Saturday, September 30, 2006


There are birthdays that are happy; there are birthdays that are fine; there are birthdays that are memorable, and then there are birthdays that are so joy-filled that they are OVER THE TOP! This birthday has been TO THE STARS! And I must admit that my heart just can't hold any more joy and it's been running out of my eyes most of the evening ~~!

It started out ordinarily enough - enjoyed my morning coffee, caught up with blogs and lists, and then had to take my car for an oil change and a much needed bath -- thought I'd give my vehicle a bit of birthday attention, too. But a funny thing happened on the way to the car wash ....

First off, Charles joined me for the 30 minute ride and a dealership wait -- a nice surprise, since I thought I'd simply take my sketchpad and get my daily challenge in ... so I was really glad for the company. But when we got to the dealership, they were so booked up that if I wanted to wait for the service, I'd have a 4 hour wait -- so we made an appointment for next week and decided to head home. Just as we were turning to leave, Charles asked what they thought of the Toyota Prius since I thought I'd eventually own one of these hybrids -- great gas mileage -- and great for the environment. Well, one sentence led to a paragraph, which led to a page, which led to a salesman, which led to ....

A NEW CAR!! Totally out of any consideration, since I thought I needed another year before I would even CONSIDER a new car....

Well, they made us a great deal (didn't do the "I'll take to the manager game which I detest!!), gave us a tax rebate that may just take us back to Sicily next year (or an addition to the retirement account), and so my car wash turned my blue car into a new gold Prius! HOLY MOLY!!!

My knees and elbows went to jelly as the entire episode just exploded any ordinariness of the day ... and the UNEXPECTEDNESS of it -- just kept me a bit flabbergasted.

So picture this: I'm a bit weak-kneed from not eating lunch, (why does it take HOURS to sign all those papers!!), I'm a bit shaky from the realization of the commitment I had just made, a bit corn-fused as I tried to figure out where everything is in a new car (like a button you PUSH to start the thing!!), and I'm anxious to get home since my son and his family are due for my birthday visit and then dinner.

So I make my way home, glad to be almost home where I can relax, reorganize the bags of stuff I've emptied from my car (I mean, I had all my TRAVEL BAGS ready for work next week -- so this decision was REALLY REALLY UNEXPECTED and I had a LOAD to TRANSFER from one car to another) .... and I pull into my driveway -- and there's this SUV in front of the garage. And I'm thinking, did Mike buy a new car too? He was talking about a new car ....

And I look -- and take another look -- and another look -- and my daughter, her husband, and my new granddaughter are all lined up next to Mike, Joye, Nick and Emily ... and I am so STUNNED and so ELATED, and so SHOCKED, that all I can do is stumble out of the car -- and SOB!

By this time, the knees and elbows give out and I had to sit down and catch my breath, lower my pulse, and have a glass of water and a box of tissues. I was so overwhelmed and my heart was just in pieces with joy and gratitude that I simply succombed to the thrill of it all.

We talk, catch up, I play with the grands, hugs my children like mad, and we eventually have a most grandglorious dinner (Charles paid for all of us as HIS gift!! MERCY-- that was SOME GIFT!!) -- all of the grands were so well behaved that even the patrons commended their parents (and I am so proud of all of them!)!

I have to admit, my sketchfor today is only partially done (I did manage a bit of a sketch -- and aded a tad of color to it) -- but my emotions have been on such a ride today, that I can barely keep my eyes open.

I just HAD to share this day with you ... the company, the surprises, the sheer and magical JOY of it. It has been so overwhelming and my heart so full ... that to say I am grateful seems not to even come close to how I am feeling ....

THANK YOU for being part of this awesome, awesome day, for your cards, great good wishes, .... and for allowing me to share a bit of its incredible, unexpected magic ... may its overflowing touch YOU in ways that bring you as much joy and wonder as has graced my life today.


