Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day

It's Labor Day - a holiday weekend that began with rain and gray skies, a really typical Labor Day occurrence in the Pacific Northwest.  That's how Bumbershoot, the music festival that we can no longer afford to attend, got its name.  Today the sun returned, with cooler temps and a lovely feel to the air.  The end of summer is here.

David and I went to see the gorgeous woodworking pieces at Woodpalooza, an annual show put on by the Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild.  Beautiful tables, chairs, armoires and so much more, lovingly crafted and all for sale.  Ahh to have pockets that could afford to support the artists and bring some of these treasures home.

After drooling, we wandered over to Useless Bay Coffee Company, me for a latte and cookie, David for a sandwich.  Although Langley was packed, we saw ONE person we know.  The tourists are still in town.

We then split up, David off to play golf, me to come home and paint a bit before heading off to teach my regular Monday afternoon private calligraphy lesson.  It may be a holiday weekend, but when you are retired, sometimes the days blend into each other.

I decided to paint one of our comfy chairs today, in honor of Labor Day.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Celebrating Life

Earlier this week I thoroughly enjoyed several hours with five dear friends.  My friend organized us to celebrate her being cancer free after a difficult road of surgery and chemo.  She invited us to go wine tasting in our own Whidbey Island backyard.  She hired a driver.  We began at Greenbank Cafe enjoying lunch in a beautiful outdoor setting.  Tummies full, we piled into the van, driven by Mike, and went to Holmes Harbor Winery.  Sipping in the sun, we chatted, enjoyed the view and toasted to health.

Then it was onward to Bloom's Tasting Room, After enjoying the delightful Bloom's wine we had an educational tour of Whidbey Distillery and some yummy samples of their liqueurs and rye whiskey.  Next onto to Spoiled Dog Winery.  As the afternoon rolled on we became progressively louder and more amused by ourselves.

Our final stop was Whidbey Island Winery for a bottle of their delightful Rosato Rose.  Sitting outside we sipped Rose and shared marionberry pie from Greenbank Cafe accompanied by peanut butter (who knew peanut butter would go with pie?)

I dropped some bucks at the wineries, returning home with 4 bottles of deliciousness, some of which I managed to share with my husband and step-daughter that same night.

I sketched one of my purchases.
Here's to good health, good friends and the good life.

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Bad Blogger am I

Ok, so 7 months have gone by since my last post.  It's not like I haven't been living an artful life.  I guess that I'd rather make the art than talk about it.  I've taken several on-line classes this year, and learned from all of them.

Mary Ann Moss's Sketchbookery class got me going with sketchbooks this year.  I just finished my second one yesterday.  MAM is of the school, sketch with pen, full speed ahead, have fun with it.  I made my second sketchbook, following her instructions and had a lot of fun with it.

Carla Sonheim's CATS! was the next short class.  Fun to fool around drawing real and imaginary cats.

Jane LaFazio's journaling class was the latest.  She's an instructor who advises to lightly sketch in pencil, go over your work in pencil, then a third time in pen, all the time looking at your subject.  Much more realistic drawings came about as a result.  I also learned more about mixing and blending colors.

I have other classes lined up and will post what I learn from them.  For now, some photos of some of what I've drawn and painted.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Has Arrived

Seems like the year just started and we've leapt into Spring already.  While March truly came in like a lamb, with the wind and rain of late, it may just leave like a lion.  No matter, it's warmer, and that's a blessing.

Lately several of my good friends have been dealing with health issues, and our neighbor of 20+ years just told us he's selling his house and moving in with his girlfriend.  While he's not leaving the immediate area, we sure will miss having such a fine person up the street from us.  He took care of our cat, Nugget, when we went away and we took care of his cat, Ramona, when he went away.  Good neighbors are hard to find.

In working in The Documented Life Project, the theme for March is "Making Your Mark" (marks and doodles).  I've now down three spreads, One sort of created itself, the others took more time.

This was the first one of the month.  I used my Gelliplate for mark making then cleaned the plate with packing tape, added some more color to that, and used it on the pages.

This was my next one, and was done as a result of all the issues going on with my friends.  A reminder to myself that change is inevitable and one needs to roll with the punches and grow from the experiences.

This one practically made itself.  I've been exchanging mail art with a woman named Honi C. in Freedom, New York.  She sent me mail that included some very cool tyvek painted with acrylics and the awesome "Rorschach test".  I sprayed Dylusions coffee ink on the page, then dabbed on the gold.  After that I grabbed a Gelliprinted black piece of paper and did one of my favorite Zentangle patterns, Henna Drum, using a white Signo pen.  Cut the oval leaves out of the tyvek and then was able to create the little creature out of left over pieces of tyvek.  Thanks Honi, I like this one, a lot.

