Thursday, August 6, 2020

Sketching Indoors in Hot Weather

While central Florida steams under 95 degrees it's just too crazy to try to be outside sketching.  You just melt.  

So while just trying to keep my pens working...I went to my jewelry box.  This is a crocheted necklace. It is handmade and I bought it at a craft fair a number of years ago.  Made from a collection of multi colored buttons!  

Struggling with this blogger format now as Google (who should be #1 in computer programming) is making a huge mess of the current upgrade. Really, it's causing no end of issues with all of the bloggers who may be switching to Word Press soon.  A shame.  It has so many nice features.  

The middle of a pandemic when everyone is stressed to the limit is NOT the time to start revamping a blog site.  

Hoping to get to more art this coming week.  Been making birthday cards for the grandkids, writing long letters, and learning how to moderate Zoom meetings so I can start up the book club again.  
Hanging in there.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Project Pact #10 in Zentangle

Periodically Zentangle (Central) offers a series of "project pact" videos to just fire up the Zentangle groupies everywhere.  The idea is that you will buy the "kits" from Zentangle and then tangle along.  The kits include the pens and papers and etc that you need to complete the videos that are offered free on YouTube.  Just google "Zentangle Project Pacts".  Each one is a series of videos.  
If you wanted to buy a kit go to

BUT you do not need to buy the are encouraged to make do with whatever you have around your studio in order to follow along.  They often provide a pdf as a supplement so that if you want to run them off, it will help you with doing it on your own. That is always the way I've approached them.  If I were going to use them in teaching Zentangle I'd never expect students to "buy" a kit.  (The kits range from $10-$30 each).  

So anything you see here printed off is a pdf that I have cut out and glued into the project.  Most pens and materials can be either improvised or purchased separately from art supply sources or local art stores.  

I just happened to have a small 4 x 4 notebook that I picked up somewhere (garage sale?) and it fit the bill perfectly.  I've had to draw all my own strings to fit the book, of course,  but that was a fun part of the challenge.  The 20 sided die I still had from a previous kit BUT they are for sale inexpensively on Amazon.  

Here's an example of one of chapters in the project (there are I think 12 chapters).  Only about half of the tangles are demonstrated for each of the days.  Then you are encouraged to use some your favorites to finish it off.  With 20 tangles per day...there is no way I could finish this "as we go along".  So I just start with drawing the strings based on the video and then fill in some of the tangles that I like.  This section above is based on "textured tangles" and "drama tangles".  Drama meaning a lot of black/white contrast.

This section is based on "crazy" or slightly "wonky" tangles.  You can take regular tangles and make then crazy. Or you can find tangles that were wonky from the beginning!  I still have 4 to go.  Wonky appeals to me.  You won't be surprised by this!

This section above was all about "spiral inspired" tangles.  A bit of a challenge on this one.  Remember there are 20 of each topic.  So this is just 10 on this spread.  There is another 2-page spread following it.  

The idea of the whole thing is that you toss the die and whatever # shows is the tangle you start with on your tile for that day.  The names of the tangles are recorded on another page.  It's a way to make a "random" tile without going through the step of "deciding" what you are going to tangle that day.  Most tiles require several different tangles to complete.  So you then pick a section and throw the die and off you go.  

Of course you always have a few preliminary decisions to make when doing Zentangle.  Size and shape of a tile, string, color or just black and white.  But once that is decided the little book and die can be employed to help finish it off.  It's also just fun to look through.  

I'll probably post a few more completed pages later on.  It's a nice project for keeping you meditatively inspired during the pandemic.  

Monday, July 20, 2020

July Art

When I did the composition on this I left room on the right to add a few more flowers.  So hopefully you will see this again....someday soon!  

A little sketch experiment done from a photo.  

The Hawthorne Outdoor Sketch group met the 13th.  We nearly melted even though we got down to the river by 8:30.  By 11 we had to leave.  95+ and high humidity. Whew.  But we had a nice time.  6' apart and when visiting we wore our masks.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Working to Find Hope

"Recalculating" (collage, ink, acrylic on paper) 8 x 8

Kenneth Samual writes this morning:  "Social grievance and angry protests across the country.  School systems thrown into quandary over online learning.  Stagnant business operations and economic growth. Racial tensions at boiling levels.  Political polarization and personal stress.  Over-zealous policing and under-funded mental health resources.  Mounting pressures imposed by an unabated pandemic. Social malaise spiraling upwards."

