Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What's on my easel...

I just couldn't stand looking at that photo of me in antlers any longer, so I'm showing what's on my easel.

This still life painting of a bowl of fruit has been calling me every time I go by it and I always sit down and work on it some more.  It's been on my easel all week, but today when I went into the studio, there was silence.  I suppose that means that it's done for now.  We will see.

This other one, a garden of imaginary flowers, was created while learning which brushes make which strokes, but it turned out to be a colorful surprise.

It's been quiet here on the home front.  I am staying in for the most part.  The hubby and I went out yesterday to run errands and to swing by the mall.  I was thinking, for some unknown reason, that everyone had gone back to work and school. gets the square. (Hollywood Squares reference). Traffic was heavy and everyone and his uncle must have gotten gift cards this year.  Well, I don't need anything enough to put either one of us through that pain.  Hopefully, next week things will calm down and we can stroll the mall, hand in hand, and find all kinds of deals that have been overlooked by the masses....uhhh, right.

In any event, I'm staying in and keeping warm and waiting until Friday when the mercury is supposed to rise to 50 degrees.  Can you imagine what kind of holligans warm weather on New Year's Eve will bring out?  Looks like I will wait until next week to hit the mall.  Sheesh, this is unending...

So that's it from me for a few days.  Stay tuned for more art and as they used to say on television in the old days..."keep those cards and letters coming".

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve and I don't have a current Christmas picture of us to post, but the sentiment is the same.

As we remember that this holiday is to celebrate the conception and birth of Christ, we know that how ever we celebrate it, whatever our belief is, as long as we remember to honor Jesus, we will be blessed.

I hope you all have a wonder filled and joyous Christmas.

Merry Christmas
Susan and Family

Friday, December 17, 2010

Finally, I can post this...

I have been chomping at the bit to post this, and finally it's been delivered.  This is the present I sent my sisters, a portrait of one of their cats. 

This is a pastel portrait that I did in October and have been quiet as a mouse about it.  I had it framed and sent it to them this week.  They loved it. This kitty is named Zipper and he is such a ham, he poses for the camera every time we get out to the west coast to see him.

I have done several other things, but I wanted to show you this in the meantime.

Merry Christmas, Peri and Peg-Peg, we love you bunches!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's just two weeks til Christmas...

Yep, two weeks until Christmas and the only decoration I have this year is one poinsettia that we got at Home Depot.  Actually the only reason I even have that was to have something to paint.  I haven't done a still life for several months, so I thought a seasonal one would be just the ticket. 

I had fun doing it and while I'm sure I could have probably staged it better somewhere else in the house, it just worked for me on the mantle.

We have spent a very quiet week here, going to the gym, doing a bit of shopping and watching some television.  It's funny, even at my age, I still get teary eyed at the Christmas television specials.  It doesn't matter if it's the old faithful ones from our youth, or the Christmas episode of a current sitcom, I still get weepy. Always have, probably always will.

In addition to being weepy, everyone here in my neck of the woods has been on pins and needles, due to the abduction of a local 12 year old girl.  Her Mom had missed work two days in a row, so on Monday, concerned co-workers call the police and when they entered the house, unfortunately, they found the mother, Tina, murdered.   The daughter, Brittney was not there and it was soon discovered she had been taken by her Mom's boyfriend, apparently on Friday.  An Amber Alert was issued immediately and finally last night, they were seen in San Francisco in a Safeway.  A shopper recognized them from the Amber Alert photos and called police and they were able to arrest him without incident and get Brittney.  The officials aren't releasing much information, but at least she's safe and on her way home. 

I hope everyone is staying calm, cool and collected over the holidays.  My shopping is done, and after we go to UPS Monday, I can sit back and relax.  I don't stress out much this time of year.  The hubby and I get things we like throughout the year, so we don't worry that much about special gifts for each other.  I ordered art supplies from Dick Blick and he will probably get something from Musician's Friend and we both like to order shoes from Zappos.  So this season hasn't stressed us out in the least.

