I am trying desperately to convince my inner critic that this is my practice book and that I am learning by doing. I will try a couple more today and will try to be more careful with things. As you can see by the hot air balloons below, the image transfers didn't work very well. I am thinking that maybe the humidity is keeping the gesso from drying completely and that is interfering. Is that a reasonable conclusion?

I didn't gesso the right hand page. I saved some words about hot and spicy ginger nuts and then used Neocolor IIs to add some color before gluing on some accents.

I did have success with Omni-Gel transfers. I used that on both the pillow and the guest tag. With Omni-Gel, you add a layer onto the image side three times, once horizontally, once vertically, and once diagonally, letting each layer dry in between. You then soak the image in water for about 15 minutes before gently rubbing the paper off the back of it.

While letting some gesso dry on my next two pages, I went for a walk out in the world with the "little yellow man" from Google Maps, and decided to begin a new Moleskine as a Virtual Travel Journal.  I must tell you, I get my ideas of where to travel from the blogs I read. I am especially enchanted with the travels and photos of Nina at The Other Side of the Ocean.  But, I've also visited Denmark, thanks to greg/regan of Three Years in Denmark, and Caatje of Caatje's Artsy Stuff. Here is what I have to show you so far. I am intending to sketch in pen, but the doorway in Ceret was a bit tricky, so I opted for pencil (Yes, I know, that is a cop out and I'll try not to let it happen again).

I went to my conditioning class yesterday and then came home and jogged for about 35 minutes before settling into my art room. I've been going through supplies in the guest bedroom closet that I haven't used in quite a long while (since the last time I was trying collage, in fact). I am participating in an Artist Garage/Bake Sale this evening at Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson, and am hoping to move some of the long unused supplies along. I will be selling my Pan Pastels; many stamps; an entire encaustic kit with iron, several tips for the iron, papers, and waxes; some fixative sprays; some embossing powders;  and an assortment of gewgaws - many from Maya Road in their cute little tins. There may be more than this - I'm not done sorting yet. If you are in the area, come in and visit and see what you can find. The sale begins at 7 pm.

I'm pretty sure my day will be spent alternating between working on pages in the altered book and preparing for the garage sale. What do you have planned for today? Does it include time for yourself and your creativity? I sure hope so!!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Gooeyness, Stickiness, Rippage

In case you can't tell from the title, I've been up to my elbows in gesso, glue, gel medium, and stacks of paper. I am working in my altered book and have been prepping pages and then waiting for the gesso to dry before playing with image transfers, paints and collage. I've been spending my Tiger baseball watching with a magazine and scissors cutting out words that might come in handy in my art.

One really problematic thing is that my waxed paper is sticking to the pages and sometimes pulling off some of the things I've put onto the pages. Have you ever had that problem? Is it product? I'm using Golden Gel Medium as my main "glue", Liquitex Gesso, and a variety of paint products including Neocolor II crayons, Golden acrylic paints, watercolor paints and many pens. Could it be that I am reusing the waxed paper too much? Is there some kind of contaminant on it that is sticking to the pages instead of keeping them from sticking to each other? Help! Help! I'm afraid much of the fun disappears if my pages begin to disintegrate when I pull the waxed paper off.

Here is a pile of torn papers that compelled me to include "rippage" in the title.

Much of this is from "art starts" that I bought at a warehouse sale at USArtQuest.

I am happy with some of the pages and will share them here.

Obviously Neocolor IIs bleed when PPA is brushed over it. The pear is cut from wallpaper.

The pear and apple were drawn with Neocolor II crayons.

See the damage beneath the lady image transfer?

This is the facing page of the trees below.

Long wrinkles in this page suggested trees and so.....

Both the backwards text and the stamp in the corner are image transfers.

I also spent a little time doing some quick sketching in my everyday sketchbook.

And what blog post would be complete without a picture of a guest artist at work? This is my youngest guest artist. I predict you will be seeing a lot of her and her work here in the future.

I am happy to report that I ran a 5K on the treadmill yesterday. I am a bit sore today, but then I haven't been jogging since I hurt my back last weekend. I am just about to get ready for my fitness/conditioning class this morning and am hoping the stretching will help with the soreness.

I hope to spend more time collaging today and am tempted to pull out a small canvas and try that as my substrate to see how that works out.

