Summer View of the Bay

This is a commissioned painting waiting to be picked up.
It is actually snowing and blowing right now in Northern Michigan. I don't usually paint winter scenes - the "public" doesn't really care for them. The people that live here don't want to be reminded of our long stretch of winter, and the people that leave, leave for a reason - they don't like snow. I am busy in the summer with classes and workshops, and it is great to spend the winter painting commissions of summer scenes from photographs and sketches.

So - tomorrow is the last day of 2007. I think I'll clean off my desk and see what I've missed. Then I'll work on a painting schedule and plan some workshops and classes and . . .

Don't we all have big plans for every new year, and then it takes on a life of its own, and that's okay too. Remember to Be Aware of Wonder. HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Coffee Pot

Just getting to know my subject. The light changed before I finished this, but it wasn't dramatic light anyway. I think it would be fun to do it with a spot light on it to get lots of contrasts on the shiny enamel surface as it curves into the shadows.

My friend K. gave me this coffee pot for Christmas. Her husband was a little concerned that she was giving a gift with a hole in the bottom, but it's perfect! I have a few still life set-ups planned for it.

It's time to get back to work, at least putter around with some drawings, work on some goals for 2008, and wrap up any loose ends of paper work for 2007. If anyone owes me any money, please come forward now.


Rudy up a Tree

There is Rudy, way up in the Christmas tree, kissing a little teddy bear ornament. Did he climb up there just to do that? Our daughter had a good point - "Do you think he does that all the time?"


Christmas Cactus Study

This is a small watercolor study of the Christmas Cactus in yesterday's post. I did I light sketch of the shapes and then painted the leaves with clear water. Starting with quinacridone gold I dropped some pigment on the leaf sections, followed by a little Prussian Blue and a small amount of quiacridone red. I let the colors float around a bit and then helped it mix a little here and there. The petal color was done with a mix of quinacridone red and lemon yellow. Everyone in class did a beautiful job of letting it mix on the paper and keeping it simple.

I finished a little more Christmas shopping today. I have come to the conclussion that Christmas is so stressful because it is all about loose ends! One loose end after another - who's picking up what gift, who's coming to dinner, WHERE is dinner, who's gonna fix that thump-thump noise in the car so I can finish my shopping . . .

It'll be fine. It's all coming together.


Christmas Cactus

My Christmas Cactus got the message!
It usually blooms twice a year and always near a holiday - Thanksgiving, Easter, Valentines Day - it has never before bloomed at Christmas. I'm going to have my class work on this tomorrow for a warm up, using a large brush, simple strokes, and drop-in color to mix on the paper. I'll let you know how it goes - I'll show you my demo. Stay tuned.


Bertolli and Pitt Pens

Spaghetti Night
This was a quick sketch done in my Moleskine, but doing the color was laborious! It was done with Pitt pens which come in beautiful colors, but have fine "brush" points that don't cover much ground. I guess it's safe to say that they really aren't intended for this. I would love to see what other people do with them. Their colors are wonderful.

December 17th! I feel as if I am no where near ready for Christmas, but we had our get- together with my husband's family this past weekend, and today I shipped off the gifts to the California kids. I do have a few more things to get for the local kids, and I should bake something (not my favorite thing to do). My mother has made the same cookies every year for 55 years and I feel OBLIGATED to make them this year. I wonder what we would ever accomplish without guilt. Guilt and competition make the world go around. Well, maybe love, talent, generosity, hope . . .


White Pitcher

Watercolor done in my 6X9 sketchbook with 140 hot press paper.
I painted with some friends this morning, but we didn't want to do anything too ambitious - just some small studies.

We tried out the new Thai restaurant for lunch. There I was without a camera or sketchbook and everything was so pretty - the dishes, the girls' dresses, the food (except for the slippery looking black things in the soup). The food was great. I ate the slippery black things and they were okay. I ate them because I didn't want to look at them on my plate, and I knew my friend across the table REALLY didn't want to look at them on my plate.

Now I need to get ready for a family Christmas get together this weekend. I have to bake and wrap yet, and it wouldn't hurt to clean up the house a bit. . . It might hurt.


View Out the Window

This morning I did this painting as a demonstration for my Wednesday morning class. Last week they had requested a long demo and a snow demo. I kept waiting for a nice sunny day to get some great color on the snow so I could get some good pictures to use as reference, but it has been pretty dark here. This is the view out of the end window in my studio/classroom. As I was painting, we did get a few minutes of sunshine.

I started out doing the sky and the shadows using the triad of manganese blue, cobalt violet, and quinacridone gold. It is always fun to use artistic license to change things around a bit. I actually think that's why I like to paint - I am in control of the visual. I could clean up this winter scene and make it look like I want it to. From the looks of the photograph it could use a little cleaning up. I'll have to do this same scene again in the summer when the roses are blooming and the baskets are hanging on the porch next door. But that's a long way off. My friend K. just emailed me a picture of one of my summer classes in her beautiful garden. We have a way to go before we get to that again. Embrace the season - drink hot chocolate.


