Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Workshop results.....

I thought you might enjoy seeing what I did last week, under the tutelage of Ann Swan. I discovered that I really needed to organize a color chart of my pencils, to be more effective with choosing the correct color for a drawing. We also worked a bit on composition and were asked to take three dissimilar objects and create a small composition in a more contemporary way.

I chose a Pussy willow, a shallot, and a plum (yes... that's a very red plum...not an apple). I ran out of time to work on the composition, so it is now on my drawing board.... with the Pussy willow & shallot, needing completion.

There are many new techniques within the painting. First and foremost, Ann does her shading and 'darks' first. She also uses the color 'black' for shading... which was a huge 'no no' in my botanical art studies. However, it changed the way I looked at the subject and the shadows, while leaving the highlights for the end. Somehow, once I could get my brain to think in these terms, it proved to be a "light bulb" moment. I promise to show the completed piece when it's done, so you can see the finished product.

A shallot awaits it's completion and so do the pussy willows.
The plum is completed.

Working at the dining room table.... on my color charts

An up close look at what I am trying to do.
This project was long overdue and will help me a lot!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weather Report....last week- traveling....

The snow has left us..... but I wanted to share my 'last week' with you.
I loved the workshop.... FANTASTIC!! What I learned in five short days, will take me to a place that I want to be as an artist. It's going to take lots of work, but a light bulb went on and it will not be diminished! Ann Swan is an amazing artist, but she is an amazing teacher, as well.

However, joyful as the art experience was, I must admit, that driving to and fro on the highways and byways of Colorado, in March, is not for the feint of heart. I mean, the weather went from clear... to torrential rains..... to a HUGE dump of snow, which my little car would never have managed (had to borrow my husband's car)..... back to clear. I love Colorado, but honestly, I was exhausted by the end of the week. I want to HONOR those of you, who make a commute every day. It was exhausting, for sure... and not at all fun. But... here are some fun shots of the crazy weather. Tomorrow, I will share more art work.... and learning.

Remember the pine cone that I did?...
Well this one would be so much fun to do, as well.
I loved the snowy look!

This was my 'artsy' shot....looking out of my studio.

I literally stopped traffic to take this photo (what traffic you say??)
Actually, the lack of traffic made the commute a lot easier
(Heck, everyone else was smart enough to take a 'snow day' and stay home!)

Whew, I made it to the gardens....
totally covered in 10 inches of the heavy. wet, snow

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Workshop, so far....

Would you believe that in two days, this is what I have accomplished?? Well, I wouldn't either, except that within these buds and berry's and stems is a lot of new techniques, tricks, and learning. I must admit, that the blackberry is a bit odd... but seriously, it was a strange shape, and a tough cookie to draw!..... so not great, but hopeful for the next time I draw blackberries.

Our instructor, Ann Swan, is from the U.K., and she has a lovely way of saying blueberry... ("bilberry") and pussy willow ("Catkin")..... love that! Her work is just amazing... you must google her and find her website. She is just a joy to watch "demo" a technique.

She is most patient with us, and we are absorbing as much as we can. I am not the sponge that I used to be... so it does take a bit longer, but with copious notes, there is hope.

L. to R. : Blackberry, Catkin, blueberry above the stem.

Brussel sprout

Colorado is having, yet another, blizzard. I made it home through pouring rain, lightening, and lots of splashing about, from the cars. I am glad to be home, but now that the snow has started coming down in earnest, I can only wonder what tomorrow will bring. I may have to borrow Sweet Hubby's car, so that I can make it back to Denver. Three more days of classes.... I will let you know what happens.

Hope Spring is being enjoyed somewhere today.... certainly, not here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A rare find

I will preface this article by saying that these are NOT my photos... but those of a friend of a friend, who has generously lent them to us so that I can do a painting of this rare Rocky Mountain orchid. It has several common names, and we are still in the research stage, so just suffice it to say, that it has captured the heart of my friend, and she would like a painting of it, to remember her hikes up into remote areas where these can be found. I won't share 'where', because there are folks out there who actually go into our National Parks and steal these rare beauties. I can only ask 'why'... because by taking flowers out of the parks, we steal them from thousands of hikers who appreciate their beauty and soon they become endangered or disappear.