What are you planning for today? Are you making time for yourself and your creative spirit? I hope so. Do share your art online - there is such a warm, supportive community in cyberspace, which is so helpful especially for those of us who work primarily alone. 


Friday, June 15, 2012

Friends and Family

Yesterday morning I met some of my retired buddies from work and took along a friend whose husband was a teacher in the math department. We met at Bob Evans and it was a good time. I had a lovely omelet and looked at cute pix and got caught up on happenings in the lives of people I've known for a long time, but don't see that often. Definitely a good thing to keep in touch in that way.

The girls arrived at my house around noon and then the real fun began - oh, but wait - first we drove to Mason and did a major grocery shopping at Meijer's. Not my favorite activity, but at least now it is done.

And then the fun began. First we tried image transfer, but the girls weren't happy because they didn't believe me that they weren't supposed to turn out perfectly. Then we sat in front of my computer and watched an image transfer from Donna Downey's Inspiration Wednesday. They really liked her pages and thought they might try image transfer again sometime.

I put away the image transfer stuff and we got out the stamps and stencils and colored pens and the fun began.

Miss M (4 years old)

Miss P (9 years old). She's a natural!

A couple of spreads in my book. The blue bird on the right hand lower page is an image transfer.

We took a break from the altered books to spend a bit of time in the back yard swinging and talking. Then I made some beef stew/soup, which the girls didn't like. They ended up having cereal for dinner.
In the evening I decided to try to capture Miss P in her batting stance at the softball game. I don't think I've quite got it, but she is rather pleased.

This morning Miss P and I are going to my fitness class and then to a garage sale in Stockbridge. Afterward, we will return home to pick up Miss M and try out luck at a few more nearby sales before settling down to do more art in our altered books. I may try more image transfer - who knows maybe the girls would like to try it once again. Their Mom will be coming around dinner time and will eat with us before taking the girls home.

What do you have planned for today? Does it include some time for yourself? Do you have plans that include creativity? I can't wait to check in with you and see.


Thursday, June 14, 2012


I really must give thanks for the lovely weather we've been having - and best of all, no mosquitoes. For a person who has a creek running through their yard, this is practically a miracle. Perhaps it is because it has been so dry - not the creek, the weather. Whatever the reason, it has been heavenly to sit out in the swings with coffee in the afternoons.

Last evening was Miss P's last softball game of the season. It is a little sad - all of the girls have become so much better able to hit and field the ball by this time, it is a shame to see it come to an end. But the promise of a less structured summer is a big draw. It was a bit warm last evening sitting on the sidelines watching, but good fun. Here is a photo of Miss P in the outfield.

I wish I could stop time for a bit right now. This young lady is so much fun and I don't want her to grow up too much too fast. Next week she will be traveling with me to my Mom's to stay for a few days. The reason we are going is for my Aunt Mary's memorial, but she would also like to get to spend time with my family - Mom, Anne, Mary, Kathy, Molly, Mike, Jane, Dan, Maggie, Susie, and maybe some cousins as well. I am hoping this will be a special time for the two of us. I am hoping to take some basic art supplies and get outdoors and draw.

Meanwhile, I am struggling to get my weight back into control. I've inched up to the 160 mark (how is it so easy to put on 5 pounds and so difficult to take it off) and am determined to get back to 155. In order to stay out of the kitchen and living room where snacking seems to be way too possible, I try to stay in my art room in the evening sorting, sketching, planning..... Last evening I made a few quick sketches in my lined 1994 yearbook diary.

This morning I am meeting some former co workers for breakfast at Bob Evans. I am bringing the wife of a former colleague that they all know, but they don't know she is coming with me. It will undoubtedly be a good time. And then Miss P and Miss M are coming around noon and will be spending the night. We spent some time yesterday gessoing several pages in our altered books and will try image transfer and collaging today to get some pages decorated. I ran out of my Uhu glue stick yesterday and so went to Michael's yesterday to get some. They didn't have any, so I decided to try some YES! paste. I've heard a lot about it, but have never tried it. I'll let you know.

I have a very long shopping list to take to the grocery store later today. I was thinking of doing the shopping in Jackson after breakfast, but Carol and her husband did their grocery shopping yesterday and I don't think she is particularly fond of that activity. Maybe I will wait until the girls arrive and they can help me.

