Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Growing and changing

Last year at this time I was taking a watercolor class in which we painted scenes from Venice (the instructor and some of the other students provided reference photos).  I was not very happy with the small vignettes that I painted in the class and have wanted to have another go at them so below you can see the before and after

You can see how much looser I am today than last year and my paint is juicier - it's all in the first impression and don't worry about the details.  I will have a painting (not this little study) at Art by the Sea at the Vero Beach Museum of Art this coming weekend.  I will show you the painting later this week - just framed it today
Hope your day is filled with joy and thanks for stopping by (I am so busy right now painting, planning a new quilt, and working on my drawing skills that I keep forgetting to blog but I will try.......)

Friday, January 18, 2013


So far this winter has been pretty warm but last night was a cold one - 46 degrees - brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Hope your day is warm and sunny,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Winter blues

I have been painting a lot lately - and I do mean a lot - getting some pieces ready to exhibit - but it's fun to play a bit at the same time

Sometimes you just have to express yourself - and I do that with paint.  This started as an exercise to cover a piece of paper with paints left on my palette and morphed into an art journal/layout page.  The only bad part about putting so much paint on the page is that it takes forever to dry and even then, it's a bit sticky.
I was painting with blues and then - I saw http://citycrafter.blogspot.com/2013/01/city-crafter-challenge-blog-week-142.html - their challenge is Winter blues so I think this works quite well.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, January 14, 2013

My very own Downton Abbey

I created the above project for the http://citycrafter.blogspot.com/2013/01/city-crafter-challenge-blog-week-141.html in which you had to use book pages.  I adhered the dictionary pages with bees wax to a cover cut from an old book, then painted over them with more bees wax.  Then I added a vintage bridge table marker and layered on lots of Prima leaves, velvet flowers, and lace; 7gypsies and Heidi Swapp tapes; real leaf; vintage lace; and a vintage flower ornament; and of course, the photo of my grandmother and two friends - with their hats and dresses, they came right out of Downton Abbey - don't you think?!
Hope you are enjoying the new season of Downton Abbey and have a great day!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Painting and quilting and sewing and......

A sketchbook page -
Fabrics being cut for a new wallhanging - I received a copy of the Pottery Barn catalog and love the color mixes of naturals with that soft teal or aqua or whatever they call it - so I went through my cabinets and pulled out anything with that color - vases, candles, etc and then I pulled out fabrics to make some napkins and a wallhanging - more later
Finally I wanted to show you a top that I altered - I bought this linen sleeveless shirt at a thrift store for $1 but I hated the regular style collar on it so I opened the stitching, removed the collar, and sewed it back shut - voila! A sort of Nehru/oriental/tuxedo collar!  If you want to do something like this, you need to be sure the underlying collar attachment area is structured such that you can rip out the topstitching, remove the regular collar, and still have enough fabric to create the stand up collar.  I have found that more expensive garments are constructed this way and are much easier to alter.  Many of them also have sleeves attached in such a way as they can be successfully removed without changing the integrity of the garment (living in Florida, I often remove or shorten sleeves).

Off to work - see you soon and thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

the three R's Reading, wRiting, and aRt

It's hard to believe that it is already the 10th of January but it has been a busy busy 10 days!!!!! I have been trying to find time to paint or sketch every day, and have a few sketchbook pages to show you.  I received Jean Haines' book Atmospheric Watercolours and have been doing many of the prompts in her book. She is a brilliant watercolourist and I find her book a treasure.  The above is my interpretation of one of her sketches - I am really working on the blending and softening of edges so the image almost floats on the page - it's there and yet.........
playing with owl ideas - maybe a Heart Owl - who who who are you?
A proud rooster - and finally just for fun
an imaginary animal.  I was playing, making pools of color when this little creature magically appeared. I know there is someone who has a blog who does imaginary animals but for the life of me, I cannot remember the name or the blog but if you ever happen upon it, this artist creates the most fantastic imaginary animals.

