Friday, May 29, 2009

It's Friday.... what happened????

Preparations for framing workshop

I am getting ready for my last workshop for awhile.... picture framing.   I will spend Saturday at the Denver Botanic Gardens, taking a quick workshop in picture framing.  They are working on the street in front of the gardens, so it will be a challenge to even get into the parking lot, but worth it, I am sure.  I have tried to take this course four times and it has been cancelled for one reason or another.  I do not plan to let a street closure dampen my spirits.  I need to learn more about the framing process.

I have been working on this "Iris" for my Illusive yellows, painting class.

I am not done with this painting, but wanted to share it anyway.   I have been running back and forth to Denver, taking classes, trying to keep up with friends and the house, and continue my painting on a daily basis.  Sometimes the blog gets a bit behind... but then, I do have some work to share, when I get back to you all.  

I have completed another piece (the tulips) and I am working on several others.  It's all good....just not enough time in the day right now.  So, I still have a bit to do on this painting... actually, quite a bit to do, but I made a dent in the painting process, and I feel good about where this painting is leading me.  I hope you do too.

Also, some good news.... I am not only coming up on my first Anniversary of the blog (Father's Day, to be exact), but I have had more than 1000 visitors..... which may not seem like a lot, but I think that it is quite wonderful.  I don't often get comments but I certainly enjoy the ones I get, and I know that there are enough of you that do enjoy my 'jabber' and my work, to keep me going.  To those of you who have written, thank you..... and to those of you who haven't, I do hope to hear from you at some point.    

So, the weekend is here...and it will fly by.  My sweet hubby will be getting some 'medical stuff' done on Monday, so I probably won't write again until mid-week.  But, I have more work to share, and possibly a few tips on framing too.    Enjoy your weekend, and be well.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Tribute on Memorial Day!

Today, I celebrate the "Red, White & Blue" and the Veterans that have gone before us.
I am so grateful for all of those Veterans that have served this Country and are no longer with us.   Those who chose to serve have made it safe for us to celebrate such days.

I hate fighting of any kind.... I am a pacifist at heart, but I understand that somethings are bigger than that..... and those that served, in any capacity, help to preserve our freedom.

We usually head to Boulder, for the "Bolder Boulder"..... a foot race that celebrates Memorial Day in a beautiful way.  There is always a 'fly over' by the Buckley Air National Guard.... and if conditions are good, there are "parachuters" that drop into University of Colorado stadium, representing each branch of the Armed Forces.  Individual Veterans are honored each year, and the crowds have flags waving as runners come into the field.  This year, there were 55 THOUSAND people who ran the race - and it is always a challenge that has meaning for everyone.  For the past two years, we have not been able to participate (our bodies are not what they used to be....), but we are there in spirit, celebrating Memorial Day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yellow homework and practice sheets

Here is the tulip that I worked on in class and for homework

I thought that you might enjoy seeing my homework for the class that I am taking right now.  It is called "illusive yellows" and I had fun experimenting with my 'yellow palette".  I have sketched out an iris that is in my garden with many shades of yellow.  I plan to use that as my final painting.  
Here is the color mixing sheet that I worked on, 
plus my scratch paper, which is always 
sort of an interesting mix of colors.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Splash of Color!

There is nothing like a splash of color in the garden, to make you celebrate.  Flowers can be so fleeting, but some of them, like this poppy, just POP with color and give their all for a few short days....and then poof....they are gone.  I took the camera out into the garden.... craving some color and there they were, blasting out with blooms.   I just had to share these with you. 

Of course, in another area of the garden, happily establishing themselves, are the Colorado Columbines, elegantly dressed for a Colorado day.  Today will be a bit too warm for them, but if they can hang on, it will be cool and wet by the weekend.  

So, I will now head to the studio and work on the yellow watercolor for class!  

Monday, May 18, 2009

From color to black and white....

graphite drawing of  "A Sunday Walk"

A close up view of some of the completed areas

What did I do all weekend??.... and a most beautiful weekend to be sure.  I was inside, drawing and then drawing some more.  My brain was exploding from all the learning...and today I ache all over.   Our instructor, Rhonda Nass, a true master of graphite, shared so much information with us.  We worked for two out of the three days, on our pieces.  She said that we could expect to put in about 100 hours of work to complete these, and I believe her!!  

We were also trying to tap into our emotions to create these drawings.  Now, Botanical Art is not 'emotion packed', at least not for most people.  It doesn't mean that you can't love a flower that you are painting, but to create a 'vignette" of a piece from nature, that carries some emotions with it.... well, that was a new" gig" for me.  

I wanted to do a small piece.... not to complicated (what was I thinking!!???).... hoping that I would complete it over the weekend.   WELL.... not exactly, but I tried to find something that did evoke a good memory.   I find that I like to dig into my "Joy" well, instead of the sad parts of life, for my emotional work.   I have mucked about in the sad stuff, and it just makes me more sad, so when I grab at the happier moments, it gives me momentum to keep moving in that direction.  The bark from the Birch tree, and the feather, took me back to our trip in Maine, last September.  I can smell the salty air, see the beautiful Birch trees tucked in among the pines, and the delicate feather that some bird left to memory.... well, it did "speak to me".

This work is far from done.   It probably will require about 100 hours, and it is a surprisingly small piece.  I will be sure to frame it and place it where it brings back the beauty of a wonderful place and a wonderful trip.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Watercolor Class.....Yellows!

these tulips cast more of an orange tone.... can you see it?

the pansies cast more of a green tone, but with patches of cadmium yellow

The hibiscus shouts 'hope' with it's cadmium yellow (orange yellow) tones.
Can you see it?   It took me awhile to catch one to this......

