Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bring It On!

Bring. It. On. That's what I've been saying to the Universe at Large since the before the beginning of the year. What I have realized in the last few days is that those were the words I was saying, but my actions were saying something quite different. And I couldn't understand why nothing seem to be happening.

I knew that I would have an uphill fight on my hands trying to launch an art career - that made money - in this economy. I knew from the getgo that I was going to have to be focused, sure of my intent for each day, and that it was going to take boldness to go where I was going to go. To help with that intent and need for boldness I chose "intent" and 'bold" for my word of the year.

And I started the year off with a bang - new blog, new Etsy store, new artwork, but somewhere in there, I lost my way. I lost my momentum, my focus, my intent, and my boldness. I was talking with Chris over the weekend about being dissatisfied with everything I had painted lately. I've been having a hard time focusing on art so instead I've been attacking our yard in the mornings. More signs pointing to the disconnect happening in my life and I did NOT see it. Until yesterday. 

I spent yesterday on the computer - organizing files, listing things in Etsy, updating my web site, building new design files, etc. and whining about it. Whining! What was I thinking?! This is the life I was born to live! And I'm whining? This is the short list of some of the things that hit me full on yesterday:
  • I've been painting a lot, but I don't have much to show for it in the way of sellable art work. (My sketchbook is my comfort spot. I've been spending a lot of time there lately. Too much as it turns out.)
  • I had not updated my web site in 8 months!
  • I had not included links to Etsy on the website and the old blog was still up from January! 
And here I've been telling the Universe to "bring it on" when my actions were saying was I really didn't believe in myself, my work, my ability or my talents. Because if I had believed in myself and my work I would have had my web site updated, I would have more work finished, and I would have had Etsy updated more frequently!  

It happened so slowly, that losing momentum, that I didn't notice. I'm lucky though in that I've realized it sooner rather than later. Now, with eyes wide open, I can look at the last few months and see that I've been stuck. I am also looking at the coming month and setting out goals for each week; time to evaluate each week to see how it went; to research some areas of possible new business; and to start moving forward again.

I share all this with you to invite you to look around at your life. It is the end of the first quarter of 2009. Perhaps it's time to take an assessment of how you're doing - are you meeting your goals? Do you need to write new ones? What needs focus? What needs more attention? What are your actions saying to the Universe?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Can I Go Play Now?

Do you ever feel that way after you've spent a morning doing "chores"? Things that have to be done like scanning and labeling artwork for various tasks (hi-res for printing, low-res for the web); organizing computer files; doing paperwork, etc. I got an early start today but here it is noon, and I'm just now getting to a stopping spot. Not finished, mind you, but stopping. I don't think you ever get finished with this kind of "stuff"!
Detail of a print now available in my Etsy shop, Painted Thoughts, as a print! Please see sidebar for link!

I'm really bad about putting this type of work off. I am in the process of looking at my habits and how I can improve on getting this type of work done so that it isn't so intrusive into my day. Good luck with that, right? The odd part to me is that I didn't use to mind. Computer work was just something that had to be done. Now that my creative life is richer and fuller, I don't want anything - like computer work - to interrupt it!


Now available in my Etsy shop, Painted Thoughts, as a print! Please see sidebar for link!

You have seen both of these images before, but now the are available as prints over at my Etsy shop. I am also going to make the Easter nest available as cards, but that may not happen until tomorrow as I'm starting to whine. Maybe I'm just hungry, it is lunchtime after all. The hyacinth is back on the art table and I wanna go paint! So, that's what I'm gonna go do. 

Hope you're having a fabulous Monday! 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fish

You can feed the fishies! They will follow your cursor around - just click to feed them!! Enjoy!

Oh Bother.

I do have the best of intentions, but sometimes I really let them get me into a jam. Take today for instance. I was speaking to my mom on the phone around 2:30 this afternoon. She asked if Chris and I would like to come over for burgers. Instead of just saying sure, sounds great, I said "Well, I put a huge pot of stew in the crockpot this morning. Why don't you guys come over here instead." And of course, she agreed. 

Now those of you who have read this blog for any length of time know that I am not the greatest of housekeepers. I simply have better things to do, and I don't see how having a clean house is going to help me be a better artist - unless I practice drawing in the dust on the tabletops. But even I know that you have to clean up before your mother comes over. In. 3. Hours. Eeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkk!!!!! If only I had thought that one through, but no, no. Begin speed housecleaning. 

Actually, it wasn't too bad and Chris gets brownie points for pitching in. And for not being mad at me for obligating him on his one weekend day off. He had a trade show on Saturday. (He didn't mind and he is truly wonderful about helping around the house.) We had a lovely time with my folks, clean up was easy and I still had a bit of time to go to the studio since I goofed off this morning. 

All of this is my way of saying I have no art to post tonight. Well, that's not true. I have no art I'm willing to post tonight. I painted some more pears. They look like they got left out in the rain. Maybe hailed on. Or caught in a tornado. They're just pathetic. And no amount of fixing is going to fix them so they're headed for the round file. I hate it when that happens! Oh bother.

P.S. I do have to admit though, it's a great way to get your house clean in record time. Now I don't have to worry about it for the rest of the week! : )

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Daily Practice - Take Two, Bartlett Pears

If you don't call them failures, and the painting is not a success, what do you call them? And yes, this is a serious question. I'm not really sure what to call it beside practice. Which is what this painting is. Perhaps I don't need to add qualifiers. 

Again, this is the same pear composition from yesterday's post but a new painting. They are suppose to be back lit. I am a firm believer in the "get in, get it down the first time, get out" painter club, but I am seldom able to get it down "right" the first time. In this case, my pigment load was too light for the amount of water that was on the paper and so I had to paint the pears a second time to bring the saturation up.

The background also needs to be darker, but I'm not going to redo it as that's almost never successful - for me. I do see some things that went well. Better than last time. I also see much that could have been better. Looks like I'll be painting more pears in a different composition perhaps. 

These wet-into-wet practices frustrate me on so many levels it's hard to know which one to tackle first. However, this is also why I've had an ongoing love affair with watercolor for so long - just when you think you've gotten a handle on it, you find that you really don't!  

Friday, March 27, 2009

Daily Practice and Failing Gloriously

I recently received a comment from someone who said, "I've never seen you post a failure on your blog. All your work looks wonderful." Well, let's correct that today, shall we?! The painting above is what I call a glorious failure - it has a few redeeming qualities, but for the most part it's a fairly bad watercolor. However, the glorious part comes with what it has to teach me.

I am trying to increase my knowledge and ability to paint wet-into-wet with watercolor. Let the watercolor be free to do its own thing. And those darn artists in those books and magazines make it look so easy. Falling off a log easy. I'm here to tell you, it's not! You have to know when the paper is wet enough, too wet, and/or too dry. You have to know the same thing about your pigments. It is also necessary to know which pigments are going to work well on the paper and play nice with others. And those that will sit like a proverbial bump  - inert and uninteresting.