It seemed like a fairly good summary of what is up with life right now.  Kenneth is the pastor of Victory for the World Church in Stone Mountain, GA.  Great name for a church.   

Last night after I watched PBS's Amanpour & Company (my new favorite interview show)after which I turned out the lights and turned to reverie...I found myself silently weeping. Social malaise translates for many people like me into personal malaise.  

The show last night was actually a re-run of her May 8 show but I had not seen that one.   Her choice of guests and solid interviewing and her slightly distant viewpoint (from London) give the show a real poignancy.  She, and her 3 other interviewers, are smart and to the point.   Like taking a painting and placing it at a distance so you can actually see what is going on...weakness and strengths. 

She interviewed Jane Goodall for one.  (An amazing women to be sure).  Among many thoughtful comments Jane mentioned that she fears her beloved Chimpanzees in Africa will in fact get Covid 19 from humans at some point.  Jane points out we are all living too close together now and we've taken away the environments that kept us safe like the forests and wide plains and lost our ability to think in "the long view".  

Here in Florida, the pandemic is spiraling out of control AGAIN and now I have found that someone I know (from church) has tested positive.  She is young and I pray she won't be too ill.  She has a young child.  But who has she passed it on to?  Luckily I haven't been with her for months.  But I find it chilling as the circle draws tighter.  

I consider myself fairly stable person.  A fairly positive person.  But believe me, these days I am concerned. The fact is that the spirals of hurt and anguish keep coming over and over again so that our futures and hopes and dreams keep getting pushed farther and farther from us.  I see videos of a "normal a looking grandmother" doing a sit in in a grocery store because she was asked to wear a mask.  I think for some people the edge is a lot closer than for others.  And I am worried a little that I am getting pushed in that direction too.  

One of my friends suggests not watching the news.  I thought about that.  So just try to pretend that nothing is happening?  Well, I know they are just saying not to get "consumed" with the news which is so disheartening.  I understand that.  With so few distractions, a person can be overwhelmed.  I get that.  We limit ourselves to the New York Times Brief in the morning (online newspaper) and then PBS on TV at night.  

This Sunday night I will zoom with my great granddaughter, Violet Virginia,  in CA as she celebrates her 2nd birthday.  All the grandparents will be present (from Illinois and Michigan) as well as some of the aunts and uncles.  This will help bring me back into the focus of those I love so dearly. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Life Goes On

You have no doubt seen bits and pieces of this group of "littles" or "smallies" on and off from time to time as it proceeded along.  

It took me 3 months to do this page.  

It is my ninth completed page...I've started these on Jan 21, 2019.  
9 pages in 16 months. There's no rhyme or reason why some months I jotted down a square almost every day...and this time, it was 3 months to finish one page.  

But the slower pace this time is for all the reasons you probably could think of yourself: a loss of the sense of time as reality, lethargy toward creative process, a feeling of purposelessness, anxiety about the future, loss of personal connections,  and being overwhelmed with the huge events affecting all our lives.  

Speaking of which...This morning's NY Times briefing had an amazing list of the things that the authors felt worth listing that have happened since January 1...the first 6 months of 2020. 

And we haven't gotten to the election yet.  

The list helped me to get some perspective on why I feel overwhelmed in so many ways.  And why our country and the world is reeling from one event after another.  
As the title does go on.  Balancing it is difficult but we have no choice. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Quiet Summer in Florida

Outdoor sketching in the summer here in Florida is touch and go.  Many days in late June the predicted high is close to 100 degrees and that's the real temp.  The humidity is stunning!  

So I head out by 8:30 if possible and close up by 11.  
This week we had 5 of us out sketching around Pete's yard (which is next door to my house!  (How convenient is that!).  

Just barely behind Pete's striped awning you can see a tall strange plant (called an Agave) that is in my yard and is now about 15' tall.  Much taller than the house now and it's blooming (even as I speak) odd yellow spiked flowerets are popping out up there.  Two days ago there was no color.  What an amazing Dr Seuss plant!  

The stalk looked like an asparagus on steroids for awhile..growing 6" a day for two weeks until it sprouted out what look like a hat tree at the top.  Then the pods and now the flowers.  

So on Tuesday morning the group scattered around about Pete and Katie's lovely yard sketching.  Keeping our social distance but chatting now and then.  Listening to the splashing fountains and sipping iced drinks.  

This being our first summer here (even though we've lived here for 13 years!) we find the flowers that have bloomed all through the park to be fascinating and new...things we've never seen before. 

