Sunday, January 15, 2017

Reflecting on neglecting.....

Sunday Morning
I've been neglecting my blog.  It's already January 15!  The photo is my church...I do a lot of reflecting there, needless-to-say.  I'm still rolling around in thoughts of what do I want to paint, what do I want to say.  I'm not short on thoughts...in fact, probably have too many of them.  What do I want to DO????

While I'm thinking of my next painting subjects, I want to share some things I've come across.  I started volunteering at my library recently.  We have a HUGE book fair each year and people generously donate their books (albeit, some donate them because they're moldy and it's the easiest way to get rid of them.  Sigh).  But it also gives volunteers a first peek at the books and what an amazing variety to be found.  Here's one that I wanted,
This lovely book is from the UK.  Because I'm a person who loves art journals and sketchbooks, this  book appeals to me.  Not so much the gardening aspect,
but the pages in this book look handwritten.  It seems that perhaps photos were taken of the writer's actual written pages to achieve this effect.  Her watercolors

are actually quite nice.  And there was another book that came into my possession.  Not a book for resale as it's someone's personal journal or diary.
I am fascinated by what must be the story behind this journal.  It covers six months starting in the spring of 1977.  The day before my birthday in fact.  It's written by a 20 something year old Jewish female named Sue.  And it's an interesting read.  She writes about her Jewish heritage, her love of jazz and going to the beach, her friends, the NYC blackout, Son of Sam (for those of you old enough to remember), her job search, wanting to be in love.  And here and there she has glued in cartoons, news articles, doodles, quotes.  I haven't finished reading it, but I feel like it could be a play, a retrospect if you will.  I'm enjoying it. 

But here's the rub....I'm guessing Sue was in her early twenty's (perhaps a couple of years younger than I) so how did this journal end up donated to a book fair in a neighboring town?  What person who kept journals would do that?  Peeking at the last page, she says it's "time to start a new journal."  What happened to her other journals as I suspect there are definitely more.  Sue would be in her 60's now if she's still alive.  I can only suspect that this journal was with a "bunch of old stuff" that someone was cleaning out and it wasn't Sue.  I can only hope Sue found her perfect job, fell in love and lived happily ever after listening to jazz and enjoying many days at the beach.  At least that's my hope for her.
Moving on, as I'm trying to catch up here....

My sister sent me this picture she had of Boomer, my dog, that she had been playing with in photoshop.  I love it so I bought a frame this weekend and I'm getting ready to hang it up.
I haven't done any art to speak of, just the doodled flowers above so I could see how some of my new watercolors look. 


And I did this fun envelope (left) and enclosed a small collage for my sister, Dianne.  Thought it might be fun to exchange artful snail mail each month.  I painted a snow scene on the envelope, cut out the cute Mary Engelbreit painting and added a snowflake stamp (bottom right). 
And last but  not least, we always try to start the new year off with better eating habits, so....CHEERS to the New Year!




Saturday, December 31, 2016

DECEMBER 31

Christmas in my Kitchen
A few of my favorite things
I can't believe Christmas has come and gone....and I never posted anything until now!  I've taken down my tree...it was getting a bit dry, but I still have my kitchen hutch decorated and the mantel in my living room....both with my favorite things.  I'll keep these as they are until the Epiphany and then all will be put away. 
I opted for a smaller, live tree this year and decorated it with red and white lights, lots of glass icicles, red and blue balls, some birds, and some of the "natural" things I found on my walks this fall.  I know you can't distinguish any of that in this photo....but it came out nice if I say so myself. 


I did this sketch in my journal...it truly is a season of joy and a season of sorrow.
Tom came home for the holidays which is the best part of all.  When our children are small, we're always asking (telling) them to put their things away....but seeing these boots under the kitchen table was just pure joy.


One of his gifts from me, the latest Anthony Bourdain cookbook. He loves to cook!
Gifts from my sister - looking forward to using them

I received some pj's from my other sister...not pictured here but they're cozy and I love them.  I received some wonderful gifts from both family and friends.
Some little sketches and the bear I collaged....thought he was cute.  I didn't do much cooking as we were invited out to family and friends....both wonderful, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and Tom and I attended the late services at our church on Christmas Eve.  We missed having my Maryland sister and husband this year, but due to a health issue, were unable to make the trip. 

