Daily Journals

Enough already.
For 69 years my mother kept a daily journal. Not a personal diary, but an account of what happened each day - each and every day.
Reading through them has become a little depressing. At first it was interesting to read about their daily life before I was born, and then my early childhood. Then it became a little obsessive, I had to keep reading, although, of course, I know how the story ends. When I ask my mother for more details she doesn't remember, and she has the years mixed up. Her writing was so factual that it is almost comical at times - April 19, 1941 "Ordered a roaster. Al's body recovered. Smiths came for dinner." The roaster didn't come for another month, but Al's funeral was in two days.


Table in the Garden

I finished this monotype today, using 140 lb hot press paper. It didn't scan well, and then when I mess around with it trying to soften the texture, it gets a little blurry. It is not a perfect world.

With the wind blowing and the snow flying today, I just really felt Christmas-y. I pulled out a couple of boxes of decorations, and realized of course, that I really have to pick up the already unnecessary items in each room before I put out the seasonal stuff. That's no fun. It's one of those one-thing-leads-to-another situations. The Thanksgiving dishes are still sitting on the kitchen counter because the old cupboard they go in needs to be repaired before we put dishes and goblets back in it. So of course we have to take everything else out of there and pile it on the table, which means we can't eat there until . . .


Working on Another Monotype

The small pencil sketch on the left was the value study for a large acrylic I did a few years ago. I thought it would make a good monotype. I spent the afternoon painting with a friend, and while she was doing a beautiful painting of grapes and leaves in absolutely gorgeous colors, I was playing around with this black ink. I was questioning the reason for doing monoprints/monotypes - they only make one print, they are time consuming, I never know if the print is really going to come out correctly until I pull the "plate" off the paper. If it doesn't, I have spent all that time . . . well, you know - spent all that time. However, I have to say, I love doing them! If this does print correctly, I will post it after I do the color.


Tape Measure Sketches

I was struggling with these sketches. The light wasn't good, my concentration wasn't good, and the sketches aren't good - but I kept my pencil moving and I learned a little more about my subject each time I drew it. I was a little disappointed that it didn't get progressively better, but I feel like I learned something, and isn't that what Robert Fulghum said in the quote I posted yesterday? I think I covered the suggestions in his quote pretty well today. I didn't dance, but I did sing in the shower, I played the piano, I got in some drawing and painting, and I worked some.

I seriously need to get in more drawing time. I'm going to work on that.

We had cold, snowy, slippery weather here today with very strong winds. I didn't even go out of the house except to retrieve the bird feeder from the middle of the street. Winter has arrived in full force. That's okay - that gives me a few good months to get a lot of work done. And play a little.


“Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and
paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”
Robert Fulghum

I used to worry about this as a child. Life needed to be a little more balanced - I didn't play enough girly things, life was passing me by while I day dreamed . . . I still worry a little.

I keep this picture of me at the lake near my desk to remind me that this is me, it is still so me - flannel shirt, curly hair - and life looks pretty balanced in this picture.

So what did I do today? I didn't sing and dance. I worked some. I played a little. Did I draw and paint? Maybe a little - nothing significant. I wasn't aware of wonder. I'll try to do better tomorrow. And I'll try to live a balanced life - I'll start that tomorrow.

What did you do today?


"Few plants are easier to please"

I'm trying something a little different with the small geranium paintings. I have an old garden book that belonged to my great grandmother and I thought it might be interesting to write a quote. It says, "Geranium. Few plants are easier to please and keep happy and cheerful no matter where they may be put." G.A. Stevens

The book is Garden Flowers in Color. The copyright is 1933, and every page is in full color, which must have been really something in 1933.

I puttered around with these most of the day - of course they shouldn't have taken that long, but there is always a little trial and error in everything.

So this is it for the Thanksgiving weekend. Tomorrow it is back to normal. I still have to put away a few dishes, etc. And, oh my gosh, I have to go to the grocery store! Didn't we all just do that!!??