The languid way that life evolves in the new...even if it were not a pandemic...things start moving so slowly.  Like moving through a thick liquid.   The clubs and and activities are always really limited in summer.  But they used to have shuffleboard and bingo and the art room would be open and exercise groups and day trips planned for lunches out.  You know.

This year there is nothing that involves a group except the pool.  Statistics show the virus on the uptake again in FL and no one wants to take a chance.  People get together on screen porches 6' apart to have cool drinks in the evening and chat.

 I love curling up in the late afternoon to read and keep tabs on the beautiful clouds that move in and often bring brief and hard rain.

Yesterday a small (4') alligator climbed out of our pond in our yard to have a bit of sun.  YIKES.  

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Only More So

A small collection of thoughts describing one day where I slipped through "a-day-in-the-corona virus-life".
(note Greg and I are trying to fix our weather radio which has not been working correctly.) This seems important as we are now in the hurricane season.  

The Leesburg "En Plein Air" groupies met  on May 28th in downtown Leesburg to sketching "about the town" doing more urban sketches.  I slipped into a tiny little garden across from the library where there were 3 bubbling fountains and a nice old house that had been restored for Beacon College to use as their Ad Building.  So quiet there.  I experimented with some mixed media on this one: crayons, wc pencils, ink, wc.  

After sketching the group met at the local coffee house (otherwise deserted except for us and two young boys who were serving us.)  We were able to spread out "fairly well" to social distance.  My first time in a group for months. You start to feel "shaky" when you get into groups.  

We laid our sketches out on the table.  

Three of us at Hawthorne Park met down by the Fruit and Veggie Truck last Tuesday morning.  We got lucky with the weather as it was sunny but with a breeze and not too hot.  

The events of this week with protests about police violence and racial inequity have compounded the angst and frustration we already have been feeling as we watch over 100,000 people die in our country of a virus that haunts our world.  In between these monumental and cataclysmic international events, our normally strange and amazing  lives try to continue.  But we know we are all changed now.  Life will never be the same as before...

Babies keep getting born, people get sick, people are lonely or are afraid, people show enormous kindness and love, people have anxious and frightening problems, we make good and bad choices, we are happy, sad, lonely, amazed, and anxious.  Living in electric- like snippets of time just like before all this happened...only more so.  

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Joys of Being Outdoors

About 5 of the outdoor painters from Leesburg area gathered at Venetian Gardens last Thursday (the 14th of May) for some sketching and painting.  The gardens are just about 4 miles north of Hawthorne Park.

Although I have painted here fairly often I never really knew much about it's history.  

In the late 1930's the gardens got it's start as a Federal Emergency Relief Administration project. It was designed to create work to feed Leesburg in the midst of the Great Depression.  Locals were able to plant gardens there to actually produce food for their families.  The gardens have had many many changes and improvements as the years went along.  There was a pool for locals to swim for many years, a baseball diamond, boat docks, islands and bridges (many of those remain). Although the pool is gone.  

In the past two years a large new "community" building (called "The Venetian Center" has been built there and was just dedicated last November.  That is what you see above.  This is a nice new venue to be rented out for weddings and other events.  

According to what I read, another building is set to built here at the park nearby which will be a restaurant.  Covid 19 may slow those plans down now, I all restaurants are in jeopardy and having difficulties.  And the economic downturn will no doubt impact these plans too.  

We could not do our usual lunch out afterwards due to "social distancing" right now.  But some gals brought picnic lunches. It was in the upper 80s and very breezy that day.  Quite pleasant.  And it is always uplifting to be outdoors sketching!  We are "hoping" weather will let us try a painting time in downtown Leesburg next Thursday!  So far weather looks good. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Pandemic Days and Trying to find Reality

"The Art Library and Back Corner of my Studio" wc and ink on Arches hot press paper 9 x 12

"Front Corner of Studio" wc, Tombow pens, Faber Castell pens, Arches hot press 4 x 8

The pandemic carries days and months flow together now.  Every sort of emotion is on display.. in our own towns, across our nation, in other our own homes...on the television, on social media.  They range from anger, to disbelief, from creativity to dismay, from despair to resignation, from fear to a kind of holy stillness.   

Garrison Keillor writes...