Buon Compleannos

It's a cool morning here by my rock in the woods --- and I sit over a cup of coffee and think about birthdays--mine in particular.

My mom has already called, friends have sent cards, Charles has surprised me with gifts and cards, a dinner is planned tonight with my son's family and my husband--and I think how quickly time goes by. This photo of me 55 years ago could not capture all the joys, pains, changes, loves, adventures all those following years have embraced.

I tend to live a pretty intense life -- and fill each day with as much living as I possibly can -- work, family, art, writing, activity of all kinds (I still think sleep is highly overrated! LOL) ... and I have to admit, I've been pretty fortunate all in all ...

I love and have been truly blessed by my family, and when I think of becoming a grandmom I tear up -- to see the circle come fully around is a gift like nothing else. To have visited my ancestral home, Sicily, another incredible gift. To have a husband, children, sisters, mom and friends who share and enrich my life is exquisitely precious. To have work I enjoy and activities that keep me growing makes me know how blessed I truly am.

So today, on the day I entered this good earth, I wish to say "THANK YOU" and to celebrate not my birth, but the 'you's' that have blessed and enriched my life and have made today even more special.



Friday, September 29, 2006

Pinova Apples

pinova apples
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
These special apples were purchased (along with Granny Smith apples) at the Apple Harvest Festival last week. As I write this, the hum of the dryer announces the 'season' as slices of both apples are dehydrating for winter treats.

I really LOVE the taste of this apple -- I never tasted one prior to the festival. It has a sweet/tart taste that is just crisp and perfect! I'll be on the lookout for more, but the grower from whom we bought these, said that this was a European tree and her small grove is young and hasn't produced that many apples as yet.

Meanwhile, the dried slices will be an even greater treat since they'll be not only uncommon, but hard to find!

EDM Challenges - finishing up

When I got home last night I found several EDM challenge links (which I couldn't find from my offfice) and an image that somehow disappeared from my blog but was saved in my files. I had only ONE EDM challenge I couldn't find -- this one - EDM 14 - sketch what you see first thing in the morning. So last night's sketch was this challenge to truly be completely DONE with all the challenges save this week's! HORRAY!

I'm adding the image I found for EDM 28 - draw an appliance. It was done in January 2006 -- my gracious -- pains me to post it with its kerwokedyness ... and I will be CERTAIN to add my links! LOL

Thursday, September 28, 2006

EDM Challenges

My good friend Teri challenged me to complete all the Everyday Matters challenges as she just recently completed all 85 of them!! CONGRATS, Teri!

Thinking I had done so myself, I went through all the links to the challenges, and lo and behold, several were missing! Some challenges I had forgotten to add a link, so I remedied that, while other missing challenges were no where to be found -- like this one - sketch something for Halloween, EDM #37.

I just KNEW I had sketched something - and yep, I had - but it was PRIOR to my blog! What a surprise! So here it is - downloaded from my seldom-used picturetrail and added to my blog and challenge folder.

As far as I know, I'm still missing two challenges: No. 14: What I see in the morning, and No. 9: organized chaos ... though I have one of those tickly feelings that I've sketched them -- SOMEWHERE!

So -- I'm joining Teri in challenging others to complete the EDM challenges AND add their links to the challenge folder! I so remember when I first began the challenges (and often now too) that I go through these links for inspiration and ideas. Let's bring them all up to date!

Fall Roadside

fall roadside
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
A sure sign of fall for me are ornamental grasses and goldenrod. Along the area between the Arboretum and the college, the roadside is brightened by yellow goldenrod and sneezeweed and lots of tawny-colored grasses. I sketched this while sitting in my car and glancing out the side window. The purple shrubs to the right are a type of hydrangea planted by my students and just a brilliant, stand-out color this time of year. Apparently, the cooler evenings are bringing out their vivid colors while the tree leaves are beginning to change.

