Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The beauty of trees...

Thoughts again today on serendipity and my ongoing life...

Trees...you know how they have quite been almost obsessive in my thinking lately.  They and the subject of serenity and time.

It's really not difficult to see how all these topics can swim together in the same pond.  

But sometimes I wind up taking a short breath...ahhh...oh my.
An "oh my" breath.  

Reading the Overstory (I am almost done) and The Hidden Life of Trees: What they Feel and how they Communicate.

And then Julie gifted me with books on Serendipity and Time.  

Maria Popova wrote in her blog today about reflections on her year..."patterns emerge--strong women's voices, the healing power of nature, poetry, kindness, unselfish love, friendship, solitude and" (here's where I link in) "and lots and lots and lots of trees--how they illuminate things that help me, and perhaps you, survive.  Thrive, even."  

There they are again!  Just about everywhere.  Ah. Oh my.  

You may have already read about my stop in Georgia recently when we pulled over for a cup of coffee.  While I stood in line the oriental gentlemen (in his 70s maybe) ahead of me fingered a quarter with obvious interest perhaps checking the date.  "Is it valuable?" I asked him.  He smiled broadly.  "No, not this one."  After a brief pause he turned to me "but you know what IS valuable?  Trees.  We are cutting far too many down and not replanting enough." He paused, "I plant a lot of trees".   I stood speechless. 

Surely some tree paintings are in my future for 2020.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve at my sister's church in Charlotte, NC.  What a lovely evening.  It started with a delicious home made chili supper with all the trimmings.  Yum.  Then the service that was filled with magical music including violins, harps, guitars, piano and organ.  
Stars hung from the ceiling over the altar and the candles shone brightly in the dark as we sang Silent Night.  It always make me teary eyed...another Christmas.  They are always in my heart.  
"Take Christmas home with you" said Pastor Nancy.  I promise.

I did this little sketch in about 15 minutes during the message and then added the color later.  

The harps played...

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Blessings

20 minutes sketch at Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, GA on Dec 23rd.  It was raining that day (all day).  But inside the cathedral it was ethereal.  This angel caught my eye.  

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Overstory

In her Christmas card, my friend Sharon Feathers included a sprig of northern White Cedar.  The sprig was loose in the card so I decided to give it a little friendly "framing" on this card using  a little Zentangle.  (Hubby will get this card for his birthday next Thursday).  

Incidentally I checked the name of the sprig by taking a photo of it with iNaturalist, an app that another friend, Jim Killian, showed me this fall.  I have fallen in love with this app.  Thank you Jim!!!

About two summers ago I fell in love with a little book called The Hidden Life of Trees.  I know I blogged about that at the time.  And then just this fall I heard Richard Powers being interviewed on PBS about his book The Overstory.  I knew I had to read it.  Trees again.

This is a Pulitzer Prize winning book.  I am about 1/3 of the way through it...and I was reading it this afternoon when Autumn sent me this photo from her hike through a nearby park.  Nice old oak with branches covered with "Resurrection Fern".  

There is some serious serendipity going on around here!  
And I highly recommend the book!

There must be some trees waiting to be sketched out there, don't you think?  

We leave tomorrow for Savannah (in the rain unfortunately) and it appears we'll have rain the whole time we are there.  Headed then to my sister's in SC and she does NOT have rain.  Christmas Day will be around 66 there.  Not too bad.   

We will be back again next weekend.  Just a short trip.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Thoughts on the upcoming Solstice Dec 21

Thoughts on the Solstice this Sat..Dec 21..

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” Annie Dillard wrote....It may be an elemental feature of our condition that the more scarce something is, the more precious it becomes. Just as the shortness of life calls....for filling each year with breadths of experience, so the shortness of the day calls for the fulness of each hour, each moment. No day concentrates and consecrates its elementary particles of time more powerfully than the shortest day of the year. With our awareness pointed to its brevity by ancient rites and modern calendars alike...something rapturous happens — a kind of portal into heightened presence opens up as every minute ticks with a supra-consciousness of its passage, pulsates with an extra fulness of being, while at the same time attuning us to the cyclical seasonality of time, reminding us of the cycles of life and death." Maria Popova

One way to slow things down is to meditate...and I do believe that Zentangle is "yoga for the brain".  Remembering to breathe.