Old man in a black winter coat looking out on the rooftops of New York, and a slim blond with violin scars on her jaw, and we talk about the boxes of useless unused stuff in closets that should be dealt with, and it brings to mind a fit of shelf-clearing years ago, an old unread book I opened and found, pressed between the leaves, a piece of yellowed handstitching: “Elizabeth Crandall is my name And America is my nation. Providence is my home And Christ is my salvation When I am dead and in my grave and all my bones are rotten, if this you see, remember me, when I am quite forgotten. 1845.” A fellow writer, long gone, and the thought isn’t original but the stitching is perfect. The perfection is stunning.

Sometimes as I sketch around my home and yard...I wonder if this will be seen in some generation far far away in the future...papers yellow around the edges.  I am tempted to write in small small print..."when you see this, remember me. 2020". 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mother's Day During Pandemic

ink, crayon, oil pastel, wc pencil

Pandemic Mother's Day.  I sure hope I am NOT saying that NEXT May.  I know you all feel the same!  It's not knowing how long, that begins to get under your skin after awhile.  

I must say that it was wonderful to Zoom my 3 children and their families and my granddaughter and her children too today.  A nice family virtual gathering and the children had beautiful flowers delivered yesterday.  So nice.  I feel very loved and cared about.  

You get excited to have a haircut too.  A friend here in the park was willing to do it and none of us have been out of the park.  We felt it was okay to do this.  THAT was great. (ink and watercolor pencil). 

There have been virtual art gatherings during the week.  That was nice and two virtual church services today...both up north and here in Leesburg.  Spiritual encouragement...kindness, prayer, and music.  They all help.  

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Journaling in Pandemic Days

One of the websites my daughter, Julie, sent me had a ton of ideas about how to "journal" your way through the pandemic...or at least commenting now and then in writing about how things are going for you...what do you see...what do you you are coping or not.  I thought this had merit.  So I started with my 6 Pandemic Zendalas and put them into my journal.  

Then I designed some spaces around them conducive to more patterns and some space for writing.  It felt good to release my thoughts about what was going on around me.  I remember thinking about someone recently interviewed talking about some of the positives that could come from in the matter of being more comfortable with yourself, in sensing what is important in life, in sharing more with people you haven't seen in a long time, in more heightened sense of wonder at the natural world...etc.  I began jotting some of my thoughts and where we are statistically at this point.  How my thinking has changed over the last months.   

But then too, the interviewed person added, you must realize that is a "privileged" view of the pandemic.  If you are not ill, if you are not afraid (for yourself or loved ones), if you are sheltering inside in comfort with enough food, etc.  That is the privileged way to see one's way through a shelter in place issue.  There are so many that will not have that view for obvious reasons.  They are doctors and nurses on the front line,  homeless, sick, economically shattered, unemployed, losing a business they loved, hopeless, angry, trying to cope with young children, caring for people with disabilities, living in a nursing home, or having mental or marital problems that make them unsafe.  

So it is that we must expanded our thoughts to encompass the world view of this as well as our own personal view.  For me to worry if I have a mask and whether or not we'll run out of fresh bananas and have enough hand sanitizer and jig saw puzzles is one thing. But there is a whole other side to this that one cannot put aside.  For me to grumble about whether I should clean a closet or bake brownies or sit on the patio to sketch is a very privileged view of what is going on here.  

I am not living the life I thought I'd be living.  No one is.  But I am so grateful to be where I am and that my children and grandchildren and great children are able to be safe.  I pray all my blogging friends are safe also and that you are able to stay well and keep sheltering until we know things have started to turn around.  It's way too soon to go out shopping at the mall. We need to remember that boredom is not a reason to bring danger to all the people out there.  Stay home.  Listen to qualified medical folks for their opinion when it's time to go out more.  

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Finished with Zentangle Project Pact 9

The "gratitude" project is finished.  Designed by the founders of the Zentangle method, the 9 videos divided the project up into manageable size.  

At the close of the project I decided to fill in the empty spots that were left around the words I had chosen to honor in gratitude.  In other words to feature the words too, instead of just covering them up by layering the Zendalas one over another.  Pretty as that looks.

Laughter, hope, friends, family, trees and love were my 6 words. So the tangles surrounding the words are just "playing" around myself after the project was done.  

It was a pleasant project and very meditative and I was sorry to see it over.  

It's been a kind a strange week for me.  Nothing special that I can think has caused it except the accumulation of a lot of isolation and a lot of bewilderment and now and then interrupted sleep with odd dreams. I know I am not alone in this.  It's a very very strange time all over the world. 

