Monday, October 30, 2006
My dear son and his wife took their children to the Pumpkin Patch a few weekends ago. The toddlers rode the train, went to the petting zoo, picked out pumpkins, rode the ponies, and had a ball! He shared the photos with me and I decided to try -- AGAIN -- to capture their sweet faces. SIGH!
Well, the ones of Emily and Nick sitting on pumpkins are okay, but look more like illustrations than my grands -- but the larger one of Emily holding a pumpkin with a huge grin on her face --well, that's closer ....
More practice .... definitely more PRACTICE!!!
The leaves are dropping quickly around here. Recent high winds and rains have already stripped many of the trees. Those leaves remaining are muted and dulled. Only a few weeks of fall this year ... darn!
So I decided to revisit Venice through Bonny's photographs. Here's one of my favorites of her's ...a cafe, canal in the background, and more lovely architecture.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
I'm continuing my contributions to Kate's alumni Fall theme ... here some green grapes. I tried to vary the grapes from the leaves in color -- but still wound up with a very GREEN image ... ah, more green color mixing on my agenda!
Friday, October 27, 2006
I was away for a few days training in leadership skills. I arrived at the Conference Center a bit early and had a chance to walk in the brightly colored woods! I almost got lost -- mercy, my sense of direction worsens each year it seems! BUT I found some wonderful white pine trees and their cones, some acorns still intact (I haven't found ANY on my own property even with all the oak trees! Those squirrels must be busy!) and some maple leaves that had finally turned red/orange. After dinner we all retired early and I had a chance to sketch before the conference was in full swing...
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I sketched this bee to honor the work of this important pollinator. There was a recent news items about the threatened condition of our bees and it reminded me of the book by Gary Nabhan "The Forgotten Pollinators" -- an entire volume about the imporant work of these wee creatures and the precarious condition of many of these species.
When my dh and I moved to the woodlands, instead of grass, we planted clover to help draw more bees to our gardens -- especially because the bees pollinated the many vegetables we were growing. We also severely limited our use of pesticides as well. Over the years, we've seen area farmers RENT bee hives so that their crops were pollinated sufficiently for a crop to be grown and harvested. Scary .....
So, honor the bees, and other wee winged warriors ....
Fall sure has come and is going mighty fast!
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Mornings have been in the high 30s here -- BRRR!!!!!
Monday, October 23, 2006
Such a busy weekend for us -- a bit of work, visits with the grands, C having to work ... but enough time to get in a longish sketch. This was from a photo reference. I wanted to sketch a few more apples and grapes in honor of the season.. Allof our apples have been dried and placed in the freezer for holiday gifts and we just didn't have time to squeeze in a visit to the grocery store!
The rain and even cooler nights have really brightened the colors of the trees --and already some of the leaves have dropped. I spotted a few sycamore and tulip poplar with bare limbs!
(Pencil, watercolor, touch of ink done in Raffine sketchbook.)
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Watching my grandchildren play is probably one of the most endearing experiences of my life! How fast they learn and emulate those around them!
Here, Emily has learned motherhood at an early age ... the tender and gentle way she has with her doll absolutely brought tears to my eyes!
And Nick -- while he follows Emily and does whatever she does, he spent a good thirty minutes cooking and making sure he shared his meal with me! Oh how I love a man who cooks!
This awesomely fragrant shrub/tree is abloom again! I was tempted to sketch more of the brilliant leaves that typically symbolize fall, but the luminous green of this tree and the fragrance, convinced me that THIS had to be sketched and remembered as part of this season! I clipped a stem and as I sketched it, I was almost INTOXICATED by the sweetest scent in the world!
Osmanthus fragrans blooms several times each year and this fall with the air crisper and less humid, the scent can be inhaled from the porch!
We had Emily and Nick this weekend -- and what fun! They're talking more and more and of course with that communication, expressing more of their OWN views -- particularly as voiced in the two letter word "NO!" LOL
Friday, October 20, 2006
I tried two methods: watercolor and pencil and watercolor and ink. I like both -- the pencil is a bit softer, but I also like the contract of the ink and watercolor .... hmmmmmm
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I parked the car in the middle of the driveway to dash outside and collect a few leaves to sketch tonight.
The left, a sweetgum, was one that had a bit of red that just was delightful (and YES, I didn't pay a lick of attention to the PROPER veining -- SIGH! and what I painted is wrong -- but oh well, that'll teach me to PAY ATTENTION AND SKETCH WHAT I SEE!!! lol)
The leaf on the right is a winged sumac -- green veins in the center circled with rich reds!
OH HOW I LOVE FALL!
With a nod to Teri and the cooler temperatures these past two weeks, the prickly pears that ornament many of our southern gardens are ripening to a rich, wine red. Though I used a photo reference for this sketch (and some memory), the pears are especially ripe at the Mexican restaurants around my college's town.