This is not a successful painting in that I will turn it over and use the back for another painting. It is a successful painting in that I am getting more comfortable with turning loose, I can see improvements, and best of all, I'm finally beginning to get the hang of it! It's going to take a lot more practice before I've got a winner (by my standards) on my hands and that's okay too.

I think sometimes that it is a tragedy that we cannot remember the challenge and struggle of learning to roll over, push up, sit up, pull up, scoot, scoot backwards, stand up, step forward, walk while hanging on, walk while not hanging on, and finally running and then riding a bike. We forget how many times we fell down before we got the hang of whichever stage we were at. Art, like learning most things in life, is no different. 

An Bloggin' Bloggy Award!!

I have been awarded an award by Lori from Twin Cedars Drawing Board blog! Lori is one of the nicest bloggers I know. She helps folks who are out of work and creates art when time allows. I hope that you'll stop by and visit her blog and check out her work!

Now, I'm suppose to tell you seven things I love. So here we go in no particular order:

Chocolate!

Bunnies!

Chocolate!

Bird eggs and nests!

Chocolate!

Bird Feathers!

Chocolate!

Wildflowers!

Chocolate!

The sound of a creek or river rushing over rocks!

Chocolate!

A fire on a cold winter night or just about any other time!

Chocolate!

And last, but not least . . . .

Old watches and pocket watches! Oh, and chocolate!

Now, I am suppose to tag seven other bloggers but the problem with that is most of the bloggers I now have been tagged. Several times over. So, I am not going to tag anyone (sorry, Lori) and hope there are no evil curses for not tagging others! What I am going to do is recommend you visit the following seven blogs for a great dose of creativity!


Thanks again, Lori, for the award!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Final Entry


     Choco cautiously sniffed the object, but could detect no smell by which to identify it. Then he tried nudging it. Nothing happened. After study the thing for a moment, Choco turned the shiny disk over. Still nothing. Gingerly, he bit the disk.

     "OUCH!!" yelped the shiny disk, "What did you do that for?" The startled rabbit had taken several steps back and was debating whether to run or stay and answer the question. Curiosity won out. Choco could see a face now with blue eyes looking back at him. "Um, what are you?" he asked.
     "I'm a pocket watch. A very special pocket watch", the disk said. "Wait, don't go! I need your help, please!" he said with more urgently as he noticed the rabbit stepping further back. 
     "I'm sorry" replied the rabbit, "I don't know how I could be of help. I'm a rabbit. I know nothing about pocket watches. I don't even know what a pocket watch is!"
     Suddenly, off in the distance they could hear the slow clip, clop of a horse coming towards them. If it made Choco nervous, it made the pocket watch even more nervous. 
     "Listen, please! I've spent over 10 years trying to get free of that man. If he finds me now, I don't know if  I'll ever be able to get free again! There's no time to explain now, but I need your help, and you're going to need mine!" exclaimed the watch.
     From the bushes at the road's edge came Van's worried voice, "Choco, we must go. NOW! Hurry! The man is coming!" Choco took several steps towards his brother when he heard the watch calling out, "Pleeeeeaaase, take me with you!" Turning once again, Choco shook his head, making his decision . . . .


*And this concludes our visit with Choco. He'll be back along with his merry host of friends and companions to continue the story! Hope you enjoyed the day! 

"Where are you going?!! Stop!!"


Frantic, Van made a grab for Choco's tail, missing him by several inches. "Choco, come back!" he nearly shouted. But it was too late. Choco was almost to the little bridge, Van's voice already fading from his mind. He had seen something small and shiny fall from the man's pocket as he had ridden by. What it was, he didn't know, but he meant to find out.

It was as if there was some kind of magnetic pull, pulling him closer. Choco didn't think he could have resisted even if he had wanted to. He knew the danger of being up by the road and out in the open, but Choco had to find out what the man had dropped. He looked cautiously down the road to make sure the man had continued down the road before venturing any further. He was already out of sight.

Looking around, Choco spotted the object. There, by that clump of clover! He scrambled over to the other side of the road to get a closer look . . . . 


*The image above is what I call the Elvis stage! Choco's jacket is rather loud and obnoxious, but it turns out all right in the end. The sleeve on the left side of the image has some shading on it, and already the pattern is calming down. Before I put any shading on it, it looked like the rest of the jacket. His shirt is shaded and that's as far as I've gotten. Should be another post this after, but I'm not sure of the timing as Blogger is scheduled for an outage this afternoon. Please check back by!

"Why were you in my dreams last night, Choco?"


"Because you've been avoiding me" replied the chocolate bunny, "It seemed the only way to get your attention."
"I haven't been avoiding you. I've had other things to do. Other art pieces to work on" I said to the drawing on the table.
"So you're still blaming me for missing the competition deadline? That was your mistake! You knew the date was coming up. Besides, that doesn't make it right for you to shove me and Van and Henni in a flat file!"
(Sigh.) "No, Choco, I don't blame you for missing the deadline. I do think you might have played a small, insignificant role in the matter though" I say as I roll my eyes. "The reason I put you in the drawer was because I needed a break."
"You quit trying!" he declares accusingly.
"Choco, I have over a dozen painted bunny heads laying on the table, and I don't know how many more drawn. How can you say I'm not trying?!
"I didn't say you didn't try. I said, "you quit trying". As in you gave up."
"And that gives you the right to haunt my dreams?! Look, Choco, this goes deeper than a drawing and we both know that."
"Yes." (Sigh.) "I suppose so. And you still don't understand."
"You know I don't! You could have gone to any other studio in the world! Perhaps one that had an artist in it that knew something about illustrating and/or writing a book, but you didn't. You came to mine and you haven't explained why."
"Do you believe in yourself? In your artistic skills?"
"What does that have to do with me understanding what you're doing in my studio?!"
"Just bear with me and answer my question. Please."
"Some days. Most days I believe in my talents."
"What about yourself? Do you believe in yourself most days?"
"Ah, Choco, there is no easy answer to that question. Especially when you're an artist."
"That's why we chose you. You can do this. You can illustrate us, write the story and get it published. We believe in you."
"I'm glad that you do, but, Choco, I know nothing about publishing, and I hardly think a few creative writing classes in college qualify me to write your story."
"Oh, Laure, you're a renaissance soul. This is a challenge you couldn't turn down - even if you wanted to. And you don't want to. Not really. You'll learn what you need to know about publishing. And don't worry about writing the story. We're going to tell you the story. You just have to listen. Now, will you trust us? Will you pull us back out of the drawer and get going again?"
"Do I have a choice?"
"Well, no, not really."  