Well, that's it from me for now.  Stay safe and warm and remember to tell the people that you love, just how much they mean to you.  Take care, we'll talk soon!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Getting ready for the weekend

Hey out there.  Seems that Friday is going to be my day to post.  I am sitting here patiently trying to recover from my morning workout.  One thing about going to the gym is that I seem to challenge myself more than I do when I workout at home.  Perhaps it's the fact that I have to actually get ready and drive to the center to do my workout.  I know it's not the money, as the fee is only $39.00 a month.  I haven't researched any other health clubs, but that seems reasonable enough when you have access to an indoor pool, group exercises and every kind of weight and exercise machine that you may need or want.

Sorry, I got a bit off subject there, I was going to discuss the fact that I like to compete with myself.  Each time I go to Zumba I go a little bit faster, or reach a little bit higher so that I still am sweaty and slightly red faced when I finish.  It will be sometime down the road before I am not surprised with the image that I see in that wall of mirrors.  Don't get me wrong, I don't have a poor body image at all, it's just that I'm not used to seeing myself all jiggly and breathless when I look in my mirror.  I usually have a makeup brush or a curling brush in my hand and am in another kind of zone completely.

Oops, I did it again... I was going to mention that even on days that I don't have group exercise to motivate me, I push myself to walk faster and even run a bit when I'm on the track.  I like to use the recumbent bicycle and cross trainer machine and each time, I try to work a bit harder in hopes of building up my strength and endurance levels.

I promise that all of this is actually leading somewhere, so try not to doze while I get to my point.  What point am I trying to make?  Stick-to-itiveness! Yep, that made up word that says so much, it's now in the dictionary.  Perseverance, tenacity, just plain old staying power...whatever you want to call it, it's got to be what makes the world go around.  You just can't get anywhere by fizzling out, or by giving up or by quitting.  If you think you can, you might as well just sit in the floor and cry because you won't get what you want from life.

Having a goal and working for it is healthy.  If you are like so many of us and you sit for hours at a time, try to set simple goals like getting up and walking around the room every hour.  It is so easy to be at the sewing machine, or the art table or surrounded by colorful yarns and forget to move.  Yep, we forget to move.  It's a good thing that breathing is involuntary, or we might forget that, also.  So, let's challenge ourselves this month and at least set a goal to make some changes, and possible move more.  Park at the end of the lot at the mall (making sure you are in a safe spot if you will be shopping until dark), or take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Even little things like standing up straight, instead of leaning on the shopping cart will also make a difference in the way you feel about yourself.

Normally, I don't rant about these kind of things on my art blog.  It's just that I think it's important to do my personal best, because I seem to just feel better when I do.  That's why I did a second version of my bucket and tree painting.  I liked the first one I did, which is on the right, but I wanted one that was more transparent and went with the barn paintings that I'm doing.

(Click on the images for a larger version)

So that's what I did this week, as far as art.  I am also thinking of doing another version of the covered bridge in this same fashion, so be on the look out for that.

Well, that's it for me for today.  Hope you are ready for a great weekend.  Take care of yourself so you, too can do your personal best.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Everything old is new again

When it comes to art instruction books, it doesn't have to be a new publication to help you improve your techniques.  I am currently using a book published in 1984 called Acrylics, Translucent Techniques for Landscape Painters, by R. Bradford Johnson.  Now, I do have to admit all the paintings tend to look the same, as you are using the same techniques used in the previous exercise and adding new ones when you go to the next tutorial.  Of course, each person puts their own spin on color mixing and such, but they do all tend to look like copies from the book. All that being said, here are three paintings that I have done in the past week.

This was my first one, and I sort of forgot that I was going for translucency, and painted in a more opaque fashion.

The second one adds weathered wood and rocks... 

This third one throws snow covered trees  and stonewalls into the mix...

The next one will have a windmill and a rusty tin roof on the barn, so I really am learning as I go.

Hope everyone had a good week and a good Thanksgiving Day.  I have to get on the computer and get some shopping done, but other than that, Christmas shopping for me will be very easy.  I'm not much on decorating these days, but I still have some money left on a Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card, so I think I'll scope out some new, and hopefully, easy to display, holiday lights.  No Griswold lights for us, but if you are into that type of decorating, check out this site.

Well, that's it from me for now.  Take care and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Friday!

Hope everyone is gearing up for a fun weekend.  Since I didn't want to see that same artwork all weekend, I thought I would post this recent practice piece...

