Saturday, December 31, 2005


We have spent the last 2 1/2 days painting the master bath and bedrooms, turning the walls from white to "Belgium Waffle" - a creamy, yellow/ecru - warm and sunshiny! (I've added a small photo of the bedroom wall, but in the daylight, the color is a bit more yellow.)

We added new curtains, bedspread, shower curtain, throw rugs, rearranged the artwork, thoroughly cleaned both rooms, dressers, bureau tops, book cases. I am reminded of all those cultures I studied in Anthropology where the 'old year' was finished by thoroughly cleaning the dwelling so that the new year could be greeted in a clean home. We did that this year, and I feel ready for 2006!

A few art resolutions for 2006:

* Sketch more and write more on the same page!
* Learn to make my sketches more relaxed, loose and joy-filled insteadof stiffly perfection-
* Sketch more of nature
* Sketch more quickly


I've been reviewing my sketch journal since I began sketching six months ago - and mercy, I do believe I've improved! I may have a long way to go to reach the goals I've set, but compared to my lopsided stick figures when I began, I'm encouraged to keep sketching.

Thank you friends for your encouragement and your kind comments! May 2006 be a most wonderfully creative, prosperous, joy-filled year for us all!

Friday, December 30, 2005


I had a very few minutes to sketch as we waited for my son and daughter-in-law. We were going with them to do a day's worth of house-hunting. I did this page of 'quicks' in less than 30 minutes - the earthshoes and candle were done as DOUBLE-BLIND contours - I didn't have my contact lenses in nor did I look at the page! I added the watercolor washes later tonight AFTER my son had made an offer on a house (all appropriate fingers are crossed!).

Thursday, December 29, 2005

SUNNY Sunflowers

The last two days have been overcast and rainy, but on my kitchen table sits a vaseful of silk sunflowers. They so remind me of Italy and summer sun and fields of yellow and green. I decided to try to capture the various 'yellows' in the petals and attempt better watercolor shading. I can see I've succeeded a bit and failed a bit more ... but I enjoyed sitting down to sketch and achieving the quiet that comes when one concentrates on an enjoyable activity. I'll try these sunflowers again.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Morning Has Broken

A glorious sunrise this morning! Cold, growing warmer, clouding to rain tonight ...

A view over my oaks ...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

EDM #47

The challenge for the end of the year from the Everyday Matters group is to sketch something we didn't sketch before or something we found particularly challenging. Since I only began teaching myself how to sketch less than six months ago - EVERYTHING I've attempted has been a challenge! Still, I can boil it down to this:

My challenge this year has been SEEING what is before me and being able to SKETCH it! As such, I offer my holiday-tired eyes and my trusty mechanical pencil sketches to illustrate.

My next great challenge - realistic NOSES!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Images

It's been much too busy over the last few days to get in any sketching. We were blessed with family visits, TONS of gifts and food, music and laughter, and the joy of watching our grandchildren experience their Christmas. For me, nothing means more than spending time with the people I love most in the world, especially during the holidays.

So while, I haven't any sketches to post at the moment, I've uploaded a number of photos to share our Christmas with you. I've focused mainly on the grandchildren, for it was they who really helped make the festivities delightfully chaotic and merry!

We were blessed with one of the most wonderful Christmases we've had - and for this we are deeply grateful.


Saturday, December 24, 2005


I hope everyone's holidays are the best of all, and that peace, joy, and kindness prevail in our lives. Thank you all for your encouragement and your kindnesses this year ... May 2006 be even greater and filled with even more creativity and happiness ....

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Holiday Cooking Break

After three days of my week's vacation spent cooking in preparation for Christmas (lasagna, pasta sauce, snowflakes (rosette cookies), cream puffs, apricot nut bread, shopping, wrapping gifts, mailing presents to far-flung relatives, I took a bit of time to catch my breath and return to sketching.

The candle ring is an old candle holder I've had for years and one I pull out each Christmas. The lamp sits in my kitchen bathroom ready for use when we lose electricity (quite frequently during hurricane and ice seasons). I used a pen to sketch both - but it took three attempts for the oil lamp before I came close to the proper proportions - and the globe is still a bit too short for the base -- SIGH! I also tried using some liquid watercolors (I had been using pans)-- I need much more practice with these!

I've been reading about watercolors and using different techniques, and though I thought I had 'gotten it'... I can truly see that it's time to put the book down and put theory to PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

EDM #47

I was going to hold off posting this until mid-week, but with all the flurry of postings today, just HAD to join in! (grin) I sketched this with pen yesterday - and today when Karen posted the challenge to sketch something 'holiday' was so glad I did it! The holiday festivities are in the wind!