And so, ladies and gentlemen, Choco is back. The painting above is probably going to the finally Choco. He and I have come to an understanding that I do have other art projects and I won't be working on the story all the time. However, there should be at least one update every week on Choco and the gang. I will continue to post updates today as I progress with this painting and a bit more of the story. So, please, stop back by!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is the Economy Messing With Your Mind?

Let me be more specific - is the economy messing with your left brain? Is that in turn messing with your right brain? I heard from several folks with regard to yesterday's post. It seems the economy is a common left brain theme and a number of folks asked the same question: The economy doesn't appear to be improving very quickly, so how do we move forward, get back to making art? Several thoughts came to mind:

Turn off the News. The "News" - local, national or web - is not our friend. It is BIG BUSINESS and the better job they do at getting us to watch the news the better chance they can sell something! This is not about keeping us informed - it's about selling. After the first 15 minutes, turn the television off and go to the studio. Use the time to draw or paint. 

What can we do about "it"? Whatever "it" is, we only have so much control. Can we change it? Stop it? Effect it? Decide what it is that can be done and do it. Then LET IT GO. If we can't change it, stop it or effect it, all the well-meaning worry in the world is not going to do any good. LET. IT. GO. Save the energy, focus, and time for the things that can be changed, stopped, or effected.

Speaking of energy, focus and time, do a mental check. We need to be aware of where our energy is going, what our main focus is, and how we are spending our time. Is it positive or are the holding patterns of worry our left brain uses to keep us "safe" instead making us useless? After all, now is not the time to be starting anything new or doing anything risky, right? 

Check out the people we spend time with or around - are they positive or negative? I ran into an old neighbor at the grocery a while back. He's what I call a "Doomsdayer". He LOVES to discuss how bad everything is, how we're all doomed. After talking with him I felt like coming home, locking all the doors, pulling the blinds, and hiding under the bed until this all blew over. Never mind that I had just come from the grocery (where I bought dinner) in my vehicle (that had gas in it) to my house (that still had the lights on and energy to cook with)! Sometimes we have to be around a negative person. It's okay to say in a polite way that we really would rather not talk about the economy or possible layoffs, etc. Then firmly change the subject.

Check those conversations and thoughts. It is so easy to join a negative conversation where everyone is down on just about everything and add to the negativity than it is to try and turn the conversation positive or walk away. Next time, see if the tide of the conversation can be turned. Another neighbor was out walking her dog one evening and she started telling me how her company was cutting back hours, maybe jobs, asking for everyone to take a pay cut. I asked her if she still had a job, and she replied yes. I asked if she still had benefits. Yes. My response was "then you're doing all right!" And she agreed. Then she started talking about all the positive things the company was trying to do to weather the storm. She left happier. 

And last but certainly not least, make art therapeutic. It can be an escape from all the negative, yucky news we're hearing everyday, all day.  Turn on your favorite music (if you're in the studio) and tell your left brain to be quiet. If it won't be quiet, ignore it. Call out your muse and play. Don't judge whether it is good enough, or time well spent. Simply create. Short on time? Take a sketchbook and sketch at lunch, doodle during a meeting, at the doctor's office or little league practice or the Jeep dealership. 

Begin. Start. Create. Suspend judgement. Simply create. For yourself. For your sanity. Just for a little while, forget . . . . 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Easter Nest Fina
© Laure Ferlita
All Rights Reserved

A few more thoughts to go along with Teresa's wonderful post below about ancient wisdom. The fear of failure, of embarrassment, of success even, is the domain of the left brain. The left brain is doing its best to keep us from embarrassing ourselves, failing, succeeding, when the way is not clear before us. The left brain uses fear to immobilize us as well as to make us believe there's no use in trying something new, different, challenging, and so forth.

The right brain, struggling to be heard, to have an opportunity to "work" calls for inspiration - a way to get us to go ahead with the project and to ignore that voice of "reason". Therein lies the problem. It's usually not inspiration we need, but action. To take action anyway, by ignoring the voice, setting judgement aside, and simply begin. It is that simple and that difficult.

I was reading on Elizabeth Gilbert's web site, author of Eat. Pray. Love., and she discussed writing the book, and being her own worst critic with a mantra of how horrible her writing was when she realized it was NOT her job to judge the writing. It was her job to write. That was the promise that she made - to write. Period. 

I took her words to heart. It is my job to paint. Not to judge what is painted. I can assure you if I were doing the judging less than 10% of my work would ever be seen by anybody but me. I think most artists (and I define artists as just about anyone in a creative pursuit) are the same way about some, if not all, of their work. It's not good enough. It could be better. I should have done this. I should have done that. ENOUGH!!

How many creative masterpieces have never made it out of our thoughts, let alone our studios because of these thoughts? We are the only ones who can bring these pieces into the world, and yet we wait for inspiration, listen to the voice telling us it's no good, wait some more, and finally, let the idea pass us by. Why? 

I ask you to suspend judgement, tell the voice to hush, and begin. Do not judge. Do not listen to the well-meaning voice. Begin.  

Blueberries, Art and Life: Newspaper column for March 2009

Blueberries, Art and Life: Newspaper column for March 2009

If you have an extra moment today, I invite you to go over to Blueberries, Art and Life to read Teresa's wonderful post on taking action rather than waiting for inspiration. It is a very timely, and touching post. 

An Hour - Uninterrupted

WIP #2 - Easter Nest in Pastry Cup

How often do we really cherish our time creating? How often do we put it above all of the little demands we face in life, as if to say, "Yes, this is important to me. It makes a difference in my life"? My creativity often takes a backseat to other responsibilities. I'm sure yours does too. This morning, I went in and got a cup of coffee, and rather than sit down at the computer, I went to the studio. I painted for an hour - uninterrupted. It was pure zen. Meditation. 

The advances you see on the nest above are what I worked on. I listened to the world outside wake up. I watched the dawn spread across the sky while I worked on my little painting. I felt whole for those few minutes. I felt like I was living at the right speed, in the right place, doing the right thing. Precious. Such a joyous feeling. 

I often envision my muse standing at the door of my studio, waiting to see if she will be invited in. This morning I beckoned to her and her joy at being invited illuminated the room and my soul. I hope that you will make the time to play with your muse today. That you will use all the colors in your paintbox. That you will take the time to savor the passing moments. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Daily Practice - Provided by Nature

Sitting quietly, watching the rain fall softly, I could almost hear the earth sigh. Slow, gentle, cool drizzle giving the earth time to drink deeply. Just what was needed. Hopefully, more rain to soon come . . . . 

We've been having a fairly severe drought here in Florida and we had a day of rain today. Nothing more than a drizzle, but definitely preferable to a quick hard shower that would have drained away before doing much good because the ground is so hard. 