It's as if life is now two dimensional instead of three.  We listen to the news in the evening for about an hour and I read the online newspaper in the morning.  We are doing a lot of the same things as other people.  Trying to keep our sense of humor, trying to balance things.  But I am finding it more difficult as times goes on.  I am sure you all feel the same way.  

Monday, April 20, 2020

Pandemic Zentangle Project

Periodically the Zentangle® family gets together and tries some new creations.  Sponsored by Zentangle founders, Rick and Marie and their come "project Pacts".  This is #9.  All of the instructions for all the packs is free online.  All different kinds of fun ideas.  Such creativity.  The Packet components can be purchased online.  But usually the materials are things you can find around the house if you have done Zentangle before.

Every Christmas is a pack called, of course, the 12 Tangles of Christmas.  This particular one "unofficially" called the Pandemic Packet.  
And it's a wonderful distraction.  

The Demos arrive in your inbox about 2 pm every day during the project.  If you want to do them that day (or some other day) whatever is fine.  There is a Face book group for sharing what happens.  

As you can see above there are 6 Zendalas (4.5" across) and they are prepped by doing a "string" using some suggested organic tangles.  Options are always open, of course.  

Then the 6 videos on "suggestions" of how to fill the Zendalas arrive one per day. So there has been one prep day and now 3 days of the project.  

Here are my first three.  And then below my friend Maureen is taking the challenge too.  Note how the same and how different they are! 

Maureen even chose to cut out her Zendalas with fancy scissors so the edges have a nice design.  When we have all six done, I'll post them again so you can see how they look all finished.  

These are also known as "grateful" tangles.  In the white space we are supposed to be lightly writing something we are thankful for.  I'm going back to do that in the morning.  There are so many!  

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Pandemic Days

So here we are together...many of us pretty much quarantined at home trying to make some sense out of what is happening in our world, in our lives, in our families, in the universe.  

Or you may be one of those folks are are still out there in the working world trying to navigate safely and still provide services and needed products.  

In either case, the news out there is not good.
I read an article in the New York Times this morning called "What Day is It?"  And this is not really is a real issue...we are all almost dizzy with the huge changes that have come almost overnight.  And it causes all kinds of unhappy mysterious moods.

All our structures, routines, and ordinary ways of being have been so disrupted and in such huge ways.  In such obvious ways there is no point in even mentioning them.  You know what I mean. It's just important to me to know that I am not alone. That what I am feeling is fairly common. 

My sewing machine hasn't seen the light of day in years.  But there it is on the table now...with the goal of sewing some masks to help  get us through the days ahead.  Right next to my jigsaw puzzle and across from my art studio near the stack of books.  I appear to be "nesting" in some familiar ways.  

Pandemic Days.  Two words I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I'd be writing on my blog.  

Friday, April 10, 2020

A Journal In the Time of Corona Virus

And so life does go on.
But certainly never in our wildest dreams like this.

The more folks I talk to the wider and more diverse the reactions. 
I am worried for the high school and the college kids and the young folks just out trying to make a life.  They feel so robbed and so at a loss for what to do.  Business folding...dreams dying.  This will be part of our collective memories forever.  

Some days a lethargy sets in and I can't seem to finish anything.  I start things and then drift off to something else.  I have disturbing dreams and although I surely have projects galore...can't seem to get going on them.  

And other days I make a list and actually accomplish a few things...makes me feel better when that happens.  Things like Zentangle and journaling help free me.  But each night for the PBS news hour...startling raw images and statistics lay me flat again.

In between my ups and down,  I Zoom and Face Time and email and text with family and friends. Staying in contact has become so essential.  I do my jigsaw puzzle, read, paint and sketch, help Greg with his wiring project in the model train room, and walk.
The weather here is lovely...absolutely NO complaints there...sunny most every day and in the mid 80s.  I can't imagine dealing with this in a snow or rain or cold.  But many people have to.  And then there are those living alone.  That is another story!  

We haven't left the park in 3 weeks except to go to Greg's eye appointments.  (His eye injury is healing nicely).  We wore our masks.  I cancelled our routine dental appointments next week. We continue to have groceries delivered.  

I found that author, Mitch Album, is writing a story on line week by week that takes place in "the time of Coronavirus".   He puts chapter online every Friday.  Check it out.  It's called Human Touch.

