Friday, January 27, 2012

And Now For The Strawberry Surprise.....

In yesterday's post, I mentioned adding a surprise to the strawberry spread.....
The surprise is in the lower lefthand corner of the page where the real strawberry was sitting.

And the surprise, you ask?
You can't really tell from the lousy photo,
but the ink is a very dark chocolate-y brown!
First, I took a piece of scrap watercolor paper and tore it down to the size I needed, height-wise. After that I determined how wide it could be to create the strawberry. I then created the two folds. 

Once I had my additional piece, I painted the surprise inside. After it dried, I added my text inside and out. Using my my heart punch, I made two little "paper buttons" and painted them. I punched holes through one and added a piece of thread that held a tag onto an antique I purchased this last weekend.

Using glue, I glued both hearts down on the outside to keep the enclosure closed and hidden until someone gets curious enough to open it.

My other challenge came when I realized I would need to stay as loose on the chocolate-dipped berry inside of the enclosure as those on the outside. I think I pulled it off even though there is a bit more detail on the inside berry.

I know several of you mentioned strawberry shortcake and that was a possibility, but what kind of shortcake? A biscuit, angel food cake, real shortcake? In my experience (I grew up the daughter of a strawberry farmer and my older brother still farms berries today), folks are very particular about their "cake!"

So, what say you—what kind of "shortcake" do you like best?!

p.s. my apologies for the lousy photos, the weather is very gray and overcast today. Ick.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

No Art Time = Cranky Person

Strawberries (No pencil)
Watercolor with ink for the text only
Double Spread
Pineapple Journal
I spent the day in the technological world of web sites yesterday.

All day.

It made me cranky.

The best antidote I know to getting over crankiness is to paint.

Here's the results of my "fix." And just like painting outside on location, painting live in your own kitchen can be an adventure.

Midway through, the clouds covered up the sun and I lost my shadows.

So what does any good artist do when the shadows leave?

Make up their own, of course.

After looking at the photo, I've decide this spread needs a "surprise" element added to it.

Wonder what it will be.........

Monday, January 23, 2012

Do You Like Surprises!?! (NOLA)

I like surprise...........compartments, unexpected finds and delightful treasures! So when I recently read an article by Jacqueline Newbold in the new Cloth Paper Scissors Pages Magazine, I decided to give some of her ideas a whirl in my own style.....
Cafe Beignet Sketch
On the day we arrived in NOLA, it was blues skies. Within the hour it was clouding up and quickly started to rain. KJ and I knew we were going to do a test taste of beignets when we went back to NOLA. (Inquiring minds wanted to know and so did our taste buds!) We happened up on Café Beignet and decided this was a perfect location to wait out the rain and begin our testing.
While we were waiting on our beignets, we noticed a small presence in the shop who had also come in out of the rain....
A sweet, little tuxedo cat was hanging out under one of the tables. It took a bit of coaxing, but he was finally convinced that an ear scratch might be just the thing on such a soggy day.
If you look closely at the photo,
you'll see where I used a paw print punch
to create a kitty paw print—more info below!
It was such a delightful and unexpected visit, that I knew I wanted to call out the special moment in a different way on the page. I wanted something that provided delight for the viewer of the sketchbook page the way the cat's visit did for KJ and I.

Jacqueline mentions using library pockets, cards and index card dividers in her article. Since it was late in the evening and I didn't want to wait until morning, I did a quick online search and discovered a library card pocket template.
The template I found is from Mirkwood Designs. Once I had the basic design, I created a pocket the size I needed to fit in the corner of my page since I'd already sketched the main image on the page. After I built the pocket, I then created a simple tag-type card from watercolor paper and painted the tuxedo cat.

I used green ribbon on the pocket and tag to coordinate with the green awning. Before gluing the pocket down to the page, I used the paw print punch to create a foot print at the top of the pocket and then used ink to distress the edges of the pocket a bit.

In my search for a template, I found lots of other ideas too, so I think you'll be seeing more of this on my pages. It's such fun to create a visual treat that's not immediately available to the viewer and it provides a nice surprise to see the special visitor we enjoyed all over each time the little card is pulled out!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Walled Gardens and Pageant Dress, Only in NOLA

Our last full day in NOLA dawned cold and clear with a strong wind from the northwest that robbed the warmth from the sunshine. However, that morning we spent touring the Beauregard-Keyes house (Keyes rhymes with eyes) and then sketching in the walled gardens. The walls made it possible for us to sketch without being totally miserable!
St. Francis in the Beauregard-Keyes Walled Gardens
Sketched on location
The house is named after its two most celebrated owners, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard and author, Ms. Frances Parkinson. We had an absolutely delightful guide and learned a good deal about what it might have been like to live back in the mid-1900's in New Orleans.

