Thursday, June 13, 2019

Swirl Zentangle Demo

Preparation for the Zentangle® class that will be held next Wed evening.  One of the things that I like to talk to students about is versatility of the tangles. Everything on these two pages are all variations on the same tangle "Swirl". 

All are varied by size, detail work, spacing, shading, etc.  The final example is on a classic 3.5" tile.  

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Admiring the Tiny Flowers of Early Spring in the Northwoods

A watchful eye in the northern part of Wisconsin bring a few little jewel flowers into view.  In southern WI where I spent much of life...the spring wild flowers are bountiful...trillium and bluebell and jack in the pulpit.  But up here the summers are so short and the snows last so long and temperatures are never flagrantly warm.  So the wild flowers have a tougher time.  And it's SO shady in the forest that they have a very short window of time.  

What I find is rarely wildly colored in spring.  One exception is the pinkish violet moss flox that appears right about now and spreads like ground cover usually along the roadsides (verges) where there is the most sun.   

I get some lily of the valley but these are not strictly wild.  They were planted from original flowers taken from our beloved Seven Mile House in southern WI before we sold it more than 20 years ago now.  Like old friends that pop up "just to say hi".  Greg brought a few iris that may have been from there too and they pop up for a few weeks in June out by the road in the sun too.  

The true wildflowers in our woods are the star flowers and the foam flowers...tiny white little jewels.  They are quite prolific right now.  And a few wild strawberries on the lakeside of the cabin which if they bear any fruit later, get eaten by the birds and chipmunks.  

The tiny bowl in which they reside is a gift from an old old friend now long gone.  Jean Morgan.  Old friends and family will recognize the name.  Jean and her husband, Bill, lived in a big old house on the Yerkes Observatory grounds where Bill was a resident professor of astronomy.  Jean was a retired professor of education in Chicago when I met her.  She and Bill loved nature and particular flowers.  This little bowl was particularly suited for tiny flowers...just a few inches in diameter with a tiny little turtle in the center to hold the stems.  The cabin is just the place for it.  

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Summer Fun

My "littles" are progressing along this week...A cup of cocoa indicates we had a frost warning.  So I painted one of my favorite cups full. BRRRR.  But now this week we are in the 80s.  (It is so confusing up here.)

Two books on art and one is the book PBS is using for it's monthly read along...a science fiction book called The Fifth Season.  It's fascinating but dark. 

Then Greg got hit in the head while working in the annex!  OH boy. Luckily not too serious.  
There is a bottle of my new alcohol inks.  And I planted my geraniums yesterday.  

My first alcohol ink fun splatter painting.  First off I don't have some of the "suggested" supplies which include 90+% alcohol.  Mine is only 70% so when I get that corrected it will help.  Also many of the videos include the solution that helps to move the ink around a little better.  I probably should get some of that too.  I only had 3 colors to start but have now received 3 more colors I ordered so that should involve more experimenting ahead! 
I played around adding some ink embellishments after it was dry.  

They make interesting and colorful greeting cards.  I did spray a clear coat over them before making the cards.  

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Boulder Junction Sketching

So much fun to have a warm day again up here in the Northwoods.
We got to 80!  Wow.  Although it was still cooler in the morning when the Northwoods group met near the Manitowish River to sketch.  

I sat on the bridge but there were many options.  Some of the ponds were quieter.  But this was a roaring tumbling bit of river as there has been so much rain up here.  People were out biking and we saw someone putting in kayaks farther down river.  I may use the blank spot left for comments or just sketch my bag.  

We went out to lunch in the town of Boulder Junction at a nice little hamburger place called Boulder Beer Bar (although no one had beer this time around).  

Saturday, June 1, 2019

North woods Summer

Today I had a an hour or so in my Northwoods studio and decided to freshen up the covers on the 3 current journals that I am working on.  I chose 3 prints from my gel plate and glued them to the covers.  Then I embellished them a little with extra paints.  Here are the 3 enlarged.
The option are endless.  And fun.  And it gives me pleasure to pull out a journal with the interesting shapes and colors before I even open it to draw or sketch!  

I got a chance to start up another page of "littles".  Left to right...Katy's yard in southern WI with her bat house, our bird bath and feeder here at the cabin, the window box I got planted in Friday, and my little hammer which reminds me of Greg and I  hanging a lot of pictures out on the summer porch today.    

It's taking us a full week to settle in...but that is normal.  Weather is up and never know.  Hoping that June will getting a little more reliably warm soon.

I hear that it's close to 100 back in Leesburg.  That almost seems unbelievable now.  I wouldn't wish that though!  85 is perfect.  Hoping for that!  We are smelling the smoke from forest fires up in Alberta, Canada now.  We've had amazing sunsets due to the smoke.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


I sat for about 45 minutes and did a rough sketch of the amazing City Hall on Monday.  The renaissance building in Savannah, GA was built in 1901 and the dome was gilded with sheets of 23 karat gold in 1987. 