I went to my fitness class yesterday and my back doesn't feel any sorer than it did when I got there, so I am really glad that I went. He really worked us and it feels so good to get back into physical activity. I am looking forward to tomorrow's class after which I am taking the girls to a big garage sale at a friend's house in Stockbridge. She made her living as a graphic artist so we are hopeful of finding some arty finds.

What are you doing today? Will it involve time outdoors? I really must do more plein air sketching. I truly hope you are having a wonderful day and that you are finding time for yourself and your creativity.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I didn't have the girls yesterday and my back was still a bit sore, so I spent most of the day in my art room, organizing and playing. I printed out four small copies of the sketch I'd done of Miss M and took a pencil to one of them. I need practice with this so that my shaded areas blend into each other better, but so far I like it. I think the next one I'll try with three shades of tan/brown and see how that looks.

I also discovered and subscribed to a new blog called Jennibellie Studio and watched a video of hers about making a journal from cereal boxes. I didn't follow her instructions exactly, but am on my way to making one. The cover is part of an instant oatmeal box covered in Tyvek, and the insides are from Cheetos cracker boxes, a bit of light bookboard and another cereal box (I forget what kind). I think my next step will be to cover the inside "pages" with gesso before deciding how to decorate them. Then I'll sew them together.

In between these two projects, while waiting for glue to dry on the cover of the book, I sketched one of my favorite birds, the sand hill crane.

This is in an old journal. The running horsemen were already there as were the lines.

I am planning to go to my exercise class this morning and I am taking Miss P with me. I talked with her and her Mom last evening and she said she was going to stay overnight at a girlfriend's house, so I told my friend, Nancy, that Miss P would not be accompanying me. Imagine my surprise when both girls arrived this morning.

I hope to have a fun time with the girls this morning. They are only here until early afternoon. Later this afternoon, Papa and I will go to Miss P's last softball game of the season and pick up some supplies for a privacy fence he is planning to build in the front/side yard.

What do you have planned for today? Are you finding time to do some art?


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Art with the Girls

I didn't do any traditional exercising yesterday while nursing a sore back that I think is due to being a bit overzealous while doing a new ab workout. That doesn't mean I just laid around all day.

Miss M and Miss P arrived around noon. They played with Ellabear (the kitty that will become theirs once she is spayed and declawed mid July) and then decided we should do some art. With their help the dining table was gotten ready with protective paper and then we carried out gesso, brushes, magazines, scissors, stamps, stamp pads, stickers, decorative papers, Neocolor II crayons, colored pens, and of course books in which to do art.

It was a mess, but they loved it.

After about an hour of working and the completion of a page with more gessoed in preparation for others, 

I took them to the local golf course for lunch, followed by a trip to the ice cream stand. Then we walked around the local grocery so they could pick out snacks (they are going to be spending all week except for today at my house) and Miss P chose bratwurst for dinner. We got back home and they played with Papa while I iced and then heated my back while lying in bed.

Before I knew it, it was time to get ready for Miss P's softball game. We (that is the royal we) loaded up the chairs, Miss P's equipment, and the girls and headed out. It had been threatening rain all day, but we only got a tiny bit of rain during the game - not enough to matter. Miss P is quite good at sports and didn't disappoint today. She had three really good hits, one of which caused the coach who pitches to do a bit of a dance to get out of the way, and had a good time. Tomorrow evening is her last game of this season. I couldn't help but be proud when I heard other parents talking about Miss P being a little powerhouse when she was up to bat.

Upon arriving back home, Miss P got in the shower while Papa and Miss M started dinner. We had grilled chicken and bratwurst, rice, and broccoli. I actually did the dishes before retiring to a corner with the ice bag. The girls and Papa watched a movie until their Mom arrived around 9:45 to take them home. They will be back around 7:30 tomorrow for a short day and then we will have them Thursday and Friday for sure. They may also be spending the weekend. Miss Z will arrive in the afternoon on Friday for her weekly overnight.

My back seems a bit less sore today, but I will still baby it for another day. I may walk (not jog) the treadmill later if it still feels alright. I will abort that session at the slightest hint of pain. 

I do have a little bit of art to share. These were done earlier in the week, but not shared yet.

This was an attempt at Miss M before finally doing one on the watercolor paper.

I am planning to get a digital print-out on drawing paper of the sketch I shared yesterday and will try some value studies before beginning the watercolor.

I hope you are having a wonderful day and that you are making time for your creativity.