I went out this morning and did some more raking and clearing away. As always, I find that Nature rewards those who take the time to look and observe. I was gifted with a visit from a flock of Ibis, and one of them kindly left me a feather!  When I first saw it, the feather had a brownish cast to it. I thought that odd as the birds appear to be white. I set it aside and when on with my raking. 

Later, up closer to the walkway, I found a leaf that was already turning into a skeleton. Its color appeared almost white against the darker leaves and ground around it. I happen to see yet another that was curled and twisted. I picked it up and set it with the feather for later. 


Upon returning to the studio late this morning, I drew out both and got busy painting the feather. I had laid it against a dark grey background to better see the vane. That's when I realized the feather now looked grey. When I held it up to the light I realized that it was nearly translucent! I'm not really sure that my sketch shows that, but it was kind of cool to see it up close.

As with the feather, upon closer inspection the leaf really was a pale shade of silver bordering on yellow. Depending on the background it rested on, the leaf also seem to change colors. It was interesting trying to find colors that would give an impression of translucency. Again, not sure I succeeded, but it was fun to try!

 

We Lived To Tell The Tale

Barely. Actually the yard sale was great! We had lots and lots of folks to stop by and we purged a good deal of "stuff". Yay for us! Now we can get busy on filling it up again. Kidding!!! Of course, it took almost all day with the clean up and packing up of stuff that didn't sale (for the next purge).

I did manage to draw and paint on Saturday, but I didn't get very far. Rather than posting, I decided to wait and get more done on Sunday. Bad idea. I just didn't know it at the time. Here is my new little Easter egg nest:

I'm using "palette mud" to paint this. Palette mud is leftover mixtures from other recent paintings. It will have a very muted look (by choice) when I'm done. You can just barely see the pencil lines to the little pastry dish. I believe I'm going to paint it to look rusty and dull too. 

As mentioned, I intended to get more done on Sunday . . . instead, Spring got me. I started working in the front yard clearing away the plants that had died during the freeze and raking up all the "spikey tree ball things" (as Chris calls them) from the Maple trees. Unfortunately, we lost an ornamental Ficus tree right by our front walk and I decided to see if I could get the stump out.

The next thing I knew I was looking up at the Maples blowing gently in the breeze. Yep, tea cup over tea kettle in the front yard! Luckily, I was not seriously hurt, but good gracious, I'm sore! I have some good size bumps and bruises, but the soreness is the worst. Once I realized I could not stop the forward motion that was going to take me over, I just rolled into it. That probably saved me from the worst of it.

After laying there for a moment laughing at myself - I often have good reason to be amused - I got up and went found Chris to tell him he needed to get the stump out! I went back to cutting down benign branches and raking up spikey tree ball things. I really didn't feel much like painting Sunday evening. Instead, I took a long hot shower, and crawled into bed a bit earlier than usual.

Still sore today, but I'll live to tell the tale. . . .

Friday, March 20, 2009

More Work on the Hyacinth Series

I finally got back to work on the Hyacinth series in my sketchbook and have completed the painting of the bulb. Again, I'm not really happy with the scan as there are a lot of colors in the bulb area that the scanner is not picking up. Not sure if it's the low resolution or a color issue.  

Anyway, once these are complete - I have one more to go - I will be offering the images as prints over in my Etsy shop, both individually and as a set. That should happen the first of next week. 

We are having another purge on Saturday (garage sale) and I'll be getting things ready all day today, and then doing the sale on Saturday. Not sure how much artwork I'll be able to get done as those things usually wipe us out for a day or so. Still, I'm going to try to get something done and posted. Okay. I said that outloud and on the blog. Now let's see if I can make it happen!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Egg Practice

Do you ever get an idea of how you want something to turn out in your head, and no matter what you do, it turns out nothing like that image? Hmmm, well, that's how it was with these eggs. They didn't turn out anything like that image in my head. Why does that happen? Or in this case, why didn't that happen?

Taking a Dip
© Laure Ferlita
All Rights Reserved

First, let me start with saying that my scanner does not seem to like turquoise, teal or blue violets. The carton color is a blue violet like old time egg cartons used to be. Nor is there any pink in this painting. That yellow-green egg is really more of a lime, and the blue egg is turquoise. 

Second, these are the same eggs you saw here. I wanted to have a go at changing the colors up and see how it would turn out. It turned out alright, it just doesn't look anything like the image in my head.  As to painting the eggs again - I don't know. If I do, I'll probably change it up yet again. Maybe put the eggs in a basket. 

Third, tell me how you think this painting can be improved? What would you suggest I do differently?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Practice is Paying Off


Peppers Five Original Watercolor 
on 140 lb. Saunders Hot Press Paper
100% Acid Free
16.5" x 6.5"
(The red border and watermark are not on the original artwork)

$125.00 + $10.00 Shipping

I was recently asked, " I know you can paint, but what I don't get is why you're trying to paint fast. What difference does it make if it takes 15 minutes, 50 minutes or an hour and 50 minutes?" Good question!

As I have mentioned before I am a s-----l-----o-----w, painter. It takes me forever to paint anything. I love details and I tend to get mired down in them way too early in a painting. When you start painting details too early, you lose sight of the big picture, lose the details in the layers and they have to be repainted, and this can lead to losing that fresh, clean look.

I am also very conscientious about edges, drips, splatters, etc. which slows you down considerably. It gets to the point where even I become bored with the painting and I run the risk of not finishing it. There is also that thing called confidence that can really slow you down too. Painting slow is especially harmful if you're trying to make a living at your art,  you're not finishing paintings, and you have nothing to sell.

All of my little daily exercises are my way of practicing speed, accuracy and staying away from the details until it's appropriate to paint them. They are intended to be "good enough" to capture the essence of the subject, and still maintain the freshness of the painting.

The painting above is a result of my attempts to become faster - I painted it yesterday afternoon in about 3 hours! And that pleases me no end! I tried two different versions of this painting in October and both took me the better part of the day and I would not post nor attempt to sell either because they're not very good. One is not even finished. 

In an effort to sell more work I've decided to make the work available on the blog first before I list the painting over on my website. This won't be everyday, but I want to give as much exposure to the new work as I can. So if you see something you like please let me know! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Luck o' the Green!

May you be surrounded by Irish laughter, love, and luck for today and always!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Daily Practice - Colored Eggs

Eggs in a Basket
Fabriano Rough 300 lb.

After yesterday's practice with white eggs I decided I wanted to try something with color. What I had in mind was a carton with brown eggs. My muse had another idea. I've been receiving Martha Stewart's Living magazine since Mary Englebreit's Home Companion went defunct, and Martha had a photo of a basket of aqua-colored eggs and instructions on how to make them. My muse said, "That's perfect! Let's paint that instead of some dumb ol' brown eggs!"

