November 30th

As I was going through things in my studio today, I came across these sketches and the little painting.  Chairs are one of my favorite subjects.  They have so much character.  None of these photographed well  -  the light is bad and to re-do all three of them  -  well, it's late.  I make it sound like it's the pictures' fault, not mine.  It's okay to blame things on inanimate objects, isn't it?

This is the end of NaBloPoMo  -  or blog-everyday-throughout November, or National Blog  .  .  . something. Of course, I'll continue blogging  -  just not every day.  You'd all be really sick of my quantity-not-quality style. I really ramp up the quality the rest of the year, don't I?

This afternoon I went to the dollar store.  When the girl rang me up, she didn't give me my change.  I reminded her I had eight cents coming.  She said "Okay", and rang up the next person who had 22 items.  This was getting embarrassing, I'm standing there waiting for eight cents!!!  It was okay, no one in the long line knew it was only eight cents  -  until  she said something about getting mixed up because she was thinking about "her" eight cents, with a nod to me.   I was not about to leave without it at that point -  it's a matter of principle, right? ("Principle: A rule or belief governing one's personal behavior"  -  in the dollar store)  And I would have had almost nothing to blog about.  That was the excitement in my life today.  What was yours?


November 29th

Pears Again
These are the pears I did in class today.  They started out much wetter and with a more intense yellow under-painting than yesterday's.  We had fun with this.  It was a joint effort - deciding on the color mixes and what brushes to use.

I have a stack of papers, drawings, and small paintings that I've been piling up over the last class session.  I am anxious to go through them and put things in some kind of retrievable order.  I always say that, and then one thing leads to another and it becomes a huge task and begins to involve every aspect of my life.   I'll get every drawer dumped out to rearrange because I'll need to make room.  I'll have a pile of stuff to go through that will take years (yes, years).  I'll have to stop in the middle and go to the grocery store.  I'll have to shove a pile of papers out of the way so I can get to the washing machine.  Then I'll try to re-do my filing system so it will be cute.  .  .  Did I just talk myself out of something?

November 28th

Pears this week are $1 a pound here!  I love pears any way, but especially in a salad with red Boston lettuce, almonds and blue cheese. Last night we added pomegranate seeds.

I did the charcoal drawing of the pears last night.  It was, more or less, a contour drawing or continuous line drawing.  I concentrated on the fruit first, getting in the bowl here and there as I came to it with the continuous line.

This morning in class, I did the painting. I was demonstrating layering and tying colors together. Four is an awkward number in a composition, and I was trying to show how repeating colors can tie things together, so they aren't too separate.  In tomorrow's class I'm going to try to have the colors bleed together a bit to tie the objects together.

Happy Painting!


November 27th

Charcoal Continuous Line Drawing and Prismacolor Pencils
Just getting a little color in my life.  This is a very scrawny geranium that seems to be on it's last legs.  I feed it and give it the best light in the house, but it may not make it.

This, like the drawings in yesterday's post, is done on newsprint, which I don't think takes any medium too satisfactorily.  But it's cheap, and big and seems like a good place to "warm up".

I just went out into the world for the first time in two days.  I seem to be in my hibernation mode. Hibernation can be productive can't it?  Nope  -  it can't   -  I just looked it up and the definition is "To be in an inactive or dormant state or period". Well, I knew that, and I guess I don't want to go to that extreme.  I just don't like to go out in the cold. I'll just keep painting and I'll be okay.  How about you?  Do you have painting plans for the winter?


November 26th

 Pencil and Charcoal
I'm just trying to get the pencil moving again  -  playing around with small house shapes and negative areas. 

I'm not crazy about the way pencil and charcoal handle on newsprint, but I thought I'd try to fill up a large sheet with small sketches.

I feel a little rusty after a few days of no drawing or painting, but I'm ready to get at it.  Small drawings like these help to jump start the process  -  kind of like musicians playing the scales.  Little pencil marks can lead to large paintings.


November 25th

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
We have some more fresh snow and it is cold!  Thursday, Thanksgiving day, we had 65 degrees, the next day it was 32, and this morning we had winter snow advisories.