There is Always Something to Draw

Remember these guys? They are still going strong at our house. I know they are 34 years old. I remember vividly how excited I was to buy the Fisher Price Village for our son for his first Christmas. He was eleven months old. He loved those little people and he could tell if he was missing one. Now the grandkids play with them.

We had some sunshine today! I went outside to put some pine boughs in the window boxes, and the boxes were frozen solid. Of course. What did I think. They are thawing inside and I'll try again in the morning. I did do a LITTLE bit of Christmas shopping. Everything seems to be moving so slowly - no everything is moving quickly, and I am the one who is moving slowly. I need to bake some things this week, I need to have some presents ready for the weekend, I need to finish framing a couple of things . . .

A couple of years ago, I figured out what it is about Christmas that throws me. We go about our little lives, putting one foot in front of the other, trying to keep it between the ditches - and then "they" throw in Christmas. What are we supposed to do with that!? It's not like it's just a fun little diversion - it's a SEASON. You know - the Holiday season? And all this time we are doing the HOLIDAY SEASON, we are also expected to do real life.

It's okay. I have my list. If no one remembers me as an artist, they will remember me as a list maker. And putting something on a list is as good as doing it, right? And right now I am going to go check off some things on my list, because as whiney as this post sounds, I really did enjoy the day, and I really am getting into the Christmas Spirit. Tomorrow I'll get those greens in the window box, I'll make some cookies, and I'll walk downtown and do some more shopping.



Painting with triads.
Technically a triad is three colors spaced an equal distance apart on the color wheel, but we played a little bit today in class using artistic license and didn't stick to technicalities. After making a few sample color wheels, we drew some spools and painted them in neutral colors using triads. The spools on the left were painted with cobalt violet, lemon yellow, and manganese blue. The ones on the right were done with Quinacridone rose, quinacridone gold, and ultramarine blue.

I think we can learn a lot from using a very limited palette. We learn how to make colorful neutrals, we can mix without getting muddy, and we can concentrate on the properties and possibilities of three colors at a time rather than a whole palette full.

Drawing the spools took a bit of concentration, but I didn't want the class to spend too long on them - this lesson was about color. I have a basket of wooden spools that I bought at a moving sale. They each have a personality - some are short and fat, some tall and skinny, short and skinny, tall and fat . . .

Awhile ago I did a drawing of some of the spools. It was fun to do - it was one of those things that you really get lost in and have to pay attention to each curve and angle. I need to do more of that - I haven't been drawing enough. But I am not going to make any promises here, like a drawing or painting per day or anything like that. That sounds like a New Year's resolution, and it's not time for those yet.

How is everyone coming with their Christmas shopping?


Cobalt Violet

Just a little sketchy drawing of my tube of cobalt violet. I love this color mixed with manganese blue for great shadow colors. That mix can be grayed with a little Quinacridone Gold. The three of them together are a bright and different triad.

Can you tell I am gearing up for classes? They start tomorrow, and we are going to be working with triads (variations of the three primary colors) In this case cobalt violet would stand in as the red, manganese is the blue, and quinacridone gold is the yellow. I could go on and on about triads - but not tonight.

We did the Christmas tree this evening. I don't know if we have ever done it this early. It seems as though everyone else has had theirs up for a couple of weeks, so, not to be outdone . . . well, I guess we already were. I suppose shopping is next. I'm not really a shopper, even if it is fun stuff like Christmas presents. And I don't bake cookies. I don't like wrapping gifts. I sound like a real scrooge, don't I!? My husband is a good shopper. I have a few recipes for things that can just be mixed up - not baked. I can "wrap" in gift bags. I saw on someone's blog a tutorial for a beautiful gift wrap. Maybe if I really tried, I would learn to like it.



Stash Pumpkin Spice Tea

I know this is going to sound like a commercial or an endorsement, but I am absolutely addicted to this stuff. First of all I HAD to buy it because the box is beautiful (yes, I judge everything by the way it looks). It did sound a little too - oh - seasonal, and what's the big deal about pumpkin pie spices ( I can do that myself) and how different could it be from chi tea. Just sniffing the bag when I open the packet sends me somewhere - well, I hate to say it, but I think it's Chicago. Anyway, it has an exotic (Chicago???), sharp fragrance that really hits you, and then there are undertones of comforting familiar spices. However, I am a little suspicious of of anything that could possibly come from China. Especially something we ingest. I had a colander in my shopping cart and put it back on the shelf when I saw the "made in China" label - that was going to touch our food!

Speaking of fragrance, I just bought the most horrible wine in the world. La Francesca. I won't even admit how cheap it was, but it was in the bargain bin and I have found some decent wine there. Actually I wasn't sure I knew good wine from bad, but now I do. It smells just like the feed store. I AM NOT KIDDING. Just a warning.

And, Ginny, thanks for your comment on my last post. Al was my father's "cousin-in-law", and he and my dad were in a boating accident. My dad survived, but Al didn't, and his body wasn't found for several months. Having grown up with the story of this tragedy, I really do think he deserved top billing, ahead of the roaster!!!