I am thrilled to have these few photos... and it will be a challenge, for sure, to paint what I have never seen.
Often called "Brownie Orchid"
or "Purple Lady's Slipper"

Latin name... as close as we can figure
"Cypripedium fasciculatum"

What ever it's called, it's a beauty!

The rest of my week will be spent on my health.... having some tests done (quite routine, but not at all fun), so I will be back in a week or so. Next week, I will be at the Denver Botanic Gardens; taking a work shop under the tutelage of "Ann Swan" from the UK. Please look her up...her colored pencil work is amazing. I am so excited... and I will have lots to share by the end of the week. See you soon.

Monday, March 15, 2010

What I like best about Vacations.....

I love being home.... but, it is a race between getting a long list of tasks completed or feeling like you are forever behind. I start the list on Monday.... add to it all week and hopefully, complete 80% by the weekend (which I try to take off and spend with Sweet Hubby). I am never really caught up. The best part of vacation... is NO Lists! Only decisions about what to eat (all the goodies I can not have at home), what to do (easy.... a lounge chair, at the beach, by the pool...).

We rarely hop in the car and go anywhere... (unless there is a Tsunami... or something rather special to do). Mostly, I just love.......

To hang out with my best friend
and check out the cove (that's us...above)

Sit with a glass of wine, and watch the sun set.

....Catch a rainbow after a rainstorm...

Check out another sunset....
(I seem to take a lot of these photos)

Maybe, catch a Ship heading out of Lahaina
full of lights and sparkle

I think that it is possible to vacation at home.... First, you have to put away the lists.....Then, go to a lake and watch the sunset...or take a walk after work.....or turn off the computer, and the telephone... and any other technical product: finding a cozy chair to read a book... or Make yourself a Banana Split... or a Hot fudge sundae?

How can you give yourself a mini-Vacation? If you can get away....Just do it, and if not, do all of the above at home. I will share any new ideas that you might have.... so let me know what you love most about vacations.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A gift from a friend

Before I even arrived home, this e-mail was sent to me by my friend, LL. She went over to my abode and took these photos of my crocus (notice the broken down pot, which did not survive this winter... and has since been removed). What a thrill, to know that something was growing in my garden. I took some more shots when I got home, but have not downloaded them yet.

We arrived home to sunshine and warmth. We enjoyed two whole days of it... and today it is cold and rainy. 'Tis Spring in Colorado...

Thank You, L.L. for the wonderful photos

Happy, Happy Crocus, all over the garden

So, I hope that if you have a garden, there is a surprise waiting for you...or a small bud just waiting to pop up and bring you some joy. Our first flowers are a little late this year... due to the cold, but there seem to be more of them, due to the Winter moisture. I am thrilled.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A special date with my husband

Yesterday, we had the great good fortune to spend some time in a very special place. Both 'Sweet Hubby" and I are fans of Frank Lloyd Wright. Not necessarily for how he lead his life, but very much for the way he designed "space". He continues to enamor us with his structures. In Maui, there is a place that was built in recent times (1994) but using original plans from Frank Lloyd Wright and built under the acceptance of the FLW Historical Foundation.
This structure is now a golf course on the other side of the island from us... a windy area, up on a hill, across from the valley from Haleakala (the Volcano).
Not a detail was spared in the construction and refurbishing of this structure. It is a private club now, but recently, they offered a "Membership for a Day", and we did not hesitate to take this chance to see it. My husband wanted this for his birthday gift, so, of course, it was my treat. Did we have fun (it's fun to be able to share a birthday gift!!)...despite high winds and a cool day? We had a ball.
I will share this gift with you.... of a very special place:
Circles are the motif for this entire structure

This circular, stained glass window
defines an entrance
Here is half of another entrance
Just stunning!

