Sunday, July 30, 2017

A morning on Rest Lake

Last Thursday turned out to be a splendid morning.
The breeze was gentle, the temperatures just right.  4 of us joined together to enjoy delightful few hours painting and sketching at a local YMCA camp on Rest Lake.  Don't you love the name of that lake?  REST Lake.  There is another lake near us called Sunday Lake.  I like that name too. 

There were tons of kids (about 8-12 ages groups) all over the place and they had lots of large tents set up sleeping probably 8 kids.  Joyous shouts and the tinkle of laugher accompanied us all morning.

I had not been there before.  Very nice camp.  Brought back lots of memories of my years as a Girl Scout both as a camper and a counselor. 

The fierce totem pole seemed to feature many turtles.  And an eagle at the top.  The door knobs here on the lodges were small canoe paddles.  (I loved that!) I got some nice shadows on the tent.  Afterwards we had lunch in Manitowish Waters.  

I have tried hard to be better about getting to the paint outs this year.  Even (as you may remember when it is only 50 out there!)

Life has slowed slightly now as August approaches.  All the grandkids that are coming this year have come and gone.  I am a little sad about that.  Greg has closed up the loft and put the ladder away for the season.   We expect some adult friends in August, two in September.  

And I am hoping that my two daughters will come up for "Girl's Weekend" over Labor Day.  We did that last year and made some lasting memories.  I adore those two girls!  Never get enough of them.  

My memoir is going slowly and I do need get more disciplined for that.  I am easily distracted and get off on various small projects or have to get to town for one thing or another and time slides along. Or I get into a book on the summer porch and am lulled into another time and place.  I really will  try hard this month!!!

Hoping to publish more from the library later this week as I have some photos to share.  But internet connections are SO slow here at the cabin.  
Have a good week everyone.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


The Great Cats is a puzzle we just finished at the cabin...over about a week or so.  One of those great puzzles that you just pore over when you wake up early or you have a few minutes in the late afternoon or evening.  See if you can put in a few pieces.  The painting is by Peter Kull.  It was about an 8 in a one to ten range of difficulty with 10 being HARD.  Lots of oranges and browns made it pretty darn challenging.  But we enjoyed it.  Found it at a garage sale for 10 cents.

The need to write and the need to paint both comes sometimes like some overwhelming urges that threatens to take my breath away or make me dizzy.  It’s hard to describe but if you are a writer or an artist you will understand.  I cannot think that other creatives feel quite the same but perhaps they do…dancers must dance, singers must sing, knitters must knit…

After I have been inundated these past days with a lot of people and commitments that keep me from both of these “fundamentals” for awhile and I begin to gasp at the neediness of my creativity.  It often comes after I have been reading a lot too…suddenly the reading of another’s words just begin to make my finger itch and soon I am off and running again.  To what audience I have no idea.  (Maybe it is because Autumn likes to read my blogs.)😜

In my youth, drawers filled up with old papers and short stories that never got finished.  Once I discovered sketching, notebooks began to fill up too.

I just finished reading Being Mortal by Atul Gwande and am full of thoughts like “what is courage?” and “When the end is near when is enough enough?”  It has caused me to think about what I value most and would most hate to have give up.  After the company of my husband and children and I think it would be writing and painting.  Time alone in a good quiet place in the comfort of birds and sunshine.  Like the cabin or my studio in FL (in good weather). 

This week there has not been much time for “contemplation” but that makes the quiet time all the more sweet when it comes.  Chores are done, the wine is poured, the wind has switched around to the south and there is sunshine.  Guests are gone and 
I pick up the book I’ve chosen to read next…like a treasure sent by the gods of happiness.  A new book.  

This one I picked by the title and by the back cover at a recent garage sale.   Not the way I normally pick books by recommendations and by reading reviews.  I was struck by the title which was made more amusing since I have been working all week on a jigsaw puzzles picturing tigers and lions.  The title is The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht.

The first chapter begins when the main character’s grandfather dies of cancer (a disease he has kept secret from everyone except his granddaughter).  And the cultural rituals around the keeping and nurturing of his soul begin.

So I am to begin to read about end of life just as I finished another one. Sharon Feathers would call this a “Godwink”.  Another way to look at serendipity or coincidence as perhaps not exactly as random as one might think.  

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sketching Moments for Remembering

There is a spot on my summer porch at the cabin by the lake that is a "cozy" spot and a place where I can play quiet music.  Here I curl up to read, write on my laptop (the memoir, remember?), have my wine in the late afternoon with hubby, or sometimes take a wee nap.  

These sketches are views from that spot.  Done in a 9 x 11 mixed media Strathmore sketchbook.  There is room for 4 to sit and have a comfortable conversation which I think is the ideal number for a chat.  

The larger sketch faces toward the lake (west) which we easily see just 90 steps away through the lovely old pines and oaks.  With the windows open we hear the loons call and see the ducks swim by.  We hear the pontoon boats out for a ride and fishing boats going by.

An ideal spot of a pot of daisies and stacks of books and my binoculars in case I see something new at the bird feeder.  The hummingbird feeder hangs just outside the window off to the north side. We often here their little "motors" as they drink.  The smaller sketches face north.  