This pretty much wraps it up for a very nice Thanksgiving weekend.  I'm looking around the house at the remnants of a long weekend of family coming and going, lots of eating and other fun stuff.  There are stacks of clean bedding, piles of more laundry waiting to be done,  silver and Grandma's dishes to put away, forgotten items to be shipped back to their owners  .  .  .    It's all about picking up Thanksgiving and putting it away until next time. 

Tomorrow I should catch up on ordinary everyday things.  I know I have some things that need to get done, but four days of eating turkey and playing dominoes tends to blur one's mind.  Maybe I need a couple more days off.


November 24th

BK veggie Burger
More food blogging.  We've been eating Thanksgiving leftovers non-stop, but we went to Burger King and the bookstore with our youngest granddaughter tonight.  Just before we left home, my husband said, "What about that pie on the porch?"  What pie!  I thought we were finished with pie! There was a whole Dutch apple pie on the table on the back porch (when you live in the north, you can use your porch as a giant refrigerator).  So -  a little more dessert, and then I sent it home with our granddaughter. I think that takes care of the leftovers.  Now we can move on with our lives.

Yesterday when I blogged, it posted somewhere else on my blog.  I guess the little quote on the towel was quite appropriate. I will try to pay more attention to where this one is going.

November 23rd

In my Own Little World
Is this the cutest little towel you've ever seen in your life?  A friend found it in a gift shop and brought it to me.

Here it is, the day after Thanksgiving, and we are still eating.  A tradition in our family is for everyone to come back the day after Thanksgiving and have leftovers.  Some of us did a little shopping, some of us went to work, and all  of us ate a lot.

Happy Day after Thanksgiving!


November 22nd

We are eating nuts and grapes, playing dominoes, and cooking.  Simultaneously.  This is a quick little sketch done in gouache. 

In a few minutes we are going to have to start cooking in earnest, or we won't be ready by the time the rest of the guests arrive  -  and the nuts and grapes are almost gone.

I hope you are all having a nice day!  Happy Thanksgiving!


November 21st

Me   -  many years ago.
No sketching today.  I baked a couple of pies, prepped some things to finish up tomorrow, set the table, did laundry, worked a blood drive, picked up the grandkids . . .

Getting ready for a holiday always makes me think of family and holidays of my childhood. So here, in desperation to blog everyday in November, I'm posting this picture of me as a little girl with birthday or Christmas gifts.  I'm thinking birthday.  Look at that carpet.  Look at those bangs!


November 20th

Butternut Squash
Yes, of course this was supposed to have been a sketch, but a photograph was the best I could squeeze in today.  This is perhaps my all time favorite color.  The texture of the seeds and the shadows around them fascinate me too. All those little bitty negative shapes.

The thing about sketching  -  or not sketching  -  is the fact that we are aware.  Often almost as aware as if we were going to sketch the object.  Sketching everyday objects in our lives has made us appreciate everything around us  -  the wonderful colors, shapes, and textures.  The shadows and way the light hits things keep us looking and thinking.,

Okay  -  that's my little sketching lecture of the day.  Does it sound like I am trying to excuse myself for not painting this?


November 19th

The oldest pottery in America
It has a colorful logo
and then it has the Good Housekeeping seal of approval

All of this on the bottom of a custard cup.  These have been around before I can remember. There are two of them, and I have two other baking dishes in different patterns.  I can find information on other Harker patterns, but I can't find anything on this one.  Does anyone know anything about it?

I went to the grocery store today  -  along with everyone else in the world, it seems.  Buying a turkey now is like buying a car with the shifty price cuts and trade-in allowances.  At one store the turkeys were VERY expensive, but you could get $17 off with an additional purchase of $20.  Another store had turkeys for 43 cents a pound with a $50 purchase  -  and so on  -  I won't get into it.

I was complaining to my sister-in-law that I agreed to help out at a blood drive on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, for heavens sake.  She said she has to decorate a Christmas tree at the zoo! Does that sound like fun or what -  decorating a Christmas tree at a zoo?!  It's all about what you get to go home at night and tell  -  "I handed out cookies and juice today." or "I decorated a tree at the zoo today."


November 18th

From my Sketchbook
This is going to be short and sweet  -  I'm ready for bed.  I just had a very spicy meal with some very spicy, strong tea, so I might not be as ready for bed as I think I am.

