A View from Hitchcock Hall

A Watercolor Journal Sketch from Late Summer
A sketch from late summer  -  wow  -  that seems like a long time ago.  It is cold, very dark, and raining here today, and the leaves are turning.

It's fun to look through my sketchbook at the summer sketches.  Summer here is crazy-busy, fun, and beautiful.  I'm doing a pretty good job this year of moving on  -  transitioning into the quieter season.  I've been busy with classes, workshops, and family.  I always get into a nesting and organizing mode about now, but that hasn't happened yet this year  -  it still could, of course.  I hope so  -  we could use a little organizing around here.

Now I'm going to go pack up my things for a mini workshop I am doing tomorrow.  I hope you're all going to carry your sketchbooks around with you this weekend.  I hope you're going to open them and paint in them!


Weekend Sketch

Salt and Pepper Shakers and a Couple of the Grandkids
We spent a family weekend at a downstate hotel, seeing our son off as he deployed to Afghanistan.   As difficult as that was, we had a really nice weekend together.  Some woman came up and tapped me on the shoulder as I was ordering a Starbucks and said, "There are a lot of weddings here this weekend, but there are also a lot of people here that are deploying. Just so you know".   Just so I know?!  Yeah, I know!  Did I look like I was having too much fun ordering my coffee?

This sketch was done on Nideggen paper in my sketchbook. I did the salt and pepper shakers at dinner, and one of the kids thought I needed the beverage menu as a backdrop. It would have been a good one to do in color.

I have a class tomorrow morning, so I had better go work on some sketches, so my students think I've been doing something.  They keep me on my toes.


Cedar Campus

Cedar Campus on Northern Lake Huron
in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
 I attended a women's retreat here Friday and Saturday.  Such a beautiful spot.   I wish that I had taken a picture of the moon on the water  -  spectacular!

Last night was our life drawing group, and I was just too tired to go.  But I went anyway and, boy, did it feel good!  I really struggle with life drawing, but I enjoy doing this once a week.  It feels so positive -  I'm struggling with it, but doing it anyway because I want to LIKE it.  I'm getting there.

Keep those pencils, pens, and brushes moving!


Flowers from Joanne

Workshop Demo
This watercolor sketch is of a small part of a huge, beautiful bouquet given to me by friend Joanne during the book binding/journal painting workshop.  That was a week ago, and the flowers are still going strong.  Except for the lily that Rudy the cat got a little too friendly with  -  it has shredded petals and he has an orange-stained face.  Looks good on him.  Ooops  -  maybe not so cute! A quick call to the vet  -  they say he's okay.

Last night we had a freeze warning.  I had intended to go out and cut the flowers in the cutting garden, but I forgot all about them.  From the window this morning, they look okay.  I did bring the geranium pots into the porch.  I just hate to see the flowers get zapped while they are still blooming.

Okay, I'm babbling.  Gotta go finish up a painting that is everything I tell my students not to do. Rules are made to be broken.  Sometimes a painting just happens.


Dinner After Class

 Portobello Panini
Spell check needs to move into the 21st century.  It thinks portobello should be "potbelly" and panini should be "panic".  It kind of upsets me that spell check doesn't know what it's doing.  Kind of like going into the fabric store and the girl at the cutting counter doesn't know how to figure your yardage.  Not that that's ever happened.  If someone or something, as the case may be, doesn't know more about something than I do  -  we're in trouble.

I did this sketch in my hand bound book last week after day-one of our book binding workshop. It felt good after a day on our feet to sit down and have someone set delicious food in front of us.  It is really hard to paint it instead of digging in to eat it, but it does make the whole eating and talking with friends experience even more fun.

In the previous post, I mentioned something about buying a larger bag to carry painting things in.  I try to keep the supplies to a minimum, but now I can't stop thinking about buying a new bag.  I'm really not a purse kind of girl (once a girl, always a girl) and I'm not a shopper,  but maybe.  I kind of like those big baggy purses.  I'm always a few steps behind  -  are they out of style?