Historic Bethabra Park Gardens

historic bethabra park gardens
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
I'm still enjoying the residual affects of a weekend away (they're so rare, it seems!!) LOL Here's a sketch of a part of the Historic Bethabra Park gardens - styled after the first Moravian settlement on these grounds with plants from that period. In our explorations of this park (also where they held the Apple Harvest Festival), there were so many unnamed log buildings -- we couldn't determine what athey were used for - but were picturesque nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Reynolda Gardens

reynolda gardens
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
Walking around Reynolda Gardens was intoxicating! From the roses to the perennials, the trellises to the wee towers, I loved it all!

Here's a bit of a view of a one corner.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Emery Wood Cafe

emery wood
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
With a bit more time for sketching than I had over the weekend, I thought I'd use my photographs to capture more of the wonderful time we had.

Here's the entry into Emery Woods Cafe ... great gourmet menu, casual atmosphere. I chose to do this particularly because I want to work on my cafe sketches AND the people dining there!

Sunday, September 24, 2006


doctors room


We awoke to another FANTABULOUS breakfast: yogurt and figs, waffles, home-made pull-apart sweet rolls, coffee! I quickly tried to sketch a 'looking down upon' perspective of my china coffee cup -- sure came out wockedy! But the idea is there -- an angled, flowered cup and deep saucer -- JUST NOT ENOUGH TIME! LOL

As we were packing our things, I quickly sketched some of the apothecary items that were in the room we stayed: "The Doctor's Room" -- so named for the bottles and remedies and bowl of old prescription forms -- long expired.

After a long goodbye, we headed out to enjoy a dinner with a friend I met on line -- a fellow Sicilian whose artwork I admire: Kathleen Gwinnett. Her husband, Charlie had made hand-made gnocchi with tomato sauce, salad, bread -- followed by divine coffee and a luscious ricotta sponge cake confection! YUM!! Kathleen and I could have chatted all night -- !! So much to talk about - Sicily, ancestors, growing up, art, what's going on around the area -- what a joy-filled couple -- I so look forward to getting to know them better!

I know all good things come to an end, and our celebration of our anniversary couldn't have been more fun, filled with tremendous food, friends, activities and even a bit of sketching!

I am ever so grateful to have had these days with Charles and to have had such a wonderful, wonderful time! Here's to another 14 years filled with as much joy and gratitude!


telephone table bouldin house

MY GOODNESS! Had we known what was to come for breakfast, we would have made our walk last night four times as long!

We awoke to a feast!! Coffee, juice, cantaloupe and banana slices with yogurt and granola, home-made fruit scones to die for (just like those Charles had in England he told me), puff pancakes with strawberries in their center! FANTASTIC!

We waddled our way to the car to attend the Apple Harvest Festival held at Bethabra Historic Park in Winston-Salem. This was the site of the first Moravian settlement and the park hosts archeological sites, a community garden, walking trails (10 K!! which we SHOULD have done!), a restored village, and more. The festival included a spinner, weaver, potter, tours of the meeting house, tavern and grounds and reminded us of Old Salem but more intimate. The festival featured apples and so there were tons of apples to taste in a variety of forms (yes we did!!), plenty of apples for sale -- dozens of varieties, trees for sale, crafts, music, cloggers, old-fasioned games for children ... FUN!

After we had bought our bushel of apples to eat out of hand and dry, we went down the road to visit the Reynolda House and Gardens and Village. These are located on the campus of Wake Forest University -- and the Reynolda House also includes a small American Art Museum! We took the tour of the Museum -- they were featuring portraits and it was wonderful! The house, a 47-room BUNGALO (bungalo style, they clarified), on four floors, sported a bowling lane, shooting gallery, skating floor, indoor pool, huge living room, porches, etc., etc. WOW! Like the Biltmore House -- only more liveable!

We moved onto the Reynolda Gardens!! The acres of roses could be enjoyed from the road -- fragrant, beautiful, every color, every size and type!! WOW!! Plus the vegetable gardens and the flowers -- I was in heaven!