I took a good photo so I can add a few more details and some color later.   Even the clouds were beautiful.  We were on our way to York, SC to visit my sister for a few days and stopped here for a morning.

We had a horse and buggy ride around the town and were glad we went in morning as temps rose to 90 by noon.  But I sat with shade and a breeze before we had to leave.  What a lovely lovely old town to spend time in.  Great restaurants too.

So hopefully I'll post this sketch again more finished soon.  But when you are "on the road" you have to take your sketching time when you can and take a lot of photos.  

After a few days in SC we'll head for WV. Those are long travel days so probably not much sketch time built in there.  

Sunday, May 19, 2019

A Sense of Place

You'll be relieved to know the count down is over and we are off and headed to Savannah, GA this morning.

It's a gorgeous travel day and we are hoping for lots of sunshine in SC for Monday-Wed morning while visiting my sis and brother in law there.  Lots of midwest storms we'd like to avoid if possible.

So we now draw all the shades on the little bit of paradise in FL and head on to further adventures.  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Two days and Counting

This is my third page of "littles".  This group runs from April 2 to May 17.  Some rather momentous events.  We sold our canoe.  We bought a new car.  But most things are just happy life things like eating out with friends, swimming at the pool, hosting family, and backing up the computer.  You know...every day life.  

I realize looking back that I read SEVEN books in that time period.  Well I am currently reading the not finished yet.  One was a Mother's Day gift and I couldn't put that down.  The others all borrowed on my iPad from the local library.  What a find THAT is!  
I am a fast reader so don't be alarmed that this is all I am doing.  
But I am not much of a TV watcher.  After dinner and news I tend to curl up with a book.  (Or work in the studio).  

All we have left now is a few simple chores around the house and then to pack the car tomorrow afternoon.  The latter is stressful.  But somehow it always gets done.  Greg is an amazing packer! 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Countdown: 3 days

Our little old Bottlebrush Tree out back has been cut back and trimmed so many times but it's hanging in there.  We sat out there after lunch in the two person swing and visited about our good times here this winter and the upcoming trip north.  

The breeze made the little glass decorations tinkle a little music and  the birds sang their hearts out for us.  The fountains made a lovely accompaniment in the background.  

The countdown is just 3 days now.  
Just the last minute things to do and then Sat packing the car (always the hardest part).  

Things are quiet around here with so many snowbirds already gone.  So it's time for us to take wing too.  I'll be posting along the way...adventures to follow.  

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Thinking early May

Collections are by default fun to sketch.  When you have a rainy afternoon or are tired or need to be a bit meditative...sketching around the house is always fun.  And I like looking at these friendly objects that I live with.  These lamps are all in my studio.  Old friends. 

I sent away for a neat way to travel with my tubes of paint.  This is a long plastic "bit" that has pockets just the right size for wc tubes.  This is making my packing of the wc corner in the studio much easier.  
I worked on that some today.  

Then I also worked on packing my "mark making" corner (with pens, inks, wc pencils, etc). I have put everything I need for drawing class together in one bag.  I have to decide on what sketchbooks to take and that is always hard too.  

 Next I'll do Zentangle® supplies, and finally work on my Gelli plate mono printing and finally deciding on what books to take.  They are heavy and bulky so I cannot take too many.  

Lastly I put together three small accordion sketchbooks using cereal boxes for covers.  These are for my daughter and granddaughter who are visiting me up north next month.

I used some of my Gelli print paper to cover the cardboard and made cloth ties out of scrap cloth I picked up at the clubhouse rummage sale in March.  We'll have fun filling them together when they come.  

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Farewell to April

Yesterday was a perfect weather day for sketching...although it was very warm (close to 90) there was a nice breeze.  Lots of shade at where we were.  We sketched at Simon's Feed and Seed store in Leesburg, old timey place that has a million things to sketch from birds and chickens to flowers and old farm equipment.  We could sketch there once a week and never run out of fun things to draw.  

This is my favorite Stillman and Birns 5 x 7 on a two-page spread.  (hint: I take a piece of glass and put it over the two pages before I photograph it.  That way the pages lay down nice and flat!)

The outing was also billed as the "snowbird" farewell as quite a number of us head north like the robins about this time of year.  There were 10 there and I know for sure we were missing two people. We had a nice lunch at Blooms on Main Street in Leesburg after sketching.  

I was very late because I had a haircut that morning but I got in a preliminary ink sketch and as you can see in the photo of me...I was taking a photo of the scene to finish painting at home.  What a great way to finish up the month of April.  