And so we did. Fifty minutes start to finish. I am pleased with the result for 50 minutes, but I wouldn't call it finished or polished. It's a sketch, a fun sketch to be sure but a sketch. I'd like to try the concept again. Different basket, maybe in a different color. Kelly said something about yesterday's post being an Easter card. I think this might have potential as well if it were done in a more thorough manner. 

Update on the Jeep: I went back to the dealership this morning, but they had to keep my Jeep all day long so I didn't get to try my diabolical plan of playing the kazoo to make them hurry up. Maybe next time! 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Daily Practice - Eggs

Daily Practice - Eggs
Strathmore Sketchbook
Do you ever ignore that little voice in the back of your head that says something like "Don't do this. You're gonna be sorry. It's not gonna turn out right"? I ignore that voice all the time. Most of the time it turns out okay. Other times it turns out great. Occasionally, it turns out just the way the voice said it was going to. Case in point - these eggs. 

These eggs were to be my daily practice. To begin with I picked up a sketchbook that would be more valuable as fire starter than as sketchbook paper. I detest the paper! Did I stop? No. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. So I was at an odd angle to the eggs and that was making the perspective extremely difficult. Did I change positions? No. Why? Dunno. I started drawing at an odd angle on the page. Why? Clueless.

By their very nature, eggs generally give artists fits. The color. The shape. They truly challenge the left brain/right brain combo because it is WHAT you see and not what you THINK you see that will allow you to draw a reasonable egg. This is true of everything you draw, but I think more obvious with eggs than a lot of other objects.

The complete sketchbook page with eggs at a tilt

If I post more of my daily practices, you'll be seeing these eggs again. I don't know how long these took start to finish because I forgot to look at the clock. They were fun, and that's the most important thing to me. Oh. As far as the pencil without an eraser? I went and got an eraser before I was five minutes into this - so much for that advice!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tucker Sketches

Tucker graphite sketches in my Handbook Sketchbook

If ever there was a cat that was suited to graphite, it is most definitely Tucker. He is the color of steel wool. He has lighter and darker areas of grey and a few silver areas depending on the light. This also makes Tucker a tremendous challenge to draw - from life - in about 8 minutes. He is a study of values. He doesn't stay still for long either - especially if he thinks you're looking at him too long.

Again, I think the sketch makes him look more kittenish than he is. He was in the leather arm chair sunk back in the corner. It was just getting to be dusk with the light fading fast. Because the leather is dark, he seem to fade in and out and become one with the chair. This sketch actually needs to be about four shades darker overall.

If you are looking to improve or hone your drawing skills like I am, I recommend getting a pencil (without an eraser) and a sketchbook and having it at the ready for those moments when your pet decides to be the perfect model. (If you don't have a pet, you can also use family members as impromptu models.) You do have to work quickly and this helps you learn to get the essence of your subject down BEFORE they move. Again.  

As for a pencil without an eraser - you'll learn faster. With an eraser on the end of that pencil, it is too tempting to erase, redraw, erase, redraw, etc. trying to get it right. By the time you get it right or close enough, the animal has moved to a new position, leaving you with a half finished sketch. Sometimes it happens anyway. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Jeep Saga Continues

Chris calls me this afternoon from work to ask me if I had given the dealership his mobile number when I took the Jeep in this morning. Now why would I do that, I'm wondering. and say as much. It seems they called him and left a garbled message on his mobile. He suggests I might want to call them back. Then again, I might not. Want to call them back.

So I call the duck tape specialists (DTS) back, and asked why they called my husband's number and not mine. The conversation went something like this:
DTS: Ummmm, because that's the number you gave us. (Do not confuse ineptitude with blonde. Sometimes it's brunette.)
Me: No, it's not. I gave you my number. Which is the number you called this morning.
DTS: Okay. (Okay? Okay what?) So, like, we have an issue. It's Friday. (Yes. Friday the 13th!) And we can't get your window tinted on Saturday so you'll have to come back in again on Monday to have the window tinted. But we'll go ahead and replace the window tomorrow. Is that okay? (NO!)
Me: Can I just wait until Monday and have all the work done on one day?
DTS: Oh. If you want to. Yeah, we can do that instead.

Now, I don't know about you, but I've yet to meet a dealership waiting room that I wanted to spend not one, nor two, nor three days in. The idea of having to go back a second and then a third time held very little appeal to me, but the person on the phone seemed rather surprised at my reluctance to spend my time in their waiting room. 

And now I get to spend Monday in their waiting room. Should be fun actually as I have come up with a diabolical plan to hurry them up. You see, Chris had a tradeshow last weekend and he brought me a kazoo (from another vendor) . . . . . a noisy, squawky, irritating kazoo. I took it with me this morning. I was going to paint while I waited. (Part of my plan to overcome my fear of painting in public places.)

Except I didn't have to wait. I painted it this afternoon. Lousy job too. Looks like a submarine. I'll have to do it again. Maybe Monday while I'm waiting on the Jeep . . . .    I figure once I paint it, I'll start "playing" it. To entertain everyone. That should hurry them up, don't you think!?? 


From My Handbook Sketchbook

I also had the chance to draw Joey as he fell asleep in my studio chair. He was sitting upright with his eyes closed, bobbing and weaving. I had about 3 minutes before he crashed over with a thump. He looks like a youngster in this drawing, but he's really about four years old.  It's a good start. Maybe I'll get further next time.

More Expecting the Best

What I didn't share with you yesterday was that on my way home from having dinner with my FIL the window on my Jeep Liberty rolled down and wouldn't roll back up. It started a horrible racket every time you touched the button. Chris took a look at it when we got home, but he couldn't "see" anything because of the way Jeep "seals" their door panels. He would have had to remove the seal and we were concerned this would void the warranty.

I called the Jeep Service Department yesterday and they said bring it in, 8:00 AM, Friday morning. Okay. This morning we went and dropped the Jeep off and then went on to have breakfast. While eating, my phone rings and it's the dealership: We can fix it, but it's going to be Saturday before we have all of the parts. Do you want to leave your Jeep overnight or come back, pick back up and bring it back tomorrow?

Not having the best of luck with Service Departments in the past, we decided to go back and pick it up. When we got there they had taped the window closed - with DUCK TAPE!!! I kid you not! I could not believe my eyes! Chris looked at it and said, "Well, hell, I could have done that!!"


And it gets better. The dealership is located off from a six lane highway. I had no more than pulled in to traffic and gotten up to speed when the tape lets go and the window starts to slide back down into the door. I managed to catch the window before it slid completely into the door. I retaped it when I finally got home - with more duck tape. So if you see a girl with long blonde  hair riding around in a Blue Jeep Liberty with the window duck taped shut, wave. That'll be me stylin' with my duck tape!!! 