Looks like water is a recurring theme in my work. I got a bit wonky on the head of this bird, and it looks like those bird creatures in the cartoons. I was trying to make it's feathers stand out a bit, but he does look a bit furry, doesn't he? 

Anyway, that's what's on my easel this week. Perhaps I will change things up a bit next week.  I have been taking lots of reference photos of the trees around my house.  I really like to draw and paint trees. Who knows, maybe I'll try my hand at some wildlife next time.

In the mean time, have a great weekend, get ready for Thanksgiving and try not to over indulge.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another week has gone by...

Yes, it's hard to believe that another week has gone by.  I worked out five days last week, but am taking the weekend off to recover.  I was so sore last week, I think I may have overdone it on Thursday, but I'm feeling good today.

Anyway, I said that I hadn't really done any art to speak of.  That is never actually the case, I always have something in the works and I'm always of the opinion that if it's not "perfect" I just can't post it here.  Well, fiddle sticks on that.  I'm going to go ahead and post everything that I have going in the art studio.

I have been working on an oil painting.  My first in about six or seven years.  And I've only done two others, so oil is not something I am experienced in.  You may recognize the covered bridge from my trip several weeks ago.

I cleaned up the studio and set out my acrylic paints and tried my hand at some impressionist work.  This one of the boats in the harbor is very unfinished and may be destined for the trash bin, but that's yet to be decided.

This last one is in acrylic and is quite large for me.  At 16 x 20, done in acrylic on watercolor paper, it is taken from an exercise in an oil painting instruction book.  I am much more in favor of the fast drying time of acrylic so I am adapting some of those techniques to my acrylic work.  We will see how that goes.


So this is what I have been working on.  In between going to the fitness center, keeping up with everyday stuff, and just enjoying life in general.

We have been watching the new AMC series, The Walking Dead and it is super gory and very scary.  If you are into zombies, this is the show for you and you can catch up on past episodes here.  If you are uncomfortable with yucky special effects and don't sleep well after viewing something of this nature.  Do Not, I repeat Do Not, watch this show.

So that's it from me for now.  I hope everyone has had a great week and is rearing to go into the next one.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What's up with you?

As some of you already know, I take art by spurts.  I spent the entire summer painting and having a blast.  I still have several paintings I want to do as Christmas presents, but I have reached that time when I put up my paints and let things simmer for a while.

In my last post I may have mentioned that I am trying very hard to "get into shape".  At this stage of the game ( umm, age 57) I'm not sure what that shape will be, but I do want to be flexible, have endurance and a healthy cardio system.  So I've been hitting the gym lately and am actually liking it and looking forward to my next visit.  The Zumba Gold class was pretty intense, but got progressively easier with each class.  This week I am going to attempt to add something called "hooper-cise" into the routine, so I'll be sure to keep you posted on that.  My swimming lessons were successful, but with cooler weather here, I'm not too hep on getting in the pool.  Maybe a water aerobics class here and there, but I'm not sure.

What does one post when you no longer have kitties doing crazy things, and your jewelry making has been on hold for months and your artist's muse is on vacation?  Let me go to my archives and see what I can come up with.  I'm sure I must have some pictures that could be revisited...

How about revisiting my old halloween costumes?   You may have noticed my new profile picture.  The last year I worked I was a mime, so I am using that for my ID shot for a while.  One of my favorite costumes, (which my sister said didn't look like a costume at all) was the year I dressed up as Mommy Dearest and carried a wire coat hanger.  So just for grins and giggles, here I am as Joan Crawford.  Enjoy!

Yep, it's me with heavily drawn eyebrows and bright orange lipstick with lots of rouge on my Mean Mom cheeks.

On a sad note, I just wanted to mention that my sister told me that one of her friends took his own life last week.  He was a lovely young man and one of the first folks she met when they moved to California.   Due to his brief appearance on the Batchelorette, his untimely death by his own hand, is now world wide news.  This makes it even sadder, in my opinion, that the grief over this loss has to be so public for his family.  There is, of course, always more to the story when a death like this takes place, things that I won't go into here, but I offer condolences and I do pray that he will be remembered for the nice guy that he was. Julien you will be missed by those who loved you.

So that's it for now. I hope everyone had a good weekend and is preparing to be healthy, creative and happy next week. Remember to tell your loved ones how much you care and give them a big hug.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Welcome November...