More Small Geraniums

These are very small paintings done in gouache (rhymes with wash) on handmade Indian Village paper. Gouache is an opaque watercolor. The paper has been stained with coffee. I mount these on pieces of mat board, 5X7, and package them with a foam core backing - ready to stick in a standard frame.

They are fun to do, very relaxing, and no two are just alike.

As lame as this post is, it does count. Day 24. Don't they say that it takes 21 days to make something a habit? We'll see.



My faux dining room is back to being a classroom/studio, and I am printing cards this afternoon. Everyone will be back tonight for leftovers, but we'll have to make do in the small dining room. Returning the next day for leftovers has been a family tradition for longer than I can remember. I always have to eat again Thanksgiving night before I go to bed too. My husband just doesn't "get it" - all that eating!

Well, "all that eating" is almost over, and I will get down to work. I am getting things ready for the art center, and I have sent out my winter class email, so I will start gearing up for that. Oh - Christmas. I guess I had better get with it.


Thanksgiving Table

Here is a shot of the table this morning as I am getting it ready for Thanksgiving dinner. I did manage to get all the STUFF off the art room tables and get it set for dinner. We had a great family day, and it is now 11:35 p.m. and I'm dragging. Hope everyone had a very nice day!


Thanksgiving Table?

Would you believe this is where we are going to eat Thanksgiving dinner?
I think I had better get to work on it. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Please check out my winter class information at:


Grandma's Dishes

I went to the grocery store this morning, and the minute I walked over by the produce department, I realized that I had forgotten to take my camera - and it did look especially spiffy today. In yesterday's post I mentioned that I might take my camera and give you a run-down of my grocery shopping. There was NO one else in the produce department - no one to think I was crazy, and it would have been so much more colorful than the picture here of my grandma's china. I did get to the store pretty early, but when you live in a small town where everyone knows everyone else, there is always someone to stop and talk to - "What are you doing for Thanksgiving" "Are your kids coming home?" "What do you think of the horrible mess the whole world is in?" Okay, we can save that topic for after the New Year.

I tried to work on a few little paintings, but unfortunately, I am one of those people that can only think about one thing at a time, so until Thanksgiving is over, nothing else will get done. We aren't having a big crowd, so it shouldn't be such a big deal, but I love Thanksgiving, so I have to give it the proper attention. And speaking of attention, I have the turkey thawing in the fridge - I have been known to forget it. With age and experience, I have refined my list making.



The red chair was done as a quick journal sketch. I used it as a reference to paint the white chair - straightening it up a little and trying to correct the perspective. Both paintings are very small.

I'm working through my list getting some small paintings together for the Christmas Market at the Art Center, framing a few things, getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner. . . There are still a few things I need at the grocery. Probably tomorrow (Tuesday) morning would be the last sane time to go.
Okay - day 19 of blogging everyday for a month. Maybe I'll give you a rundown of my grocery shopping tomorrow. Could I take my camera to the grocery? Would they think I am some kind of food spy?
Are you hosting? Are you traveling? Are you cooking or eating out? What kind of pies will you have? I'd love to hear what you're doing for Thanksgiving.


Waiting for my Muse

This past summer I thought a good subject for winter paintings would be interiors. So far this is the only interior sketch I have, and I did this a couple of years ago for a drawing class I was teaching. I was going to carry my camera and sketchbook around getting references of doorways, views into the next room etc. It still seems like a good idea to me, but I have been feeling so uncreative. What is it they say about picking up the paintbrush and the muse will appear? I don't think the muse ever walks in and hands you a paintbrush.
I'm gonna leave the door unlocked just in case.


Sketch of Rudy

A quick little sketch of Rudy taking a nap. That's what he does best, but tonight he was standing guard over a "mouse hole" in the wall. He was very attentive for quite awhile. He tired of it when nothing happened. So does that mean there was a mouse there, waiting for Rudy to leave so it can come out and have the run of the house while we are all snug in our beds? Yuck.

Kind of nasty here today with a little snow and very dark clouds hanging over the Bay.

I did find my to-do list today that I was stressing over yesterday. I copied it over onto a red piece of paper that's easy to spot. We got a few things crossed off our lists and figured we deserved potato chips and ice cream - that's always a good way to wrap up the day - as a reward OR consolation.