[I recently had someone ask "Don't you ever make mistakes!?!" Take a close look at the page above and you'll note one colossal mistake—the bricks....I drew what I THOUGHT I saw there rather than what I OBSERVED to be there. To downplay the wrong perspective, I washed some darker color over the bricks so that they are less noticeable. So the answer is "YES. I make mistakes. I also do what I can do downplay or correct them and move on. Lastly, I seldom point out mistakes because most of the time, if we don't say anything, no one notices anyway!"]

Other shots of the house and gardens:
Interior Courtyard behind the house
Cold, but determined sketchers in the walled gardens
Resurrection Fear growing on the wall of the garden
We took off for lunch and then spent the first part of the afternoon doing some shopping (purchasing pralines) and we then gathered to go to the Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum at Arnaud's Restaurant:
Sketched on Location
The museum houses dresses worn by Ms. Wells, who is Count Arnaud's daughter. She is the one woman who has presided over more Krewes than any other. There were also outfits worn by her mother, daughter and the Count as the King of Mardi Gras. It was a very interesting and close-up look at the opulence and details of the Mardi Gras dress of yesteryear as contrasted against our visit to Mardi Gras World on our first day.
The dress is encrusted with beading and other
embellishments. The train is made of velvet and
trimmed with real fur—it had to weigh a ton!!
Intrepid sketchers sitting on the floor
after a mishap with a broken stool
Our evening finished off with a fabulous meal at Arnaud's. The restaurant harkens back to another era where you wore your best to go to dinner, the door was held for women and the chair pulled back. Men wore jackets and the ladies were dressed to the nines. (It's more relaxed now, but only by a little bit!)

It was a wonderful way to wrap up our week in NOLA with a fabulously wonderful group of sketchers!

[I have a few more pages to share (that are out of order) where I've done a few different and fun things to change them up a bit!]

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Travel Safe, Girl

Andi, Gatlin and Susie
Possible Painting Thumbnail
Let me tell you a story about a couple of dogs named Gatlin and Andi.....

Gatlin was a mountain dog. When Chris and I met her, she was homeless and wild. Scared wild. She was so afraid of people, no one could get near her. We were on vacation up in Gatlinburg and had been visiting some friends on the Artist's Loop, when our lives collided.

We told our friends that if they caught her, we'd take her. We tried before we left, but she was too smart for her own good. Fast forward three weeks. I was on location in Atlanta, on a Friday, due to fly out that afternoon. I received a phone call—they'd caught the dog! Did we still want her? Yes!

I turned in my rental car at the airport, rented an SUV and drove to Gatlinburg that night. I picked her up the next morning and started the 12-hour drive home. By myself. With a dog I didn't know. Let's just say it was a memorable experience.

It turned out that Gatlin had been abused by her prior owners. Badly abused. She was terrified of people but wouldn't so much as raise a whisker to defend herself. She had the most expressive eyes of any dog I'd ever known.

Gatlin was an old soul.

We started working with Gatlin, to acclimate her to her life. Turns out, she didn't know how to play and she really didn't know how to interact with humans—nice or mean. Finally, we decided that maybe another dog would help.

Andi entered our lives.

We rescued Andi, our second dog, from a no-kill shelter two months after we brought Gatlin home. The two became fast friends. Andi taught Gatlin more about playing (by example) in two months than we would've been able to in two years.

Andi was a kind-hearted dog who had also seen some abuse in her life prior to coming to us. She loved to chase squirrels, to play, to pull the stuffing out of toys, out of balls, out of beds, out of anything! Andi was as high-key as Gatlin was low-key—the (mostly) perfect yin and yang.

The years slipped by and one day we learned Gatlin had cancer. It was deep inside her throat and it was inoperable. She left us in 2006.

Andi missed her friend, but by then, she had two other playmates, Susie and Specky (both were rescues and deserve a story of their own).

Again, the years slipped by.

As you know, Susie left us on December 30th. We lost Andi this morning.....

Travel safe, girl, and know that you'll be missed!

The image above is a very rough idea I have for a painting....of Gatlin greeting the two latest arrivals at the end of the Rainbow Bridge. I know she'll show them the ropes and help them get settled in.

I'll probably wait to do the painting until our last pup leaves us. For now, Specky is healthy, just very, very lonely.

On a different note, many of you have sent well-wishes for my niece.....who has recovered from her seizure and seems to be just fine. The doctors believe the seizure was brought on by a fever. She's teething right now and having a devil of a time, so it makes sense. It would also seem that these seizures are quite common in toddlers.

Again, thank you for the kind words of understanding as we do our best to cope with our losses and concerns.