Then onto Reynolda Village -- a series of shops created from the former outbuildings of the original homestead. Exclusive and exquisite and expensive -- but fun to visit!

By this time, we had 'almost' walked off our enormous breakfast and were getting hungry ... so we headed back to High Point for dinner.

We settled for a small casual Italian/Greek family restaurant - Gianno's -- very good -- and we ate a small pizza and salad.

With all we were squeezing into the day, I truly didn't have time to sit and sketch, so I sketched this antique telephone table outside our room at the B&B prior to collapsing!

I have a few more sketches I sketched today after another enormous breakfast ... but I'll go into the breakfast and the very wonderful lunch we had on the way home after I add a bit of watercolor to the sketches -- the pencil simply does not scan well enough.

Meanwhile, reality is crashing upon me as we both return to work tomorrow.

It was a FABULOUS weekend! But I know all the work I did over the past three weeks at the gym have been lost and I'll have to begin again tomorrow .... SIGH!! But oh -- somehow I do believe it was worth it!

Anniversary Weekend

wooden rocken bouldin house

emerywood restaurant high point

We left Friday for our anniversay weekend in High Point, NC. We stayed at the Bouldin House Bed and Breakfast in Archdale (on the outskirts of High Point). The lovely, two-story home was filled with antiques and a wide, wrap-around porch. After our arrival, Charles and I sat on the porch with bottles of cold water -- he played the mandolin and I sketched the unusual wooden rocker.

After relaxing a bit, we drove into High Point for a casual dinner at Emorywood Restaurant... great gourmet food in a relaxed atmosphere. We had wonderful rosemary Italian bread and shared a blue cheeze stuffed tenderloin that melted in our mouths! I didn't have too much time to sketch here, but managed to capture a bit of the table and the lime green brick wall we faced! The food was delicious!!

Feeling very FULL and lacking anywhere else to go, we decided to find a mall so we could get in a bit of walking -- found one and did four laps upstairs and downstairs to make up for all the rich food!

Then got to the B&B to collapse in a wonderfully comfortable bed I needed a stepstool to climb in!

Friday, September 22, 2006

EDM 85 art gallery

edm 85 art gallery
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
OKAY -- here's my LOCAL storefront. It's a new art gallery in Oxford, NC, located on the main street below sidewalk level.

I've yet to make it inside ... but the artwork and pottery in the windows promises a fun time!

EDM 85 Store

edm 85 store
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
Although this grocery store is not exactly local, I really wanted to sketch it from the moment Charles and I walked into it in Marsala, Sicily. The fresh vegetables, cheese, meat, fruits, olive oils, and array of bright cans and pastas -- we took photographs without even knowing why! It was just the kind of store we long for but cannot find anywhere near us. So I offer this as my 'local' store -- since it is close to my HEART than close in proximity!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Our Wedding

Originally uploaded by linfrye.
A number of friends suggested that I sketch my wedding photo showing the flowers in 'our' hair ... I must correct -- the morning glories were in MY hair -- I must have used the collective 'our' in error!!

But here we are in our 14 years ago youth (LOL) - me with hair that actually covered my ears, and morning glories in my hair and bouquet and in Charle's boutonnière ... gracious we both had far fewer grey hairs back then -- and a bit less pounds!

A suggestion was made that I sketch this ... gracious what a challenge! I may give it a go -- that'll be hilarious!

Morning Glory

Morning Glory
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
Yesterday marked our 14th wedding anniversary. I knew I HAD to sketch morning glories in its honor -- since these were our wedding flowers --! Morning glories won't remain open once picked or after noon, so we found dozens of blue and light purple morning glories made from silk. They adorned my hair, our wedding announcements, tables, my bouquet and the like and sit in a vase in our living room.

We're going off for a few days to celebrate, so we posponed our celebration dinner until Friday, which allowed me time to see my grandson after his surgery.