Today I decided the sketch a photo I took out my kitchen window yesterday.  A friend gave me the bicycling frog wind gizmo a few years back.  Froggy really gets going when the wind blows, and has carried the pot off the deck twice this month.  And yes, it's almost as big as Nugget.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Keeping Healthy

I'm a believer in colonoscopies.  I had my first at age 50.  Polyps were found and removed.  I had another colonoscopy five years later - it was clean.  I was told I needed to have my next one ten years later.

That finally happened this week.  The preparation is always worse than the procedure and this time was no exception.  I had to limit myself to a liquid diet the day before the procedure.  As the morning progressed I became quite grumpy, especially when I got out of the shower and smelled the bacon my husband had cooked for his breakfast.  I hauled out my sketchbook and sketched a cactus.

I had to drink the final 4 glasses of laxative 4 hours prior to the procedure.  That meant I had to set my alarm for 6 am. While knocking back that lovely lemon-lime concoction I decided to document the day by drawing the stuff I'd had to consume in preparation.

When my doctor came in to see me, she asked me what I planned to have for my first meal post procedure.  I didn't have an answer but told her I was definitely hungry and looking forward to whatever it might be. Everything went well, in fact better than the previous colonoscopies I've had.  I must have had less anesthesia.  I was alert, peppy, with no desire to crawl into the car and sleep all the way home.

I told my husband I wanted to go to the Totem Restaurant, a place up the road where my son and daughter-in-law took us for Mothers Day.  It's close to the clinic.  They have really good bacon and that appealed to me.  We sat down in a booth, got coffee and placed our orders.  I took out a tiny sketchbook I carry around with me and proceeded to draw the place's namesake totem pole.

All told, it was not a bad day at all for me.  If you are 50 or older, and have never had a colonoscopy, GET ONE!  The life you save may be your own.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sketching my life away

I received a post card today from a woman named Honi C in New York.  She sent it to me as a result of seeing my name on the MMSA (Mail Me Some Art) listing.  This is an online board for exchanging mail art.  She unofficially welcomed me to the group of artists - not knowing, I guess, that I've been participating in their exchanges for well over a year.  I did, however, only sign up for the mail exchange this year.

No matter.  Her card gave me a reason to use a piece of watercolor paper I'd plopped my coffee filter on yesterday to create some stains.  I'll mail it to her tomorrow.

What a fun coffee break this was.

It lead to more sketching, in my sketchbook using walnut ink.

And, of course, I needed to use up the other piece of stained paper for another postcard.  Just getting ready for National Letter Writing Month in April.

I took the filter I'd used to make my afternoon cup of coffee and pressed it onto my sketchbook.  Once it dried, I tried my hand at just painting with no preliminary sketching.

Keeping the paper staining process going, I took a bag from a cup of green tea and placed it on a piece of watercolor paper.  The result was far lighter, not much stain at all.  

After dinner I had fun trying out some new indigo drawing ink on the green tea stain.

Ok, so I may not of sketched my life away - but I certainly did sketch most of the afternoon.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Creative Block Blahs

I'm in the midst of them.  It happens.  I have no idea how to finish this week's Documented Life challenge.  The challenge is to cover up the good stuff, the prompt is what lies beneath.  So I glued some good stuff down on the page, including a cute little valentine I got from my friend, Nancy.  Then I started covering up with paint, dyes, acrylics and white gesso.  I used molding past and created some texture.  Now everything is blue and purple, with some gold accent and I have no idea where to go from here.

I added more to the pages and then discovered I used the wrong prompt.  Should be Going Undercover.  My quote doesn't make sense in that context HOWEVER, I discovered an Irish writer I want to read more of - Robert Wilson Lynd and ms creativity returned for a bit this afternoon leaving me quite giddy.

My enlargement of the quote was sideways and I can't figure out how to turn it, so left it out.  The quote by Mr Lynd is:
"There are two sorts of curiosity - the momentary and the permanent.  The momentary is concerned with the odd appearance on the surface of things.  The permanent is attracted by the amazing and consecutive life that flows on beneath the surface of things."

I've written it down numerous times.  I left out "ary" as in momentary, on the piece and think to myself, "well then, that's part of the odd appearance on the surface of things, isn't it."  Other than thinking it needs a bit of black, I'm thinking it's done.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

40 Ruby Years

David and I have been married 40 years, today.  We met in San Diego.  I was the secretary at a HUD housing apartment.  David had recently arrived from Massachusetts, with plans to go back and get the woman with whom he was in a relationship.  He was hired to be the maintenance man.  We met, attended a company party together and launched into an affair.  My boss, the manager of the complex, thought our behavior was scandalous and predicted, when we both quit our jobs, that we would never last.