Today marks my one year of retirement...it's been a challenge on many levels.  It's a different way of spending your days and I'm still trying to figure it out.  I've definitely been more creative and I've read tons of books!  And...the company/program that I worked for folded....I spent 18 years there.  I knew it was coming.  I post much of my art on Facebook and Instagram.  I have so much fun that I hope I can inspire others to give it a whirl.  Art Journaling has been a wonderful outlet for me to express things that I'm thinking about.  Some of my art is random....and some is definitely not.  We are all creative beings and everyone can do some form of art...most people just don't believe they can.  It's really rewarding. 
So....a quiet New Year's Eve here.  I have a yummy stew cooking.  I'll have a glass of Prosecco...and Boomer and I will see the New Year in.  Happy New Year.
Ready to be put away for another  year....

Saturday, December 17, 2016

BEST LAID PLANS

Snow is falling here...Boomer is checking it out.  I've been putzing around in my art room and baking shortbread in my kitchen and now have a big pot of chicken tomato basil stew on the stove. 
Today is my sister's 70th birthday and if it weren't for a slight snafu in her husbands' health this week, they would be here and we would be celebrating!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DIANNE
This card is on its way to her.  As soon as I found out they wouldn't be coming, I packaged their holiday gifts and sent them off.  She's obviously a cat lover.
I did this sketch of Boomer earlier in the week.  It looks like him when he was a puppy; not currently.  I should have made his eyes and nose larger.....I still like it.  It's fun to take a black pen and make squiggle marks for his fur!
As the snow was falling, I sketched my cup of coffee and a gingerbread biscotti baked by my friend, Cathy.  Listening to The Hounds of Winter, by Sting.  A sad tale....maybe I need to switch it up!

I did this little scene as well....rocks in the forest, snow falling. Christmas
is definitely not all "comfort and joy" and rockin' around the Christmas tree.  The memories of previous years really start to pile up and there are fewer people around to share the stories and memories with.  I surround myself with my favorite things that remind me of some wonderful times and look forward to another season of hope. 


Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Holidays ....

Folk Art Tree Sketch
This sketch is of the upper portion of what I call my folk art tree.  It keeps me company in my kitchen during the holidays.  The writing on the page tells about the tree.  Below is how it looks once I added water colors....
It has hand painted mini birdhouses, dried orange slices, mini grapevine wreaths, a few birds, etc.  I put blue and white mini lights on it this year.  It's a cozy addition to my holiday season.

My water color class ended a couple of weeks ago.  On the last day, we took papers of our old water colors...discards, tore them up and made a collage.  We chose an inspiration photo to get us going so here's what I did....
First, the photo....

This photo is in a notebook I keep of what I call "inspiration" photos.  The silver pumpkin is not part of the background page....I just added it because I liked it.  It's not part of  my collage.  It's hard to tell, but there is an old building way in the background of this photo....here's my interpretation....

I actually loved doing this activity. Added to the collage are some acrylic paints to make it more cohesive.  Tearing up your old art work can be very freeing!  Some of my classmates had never done collage so it was interesting to see their approach to the activity.  This was just pure fun.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Eve

Art Journal
The Night sets softly with the hush of falling leaves
Casting shivering shadows on the houses through the trees
And the light from a street lamp paints a pattern on my wall
Like the pieces of a puzzle or a child's uneven scrawl. 
                                              from Patterns by Paul Simon
                                              c. 1965
I painted these pages and then found the Paul Simon inspiration.  It might be interesting to do a painting with the houses, the street lamp, the patterns on a wall, etc.... At any rate, love how he writes.  Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!

I did this little painting in my journal a few days ago....Tom's sweet little hot cocoa mug.
And a bowl of McCann's Irish Oatmeal on a recent cold morning.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

CATCHING UP

OLIVIA
Watercolor

So this is my brother's granddaughter, Olivia.  When he first emailed me this photo of her with the big hat...I just loved it and thought I would try to paint her.  I've never done a portrait (other than my attempt at Gloria Vanderbilt on an earlier post).  This was my third attempt.  I actually painted her entire figure....but each time I was unhappy with something.  So I zeroed in on the face which is as close as I could get to her and had this image framed and sent.
Here's her photo....adorable.
I know the entire figure would have been great, but it just didn't happen for me.  The angle of this photo was challenging for me.  I'm happy enough with the end result.