All went well, and the two year-old was sleepy and a bit 'out of it' from the anesthesia. I got to hold him for over an hour as he watched TV, giggled a bit, cried with a bit of discomfort, and then slept. I am so grateful for its success! Though I think Nick will be a bit uncomfortale for a few days.

The weather has turned cool this morning, and the morning glories that adorn our roadsides and cover my butterfly bushes are a light to midnight blue and glistening with morning dew. They signal the change of season --which arrives tonight. It will be offically fall by tomorrow ....

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Originally uploaded by linfrye.
Work has intensified with workshops back to back yesterday, our 14th wedding anniversary today, my grandson's minor surgery (today too), and meetings .... so I'm dependent on photos for my daily sketches.

I chose a pomegranate because these 'love apples' were a big part of our family holidays. Mom would serve them at Thanksgiving -- I loved all those juicy red seeds! When chatting with my sis about them, she gave me all sorts of information about their health benefits .... but I just think they taste good.

I saw my first pomegranate tree in Raleigh several years ago -- planted as a street tree. It had the most beautiful flower! The fruits won't be available in our stores until November ... but I'll be keeping a look-out for them!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Originally uploaded by linfrye.
Work this week will be extremely busy and I'll be in and out of the office with meetings and conferences, so I'll have to rely on photo references for my daily sketches ....

I found this pitcher and fell in love!! I've longed for one just like it -- colors and all -- but have yet to make a purchase. I love the shape, the size, even the flowers -- and it would look perfect on the old-fashioned sink we have in our bisque-painted bathroom. I'll have to settle for my rendering for now.

But more, to me it also symbolizes warmth, cozyness, and a slower-paced living ... things I long for during these busy weeks ...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Charles' Banjo

My dear husband is a man of many talents, and music is one of them. He can sing beautifully and has taught himself to play various string instruments. He owns about half a dozen various music pieces, including this banjo. He plays well -- and often when I am sketching or responding to email, I hear him practicing. His melodies keep me company as well as entertained!

Vase with Grasses

grass vase
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
This large pottery vase is almost 30 years old. When I was living in Charleston, SC, my neighbors, Harry and Berl had a daughter learning to make pots. She graced me with this beauty and I immediately filled it with dried grasses from the maritime forest that grew on the Isle of Palms. The grasses are the SAME ones I picked from those woodlands and are still strong enough to hold onto their seeds!

The vase holds many memories for me -- the ownership of our first home, my children as toddlers, my botanical education, and an ecosystem that continues to be threatened with continual development of resorts, homes, businesses.

The vase sits in (yet another corner!!) of our guestroom.

(W&N watercolors and pencil in Raffine all-media sketchbook.)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Another American Tobacco Dining Concert

Charles and I arrived early at the American Tobacco Center last night. We again were able to nab a wonderful outdoor table at Symposium AND had the joy of the same excellent waitress we had last time.

We ate a light dinner in the cooling evening as we listened to the Shady Grove Band (sponsored again by Backporch Music and WUNC public radio). GREAT music, excellent food and service, and such a beautiful night.

I did these sketchy-sketches knowing that I will have to practice a bit more on my 'people and cafe' sketches ... but I think I captured the important aspects of our time there!

Little Brown Jug

little brown jug
Originally uploaded by linfrye.

Ever have something in your home that you have enjoyed collecting yet those coveted items wind up sitting in a corner and you pass it every once in a while, but somehow don't often SEE it?

This little brown jug is one of those favorite collected items that somehow I overlooked UNTIL I sketched the blue jug.

When I got home from out of town, I found this jug, and TWO MORE, sitting in a corner, completely overlooked and forgotten. I remember when my husband and I found the jugs and how excited we were to bring them home. Even the twigs and small cardinal -- I added those one winter to 'brighten' up the corner in which the jug sat.

