One Lone Little Crocus

The sun is shining, the temperature is summer-like, and things have started to bloom. Well, this is it for our yard, but other things are beginning to look promising. After all, it is only the end of March and in Northern Michigan that is still winter.

Yesterday I went to the greenhouse to get a primrose and ended up buying a dahlia also. I am not really a dahlia fan, but there in that warm sunny greenhouse with that wonderful dirt and green smell, I would have bought anything they pushed on me. Well, actually, I wouldn't. I didn't. But I did spring for the dahlia and a yellow (New Gamboge Yellow) primrose. They have some curly grass there I think I have to have, and an orange iridescent flower that would look great with hot pink! There are some new (to me) geraniums . . . .

My Wednesday morning class is really getting into their sketchbooks. In fact this morning I couldn't get them out of them. That's okay - they seem to be having fun and they are doing some great colorful and creative things.

Are any of you old enough to remember your mom's Ponds Cold Cream? The yellow primroses always smell like that. The only thing I remember anyone in my family using cold cream for was to get off the residue that bandaids leave on your skin. So when I smell yellow primroses, I have an instant flashback to bandaids, the gunky stuff they leave on your skin, and my dad rubbing Ponds on my knees.



Red, Ripe, Medium-sized Tomatoes with a Crazy Shadow Pattern

I think it is hard to nail the color of a tomato without getting it a little rotten looking. Maybe it's because that red-orange has a little blue in the shadows, so we (I) end up with a muddy color. I tried to avoid this by not getting too much shadow color in there. There was a wonderful lavender highlight on each tomato. I think it was from the gorgeous blue sky outside the big studio windows.

I am on my way to the greenhouse. I am anxious to feel that heat and smell that dirt!!!


Geranium Watercolor Sketch

A Winter Geranium in my Watercolor Journal

This was a fast warm-up for our class yesterday. I am really trying to get across to my students that we can do a lot of small, colorful, satisfying paintings without fretting over them. Let's record some of the color in our every-day lives! And make it snappy!

Winter is notoriously burn-out time for artists in Northern Michigan. It is dark, cold, and long ~ and it ain't over yet! (Spell check thinks "ain't" is okay ~ times have changed) Painting pretty colors, trying out compositions and just doodling in our sketchbooks fills the void and keeps the brushes moving.

Don't think "finished product", think "journey". Journal, journey ~ hmmmm.



A Couple of New Handmade Journals

I've said it before ~ I can't stop. And my friends just keep feeding my obsession. Well, that's what friends are for, right?

My brain is in whirlwind mode. I have so many things I'm lining up for upcoming spring and summer classes ~ lesson plans, dates, promos, locations........and I should get a little painting done.

Maybe I'll just take a little time out here and make another journal.



And Your Assignment This Week . . .
It's amazing how many things in our lives have border designs ~ in my life anyway ~ I am not a minimalist. I've been looking around getting inspiration for sketchbook enhancements, and using simplified ideas from rugs, dishes, flower pots . . .

My class this morning did a quick watercolor sketch of radishes. It is so much fun to see all the different and beautiful interpretations. Their sketchbook assignment for the week is to do a few borders, and to pull something out of the fridge and do a quick sketch.

It was a nice sunny day here today. Warm enough for a walk down by the waterfront. There is still ice along the edge of the Bay, but it can't last too much longer. Well, I guess it could, and I think snow is predicted for the weekend.


Radishes Again

I Was Looking for a Primrose
I missed it by a mile, huh?
I wanted to paint a primrose, but couldn't find any, so these radishes will have to do. They just aren't the same in the grocery store ~ I love them at the farmers' market with the sun shining right through them.

Bathroom remodel update ~ the tub has been refinished! Even though the bathroom is far from finished, I had fun today at Bed Bath and Beyond looking for accessories. Do I really want to spend $20 on a toilet brush?



Daffodils in my Watercolor Sketchbook Journal

This was a contour drawing demo for the Thursday class with watercolor added. Just as the Wednesday class had done, the Thursday class also worked in greens. It is so fascinating to see the difference between mixing on the palette and mixing on the paper. I am trying to get a good photograph of that.

A few trips to the home improvement stores this weekend ~ I picked up a lot of green paint chips. Not that I didn't already have a lot, but you can never have too many paint chips. Anyway ~ we are going to play around this week with mixing to see what it takes to match those colors.

Working on constructing yet another journal. I don't have any immediate need for so many, but I want to be able to do them in my sleep. And when I get sick of making them, I will have a stockpile. It hasn't happened yet, but sooner or later I will have to get sick of it, won't I?

And speaking of home improvement stores ~ an update on the bathroom remodel. We are grouted!!!


Ivy Contour Sketch

A Quick Contour Sketch with Watercolor
This is a very quick sketch done in class to demonstrate how little time and effort it takes to get something on a sketchbook page. Something to remind us of the lesson, the day, the people we were with . . .

We studied greens this week ~ greens made with blue and yellow, and greens made with green and other colors added. Greens, for some reason are difficult. I'm wondering if it is because we have very definite ideas about the greens we personally like, and then when we use them, we are a little insecure about using the correct greens for the subject. Just thinkin'.

It's been a good art week. I spent a few hours planning a workshop with a friend, and I started two new eight-week watercolor classes. Lots of great people!

Now I suppose it is back to working on the bathroom remodel. I had a friend say, "Don't stay home while they're remodeling your bathroom." Another friend said, "Whatever you do, don't go away while they remodel your bathroom." We are doing it ourselves ~ no one ever said anything about that. Stay tuned ~ I'll have a few things to say when we are finished.


Almond Accents

Sketching at the Art Show

Saturday I went with friend Karen to do an art show. I went as a helper and not a participant. Fun! Really fun! It was a nice day away from the routine, and we talked and laughed about anything and everything. It was nice to spend some time with artist friends and see what they had been working on over the winter.

You would have thought with all the booth set-ups and people, I could have found something more interesting to paint than the package of almonds for my salad. Well, I didn't. I didn't really try - I was pretty comfy in my little corner.

This week my new class session starts. We are going to be doing some things in our sketchbooks throughout the eight weeks. I'll have to be on my toes to keep ahead of them - they're a talented and motivated group. But hey, the sun has been shining for the last few days - I'm up for anything.


Music Music Music
From exercising with my mp3 player to listening
to the birthday girl practice her violin.

I had fun with these curvy lined ink drawings. It is hard for me to leave out color, but I decided to leave this as is.

I see the Virtual Paintout is in a very pretty area in Norway this month. Google Maps Pegman and I may just have to take a virtual trip there to sketch.

Right now I am off to clean up the dust ETC. from the bathroom remodeling project. No, it isn't finished, but I have been letting the mess pile up, and tomorrow I start a new class session and don't want to offend anyone with the dust and junk everywhere. And I mean everywhere.