Monday, August 19, 2019

Julie made us dinner tonight...roasted veggies and sausage.  Wow was that ever delicious! The broccoli was from her garden and the other veggies fresh from the farmer's market.   Decided to keep THAT recipe handy.  

Been canoeing twice while she was here.  WHAT a lovely treat.  The high water in the lake this year has made our shoreline so different.  We have more islands that we used to!!!  Fun to weave in and out.  There are beaver, otters, eagles, and loons.  

Julie leaves tomorrow morning and Rick and his family arrive Thursday at lunch.  A quick turn over.  But such fun to have them.

Greg visited his ear doctor today for a routine ear cleaning.  He's one of those folks who get a lot of wax in his ears and so having them professionally cared for is essential.  I asked how he felt after they removed the wax.  He said it is "drafty".  ðŸ¤ª What a goof.  

Friday, August 16, 2019

Red Pine Camp

The Sketch and Painting group met at Red Pine Camp for Girls in Woodruff, WI this week.  What a lovely spot...VERY hilly and a little challenging for knee-sensitive folks like me.  But I managed.

The camp was actually closed for the season...all the girls were gone and just the crews there beginning to put things away.  Painting the boats and bringing in the swim floats etc.  So it was quiet and nice.  

Got there late so the sketch is pretty small.  But weather turned lovely and sunny for us after a slow cold and cloudy start.  Lucky us.  There was a large group but everyone spread out and so it wasn't until later I realized who was there.  The location is about a 30 minute drive for me.  

I didn't stay for lunch as daughter Julie was driving up from Madison that day for lunch and a few day's visit.  

Today (Friday) it is rain rain rain.  A napping day.  And then off to an art reception this evening.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Story Sketch

Some sketches come with natural stories attached.  Those are often special memories.  You can, I hope, read the the little bit that I wrote right on the journal page.  

Fascinating little story attached to this little bait shop now preserved by community members who want to remember.  That's the real story, isn't it.  That people care enough to remember.  That they plant flowers, repair the roof and mow the lawn.  No money is charged to come.  

And that people love to come there and feed the ducks.  They bring their children and sit on the pier and chat.  Edith and Hazel must be so pleased.  I can imagine them sitting in the shade of of that old porch facing the lake having lunch.  

The photo of the "minnows" sign is from the side of the shop that I could not see from my angle.  The articles from the "museum" inside are just a few...there are tons.  And the entrance hall has been sealed in plexiglass so that you can stand inside and see everything, but it is safe and untouched.  That took some work and planning.  It's really quite impressive.  Full of old tea pots, tackle boxes, lures and bobbers and tins.  

Keep in mind I had to drive about 45 minutes from Lac du Flambeau to Sayner, WI to find this hideaway and there is NO sign.  
You can google it and get directions on line so it's not a secret but they don't put up signs so in a way this is kind of nice that it is more word-of-mouth.  I guess it's quite popular and people stroll down or ride their bikes.  There isn't much or two cars.  Which is good.  The town is very small but there are a lot of cabins and fisherman and bikers and families who like to come to the area.  AND fisherman of course.  

I am including also a little photo of the sketch as it first started.  I like to lay in the shadows first.  The reason is that they immediately start to shift as you draw.  During the hour or two that you enjoy the sketch they are in a totally different place at the end.  I often pick the angle of the sketch based on how the shadows fall.  Because cobalt blue is very transparent, it makes a nice shadow I can paint right over.  

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Sketching For Joy

A very lovely morning (and lunch) at Sandy Cashman's home on 4 acres in Manitowish Waters today.  Her bird feeders drew me in so I had to sketch them!  She and her grandchildren painted all the birds on the cross bar together!  

While I sat sketching the flowers to the right, her parrot talked incessantly to me and whistled at me from his cage on the front porch.  So funny.  She has two Bassett hounds named Ethel and Lucy who are characters and like to howl in unison.  

Lucky me.
Lovely morning around 75 but getting to 80 in the sun this afternoon.  Light breeze.  No mosquitoes this morning!  Wow.  
We were all in jeans but very comfy.  

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Mid summer sketching

Stoney Creek Garden Center is south of Minocqua, WI and is one of the most diverse and eclectic one I've come across.  I could paint here all day.  I had a few hours on Thursday morning, however, and just settled beside an old potting shed.  I liked the worn exterior and the huge jungle of vines that has engulfed it!  The rain barrel and the big old jug/vase were nice elements too.  

We got some lovely warm sunshine that morning for a change!

Out front is a koi pond with a lot of fish and I had about 20 minutes left before I had to head off to fix lunch for my company.  So I just did a small sketch there in the shade near Millie.  