Wow, can today be the first of November?  Finally we are getting some cooler weather.  It has been in the 80's here all Fall.  Kind of hard to get ready for Autumn when the air conditioner is still humming along. 

I have two more paintings to share.  This first one is based on the photograph taken by my friend Karin at Countryfolk Keepsakes.  In addition to being a very creative primitive fabric sculptor and doll maker, she is Mom to several furbabies and often we read about their antics.  Anyway when I saw one of her photos, I had to paint it.

My version of it...

And then I decided to play "what if" and added some large pine trees and came up with another version

 Karen suggested I add her little busy friend "Stan the Beaver" who resides very nearby. Maybe next time.

As I mentioned last week, I was going on a bus ride to view the leaves and to take pictures of some covered bridges.  We had a lovely time and even got to ride up the mountain and have lunch at the famous Mountain Lake Resort.  Here is a shot of the view from the bus.

 Not bad for a moving vehicle, huh?

Here is one of the bridges that we saw

and we even got to see bovine

So, as the old folks used to say..."a good time was had by all".
Well, I have decided to start hitting the gym, so I expect I may not be quite so prolific in the art department.  Last week in addition to my swim classes, I used the stationary bike, walked the indoor track and took a water aerobics class.  This is the last week of my swimming lessons, so I am signing up for Zumba Gold that starts tomorrow.  It's the easier version of Zumba, aimed at true beginning exercisers and those that might need to go a bit slower.  Hey, I'm not too proud to admit that I fall into that category.  Let's hope that's all I fall into.

Remember if I don't talk to you before Tuesday, get out there and vote.  All states have elections and I really feel that our voices can be heard. Your vote does count.

So that's it for now, hope everyone has a great week, being creative and loving life.  Do something fun and if anyone asks why...tell then Susan said to!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Evrything about this is "wrong"

I used the wrong brushes, and the wrong paints, but following along with Terry Harrison  on Artist's Network TV, I came up with a reasonable copy of his tutorial.

This painting was done using liquid acrylics instead of heavy bodied paints, I used regular sized brushes instead of big brushes and my canvas, an 8 x 10, is a bit smaller than I'm used to.  Actually, I'm quite happy with it and am now off to my art table to work on another one.  As long as I'm having fun, that's all that matters.

So don't forget... stay happy, healthy and creative!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Just checking in...

Well, just making a quick post to say hello.  I am getting back in the groove and have done several more paintings.  One I cannot show because it's going to be a Christmas present for someone that reads this blog, but one that I can post.

It's another seascape, painted from a photo that I took while in California.  I won't bore you this time with the progression of the painting.  As much as I loved using stick pastels, I am have great success painting with Pan Pastels.  They are so much fun.  But anyway here it is.  I took this shot right after sunset at Carlsbad Beach.  Hope you like it.

In addition to keeping house, taking swimming lessons and painting, this week I am going on a day trip to see four of Virginia's covered bridges and to soak in the fall colors of nature.  We will also be having lunch at Mountain Lake Resort, the film site of Dirty Dancing. Expect lots of photos, hopefully some that can be used as reference photos for numerous autumnal paintings.

Well, that's it for today.  Hope everyone is having a great week.  Enjoy yourself and stay creative!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sea Scape Progression

As some of you may remember, one of the reasons I went to visit my sister was to paint.  Here is a pictorial progression of my seascape.  The reference photo that I used was from the Wet Canvas website.  I am having so much fun using Pan Pastels that my other pastels are crying.  Don't worry little stick buddies, I'll get back to you soon.

Phase 1- I work from back to front...

Phase 1 A - This shows me applying the pastel with a sponge

Phase 2 shows the progress

Finished painting

We had a great time painting, and while I still have some great vacation pictures, I thought I would toss in some art.  I am going to work on another seascape today, from a photo that I took at Carlsbad Beach.

It is rainy here today and while I like rainy days, it is a bit more difficult to become motivated.  We'll see how things go.

I did sign up for a second set of swimming lessons and am currently practicing kicking with my legs and not just my feet.  Whew, playing in the pool is fun, but practicing technique is hard work.  Well, you know what they say about practice.