Eggs, Friends, Lists . . .

This is, of course, a dozen brown eggs. A watercolor painted across the page in a small, square Travel-Log sketch book.

I must admit, I didn't do this today. I did spend a good (and it was good!) part of the day with some dear friends. Sometimes when we get together we paint or sketch or do some fun project, and sometimes we just talk about what we've been doing, what we want to do, what we need to do. We pass around our sketchbooks and our finished or unfinished paintings, and encourage each other to keep at it, and praise each other's successes.
And of course we eat. A couple of times.

Don't ask me why I thought a little painting of a dozen eggs was appropriate for today. Everything doesn't have to have a reason. I had to have something. Hey, I am half way through the blog-everyday-for-the-month-of-November thing. Thanks to everyone who has been checking out my blog!

Now I am going to go try to find the big long list I made that has everything on it that I need to have done by the first of the week. It's not in my calendar, it's not on my desk . . . This is exactly why I USUALLY write this kind of thing on colored paper. Usually.


Fall Leaf

I guess that's about it for the fall color. We had a little snow today - just some in the sky and a very little on the ground. It is dark now and I hear a little sleet on the window. Our compensation for the end of summer and fall is that we gain a beautiful view of the Bay.

Today was my last Thursday class of this session. We did some negative painting and everyone seemed to have a good time with it - they did a good job.

Wow - I have been blogging daily for 15 days. It hasn't been as difficult as I thought it might be. Of course that's MY opinion. However, I do find myself with nothing to say tonight. Those of you who know me personally will find that hard to believe.

So. Okay. I'm going to go do a few meaningful things like pick up the kitchen, fold some clothes, get my stuff together to go paint with some friends tomorrow, and be ready to watch "The Office" at 9:00.


Geraniums, Rubber Bumpers, and Parking Tickets

Lots of little geraniums.
These are fun and relaxing to do - and they sell!
I'm getting a few little things ready for a Holiday Market at our local arts center.

Today was the last day
of this session of my Wednesday morning watercolor class . Tomorrow is the last of the Thursday afternoon class. We'll start a new session soon, and fortunately I always have a lot of repeat students.

Went to lunch after class with a friend and had some fantastic Tomato Gorgonzola soup. As we sat there eating this fantastic soup and fabulous sandwiches, my friend K. watched as a car backed into her car out in front of the restaurant. She ran out there and the very elderly driver said, "Yeah, I know. See, it's okay" as he looked at HIS car, not hers. Well, he did have a car with big rubber bumpers - there was obviously a reason for that. A few minutes later the meter guy came along and put a ticket on her car! The morel of this story is, if you want to have a nice relaxing lunch, eating tasty food in a cozy neighborhood eatery, don't sit near the window. It's better to enjoy your lunch and be surprised later.
Okay - so she didn't have a dent in her car (thanks to the big rubber bumpers) and the meter guy was actually giving her a WARNING, but we didn't know that at the time. AND it wouldn't have made a very good story. It wouldn't have really made a story at all, and what fun would that be.


Pine cone and acorns

Did you know that there are male and female pinecones ?
The one I have drawn here is a female. The only way I know that is because I just googled "pine cones". I was thinking how interesting it is that these two very different looking things both grow trees! So I thought I'd look them up so I could pass it along because I don't have anything more exciting than this to blog about tonight. I had a very nice morning with a friend and accomplished some things today, but I thought the sex life of a pine cone might interest you more.

are very slow to mature and come in different flavors.



Skinny little geraniums waiting to be fed.
The geraniums always get pretty sickly looking when I bring them in for the winter. They lose a lot of their leaves, but keep on blooming. I'll give them a little rest and then feed them, and they'll settle in for the winter and give me some bright blossoms to paint.
This is a watercolor done in a 6 X 9 journal on hot press paper.

