Cathy's Chair

Journal Page from the Bookbinding Workshop

This huge fern traveled all the way from S. Carolina to spend the summer in this willow twig chair. Sitting there in the sun, it was a perfect warm-up for our day of journal painting.

Here it is, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. I finished up my stretch of classes yesterday (next week I only have two) and I'm feeling pretty relaxed today. That could be because I am not out of bed yet! It could also be because I have a lot of errands to run, but have no vehicle for the day. That eliminates part of my to-do list, and I can concentrate on house and garden things.

Yesterday's class really got into foliage painting. It is so nice to be able to go outside now to paint. I love teaching foliage painting - it seems like such a break-through when we realize how much we need to keep it simple. It is the outside edge that tells the story - we don't need all that interior texture.

Go outside today and paint a tree in your journal. I will too.


Birdhouse at the Workshop

A Demonstration Page from the Bookbinding/Journal Workshop

My friend Cathy and I just did two, two-day, back-to-back, bookbinding and journal painting workshops. The journals were beautiful! The second morning we unveiled them (they have to sit under weight over-night) and jumped right into painting in them. Everyone got over that fear of pure white pages in about two minutes. The weather was perfect, and Cathy's studio is in a woodsy area on a lake. Fun!

Today is the end of my nine day stretch of classes and workshops. I have a class this afternoon and it looks as if we will be able to paint outside.

For some reason, I am feeling very hyper and stressed this morning. Shouldn't I be calming down a little? I'm wrapping up a fairly intense nine days ( some of the classes I haven't taught previously). Maybe I function better in that intense "zone". Or maybe it's all that laundry waiting for me, the science projects in the fridge, the garden that needs to be cleaned up before my next workshop . . . .

I'll be posting more jpurnal pages from the workshop.
Hope you have a sunny, stress-free day. I'm gonna.


Orange Tree Over the Fence

Another California Sketch

Here is yet another sketch from our California trip. I have just finished four days of Bookbinding/Journaling, and will post some of those sketches as soon as I get myself together. And because I never expect to really get myself together (and that's okay) I will post them anyway - in a day or two.

Friday I spent the day at an elementary school with ten classes - one every thirty minutes. As one of the kindergarten classes was leaving, a little girl came up and thanked me for the painting demonstration. As she started to walk away, she turned around, pointed to me, and said, "Great outfit by the way." CUTE kid!

I have a class coming this morning, and I want to get the backyard canopy up so we can enjoy this beautiful northern Michigan morning outside with the birds - and the Wednesday morning garbage truck, the recycle truck, the guy down the street with the leaf blower . . . . but it's okay - we have loud birds.

Sketch something today!


Orange Tree - California Sketch

Orange Tree in the Backyard

I love the shape of this orange tree, although I don't care for the taste of the oranges. Almost as soon as I had finished painting this, the gardener trimmed a lot of it. He really did a great job of keeping the shape - it still has that graceful swoop and asymmetrical slant. I absolutely LOVE citrus trees - those shiny green leaves and that gorgeous, sparkling orange or yellow fruit - the shape of the trees - the aroma of the blossoms!!!!

Getting back to reality here in Michigan. I have a few errands to run to be ready for some workshops coming up, starting tomorrow, and I have a class this afternoon. I don't seem to be taking enough time with my sketchbook. A sketchbook is such a good place to slow down, chill out, and just "be". But right now I have a date with my scanner and printer.

Have you set up a date with your sketchbook?


Pinecones of Viola

Sketching the Pine Cones of Viola, California

Back to California sketches. We were sitting outside eating breakfast and painting in our sketchbooks. The air was cool and the sun was strong. The creek was higher, faster, and louder than it had been the day before. What a beautiful place. We walked some trails to a clearer spot to get a good view of the mountains. Breathtaking!

Now, back home in the city, in a very different part of the country, I am enjoying my sketches. They all remind of the things we did and saw there. Even this simple sketch of the pine cones reminds me of the mountains.

Every little thing you put in your sketchbook journal is a big memory.


Geranium Still Life

Still Life for Class

I did this watercolor sketch in my journal "as is", with no regard to editing or composition. What ya see is what ya get. When I set it up for class, I didn't really arrange the objects, but left it to the students to come up with the composition that worked best from their positions around the table.

For me, taking the still life from three dimensions to two, makes it easier to compose. I can see more clearly what I need to move around and edit when I'm looking at the journal page.

I could have just done some thumbnail sketches and called it good, but color is better! Better, as in more fun.

I have a lot of class things coming up, starting this week. Let the fun begin! One of the things is being a "presenter" (?) at a Young Authors Day at an elementary school near by. Looking over the schedule for the day, I see there is no nap time! What the heck?


Hot Sauce

Hot Sauce, Lime, and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

We picked up the ingredients for this recipe at Trader Joe's in San Jose. I LOVE TRADER JOE'S! The closest one to us in Michigan is at least four hours away. The cherry tomatoes were beautiful, but it was hard to tell which ones were ripe because of all the strange colors. The only way to tell was to taste them, and then, of course, it was too late. The ones that were good were very good, and they were all beautiful.

The original recipe called for ground turkey, but I thought the guys would like the beef better. I am also wondering if it would be good with beans and rice instead of meat.

I am missing the California weather, and really missing our kids and grandkids. However I am busy here at home - lots of things to do before next week when I begin a series of classes and all-day workshops for nine days without a break. Without a break - who am I kidding - this is fun stuff! If you are local, check out my class link in the sidebar and see if something sounds good to you.

My mind is going a hundred miles an hour, so I am going to slow down and go to the green house to buy pansies. My favorite "slow down and take a big breath" thing to do this time of year.

Have a great day - I hope the sun is shining where ever you are.


Thai Delight

Everything Tastes Better with Chang Beer

My husband is a fan of only American and Italian cuisine. He was willing to give Thai food a try in California, so we rewarded him with a beer to wash it down. He didn't know until the next day, when I was eating his leftovers, that there was tofu in those noodles!

The grandkids and I tried to keep our sketching in restaurants a little simpler this time. We just sketched in pen or pencil and added color at a later time. Soooo much easier with six of us at the table not to get out all the paint, brushes and water. I think the waiters appreciated it too.


California Cabin and Sketchbooks

Accordion Sketchbooks (left to right) Granddaughter's, Daughter's, Grandson's

A Weekend at the Cabin

We spent a wonderful weekend with our kids at their cabin in Northern California.

The grandkids and I took our sketchbooks out and sat in the middle of the road to sketch the cabin. It was a little complicated with the angles of the dormers, and we didn't want to spend all day on it - we had other relaxing things to do like eating lunch by the creek, going for a walk, building a bonfire, playing UNO . . . .

The drive up late Friday afternoon was great - driving toward Mt Lassen and Broke Off Mountain - just beautiful. When we arrived that night, we had to hurry up and make accordion sketchbooks so they would be ready to paint in by morning.

It is an absolutely beautiful spot, and of course, there is nothing like a relaxing weekend with family!