I guess that's it for today.  I hope you enjoy the photos of my progress on this beach scene.  Tune in later for another one.  Take care and enjoy today.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I feel like I've been gone forever...

Well friends, I'm back from vacation and everything seems topsy turvey. Unpacking, getting back in the groove, taking swimming lessons, trying to get DH back on our regular schedule of eating good food and know the routine.

I did have time to load some of the pictures I took while out in San Diego.  I stayed at my sister's other house, the one she uses as an art studio and the one that has a beautiful pool.  We had lots of fun and I was very brave and even swam in the deep end of the pool.  Those swimming lessons were money well spent.

Anyway, until I get everything back in order here on the home front, I'll only have time for a few pictures, but she has such a lovely home, I know you'll enjoy this virtual tour.

We start in the hallway, looking toward the foyer.  Take a glance in the living room, dining room, breakfast nook, living room and kitchen.  Later I'll take you outside for a glance at the pool, their beautiful landscaping and maybe even a night shot.

Hope you enjoy this first installment of the photo tour.

 Down the hallway...

Formal living room on the left

On to the breakfast nook...

And then into the kitchen...

Off the kitchen is the den...

I also took several other pictures of the foyer and formal dining area, but blogger with it's newfangled features, wont let me post them because of them being vertical.  Does anyone know how to get past that?

Anyway, that's a start and hopefully in the next day or two I can show you how gorgeous the outside of the house is.

In the mean time, I'll be doing laundry, shopping and generally getting back in my groove.  Yep, it'll all be about how Susan got her groove on.  So until then, let me know what everyone has been doing and remember to stay creative and artsy in your own special way.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hello out there...

Hello to all my little friends out there in blog land.  I'm sorry that I have no new art to share today, but I have been sidetracked by the little things that happen in everyday life.  Like taking adult swim classes for those fearful of water.  I am doing really well.  There are three of us in the class. One lady had never been in a pool and is really still very scared.  The second lady is learning to swim for the first time and she has adapted quite well to the pool.  And then there's Maude....just kidding.  Yep, I am the remaining member of the class.  I never learned to swim as a child, took swimming lessons as a young adult, but never got comfortable in the water.  I am very buoyant and can always go into a back float and make my way to the edge of the pool if I get freaked out.  So when I found out that our local county rec center was offering these lessons specializing in newbies and scardy cats, I just knew this was it.  I knew this time I could give this fear to God and learn to swim. I signed up and got new swimming goggles and after two very gentle and helpful lessons (and being the bravest one in the class), last night I swam.  I actually swam.  Goggles on, face in the water blowing out air with my mouth, feet pointed and arms moving correctly, I swam.  My eyes are tearing up as I type this.  You have no idea what a gift this is. I was unafraid. Completely.  I was concentrating on kicking my legs,  face in the water, blowing out bubbles, and making sure my arms were coming out of the water.  When I needed more air I came to the surface and heard cheering.  I turned around and looked and way down at the other end were my fellow fraidy cats, going crazy, screaming "you swam, you swam".  So you know what I did? I swam back. 

I am so thankful and feel so blessed to be able to have made this much progress. I am still stunned that I did it.  Just like Tom Petty says, "the future is wide open".  It was so awesome.

Now for something else awesome, I'm going to take another trip to see my sister, Peri, in California.  She and a group of friends were going on a fall trip to view leaves and she realized that she needed to be at home during that time, so to make up for her missing her trip, I'm going out for almost a week to visit. I'll be staying at their studio.  I'll  have everything fun at my disposal. It even has an in-ground, saltwater pool and I am going to swim while I'm there. We will dabble in art, swim when we want, do some shopping and of course, eat out.

So if posts from me are few for the next several weeks, you'll know why.  I'm taking my mini laptop, so I can check in on stuff and won't be completely out of touch, but I just might take an "internet vacation" while I'm at it.  Refresh will only apply to me sitting in a lounge chair and close window may only happen if it gets chilly at night.

So be sure to think of me the first week of October and if you're going to be in the San Diego area and want to meet up, just let me know.  In any case, I'm sure everything will go swimmingly.  Groan.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ducks on a pond...

Using a photo from the reference library at Wet Canvas, I painted these little guys.  Their website is free and has great copyright free photos to use in your art.

I find a picture I like, download it and pull it up on my computer screen to refer to as I paint.