Greg and I took communion at home together in front of the laptop computer screen with our minister and his family on Maundy Thursday from their home.  My goodness that was a first.  We saw images of the Pope in Rome alone in the empty cathedral.  This will be a very different Easter for Christians this year.  (And celebrations for Jews and Muslims too).  We are so reminded that a church or any religion cannot be defined by a building.  

Blessed Easter everyone.


Saturday, April 4, 2020

Finishing up Sketchbook Revival Prompts...Day 10,11,12

Day 10...actually a demonstration of a frozen lake...quite nice with limited palette.  But frankly I could not get my head around sketching a frozen lake when it's 85 degrees and sunny in Florida.  The artist was interested in sharing her technique of using cling wrap to make watery/icy texture in the I just transferred it to the view out my studio window with the pond beyond.  Then she suggested pasting a bit of cling wrap right there to remind yourself how you did it.  So I did.  The second prompt had to do with perspective and although I enjoyed watching the video I was not even remotely interested in the prompt.  

For some reason I got emotional about this prompt...a delightful demo of ink/watercolor (which is, of course, right down my alley). The artist did a very free form sketching ink drawing which fit well with the subject matter and she allowed us to download the subject inspiration photo as well.  Hundreds of sunflower samples appeared on the face book group after this one...everyone was inspired.  And each sunflower looked different.  I wrote a bit about it, how it symbolized "hope" as although it was finished blooming it carried the seeds for spring.  I had over 85 responses on the page. Below is a slightly better photo of it.  I had to fold it to fit into the sketchbook.

Below is the last prompt for this time around.  I was disappointed actually that for the last one, something a little more dramatic might have been chosen.  One was a talk about discipline and how it figures into how you get things done.  I liked her analogy that discipline is like a riverbed holding and shaping your life (the water) so that it carries along and doesn't wander off.  So I sketched a river for that one even though she had no art activity to accompany the prompt.  

The last prompt was by Karen Abend herself and she suggested illustrating some of your favorite quotes.
I ran out of steam for illustration and made them very tiny. I picked "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything!" by Mark Twain.  AND "The true measure of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit" by Nelson Henderson.

I said to Greg this morning, that now that the discipline of having a prompt to open each morning is done, I need to find my own personal prompts as the weeks of isolation continue here.  We brainstormed some ideas...adding a card game after lunch, cleaning a cupboard I've been meaning to get to, doing some more work with clay that I enjoyed getting into during the prompt, working on finally finishing my memoir.  

I added a face mask to my "littles" this morning as we have now all be cautioned to wear them outside the park.  We did need to go to the eye doctor yesterday so Greg could check out the eye injury he got a week ago as to the healing.  (He is healing well, but the redness will take time to dissipate).  

I stopped at the post office for stamps on the way home in a little town nearby where I was pretty sure there would not be a lot of people (one other one) and I wore my mask for the first time.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Sketchbook Revival Days 7,8,9

The prompt for Day 7 had to do with floral watercolors.  The example was "okay" but not what I felt like I put together my own bouquet.  That felt nice.   I continued my effort to do a Zentangle each day as well.  The second prompt had to do with a portrait.  I was quite fascinated with her approach but I did not have time in one day to do it justice. see on Day 8, below, I made that prompt on an improvised "envelope" and put the paper for the future portrait in the envelope.  I'll pick that up after the prompt series is over.  

Day 8's prompts were interesting.  Noah had us put 100 dots on the page (on the left).  Completely random.  (I framed the envelope with my hand-made washi tape.).  Then he suggested we look for shapes and see if you can connect the dots to make a picture.  The pictures people found were amazing!  I found a little landscape and used colored pencil to color it in.   The second artist, Youhjung Son, had us work with clay.  Obviously that kind of prompt would not fit into a sketchbook...unless, like me, you had paper clay (which I just happened to have). If interested, I did another one of these on canvas awhile ago.  See here.

I rolled out my clay slab and imprinted it with a favorite sunshine stamp.  Let it dry thoroughly overnight. Then I painted it with gesso and let it dry. Then painted it with acrylic clear gel and dried it.  Then I painted it all over with black acrylic paint and let dry.  Then I removed most of the black paint with alcohol.  I touched it up with a dip pen and India ink.  Then glued it into the journal.  

Day 9 was working with old photographs.  The artist herself picked photos that really had no relationship to her and found artistic ways to feature them.  But I could think of no reason not to use an old photo with meaning.  So this is a photo of my mother...I think it may have been her high school graduation photo.  I used gouache paints for the background.  The second artist was an "inspirational coach" and I so there wasn't anything to draw.  She wanted us to consider how our art journey's developed.  I did write about that in the pink box.  Then the Zentangle was inspired by Molly Hollabaugh's talk-through prompt on line this week.  

