Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Blog Award!!!


When you least expect it, look what shows up in the mail!!! This award is from Myra, of Simple Inspirations! Myra is the consummate seamstress, an organizational guru, and an office diva! How do I know all these things? Myra and I worked together for a number of years and she was always running rings around just about everyone there with her efficiency, capabilities and a killer 1000 watt smile! You owe yourself the treat of visiting her blog to see all the adorable creations she sews! Thanks for the award, Myra!

I'm suppose to share ten things about myself....but I have no idea what they would be as I've done this before....okay, let's see....I love to travel and will hopefully be going to Paris and England soon.....I've been to Alaska and I'll be going back there......I've been to Seattle and I'll be going back there too.....I habitually misplace things and spend an inordinate amount of time searching for them.....I'm a clutter bug and I suffer from the "piling syndrome".....I have recently discovered sudoku and find that I really like the challenge.....I've been married to the same wonderful man for nearly 20 years.....we met in an art store....I don't like fingernail polish—on me! I think it looks great on other people.....I love to eat breakfast out because it always reminds me of being on vacation (which is about the only time we eat breakfast out!)

Okay, if you made it through that nonsense, let me recommend some great blogs to  check out:

Kathy of Catching Happiness: Her blog is a positive place to visit as she's very upbeat and does a great job of catching happiness herself! She has recently entered a competition to go to the World Equine Games held in Lexington, Kentucky this year, as a Purina Blog-ospondent. Check out the cool video we created for the entry!

Lisa of Artsy Endeavors: This woman has a green thumb, a heart of gold and a very artistic flair! She has two blogs, one to cover the art and one to cover the green and growing stuff!

Teri of Teri's Painted Daisies: A lot of you know this woman as she is everywhere on the web or so it seems! She's also a very prolific artist that comes up with some of the cutest ideas for art of anyone I know!

Martha of Marthann's Musings: She's retired, but you'd never know it as she's always on the go and finds time for art too!!

And I'm out of time! Chris just said it's time to get breakfast so this is my list. Enjoy and thanks, Myra!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Can You "See" It?!

"Let your soul _ _ _ _ even if on borrowed wings."

I worked on this zen-word, off and on, for a couple of weeks nearly 2 years ago when grief was tugging me down. At the time, it seemed that my "wings" were too weak to lift me up. Whenever I found inspiration somewhere out on the net I let it lift me up. Sometimes, in order to SOAR, we have need to lean on others' inspiration.

I started to "colorize" it when I rediscovered it this past week and then decided to post it untouched as a free download to anyone who would like to have it! It's my way of paying back (and forward) for all the wonderful inspiration I see and read everyday in the blogosphere. If you click on the image above, it should enlarge enough so that you can print it off and colorize it to your heart's content. If that doesn't work, let me know and I'll post it over on Flickr.

*Please note this is meant for individual use and should not be sold, packaged or used in any commercial way without express written consent of the artist, Laure Ferlita.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Oh, Happy Day!!!

Have you ever "misplaced" something and then wondered if it was truly lost because it was nowhere to be found? As in "gone for good?" And it kind of makes you sick at heart to think that, but you've looked everywhere you can think to look, sometimes 4 or 5 times, and it's simply not to be found?

Well, happy day, my "misplaced" item became "found" today!

See that adorable little Winsor and Newton palette?!! That thing has been missing since the great studio remodel back at the holidays! It's an antique that I won on eBay and the ivory color is the original color. I am inordinately fond of this palette for some reason and I was most unhappy to not be able to locate it.

I pleaded with the faeries, the gremlins and the Universe to please return my palette, all to no avail. In a few dark moments, I even wondered if I could possibly have left it somewhere, thrown it out, or just flat out lost it. I did my best not to entertain those thoughts for long, and look! It paid off!!! Oh, my happy heart!! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!

Above the palette, you can see my color chart of the paints in this palette. I tend to move from palette to palette (sometimes not by choice!) and I don't always remember the color name or brand. This is my M. Graham palette with a couple of Daniel Smith's thrown in. Now I can finish my strawberry!

One last quick note: For those of you who are interested in the Artful Journaling: Foundations online class, there are 3 spaces left.