Here's another not yet finished.  The emphasis for the Christmas season among the CZTs is tangling on toned paper (gray this time) with blue white and gold.  

Sketching also slows time down.  At this season all art and music slows life into bits that take on beauty and meaning.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Creating Time

"...But if you do want to shed that unsettling feeling on a Sunday evening that the weekend has whizzed by, there is something you can do: constantly seek out new experiences. Take up new activities at weekends and visit new places, rather than heading for the same pub or cinema. All this fun means the time will fly in the moment – but because you will lay down more memories, when you get to Monday morning, the weekend will have felt long."

Continuing with my joint quest for creating more time (with my daughter Julie) I send you a quote from Claudia Hammond.  Author of Time Warped: Unlocking the Secrets of Time Perception.  Julie found this perfect article to share with me.  

She continues...
"Some routine, of course, is unavoidable. But if you can create a life which feels both novel and entertaining in the present, the weeks and years will feel long in retrospect. Even varying your route to work can make a difference. The more memories you can create for yourself in everyday life, the longer your life will feel when you look back."

Time in a Box

So I've switched from an envelope holding "time ideas and thoughts" to a little box.  With a little "time keeper" on the front.  

And below are my "littles" slowly progressing through the fall months into winter.  In January it will a year since I started them.  I slowed down after I left the cabin in October...but hope to get into the routine again.  Because I think this record is a celebration of all those memories I am collecting as well.  

I hope your holidays are going well..we are starting to hear from old friends through emails and cards now and it's such a pleasure...and a way to remember again all the great times.  

Saturday, November 30, 2019

On Autumn's Porch

Autumn made us a lovely tea with cookies that afternoon and we had a good visit.  It had been too long!  

I started the pencil work on this sketch while I waited for tea to brew and then took a photo and finished it at home.  This is my
 9 x 12 Strathmore Visual Journal and Lamy pen.  

Autumn is not sure what the flowers are...she got them from her mom.  They are just a flaming orange red...I hope we can figure out what they are.  I could not get my iNaturalist app to work that afternoon.  (Since fixed it.) You then take a photo of a plant and it will find the name for you!  

We talked a lot about my "time" travels through the book I've recently been discussing and we both talked about how we are preparing to face our futures and how we try to live our days.
We updated each other on our families and talked about her alligator on the shore of the river. OH my he is huge! 

(It's funny, with the date stamp I use...I something think as I reset it for the current day, that the particular date I am setting won't ever come around again.  Ever.  Not in my lifetime and not in anyone's life time.  It sort of makes the day seem a bit more important.) 

Maureen and I are finishing up the preparations for the Zentangle reunion to be held January 8.  It's so nice to have someone to share the class with!  

This is the format we plan to use but people are free to change things up both in the design and the tangles as they wish.
I have not watercolored mine yet.  5 x 7.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Remaining intellectually youthful...

So the book is Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life by Marney K. Makridakis. 

My daughter, Julie, and I are challenging each other to read this book together and then do "some" of the artistic suggestions or some spin off of them in order to explore time.  

The first chapter is a background exploration of how time is perceived.  

I underlined a few quotes from the first chapter: 
"In fact, the true 'present' is so brief that it can't even be perceived". and 

"Leonardo da Vinci said, 'the water you touch in a river is the last of that which has passed, and the first of that which is coming.  Thus it is with time present."

Then she talks about the different ways we define time in linear continuums...
  • The scientific: order to disorder
  • The linear: past, present, future
  • The narrative: beginning, middle, end
  • The perception: slow to fast
  • The aging: young to old
And then as a nice contrast to that, how we think of time qualitatively in non linear time...
  • bad time to good time
  • comic time to serious
  • orderly to chaotic
  • conscious to subconscious
  • quiet to loud
  • static to kinetic
  • bland to stimulating
So the questions that we are asked to answer in our first assignment are ones like...
  1. If you had more time how might your life be different?
  2. Do you wear a watch?  Why or why not?
  3. What was "time" like in your home growing up? What beliefs did your parents have about time?
  4. What drew you to this book?
(There are actually 13 in this first set.). Then we put them in our "time box".  But I've chosen to put mine in a "time envelope".  Who needs another box???