Years ago when I had more time, I used to collect these fruits and render them into salads and jams -- the color was just perfect for holiday season gifts!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The model was a plastic, 1" button with a pearl like center surrounded by a semi-chain of gold ...
1. Watercolor alone -- no underdrawing -- While I like the softness of this, I can see I need a TON of practice to get better shapes and definition with a brush ...
2. I like the splash of ink - but think the lines are a bit too heavy
3. Pencil with watercolor -- a softer version that I tend to use
4. Pencil with watercolor and a mere touch of ink for shadow -- I think the shadow could have been better achieved with a liner brush and wtercolor
5. Is probably my favorite -- pencil undersketch, touches of LIGHT ink and watercolor
6. Pencil alone -- okay, but I miss the color
I'll continue these experiments as I haven't felt the 'AHA' of a particular style ... what I have determined is that even after 15 months of sketching (okay, so I'm a tad impatient!! LOL) -- I have a LONG way to go to achieve the accuracy and detailing I admire in others' works -- and DITTO for the watercolor!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I'm back to being totally infatuated with pen and watercolor! Somehow I just can't enjoy enough of this blending of loose wash and more structured line ... must be the Libra in me! LOL
Yesterday, a friend of mine graced us with a cooler filled with deer meat -- my husband and I eat a good amount of venison when we can get it . Neither of us are hunters -- I couldn't hit the trunk of a tree sitting in it! But this gift will go a long way ... So I drove the hour and a half BACK to Oxford so Charles and I could work on the meat and ready it for the freezer -- a busy night.
The cooler temperatures are really changing the colors of the leaves -- and I noticed that the mums at the Arboretum have a tinge of winter brown in them .... I hope the fall weather lingers a bit longer ... I really enjoy this time of year.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Saturday, Charles and I drove an hour and a half to see the Glencoe Village near Burlington for their Front Porch festival. My friend, Kathleen was exhibiting some of her fine Italian watercolors and we wanted to see her. It was a glorious, cool fall day, and Charles took all the backroads from Oxford to Burlington -- beautiful, beautiful!! The trees, with the colder evenings we've been having, are finally turning to yellow and gold and a bit of red. And the drive was really nice.
Glencoe, I understand, was a mill town -- complete with factory and mill houses that is now being renovated, restored and preserved. The festival exhibits, most on the front porches of the homes in the loop-road festival area, showed some wonderful antiques, food, wines from Alamance County, even imported Italian olive oil, artwork, quilts and the like. I took a number of photographs (see my Flickr for photos). The mill produced cotton goods including socks, and the small museum was awesome -- allowing me to take several photos within its walls.
We had a great time -- and will visit again. And it was terrific to see Kathleen again, too!
All the time we visited Sicily, we saw clothes hanging on lines ... and when I saw this photo of Bonny's, it brought me right back to those memories. In addition, I can remember my own mom hanging out the window of my sister's bedroom when we lived on Long Island, hanging clothes on the clothesline....
The breezes made the clothes so STIFF, but the fresh scent of them --Home!!
Saturday, October 14, 2006
I've been a bit nervous taking on this large flower grouping, but after sketching Venice -- this wasn't too difficult!
Friday, October 13, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
I so WISH I could have sketched this looser, but truly the perspective was a huge challenge -- but I intend to give this another go.
I'm fairly pleased with the ink and washes -- but now to figure out how to achieve BOTH perspective AND looseness!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Monday, October 09, 2006
I attended an instructor's conference today. While I waited for my session to begin, I sat in the lobby and sketched this awkward view of the escalators surrounded by some truly wonderful tree ferns located on the escalator walls. The trees sat in a small planters box along the walls that also contained some green vining plants. I can't imagine how these specimens get watered!! But the plants were real enough, as I could see spore cases on the undersides of the fern leaves!
I must be in a kind of 'wonkiness' since I didn't quite notice the oddities in the sketch until after I added watercolor and scanned it. My attempts to 'loosen up' didn't quite reach the 'looseness' I was hoping to achieve, so I suppose letting the 'wonky' remain is moving me a bit off the 'perfectionist' square I tend to sit on.
In all fairness, I didn't have as quite as much time as I really needed for getting a better perspective drawn ... I ran into my college's president TWICE -- and he even came over to see what I was doing and sat down to chat! and, well, I decided after that, that this sketch was DONE! LOL
Here is a doorway in Venice ... and though the left side of the doorway is a bit wonky, I loved the challenge of all those bricks and perspective ... I've still got a long way to go to feel comfortable sketching perspective, but with thanks to Bonny I will not only have lots of practice, but will be practicing AND traveling to a place I love.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
I arrived 45 minutes after the doors opened, and my number was in the 500s! There were patrol officers directing traffic, and even in the fine, misty rain that accompanied us all day, people upon people milled through the tents of Italian pottery set out for sale. The event was well orchestrated -- there were helpers for loading boxes, holding areas, wheeled carts for huge orders and the like. It took me 4 trips around the tables to BEGIN to decide on a few pieces. The prices were slashed -- and I cannot tell you how much of these beautiful works of art -- virtually flew out the doors! I don't remember seeing so many humongeous boxes filled with vases, plates, platters, glassware! WHEW!