P.S. Honey, if you're reading this before you check your voice mail, be sure to hold the phone away from your ear! I was a little excited when I called!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Visit With A Genius

On Saturday, Chris and I met up with friends to attend the Da Vinci exhibit at our local MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry). I can only say I came away even awe of the man than I was before. A genius, most certainly, as well as innovative, resourceful and incredibly, insatiably curious about EVERYTHING!

I found myself wondering if he would understand our fascination with him today. I suspect not. I think he would be flattered, but what I glimpsed was more along the lines of just the way the man's mind worked. To figure something out, he sketched, took notes, studied, took more notes, made more sketches. His curiosity knew no boundaries, he gave it full rein. Something that I will allow more of in my life.

I went prepared to sketch with what I think of as necessary tools—pen, pencil, paper, paint, sketchbook, eraser, paintbrush. There were two other "tools" I should have packed as well. Patience and tolerance. Immediately after pulling out my sketchbook a woman approached and said "What are you doing?" She leaned in to see, nearly blocking my view of my subject.
 Bicycle Sketch
Ink with watercolor washes
Moleskine Sketchbook
3.5" x 5.5"

A flurry of responses flew through my mind, but in the end, I settled for a simple, "Sketching." At this, she turned and called her friend over to inform her that I was sketching. Apparently, it wasn't obvious by the pencil and sketchbook in my hands. The friend wanted to know why and what I hoped to accomplish. Again, a number of responses tumbled rapidly through my mind, ranging from downright sarcastic to feigning complete ineptitude and asking what she meant. (Experience, being the wise teacher that it is, has taught me the folly of engaging in this nonsense.)

Before any of this mischief could take hold, I responded with "I'm just hoping a little of the man's genius rubs off on me." Already bored with me, she mumbled, "Me, too," over her shoulder as she went on to the next exhibit. Take that as you will. I choose not to take it at all. At least, she didn't slam my skill level. My interactions with the public (almost) always amuse me, exasperate me, and undoubtably, confound me.

As to sketching in this environment—it was tough. There were a lot of people milling about and really, no place to stand that was out of the way and unobtrusive. Which brought the onlookers. The other thing this brought was close scrutiny from security, to make sure I meant no harm and was merely sketching. I was watched as I moved through the exhibit. No doubt they've had some trouble as there were signs everywhere of what you could and could not do.

Lastly, being with friends, I felt pressured to keep up with them, and therefore, I rushed the sketches that I did. This was totally self-inflicted as they were doing their own thing and did not seem to mind in the least. Still, in the back of my mind I felt a social obligation (also known as courtesy) to keep up. Next time, I will make arrangements to go alone for sketching, and then with friends to enjoy the interaction of the show.

If this exhibit should come to your city, I do recommend attending. It is a fascinating, but all too brief, glimpse into a truly remarkable life. I leave you with one last quote from the genius....

There are three classes of people:
Those who see.
Those who see when shown.
Those who do not see.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Not All Buds Bloom

"It's no good, no good!! Abort! Abort!!" I'm sure these words ring a bell if you've watch any type of thriller movie where the reluctant hero has to take the impossible shot, fly through an impossible situation, or otherwise defy all odds, not to mention physics, to save the day.

I heard myself muttering something along the same lines today as I was attempting to speed sketch some flowers. I was working on a couple of sunflower buds that were damaged. I stuck them in a pinot grigio vinegar bottle thinking they'd be a nice arrangement for a few days. Then I had the brilliant idea that I would sketch them. Without drawing them. Turns out thinking was my first mistake. My second was even beginning the sketch.

The poor buds huddled together as fearful of my paint brush as they would have been of a Dixie Chopper (think lean, mean mowing machine or "The Annihilator"). Needless to say, I butchered the little buds. I am not sure what causes my resistance to sketching flowers quickly and without lead. Perhaps it is that I like (too much) to get lost in the details and take my time with them. It seems a shame to rush certain subjects and flowers would be one of them.

However, with all sketches there is usually something to redeem it and I must say the bottle turned out quite well. Not well enough to be shown the light of day, but respectable. So I will have to leave it up to your imagination to envision the poor hapless buds before their butchering.....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's Good to Get Lost Sometimes.... the details, that is!
Watercolor Sketch 
5 x 7 inches

I had the opportunity to help a friend out the last few days. This required getting up and out of the house before the sun came up to go to a horse paddock 30 minutes from home. There, down a dirt road, in the middle of nowhere, by the horse paddock, was a cow posture. And on some of the posts, were all manner of birdhouses!

