Thursday, February 28, 2013

Leap Year

Where does it go when there is no leap year? 
As a former math teacher, I can actually explain, but isn't it bizarre there is no February 29 tomorrow? It just disappears from the calendar and tomorrow is March with no Frebruaric Extension. I do have a friend with a Leap Year birthday and she technically has no birthday for another three years. I just cannot 

But what a perfect time of year to take a Leap. I spent most of the day with friends trying to decide on new projects for our Meetup Group and it hit me-  Tomorrow begins March and the introduction of spring. I know, it's been spring here in SoCal for weeks now, but at least some others will soon be able to share in the pageant just weeks from now. 

Also, the people at Fusion Beads are hosting a 30-day bead challenge, starting tomorrow, and it is my intention and goal to complete this challenge alongside the 365 challenge. I'll be posting pictures from that contest, as well as the art every-day challenge. It's exciting and motivating to get back into my bead "stash" to make some new pieces. 

What type of leap will you make for spring?




 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Art Sings



I have to go to bed as I keep nodding out. I finished the painting after mistakenly putting the brush in the wrong place as my eyes closed uncontrollably. 

Tonight was my first ever art class and it went really well. It was held in my friend's studio and we had a really good turn out. I'm so thankful for the people I met, the art they created and new a supportive Marky who has been here every step of the way. 

I hope to make more reflections on this piece and the experience in the morning. 
Thank you, for following this blog! I appreciate all of my readers :)

Love, Kim

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Word.

I met with two good friends today for lunch. As we caught up, the subject of the 365 project came up and I said exactly, "I'm addicted, " and the final product is below.  We had some good laughs and shared hopes for a brighter future doing the things we love. 

Next, I looked for more canvases and had no luck. It's all good - Looks like I'll be painting some blank ones and I did pick up a few more record albums. The new project will be so much fun with the album covers and it will be nice to change up a project a little bit. 

Now I'm wiped out. 
Love to all!
funkycaine

 

 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Believe

In preparation for my class on Wednesday, I've been working with the media that will be provided that night. Until now, I've really only looked at examples online and have come across some difficulty when it comes to executing the project. 

First, I probably made some enemies I'll never know since I announced the possibility of album covers as the "canvas" today. I've learned to just stick with it. I'll be painting some canvases tomorrow in order to supply the correct media, as explained in the MeetUp listing. Yeah, I probably would have been a little miffed if part of a class I'd looked forward to had changed. 

The project is actually all the same, however, only the base would change. But, I would be disappointed. I should have just kept quiet. And by the way, I came up with a really cool way to hang the record on the wall by using a wire pants hanger. It's all good! I'll list it as a different workshop night and all will be well with the world. 

Ugh. It still bugs me. 

Second, I test-drove the project at my friend's house today. She actually had some 5x7 canvases that she wanted for their frames. They were thick acrylic paintings and I wondered, if one of these shows up on Wednesday, what would I do? So I sanded the points and textures off a bit so the letters would stick to the surface. From what I've found, just about all of the letters allow a little bleeding of paint, so I'll try spray painting a layer first tomorrow and keep trying until I get what I need. 

Third, chip board letters don't stick very well to painted surfaces. It seemed like I touched up my friend's painting more than I had painted in the first place. It came out alright, but I decided a canvas larger than 5x7 will heed better results. It seems like, the larger the vinyl letter, the better the coverage. Oddly enough, the bleed is about the same regardless of the size of the letters. So, don't waste any money on the 4: letters. Skip the 1: letters, and go for the two inch letters. 

I'm also trying a stencil adhesive tomorrow on some more of the experimental canvases. It would be nice to know that at least ONE way of painting on the letters will allow less paint bleed. Fortunately, the vinyl letters are replaceable, as well as reusable. 

There were some great bonuses today, though. 
  • I had coffee with my very good friend
  • My car started
  • A fellow blogger helped with advice for making art prints
  • I found a paper store (swoon!)
  • I saw hummingbird mama
One of my former students messaged me about his new precious baby girl. I am happy, yet saddened, at the idea of someone so young parenting a baby. He is very intelligent and that baby will be well cared for. Those first few days of life are so precious! I am happy for him and his girlfriend.

Back to the paint world, there will be more ore about the 'guinea pig' projects tomorrow.

The same friend who asked me over for coffee today asked me to do "believe" for her. It is the word she carries with her every day this year.  Finally, my friend, here is ONE! More to come, awesome friend!
And, I just have to believe everything will be ok. 

Cheers, Kim

Materials: Artist's loft 90lb Watercolor Paper and Prange Watercolor Cakes


  
Below is a 5x7 Canvas Guinea Pig.
And here is an 8x10 canvas. 
 
they're good guinea pigs. 
More tomorrow! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sweet and Tiny Victories

Recently, my car has been draining all of its battery energy somehow and it hasn't been the alternator. In fact, AAA even said so. My sweetie is pretty sure it is the after-market alarm that is malfunctioning and draining the battery. Also, I haven't driven it much since living here. 

