Day 30

After the past few days of lots of cooking and eating, it seemed appropriate to post this collage.

We have pretty much cleaned up the turkey and all the trimmings, and it's quiet here tonight  -  no kids, grandkids, or out of town relatives.  In fact the whole street is dark and quiet.  I think it's time to watch a silly movie.  Maybe it's time to eat again  -  just a little something?  Help  -  I can't stop!


Day 29

Cathy's Zinnias and Cosmos
This is a demonstration in my sketchbook, done last summer in one of our bookbinding classes. 

This is day 29 of blogging every day in November.   It has been a busy day, and I'm getting a little blurry eyed, so I think posting this little sketch is about it for now.  More eating, dominoes, even a little shopping today, and family games tonight.  Fun!

I hope everyone is having a good weekend.  Are you still eating turkey?



Pumpkin Pie
We are cooking, eating, playing dominoes, eating, talking  .  .  .
Happy Thanksgiving!


Persimmons and Mint Tea

From my Sketchbook
I have posted this before, but it's day 27,  Thanksgiving Eve .   .   . 

I've been baking pies today, getting out the tablecloths, the guest bedding, ETC.  Are you traveling?  Getting ready for guests?  Having a quiet day?  whatever you're doing  -  relax, enjoy the day, and maybe get in a quick sketch.


Travel Palette

Contour Drawing
This is a contour drawing (continuous line) of one of my little travel palettes, brush, and water container.  As you can see, I was struggling a bit with the water container. I was pretty pleased that, when doing the palette, I ended up with the line where it needed to be. I have to get into my right brain to do that, and sometimes I begin to let in a little fear (okay, maybe "fear is an exaggeration, but maybe not) that it won't connect in the right places, and then I begin to be distracted by that insecurity and start to slip out of the right brain mode, and then that really goofs up the drawing and .  .  . 

Day 26 of blogging-every-day-in-November.



Looking Down the Street
This is what it has been looking like around here for the past couple of days.  This storm going across the country isn't hitting us as hard as in other areas..  We are not snowed in, and I made it to the grocery store today.  When I saw the weather forecast, I was getting a little worried about getting our turkey!  All set. 

I am not a multitasker, and planning and buying food for the days leading up to and just beyond an event (Thanksgiving) is multitasking as far as I'm concerned.  I have no idea what we'll eat Tuesday and Wednesday and the weekend will take me by surprise.  I am hyper-focused  on Thanksgiving.  So now that I've said that, it had better be good, huh. 


Orange Geranium

Poor Straggly Thing
My bright orange geranium is pretty wimpy looking.  I'll try to baby it through the winter and see how it does in the spring.  I love the color, and have never seen another one exactly like it. 

It has hovered around 21 degrees all weekend.  We have snow, which should make the ski resorts very happy.  Skiing is important here for our local economy.

Now I'm going to go warm up some leftover homemade chicken noodle soup, we'll pick out a movie, and call it a day.  It's been a nice one. How about your day?  I hope it was good!



A Page in my Sketchbook
This is a page in a 9 X 12 sketchbook.  The drawings are done with a 6B drawing pencil.   The houses are value and composition sketches for future paintings, and the chair is just because I love drawing chairs.

I t has been soooo cold here today  -  about 21 degrees with strong winds.   We went out this morning to run errands, but after a couple of stops, decided to just go home.  The wind was bitter cold and it was getting slippery. 

What is the weather like where you are?  Hope you're staying warm.


Workshop Lunches

Some of my Lunches from Summer Workshops
In my journal workshops I usually have the participants paint their brown bag lunches before we eat.  I'm always on the look-out for pretty paper plates to add some color and pattern to my workshop lunches.  That way I can have any old unattractive lunch and just put a couple of things on a pretty plate and still have a colorful little watercolor sketch. Also there are no rules against painting  the lunch of someone else in the class if it's prettier than yours.  The only rule is, you can't then claim it as yours and eat it.

Because we are hungry and in a hurry,  we really don't care how it turns out.  Those are usually the best sketches.


Colored Pencils

Colored Pencils for my Birthday
I posted this old black and white picture very early on in my blog.  Yesterday, with my paper-making friends, we were talking about our art supplies, and how much we love them, and I thought about this photo. That set of pencils was my prized possession.  I loved those pencils.  They ranked right up there with my bike and doll house.