So as a note at the end here...I opened the Nov/Dec issue of Saturday Evening Post today and the article I read first is "The Quiet Diet" by Cable Neuhaus about the value of Quiet Time.  I quote: "Mice, when exposed to two hours of silence every day, developed new cells in the region of the brain that controls memory, emotion and learning." It discusses the troubling results of "noise pollution" and suggests by "carving out a quiet interlude every day, meditators remain intellectually youthful longer." 

So Zentangle® and art in general can promote wellness...I knew it all along.  Tune in for more on my quest for creating quality time.  And I'll keep this article in my "time envelope".  

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Wonky House Project for Advanced Zentangle Class

Zentangle is in the air around here this week.

Following my class last week, I decided that I'd try a Zentangle reunion for some of the people who have already taken the beginner Zentangle class here at Hawthorne.  There are tons of them from over the years.  
So I set a date in January (plenty of plan and advertising time).
And then set about to look at the Wonky House plan that I did some years ago.  

Talked it over with fellow tangler, Maureen, and then decided that a simple 5 x 7 would be better...smaller and easier to frame.  

This was one format I dreamed up...
It is done on canvas because I am going to use it as a door prize for the Art lunch in January.  Drawing on canvas is not for the faint heart.  Yikes.  I will spray the final piece with 3 coats of clear acrylic.  

Then this is another possible choice.  I think this is the one I am going to use.  The students will work on paper, of course...not canvas.  

This version is fun but a little complicated for a class.  So while I had fun with it and I'll bring it as an example I think the second version will be easier for students.  Special thanks to Maureen so said she'd lend a hand getting the materials ready.  

I haven't finished this one yet...but you can see it's a little less complicated...I think.  People can pick and choose what they want to do.  I am trying to keep the tangles a little less complicated and not do the background sky.  Students will get a black and white version to take home...they can color as they wish.  

Friday, November 22, 2019

November 20 Zentangle® Class at Hawthorne Park

A quite nice afternoon from 1:30 to 4 pm in the Fine Arts Room at Hawthorne Park...a great group of gals.  Here Maureen is doing a demo for the group.  There is a rumor that we'll be meeting again in January for a lesson on Zentangle Wonky Houses!  More fun in store!  

Friday, November 15, 2019

Life in Florida in mid November

A little fun at Hawthorne Park this morning with friend Linda Heller who was there to be interviewed for Fine Arts!  Her paintings hung behind her and we chatted and then looked at her art enjoying her techniques. The show runs about 20-30 minutes.  I do this once a month.  

Playing around a little with a technique in Zentangle® called "cartouche".  Now in fact the history of a "real" cartouche is quite a different story.  If you look it up...an ancient piece of art originally and sometimes on a tomb.  But the idea is that it "enclosed" or "frames" something important.  So this is a sort of "take off" of the word meaning drawing something that encloses something else. 

This is a real key glued to the center. People often do this with a photograph in the center and then frame it, or a favorite spoon, or some small flat object such as an old brooch.  This is just an experiment but it is rather fun.  I may add some color to it later.  

I've been totally remiss on my "littles" lately...so much going on here in the park and lots of personal projects and getting up to speed on my projects.   But I am trying to get back on track again.  (You will note I was gifted with a new iPhone for my birthday this fall.). It's taking an inordinate amount of time to "get up to speed" on it, but should be less so as time goes on.  

Saturday, November 9, 2019

First Florida group sketching for the season for me!

What a lovely morning for sketching last Thursday.  What a funny name for an organic farm.  (But we did meet the "dirty dog").  A young couple run the place.  And such a lot of work.  They are in Fruitland Park, actually, even though if you look them up it says Leesburg.  About a 20 minute drive for me.  Felt good to be out sketching again.
Hoping the gang will get together again soon.