We had some sunshine today. I got a couple of errands done, and we built some shelves in the kitchen. Now I have to sand, prime, and paint them. My husband is the shelf king of the world. I can say "I'd like some shelves here" and he'll go out to the garage, dig around in his stash of wood and come back with material to build shelves. What a guy! He is great at "re-purposing" things. When our kids were little they called him MacGyver.


Lazy Day

It was a very lazy kind of day.

I didn't put away all the flower pots I brought into the porch yesterday. I didn't paint. I didn't cook. I didn't finish cutting the stalky dead stuff in the garden. I didn't do any of the laundry that is spilling out of the basket. I didn't do anything. But, hey, I have a little bit of a sore throat - maybe I'm gonna come down with a cold and I need to practice taking it easy.

Does it count that we PLANNED projects? For tomorrow?

I thought this picture of Rudy kind of sums up the day. Looks pretty cozy doesn't he? I guess we need days like this now and then. So why do I feel guilty?


Playing Battleship

Oldest Grandson, all comfy on the couch, playing Battleship.

After doing this rather quick sketch of our oldest grandson, it makes me want to do more sketches of the grandkids. I'm just not that good at figures, but practice makes perfect, right? He was pleased that I had sketched him, and even if no one ever sees the sketches, other than the kids, they'll enjoy that and so will I.


Back to School

More Journal Pages,
and yes, this is the same subject as November 6th. I went back to the Middle School this morning and demonstrated for four more 6th grade classes. So all in all, I painted this subject eight times. You would have thought by the last one, it would have been a masterpiece, but that just didn't happen. The kids are only in the class for 50 minutes, so by the time I paint and then they paint - the time goes pretty quickly.

The kids - all eight classes of them - were great! They acted great, their sketchbook paintings were great. I had fun!

I am used to working alone, and the kids coming and going in fast succession seemed really chaotic, even as well behaved as they were. I came home and took a little nap. You know, I don't think my husband reads my blog too often, so I can say that it was really more than a little nap. I don't want him to think I'm a slacker while he is slaving away at the library.


Tubes of Paint

Struggling with the foreshortening of squishy and bent tubes of paint while I eat oatmeal and blueberries.

This makes me think, I want to offer a drawing class before Christmas. I think I will do it as a two-day workshop and just cover foreshortening and simple perspective.

Oh, by the way, it wasn't the oatmeal that reminded me of the drawing class.

SNOW on the ground this morning!


Steps and Rocks

This is a small demo I did in class today. I was just showing how to keep it simple - rocks, steps and shrubbery.

I like the subject and might try to work it into a composition for a finished painting. That's the key word, "finished".

It is cold here today with a little snow in the air. I don't like it already. I am trying to embrace the change of seasons, and maybe I would do better with it if the season we are getting into just happened to be spring.


This is a journal page done today as a demo for a class at the Middle School.

All the 6th graders keep Eco-Journals with detailed information and drawings. One of their teachers thought it would be fun if they were comfortable doing color and illustrating landscapes, with a zoom in or out option on a focal point. That's where I came in. I did four classes this morning and will do four on Friday. I had picked a slide that I thought would be good for this purpose - painting the lightest brightest first, painting in a dark background that pops out the trees in just a few strokes, and adding just a bit of texture over a color without going crazy putting in leaves, pine needles, blades of grass. . .

The kids were wonderful! They were very attentive, asked great questions, and did some fantastic paintings! I painted this same scene four times in four hours. This is the first one and I won't bore you with the other three.

I have been playing around a little with Power Point Presentation. I had never paid any attention to it until it came up a couple of times in reference to some things I am doing. So after looking over the tutorial, I thought "Of course I can do that". So my poor husband now has to listen to me fuss and sputter through the whole thing. Anyway - it worked out great for this. I put the pictures I had taken on Power Point, saved them to a jump drive for a back-up, then emailed them to the teacher. She then emailed them to the other teachers, so they all have the slide show of the pictures we will be working from. Yeah, I know - most people have been doing this for years, but I am very slow to adapt to, and adopt, technology. I am excited to try this for a bigger project I have coming up.

Wow - aren't you glad I am blogging everyday for the month of November? I just can't shut up!


A Fresh Start

Don't you love new sketchbooks? There is something a little scary about the first few pages though, isn't there?