So imagine my surprise when I went out to the car today to run some errands and it started without any assistance! Hooray! So many of my new friends only know this non-working car thing and have graciously helped me out when I needed it. Could this be the beginning of charge-free days? It would be nice to feel like I have a working automobile again. It is a small victory to be driving without having to charge up for an hour or so. 

The picture below is also a tiny victory! This little hummingbird mama lives right outside my front door. Her nest hangs onto less than a fully formed branch of this tree and today was really windy. The house howled and our dog Louis nearly began to sing with it. I am filled with such joy because seeing this tiny mama is so precious and I know her babies are about the size of peas in that nest. And it's funny, walking out the door, or coming in from a walk, hummingbird mama buzzes my head. I thought we had bees! But no, she was just buzzing the tower to let me know she won't put up with my interruptions. Still. I love seeing her and checking if she's there. It's amazing. Her tiny victory is her tiny nest and architectural skill to cling in such heavy winds. All is safe and she is fine. Nest is intact. 



Here is a victory I created today. I have a class to teach on Wednesday and needed what we teachers call an exemplar. I am actually only semi-thrilled because I have had to change my original plan. The idea was to take a thrift store painting, apply vinyl letters (there is definitely a reason they must be vinyl) and paint over the surface with acrylic paint. Once the surface dries, the letters can be pulled off exposing the color/s of the original painting along with some motivational or inspirational phrase. The idea is to re-use items rather than purchasing everything new for a craft.

There really aren't a lot of thrift store paintings around that are A.) cheap and B.) colorful. So I have come up with an alternate plan. I purchased thrift store record albums with fun art or color on the cover to create the project, instead. I thought smaller letters would be good for a smaller item, but I was wrong. This type of project screams out for larger letters so that the background can shine through. Ugh. I'll just have to return the small letters in exchange for the next size up. 

The letters used for this project were sticky-backed letters, but the front of the sticker is made of paper. After painting, the paper was really difficult to remove. Also, I left the boundary around the edge and will be covering that. I thought it would be good to leave it, but with a frame, I won't have to worry. Will update after my "class" has finished their projects.
Finally, this is the piece I made for today. I suppose the shapes are reminiscent of flowers. What do  
you think?

Materials:
Faber Castell Watercolor Cakes
Artist's Loft Paper, 90 lb.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Forward

In 1993, a friend of mine offered to drive me to California for a Disneyland Band audition. I was in college and had no means for travel, so he decided to help me. His wife and I were friends from school and they had two kids at the time. We really only went for the day, having left Vegas that morning in the car before sunrise and returned home well into the morning hours of the following day. But after the audition was over, he took me and his daughter to the Disneyland Park. I kept wondering how I could ever repay him for the generosity of time and money. One thing was certain, it wouldn't have happened very soon.   

So I asked him about it. 

He told me I wasn't allowed to pay him back. On the contrary, he wanted me to find someone to whom I could help in the future. 
He knew I would have an opportunity to pay it forward, so I didn't hear much more about it. 

Ever since, I've found so many ways to Pay it Forward with people I know and some I truly do not know. It really means something to be kind and also help someone when possible, especially if they are in the position where they cannot do what you do for them.  

Just to give you an idea of some samples, I've attached the following link: http://payitforwardday.com/

Also, I saw the movie, "Pay It Forward" with my Grandma at the dollar theater in Hopkins, MN back in probably 2002. The movie has some great views of Vegas and it was a joy to share the city with her, considering she might never visit the town.  The concept of the movie was so beautiful, to pay forward to someone who cannot possibly do for themselves, and I fell in love with it. 

So now, find a way to give to someone who could never do it for themselves. 
Try it.
Have some fun!
Do good and carry on!
Love, Always

Materials:
Grandma's Watercolor Palette
Faber Castell Watercolor cakes
Staedtler Fine Permanent Marker

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mix It

Today was a day to just make things.

From the picture, note one of my favorite quotations from Aristotle, "You are what you repeatedly do". I've seen it in many incarnations, but this one is good. It's been there as I've moved through the different seasons of life. I also know this saying as, "Be careful what you practice, for what you practice, you will become."

Good old Aristotle. The saying can be interpreted in so many different ways. I prefer to know it in a positive light, but it can also be negative. If one practices deceit and ill-will, it is certain one will become very deceitful and wrong. On the other hand, if one seeks to serve others and does so, one becomes very thoughtful and full of good will with the action necessary, of course. 

I've practiced so many things over time: music, art, teaching, love, life and fun. Recently the practice of art has been such a blessing. I've been practicing every day and have never given art such a chance. I am excited to find out just where this year will lead me, but I hold out hope for simply becoming a better artist. 
And if Aristotle is correct, the practice will eventually label me "artist" as I continue to work on a daily basis.

Just below the quote is a card with orange daisies that are based loosely on the gerbera daisy. I'd intended to get that one ready to send today, but I will revisit it tomorrow, as the paper got really soaked and changed with all of the moisture. I used lots of supplies on that one, including a pearly stamp pad, markers and colored pencils. It's a new look for me, but I enjoy the fact those who will receive it will be equally happy with it. 