So after the blue jug, I knew I had to sketch this brown one. Reminded me of that song about the 'Little Brown Jug' (I once learned to play that on the guitar!) and that yes, winter is coming ...

My and my wife live all alone
In a little log hut we call our own;
She loves gin and I love rum,
And don't we have a lot of fun!

Ha, ha, ha, you and me,
Little brown jug, don't I love thee!
Ha, ha, ha, you and me,
Little brown jug, don't I love thee!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Blue Jug

blue jug
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
I was browsing through some photos when I ran across this little blue jug ..

It was so homey, I wanted to add it to my collection of jugs, if only in my sketchbook!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

More Containers - Bottles

bottle containers
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
Thought I'd veer away from baskets for a while for Kate's container theme and work on a few bottles.

Olive oil and olivesl -- best kind of filled bottles to have!

Sketched from a photo reference in Raffine sketchbook, W&N watercolors, pencil.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

EDM 84 Lemon Tea Bread

lemon tea bread
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
The weekend before last, my granddaughter Emily and I cooked a lemon tea bread together -- it was our first 'cooking' together and much fun!

When karen posted the challenge, I thought I'd commemorate the 'first' by sketching our sweet bread. It contained bits of chrystalized lemon peel that were sweet and tart at the same time, they made your cheeks pucker! The grands LOVED IT!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fall Flowers at Rebeccas

fall flowers rebecca
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
I got to the B&B last night after a really good workout! As I sat in the kitchen chatting to her, the reddish globe amaranth and misty purple ageratums in the vase just called to me.

Somehow, these colors, the cooling temperatures and the earlier nightfall are reminding me that fall is really here.

Pansies - a bit of hope

Originally uploaded by linfrye.
I needed flowers today, 9/11, for the hope they represent on this, the fifth year ,of our country's worst disaster. My father worked on the construction of the Twin Towers and though he was gone ten years prior to their fall, somehow the two losses have combined and are so remembered again on this day.

A bit of bright cheer in these fall flowers.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Longaberger Basket

This basket was acquired shortly after we moved to Oxford. I was so nicely invited to a 'party' to get to know the folks in town. Little did I know it was a sales party for Longaberger baskets! I bought the least expensive one they had and I could afford! In it I keep three small seed packet pillows and several balls my husband found that were made from natural fibers and dried lichen.

I have to admit I didn't spend nearly enough time on these last two baskets -- it's been a busy weekend. My husband and I joined a gym and today was our first visit. We did a circuit around the machines and treadmill (eliptical for Charles) and I did an hour of yoga -- my first. Man, I KNOW just WHERE I'm going to be sore! We were so tired when we got home, we both napped!

I'll have to move onto different containers next week ... since I'll be returning to my office and my baskets will be home!

Oxford Basket

Here's another hand-crafted basket -- this one created by Sue Brown, Oxford, NC, and stained naturally with a walnut stain.

It holds magazines and catalogues and sits by the side of our fireplace.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Melon Basket

What a fabulous day!! A long walk around a number of craft shows, lunch outdoors at a local bakery/diner, beautiful weather --- a nice day of relaxation with enough walking to count as exercise -- and lots of eye candy!

Continuing the 'container' theme, this melon basket was purchased from the NC mountains and was woven by Terry and Sandi Henry (according to the tag). The tag also says they used natural dyes. It sits on our flour table that we use to hold music CDs.

I sketched the small version quickly this morning before we left for the day, and then sketched a larger version from a different angle later this evening.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Twig Basket

twig basket
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
Another Charleston basket woven for me by a friend and created from all different vines found in a maritime forest--honeysucker, jasamine, grape, smilax, cross vine, Virginia Creeper, etc.

While I didn't quite achieve all the twiggy-ness of this basket - I like the shape and depth ... I'll have to try for a twiggier texture again.