Barb, Kat and I collected a 'few things'! LOL I bought some Christmas gfts (which I won't sketch to keep the surprise for the holiday!) -- but just before leaving, I ran across these glorious glasses! They're finer crystal than I've sketched -- with green olives surrounding the glass. I just fell in love with them!
After we packed our cars, we headed to town for lunch.
We stopped at the Farmer's Market -- and I found some pumpkin bread for my daughter in law (we'll visit the grands today), and some of the best tasting sheep cheese. I brought Charles home several small containers to surprise him! YUMMY stuff.
We explored the fine eclectic shops downtown -- a fantastic Mercantile with books, art displays (including Kat's -- see above), soaps, artistic greeting cards, and all sorts of those wonderful things one stuffs into stockings or surprises a loved one with for a nice gift.
Kat knew of a really fine restaurant, The Saratoga Inn! What a treat! It's one of those wonderful cafes that is located upstairs of a store and overlooks the main street. Tables are covered with floral tablecloths, chairs are comfy, atmosphere unrushed, and the food -- fantastic! and not too expensive! I dined on pecan salmon, salad and scone ... and topped the meal off with some macaroons from a French bakery I never knew was there! YUMMMMMMYYY! (I see a long time at the gym today -- SIGH!)
After eating, we visited a children's store -- again, unusual clothes, toys, gifts ....
It was one of the nicest "girl" days I've had in a long, long time! Good chats, catching up with Barb (she and I worked on several projects together when I was at UNC), ideas for the future and another date for all of us, including the 'boys' to see Monet's work at the Art Museum.
Mercy, these last several weekends have been so full with delicious and wondrous events -- I can only exclaim my gratitude for these memorable moments.
When I arrived, this huge pumpkin display caught my eye -- oh my gosh -- FALL! So I snapped a few photos to use as reference later.
I just love the colors of fall -- those oranges, browns and reds and golds! The fruits, vegetables, grasses and foods!!!
BTW, I found a great container for my class -- !
Also -- One of my Landscape Gardening studens also works here -- she won a trip to Holland earlier this year with the display she created! I wonder if this was one of hers? In any event ... It was just magnificent!
Saturday, October 07, 2006
A number of friends and I are participating in a Deco art project. A Deco is a friendship book in which each friend creates a couple of pages of artwork, the book is then passed to another friend for her artwork, and around and around until every member of the group has added to the Deco -- which is then returned to the originator.
The theme of the deco I'm sending around is "Season" ... and is open for every interpretation of that word - to season a roast, seasons of the year, seasons of one's life, etc.
I began my visual artwork with collaging, and so have used that medium for this Deco book. (Images are from various stickers, labels, metal charm, alphabets, various inks.
Friday, October 06, 2006
It's been a weird day. My husband headed out to work around 5:00 am this morning. Unable to sleep much past that, I turn on the radio to learn there was a chemical explosion in Apex, NC. I make my way to the phone to call him on his cell; apparently he doesn't have it on, but I leave a message, and crawl back to bed to listen to more news. Half hour later, he calls me to say Apex is being evacuated and he's in a dilly of a traffic jam, but he's heading back home. The fire, he tells me, is less than 1/4 mile from where he works!
One and a half hours later, he finally makes his way home through the dark and rain ... and we sit in front of the TV with mugs of coffee and learn that the chemical recycling plant, Environmental Quality, has had an explosion, and there's a chemical cloud of something hovering over the city. Folks were evacated and the rain was helping drop the particulate matter to the ground instead of having the wind carry it elsewhere. No one's been hurt -- thank heavens -- but tonight folks are still unable to return to their homes and the air and water quality folks are still conducting their tests.
And so, having an extra day with my sweetie, we have a day of rest -- the rain giving us the perfect excuse to do no weeding, no major home jobs, no anything more than take a few naps and catch up on our rest after the last very busy weekends.
I decide to finally sketch my lunch for the day -- PIZZA (since I have more than one slice available!! LOL)-- and being home, I am able to eat a slice while I sketch my 'challenge.'
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Such a special, special gift from one of my beloved students!
MERCY! This has been the birthday of joyful tears!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Ginkgo is reputed to have healing properties for improving memory. For the Arboretum, these trees were donated in memory of my former secretary's husband ..... so for us, they serve as a 'different' kind of memory enhancer.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Rebecca had these on her kitchen table last night -- the bright red/orange against the purple of ageratum and bright yellow fragrant lily!
It's a neat car -- all computerized, with GPS (I hope that helps me find my way around!! LOL), buttons to push, and virtually keyless .... I figure by the time I trade THAT in, I'll have learned how to operate it!