I have also been reading quite a bit - I read The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves (good mystery), Reached by Ally Condin (finishing up that series), Crewel by Gennifer Albin (fabulous first book to a new series!), and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing #1 by M T Anderson.  I read the final book as part of my wading into literature about the American Revolution for http://warthroughthegenerations.wordpress.com/.   This is a fictional book and a fascinating read - I learned so much about the plight of African American slaves in the northern colonies in the period just leading up to the Revolutionary War.  I was enlightened and appalled by the way in which they were regarded (as animals and as experiments) and treated.  I had read that slaves enlisted in the Revolutionary army but I never realized how both sides spread propaganda to entice and to entrap them.  The author adds a postscript in which he details many of his references for this book and suggests further reading possibilities. The book is written in a very unique style: the first half is written as a journal by the main character, Octavian, while the second half is written as a series of letters from a young Revolutionary soldier to his sister back home (Octavian joins their company as a musician) interspersed with letters and notices to and from other characters detailing their search for the runaway Octavian.  This book is classified as a young adult book but I found it very well written and definitely a good read for older readers.

thanks for reading and hope you are having a great day - btw, are you doing the Creative Jumpstart videos - aren't they great - so many ideas!!!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Painting the space between

"'Sometimes paper is only paper,' my mother says. 'Words are just words. Ways to capture the real thing. Don't be afraid to remember that.'
I know what she means. Writing, painting, singing - it cannot stop anything. Cannot halt death in its tracks. But perhaps it can make the pause between death's footsteps sound and look and feel beautiful, can make the space of waiting a place where you can linger without as much fear. For we are all walking each others to our deaths, and the journey there between footsteps makes up our lives.'"
      - from Reached by Ally Condie

These words reached my brain, my heart, and my soul. Art is a way to make the space beautiful.  Thanks to Ally Condie for stating it so very well.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Hope you are having a wonderful day - how exciting that it is the first day of a new year!  And with the word exciting, I want to say that I am not selecting just one word for the year; I am selecting a letter: the letter "E".  I had thought to use the word "explore" for this year as I want to explore in many ways - travel, painting, pastels, books, cooking, language, poetry, crewel embroidery......but then I thought that one word isn't enough (that's another E) as I want to evaluate, eliminate, edit, embellish, embroider, embrace, emerge, experiment, exaggerate, encourage, energize, and that's just the beginning!  So this is the Year of E - for ME!

Above is my first pencil sketch for the year (also posted on the Sketchbook Challenge flickr page) - sweet Hana posed for me - and then I just had to do a quick watercolor sketch of her also.

I exceeded (another E) my 2012 Goodreads goal of 100 books - I read 103 but this year I want to paint more and read less so my goal is 80 books.  I have also joined the http://warthroughthegenerations.wordpress.com/  book challenge and plan to read 4 - 10 books that are related to the American Revolution, some fiction and some nonfiction.

I don't think that I mentioned that a friend loaned me season two of Vera, a British mystery series - I loved it! The series are based on books by Ann Cleeves and are only available in the UK but another friend of mine who used to own a mystery bookstore has three of the books and mailed them to me.  I am so excited and can hardly wait to begin reading them.  I will return the books to my friend in April when Dan and I go up for a short fun trip to Jacksonville (where we lived for 10 years).  Dan is going to play golf while my friend and I discuss the books at PF Chang's - fun fun fun!

And by the way, my main Christmas present was a Kindle Fire HD - yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! I love it! I also received lots of dark chocolate, some pastels, a giftcard to Starbucks, and I will be receiving the second season of Game of Thrones when it comes out in February - I am such a lucky girl and so very thankful! And I won a Basic Grey kit from Paperissues - thank you Cassie!

Hope your day and year are filled with joy, and thanks for stopping by.  I have a pork butt roast in the crock pot with sauerkraut, and I made some Texas caviar with black eyed peas so not only will we have a delicious meal but we will be stoking up the luck for the new year with every bite!