Sweetgrass Basket

sweetgrass basket
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
Back when I lived in Charleston, South Carolina, these sweetgrass baskets were inexpensive -- NO LONGER! Now, they're a collector's item! Sweetgrass basket makers were located every few miles along the Mt. Pleasant bypass. While the basket makers are still there, I think there are fewer of them, as the availability of sweetgrass becomes more scarce.

I've had this 'container' basket for years and love it! I thought I'd sketch it propped against my home office window as another, different, type of container.


shelved pots
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
It seemed that commitments took most of yesterday and on through the evening, until it was after 9:30 pm before I had a moment to sketch.

I found a photo reference of these wonderful brown pots and loved the colors!

Done with pencil, W&N watercolor in Raffine sketchbook.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sicily Pots

sicily pots
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
While visiting Sicily last year, my husband and I visted the Ceramics Museum in Caltagirone. We were fascinated with all the varieties of pots, the long history of ceramics in this region, and the beauty of all these containers.

These two were sketched from two photographs. There weren't any shadows on the photos and the apparent light on this image is simply from the scan.

What I love most about these are the unusual shape. The challenge in sketching these was mixing the right color! The sublte pinks, blues, and ochres were a fun exercise ... and I learned a lot! The colors here are pretty close to the original photo.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

EDM 83 Body of Water

EDM body of water
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
How I LOVE days of quietude and restfulness! I took an extra day from work and though I awoke the same time as I normally do, the freedom from chores and 'musts' are behind me, leaving me a leisure of time that I rarely have.

I decided to spend a bit more time on sketching and painting this morning and I worked on this between ironing and packing and other non-urgent things.

With the rain outdoors and the cooler temps, I worked from a photo reference using pencil, W&N watercolors in my Raffine sketchbook.

I still need more practice with water, but I really like the way this turned out.

OH, to have more leisure time!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Wedding Vase

wedding vase
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
This vase was a wedding gift. We love pottery and received quite a bit of it for our wedding.

It fits perfectly into our blue living room. The flowers are from our wedding, too -- blue morning glories!!

Not only does this fit into Kate's Alumni Challenge for this month, but it fits so well to our wedding anniversary in a few weeks.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Soap Container

soap container
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
Another 'container' for Kate's Alumni Group Challenge.

We have the grands today and will have their parents too for dinner tomorrow, so it's a pretty busy time for me. I sketched this container this morning in between chores and added watercolor when I was much too tired! I tried to follow the 'less formal' watercolor marks as the original and the reflection on the table and cast shadow from the overhead light.

Each year a group of art friends from around the US who all met on the Internet head to Rhode Island for a few days of art-ing. While in Rhode Island, we always spend a full day on Federal Hill. This soap dispenser was purchased there. I keep it on my windowsill where it waits for us to repaint our kitchen a buff-yellow. It matches the blue we presently have on the walls .. but we just can't seem to find a few consequtive days to move furniture and paint!

It reminds me of the hills of Tuscany ...

Sketching in Two Environs

twisted fork sketch

twisted fork dining

Tropical Storm Ernesto's departure left beautiful Carolina blue skies and temperatures in a comfortable mid-80s. C and I decided to leave our rock in the woods and head 'to town' for lunch. There's a large mall not too far a drive from our house with outdoor eateries -- which I LOVE! We settled on 'The Twisted Fork' with a table and seats in the shade, a wonderful landscaped waterway as a view, soft muzak playing, and me sans sketchbook!

I do carry a small 3" x 5" sketchpad at all times, so I pulled that out and sketched the scene before me. The gentle breeze blew, food was good, the quiet time to be with C in such a relaxing environment--perfect!

Once we got home and finished all the chores we left, I decided to enlarge the sketch and try to watercolor it from memory. MERCY .... I didn't include HALF of the notes I WISH I had ... shadows, sun direction, color, etc. And I found, like others who constantly remind us, there just is something more VIBRANT in one's sketches while sketching plein air rather than from photos or quick sketches to be completed elsewhere.

