Sunday, April 23, 2017

We Are Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On...

Today, April 23 is traditionally considered the birthday of William Shakespeare.  Baptized on April 26, 1564.  On Garrison Keillor's blog today a short biography of him was just so amazing I have to share a bit.  

The Oxford dictionary credits him with coining 3,000 new words and sayings to the English language and has contributed more phrases and sayings to the English language than any other individual.  His idioms have woven themselves so snugly into our daily conversations that we aren't even aware of them most of the time, phrases such as "a fool's paradise," "Greek to me," "a sorry sight," "dead as a doornail," "come what may," "eaten out of house and home," "forever and a day," "heart's content," "slept a wink," "love is blind," "night owl," "wild goose chase," and "into thin air."

The article finishes with Prospero's soliloquy from The Tempest written in 1610.  A play I remember attending at an open air theater in England many years ago.  I remember being so touched hearing it and was touched again reading it....

"Our revels are now ended.
These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all
spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin
And, like the baseless fabric of
this vision,
The cloud-cap'd towers, the
gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great
globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall
And, like this insubstantial
pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We
are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and
our little life
Is rounded with a sleep."

Friday, April 21, 2017

Have a little Zen with your coffee?

The challenge this week on the Diva's blog was to put a bit of coffee or tea or wine "blob" on your tile and let it infer what should be done with it.  

Blob fun always invokes the issue of finding shapes in the shapes.
I tried to avoid that.  Just turned it round and round (this is coffee by the way) and enjoyed the zen of it.  

The blob, by the way was put on with a pipette rather than just splashed on which gave some interests changes in value as parts dried faster than others.  

This is a standard 3.5" square tile.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sharon Feathers: artist and special friend

Sometime you meet someone and there is that immediate sense of happy coincidence and connection.  It is probably partly because Sharon and I are both retired kindergarten teachers!  And teachers of very young children are experienced in delight and keeping the joy of the moment.  Sharon's art reflects that...she has a sense of fun and a little bit of humor and at the same time a reflective sense of a life of experiences.  

Where's Mom
When Sharon sent me a photo of this current work (a challenge piece that had to be 75% recycled)...I just fell in love with it.  The little owl is colored pencil peeking out of an old birdhouse that Sharon found in her husband's woodpile.  I hope it wins an award!  So then I asked her to send me a few more pieces she likes and a short I could share her with you.

Sharon Feathers graduated from UW Stevens Point with a masters degree in Early Childhood Education, a bachelor of science degree and a minor in art.  

Retirement has given her the time to pursue her interest in art, to take beautiful photographs and to use many for her references in painting....always looking for that "found" moment to capture.

She says that photography is her favorite medium but she works in acrylic, watercolor, pen and ink, pastel and colored pencil.  
Her work is found in galleries and exhibits in Wisconsin, Florida and Arizona.  She has received many awards and honors.  

Sharon's art is shown throughout Wausau area and in many galleries in Minocqua, WI as well.  (And in looking back I just noted that with someone who's name is "Feathers" she seems to have a special connection with birds, wouldn't you say?)

Finishing up a ZIA...but exactly how?

Here we go again with another 9" square ZIA on Fabriano hot press paper stained with blue and purple watercolor. Then using blue, purple and brown Sakura pens (01), white charcoal and Prismacolor colored pencils.  My plans for this one changed a number of times as this evolved.  This was inspired by a challenge on one of my favorite blogs to use circles and squares together.  

Hubby thinks I should conclude the piece with a border on the very edges of the square which would slip behind the spiral at the top left.  What do you think?  Another option would be to fill the whole outside border with tangles as I did previously with the honey-colored tile.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Urban Sketching in Leesburg

The iconic city hall clock in downtown Leesburg at almost 11 am.
We had a nice bunch of friendly urban sketchers out this morning.
Gorgeous weather...85 and nice breeze.

This was my first sketch on location this morning about 9-10:30.
this is the corner of 3rd and Main Street in front of God's Cafe.
I am sketching in a 9 x 11 Strathmore multi media sketch pad.

Then I went and picked up my painting from the Leesburg Show.

6 of us went out for lunch at Bloom's after sketching.  THAT was fun.