We are on the official count down now...19 days and counting.  
We have started the earliest chores but no serious packing yet.  Our lists are printed and on the fridge.  A tentative travel itinerary is set.  Today our dentist appointments will happen.  And we'll send the hold up north so the mail will start holding up there next week.  The newspaper stops this week.  This weekend I'll start packing up the studio.  It's my hardest thing to pack.  So I divide it into small jobs.  It's not only physically challenging but lots of decision making.  Friends and family sigh having to read about the count down AGAIN.  Most of them know our routine by heart now.  

We are headed to our grandson, Dylan's high school graduation on Saturday May 25 in Rockford, IL.  Then the cabin the next day.  

The ice just went off the lake up at the cabin last week.  This is always hard to envision when it's 90 degrees here!  

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

April Art

My Florida Sketch group gathered Tuesday in Mt. Dora on the little jetty that goes out in Lake Dora off Gilbert Park.  Absolutely gorgeous weather with lots of sun, shady trees, and no wind.  I brought my coffee and well, it's like heaven on days like these.  We ended up for lunch at a local Cuban restaurant.  Greg came too.
9x12 Strathmore mixed media notebook and Lamy fountain pen.

A little ink drawing of Greg's newest walker/stroller...while I listened to Dr. Nieves give a talk to the Essential Tremor Support group in the Villages.  

I treasure our days at the pool...we haven't really started our "count down" officially yet...but just for the record it's 24 days.  The ice is now off the lake up at our cabin.  But just barely off.  NO green there yet.  Southern WI has tulips and daffodils.  But the northern half is at least two weeks behind.  

My recent "littles" have included some a few interesting moments...we sold our canoe...we met old friends in Lakeland for lunch...we bought a new car...we had company for 5 days...I've read 3 books.    

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


This sketch was done at my husband's Support Group meeting for Essential Tremor this afternoon up in The Villages.  I like to sketch while I listen to people.  Dr Nieves is a motion disability specialist and is so good.  

I did this sketch in my Stillman and Birns notebook with a Lamy fountain pen (no pencil).  Just going slow and watching edges.  I love a challenge of trying to get the parts to come out in the right place when there is NO erasing.  Doesn't always work out.

This was a challenge with the hand brakes and then the brake lines down at the bottom.  Things I NEVER had noticed before.  That's what sketching does.  It reveals things you just do not notice.

The stroller/walker was partially closed up making it even a bit more challenging.  Anyway, an interesting challenge...about 30 minutes.  The Drive brand of walker/stroller is very popular with seniors around this park.  But they make them in all sizes.  One man we talked to his young daughter has one.  Which led us to learn that she has a birth defect.  It was a sobering revelation.  So hard to think of.  

Moving into April with some Sketches

I am starting my "littles" now on a new page...probably April and May events.  

My thought here to think of the places I sit in my FL house.  It's fun to associate what I do and what is important through chairs.  There are several more to add to the mix.  The stool got "wonky" in the drawing as it does have bend in the leg but that got off a bit.  But oh well.  

All these chairs are in my studio including the sofa.  I just included the place where I usually sit so I can see the pond and the birdbath and the sky.  The office chair is at my studio desk where I've spent so many happy hours.  The wonky stool is where I have my pens and inks and pencils.  The "mark-making" area I guess.  

We are prepping now for the arrival of our guests next Wed.  Greg's son and daughter in law and their two boys will be here for 4 days.  One of the days they will be to Universal studios.  Time to tidy up, make up the guest bed and plan some meals.  

They called this morning from the Milwaukee area and they are getting snow again!  ðŸ˜³. Oh dear.  Poor robins.  Poor tulips.  Well, at least Florida is going to look extra good to them.  

Friday, April 5, 2019

Bits and Pieces of my Recent days...

I think I forgot to post my "littles" for March 1-April 2.  Note the baby Sandhill Crane near the bottom on the right.  He is SO tiny next to his huge tall parents.  Such a delight to see.  Three books, an amazing swarm of swallows, a hail storm, taxes, etc.  Nice to look back on these days...some more delightful than others.  But all worthy of contemplation.  

A little pencil study of the gifts (and the gift bag) that each teacher in the art club received at the lunch given in our honor in March.
The little bit to the right is a handkerchief and in a fascinating little card.  I didn't know they still made real hankies!  To the left a little glass ball that hangs in your house with a small sprig of some air plant that you just spritz lightly once a week.  And hang out of direct sunlight.  How fun.  And a pretty towel.  

I used this little sketch of our dear old canoe to adorn the for sale sign that went up on the board in the hall.  We had two calls the first day!  Greg is meeting with someone in the morning to see if he would like it.  $25 plus two paddles and two life jackets!!!  It's a very good deal.  

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The last prompt

The last prompt: let your pencil randomly hit a letter and then think of something that starts with that letter.  T= Toast.  Perfect.