See what happens when you expect the best?!! You get duck tape. The very best duck tape too, no doubt! If nothing else, it's entertaining!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Just Love Fortune Cookies!!

Crazy for sure, but I do get the biggest kick out of fortunes in Fortune cookies! I have had several that turned out to be quite accurate too! Anyway, we went to dinner with my FIL last night at the China House Restaurant, and below is my fortune!


I laughed outloud when I read the fortune and got several curious looks from other diners. But that's okay too as I had something to celebrate! I happen to believe this particular fortune with all my heart - to expect the best and quite often, that's exactly what I get! I expect the best from and for myself, I expect the best from and for others and I expect the best from life. I am not often disappointed. And sometimes, I need a gentle reminder when I lose my focus. 

When I start dreading a situation, especially to the point that it's the first thing that slams into my brain at 3:00 in the morning, I start to ask myself what is the very best I can expect from this situation. And that's what I focus on. This kind of focus really cuts down on the stress.

It's another way of staying with the positive. There is so darn much negativity swirling around us right now and it really is no laughing matter, but every time we start talking about all the negativity, we're adding to it! Enough all ready! The media is doing enough negative talking for ALL of us! Instead, of joining the doom and gloom, I try to change the subject. To something positive

What are you focused on - the best? The negative? Go ahead, give it a whirl - expect the best - then let me know how it works for you!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Glory Days


Whenever I paint something and it doesn't turn out, I often hear Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" playing in the back of my mind. I can't help but wonder about all the what-if's and what-might-of-beens IF the painting had worked out. And of course, the one that failed is always the one that would have taken best of show - LOL! Hope and dreams - it's what keeps us going.

The image above is about a 10 x 4 inch area on the right side of the painting. It is two dogs looking out from under an old ragged, weather-beaten, paint-peeling, old fence. This photo was taken mid-way through the process - before disaster struck. 

I am not showing the complete image nor the finished, botched image because I am going to have another go at this with the hopes of getting it into another/later show. Sometimes shows will not allow you to enter pieces that have been "published" and that includes electronically. It has something to do with it being your work with no input from others, etc., to help improve the image/painting. 

The deadline for this show is on top of me and I won't have time to get a new piece painted, framed and shipped. So I blew this one. However, on a positive note, I am really very pleased with parts of this painting - especially this guy's nose and parts of his fur! There's a looseness that I had not been able to achieve in prior attempts. It reads as a nose, but all the details are not there, just the impression. Same with the fur. 

There are always lessons within failures - usually, my most valuable ones. I do want to try more animal paintings soon. Now, if the dogs and cats around here would just be still . . . . 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

As Promised!

Here is an update on the suave Van for those of you having a Choco and the gang withdrawal! Just about 97% completed! Yay! I didn't realize until after I uploaded the image into Photoshop that I had not painted his cane. Guess I'm a bit tired, or a bit more than I realized. This is photographed as opposed to a scan. The colors are better but still not accurate.

I always see things in a piece of artwork that need to be corrected, adjusted, fixed AFTER I scan or photograph it. Not sure why that is, but I think it has something to do with the distance between me and the piece. When I'm painting on something, I can totally miss/not see an area that screams to be worked on (yes, we've already had this conversation), but it is also a very useful tool for those times when you're stuck and you don't know why.

Scan or photograph the artwork, take it into an editing program, like Photoshop, and if you can, make it a grey scale. That almost always shows me areas that need to be adjusted. It also adds that distance - instantly - so that you don't get surprised when you see it hanging on the wall in a show and think "Oh good grief, did I really not see that?!!"

Monday, March 9, 2009

More Practice


The image to the left is more practice of trying to capture a likeness of a person as quickly as I can without getting hung up on complete accuracy and detail. Not an easy feat for someone who thrives on detail! If you were to see the reference materials, you would see that I did indeed capture a likeness of her, but you could also see many things that could be improved upon. This type of painting for me is a constant striving for balance - if I take to long on the drawing, I don't have much time to paint. If I don't get a good likeness down, no amount of paint is going to fix that. 

The sketch was done in about 25 minutes start to finish. I would eventually like to get down to about 15 minutes for something like this. Less pre-drawing with the pencil and more drawing with the brush and paint. I do have to say that my confidence is growing the more I do this, and I can now see that if/when I get to London, or some other wonderful location, I could, maybe, possibly paint on location and get a decent likeness! My challenge now it to actually go to the park, the mall, and paint ON location!