There will be some sketching on Friday morning too by Venetian Gardens again.  If I go I will remember to wear socks (last time the fire ants got me through my sandals!). Ugh.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Happy Birthday Anne Lamott

Happy Birthday Anne Lamott

There's a wonderful little bio about Anne on Garrison Keillor's blog this morning honoring her.  It's hard to cover Anne's life in a paragraph.  You can read that here.  I've never linked that blog so I hope it works.  Anyway it's Writer's Almanac for April 10.  You can subscribe to it and highly recommend you do.  

Each time I read a review about her I am totally amazed that MY favorite of her books is rarely mentioned...Traveling Mercies.  That book is a way to get to know the first part of her journey to sanity.  Pick up a copy and get to know her if you don't already.  

She has a Facebook page that I follow.  You can find her essays there and she writes fairly often.   Her latest book is being advertised now called Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy.  
I will look for it as "mercy" is a word that touches that other word "grace" that mystifies us but holds us together.  

I was watching a video of her being interviewed about her newest book and was shocked to see that like everyone else, Annie is growing older.  She is, after all, a grandmother now.  But she's only 63.  Still the photos on the book jackets are changing just like we are all changing.  Showing some "experience" in our faces?  Of course I am suddenly noticing my own children are too...even a few gray hairs here and there now among them.  So don't get me started on that "getting older" theme again.

Anne has a way with seeing what is really happening and giving us a thread of hope.  "Laughter is carbonated holiness" she says.  Stuff like that that makes you smile through tears.  She says on her new book tour that her "audiences are the most stricken, sad, worried stunned people she has ever spoken to."  

What I really wanted to do was just honor Anne's birthday, give her a thumbs up for her creative and intelligent writing, her thoughts about being a Christian, about family, coping with life in general...especially now when we are all suffering post traumatic syndrome.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Finding a Title for my ZIA

This piece is 9" square.  I am thinking of framing it.  I'd like to give it a title.  Does anyone have an idea for me?

It is in ink (Sakura 01 micron) and white charcoal on Fabriano hot press wc paper tinted with watercolor.  This ZIA (Zentangle® Inspired Art) is not really a Zendala to my mind.  To me Zendalas have more repetition.  This is very free-form.  

In my own mind it reminds me of an old papyrus scroll perhaps with a hidden map in it somewhere or a secret message.  A gift perhaps to an Egyptian princess set with a gem from a mysterious admirer.  

Or perhaps an ancient calendar of some sort with fantasy symbols depicting prayers or poetry.  

A title should allude to possible clues for the viewer without really saying anything too any of these strike your fancy?

"The Lute's Music"
"Ancient Fantasy"
"Lost Wisdom"
"Hieroglyphics with Gem"
"Secret Song"
"Veiled Mystery"
"The Journey Ends"

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Diva Challenge: Frunky

At the 9'clock position on this round tangle string you will find Frunky which is the challenge tangle for the Diva this week. It has a sort of candy cane shape tied together with stripes.  I wasn't sure I liked it, but it has potential.  

Over large 9" square tile on Fabriano hot press paper tinted with watercolor: quin gold, rose, and burnt Sienna.  So about an inch smaller than an Opus tile.  This is one of those "ongoing" tiles you can just lay near the pens and pencils and work at it when you feel like it.  

Renaissance tiles have a sort of warm feel about them...this is the Diva's 310th challenge.  Can you even imagine?  She uses guest tangles challenges now and then but she does a lot of them herself and she almost always posts her own tile.  

Been raining in central FL now for about 5 hours straight.  THAT is such good news.  We are so dry.  

Rainy Day tangle...

Carrying on with my over sized Renaissance Zentangle® tile (9" square) I found that a rainy afternoon is perfect for this!  

Central Florida has been in extreme drought the past months!  The water table is low, fire hazards high, and plants are suffering!  We must have all prayed for rain at the same time as today we are FINALLY getting a good hard, steady all afternoon rain.  I am sorry for anyone at one of theme parks today.  But we so need this!!!

Naps are nice for rain afternoons too!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Zentangle®...going with the flow...

Got inspired this week by a beautiful piece of work I saw by Ginny Lu on the CZT website.  It was on a square renaissance tile in the Opus size (10" square) and it gave me such encouragement that maybe I should be working on something besides calendar formats. 

I decided to start a little smaller (9" square) on Fabriano Hot Press paper.  Using brown and black .01 Sakura Micron pens.  