Four small sketches

This little sketch in my Stillman & Birns notebook is from a visit to friends Bill and Theresa.  They are HUGE bird lovers and I sketched these on their front porch before we went inside and saw their videos of humming birds from Arizona.  Fantastic!

One of many restaurant sketches. This was done at the Breakfast Station restaurant on the way up to the Villages for Greg's Essential Tremor Support Group meeting.  Great minestrone soup!  

A double page...two tiny sketches.  One from friend Autumn's wonderful porch overlooking the Palatlakaha River!  Lots of good conversation and sharing! Her flowers on the porch steps were gorgeous.  And then below another restaurant sketch from lunch at Bob Evans in Eustis during the Off The Beaten Path Art Tour on Saturday after the Rummage Sale at Hawthorne Park.  

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Prompt 30: Collections

Of course I draw collections all the time.  
So this prompt actually was harder because I went blank for a bit.

I mean I drew clocks and I drew shoes...things like that.  Multiples of things that we own is what the prompt is about.  

Candle holders used to be a big thing for me...I had a lot of them.  But downsizing happened.  You can't be carrying those all around.  So I am down to 4 sets.  And the tall green one is the only one now that has real meaning to me anymore. It was gift from my sister and my daughter Beth (Christmas I think) many many moons ago.  

I was so pleased.  And somehow I've managed to keep them (a pair) in tact!  After all these years.  Fun.  I love the green with red candles at Christmas.  The other shorter green one Greg bought after we saw a glass blowing demonstration at a glass store.  I don't think this one was blown.  But we wanted something to remember the nice event.  At least that is my recollection.  The others are garage sale finds here in Florida.  

Usually by now, the prompt is out for the next day.  But the administrator of the FB group is keeping is in dark about the last prompt until tomorrow.  

Which is my son's birthday!  
So I shall have to try to call him and wish him a happy day!  

Friday, March 29, 2019

Prompt 28 and 29

This prompt is really a little different than MY interpretation.  
By the time you get to the 28th prompt you begin to makes your own decisions on how it's going to go!  So the prompt is to "go shopping and show us what was in your bag".  Well, no shopping for me on the oranges...just out the door to the back yard.  And I loved remembering a dear friend who wove the basket too.  
From a distance, because they are so green, they don't read as oranges, I know.  But FL juice oranges do not turn orange.  

One of my favorite quotes.  It is from Victor Hugo.  (Victor Marie Hugo was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. Hugo is considered to be one of the greatest and best-known French writers. Outside France, his most famous works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, 1831.). 

In his quote the bird is actually referred to as feminine.  As in "her" flight and "she has wings".  But I forgot and drew a male cardinal.  So I did a little translation.  It's all about faith.  

We are obviously now coming to the conclusion of the March prompt.  Some people in the group of about 50 artists, are whining about it being over.  But I am ready.  Time for me to make observations on my own again.  But I did enjoy it.  

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Prompt #27 plus studio organizing

The prompt yesterday was to draw a layout of a room.  I ended up thinking about the house I grew up in.  I ended up posting it on my FB page which drew a lot of interest among family and friends.  And other folks checking in with what they remember about where the grew up as well.  Tender memories.  

It's amazing that I haven't lived in that house for 66 years but I can still remember where we put the Christmas tree, where the wasp stung me in the kitchen one summer, and how the morning glories looked climbing up the house near the kitchen window.  I remember the upstairs window overlooking the croquet games in the evening, where mother kept the box of our curls tied in ribbons that were our first haircuts, sitting on the stoop with our trading cards... the smell of the apple blossoms in the orchard next door, the sound of the corn rustling in dad's garden, the picket fence by the lilac bush, the sidewalk where we chalked the hop scotch and the driveway where we put our handprints in the cement one summer day and all those elm trees that later died and had to be replanted due to Dutch elm disease.  I could go on and on.  What a great prompt.    

This little sketch is done in my studio here in Florida of some of the materials I am putting together for a drawing class I am taking this summer in Wisconsin.  I believe "in making plans" and having things to look forward to.  Keeps the juices flowing.  The materials needed are simple...some different kinds of leads with varying hardnesses and a good eraser, a fine book of instruction, and good paper.  The classes start in June.  

I decided on a little inventory of some of the various pencils I already own include some charcoal pencils of various hardnesses and some carbon pencils which are almost as dark!  I am reminded that I own a few water soluble graphite pencils as well.  

Colored pencils are a whole other ballgame and not part of this class but as long as I was on a binge of pencils...I decided to inventory some of the "watercolor" pencils and crayons I own.  And that is not even touching the regular colored pencils (for another day).  

I am reminded of a little bit I saw in the internet recently which appears to apply here...


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