There is no rhyme or reason for this sketch.  It's not relevant to my day, but one day I sketched this while sitting in a parking lot.  If you carry your sketchbook with you, you always have something to do.

Speaking of something to do, is everyone gearing up for a big grocery run in preparation for Thanksgiving?  Maybe we should all sketch some of our produce when we get home.  Or maybe some colorful jar labels.  Just a quick sketch.


November 17th

Colorful Art Supplies
I keep my art supplies out on my work tables.  All the bright colored pens, pencils, markers, etc. are pretty inspirational, and it's nice to have them within reach.  If I had to put these things away in a drawer or cabinet, I'd never find them.  We all have our own style, and I think it is important to use your own style when it comes to how and where you keep your art supplies.  As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I learned at an early age that it's important to have your own work space, if at all possible.  It doesn't need to be large, but it does need to be yours.

Today is the anniversary of the first time my husband and I met.  A looong time ago.  Today we put up the storm windows and made a trip to the dump.  Then we made burgers and watched some old Freisher episodes.We really know how to celebrate, don't we?


November 16th

Still Playing with Gouache
This little painting is really too awful for words, but I'm going to talk about it anyway.  I am always saying we aren't after a masterpiece every time we pick up the brush.  How will I ever learn to use gouache if I don't experiment?  I couldn't leave this alone, and it has layer after botched layer on the light weight paper.  I think if gouache is layered too heavily, it will crack, so if I feel myself coming close to a masterpiece, I'll remember that.

Doing this painting made me think of a painting I did when I was a little kid. Even the smell of the paint today took me back there.   I had been given a set of paints in jars, and I was painting a beach with palm trees.   I left that long-ago painting somewhere accessible to our dog, and he licked off the paint!!!  I learned a few lessons from that licked painting  -  have a place of your own to paint, it's all about the journey not the finished product, and use materials that dogs don't find tasty.


November 15th

Fruit Painted in Gouache in my Sketchbook
Just about the time I was thinking it would really be fun to try gouache on the colorful Mi Teintes paper, an artist friend, Hennie,  gave me a ziplock bag full of tubes to play with.  This is my first attempt, and was it ever fun!

The dish was really patterned with flowers in primary colors, but when I got to that point, I was really liking the "flatness" of the shapes and didn't want to complicate things.  Hennie paints large, simple shapes on full sheets of watercolor paper  - she gets a very smooth, almost suede-like finish.

Gouache is a water based paint that comes in tubes like watercolor.  It is very opaque with a mat finish, and unlike watercolor, it is painted dark to light, instead of light to dark.  Fun!  Thanks, Hennie. I think I'm hooked.

I gave my class an assignment of watercolor sketching at least one page in their sketchbooks of some of the dishes they pull out this time of year as they get ready for Thanksgiving dinner.  Drawing objects in our homes makes us appreciate our surroundings a little more. 


November 14th

This is a demonstration I did in class this morning.  The purpose was to show how I would draw the fruit first, and then draw the bowl around it, instead of drawing the bowl and then adding the fruit.  I did a contour drawing of the oranges, paying attention to the angles where the individual oranges met up or overlapped.

Another purpose of the demonstration was to show how I would swoop across the oranges with one color,  go back and add deeper and varying warm color, and then put in cool shadows.

I don't know why it's easier to draw the fruit first and then the bowl, but it is.  Trust me. Better yet  -  try it.

Is everyone doing the Thanksgiving countdown?  Are the tablecloths ready?  Do you have to clean out the fridge and freezer.  Is the guest bedding all set?  Have you planned a centerpiece? Do you have to polish the silver?  Are you using your grandma's china  -  have you washed it?  Or if you're not hosting  -  have you planned your dish to pass?  Wow  -  that sounds a lot easier!


November 13th

The Handmade Book That Started it All
I was looking back over my November posts of past years, and came across this image I had posted of the first journal I made. I made it at a bookbinding class in Ann Arbor in November of 2009.  Since then I have made them in different sizes, and with watercolor paper mixed with various drawing papers. 
A Few of the Other Journals I've Made

 Looking over previous years' posts is like reading old diaries. Some of the things I had forgotten I did, and some of the things I had forgotten I was going to do. I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing to be reminded of things we had forgotten we were going to do.  Well, of course, it depends on what those things were, doesn't it?