And since you know I've been on a birdhouse kick, nothing would do but to add this one to the "series," if these little sketches can be dignified with such a serious title. This sketch in particular was about slowing down and savoring the morning's gifts of coolness, soft light, peaceful birdsong, a quietness that bordered on an almost tangible pause....serenity. A chance to breathe deep.  

Friday, May 14, 2010

Beach Time!!!

Warm sand, sunshine, surf rolling in, swaying in the hammock, rocked by a western breeze off the water—sounds like a plan to me! Wonder if I can talk my honey into joining me........

The image above was painted during the recent "Imaginary Visit to the Beach" and we'll be leaving again on Monday, May 24th! Want to come and join the fun? Please click here for more information!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Blue Funk

Watercolor (painted directly with no ink or pencil)
in Moleskine, 3.5 x 5.5 inches 

When things are bugging me intensely on a deeply, personal level, I find it helps to paint something to represent the "bug." This adorable blue teapot had the unfortunate luck of being in my line of sight when I was searching for a "blue object" and so became the holder for the aforementioned "bug."

Perhaps the blue funk bug will tire itself out trying to find a way out of the pot.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Try, Try Again!

White birdhouse. Take 112!
5 x 7 inches
Watercolor and ink 
140 lb. CP Arches

Do you ever get hold of an image and you can't leave it alone, nor will it leave you alone?! This is one of those images. We have birdhouses all over our neighborhood. Many of them are ornamental as opposed to functional, but they provide me with great mental exercises as I'm doing my morning walk. I can't tell you how many different ways nor how many times I've painted this page - in my head! So I decided I had better get it down on paper so I could move the blue one I saw yesterday!

If you're interested in creating journal pages like the one above, check out the Artful Journaling classes starting in June.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sshhhh.....Sleeping "Honey" Bunny

This little stuffed bunny came to live at my house a few weeks back. His name is Honey and he holds down the books on the shelf above my desk in the office. Must be a very tiring job as he's laying down more than he's sitting up!

This is not quite so crooked in real life. I scanned it crooked. Not on purpose. It's just been a crooked kind of day.

This is in the small Moleskine sketchbook. Watercolor and ink. 3.5 x 5.5 inches.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Would You Look At That!?!

Well, you just never know, do you?! Yesterday was a milestone for me, one that's been coming for a over a year now. I have officially joined the YouTube nation! No, I didn't post a video of Chris trying to get a dead rat away from Andi. Nor did I post a video of him trying to convince Susie to give him a dead squirrel. No, I posted my first watercolor painting tutorial!! Yay! The video also lives on my web site, Imaginary Trips, announcing the new Artful Journaling classes that will be starting on June 1st!

These new journaling classes are for anyone wanting to learn more about journaling: adding art to the written word, using words as art, improving journal pages and we'll delve into watercolor basics as well. I hope you'll check them out and consider joining in the fun!

“What Color Is White?” is a new video where I demonstrate how to paint the birdhouse up above! I hope you find it useful and you'll subscribe to my "channel" so that you'll know when I post something new. Speaking of that, what would you like to see a painting demo of—a certain subject matter, color or area that you have trouble with or would like to know more about? Please leave me a comment!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Let Me Save You The Bother (Art Tools)

By nature, I am a curious person, and I've found some fun "tools" to use in my art along the way. I've also found a lot of duds. This one is a dud....for artists older than the age of 9. If you're younger than 9, you'll think these are pretty cool! I found this Crayola No Spill Watercolor Set during my brief foray into Target yesterday. Curiosity got the better of me and they came home with me.
On the strip of paper in the middle, you can see where I painted on regular watercolor paper with their "paint" on the left as well as my name. On the right of that same paper strip, I used their brush but with regular watercolor paint. In the lower right corner is a quick illo of some galoshes I did in the Moleskine just to see what would happen and what the "tools" were like.

The brush is actually like a brush marker tip with no reservoir of ink. The tube is hollow with no way to add water. (If there were a way to add water, this might actually be a cool tool.) You dip the brush tip into the little cups of fluid which are really cups with foam in them. The fluid doesn't spill because the foam keeps it all soaked up. (I suspect it is washable marker ink as it is NOT watercolor paint.) When you're done, you pull the white pad out of the blue tray and wash it and the brush in the sink and it totally washes out. No fuss. No mess.