Though I'm not unhappy with my watercolor, I am beginning to SEE those subtle differences between on and off-site sketching.

OH, for more time!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pink Geraniums

pink geraniums
Originally uploaded by linfrye.
These four pots of pink gernaiums are sitting on one of the 142 steps of the Monumental Scala La Scala Infiorata in Caltagirone, Sicily. The ceramic tiles decorate all of the risers up this fantastic staircase in the middle of the city. Citizens create flower montages with the flowerpots and on July 24 and 25 in honor of the city's patron, St. James, lights are added and the scene created is symbolic of the saint.

When we visited in May last year, only scatterings of flowerpots decorated the staircase, but the scene was still magnificent.

(Another container for Kate's Alumni challenge.)

Container Ceramic

Originally uploaded by linfrye.
Looking at this sketch this morning, I noticed I'm a bit kerwonkety on the vase's sides-- oh well, must have been the late night!!

For Kate's alumni group, this month's theme is containers -- filled or empty. This ceramic vase was purchased in Sicily last year. (Mercy, I wish I had brought more home!!) I fell in love with the colors and its utilitarian value. The colors inspired our repainting of the master bedroom and bath and so this has a home on the bathroom counter.

To offset so much bisque-yellow of the rooms, we've added bright burgundies in the form of flowers and towels.

What is it about containers that is so warm and homey? I JUST LOVE THEM!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Travel Sketchbooks

Laura generously posted her enviable list of travel sketchbooks on her blog, and though I don't have nearly as many as I'd love to own, here are a few I really love:

Watercolor Journeys: Create Your Own Travel Sketchbook by Richard Shilling. These delicious watercolors are examples of his gorgeous work from travels around the world plus commentary on various 'how-to's" I love his style and the bits of ink he uses in his watercolor work.

My Italian Sketchbook by Florine Asch. Though Asch has written many travel sketchbooks, the ONE I HAD to own was of Italy -- a wonderful book that includes a few images of my beloved Sicily. Her sketches are looser in some ways than Shillings, but equally charming. Whenever I need a dip back into this fabulous country, I turn to this book.

Colors of France: A Painting Pilgrimage by Margaret Hall Hoybach and Joan Brown. This little known book was written and illustrated by a woman I knew when I lived in Charleston. We both belonged to the American Pen Women, Charleston Chapter, and while I was there because I wrote, Maggie was a painter -- and her watercolors were stunning even then! I found this book and fell in love again with her style. She illustrates her pilgrimage to Giverny and some of the most beautiful sites in France.

A Watercolor Journey through Charleston's Magnolia Plantation and Its Gardens by Margaret Hall Hoybech. Done in an earlier style than the book above, the sketches are wonderful. As someone who has worked and lived in Charleston and visited these gardens over and over again, I love the sites Maggie has chosen to paint. My only negative comment about this book is that the paper on which it is printed tends to make Maggie's light-filled watercolors a bit flat. How I WISH the publisher had printed this on glossy paper to accent Maggie's awesome style.

A Petoskey Watercolor Journal by Catherine Carey. This is a journal-sized, thick-papered, charming book of watercolors illustrating sites around Petoskey, Michigan. It, like Shilling's, is a combination of journal and how-to book. What I like about this book beside the loose, easy style, is the reminder that I too don't have to travel overseas or far away to 'see or sketch through a traveler's eyes' the charm of my own town.

When I visited Sicily, I kept a collage journal as I hadn't begun sketching. It's here if you 'd like to take a look.



Originally uploaded by linfrye.
Tropical Storm Ernesto came through Raleigh and point east this morning.

At home, we missed the majority of the storm and received much needed rain and blustery winds.

The day is a cool 65F or so, wet with period spinkles, a good day to be indoors.

Again I wanted to sketch a memory for the day -- but I couldn't find a suitable umbrella. I ran across a photo of these galoshes -- they so reminded me of my frog from yesterday, that I had to sketch them!