November 12th

Color Swatches from Nature
I've been watching the color combinations change with the changing of the season. Everything is quite flat today, grayed.

After yesterday's warm temperatures, we are not too crazy about thirty-four degrees today.  Oh  -  and now we have some snow!

I've spent the day catching up on laundry and  making a batch of soup for the slow-cooker.  A friend and I did our "Flowers for Friends" thing, but ran out of flowers after only about 18 arrangements.  Flowers for Friends is a program that pairs up "used" flower arrangements and volunteers.  The volunteers take apart the larger flower arrangements and make them into small arrangements that are delivered to hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens, etc.  Not only is it fun to put together the arrangements, but it's nice to know that they'll be delivered to someone who may need a little cheering up.

Now I'm going to go look over homework assignments for middle granddaughter.  If it's math, we're both in trouble.


November 11th

Gray Skies  -  and Unseasonably Warm Weather
The colors today have been very subdued  -  except for the yellow slash of sky early this morning.  It has been very warm  -  strangely warm for this time of year. No one is complaining!  We took a two mile walk down by the waterfront, and and did a few last minute outdoor chores.  A lot of people were out on the walking trails today  -  it may be our last chance at weather like this for a few months.

I always intend to record the sky on a regular basis.  We live on a hill, and in the winter we have a pretty good view across the rooftops and across the Bay.  There is a beautiful steeple in our view that changes with the light.  I am not good at sticking with things, so maybe this is it for my sky series.

Have you sketched this weekend?


November 10th

I did nothing creative all day.  Of course the day isn't over yet.  I've packed up my summer clothes, cleaned our closet a bit, tried to do something with things I didn't know what to do with.  When in doubt, make a run to the "donation station" at the resale shop.  It has been very dark here all day  -  a good day to grub and sort.

The picture posted here is our cat, Rudy.  He's waiting for my class to arrive.  He loves people!  He especially loves the people in my classes, and I don't blame him.  I do too. 

I suppose I could get creative with dinner, or I could just have the sandwiches that my husband brought home from an all-day conference his library was hosting.  Let's see  -  from-scratch dinner? Ready-made sandwiches?   That's a no brainer.


November 8th

Pomegranate, Persimmon, and Pear
There is just something about persimmons  -  the color of course, but also the shape, and the very shiny surface with that dusty blue coating.

I'm going to have to play around with some color mixing with this persimmon.  Maybe I'll try it in various color triads (variations of the primaries), although I think I already know that I would like quinacridone  burnt scarlet, quinacridone gold, and phthalo blue the best.

Middle Granddaughter and I watched Mirror Mirror this afternoon and I have been listening to the closing track , I Believe in Love,  over and over.

It's the little things in life  -  lunch at Burger King, a Netflix movie in the middle of the afternoon, and shiny orange persimmons. 


November 8th

Pine Tree With Snow
We don't have snow yet, but my Thursday class wants to be prepared.  This is a small demo on Arches  cold press paper.  I think it would be more effective if the pattern of lights and darks had been broken up a little, but I'm happy with the combination of hard and soft edges and the shadows.

I haven't done any snow paintings in a couple of years.  Maybe I'll do some this winter.  There will be plenty of time  -  we have months of snow here.  I think it enhances our lives to really pay attention to our surroundings, record in a sketchbook what's happening,  mix some colors we see around us, and watch things change with the light of day or the seasons.  Maybe it's a form of gratitude.  


November 7th

Working from Photos in Class
I keep telling my class (nagging them) that they should work from their own photographs. not those of someone else.  You need to know WHY you are doing the painting, and if it is someone else's picture, you just don't have a good enough reason.  You didn't feel the subject, smell it, investigate it.

So here I am, working from a photo that isn't mine.  And really, as much as I liked it, I just couldn't connect.  I had worked on some thumbnail sketches, and in the middle of the night (right after having a dream about discussing Anais Nin with someone  -  where did THAT come from?) I had the bright idea that a vertical format would work better than horizontal.

What I had really wanted to demonstrate in class was how I would do the white flowers on the left side of the photo.  And a little bit of the stone texture of the walls.  The flower demo didn't photograph well, and I didn't get the vertical thumbnail started yet, and the stone texture demo is not worth showing.