The packaging gives instructions to wash everything out and not to let it dry on the pad or brush. The regular pigmented paints did not wash out of the tip but stained it. The packaging also says not to get it on the wallpaper, painted walls, vinyl flooring, etc. My guess is that once dry or with the right combination of materials you'll have a problem on your hands. I found no real value in the brush, which was what I was after in the first place. It was like using a dried out marker to watercolor with. Not much blend-ability with either their paint or my own. Verdict: Don't waste your time or money unless you're 6 years old.
You may have to enlarge the image, but you can see where the "brush" started to make the paper in the Moley roll up and peel. Not pretty. I'm not particularly hard on my other brushes or my paper nor are there a lot of layers on this. Just a bad combination. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

And Thy Name Shall Be..........Comfort!

Had some time to kill this morning, so I decided a good place for killing it would be in Target. I had to get some cat food anyway. Other than the cat food, I didn't "need" anything, so I wandered throughout the store. Dangerous activity. Amazing all the "stuff" you find that you suddenly need, but I digress....

I went through the little bargain bin area at the front....and escaped with nothing in hand! A rarity for me. Then I spotted the handbags and given our recent discussions, thought I'd check out the latest offerings. I consider Target to be slightly more fashion forward than say, Walmart, as they usually do a decent job of knocking off designer brands, following the trends and carrying goods in the latest colors of the season. And this is where things started getting dicey.....

You see, they had some really cute little handbags–in lime, hot pink and salmon. Fifteen bucks. Not bad. But try as I might I could not find a good reason to buy one of those little bags that were just as cute as could be. Because they'd clash with my closest? No. Over 70% of my closet IS lime, hot pink and salmon! I live in Florida. That's about all we wear down here! Well, truth to tell, they had way too many tucks, buttons, snaps and zips. Not to mention I couldn't get my sketchbook into one if I'd wanted to. Feeling a little discomfort, I moved on to the shoes.....

Once up a time, if shoes were cute and in my size, they were mine! The cute factor was top priority. This morning, I found a pair of really cute sandals. They were lime green with a big pink daisy in the middle with a jeweled ladybug on one flower.....and miserably uncomfortable. Back onto the shelf they went. Next, I saw a pair of espadrilles. They were red with a reasonable heel on them, reasonable meaning they were not 3" high. One of the straps cut into my little toes. Nope. Back on the shelf. Beginning to grumble, I wander on....

Back around in the clothes department, I spotted some capris. I love capris. I wear them just about all the time. (Again, this is Florida. Far better to wear capris than a pair of shorts that should not be worn outside of the house.) They were advertised as having a "comfort" waist. Hmmm, figured that meant they were for apple-shaped people. I tried them on. The waist was fine (being of the apple persuasion myself), but the legs were made for a stick figure! I mean come on, if we need a comfort waist don't you think chances are good we're going to need "comfort" legs as well?!!!

Feeling more than a little disgruntled, I found a bag of cat food and decided to get out of there. Reviewing the experience, I've come to the conclusion that cuteness, sass, fashion forwardness and trendy have gone the way of some other things I've notice missing here lately–like my memory, my ability to multitask, my waist.......

P.S. The title a play on words of a recent title of a post by KJ!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Not So Fast (Not A Fishy Weekend)!

Well, I had hoped to wow you with my newfound sketching-out-in-public prowess, but it was not to be. In fact, I only sketched out in public once this weekend and that was at a restaurant called Romano's. It's a Greek/Italian joint with a wonderful, friendly atmosphere. The sketch below is of the flower arrangement on the tables.
Chris had an gyro and I had souvlaki - yummmm! The big brown thing is a bird's nest. Why it's in their flower arrangements, I have no idea. It just is. Below is a sketch I did after I came home from St. Pete on Friday. 

This is a sign from the Fourth Street Shrimp Store - a very eclectic restaurant that we've been going to for 20 years or so. They have an old iron bath tub filled with flowers in the parking lot. It's quite a lot of fun to go and see all the "junk" they have hanging from the rafters. The food's not bad either.

There were suppose to be three more sketches, but they just didn't happen. I'm having a hard time staying motivated with this goofy sketchbook. However, I will persevere and I WILL fill it. And I will NOT be buying another one! Back to making my own!!