I sketched these two images earlier this week and thought they'd make a fair Christmas card - sent to those friends who understand my 'sketching' progress! In my collage work (, I use a lot of decorative napkins, as I love not only the artwork on them, but also the translucency they create when used with mixed media. So I combined the two - and came up with this Christmas card ... especially for those who have been so encouraging!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

EDM #13 Phone and EDM #45 Inside Medicine Cabinet

I sketched my cell phone in pencil earlier this week (EDM #13), outlined it with pen and then added watercolor.

I sketched the inside of my medicine cabinet (EDM #45) in PEN today and added watercolor.

ThoughI think the phone is a bit more 'accurate' and the inside of my medicine cabinet is off in perspective on the left side - I think I like the pen sketch better -- it makes me SMILE! (maybe I'm just laughing at myself?? LOL)

Friday, December 16, 2005


This week while chatting with my friend and owner of the B&B where I stay when I'm out of town, I quickly sketched the arrangement of flowers she had on the table between us. I was working on a talk I had to give, so I had a black pen in hand (Uniball Vision Elite) and I 'doodled' on the back of my reference notes.

I really like the 'looseness' of the sketch and the 'feel' of it. In the two tinier partial versions, I tried to correct the depth of the saucer under the pitcher ... I got a bit closer with the last attempt ...

All in all, I may try using a pen (EGADS! no ERASER!) and quick sketches more often. I really like the feel of this sketch!

I added watercolors (very light washes) when I got home. I couldn't add too much water as the paper is text weight with typing on the reverse side.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Value Sketch Practice

There is reading about values and there is PRACTICING sketching values. SIGH!! I have much to learn here!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Trying to loosen up

In an effort to 'loosen up' my sketching, I gave myself the task to sketch what was only in front of me as I ate my dinner at The Cracker Barrel. The wait staff there was very friendly and would have left me to my pencil and eraser all night --! But since it is the holiday season, they were serving very quickly - so I had about 20 minutes in total to get the sketching done. When I got home for the weekend, I added the watercolors. I'm adding this to the EDM # 21 'Draw Something Old' as EVERYTHING in this restaurant has some age on it. While the perspective of the fireplace is kerwokety (it is rectangular and NOT triangular!), I suprised myself that the deerhead is recognizable (at least to me!). I want to do more of these 'fast sketches' to lossen up and get rid of my hang-up on perfection ... I have a ways to go!

Friday, December 09, 2005

EDM #29 architectural

Though work this week was busy with late night meetings and a wreath-making workshop that lasted until after 10:00 pm, I sketched this church steeple twice from a photograph we took in Caltagirone, Sicily this May. It was my first attempt at an architectural piece and the perspective gave me a fit! The watercolor addition seemed to camouflage some of the errors .. and I like the results nonetheless.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ceramics on Watercolor Paper

I've sketched the vase three times more, and this final time, added the sunflowers in the vase. I like how this has come out - a mixture of watercolor, gouche, pencil, pen, and I like the effect on cold pressed paper. The flowers are a bit too small and could benefit from my practice...but all in all, I'm thrilled!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Watercolor Added

I overworked the weak text weight paper, but I think I want to try redoing this on watercolor paper.

EDM #43 Ceramics (Ceramiche)

We bought this ceramic (ceramiche) vase while in Caltagirone, Sicily, Italy this May. We fell in love with the country, the people, the food, the ceramics, the artist, everything Sicilian! While at her shop, the artist gave us a ceramic making demonstration and her husband and apprentice demonstrated Sicilian folk music—glorious! I want to add a bit of watercolor to this pencil and ink sketch, even though the paper is text weight and my watercolor skill is nominal. So I thought I’d scan the vase prior to this attempt just in case the watercolor doesn’t quite work!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A Nice Surprise

With the rain (finally!!), fatigue, sore throat, achy sinuses, I came home to an unexpected suprise - the Somerset Studio Gallery Vol. IV ...

"What was this?" I thought, " I didn't order this magazine."

Lo and behold -- I have two collage cards in the magazine -

* One under Renaissance - page 11
* One under Scarlet and Cocoa - page 28.

A bright spot in this rainy, achy day!

Busy Time!

There's been precious little time for sketching over the last week. My mom was up from Florida visiting, I babysat my grandson, Nicholas (which meant less than five hours of consecutive sleep each night over the last week), we drove to SC to visit my daughter, we helped prepare food for 12 adults and 6 children under seven, drove home, did all our household chores in one day, and returned to just as busy a work schedule.

I did manage a few practice sketches, but I'm anxious to return to the Everyday Matters challenges. Maybe this weekend. Along with holiday preparations, shopping, and journal entries and updates for my grandchildren and daughter.

Meantime, with all the rushing around and busyness, I've come down with another sinus infection, making my energy level as low as my resistance.

Ah, well, 'Tis the season!

