Sketches on Nideggen Paper in my Sketchbook
"Salt Shaker .  .  .  ." leads to another salt shaker a few pages on in the sketchbook.  I'll post it later.

We spent a nice long weekend downstate, and I came across a lot of salt shakers to draw.  Of course, after a while they become repetitive, and they are almost all dented.  Does every salt and pepper shaker in every restaurant in the world get dropped on the floor?  What's with that? 

We covered both sides of the state with my brother and sister-in-law, meeting up with old friends at Meijer Gardens on the west side and our son at Selfidge Air Force Base on the east side.  We had one whole day of shopping at those fun places that we don't have up here in the "north woods"  -  the paper/bookbinding store, Trader Joe's, Ikea, etc.  Now I think I need a couple of days to recover! My brother claims we drove almost 900 miles.  We could have been past Omaha.  If we had wanted to be past Omaha.


The Backdoor

Another Watercolor Sketch of the Backdoor
This is done on Nideggen paper which is a light brown color.
I was going to work on sketches and paintings of reflective objects when my class left, but with that sunshine out there, I decided not to waste it.  We have had frost warnings and the flowers are getting straggly, so it's possibly now or never for one more sketch of the area near our back door. There is nothing gorgeous about the door or the plantings, but I like it, and it is a warm, sunny spot to sit and paint.

Someday maybe I will go through all of my sketchbooks and find all of the paintings and sketches I have done of this door.


Journal Page

A Journal Page From Last Week's Bookbinding Workshop
It was too cold to go outside and paint, but we each went out and picked up at least three natural objects and composed them on a page in our brand new journals.

I seem to be accomplishing nothing the past few days.  Today is a very strange day weather-wise  -  dark clouds in the west, very windy, and quite warm, with some bright sunshine now and then.  That's it  -  it's the weather.  It's not me.  I'm not out of sync, it's definitely the weather.



Apples Painted on Nideggen Paper in my Sketchbook
This has absolutely nothing to do with anything I am doing this week.  Whatever happened to my cloud project?  I haven't given up on it  -  just takin' a break.

These little apples have been hanging around my studio, begging to be painted.

There must be something about this time of year  -  most of  my students tend to get picky and detailed, even though they say that's not what they want. Maybe because  the season has changed, and we have come into a controlled environment, they are trying to be more controlling too  -  as if they should be doing a "better" job because there is no excuse of the distractions that we have painting outside.  Whatever.   I am trying to get everyone (myself included) to swoop through with a loaded brush and get those colors and shapes in with just a few swoops.  Then go back and shape things up with shadows and MAYBE some detail.

Rainy and dark here today!  A nice cozy day to paint with students/friends.  We are painting white objects today.



Color Mixing
Last week's classes painted sunflowers, paying special attention to color mixing.  We used quinacridone red, ultramarine blue, and new gamboge (yellow). For the top row of blossoms, we mixed the brown for the centers by first mixing the primaries on the palette and then dropping in a little purple after the brown center had been painted . The next one was brown mixed on the palette, and the third was mixed on the paper.  As always, we found the color mixed on the paper to be much more interesting and less muddy.  Mixing on the paper gives you less control, but the results are more pleasing. Well, that's my opinion.  The centers of the flowers in the small painting, bottom right, were done by letting the colors mix on the paper.

This week I am doing a bookbinding workshop  -  "team teaching" with my friend Cathy.  The sketchbooks were finished today in record time, and they are all absolutely beautiful!  Tomorrow we will unveil them (they are under heavy weight over night) and begin to paint. I LOVE MY JOB!


The End of the Season?

The Last Page in this Sketchbook
A break from cloud painting
This sketchbook started out with a sketch from friend Karen's front porch.  This last sketch was painted a few evenings ago in her garden.

Now the dilemma  - I have two sketchbooks made up and ready to go.  Which one do I pick up next?

I class today we painted sunflowers.  What we were really working on was the composition  -  not doing the whole vase of flowers, but working out small thumbnail sketches using a viewfinder, and then doing a small painting.   The class came up with some beautiful color mixes for the brown centers.  It is hard to just "let go" and let the paint mix itself, but the results are always more interesting than mixing on the palette.