Weather has cooled a tad since we arrived on the 23rd of October but it has REALLY cooled off in the midwest.  Temps in the single digits around the Chicago area!  Wow.  Setting lots of cold and snow records WAY before Thanksgiving!    We are in mid 70s mostly this week.  Hoping we see some 80s again soon.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

A Day at a the Model Train Show

 The Ocala, Florida model Train Show was last Saturday.  
A lovely day for a drive.  It's about an hour north of Leesburg.

 Hubby loves these shows...and swap meets. There are usually a few layouts running which is always fun for me to see. 

After I had made the rounds, then I settled down near Bill (in hat) who is from Savannah and brought his running HO scale layout (that, he says, folds up and slides under your bed.). Impressive.

Bill had a great hat and a wonderful chair that I could use to sit in!  He gave me a nice little book about all the scales of the model trains.  

Out to lunch on the way home.  

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Inktober 28, 29, 30, 31. The End. OR...rather the beginning of something new...

Well, Well, Who, Luke, Nik, Florz

Happy Halloween Everyone!

I'll have a photo of my whole Inktober Accordion book 
(when I find it). the problem is I have not yet unpacked my up north art stuff...sitting all around me in bags.  

I've decided a fall cleaning in this studio is called for. WHAT was I thinking.  Washing windows and vacuuming behind things and even putting out stuff I plan to sell or give away.  Oh my.  More to follow then.  

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Inktober 25, 26, 27

Tripoli, Ratoon, Crescent Moon

The month long challenge for Inktober is drawing to a close now. 
I can't ever remember a faster one!  But then I was covering a lot of ground during this time!  Just 4 more days!  

The dust has settled "a little" here in Florida.  We are sort of unpacked and gradually getting back to some sort of normal...the month of November always is filled with our first medical check ups of the winter season...dentists, doctors, vision, etc.  Oil changes, and fall house cleaning which mostly entails clutter cleaning for me.  And trying to figure out what kind of schedule and activities will motivate me this year.  

I've signed up for a CZT Zentangle workshop on Nov 11 and am thinking about taking Maureen up on her challenge to try chair yoga this fall.  It starts tomorrow morning.  I need some more organized physical activity.  They focus on stretching and balance.

I'll let you know how that goes.
My studio has NOT been unpacked...not one single thing...so that lies ahead.  

Friday, October 25, 2019

Inktober 22, 23 and 24

Abundies, Pixioze, Baton

Oops...a day late.  
But I feel forgiven as we just got to Florida home after a long long last 3 driving days.  

I love all of these tangles. 
Maureen and I have been having discussions about the simple versus the more complicated tangles.  And we agree that simples best because you can do so much more creative tangling with them.

Gorgeous days here...sunny and 83 to 85 and so green.  
Happy to be home and will need about two weeks to adjust.  

Monday, October 21, 2019

Inktober 19, 20 and 21 PLUS other good stuff

Diva Dance, Antidots, Batumber

I cannot believe how fast Inktober is flying along.  I am posting this from Bloomington, Illinois.  It is 60 degrees and raining.  It will be our second driving day in precipitation.  (We left the cabin on the 12th in a snow storm).  We are headed toward Tennessee today.  Hoping to be home in Leesburg by Wednesday night.  

If you have followed my blog recently you know that one of the highlights of this trip was our granddaughter's wedding.  
That was on Saturday in Wisconsin.  What a lovely day.  
I did a quick sketch of the bridesmaids flowers as the decorated our table near the head table.

Melissa  was a spectacularly beautiful bride.  The whole affair was quite lovely.  

Friday, October 18, 2019

Inktober 16, 17, and 18

Trentwith, Dreamdex, Sindoo

Spending time in Madison, WI with my daughter's family today.

The amazing wedding of our granddaughter will be tomorrow near Poynette, WI.
Getting very excited.
Weather cool and sunny today. 

