View from "Cherry Park"

Purple-blue Mountains 
As the sun moves, the colors of the mountain ranges change from bright green to blue gray to purple.  The tall palms are so huge and oddly shaped, they're almost comical.  I'm a mid-west girl  -  these trees and mountains are a novelty to me.

I did this sketch about a week ago, and now I am missing the sunshine and warmer temperatures of California.    We have no leaves yet in northern Michigan, but the grass is very green today. The Bay is very blue  -  ultramarine blue. It is only 45 degrees.  This might be a good day to go to the green house.  I need some of that warm dirt smell.


Menlo Park, CA

 Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California
We met a Michigan summer friend at the most beautiful place  -  Allied Arts Guild.  The gardens were gorgeous, the cafe was charming, the food was delicious, and it was such fun to catch up with a Michigan friend in California.  Wisteria, roses, and everything else are blooming here.

Lunch was fantastic.  I had salade niciose with baked salmon and tiramisu  -  both a first for me.  Where have I been, huh?

That evening we went to the elementary school science fair where our granddaughter took first place for the fifth grade.  What a treat for us to be there for the award ceremony.

All in all, a great day. 

If you are in the area of Menlo Park (very near Palo Alto), it is a perfect place to take your watercolor journal.  Is this too far for my Michigan classes to take a road trip? No, I don't think so.


At the Cabin

Still Life at the Cabin
Snow, sleet, and rain all weekend. It was fun to be SO lazy and cozy. Now we are back in the city and the sun is shining. We can still be lazy.

 I want to find a good bunch of calla lilies to sketch.  It would be nice to find some near the street so I don't have to be too intrusive  -  but no one seemed to care that the homeless guy was sleeping (?) in a yard, and I think I look pretty harmless (not homeless) with a sketchbook.


Happy Easter

Happy Easter from Viola, California
It's just a little cold and snowy here.  Really  -  it's a lot cold and snowy here.  We are having the perfect holiday "cabin weekend".  Looking outside, we are just not sure which holiday it is!

We really are having a great time  -  reading, cooking, eating, playing games, decorating eggs, hiding eggs, sketching and painting, drinking cinnamon tea, and watching the snow fall.  It's wonderful!

Viola is in Northern California in the Redding/Mt Lassen area.  It is just beautiful here, and the family togetherness is soooo nice!  If you're having a warm and sunny Easter, don't feel sorry for us  -  we made a conscious choice to come here.


Chi Latte

 A Chi Latte and Other Crazy Stuff
From San Jose, California - 
To those of you back at home  -  I may just stay here.  I think I like this life.  This kind of stuff just doesn't happen at home in Northern Michigan  -  not all within a few minutes anyway.

I mean, how many times, at home, have I been sitting on the corner, drinking a chi latte at Starbucks (NEVER) and had a dog sitting next to me actually BITE two people?  It bit the Starbucks guy on the hand, and then when the mail man walked through, it bit him on the leg.  I was afraid to get up to leave  -  I let the dog leave first.

Two guys a couple of tables over were arguing about who was going to take the blame for something.  The louder one, naturally, had nothing to hide and the other one would have to take the blame.  The dog didn't pay any attention to them.

The homeless guy I saw wandering around the neighborhood was curled up on a beautifully manicured front lawn, right at the edge of the sidewalk. Sleeping?

And . . . there is bird banging his head against the living room window for days on end now.

Ya can't make this stuff up.


Down by the River

Sketching by the Bear River
We had a nice, warm, sunny day this week ~ perfect for taking watercolor journals out to paint. I started a new journal, which, for some reason, is always fun.

Today the wind is blowing and it is pretty cold.  I am inside working on some more class and workshop ideas for the summer.  I have posted my spring and summer classes ~ click on the "Classes and Workshops" tab at the top of the blog, just under the banner.  I plan to be adding more as the dates are firmed up.

 Click on the image to enlarge  -  I know you are just dying to see this thing.

 Here is a pic of the finished model of a McCormick reaper (that I mentioned back on March 2nd) that our 13 year old grandson had to make of things found around his house - or my studio.  To give you an idea of the scale, the black wheel is the cap from a gallon jug. Along with the model, his presentation, and period costume, he earned 205 points out of a possible 200.  My reward was a couple of fun days working with him on this.  I am so glad I get asked to do this fun stuff  ~  no one ever asks me to help with math.  Being horrible at math really pays off now.



 My first Flower Sketch of the Season
It was nice and sunny and warm, and I found this crocus blooming in the yard.  As I began my sketch, the sun started to go behind a cloud, and the crocus slowly closed.  I didn't know they did that!  So this was a very fast contour drawing and a quick splash of color. 

A couple of days ago I played around with the fonts on my blog, and today the ones I had applied are gone.  Okay.  I'm not going to play with that anymore.  The next time I look they may be back.  I just don't care.

This is the last page of this sketchbook.  The next one is a different shape  -  more square  -  and I am kind of anxious to try it out.  A new season, a new sketchbook.  Fun.