Look at those bangs!


Our Creative Endeavor

 Paper Making
We made paper today from dryer lint.  It was not a pretty job.  It was slimy, chunky, stringy, hairy (pet and human).  Have you ever seen the Bassomatic skit with Dan Akroyd from Saturday night live back in the mid-seventies?

 I think the paper will turn out much lighter after it has dried  -  which I think might take days.

We had a great time! And I think the most important thing we learned  -  start buying much lighter clothes so we'll have better lint.


Troupe Tent Flower Bed

Sketchbook Demo
Back in July I did a two-day workshop at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.
This sketch was done to demonstrate continuous line drawing, rocks, blob and smoosh, and negative shapes.  "Blob and smoosh"  is a term I use for softening edges  -  you blob the color on, then you smoosh it out a little.

I've been painting a little wicker plant stand, and that is about as creative as I have been for several days now.  I'll see if I can step it up a little tomorrow.


Day 18

This is an old medicine cabinet where I keep bottles of acrylic paint. It's  a bright spot on the wall, and seeing the color in the bottom of the bottles makes it easy to grab the color you want.  I don't paint serious ( ? ) paintings with these craft acrylics, but they're great to have around for a fun project, and for the grandkids to use.

To be honest, I haven't painted an acrylic painting in a long time -  serious or not.  I like painting with acrylic, but watercolor is just SO much fun!

Certainly nothing like the storms hitting some other areas in the Midwest, but it has been very very windy here.  Winter is upon us. So just stay inside and play with color!


Early Summer Workshop

Flowers at the Harbor in Harbor Springs
This was a demonstration back in June for a one day workshop with a groupof great painters who meet every week in the city chambers to paint together. 

The page on the left is Mi-Teintes pastel paper.  It comes in a huge variety of colors and I often put a few pieces in my sketchbooks.

It's nice to look back at summer sketchbooks on very dark, rainy, stormy, November days.


Studio Shelves

Bookshelves in my Classroom/studio
I love looking at pictures of artists' studios, so I thought I'd post this picture of a corner of mine. 

I am a huge advocate of having a space of your own to be creative in.  It doesn't have to be large, but it does have to "call" to you, so you'll want to be there, and you'll be inspired.  If you want to create, you really have to be able to leave your tools of the trade out so they're handy  when the mood hits.  Of course the mood hits more often if you're space is waiting for you. 

Some artists like their creative spaces very clean and organized  -  that's what calls to them  Others like to leave a project out in mid-creation to return to. Others like a real mess they can get lost in.  The key thing here is personal creative space.

Do you have a space to call your own?   Art supplies are beautiful  -  they don't need to be put away when company comes.

Are you sketching this weekend?


Day 15

Sketchbook Pages from Summer
Today is the first day of firearm deer hunting season in Michigan.  This is almost a national holiday in Northern Michigan.  When our kids were in school, students could even get excused from school to go hunting on opening day!  Maybe they still do that.  Everyone up here knows that if you are hiring  some work done, it had better be completed by the 15th or it will set there unfinished for two weeks.  I had a friend who was in an accident many years ago during hunting season in northern Michigan, and the whole volunteer emergency crew was deer hunting, and there was no one to respond to the call.

On the left side of the pages above, are some little vignettes I did at the lavender farm.  That's all I did  -  there are just too many people to talk to.  The right hand page is a demo I did the next day in a Bay View class.

Here we are in the middle of November, and it seems like only yesterday that I did these sketches.

Happy Birthday to granddaughter Katie!!!


Pears and a Persimmon

More Fruit
We painted small still lifes in class today.   This was a color demonstration that I did using only prussian blue, quinacridone burnt scarlet, and new gamboge.  At least I started out using that triad, but I wasn't really happy with the quinacridone burnt scarlet as the red  -  it just wouldn't allow for the bright  rosy red or glowing orange that I wanted.  I added some quinacridone red.

That little palette in the lower right has the triad colors in it that I used in this painting.  Isn't it the cutest little palette you've ever seen!