Those words are so easy to type, but the actually doing is so difficult - for me anyway! I used to be immobilized by my fear of a white page in a sketchbook. I overcame that. I'm not sure how, I think be actually using "cheap" unimportant sketchbooks to "practice" in until I got better. LOL! Then I "graduated" to the more important artist's sketchbooks, the real deal. Now it doesn't bother me in the least to sketch and draw in any sketchbook. I'm sure that I'll eventually get to the same level with painting on location. Meanwhile, I'll be taking my sketchbook out for a weekly walk/drive until I can overcome my fear of painting where - gasp! -  someone might be able to see what I'm doing!

~~~~~~~~~~

On other topics: 
The competition painting was a crash-and-burn. I had a really, really great start. What I didn't have was someone in the studio to yell at me to put the brush down! Consequently, I overworked it and lost the freshness. I will try again.

The bunnies are where we left them last week, but will be back this week at some point.

I will be out of the studio for most of today on business stuff, so may not have anything to post until late tomorrow or Wednesday.

I hope your week is off to a fabulously creative start and you're challenging yourself to get out of your comfort zone - in some way - everyday this week!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Most Extraordinary Story!!

Yesterday morning (10:00ish) my husband was walking outside of the place where he works, when he heard the calls of a pair of Sandhill Cranes. He turned to watch these majestic birds fly over. What he saw instead was a hawk diving down and attacking one the cranes!! The crane plummeted from the sky in a straight drop to the ground from about the thirty feet. Chris said he expected to hear a gunshot report because of how straight and hard the bird fell. Feathers continued to rain down long after the crane had fallen. He sprinted over to the back of the parking lot that borders an old pasture to see what had happened.

As Chris got closer to the back of the lot, he saw the hawk swoop down as if to strike again. It was just as a fly-by. The hawk did not attack a second time. The crane was just lying there, clearly dazed. His mate was walking around him, very agitated. Chris said as he got closer to the bird he could see evidence of the attack in wounds and blood all around the crane's head, but the bird was alive.

Several people had now noticed the commotion and were watching the bird. They decided it would be best to call someone to come take a look at the bird, but that turned out to be quite a fiasco that lasted well into the afternoon. Dozens of calls were made, including to the Wildlife Officers, but the officers were out of town. They suggested calling one of the vets in the area on their out-of-town message. So Chris called the vet. The vet's office said "If you can bring us the bird, we'll see what we can do." Bring you the bird?!! These birds are 4 to 5 feet tall!!

As the afternoon progressed, the crane started coming out of the daze he was in. He eventually stood up, and that's when Chris and the others could tell that the bird's leg had been hurt in the fall. He did not/could not put weight on the leg. Someone had brought binoculars, and they were able to look the crane over for other wounds. The leg showed no outward wounds and most of the other wounds were around the bird's head.

After an afternoon of frustrating calls, the county finally sent an officer out to take a look at the situation. The officer had to scale a couple of fences to get closer to the cranes. As he closed in on the bird, it started to hop around and finally managed to flutter over the fence away from the man. The officer tried a get close a second time, and again, the crane flew just out of reach. The man retreated at this point, telling Chris that if the bird were able to fly out of harm's way it would be best to leave the crane alone. He was concerned that if he took the bird in that the county might destroy the bird rather than rehabilitate it and that its mate would be widowed for life. 

At the end of the day, Chris check on the pair one last time. They had not strayed far from where the crane had originally fell. He said that they were both alert and knew when he approached but did not become agitated. When he went into work this morning, the cranes were gone. All that was left of the incident were a few feathers lying about in the pasture. 

For the birders who might read this post - any idea why a hawk would attack a bird 5 times its size?? Territory, a nest nearby, food? Unfortunately, no one took enough notice of the hawk to be able to identify what kind it was, and although the hawk was large, it was still hawk-sized. We would appreciate any info anyone could share!  

While I Enjoyed the Spring Afternoon

In My Sketchbook

I got a bit of sketching done! This a tree knot that fell from the oldest Maple in our front yard. It appears to have an eye looking out from the center of the knot. I enhanced it in the drawing, but not by much. This is the story of the Old Woman and the Maple Tree Spirit as retold by Richard L. Dieterle

There lived an old woman by herself in an oval lodge at the outskirts of the village. She was always doing good for the people. If anyone needed anything from her, she would not fail to give it to them. She always fasted and made offerings of tobacco to the spirits.

Now the time had come when sap was collected from the maples, and she went out with her bucket to see what she might obtain. She went from one tree to another, yet she hardly collected anything. As she was walking along in the forest, she heard a voice. She looked around, but could see no one. Again the voice spoke to her, and she discovered that the voice had come from the trunk of a maple tree. "Grandmother, I take pity on you. Come back to me tomorrow and you will find on my trunk a ball of sap. Take this sap and rub it around the inside rim of your sap boiling kettle. However much sap you have put in, that much will expand to the place you have scored. And when you make maple syrup, if you can remember me with a small offering of tobacco, you will be blessed."

Thus the Tree Spirit spoke to her. So the next day she retrieved a ball of sap from the tree, and did as the spirit had bidden. Indeed, no matter how little sap she put in the kettle, it would always boil up to the mark she had made on the rim. She never wanted for maple syrup. Thus had she been blessed.

Perhaps this is the Tree Spirit looking out for us.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Clash of the Bunnies and the Refrigerator

This morning when I opened the refrigerator to get cream for my coffee I noticed a peculiar odor come wafting out. Hmmm, that's never a good thing. Never. When that happens you know you're going to have to suit up for biological warfare and go in there and extract whatever is giving off that odor. And it never comes out easily. Never.

So, in I went only to find that a cucumber had managed to escape to the back of the second highest shelf and die a slow, messy, smelly, stinky death. Now anyone who has ever had a cucumber die this kind of death in their refrigerator is scrunching up their face and saying "Eeeeeeeuuuuuuugggggghhhhhhh!" They know. It's BAD. Very BAD. In this case, the cucumber in question had cozied up to a package of pre-sliced deli cheese and used the plastic bag to run over to the side of the refrigerator where various glass jars live.

Having reached the glass jars that just happen to be TOUCHING the wall of the refrigerator, the cucumber continued its path of destruction down the side of the refrigerator to the shelf below it with more jars. Not satisfied to stop there, it continued down to yet another shelf, bypassing the jars but settling instead under the carton of eggs. Yuck!!!! Icky pukey!!!!!!

As much as I love getting caught up in the creative "moment", that in this case lasted a week, this is yet another down side. You see, I'm not big on housekeeping. My house will never win a "White Glove" award and I'm okay with that. It's just that when you live on the edge of good housekeeping/bad housekeeping the way I do, your house can go from okay to bad in just a week!

After getting my head out of the refrigerator, I noticed a pile of laundry almost as tall as I am. And I'm tall. This is not a desirable trait in your laundry pile. Going back to the frig for a moment, once all the ick was cleaned out, I noticed it was empty. Dang. That meant I was gonna have to cook too. So, washing laundry, folding laundry, putting laundry away, general cleaning, decluttering horizontal surfaces, detoxing the frig, cooking a huge pot of sauce for spaghetti tonight, and the general maintenance of my life was nearly caught up. Great.

Except I didn't work on the bunnies. They're going on hiatus for a few days. I'm sure some of you are relieved as you secretly never liked bunnies anyway, and others of you are seriously disappointed. They'll be back. Right now, I'm going to take an afternoon to go outside and sit in the sun and enjoy Spring (and try to get that smell out of my nose). Then I'm going to do a piece for a competition that's coming up way too fast. Then the bunnies will come back. Because they never really left . . .

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Van WIP


"May I ask what the "C" in your name stands for, Van? I'm thinking Cherry or Cranberry?" I said to Van as I was painting his coat.

The look he gave me was not unkind, but it did seem to say he thought me quite daft. "Coolidge. As in Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States. Mother was quite the history buff and she had to have names for all of us, so she would randomly pick a president's name" Van replied.