The round format is certainly not the only way to go but it felt right for the first piece.  I used a mixture of burnt Sienna, rose, and quin gold watercolor to tint the paper first.  I drew the circles with a compass and then am just letting my intuition flow...whatever comes to mind.  

Expect that this will sit on the side of my desk and be a little meditative thing I do now and then until it's done.  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sea Plane A Palooza sketching

Who knew there were SO many different kinds of sea planes!!!

This is my hour long sketch at the Sea Plane Fly In this morning in Tavares, Florida.  And the whole event turned out to be a surprise.

This was supposed to be on the regular list of Urban Sketchers in our area (I call them the Fly-By-Night Sketchers) We ended up posting a cancellation as we thought maybe this was not going to work out (due to heat, # of visitors, and parking). None of these turned out to be a problem (other than the heat).  

Hubby and I had an errand that had to be run at 9:45 am this morning SO we thought why not just keep going and see what the event looked like.  

The parking (at 10 am) was not all the bad and we only had to walk a half a block.  There was not the HUGE crowd I expected there..just a modest amount of people.  And tons of interesting planes.   So we walked a bit and I did the sketch and then we had a very nice outdoor lunch at the Kalua Beach Bar right on Dora Lake.
I did a tiny sketch there too which I'll post later.

So this sketch was for my first inclusion in the "Moment Catchers" challenge posted the first weekend of each month.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sketching at Venetian Gardens

An lovely morning at Venetian Gardens Park in Leesburg 9:30 to 12:30 today.  Slight breeze--about 83 degrees.  Sunny and lazy breeze off Lake Harris.  

I think there were at least 6-8 sketchers are various points during the morning. The park is so big we lost track of some folks.  
I have not filled in my "Do Not Feed the Alligators" sign yet.  Wanted to make it white printing so need to find a white pen.

Moment Catchers Challenge at #momentcatchers

This is Candace Rose Randon and she has a terrific FB page and a fascinating blog so I am featuring her on MY blog today to introduce her.  I just found her through my daughter, Julie, who sent me the link this week.  

But the neatest thing (for me) about Candace is that she is a "professional travel sketcher" who is also very tech savvy and is busy sharing her love of art AND her travels AND tips for becoming a better sketcher with everyone.   She has some free downloadable ideas and lots of interesting tips.  

I don't know where Candace hails from (been trying to figure that out) but right now she is sketching around the world and challenging us to sketch along with her.  

Candace started an extremely interesting once-a-month challenge for 2017 called "Moment Catchers".  So the challenge has been posted 3 times so far.  It's not too late to "get in the game".  She just wants you to sketch each month and then on the first weekend of each month post your favorite to #momentcatchers and tell where you are and anything you want about the sketch.  

You do NOT have to be traveling to exotic places.  Traveling into your hometown or nearby places is just fine.  Urban sketches, en plein air, landscapes, botanical, etc. Whatever grabs you.  

The week after you post, she will gather all the entries and post them on her blog so you can go back to her blog and see the first 3 months.  She says that there are 47 different countries represented already!  Wow.  

Are you on?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Faux Marbling on Gelli Plate

"Faux marbling" is what this technique as been dubbed.  I just love all the ways that gelatin mono printing can be done!  I haven't had my Gelli Plate out for several months and I must admit that after checking out my Facebook Group (gelatin plate enthusiasts which now has 6000 followers!) I found everyone trying this new idea.  Guess what...I had to try it.

The top two examples (all are done on 8.5 x 11 plain paper) are pretty much what they are supposed to look like.  The second two examples are me experimenting with using some various "masking" techniques along with it.  The last two were me trying out some stenciling and mark making on the surfaces just to get a feel for that.  (If you have ever taken a Jane Davies workshop you tend to get into this mark making thing.)

I do think the marbling idea is quite interesting and makes lovely paper.  BUT what a mess.  Well, gelli printing is a mess have to allow for that as a given.  But this technique involves pulling apart bits of twine until they are just fuzzy masses of fiber.  THAT takes quite a bit of time for one thing.
But you could just do that while watching the news I suppose.  Make a big pile of them and keep them in a zip lock bag.  Once used they do have to be thrown away.