We moved to the San Francisco area, lived there for a year, moved further north to Douglas City.  The house we were renting burned down when we were in Las Vegas for my sister's wedding.  Ultimately we immigrated to Vancouver Island, Canada where our son, Andy, was born.  When David couldn't find work in Canada, we moved back to the US, this time to Washington State where David started working at Boeing.

We moved from Everett to Whidbey Island 33 years ago.  I am blessed to live in a beautiful part of the world, surrounded with people I love, am now retired and able to create art whenever I want.  My husband is my biggest supporter.  He loves me when I am my best and somehow, continues to love me when I am at my worst.  I am so lucky.

Yesterday David played golf.  I sketched and painted.  I gave him the results today.  The 40th anniversary is traditionally celebrated with a ruby gift.  We aren't very traditional - in fact, I have a cold, so our going out to dinner to celebrate will happen in the future.  Happy Anniversary, Dear David.

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Circus I Would Run Away to

Yesterday my husband and I went to see KURIOS, a production of Cirque du Soleil.  I'm trying to remember how many of their shows we've been to and I'm guessing about 6 of them.  This one was different and fabulous.  I loved it.

We went to the matinee and got there about 1/2 hour before the doors opened.  I'd brought my little sketchbook.  Hauled it out and sketched Le Grand Chapiteau.

I didn't capture the benches in front of the big tent, or the stancions, or the crowds.  You'll just have to use your imagination.  And now I'm imagining I'm running away to Montreal to join this circus.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Internet Frustrations

There are times when the internet frustrates me beyond belief.  I have a laptop, on which I am composing this blog.  I also have an iPad.  For the past 1/2 hour I've been trying to book flights to Sacramento for my annual trip to MARS.  Apparently, something is slowing down the interweb so that I cannot access the airline flight reservation page.  Either that, or something else is going on.  As I write this, I've fixed the internet.  Router just needed a reboot.

So, I'll just use this time to post a couple of sketches I've done.  Flowers.  The hellebore grows in my garden and is the only thing blooming this time of year.  Well, it and a viburnum bush that has tiny nondescript flowers.  This is my third sketch of the hellebore.  The first was done from a distance, the second in a vase, and this one when I took it out of the vase, cut off the end, and laid the flower on the table.

Then this morning, after exercising I stopped at the grocery store where a vast array of primroses was available for sale.  I purchased a blue one, brought it home and proceeded to sketch using walnut ink.  I LIKE walnut ink.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


I don't have many that I can formulate into coherent thoughts.  Here is sketch I also posted in the Sketchbookery class I'm taking from Mary Ann Moss.  I decided to sketch and paint a mug and tea strainer.  Then I decided I needed a cup of tea so I made Rooibos tea which then got me wondering about what that plant is.  More research and more painting.  I fell down the rabbit hole with this one.

Another Month, Another Post

So how can a month have gone by since I last posted something?  Easy... time flies when you are having fun.  And I'm having fun in my life.  I LOVE being retired.  The longer I'm at it, the better it is.  Not much to say, but boy have I been busy sketching and painting.  Creating spreads in my huge journal for the Documented Life Project, and doing tiny sketches in the little sketchbook my friend Suzanne gave me.  Here are some pics of what I've been doing.
 This was in my Documented Life Project journal.  My book group picks a tarot card every January to act as guidance for us during the year.  I picked the 3 of swords - a really painful card.  And you know what?  It suited me to pick it.  I was going through a LOT of empathetic pain for a couple of friends of mine at the time.  Fortunately, things are better for them, so the pain isn't bad anymore.

 I spent the day with my friend, Kelly, doing art.  I had a good time in her studio.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Another Year, Another Blog

So I'm going to try for blog number 3.  They say three's the magic number (whoever "they" are).  Now that I'm retired, perhaps I can keep this thing going.  I want to share, with whoever wants to look, the artfuller things I do in my spare time.  And these days there is a bit more spare time than in 2008 and 2013 when I first tried my hand at blogging.

I'm starting my second year in the DLP.  Last year was a Moleskine turned into a planner, diary, art journal.  I amazed myself by keeping up with each weekly challenge and having a really fat book at the end of 2014.  

This year the format is different, with a large journal for monthly themes and weekly challenges and prompts.

In addition, I'm taking Mary Ann Moss's on-line class, Sketchbookery.  One of my goals this year is to improve my sketching and watercolor ability.

Happy New Year.