 With the vision problems that I have, this method works quite well for me...better than a photo, because I can zoom in and out as required.

Sorry for the short post, but tonight is the premier show of Survivor and the finale of Big Brother 12. I'm a fan of several reality shows and even auditioned for Big Brother 6.  They had me so convinced that I would be picked that I got anxious and changed my mind.  I had even arranged for time off from work just in case, but when I got down to the last 200 applicants, I bailed and backed out.  Fortunately, I hadn't signed a bunch of waivers at that point.  Anyway, I'm glad that I at least tried out.

Have you or anyone you know ever auditioned or been on a television show?  I'm just wondering.

That's it for today.  When you have time, hop over to my other blog to see what else I'm doing.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My latest paintings

Well, as we have all heard, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But sometimes what I think will make a great painting just doesn't work.  I am still coming to grips with the fact that even though you can get beautiful detail with pastels, you just can't use the same technique as with pen and ink or graphite.  Even a novice painter like me has to realize that sometimes it's the medium you are using and not you.  With all that being said I present to you two versions of what I thought would be a great painting.  I was thinking of an ultra close up shot of a flower, painted showing sun and shadow and lights and darks. I think sometimes I get confused and think that a painting has to look good close up and that's not always the case. 

Any hoo, I've done a large version on watercolor paper (which in another topic altogether)

and this much smaller version on Wallis sanded paper.  Neither painting really moves me and I still need to work on the leaf in this one, but I'm posting them anyway.

Deciding on what to paint sometimes is a hindrance for me, but I'm working through that right now and I think I'm going to try a much more painterly approach on my next few pieces.  To aid in this I will be trying out my new set of Pan Pastels.  They are super soft pastels that you apply with specially made sponge applicators.  Since I'm not a painter, but a "draw-er" this will entail learning some new techniques.

So there you have it.  Hope everyone is having a great weekend.  Hope you are being creative and loving life.  Take care and be happy.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just a quick post...

Just a quick post to show several things I have done over the last week.  With my  hubby in DC this weekend, I tightened up several paintings and did a couple new ones.

Here is a still life with a stack of books.  I set this up with two light sources so I could have lots of shadows.  If, during the painting process something seems a bit off kilter, I like to bounce ideas off my hubby.  He knows what he likes, and he can always tell me if he thinks an area needs attention to be more visually pleasing. While not an painter, he is an artist in his own right (musician, singer, videographer and computer guy, just to name a few)  and being a carpenter always helps, because he has such a good eye for angles.  Plus, I trust his opinion.

Next we have a still life painting of a vase. As you know,  I am trying to find my way with pastels. My style falling somewhere between impressionistic and realism.  I really love the look of impressionist art, but have trouble letting go details.  But for what it's worth, here it is.

These next shots are the result of a conversation with a friend. She mentioned that the last time she saw me at our mixed media art group, I was working on the beaded vest.  She asked that I post pictures of it again.  So even though I'm doing pastel paintings these days, I thought I would throw in some of my previous pieces for folks that haven't seen them. (pay no attention to my crazy hair or my tremendously large body)  So Norma, these are especially for you.

All in all, I put in about 40 hours on this beading.  I also added bits of lace and some pewer charms to it.  Perhaps it will soon be cool enough to wear it again.

Well, that's it for today.  Hope everyone is having a good week and is staying out of the path of Hurricane Earl.  Looks like the Carolinas could be in for a soaking.   Hang in there, and even though hurricane parties are 'da bomb, please take any notices seriously and head to higher ground if so advised. 

Take care and enjoy the rest of the week.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Friday post...

Just two pieces of art to share, this first one is my DH done in charcoal, still in progress...

and the second one is a pastel self portrait done by looking in the mirror with strong light on one side of my face.

Both of these portraits make us look way younger then we are.  My sister says, that's probably because I see us as we were instead of as we are.

What are your thoughts on that? Is my inability to draw the extra chins from my vision problems, or am I subconsciously too vain to include them?. Even at age 57, I have very few wrinkles, so I'm ok with that part.  The mirror was about three feet away from me, so maybe I couldn't see the imperfections, or maybe they just don't show up in a "painterly" portrait.  Anyway, I wish I looked this good.