Then you have to place these fuzzy bits on wet paint and there begins the process.  (You can see this how to video here.) Well, the bits of fuzz become totally involved and after you have effectively made a total wild messy wet mess, you have to clean up and start on another bit.  You get maybe 4-5 prints on each mess.  But the twine fuzz gets all over your brayer and is rather a bear to get off the plate afterward.  So you do have to be committed to this effort and know that it's going to take longer than other techniques.  

I guess what I am saying is "don't be in a hurry" on this one.  And plan to spend prep time and clean up time that is far more than ordinary printing.  If I were doing a demo for a class it is the LAST one I'd demo as no one would want to stand around watching me clean up.  And plan to make a dozen or more sheets as long as you are committed to the process!  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Zentangle Fun

The top Zentangle® is 8.5 x 11 on a piece of good quality computer paper.  This has been on my desk for well over 3 months...shoved here and there and then I feel like adding something and then pushed aside for other things.  Stephanie Jennifer's Tangle Calendar Facebook group posts things slowly and I am now 10 months ahead of the rest of the group.  I know this is obsessive.  I won't say which month this actually is but I was humming "Jingle Bells" when I finished it.  🎄

I'll take a little break now...maybe.

The second tangle tile is just 3.5" square...a normal size tile.
I started a demo when my daughter Julie was here in February and so I just finished this one up.  Added a little colored pencil to that one.

We had a gorgeous day here in central FL AGAIN.  But if we do not get rain soon we are going to have some serious water shortages here.  I have never seen our pond this low.  The park turned off the fountains yesterday.  First time I've ever seen that in the 10 years we have lived here.  And no rain in sight and 88 ahead next week.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sketches this week...

Two recent sketches in my Stillman & Birn Beta Series Sketchbook.  Both very quick...less than 30 minutes but without color which was added later.  The words cut off at the bottom left say "Pete's Houses".  

Beautiful central Florida weather but we are getting concerned about how dry it is here.  We had a 5 minute shower yesterday which did nothing.  Some possible rain tomorrow.  But need we need big time inches now.  Am worried about the water table. And by Wed we'll be up to 86.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mac N Cheese Tangle: Diva Challenge

In Zentangle® the tangles (patterns) that you love and that come to mind as the most relaxing and fun are known as the "Mac n Cheese" tangles.  Like home cooking.  

What is your home cooking favorites changes on and off.  One month you might revert to one and a few months later it'll be another one.  For a long while I almost always reverted to "Wheelz" when I was dreaming.  

Over the last 6 months or so it's been "Lollywimple". There is no logical explanation for what you choose except for me it has to have curving lines, be open to the mood to interpret, and be able to fit into almost any shape or string.  It doesn't need to be planned much but it has a lot of creative options.  It "plays well with others." (here it plays with "Hollibaugh".)

I like that it makes a cool border and it shades well.  

A Haiku Morning

We had a humming bird on the hibiscus this morning.  
I am not sure why I mention it but it was the cause for an instantaneous smile on my face.  
There was thick fog here this morning. Somewhat unusual here.  
So even seeing the little bird out the porch window was a gift.  

Reminds me of this painting I did of a hibiscus some years ago on masa paper....

Today looks like a haiku poem.

Wild pink hibiscus
Sweet gift for a hummingbird
Slipping through the fog.

I stored some of my old paintings on google photos.
You can see them here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

En Plein Air

What a lovely morning to be outside painting!  Wow.  Started at 9:30 with temps around 75 and ended at 11:30 with it about 82.  Gorgeous clear skies and bright sunshine.  

My neighbor Pete just put in a little waterfall in his garden in the yard so friends gathered around and we enjoyed visiting and laughing and drawing and painting. Birds sang...we saw an osprey fly by.  This was a group from my Hawthorne Park Art Club.  Painting right in the park.

Hoping to catch up with the Urban Sketchers NEXT Tuesday at Venetian Garden Park on Lake Harris.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Colorful Zebra

I just dabbled a little on this one today...need to finish painting the grasses.  It might be fun to try this one again some day.  Try some different color combinations.  He is kind of a Dr. Seuss zebra but I like the effect just for something different.  Everyone has a black and white zebra, right?  

Today was a day to kind of do my own thing...boy I sure needed that.  Did a few household chores but mostly I worked in the studio working on several projects already started and thinking about a few new ones.  

Caught up on emails and started a new book...The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally.  (He wrote Shindler's List).  

Hubby was off to a model train show today so things were very quiet.  


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