"Oh" seemed to be the most intelligent thing I could come up with at the moment. A little while later I asked "So "M" probably doesn't stand for Milk in Choco's name?"

"No, Madison. James Madison, 4th president" came the answer.

"Well why do you go by Van if your first name is Coolidge?

Again came the look that said he was sure I was daft as he answered with his own question, "Would you want to be called Coolidge your whole life?"

At that point I thought it best to let silence reign . . . .

This as far as I've gotten on Van. Unfortunately, the scan of the WIP (work-in-progress) looks rather peaked. His coat is a rich burgundy with brown overtones and his vest is two lighter shades of the coat. On my monitor, he looks rather sepia toned. I played in Photoshop, but he still looks off. Maybe I can get a photo of him tomorrow. Anyway, the tie, shirt, and top hat all need to be completed. I will probably go back and add some darker values to his face, but I wanted to get the clothes finished before I went too dark on his face.

A Creative Conundrum

As I said in a prior post, my right brain has been having a blast this last week or so. Until the left brain woke up and said, "What's that suppose to be? A monkey? A rabbit? A monkbit?!!" Needless to say, this comment sent my muse into a colossal snit-fit! She stomped out of the studio, refusing to be swayed or cajoled into moving past the incident. And that's the problem with getting so caught up in the moment (or the week) of creative abandon - you're not really seeing what you're creating.

Of course, if you're me, you post it on your blog for all to see so that they know you're nuttier than a Bavarian Nut House because you just posted a painting of an alien monkbit, AND you're calling it a rabbit. And no one says a word. Nothing. So you go on in your blissful state of creative ignorance until your left brain calls you out and royally ticks off your muse at the same time.

After that, you spend two days in Drawing Basics 101 (Hell) trying to learn how to draw a rabbit. You thought you knew what a rabbit looked like, but you don't just want a rabbit. No, you want him to appear gentle and wise, and of undetermined age, but definitely of determined lineage. Your muse is still ticked off and sulking in the corner, so you're pretty much on my own. And it's awful (Hell). You suddenly look down to see you're drawing Jim Carey's version of Cat-in-a-Hat! This is NOT a good thing when you're trying to draw a gentle and wise rabbit.

You see, this all started on Saturday night when Van showed up. You've seen what a handsome fellow he is and he looks like a rabbit! Which really makes poor Choco look more like an alien than ever. And since they're brothers there should be a family resemblance, right?! Except there isn't any! So back to the drawing board I went for two long days. The results of those two loooooong days are below:

The left Choco was painted next. I repainted the body as well as I wanted a slimmer Choco. The Choco on the right is the same body as on the left but with a new head and face thanks to a little help from Photoshop. Even though the bodies in the image above are the same, the one on the left "looks" slimmer than the one on the right. This is all because of the head placement and how much of his neck is showing.

And just in case you're still wondering, this is the really, really big change I told you about. You should probably also know there's still another Choco coming as I am not totally pleased with either of these Chocos. There will be an update on Van later today too! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Please, Let Me Introduce You . . .


. . . to Mr. C. Vanilla (Van) Bunny! As you can see he is still in tracing paper form. Van showed up on Saturday evening and I was so tired that I wasn't sure that I had drawn him just as he wanted to be. So I left him alone for a day and sure enough, adjustments needed to be made. That's why you see multiple overlays of tissue. 

Isn't he dapper?! I'm rather anxious to get started on painting him, but other "drawing" matters have taken precedence. More on that in another post. I just love his top hat! He has such regal bearing that it's almost as if he's been in the military. 

It seems that Van is Choco's old brother and the more serious of the two.  He is not married, choosing to travel the world instead of settling down. Perhaps the right bunny just hasn't come along. Of course, he could just be a confirmed bachelor, too!

Questions, Questions,Questions

I have some questions that need answers with regard to our story of Choco, and despite the lovely discussions that have taken place here in the Ferlita household, I still need answers. (It is often difficult to come to a consensus when there are only two of you to begin with and you happen to be total opposites!)

So, the questions:
  • Would you prefer to see the bunnies' legs or are you cool with the pants?
  • Would you like to see cotton bunny tails added to the bunnies? Would this make them more bunny-like?
  • Should the bunnies have a "bunny-sized" town (as in their own town) or should this be taking place in a human-sized town with the bunnies moving around and utilizing the humans' space?
  • Do you have a preference for which country the story takes place in?
  • Are you over this whole thing and ready for me to move on to something else?
Please help by answering! Thank you!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Just When Things Were Really Starting To Happen . . . .

. . . . my left brain woke up!! My right brain has been having a blast the last week or so. I'm not sure why my left brain hasn't gotten involved before today, but I wish it had stayed sleeping a little longer! Of course, I had to laugh when I read Kelly's comment:

"You're very brave to do this. I don't think 
I could create on the fly like you're doing!"

as it seems that just about now this whole thing is spiraling out of control, and here I've put it up on my blog for all to see. What WAS I thinking?!! Actually, Kelly, doing the creating on the fly really forces you to make a decision and go with it. Kind of like making it the right decision if it doesn't happen to be the best choice at the time (although you usually can't tell until you far enough along that you can look back in hindsight). It also makes it fun, it challenges you to get waaaaay out of your comfort zone and you quit agonizing over the little things. Usually. 

BTW, Kelly has a great blog with absolutely beautiful images of all kinds of birds - pop on over to Red and the Peanut for a great treat!

Today has been a parade of little things. Like every time my brush touched the paper it seemed I made a mess, nothing looks "right" and in general, it has been a one step forward, two steps back kind of day. They happen. So, from all this you've probably gathered that the really, really big change I mentioned yesterday is not going to show up today. 

However, I do have a treat for you. We have a "guest" artist appearing today! This guest is none other than my husband, Chris, who has also gotten caught up in the Choco saga! It never fails to intrigue me to see how differently artists interpret the same word. When Chris saw my post about the gang heading off to the apothecary, he had his own ideas on an apothecary:
























The Apothecary (above)
The Apothecary Shop (right)

Chris is a very accomplished artist and these were done to illustrate where he would take the story line if he were doing the writing. You see, he's very concerned that someone is going to try to steal Lumen and he thinks Choco should be better prepared. I keep telling him the watch is magic - no one can steal it. Of course, he's still a 13 year-old-boy at heart, so let him have his fun. 

When I commented that this probably wouldn't make it into the story, he asked what MY apothecary was like. Being flip, I answered, "Cute and fuzzy!" Moments later he walked in and tossed this piece of art on my desk:
"Is that cute and fuzzy enough?!"

Thanks, Chris, for filling in for me today, and with any luck at all, we'll have an update tomorrow! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Change is Afoot!!

There has been a great deal of lively discussion this weekend in the Ferlita household with regard to changes in our developing saga of Choco, Lumen, Henri, and Van. The first discussion came about with regard to names. So the following changes have been made to names:

Chocolate (Choco) M. Bunny is now M. Chocolate (Choco) Bunny.

Henrietta, also known as Henri, will now be Henrietta or Henni, for short. It seems that Henni is a girl's girl. After all, she has on her earrings and pearls. She never goes anywhere without her "game" on, and as such, it didn't make much sense to call her Henri. It just didn't fit. So, for now, she's Henni. Here's Henni talking with Choco (who is offstage, left):
Her feathers gave me fits and I'm not certain that there won't be a re-do in the near future. Trying to paint the "impression" of feathers and not actual feathers is quite a challenge for me. Van, Choco's brother, showed up about 9:30 last night. He is quite the suave gentleman himself. You'll have to wait until tomorrow to "meet" him though. I want to make sure that I've got him just the way he wants to be before I introduce him. (I always see lots of things later - as in too-late-later - so I'm trying to be a little cautious.)

As to the really, really, big change, well . . . . .  that will be posted tomorrow, too!