Here is the view of the entire structure
coming back on the 18th hole,
to the club house

In the style of FLW, not a detail is missed, even the exterior stairs.

I will be back, doing my thing in Colorado, next week. I have been watching the weather and it is again, cold there, but there was a bit of sunshine and warmth, while I was gone. I am hoping to see my crocus... and I am so ready for Spring to pop up around the garden. I will be back sharing my work and the world of Nature and Art, next week.

Celebrate St. Patty's Day a bit early... Think Green all weekend!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Great Artistry

We were out for dinner the other night and stopped in a store (famous throughout Hawaii) called Martin & MacArthur.....noted for their original, hand crafted furniture. However, they also carry original artist's work. This is a hand made vase, using the Raku technique. Of course, I fell in love with it...
I promise to find out the artist... next time I stop in this store!

With all good artwork, comes a price tag... this one is beyond my means, but honestly, if I had the money, this would be the first place I would spend it. My Daughter-in-law has worked with this technique and she might like this as well. Hmmm.... lottery ticket??
Create something beautiful in your world today!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

An study of orange, green & white

Well, here it is... finally... it's close to being finished. A colored pencil version of my lovely Turks Turban. I did have to finally throw it out.... getting a bit mushy... but I think that I got enough information so that I can finish this without the Curcubita sitting there. It's taken forever.... as colored pencil is likely to do, but as always, I learn so much.

Turks Turban... in colored pencil

I have really been 'under the weather' the last few days. I lost my voice (speaking, that is) yesterday... and could give out nary a croak. It certainly made "Sweet Hubby" listen more carefully, as I mimed my way through the day. Only slightly better today... but laying in the sun and watching the surfers master the waves, is a nice way to deal with a cold.

I hope that all of you are feeling on top of the weather... i.e. healthy and happy today.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Saturday Tsunami alert

As you know, I mentioned that I was planning to 'warm my bones' for a bit...and so we came to our favorite place in the world...Maui. On Saturday, we awoke to 6:00 A.M.!! We had received news on Friday evening, regarding the Chilean earthquake... and that there might be waves coming...even a Tsunami... but not for another 12 hours or so. We had planned to get up and find out what was happening....but the alarms outside our door did that for us. Believe me, I am grateful. The warnings were totally appropriate... and gratefully received. Turning on the television, we were told to pack for seven days along with food and water for the same time period. Not having that much food in our condo... we loaded our clothing, blankets, water and of course, my sweet hubby's golf clubs! Seriously!

This was the exact moment when the Tsunami was due to hit Maui.
As you can see, there is a slight change in the color of the water, but no other outward signs. We were told that the wave action was very uneven for about 45 minutes... but from our vantage point, you couldn't see much. All those parked cars were visitors and locals sharing every possible parking space.
We drove uphill about a mile away and parked our car, along with everyone else. A local radio station from Kahalui, kept us informed as the National Weather Service was keeping them informed. The roads around us were all closed, so we wouldn't attempt to go back to our homes. Finally, around 2:30 in the afternoon the all clear came over the radio waves. It was a bit anti-climatic, but not a complaint was heard. I just couldn't imagine the destruction that could have enveloped this it has Chile (which breaks my heart).
Evening brought a full moon and a beautiful sunset

Sunday brought torrential rains and huge winds. It was quite a contrast from the day before. The winds continue, and because of temporarily (during the Alert) closing the water treatment plant... and some possible seepage of sewage, we cannot go into the ocean until two days of tests are completed. By tomorrow, we should really be back to normal around here. I laugh, as I cough and sneeze with a major cold.....only in Hawaii.... so I think I will go check out the tide pools and then sleep in my beach chair this afternoon.... let the sun warm my bones!

One last colored pencil drawing to share with you tomorrow.