Yellow is the color of hope - that is what a student told us today!   I like that!  I am taking a class in watercolor - the illusive yellow.  It's a tricky, deceptively tricky, color to paint.  I have a tendency to 'lay it on too thick'....but luckily, I have an amazing teacher and she knows the tricks of the trade. So, with the first of three classes under my belt, I have much homework, and much fun awaiting me.  

However, I will spend the next three days, working at a special workshop with a guest instructor.  I will be working in color at all!!   I promise, when I come up for air, I will share the ideas and work from these two classes.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The beauty of the Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding hearts in our garden

One of my favorite perennials is the "bleeding heart".  Every year they come back, better than ever, filling in more space....cheerfully hanging in there with the crazy weather (hot and cold, sunshine and snow!).   

Their lovely pink color, make them a happy flower for me.  Maybe they should have been called "Happy Hearts", because that is exactly how they present themselves each year.   If you are looking for a wonderful plant, that can handle extremes and still shine, this might be one for you.    

My wish for you today is a "Happy Heart".

Monday, May 11, 2009

Friday art group - tulips

Fridays are a lot of fun, with my Art group.  We solve all of the world's problems, and actually do a bit of work as well.
I found these wonderful tulips at our local Nursery and decided to draw them in colored pencil, before planting them in our garden.

Yesterday was a miserable day, weather wise, but we still managed to get a lot of the garden planted, and most of the pots filled with geraniums.  Today, as the weather improves, the plants will acclimate and then be put into our planter boxes.  I love seeing the garden come into it's own glory... and it's well on it's way.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

This is a pond, right next to the ocean.....

...where the bench sits, in memory of my mother....

My mother is no longer with us, but her vivacious, energetic, artistic spirit is all around me, all of the time.  Today, I miss her more than most days.   It's funny, how we just think that our Mom's will be there for ever - a fixture in our lives.  It isn't easy being a Mom, and it takes many years for children to appreciate the qualities that many Moms have.  We look at them with our 'child' filter, and forget that they have a life out side of us and in spite of us, yet they need us in their lives forever.  

I miss my Mom so much.  It took such a long time for me to get to know her (the real and true 'her').  We called each other almost every day in her last few years, and I could always count on her to make me laugh or smile.  What a gift.  Today, I will celebrate the memories.

I am grateful for my two children - both gifted and kind.  Both remembered the day - gave a call - wished me a happy day.  They are far away, and their lives are so busy.  I miss them more on days like today.   Gratefully, they are happy and healthy and content....the greatest gift of all.   

Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there - You are all to be celebrated today. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Life is a Kleidescope

sometimes life is a jumble...

This week has been a jumble of joy, frustration and sadness......along with a little stress, laughter and impatience.....probably a lot of other emotions as well.

There are times that I wish that life was simple and easy.  Ha!   wouldn't everybody wish for a day or two of that?  But, it's's hard, and confusing and frustrating, with a bit of "lovely" thrown in to keep us gong.   

In holding a baby,  I can't believe the joy.... When seeing friends struggle, I want to cry.....Cleaning up the house - simply dusting and plugging in that vacuum - brings a measure of pleasure.  I am trying to make order out of chaos..... unjumbling the jumble.  

I hope that your day is 'jumble free'.... calm, zen, peaceful, quiet, with happiness in abundance.   If, perhaps, it is a jumble, know that there is a bit of 'lovely' waiting for you, somewhere along the way.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Assorted Interests.....

Vienna Teng's new Album!

One can not live on botanical art, alone.... it must be accompanied by music.  On Sunday evening, we went to E-Town in Boulder, Colorado.  It is a radio program which features wonderful Eco-minded musicians.  Check out their website:
We were lucky to hear several musicians that night, but the stand out was Vienna Tang

We bought her album and have been listening to it ever since we heard her.  If you are hankering to hear a new sound, check out her "My space" where you can listen to her latest songs.  She is a breath of fresh air.  Love her music!!

The other good news!

Of course, while I was gone, my favorite orchid bloomed.  It is in a terrarium, because it is so dry in Colorado, which gives these photos an odd look, but it IS blooming, which is rare and wonderful for me.  Yes, I know.... I should be sketching it, instead of hanging out here on the blog... but I did want to share it with you.

A better look at 'my lovely orchid'

Today is lovely.... in the 70's and sunny.   I was able to hold a sweet new baby today - What  a miracle, and a lovely one at that.  It just 'made my day'!!   Hope you are getting a few special moments this week, with nice weather and some good news (no matter how small!!)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tulips in the studio...

Watercolor on bristol paper

It's always a big "Oops", when you start a drawing with water color pencils, and then move to a water color wash.... on Bristol paper.   I was at my Art group on Friday... grabbing these tulips from the garden before I left.... and I had my journaling stuff with me (colored pencils, pencils, and watercolor pencils).   I brought Bristol paper, thinking that I would just sketch some details of the flowers.... but decided to continue in watercolor, once I got home.   Well, I like what I did, but the paper is all warped now.  Oh well, sometimes you just have to get something down on paper.... enjoy it... and stop worrying about "selling".   It felt good to draw and paint, since it has been a while.   
Other things seem to be tugging at my heartstrings right now...... friends in need, new baby's, weddings, funerals..... so I am cooking, baking, packaging things, and making cards.... which fills the moments in my day.  Hopefully, life will calm down soon, and I can get back to work.