But rain is expected for the wedding day.  
But I read that rain is lucky on a wedding day.  
I am sticking with that story!  
And everything is inside.  

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Lovely Stop Along the Way...

Although weather has not been generally kind to us so far on the annual trip south...we have safely ignored this and followed our itinerary (see previous post) with integrity.  

The wonderful "early" 80th birthday party in Warrenville, IL on Sunday was wonderful and it was sunny and chilly and the party room at my daughter's townhouse association had a huge fireplace that crackled and glowed brightly as I had a chance to hug a lot of people who mean a whole lot to me.  

And our two days and nights with friends Jim and Roberta in southern WI were so so delightful.  They have a wonderful welcoming and comfortable home.  And we found ways to work around having to cook which we all loved...we brought in a Papa Murphy's pizza the first night and then we all ordered our favorite Chinese the second.  Lots of fun conversation with two amazing smart, funny friends.  Our mutual connections to the UCC church and the town of Williams Bay, WI made our enjoyment even greater.  And their wide range of interests from nature and sports to art to music to theater made our talks endearing and warm.  

Above you see one of Jim's most cherished places, the conservancy in Williams Bay. (Also dear to me due to my old friend Kendra and her love of the place).  Being there brought her memory back so vividly.  Despite WIND and COLD, Jim took me for about a 45 minute walk on the south board walk yesterday and I did a few fast sketches to remind me of this special place.  Jim tells me there is a new app to download on your phone that will give names of plants and animals.  It is called "Seek".  I want to look this up!!!

This little sketch in my smaller journal actually took far longer than the one above!  It is Roberta and Jim's "kitchen sink garden" overlooking the beautiful woods.  

We are now headed to Janesville to visit Greg's cousins, Len and Rick and their wives and then up to Madison, WI tonight to stay with my daughter, Julie.  Saturday is THE wedding.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Inktober13, 14, and. 15

Yin-Cut, Arukas,Maryhill
This is posted from Naperville, Illinois.  45 degrees and mostly sunny.  

My "early"birthday party in Warrenville on Sunday was such a delight.  So many old friends and relatives.  My sister and brother in law from SC were there!  AND my nephew David flew in from CA (just for the day) to be with us!  OMGosh.  I was so pleased.

Here are just a few of the delightful people...my two daughter l to r Beth and Julie, then my granddaughter Maddy from CA and her sister Abby.  In front, my sister Connie and me!

I had to share honors for the day with "the princess" Violet Virginia, my great granddaughter from CA.  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Inktober 10,11, and 12

Cubine, InaFlux, Floo

We are "on the road again".  
Currently in Elgin, Illinois for an overnight stay at a Quality Inn.
Drove out of the cabin driveway in a blizzard of snow yesterday.  
What a send-off!  We knew for sure it was time to go.

The blizzard continued for almost two hours of the drive south and then turned to cold slushy rain.  Not pleasant.

Finally drove out of it into cloudy skies in northern Illinois.
We expect some sun today but temps here are only going to get to about 45.  Still, it will be dry and cheery.  THAT is good.  Today is my big early birthday celebration in Warrenville, Ill.  Such fun. Some photos to follow.

And a chance to visit with darling Violet Virginia, my 15 month old great granddaughter who flew in from CA on Wednesday.  

Here's the update from friend Maureen...


Friday, October 11, 2019

One Day and Counting.

One day and counting.  A very crazy itinerary you will notice.  Going south, then north, then north again, then south.  

But we are having fun in northern Illinois and then visiting friends and family in Wisconsin and then attending our granddaughter's wedding on the 19th in Wisconsin...thus the return back part way north again.  On the 20th we turn and head south again and hope to get to Leesburg on Oct 23.  

We expect a hard freeze tonight...it's SO cold and windy.  Only 39 for a high today!  BRRRR.  The mailbox was taken in and our sign put to bed in the garage.  We'll drain the pipes in the morning.
More adventures ahead!  

Watching the golden birch leaves fall into the lake!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Day 7, 8, 9 in Inktober

Huggins, Bales, Knightsbrige (substituted for Lola)