Well, that's it for this week.  Perhaps I'll have something new next week.  Hope everyone has a great weekend.  Say a prayer for DH and all the folks that will be attending various events in D.C. this weekend.

Take care and let us hear!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Working for the weekend...

Everybody's workin' for the weekend.  Remember that song?  Whether you punch a clock or need to get all the lessons done for home schooling, or like to make sure all the laundry is done before Friday, we all seem to work for the weekend.  There is always the chance that something really awesome will happen on Saturday or Sunday.  I don't think we ever get over that feeling.  I've heard folks say "everyday is the same for me".  How sad that must be.  No Siree, not this little red hen.  I'm always on the lookout for something fun and most certainly looking forward to starting another week.

This week I did work on a new painting.  Remember the snapshot I posted several weeks back?  Well, here is my take on that photo.

Since this was my Grandmother's home I felt authorized to take artistic license.  The siding was actually gray, but I couldn't make any of the grays that I have work, so I went with blue. The size of this art is about 16 x 20.  I have gone back and forth about the bricks in the foreground, but my sweet hubs, who is an excellent carpenter and a stickler for detail and preciseness said it looked good.  That's high praise in my book. The bricks seem to be leaning a bit, but I think that gives it a bit of charm.  The main theme of the painting originally was going to be the flowers, but I had so much fun doing the house, that I just let things happen as I painted.

I did have the painting of my sister's house and flowers framed and am sending it to her today.  I also included a little surprise for her, so there will be more about that later.

So I guess that's it for me today.  Oh, one other thing.  After shopping at our local Kroger's today, I was sitting in the parking lot getting ready to call DH on the cell phone (I don't usually drive and talk at the same time) and I suddenly felt the car lurch forward.  I checked to make sure it was it park and it lurched forward again.  I thought an earthquake was unlikely, so I quickly figured out someone had just hit my car...twice.  I waited until the little old lady (she looked a bit like that little old lady that stole the stuff on the Andy Griffith show.  You know, the one that they weighed because "little old ladies oughtn't rattle"), finally got into the space before I got out to look at the damage.  It wasn't that bad, but when I realized she was trying to sneak into the store without acknowledging the incident, I had to say something.  Fortunately for me, several folks witnessed this (with jaws dropped, I might add).   When we shouted at the little lady to come back, she had hit my car, she came back and started shrugging her shoulders and saying she didn't understand me.  She then went on about her business.  Well, that just wasn't going to do.  A really nice gal named Monica, got out of her car (on crutches) and said she saw what happened, and did I want her info.  She also took photos of the damage while I was getting the tag number, etc. and said she would e-mail them to me.

The little lady came back while we were still there and I finally made her understand that you don't just hit someone's car and shrug and walk away.  After refusing to give me any personal information, I asked her where she was from and she said Brazil.  I told her that here in the States it was against the law to refuse to exchange information when you hit someone and that I would just give her tag number to the police and let them take care of it.  Ok, maybe that was a bit much, but a person needs to take responsibility for their actions.  When I said this, she suddenly was willing to give me name and phone number and ask me not to call insurance people without talking to husband. He pay.  Oh, now she remembers some communication skills.  There was actually very little damage done to my vehicle, good thing I was driving that big old dreaded SUV.  If I had been in my Subaru she would have ruined it. She really did a number on her own bumper.  Now I need to I call her and let her off the hook or do I just let her wonder what's going to happen?

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Enjoy the weather. Smell the flowers and give someone a big hug.  And if you get hit in the parking lot, don't take a shrug for an answer.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday AGAIN???

Obviously I cannot believe that it's Friday again.  My studio reorganization is still a work in progress, but I did have time to watch some really good videos on Artist Network.  Just to keep my creative juices surging, I did a small watercolor from one of the demos.

That's all I've done this week as far as art goes, but I'm hoping to be back soon with my complete pastel painting of the flowers at my grandmother's house.  I might start a series of paintings of her flowers.  She and my uncle lived right on Main Street in Small Town, USA.  She was one of those folks that had the knack for growing flowers.  People would drive by the house just to see her flowers.  The house had a big wrap around porch and all summer long there was a constant stream of folks coming up on the porch and plopping down in one of the rockers for a chat.  Those days are gone now, that house is sold and instead of geraniums there are rebel flags and pink flamingos in her brick flower boxes. Ahhh, the times they are a changing.

