Saturday, May 28, 2011


When life throws something unexpected our way it is usually a curveball, running the gamut from a big financial bite to devastating illness.  But a few nights ago we were surprised by something unexpected that has turned into something wonderful.  I must start this story by telling you we live in the historic district of the capital city of our state.  Granted it is a small city, we have no skyscrapers, but we are just a few blocks from downtown, and a few more blocks from Legislative Hall.  (lest you imagine we live in a regal, grand historic home I should clarify that although our house is about 100 years old, I would call it "vintage" rather than historic! :) 

Our daughter was playing with a neighbor and when we went to pick her up they were at the end of the street under a thicket of shrubs.  When we asked what they were doing they said "We are trying to catch a chicken!"  A chicken??!  And they did.  We asked around but no one seems to know where it came from.  In fact we flagged one woman down who had driven around the block several times and asked "Are you looking for a chicken?"  She laughed a lot and replied "I don't think anyone has ever asked me that!"

So now "Rosie" has entered our lives and our hearts.

She is a very friendly chicken.  I think she is beautiful too.

We have checked city ordinances and hens are allowed.  So I think we are the newest members of the urban chicken farmer craze.  She is going to be an "only" chicken though.  We will wait a while longer to see if anyone claims her, and if not we will convert half of our shed into a coop and build a run.  Rosie has made herself right at home, she is crazy about her dried mealworm treats, and I finally found a place that sells Purina chicken scratch.  I was puzzled this morning because she seemed a bit out of sorts, she seemed to be complaining.  I made a quick trip to the grocery and when I returned.....

I found a perfect little yellow egg!  I will let you know if it is a double yolker.

Hope your world is Rosie too!!!!

PS.   This is why I haven't been posting art, been shopping for chicken supplies!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cherry Blossoms

A sun shiney day at long last!  I have been working away at my little sketches but I haven't had a nice day for shooting photos in ages.  I was finally able to get outside and now I have a plump folder full of edited pictures ready to post.  The cherry blossoms (neighbor's tree) are long gone now but I am happy to have their memory preserved in my scribble sketchbook.

The city has planted a new tree in our front yard; the city claims the little patch of dirt from the outside of the sidewalk to the curb, but I still consider it to be "our" tree.  My husband says it's a cherry, but I won't be convinced until I see blossoms next spring. We used to have a beautiful maple in that spot but it was taken out by a drunk driver.  The new tree is doing very well.  Our nextdoor neighbor who has the cherry tree I sketched, is outside at this moment polishing his brand new jeep.  His pickup truck was recently totaled in front of his house by a different drunk driver!  Our street is actually fairly quiet and we live in a sleepy little town, so I hope our new little tree can grow in peace.  I hope it is also peaceful in your little corner of the world!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New watercolorist on the block

Just walked into my daughter's room and found this cute little scene.  Makes an artist Mommy's heart sing!   He has seen me paint at this lap desk and I guess he went looking for it. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger ate my post. Bad Blogger!!

Weeell, I've said my piece about this one.  I guess it is wafting around somewhere in cyberspace.  Don't know if it will ever come back, but here is my tiny painting again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Plastic wrap background

I started this sketch by laying down some colors with the vague idea I would paint flowers.  So I put purple and pink on the top half and greens on the bottom.  Then I covered it with plastic wrap until it dried.  I've been meaning to try this technique for a long time and finally got around to it.  I think I might have used more pigment, it dried very pale.  I decided to practice delphiniums as a warm up for a large painting I am doing.  The background colors muddied my flower painting a bit which I thought was a little (okay greatly)  frustrating.  If I use this background technique again I think I would draw my subject first and mask, and then lay down the background colors. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sketch Du Jour

Another scribble sketch for the archives. It was a glorious day today and this depicts my happy mood.  It was sunny and 75 degrees with no humidity, a day for driving around with the windows down (I could smell flowers), painting outside, and sleeping with the window open tonight.  Hope your day was glorious too!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sketch of the Day

This is one of many little floral pincushions I made.  Unfortunately I don't have a nice little story to go with it; I was just looking for something to sketch and I thought it might be fun to paint the details on the fabric.  The center of the flower is a pearl and a clear button.  The clear button was very difficult, I might have to paint a whole pile of them before I begin to learn how.