So this is probably THE favorite spot I have here at the cabin or maybe on the deck at the pier on a still summer late afternoon would be a close second.  Sketches like this provide one with an amazing way to bring the moment back.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pure nonsense!

Well, here I go again with a new device to try to learn about!!!  You'd think since I have an Apple iPad and an Apple laptop, this iPhone would be a no-brainer.  Well to the contrary!  Phones are a different animal.  

I thought it might be fun to decorate my case (Otter Box as my daughter recommended) so that if there were many black iPads around I'd have no difficulty seeing which one was mine!!!

Pure nonsense.  I have a lot of art stuff sitting and waiting and here I am making pure nonsense.  The decoration is Zentangle®, of course, and the pattern is one of my favorites called "Lollywimple".  

I used fluid acrylic paint for this which I loaded into a Molotow refillable ink pen.  These are extremely messy to refill.  You should have a "refill" device that you buy separately but I've always just donned rubber gloves and put a lot of newspaper down, put on an apron and pulled it apart.  This pen was new so the first fill is a no brainer.  

Acrylic is pretty "hardy" but I expect with all the use the case will get it will eventually wear off.  But easily repainted.  

Weather day is nice today (amazing, huh?) as the north woods just whips from one type of weather to another!  47 degrees last night and 75 in the afternoon...15 and 25 degree swings every week and every day.  Try to plan something?  Forget that.
Just enjoying it when it turns nice...that's the key.  
Have a good week!  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The weather will be good...when pigs fly?

9 x 11 sketch in Strathmore Visual Journal 90# paper...watercolor and ink.  

Only 4 artists showed up today and we froze our buns off.  The Greenhouse/Nursery in Boulder Junction, WI (about half an hour from my cabin in Lac du Flambeau) is a very nice venue for painting.  If it were sunny.  If it were warm.  

But nope.  Temp was about 52 with a stiff wind and never a touch of sunshine.  It didn't rain but that about the only thing going for the weather today!  All of us felt our fingers grow numb from cold on JULY 13th!!!

The greenhouse was bedecked with flowers and then outside was this tiny little cottage in which they sold garden equipment and coffee and doodads for our garden like wind chimes and little metal pigs with wings.  All the shadows you see are fake.

We did a lovely lunch afterwards and much laughter and good conversation.  Then I was off to get some groceries in Minocqua and home by "tea time" (which was NOT on the pier unfortunately).  I decided we needed a comfort dinner and did my apple/pork chop bake.  This felt so "fall-ish".  It kept the cabin warm and we are full and sleepy...curled up reading on the sofa and watching darkness descend over the lake.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Framing and matting and measuring OH NO

I have shown the preliminary sketches for this project previously on the blog and the progress on it as it went along.  (It is a surprise anniversary present for our neighbors here on Tippecanoe Lake the first week in August).  I had the printer in town make up enough small copies for 12 cards.  So I'll finish glueing those up later.  

I had to put a mat on this one and there was nothing in my stash that would fit so I dragged out my mat cutter for the first time in probably 3 years!  Once I remembered to change the blade in the cutter, it all went pretty well.  It is a pain to cut mats, however.
Lots of careful measurement (ugh MATH) and then remember to get those corners nice and crisp.   

Not sure why but the color looks washed out in the card and it's really not.  Must be the lamp reflecting on it funny as I did take this photo inside.  

I consider this a "sketch" as it done with calligraphy pen that is water soluble.  Then I do a wash and put in most of the shadows before I add some color. Gives it a "sketchier" look than just a plain watercolor painting, I think.

We had a rainy/sunny day today on and off in the north woods.  Temps were not bad and I had the porch windows open most of the day.  But am back in a flannel shirt this evening.   Hoping we get a nice morning tomorrow for the outdoor painters group.  We are going to Winker's Greenhouse/Nursery in Boulder Junction.  

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

4th of July in the North Woods

Not only is the internet connection here in the north woods practically non-existent or incredibly SLOW but sometimes these conditions go on for days. Which is okay for the most part as everyone I know realizes where I am and the conditions for posting or emailing or texting or anything technology related are practically impossible.  The closer we are to a weekend or a holiday...the less connectivity is possible.  Due to the number of people online.

I might note that after I finished this sketch of the pier and deck building, we had 3 beautiful days of weather.  Right through the 4th of July.  So the umbrella went and we spend HOURS down there sunning like turtles and having wine and cheese and watching the kids swim and jump off the pier.  

We have squeezed so much into those 3 days that Greg is now on a heating pad taking a nap!  And feeding 10 people 3 meals a day gets to be awe inspiring (but with all the help it is fun).  Last night we did an old fashioned grill out and then went to the local fireworks. Meaning no one got to bed until 11. Boy we were dragging this morning as it rained lightly.  

Among all the festive things, the two older grandsons and my son helped Greg install the last large window on the glassed in porch.
We were missing one window and the one we chose was HUGE and heavy.  WHAT were we thinking?  Anyway it did get installed and now THAT is done except for trim and painting which can come later.  Photos of this later.

Company will stay through Thursday dinner and then 5 will leave and 3 will stay on until Sunday.