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Day 4, 5 and 6 in the Sketchbook Revival Prompt Challenge

This is a quick view of the next 3 prompts.  The artist who give the prompts are listed on the right page at the top.  The "Easter bunny" prompt was from a book illustrator...actually kind of fun to draw and the then the background in the distance is a prompt from an architectural artist.  

I continue to use the "block page" organizer as a theme for holding the whole series together.  I decide ahead which of the two artists will get the more "featured" response from me, but I try to acknowledge them both in some way.  

The botanical artist was lots of fun...I actually enjoy that kind of art a lot.  The petal was done with colored pencil (which is not really my medium) but this is about pushing out the borders here.  The leaf was done in wc. The font making is responding to the other artist, Joann Sharp who I have already taken a class in person with. Very fun.  

There are two photos here of Day 6.  One with the page folded shut above.  On the page I have a photo of all the materials I pulled out in response to Karen's prompt.  I didn't use them all, but did use quite a few.  I worked with rubber gloves on as this was very messy.  But I would enjoy doing it again some time.  the other artist asked us to pick a word of the week/day/or year to think on.  I found a word I loved written by Maria (from Zentangle). Then made list of things I'm grateful for.  

So below is the page folded back out.  This had a lot of charcoal and graphite so I did have to spray it with a fixative so it wouldn't be rubbing all over things.  (That's one of my favorite tangles: lollywimple).  

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Creative Nonsense as a Way to Keeping Balance

Keeping sane in crazy days...well one way is to join an online "prompt" group.  This one is also on Face Book so that everyone in the group can post their contributions and interpretations.  Interpretation is the key to this silliness.

So I have set aside a small journal dedicated to the's is set up by an organizer who offers this for free.  The reason artists are willing to participate is that they get their name out and they offer further (paid) classes.

Most of the artists are "multi-media" artists...folks who enjoy lots of wild and interesting ideas prompting people to draw more, collage more, and try new techniques.  

Karen Abend sets up Sketchbook Revival.  It must be a lot of work!  Artists tape their 15-20 minute lessons and then she organizes them and sends them out via email subscription at the times she promotes.  I think she has hundreds of people on this prompt...which turned out to be WAY more popular than normal for obvious reasons.  The point is that she had no way of knowing how well this timing would work just happened that way.

So keep in mind what you see me "playing" with is not meant to be fine art or or not mean to change my style of drawing or my own journal making.  It is just "creative play".  

Below are the first 3 days of responses from me.  There are two artist each day...I get the prompt around 9 am EST.  I believe it lasts for 12 24 prompts.  The first artist Carla Sonheim prompted among other things a block set up for one of the pages in the prompt. Optional of course. But I liked it...and I am going to use it to tie the theme of the prompts together.  The right page of each response will be blocked off for "daily writing"...a short place to comment on what's going on in my life and in my head.  (nice for right now, huh?). Then a place to make a "list".  Whatever kind of list I want.  Then I've added a place to put a daily Zentangle® (which is my own addition).  

The first prompt above was a "blob" prompt.  Making imaginary things from little blobs of paint.  Just to get creative juices going.  

The second two prompts had to do with "collage" making using paper, stencils, and ink (in her prompt it was just a free drawn).  And the second was more of a meditative prompt involving drawing a symbolic drawing of yourself or a person in general and accessing the ways you bring joy in to your life.  I combined the two. 

The third prompt had to do with embracing our own "quirkiness" by drawing a Quirky Bird with distinctive and fun little attributes. I wish I could share the variety of birds that evolved from this.  It was AMAZING.  People were SO creative.  And the second artist talks about font making.  Delightful...something I love anyway.  

So on to day 4 today.  

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Mountains and Valleys and Turning the Page

Or course, this time around in my journal I am noting the difference in my own situation and my feelings between Feb 13 and March 20 and it is remarkable.  A total "SHIFT" in life in general, isn't it?  

I see myself facilitating between meditative florals, and then back to Lysol spray cleaner.  That is sort of the way it's going for everyone right now.  Up and down.   Deep breaths and then fear...prayer and then isolation.  Grateful and then Worry.  

So now I turn the page.  Just as we all "turn the page" and continue on with mixed feelings.