Monday, November 21, 2005


The challenge was to draw something we’re thankful for. I found lots of WORDS that fit this challenge – family, friends, my home, good health, good food, my five senses, woodlands, flowers, trip to Sicily, and on and on. I find many of these things very difficult to draw in the limited amount of time I have – so instead, I’ve decided to sketch what matters most to me ABOUT each of those – and that is TIME …. The time spent with family, friends, in my garden, sketching, art-ing, eating good food, music, etc.

I have a clock that sits on my TV that belonged to my Dad. Since he passed almost 15 years ago, I thought it even more fitting to sketch the clock that he owned. To me it also reminds me of the times we had with him and the specialness of both.

I’ve also included a scan of the same clock I TRIED to sketch three weeks ago, and how unhappy I was with the outcome! I wanted to include it to remind myself that it takes TIME to improve, TIME spent practicing, and how much I am enjoying the TIME doing this.


EDM #17 - Musical Instrument

My husband, a glorious gospel singer, has decided to take up the mandolin and is doing a commendable job teaching himself to play. I decided to sketch it for the EDM challenge.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Jewel, Charles's sister's granddaughter is beautiful with the kind of long, brown/blond, curly hair that I could only dream of .... she's polite, well mannered, played so well with Emily and Nick, helped clean up, ate like a grown up -- man -- I remember when she was BORN!!!! Can she only be four -- ALREADY be four???

And I just saw Nick and Emily 2 weeks ago -- now Nick is holding onto fingers and walking like gangbusters, eating THREE BOWLS of mashed potatoes and gravy, cube steak, peas, and more sweet potato pie and banana pudding than Charles, me and mom together!!! Emily was quieter than I'd ever seen her ... she watch Jewel, watch Nick, play a bit, tease Nick a bit, and for the first time -- I SAW EMILY COLOR!!! So there she is with Jewel -- COLORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY!!!

Mom's plane got in a bit late -- so by the time we got to the house, everyone was ravenous -- Charles did an AWESOME job preparing everything ... and we ate like no tomorrow .... and then, wonder-man that he is ... he cleaned up while I talked to Sis, Mike and Joye, played a bit with the grands and Jewel ... It was glorious -- and too too long between times. My only regret ... I"m now bushed!! But the joy will be shining in my dreams for nights to come ....!!

Photos here:

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Had to drop in with my excitement! In the December/January 2006 issue of "Legacy" my "Mia Famiglia, Fabric Triptych" has been published!! on pages 13 and 14. The article includes small photo transfers of my sisters, mom and dad, my daughter and son, and Emily as a baby. And the gift of this is that my mom is arriving today and she'll be able to see it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOO HOOO!!!!

It's a Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving

It looks like the small get together we were going to have with Charles’s sister (after 2-3 years) and her granddaughter, Jewel, and a friend, has turned into a pre-Thanksgiving Festa.... Joye, Mike, Emily and Nick will join us, bringing our dinner party to TEN -- the first really BIG dinner party we've had in quite a while.

We've spent the morning 'child-proofing' as best we can, finding extra chairs, squeezing tables together, setting the card table, finding even more 'wouldn't it be nice' specials to cook. We're heading to Wal-Mart for another high chair (Nick is using Emily's), and a few more odds and ends.

I'm as excited as I can be ... I pick Mom up from the airport at 4:15 pm, come home to a riot of family and grandchildren, good food, photo opportunities and the pandemonium of family I've missed and missed but enjoy in short spurts!

So tomorrow will be a rest day .. And I may be quieter than usual (well, maybe -- I may need to check in for my own sanity! LOL) -- but I am REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS!

BTW, Charles is cooking mashed potatoes (kids love 'em), venison fried steak and gravy (though everyone will think it’s beef), b-b-q corn-on-the-cob (from summer), peas for the kids, more veggies than I can remember, sweet potato pie (from a friend who makes the BEST in the world!!), banana pudding (my humble contribution) and whatever else is in the cupboard....

This get-together signals the holidays for me -- ready or not -- since it seems the cold weather and the season brings us together from all our far-flung locales and overly busy, preoccupied lives.

If the holidays do nothing more than this ... I'm grateful.

Friday, November 18, 2005


Today was a quiet day; one of those 'can't get going,' restful days; the first really COLD day we're had that seemed to announce that summer REALLY is past.

I've tried and tried to sketch my cat, and today I think I've finally done a decent job. I'm not quite sure about the watercolor addition, especially on text-weight paper, but the orange and white creamsicle color is close.

My attempt to create a 'wash' over the lamp sketch. I especially like the way the table came out and the white space left ...

EDM #2 Draw a Lamp

I'm not working these challenges in order, but did manage to sketch the lamp in the bedroom of the room I rent when working out of town.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Welcome to the View from the Oak, a place for expression, art and those things that are 'so' of my life.

More Practicing

A few EDM challenges.

More Sketches

The challenge of a portrait and the glories of the fall inspired these sketches.

Some favorite sketches

A few of my favorite sketches as I try to teach myself how to SEE! and sketch.