I made these, but, as you can see, they aren't hand bound like many artists make when they make their own sketchbooks. I want a mix of the kinds of papers I like best, but I have no desire to actually bind books. I kept putting off taking these to have the spirals put on because I wanted to do something gorgeous and clever to the covers. You can't really tell in the picture, but these are just plain cream colored covers. The sketchbooks I buy don't have beautiful covers, so what's the big deal? It is a big deal.

The small one is 6 X 9 and filled with 90 lb. hot press paper and some 140 hot press - that's for watercolor journaling. The larger one is something like 9 X 11 and is filled with Strathmore smooth drawing paper, sketching paper, Aquarius II, Nideggin paper, and a few sheets of something else that I have completely forgotten in the time it sat there waiting for a beautiful cover.

Yeah, I know, this is a completely boring post. It was even boring to write, but I had to come up with something for day number five of blogging everyday for the month of November.

Tomorrow I go to the middle school to journal with four classes of sixth graders. That ought to be colorful and interesting!



This is a quick little watercolor sketch of two sprigs of ivy, painted while I'm waiting for the chili.

A friend gave me these two sprigs of ivy in an adorable little flower arranger. They started to take root, so I figured I had better get them out of the tiny holes in the arranger before the roots grew too large. I really have a thing for ivy, and for some reason I didn't have any for awhile (until these came along). Do you suppose the reason could be because I KILLED it? Or the cat ate it? Or . . .?

I actually have a pretty green thumb - well I think I have to give the credit to the house we live in. Plants just seem to like it here. We do too.


Lemons and Cyclamen

Lemons and Cyclamen
This painting is done in watercolor on watercolor canvas. I can't seem to get a good picture of anything I paint on watercolor canvas. Maybe there is too much light reflecting off the canvas.

It's been a pretty quiet day here, but we have kept really busy. It has been one of those days that one thing leads to another. We started out putting up storm windows, and because this is such a quirky house, the storm windows fit inside not outside - isn't that the coolest thing! There are seventeen windows and they are all very large, and all of the windows and storm windows have to be washed of course. Just wrestling them out of their summer hiding places is a challenge and makes a mess, displacing things in the attic, basement, garage . . . If anyone is still reading this, it must be pretty darned boring! Anyway - the house is a mess. As if the storm windows weren't enough, we started trading spaces with the furniture - even bringing in things stored in the garage - as if we have room for this stuff in the house!

We even went out "thrifting" - just to one place, and all I bought were some drawer pulls that look terrible on the chest I bought them for. I'll find something to do with them.

Okay - I think it is time to get comfy and watch a movie. I don't care what it is, I'll probably sleep through it.



It is November 2nd and I still have geraniums on the porch. I'm pushing my luck if I want to keep them over the winter - we could have snow any day. I have been bringing them inside because I love the way they bloom all winter and are such fun to paint when everything else is gone.

I worked on some commissions today, and finished up a watercolor on canvas, but can't seem to get a good picture of it. I'll try again.

Tomorrow I want to get out and take some pictures of the fall landscape for a project I have going next week. More about that later - I have to save something for 28 more posts for the month of November!



For some reason I signed up for National Blog Posting Month. Why did I do that? Actually I'm not REALLY sure I did. I think there was one more step to be officially "in". But I was getting a little panicky about the time I had already spent on the computer. Yeah, I know - so why did I sign up to blog every day for the month of November?! Does this mean I have to post a sketch or painting everyday also??? Well, of course it can mean anything I want it to. I often wish I could be one of those blog-everyday-type-bloggers, so I thought I would see if I could do it for a month. I think the object of the thing is to get your blog registered so more people can find it. I don't think I did that.

Okay, so here are a couple of sketches. Why did I put two on here - I may need all the sketches I can find.

These are done in prismacolor pencils and ink on Bogus Rough sketch paper. This paper doesn't scan well, and playing around with the brightness etc. I have ended up with some colors that aren't really there . Oh well. You get the idea.

Oh my gosh - I have to do this everyday for a month?!