Speaking of learning, because yesterday was Mother's Day I got to choose the family activity, and I chose to go to the batting cages.  It was a blast!  I'm working on medium-fast baseball, and I'm pretty good if I do say so myself.  In fact, I had so much fun I went back today while the kids were in school.  I thought I even might try fast-baseball but I quickly discovered my left hand is bruised and my right shoulder is sore.  Maybe batting gloves would help my hand.  I wonder how fast those baseballs are flying, I know a MLB fastball is in the mid to high 90's (mph), so maybe around 75mph for the medium-fast machine?  I also don't know how a pitching machine compares to an actual pitcher.  I do know I am in pain so I will let my hand rest a few days before I go back.  I will let you know when I succeed at hitting a fast ball.  I am determined!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Scribble Sketch: the no stress approach

I call this the scribble sketch.  First you go to the dollar store and get one of those jumbo novelty pens, you know, the big one with eight different ink colors in one giant pen (cool!).  Then you start drawing your subject in whatever ink color comes the closest to the actual color (fun!).  It is a totally no stress technique because you are drawing with a ball point pen for crying out loud, no matter what you do it's not going to look that great anyway.  After your subject is drawn, throw in some cross hatching or squiggles to fill in the background a little.  Then comes the magic, add some watercolor washes, which look better if you go OUTSIDE the lines, and ta da, your scribbles end up looking okay.  You can also use Sakura jelly roller pens, they come in a wide variety of colors, which is what I used here (mine are sparkley, (more fun!).  I'm also thinking this is a very good technique to use if you are sketching from your backyard lounge chair and sipping a refreshing adult beverage. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

How weird am I?

This morning I drove around looking for Amish laundry on the line, curious cows, an interesting barn, the odd burro, you name it.  What I found was, the Amish are cagey about their laundry.  It's either so far from the road you can't get a decent shot of it, or it's very close but they are out next to it working in the garden so you can't take a pic without them wondering why this demented and possibly dangerous person is taking pictures of their laundry.  I found a lovely herd of cows right next to the road, yay!, but when I stepped out to take my photos they wouldn't even look up!  Now when have you EVER seen an uncurious cow that hasn't turned to gaze at you with that daft, lovable expression cows get?  I saw many interesting barns but none I could get a proper angle on.  Aren't these farmers considering aesthetic presentation when they set up their farmyards?  What's an artist to do?  Burros and sheep?  All out of camera range.  Not to worry though, it was a gorgeous day and I got some amazing flower photos, which hopefully you will see one day transformed into amazing paintings. 

I WILL be doing my sketch of the day, thanks for asking, but I am running out of day so I am showing you what I have done so far, which is to prep the background for a painting of delphiniums.  The drawing is completely masked and the blue is still wet so it looks a little buckley right now.  It will dry flat and the mask will come off and then I can start to paint.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


     Today was a day spent driving the kids to all their various appointments and activities.  During the waiting time I worked on this little sketch.  At some point I realized it was going to be dark before I ever got a chance to finish painting, so I plunked him on the hood of the van right then and there and snapped this picture.  His feet aren't finished but I think this is enough evidence that I (will) have done my daily sketch.  This little rascal gets on our screen porch several times of year and chatters away.  I'm not sure if he is telling us how happy he is to visit, or cussing us out for not clearly marking the exits.  Our porch is very popular with the local wildlife, we had a raccoon a few nights ago, and a possum last summer.  Although we get excited about our visitors, the latter two aren't opposed to making their own exits, so husband has to redo the screens more often than he cares to.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Daily painting number 2

Yes this one is a bit of a departure from my regular watercolors.  I decided to smear some acrylics around just to loosen up a bit.  I can't decide if this is finished; I'm thinking of doing some highlights with a fine line permanent marker but I wonder if I will like it.  Oh why not?!  Okay I'm off to be brave and see what happens.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bleeding heart study

I have opened my big mouth declared I would do a daily sketch, so here is my first entry, bleeding hearts from my backyard.  They make me think of my grandmother's garden although I can't remember if she even had this plant, her specialty was peonies.  I loved her garden because it wasn't a rectangle, she had curving grass paths that led you through the flowers.  As a child it seemed so big, and it stays that way in my memory.  Grandma is long gone but I will never forget her cinnamon rolls made from scratch with sticky white frosting and romps through the peonies, and gathering big bouquets of tiny violets for her that she put into jam jars and clucked over, because they were from me.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sketchbook pages for March and April

Here is my page for March, followed by...

my page for April.  I tried a little watercolor crayon on the April page, I think it improved the sketches but I'm not sure I like the gritty look of it.  I have been talking with Carolina of The Muse of the Day about quieting the fears, and just getting something down on paper without worrying about how it compares to anything else in this big wide world.  Nothing is going to improve your painting other than painting, one right after another.  So in the spirit of not quiting, I am going to post a daily sketch and see where it takes me.