Tomorrow's class will be doing the same thing, and I will post my demo.

Are you walking around with your sketchbooks, picking up on some of the late summer colors?


Clouds 4

View From the Back Yard
This is a cartoon-like painting with ink on Strathmore 400 drawing paper. It started out as a contour drawing.

After a great weekend of spending one day doing nothing, one day doing chores, and one day with family,  I guess it is back to real life for a few days  -  until the next weekend.  Which is real life  -  the weekends or the weekdays?  Of course it is the combination and the balance of the two, but balance is sometimes just beyond me.

There are some beautiful clouds again today, and strong winds are predicted for this afternoon, so the clouds could be moving faster than I can paint. As I'm typing this, the sky is getting darker and the wind is picking up.  While the sun is still in the east and the dark clouds are moving in from the west, we can get some pretty dramatic skys, but I could do without the drama of the winds of a couple of days ago.  The city hasn't cleaned up the damage from that yet, so I am looking forward to that distraction some time today.  I'm serious  -  I love distractions.


Clouds 3

Cloud Watching this Morning
The clouds are moving very quickly across the sky this morning.  I did take some pictures, but it just isn't the same as doing the real thing.  Do you want flat and still, or dimensional and moving too fast to capture?

It is cool and very windy here this weekend.  I told my husband it feels like a cold weekend up north.  He said "It IS a cold weekend up north."  I meant it felt and smelled like when I was a kid at the cottage on a cold weekend.

So after we spent the morning yesterday chopping up and clearing out the tree limbs (from our tree) that came down in our neighbor's driveway, denting her car here and there and just missing her kitchen window, we spent the day doing vacation-like things  -  reading, eating, playing dominoes, going downtown, checking out the storm damage (we didn't have to go far for that), wrapping up the day with a movie  .  .  .

Today it is back to some outdoor chores and maybe some more cloud watching and painting.  Hope you're all having a nice, relaxing long weekend, and maybe spending a little time with your sketchbooks.


Clouds 2

Murky Colored Clouds

Yeah, I know, pretty boring.  But I'm sticking with this cloud thing until I get it right. This paper is Arches Cover, cream.

There was a spindly, lacy-leaved (leafed?) tree sticking up into this sky, but I was losing the light and thought I might go back today and paint the tree.  Today was very windy and rainy, so it didn't happen.

Maybe I don't even like doing clouds.


Happy Birthday to my Blog

Clouds #1
Today is the 5th birthday of this blog!

Here we go with my September series of cloud paintings, drawings, whatever.  I know this is a very unoriginal, uninteresting, etc., cloud painting, but, hey, I did it.  I'm going to have to study up on what's what with clouds.  I don't know one kind from another, and that might be nice to know.  The clouds on any given day aren't necessarily the clouds you want in the painting of the day.

We are being over-run here by wildlife.  Last night after dark, while I was sitting on the porch reading, a skunk walked up to the door, sniffed at it, pawed at it, peered in at me, and then slowly turned around and walked away.  The nerve!  My husband says, "You're sure it wasn't a cat?"  Yes!!! I'm sure!  He was three feet from me  -  I got a good look.


Roses and Daisies

Demonstration Journal Page
From a class this summer.
Here it is the first of September and I'm still thinking of summer classes.  It was a perfect summer for workshops and classes  -  the weather was beautiful and the people were just wonderful!

Why does September always seem like a new year? A new beginning.  I spent a few minutes this afternoon putting things on my calendar that I would like to accomplish in the next few months. So -  I am throwing out a challenge for myself and anyone else that would like to do it.  Mary T are you reading this?  Because  the clouds are just so dramatic here in September and October,  I am going to try to do no fewer than 16 small paintings, drawings, or whatever, of clouds.  These can be landscapes, "bayscapes" or just plain clouds.  I have 16 small (5 1/2 X 7 1/2) pieces of paper ready to go - drawing paper, watercolor paper, misc. paper, but since I think clouds lend themselves to juicy watercolor, I'll probably do more of that.

I have to say, this is a challenge for me.  I am really not very good at clouds.  I never do paintings that are "about" clouds, so we'll see what happens, huh?  If you want to join me, leave us a link to your clouds in the "comments".