By the way,  I really know nothing about Anais Nin, so please don't hold me responsible if she offends you.

Let's all go do some thumbnail sketches now.


November 6th

Veggie Pizza Ingredients
I roasted the veggies and reduced the balsamic vinegar  -  with a little orange zest in it.  I used naan flatbread for the crust, put the veggies on it, sprinkled with a little mozzarella, and baked it until the cheese was melty.  When I took it out of the oven, I drizzled the balsamic on it.  Oh, and I put a little pineapple on it too  -  because we always put pineapple on our pizza.  With the sweet potato, pineapple, and balsamic, it was fairly sweet and very tasty.

The naan flatbread we use is Stonefire.  The price keeps going up, and they keep moving it all over the store, but I found a larger package of it at a much more reasonable price at a food services store.

I need to get some things ready for tomorrow's class.  I want to do some demonstrations with textures, light and shadow, and as always, composition.

I hope every registered voter in the USA will exercise their right to vote today!  I am really glad NOT to be getting political calls  -  wow  -  that got tiresome.

How about sketching some dinner ingredients tonight?


November 5th

Okay, so here we have a photograph of wild turkeys circling our yard. 

I know, day five, and this is the best I can do already. I had intended to sketch the ingredients for last night's pizza and tell how I made it, but I didn't get far enough to post it.  Maybe tomorrow.  This seems to be a busy week with lots of little things that need attention  -  they do add up, and the days don't seem long enough.  I think it's time to curl up on the couch and watch a silly movie.  Or take a little nap before bed.

Don't these turkeys know they should be hiding?


November 4th

Some Autumn Demonstrations
I'm usually not too crazy about painting fall colors, but the small painting at the top was really fun to do.   Someone in class had asked about painting fall leaves without getting muddy or spotty looking.  I painted clear water around the white structure, and then started dropping in the color.

The leaves are all gone now, and everything is very brown and bare.  That gives us a great view across the Bay, so I'm not complaining.

Because I have nothing else to say, I'm going to talk about food now.  A couple of days ago for lunch I had a roasted veggie pizza, at a downtown restaurant, with a balsamic reduction sauce.  Fabulous. I make roasted veggie pizzas all the time but have never done one with balsamic vinegar.  Come to think of it, there was no tomato/pizza sauce on it.  I have to give this a try.  I'll let you know how it goes, and maybe even do a quick sketch.

How was your weekend.  What's ahead in the next week for you?  Some sketching?


November 3rd

Ice Cream Sundaes
French Vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, bananas, mango, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.  This reminds me of the ice cream sundae "dinner" we had when the California kids were here.  These were more dessert sized  -  and no caramel  -  I missed the caramel, but they were delish anyway!

We watched Jumanji.  How had I never seen Jumanji?  We all started to fall asleep, so we finished watching it during breakfast.  Things are moving slowly here today.  Fun.

This morning I said, "I can't find my sketchbook!", and one of the kids said, "Oh, it's up behind my bed."  I probably would never have thought to look there.

I am only into day three of blogging every day in November, and already you have to read about what I'm eating and watching on Netflix.  Will it get any better?  Maybe not.


November 2nd

Tiny White Pumpkins
These were a demonstration in class one day.  

I spent the day being much less productive than I had planned, but it seems as if every day is like that.  I messed around updating my bio, and felt I ended up back at square one.  I had intended to start some thumb nail sketches for a painting I want to do for class next week  -  that didn't happen.  I've been trying to feel good about the things that I do get done, instead of feeling frustrated about the things that don't get done.  I think we all have a warped sense of time when it comes to our to-do lists.   So I am feelin' pretty darn good about taking a shower and going to the grocery store.

How about you?  How did your day go?


November 1st

 Scented Geranium Cuttings
Karen brought these scented geranium cuttings to share with our class.  I took a lemon scented one because I love the fragrance, and because it is curly.

I think I started doing the "Blog Every Day in November" challenge in 2007. Here we go again.  Fair warning -  as I claim every year, it's all about the quantity, not the quality.

If you are interested in what the Blog Every Day thing is all about, there is a link at the top of my sidebar.  The website explains what it is, and has a blogroll of the participants.

I have been a pretty slow blogger this year.  We'll see if this gets me back up to speed.