I've been waiting for the price on the Hahnemühle Watercolor Sketchbooks to come down.  So when they did I ordered one from Amazon.  I thought the packaging was amazing.  Made in Germany, it was sent out from Nottinghamshire, UK and then the instructions said, "if not deliverable, mail to Sweden".  A very international purchase!!!  So I glued the interesting bits into the front of the sketchbook.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Few Sketches on the Fly

A few sketches "on the fly" this past week during a pretty busy week filled with art shows, fashion shoes, brunches, etc.  The Fashion Show at church was lots of fun.  Everything was from our Thrift Shop!  This in my Stillman & Birns sketchbook.  

I almost always do a tiny sketch while listening to the Sunday sermon at the Presbyterian Church.  This is my little Moleskin accordion folding sketchbook 

We had a "Mystery Dinner" at church last month.  People dressed up for their parts!  Funny!!!

My "littles" have started a new page...this time called "Whatever".  I'm putting the summer books I read in one least a few of them.  Currently reading Michelle Obama's biography called Becoming.

I made an effort to capture the sunset after a storm here last Friday night.  The entire lake was orange/gold.  Never seen anything quite like it before.  Wild.  

Pretty busy getting ready for a long siege of company ahead now.  Also finished up the Manito Art show and ready to hang in the Lakeland Art League Show starting July 31.  

Also below am working on a Family Cookbook that will be a wedding shower gift for my granddaughter, Melissa.  The show is August 10 but I have a ton of company before that date so I need to get things going.  Most of the recipes will come on the day of the shower so I'll have to take the book back and finish it and then bring it back when we come down for the wedding in October. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Here and Now completed.

You've seen this page as it developed over the month.  I always like to share it when it's done.  

Wrapped up with my favorite bird...the rose breasted grosbeak.  He was at our feeder many times over the last two days along with his 4 children.  (Mommy must be off on vacation.). The youngsters present their "feed me" wiggles...shaking their wings in a pleading way.  Obviously old enough to feed themselves but like kids do, wanting to be fed as long as possible.  So much fun to watch them.

This page goes from May 26 to July 13.  (So mostly June) but I don't have any real plan to keep to a's whenever the mood strikes and I feel I need to save a memory.  I keep a record of the books I read and sometimes a comment on weather.  I LOVE my thrift shop red cap (which also attracts hummingbirds!). I wear it on all my walks this summer.  And so it goes.  The next page is entitled "Whatever". 

We were off to some garage sales this morning...Greg found a sturdy small ladder for jobs that require only being a few feet up.  
And I found 3 new jig saw puzzles (3 for $1).  I couldn't resist the price.  And a new queen bed quilt that looked like it had never been used for $5.  (I actually use them as room dividers out on the porch.). Hung from clips on a rod across the ceiling they provide privacy in the cozy reading corner but more important keep in the heat on frosty mornings and evenings!  BUT when fall comes I need to remove them and store them in plastic boxes or the mice come and chew them up for nesting material.  The summer porch is not mouse proof.  

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Lake Life in the north woods

What a morning we had today out on South Bay on Little St. Germain Lake! Whew.  Was about 65 degrees when I left at 7:45 am (this is really something for me to be up and out of the house THAT early!)  Greg decided he'd like to come along and see the resort and go out to lunch with us.  He plays computer games on his iPad, does his Suduko and reads magazines (and I think he naps) while I paint.  This time he did all that IN the car to keep out of the wind.  If you were in the sun and out of the wind the temp was not too bad.

But I was determined to be at the lakeside.  At least this first time there and I wanted to sketch the iconic red Adirondack chairs on the pier and enjoy the ambiance.  A lot of the artists chose to paint up the hill in warmer places.  I couldn't have done it without the wind breaker. I am so pleased I thought to bring it at the last minute.  It did warm to 71 degrees by mid afternoon and in the sunshine out of the wind it felt cozy.  Hoping things warm up more soon.  

Then a delightful lunch at the 19th Hole Restaurant in St. Germain.
Lovely menu!  Lots of good art talk.  

I have finished up my framing for the Manito Art Show next week. 
You can see a few pictures from last year's show here.  The reception for artists and patrons will be Wednesday evening and I am serving punch at the appetizer table.  This is always catered by a nice restaurant in the area.  We have a harp player and it's very posh!  The show hangs Thurs-Sunday noon.  9-4.  So it's a nice.  

So the outdoor group won't paint out next week due to the show.  
The second round of company here will arrive on the 25th so I don't know about joining the sketching/painting group that week.  Have to see how times match up for arrivals and etc.  We'll be painting at the local nursery/garden center called Stoney Creek in Minocqua. If I go I may have to skip eating lunch out with them that day. 

Our loons have a baby!
This is hugely exciting.  I wanted to be sure Autumn got to see it.
We hold our breath as we often lose baby loons to  predators on the lake and we have had very few survive.  Hawks, eagles, large fish, and turtles can all eat a new born chick. Crossing fingers for the little guy.  