Lunch - book binding in September

During last week's book binding/journal painting workshop we sat in the sun in big comfortable Adirondack chairs, painted our lunches, and talked about food, gardening, cooking . . .

The two days of the workshop, Thursday and Friday, were absolutely  perfect  -  warm and sunny.  And the sketchbook journals that were made were absolutely beautiful  -  colorful and creative.

The idea of having the journal painting day as part of the bookbinding workshop is to get the book binders to "bond" with their books.  The books take a whole day to make and are very precious  -  not something you'd mark up, throw in your paint bag, possibly goof up a page here and there  -  unless of course, you were paying someone to coax you into making those first marks in your book, and you find out how much you and your book like being together.  You might even get a little obsessive about having your book with you at all times.  You might even find that you use it to, not only sketch in, but jot down notes and lists, directions and ideas.  You might even buy a roomier purse for your sketchbook and a little palette. 

Since I've been carrying my sketchbook with me all the time, I find that I look at life around me with a little more appreciation.  I see more colors and shapes, shadows and patterns.  I guess if you look through my sketchbooks, you'd notice a lot of the colors, shapes, shadows, and patterns that I see are food related.  Whatever gets ya goin', huh?


Walloon Lake

Walloon Lake at the Foot
The Foot is at the southern-most end of the lake. And  -  it's shaped like a boot.

I still have sand in my sketchbook.  That's okay  -  every part of our sketchbooks is all about "being there".  Now this feels like a long time ago.  Another season.  It's cold this morning and some of the kids started school today.

When our kids were little, we lived near a lake with a nice beach, and we spent a lot of time there all summer.  The whole neighborhood would be there every day. FUN.  And then the kids would start school and the moms would still go to the beach once in awhile.   After three months of having our eyes glued to the kids in the water, it was fun to soak up the sun, sand and water without being concerned for anyone's safety.  Always felt a little guilty about that though.  Did they know we went without them?

Today I'm working on class promos, planning, and catching up on emails.  I will be sending out emails and posting info on an upcoming Yoga and Painting morning I'll be doing with a yoga instructor friend, and another bookbinding/journal painting workshop.  Getting geared up for the new season!



Contour Drawing in my Sketchbook
I did this sitting under a big tree, talking about, and listening to friends talk about, composition and value.

In a contour (continuous line) drawing I don't worry about composition, and of course, as you can see here, there is no information about value (lights and darks).  I'm just recording what it is about the subject that interests me. In this case, it's the vertical lines of the tree trunks and the horizontal line of the distant shore. I had intended to put a little watercolor on this, but I really like the simplicity of the lines.

This is labor day weekend.  We don't have any big plans. The grandkids have been in and out.  A few very large (3 to 4 inch) slugs have been in and out, and one pretty large toad. We put the toad in the cutting garden and then we googled "what do toads eat".  They are actually carnivores and they eat slugs! The balance of nature  -  right in our own back yard.  I just don't want to witness that one.


Painting with Isabelle

Late Summer Flowers in my Sketchbook
Just a quick little sketch while sitting on the porch painting with Youngest Granddaughter a few days ago.  She did some bright and colorful things to cut out and decorate the porch walls.

It still feels like summer here.  It is fabulous!!!

As my classes slow down and I fill my life with other fun and creative things, I'm thinking maybe this year I'll avoid the annual autumn-crash-and-burn.  I have a list of goals for the winter, a couple of deadlines, classes and workshops lined up, a volunteer thing I do (tiny  -  I need to ramp it up), and the life drawing group I go to once a week.  Speaking of life drawing  -  can I show that stuff on this blog?   Yes, of course, I know I can  -  this is the Internet  -  I can do anything.

It's Thursday  -  spaghetti night at the Carey's.  Then I am off to paint with friend Karen.