Olivia's Grandparents
My brother Bill and wife Kathy
Celebrating 42 Years!

Halloween
22 Years Ago
Tom and best friend, Eric

This Morning in CT

Children's Book
We all should read
There's never going to be a perfect moment to do what
you're passionate about....so you better get started right now!  That's the moral of this story.  I'm all caught up for the moment...






Friday, October 21, 2016

MY WATER COLOR CLASS


We're still working on flowers.  I'm hoping that "aha" moment kicks in soon, where I really get this technique and it comes to me easier.  I feel very fortunate to have a great teacher.  I think I only have 4 more sessions with her and then she takes a break during the holidays and starts up again in the spring.  Yesterday, we were painting wet on wet.  Water colors have a mind of their own!  They were running and blending....and, I have to say, with water colors, the quality of the paper is really important. 
So what did I do yesterday....I went out and purchased a few more tubes of paint....and some more paper.  I will be practicing during our hiatus from class...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

BREAKFAST and WEIR FARM

I have a couple of things to share from my week.  One is the sketch I did of my breakfast....
BREAKFAST
Water color and Ink
I continue to try and sketch whatever in my sketchbook journal.  Yesterday, it was breakfast.  Actually, the same thing I had today.  There are also a couple of flowering items I picked along my walk with Boomer.  The little book on the bottom left, is a pocked-size prayer book with a bright orange cover that I also found on my walk.  It looked brand new and has no name written in it.  I couldn't leave it there to be ruined by weather....but since I walk this same route a lot, maybe the person who lost it does as well and I may be able to return it.  As for the art, I love wobbly plates and bowls....

After breakfast, I headed out to a national state park that is 10 minutes from my house....Weir Farm, once home to Alden Weir, an American Impressionist artist.  I toured the house and grounds and studio....what a beautiful place.
I'm embarrassed to say I've never been there before!  A couple of photos....




When I went home, I ended up doing paintings in my sketchbook...This is the view on one end of my house.


  Below is a Koosa Dogwood loaded with berries.

 KOOSA DOGWOOD

Next time I head out to Weir Farm, I'll take my sketchbook and paints with me.  They encourage you do to that there.  They actually provide art supplies you can borrow while you're there.  Happy 100th Birthday to our treasures, the National State Parks.

Friday, October 7, 2016

LOVE LOVE LOVE October


Sketchbook
Water Color and Ink
I've been busy working on some side projects, but I can't let October go by without painting at least a pumpkin!  So yesterday afternoon, I started drawing in my sketchbook.  Here you have a dried corn husk, a leaf from my deck that hasn't changed colors, the remnants of Black-Eyed Susans, some bittersweet, a pear, some corn straw and, the two pumpkins.   I might have included an apple, but maybe I'm not done yet with fall/October art. 
My water color class is a challenge...a very different way to using water colors than I am used to, as in the pumpkin painting.    I am enjoying it and hope I can get this technique....


I ran into problems and then went over areas too many times.  Have you tried painting a bouquet of white daisies?  Oh my.....it's all about leaving the white and painting the negative space with the right values.   Have to wrap my brain around that and sort of convert the way I approach painting this way.  Looking forward to the next class!!!



Thursday, September 22, 2016

Taking a Water Color Class

1st Water Color Class
Wednesday was my first water color class.  There's so much I don't know about water colors!  However, I really like the instructor and I feel like I learned a lot just in the first class.  I'm excited.  She provided several items that we could paint and I decided on the vase of flowers...because they were so colorful, and I added the two apples as well.  Can't wait for the next class!


And in my sketchbook today....

Maryland Crab Cakes
There's nothing I like better than Maryland crabs....crab cakes, hard- shelled or swimming in butter.....yum!  This is in my 5 x 7 sketchbook.  I like sketching food.....


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Have You Laughed Today?


Acrylics, water soluble crayons,
stencils, stamp, collage
A little change in my routine today.  I've done so much sketching lately, I haven't just "played" in my journal so that's what I did this morning.  If you don't recognize the photo on the right, it's Iris Apfel, a famous designer and fashion icon who is in her 90's.  Maybe what it takes to live a long life....is having a passion for something....look at Gloria Vanderbilt, Jimmy Carter, and even Grandma Moses.....I'm sure you can come up with a few more.  That's my Sunday art.