Some Colorful Fruit

Pears, Persimmons, and a Lime
This watercolor sketch is painted in my journal on Aquarius II paper.  This journal is a Coptic (my version of Coptic) stitch.  Coptic is nice because the pages open flat, but it is a little awkward at the point where two signatures (sections of paper) come together.  There is a gap there, as you can see,  but it is a sketchbook  -  we are not doing masterpieces in them.  I could choose not to cross over to the facing page with my sketch, but this space really doesn't bother me.  Then why am I talking so much about it? i have to say something  -  I'm blogging everyday.

Are you painting today?


Day 12

 View of the Bay
I almost expected the street lights to come on this afternoon. It is dark, dark, dark here.  I went to the grocery and bought some colorful fruit  -  pears and more persimmons.  That will give us something bright and cheerful to paint in class tomorrow.

This is day 12 of blogging every day in November, and I have nothing artistic or creative to post.  Of course I could go back through my summer sketchbook and post things I haven't posted yet, but the summer  sketches just didn't seem to fit the day.  Do you realize that we will have this "gray-ness" for months now?  If you're not from northern Michigan, do you understand how drab it gets?  I'm askin' for a little sympathy here. 

Actually, the changing of seasons is really nice,  but I think we'd all just like it to change back to spring a little earlier.

Well, let's see how productive we can all be this winter. We could make daily sketching a habit .  Maybe you already do.  I've been slacking.  Here I go.


Yellow Leaves in Snow

The Last of the Colorful Trees
I painted this tree this afternoon in my sketchbook to capture the last of the bright leaves.  The sky and the hills across the Bay were a very dark gray-blue.  The wind was blowing and it started to snow.  It's very likely the leaves will be gone by morning. It's a rather delicate looking tree, but apparently very strong willed  -  all the large trees have given up their leaves long ago.

I liked the contrast of the warm yellow and the deep blue.  Doesn't nature have some fabulous color combinations?!

November 11th  -  thank you Veterans!!!


Bay View Cottage

Bay View
This is a continuous line drawing / watercolor sketch done in my sketchbook one morning this past summer while I was waiting for my class to show up.

From the look of things here today, summer is long gone, but it's nice to remember. It was very windy this morning with dramatic clouds.  This is a good time of year to do some cloud studies.  I'll give it a try tomorrow.

Hope you had a good weekend.  Did you sketch?



I was craving color after doing some value sketches in gray scales.  Nothing cures that craving like a persimmon. 

This was done in gouache on  Bogus Rough Sketch paper. Gouache is an opaque watercolor that acts and smells kind of like tempera.  It's very different from painting with transparent watercolor because you can paint from dark to light as you would with acrylic or oils.  It's very "blend-able" and can be made more transparent with more water.

It's been a dark, drippy, cold day here today.  I haven't had to be out in it, so I've just enjoyed the cosiness of the day.  It's been one of those days that is pleasantly long  -  like a gift of a stretched out day.   We even did some chores.  In this quirky old house, the storm windows go up on the inside, so that was our main project of the day. 

Okay.  I think it's time for nachos and a movie.

What are you doing this weekend?


Another Value Sketch

Drawn on Bogus Rough Sketch Paper
"Bogus Rough". Don't you love that?  It just sounds gutsy, doesn't it?  Actually it looks and feels a lot like a heavy kraft paper.  You can buy it in a tablet, and it's made by "Bee Paper".

Using a toned paper allows you to use the paper as the mid value, the use charcoal for the deep shadows and white chalk for the highlights.  It's an altogether different look than the hard edges you get with markers.  The markers are fast and simple.  The chalk and charcoal are slower and more "artistic".   Someone in class said, "Oh, this is fun!  I feel like Leonardo, sketching on this brown paper."  I wonder if Leonardo's paper was brown to begin with.

I'm having a lot of fun with value sketches,  but I'm beginning to crave color.  Maybe tomorrow.


Value Sketch

Chartpak Markers on Drawing Paper
"Value" means the lights and darks
In this week's classes we are discussing, and doing, value sketches.  This one was done with some new markers I sent for.  They come in a whole range of gray scales in warm or cool shades of gray.  I just bought three  -  numbers 2, 5, and 8 in the cool series.  It shows up very cool on my monitor, but very warm in real life.  I can't imagine how warm the warm grays must be.  They are Chartpak markers.