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Little Bits of Life

The iris that Greg planted up by the road have bloomed now in the warm sunshine.  I see them every time we go in and out the driveway and when I go on a walk or get the mail.  Decided to bring a few down to the cabin to enjoy.

A friend has gorgeous poppies she brings to church on Sundays.
They are the size of dessert plates!  Beautiful.  

Our study group at church meets every other Tuesday morning in the sunny meeting room here in Lac du Flambeau.  This year we are studying some of great historical thinkers of the modern church.

We'll be without any guests for the 4th this year but that is okay.  We'll go down to the town for fireworks in the evening if the weather holds.  So far we've had a nice week.  Had some rain Sunday morning but it has lifted and last night we had wine down at the lake in amazing beautiful weather. The wind dropped and the turtles swam by and dragon flies were languid on the pier.  Life slows down.  

I told Greg about the book I am reading for book club while we sat there.  It is Jodi Picolt's book Small Great Things which is about racism.  It is a very disturbing book (I warn you up front).  But timely and something that people need to confront.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Sketching My Days

This will be a repeat of the first few rows...this is going a little slower this summer with some competition for my time.  But in July things actually slow down a bit (I think). Less company this summer and a little more relaxed schedule.  
I've been reading a lot and getting ready for the summer art shows coming up.  

My usual July company has postponed to later in the summer. 
So this frees things up a bit.  Hoping that all this rain moves off and we get some sunny days.  
Happy 4th of July everyone.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A Zentangle Apron

My granddaughter is getting married in October.  Much happy excitement in the family!  

So the wedding shower is in August and I am doing a family cookbook for her.  I hope the people coming are amenable to bringing along a recipe or two to share!  The directions for the cards will go out in the invitations next month.  I'll do the compiling and the typing in September and bring it to her at present opening day after the wedding.   

I wanted her to have something to open in August so I am tangling her an apron with fabric pens and planning the cover for the recipe book.  

Here are Greg and I holding her 23 years ago.

Walk-And-Draw Journaling

This kind of journal entry I call "walk-and-draw" journal entries.
These quick line drawings were done in a 5x7 journal with a PN Sakura pen.  I was standing while sketching...talking with my daughter Julie as we walked (ambled) along the road near our Northwoods cabin...discussing what we were seeing and trying to identify some of the plants we were seeing.  Some easy and other not so.  Julie identified a Sarsaparilla plant which I had seen but never identified.
(note corrected spelling from my notes.) It appears this plant is used for medical properties.  

There were two plants we noted but could not identify.  I'm still searching my wildflower book.  
I stopped to do a brief sketch of the neighbor's old pump they use for a name holder for their cabin.  I've seen it a million times but today it just seemed so old and lovely that I had to add it.

We also found what we think is a "white milkweed" and at least 20 tiny Monarch caterpillars on each plant...less than an inch long!  Must have JUST hatched.  I never would have noticed this if I wasn't walking slowly with my daughter and my sketchbook.  How lovely and amazing is that.

So how are you feeling about happenstances that change thinking?  Or change the course of your thinking? Or coincidences that just seem (at the time or later) to have impacted your life in small but sometimes amazing ways?  Perhaps opening new doors or allowing you to change your mind or even making you wonder about the "magic" in your life?  It's a topic my daughter and I have been exploring. It certainly fits with my journey to "pay attention".  

See Sidewalk Oracles: Playing with Signs, Symbols, and Synchronicicity by Robert Moss.  

So tonight around 7 a storm blew up on the lakeside and we had about half an hour of wind and rain which has now moved off, leaving everything dripping and the temperature down.  Julie and I are curled up on the porch doing a jig saw puzzle, reading, and chatting. She has to leave tomorrow.  Sigh. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Happy Summer Solstice

Today is the summer solstice...June 21.  Longest day of the year.

After a wet and very cool start to our summer here in the Northwoods...we are going to have some sunshine today and a high of 75.  It seems the lake is quite still today (I love windless days best).  However, I do add that some breezes do help to keep the mosquitos at bay.  So you have keep that in mind.

My walks along the roadsides show places where there is more sunshine and there the lovely Columbine have burst forth.  I think they are the most jewel like of all the Northwoods flowers.  The sketch above is on a Strathmore Multi Media sketchbook.  9 x 12. 

The Canada Mayflowers are slowly disappearing now as the summer comes on.  Blueberries and black raspberries will be ripening in July.  And I have never seen so many False Solomon Seal flowers.  

Below are just a few short sketches done on different days in my Birns and Stillman notebook.  Places we have eaten out...4 from church services in different spots..and the last a begonia plant that was on the table where we went to a church study group last Tuesday morning.  

I have tons of company coming this evening so I have a big lasagne to put together AND a cake to bake.  I am pleased the rain has pushed off to Sunday now so we may get at least one good weekend day!  Not hot...but in the 70s.  No weather whining today.

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.  


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