Just wanted to offer a quick thank you for all the well wishes for DH.  His stitches are now out and he is able to get back into a routine.  He had developed a place on his back, right were the guitar strap hits and it needed to be taken care of.  More of a nuisance than anything, and he recovered nicely.

So that's it for today.  Hope everyone has a great weekend and hang in there, Fall has got to be right around the corner!

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's almost the weekend

Well, this is my first post since Blogger decided to change things, so watch out.  Things might go wonky.  This week I have been trying to keep DH quiet so he can heal from some outpatient surgery.  Nothing too serious, but he does have several stitches and since the area is on his back, I am playing Nurse Suzy.

I have also been re-organizing my art studio.  Since I'm having such fun with pastel painting, I will be putting away some of the mixed media items that I haven't used for a while.  I did decide on my next painting and have been doing some preliminary sketches preparing for that.  I have an old snapshot that I took years ago and I think it will make a pretty good painting.

You may be able to tell that something has been spilled on the photo and the house is tipping backward due to the angle I took the picture, but I think it will be fine for my purposes.

Well, that's all for me until I actually do another painting.

Take care and have a great weekend.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Flowers for the weekend

Let's start the weekend off with some flowers...

These steps lead to my sisters' home in San Diego. Whenever we're there we have lots of coffee and gaze out the windows while we decide what to do that day. Don't these colorful plants just send you?

This painting started out as a color study. Only problem is, I didn't stop soon enough and get out my good sanded paper. This was done on a piece of smooth watercolor paper. When it wouldn't accept any more pastel in an area, I dabbed on liquid matte medium with a smallish paintbrush, let it dry and then added another layer. This worked quite well. There's a name for this technique, but I can't remember it. In any event, I got the look I was going for. Now if I can just remember to start out on the good paper, I'll be headed in the right direction.

Well, that's it for now. Enjoy your weekend and remember to stop and smell the ________.

(can you identify the flowers in this picture?)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Humpty Hump Day

Yes, it's Wednesday. Hump Day. Middle of the week. What ever you want to call it, Wednesday seems to be here before you know it. Wednesdays make me think...hmmm, what have I done this week? Did I talk to my sister? Have I been to get groceries? Are all my chores done? Where can the week be going? What do I have to show for it? Do you do this? Think that every moment has to be accounted for, has to have been worth something, has to mean something? I try to get past that nagging little voice in my head (or that little character on my shoulder, like in cartoons) and enjoy life. My family, my life (with what talents I have) are gifts from God and I plan on enjoying them to the fullest. With that in mind, may I now present my latest works of art.

This first piece is done on an 8 x 10 watercolor canvas. The reference photo that I used is comprised from two Kodak Instamatic snapshots taped together.

My brother-in-law was stationed in Colorado in 1980 and took these shots and graciously gave them to me years ago. Using my imagination for the missing areas and eliminating the hood of the car, I came up with this...

Not all of my painting are "successes" by any means, but I can always pick out portions of each one that I really like. The following still life is one of those. Keeping up with a family tradition of asking "what can I draw?", I turned to my mentor (it's so nice to have an artist in the family) and one of the things suggested was a still life with fruit coming out of a cornucopia type basket. Well, I always have lots of fruit and I have a Longaberger basket, given to me by our Realtor when we became homeowners.

After several attempts I came up with a still life and photographed it and did my pastel from the photo. Right now I'm working better from photos than the actual item, but that's another story. Anyway here is the result...

Perhaps all this fabric draping was too much of an undertaking for a novice painter, but I persevered and got it to this point. As I said earlier, sometimes I don't consider the entire painting a success, but I love certain parts of it. On this one, I'm really pleased with the basket. I tend to want to draw in details and I have to remind myself that this is not a real basket of fruit, it's just the illusion of one. Looking at it, I don't really need to see each detail, to realize that it is a recognizable representation of a basket of fruit, a napkin and a candle. How romantic, imagine gathering up these items and stepping out on your deck at dusk and having a snack with that special someone. Right... then slapping mosquitoes and knocking over the tea and dropping the napkin...well, you get the picture.

Well, that's it for me today. I'll be back soon with more art, insight and laughter.