California Trip

California Oranges
We had a wonderful week in California with the kids. I only did a few little journal paintings - it was cold, dark, and raining the whole time. We still had a fabulous time. We painted pictures of the orange trees in the backyard, we walked to and from school, we ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches. . .

The painting on the left was done by our youngest grandson - he's five. He wanted me to have the original and cut it down to fit in my journal. I'll put it on the facing page next to my oranges.

The travel was some kind of nightmare. It took us TWO days to get home! We spent most of those two days in Chicago O'Hare. They did put us up at the Radisson for the night. The bed was a Sleep Number bed, which I thought was pretty luxurious and pretty weird at the same time. I think it is hard enough to sleep away from home without having a bed that would take a couple of weeks to get used to. The fabulous down comforter was TOO hot - so it was the sheet (too cold) or the comforter. Maybe I just don't do well with luxury. I didn't sleep - maybe it was the sleep number or maybe it was the fact that we were scheduled to go on the next morning from Chicago, fly OVER our destination of Grand Rapids to Detroit, where big snow storms were predicted, and BACK to Grand Rapids. I could see this Detroit layover turning into a third day! Fortunately when we arrived at the airport the next morning we were able to get a direct flight to Grand Rapids. It still took most of the day to get out of there, but hey, we made it, and eventually so did our luggage. And I am sure missing California and the kids!

So. Okay. Back to real life. My classes started today. We worked on a still life with mostly earth colors and a blue and white pot thrown in. They did a great job of fitting it all together - earth tone shadows on the blue and white pot, and blue tones in the shadows of the warmer colored objects.

It is still winter here. Very, very winter.



Please check out my upcoming watercolor classes
and drawing workshop at this site!



I think it is strange that English nouns don't have a gender - we can clearly see that this stool is female. Doesn't she have some kinda style! I was going through my old sketchbooks and came across this sketch I had done at a friend's house a couple of years ago. We named her Stella and picture her on an assembly line in some old factory.

Going through old sketchbooks is like reading old diaries. Not only are we recording the objects as we draw them, but we are etching the time and place into our minds - and at the risk of sounding dramatic - into our hearts and souls.

I have some very quick sketches of several figures I did as they were walking toward me in an airport. Not only do I have the sketches, I have a memory of the day traveling (and waiting!) and also of sharing the sketches with my granddaughter. She sat on my lap and wanted to know about every person on the pages, as if they had been "real people" passing through my life and I knew something about each one. Well, I did know more about them than if I had merely watched them go by.
Keep your sketchbooks handy. They really have a way of adding more color (even if the sketches are in pencil or ink) to your life.

I just held a two-day drawing workshop. It was fun (I had fun anyway - the students worked pretty hard) and I hope the group continues to draw. If any of you from the workshop are reading this - you did some great work this week - keep going! Don't stop now.


I Love Paris

Blizzard Conditions Again!
That has nothing to do with loving Paris - but then again, maybe everything has something to do with loving Paris.

Snow, wind, and COLD here over the weekend, but it was a nice weekend anyway. We didn't have to be anywhere, and except for a few cracks here and there in this old house, we stayed pretty warm. We made soup and homemade pizza, and watched a few old episodes of the Waltons on DVD.

Now it's time to get back to work. I have a drawing workshop coming up in a couple of days, and I have a few things to get together for it. I am really looking forward to it - the group will be a good mix - and it's going to be fun.

I still have openings for this workshop if you're interested.



You know it's the dead of winter in Northern Michigan when I do a journal page of BANANAS. I don't even like bananas. I do love drawing them though - something about the foreshortening and geometric shapes. They are just made up of a lot of triangles and rectangles.

It has been very dark and cold here. Usually in this part of the country, in the winter, it is sunny and cold or dark and warmer (something about the cloud cover), but this year seems to be different. The lack of sunshine is getting to me, and we have a few months to go. I need to walk more, sunshine or no sunshine. It's just not as much fun in the winter - for obvious reasons - and I miss the color in the gardens, the dramatic shadows on the porches . . . Everything seems to slow down - my creativity, my momentum. A Julia Cameron quote that I love is "You may feel yourself to be temporarily without a vehicle. Just keep walking". The inspiration I get from the sunshine is my vehicle - I'll just keep walking, painting, drawing . . .