Lemme tell ya  -  they are very smelly and very "bleedy". 

I know gray scales are used in a wide range, but I do best working with three values.  Once I get those three established, others begin to fill in as I continue to draw or paint, but three is definitely enough for me to think about.

We're also working on mid value paper with chalk and charcoal.  More later.


Day 6

The Recycled Sculpture at the Transfer Station
I took my sketchbook to the recycle center yesterday when I went on a field trip with our youngest granddaughter's class.  It was really very interesting. It's nice to know there is so much recycling going on and that it's so worthwhile.

This little sketch is a continuous line drawing that took only two or three minutes.

In class this morning we did value sketches using various pens, pencils, chalk, and charcoal.  More tomorrow. The excitement builds, huh.


Cathy's White Birdhouse

A Sketch from this Summer
This was from one of our bookbinding workshops.  On Day two of the workshop, we paint in the books that we made the day before.

Today I'm going  with my youngest granddaughter's class to the county transfer station.  AKA the dump.  My husband says, "Don't bring anything home."

What are you sketching today?


Day 4 of "blog everyday"

Margaret's Birch Trees
This page in my journal was a demonstration during a class this past summer.  We were painting at a student's home on a beautiful lake.  It was one of those intriguing places with lots of family history, long front porches, multiple cottages, a tennis court, a long winding drive back to the lakeside property .  .  .

Now winter is setting in, but they can't take that day at Margaret's away from us. All of us who were there that day have something in our sketchbooks to remind us.  Photographs remind us of an event or place, but sketches help us to remember how it felt, smelled, and sounded, and tasted of course  -  we did have lunch on one of those looong porches.

Carry your sketchbooks around with you so you don't miss anything.


Light Shape in Dark, Dark Shape in Light

Demonstrations of light shapes in dark, and dark shapes in light.
Awhile ago we did these in my classes.  I love little house shapes.  They're fun to move around the composition and play with the values.

The lightest light against the darkest dark  is the focal point  -  whether it wants to be or not.  Also the pointed shape of the gable end draws our attention.

With a large brush, these little paintings quickly give you what you need to know for a larger, more serious painting. You've worked out a simple composition, a value pattern, and a harmonious color scheme.  If one or more of these elements didn't work out for you, you probably have, at that point, a pretty good idea of what might have gone wrong.  With your large brush you just do another little painting until you get what you want.

We lost a lot of leaves overnight  -  it's beginning to look like winter.  Today we had sunshine and the trees with their red or yellow leaves still hanging on were beautiful. The trees have been slower to drop their leaves this year  -  the city has even delayed the leaf pick-up to an, as yet, undetermined date.  This is big deal stuff, huh?  Day three of Blogging Everyday in November!


Small White Cottage

Watercolor Demo on Arches 140 cold press paper

This is a small watercolor sketch that I did for my class a couple of weeks ago.  We have been talking in my classes about WHY we paint a certain subject.  How can we paint it very simply and still show WHY we painted it.  So  -  we were concentrating on composition, value and simplicity of strokes and shapes.

I was attempting to show sunshine and contrast, and it was painted in just a few minutes with a large brush.  I painted in the flowers first  -  always lightest brightest first.  Then just swooped through with a medium green, being careful to paint around the house shape and the flowers. Next were some dark, negative shapes around the cottage, and in the trees and flowers.  The last thing was a series of squiggles of green for a little foreground interest.

I love doing small watercolors with a 10 or 14 brush  -  it moves it right along.  Instant gratification.


Here We Go.

Some of my Art Supplies
Okay.  I signed up for "blogging everyday for the month of November".  I know I'm supposed to put an official link in my sidebar, but I struggle with that process every year, and I just don't want to do that right now.  Here is the link to BlogHer if you are interested in more information about the challenge.

I started doing this in November of 2007.  I have been a very sluggish blogger for the past year, so I'm thinking maybe this will get me going again.  It didn't last year, but you never know.  Of course, I know there are bloggers that post everyday all the time, but as you know, I'm not one of them. 

I'm not promising quality posts every day, but I will try to have something relevant to an art blog once in awhile.  It may border on food  blogging now and then too.  I also have some sketches from summer that I'll dig out and post. 

One day down.