While sorting last week, I found a bridal shower invitation I made for my sister in-law's celebration. When it showed up in my stuff, I was excited to see it, but also thought it had been made with a rubber stamp. Though I like stamps, this time was just me. No stamp was damaged in the work of me on this project....lol only glitter pens....

If we're thinking 'clockwise' in the photo, four o"clock holds the turquoise heart I cut from a pack of natural papers. Today I glued it onto the brown background and chose to (later) hang the heart on my cork board. By the way, I need more cork board. I'd like areas to pin things all around that cabinet...but I digress.
The turquoise heart is textured and scored to show a nice spiral and wavy relief. Yeah, I punched out that heart in about 2006 for Valentine's Day. It's meant a lot to me,I don't know why, and though I never knew what to do with it. Now it has a home on my boards. 

Finally, I made the heart card, to be mailed tomorrow. I've loved the turquoise heart so much that I thought a black and white might be a nice way to represent such a cool sculptural paper heart. They are not exactly the same, but that's ok. I love the way it's turned out as a simple black and white. This study also means I could soon start in color to try and make a go of the design in different colors. This heart has been mailed and I will not reveal the owner unless it's OK by the receiver.

Oh yeah! There is also a little drawing with a bouquet of flowers on the desk top and under the heart card. I used mostly colored markers to make that card. It was fun to experiment! And the mug is in the background. I really feel the mug is the beginner's world I will reveal the ceramic soon, but not now.

If you're wondering, the Angry birds came from a couple of really sweet neighborhood girls. Their dog, Roxy, is the girlfriend of Buck and Louis. Sometimes they send me artwork and I love it! I also made them some cupcakes for Valentine's Day and they were overjoyed.

Enjoy the weekend!
KC



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Star


Crayola Markers? 

Yes, apparently they can be used like watercolors. I had heard about it, tried it today, and this is what I got. I also used some Stabilo pencils that act as watercolor pencils and they were nice because the markers take a lot of water to loosen up, where the pencils do not.The paper is some I found today while doing more sorting. It's a nice color and has a fun envelope to go along with it.

Part of my mission this year is to use the paper I already own. Another part is to reuse frames I find in thrift shops, or that have been donated, to both cut down on costs and junk in landfills. So far, so good.
Monday will hold a trip to thrift shops to track down framed art or framed anything to help me with my class next Wednesday. 

I'm so excited for the class and can't wait to meet new people, as well. It will be fun to see the process and the finished products. 

Also, I helped my friend make t shirt yarn earlier today. Actually, I just helped my friend cut the shirts in the right place in order to get one really long piece of t shirt. It's so hard to believe I will soon be making a rug for our bedroom from this type of yarn. I cannot believe how much money i spent by purchasing they yarn oh-so-long-ago. And I know it would've been easier for Mom to teach me how to knit using t shirt yarn. Can't wait to share some of the projects our MeetUp group will make next week!

It's been such a good day filled with joy and laughter.  
Cheers, to a Happy Friday!

Materials-
Crayola Classic Markers (not washable)
Stabilo Multi Draw Pencils/Aquarelle
Meiijer Extra Fine point Markers



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rest.

I was just looking through the artists who have checked in for the Creative Every Day Challenge and found some great things. I love looking though the blogs and getting to know the process that varies so differently depending on the artist.

While exploring, I found a poem through one of the blogs that sort of tied up the day for me and another friend I was with today. She's getting over the flu and is not someone I have ever known to slow down in her amazing ability to care for others. I appreciate this determination about her and am sure others do too. However, she even admitted to not taking very good care of herself while we were talking today saying she had to slow down a bit, but she really didn't stop from the point I showed up. 

We went through a lot of ideas for future crafting projects, chatted about life and had a few laughs. She gave me some goodies to take home, in the form of re-use projects, and unlike the last time, my car started so we didn't have to call AAA.  We had a good visit and I'll see her again tomorrow. 

Because-

I had to tell her to rest. I can't believe I even did that, but she had been to the doctor, the pharmacist, had been fielding phone calls, had a visit with me, made meals for her family - and not one of those words had to do with resting for recovery. 

Another friend who was a colleague in the school where I taught always had good advice for when I stayed home sick. I hated staying home sick because it is so much better, and actually easier, to be with the kids and they're not always so charming with a substitute. 
Anyway, my friend had words of comfort: 
Eat some soup and stay in your jammies all day. Get better, soon! 

Good words.

 Just easy to fight the fact I couldn't be sick. Nothing could hold me down. 
Except when kids started saying, "Why didn't you stay home from school?", I actually started to think about it. But, when we don't have students to give a reality check, who does it for us?

Now, when I'm sick, I still hear my colleague's voice and see the concern on her face when she sees I'm not feeling well. Then I know it's time to go and rest in my jammies and eat soup to get better. It works more often than not. 

So, I hope my friend isn't mad at me for telling her to rest. She's not the type to cater to silliness like that, but I could tell she wasn't all herself today. I hope she's better soon because I like her as all of herself - back to healthy and happy. I'll be watching.

Here's the poem I found. 

Breathe
By Leo Babauta

Breathe.
If you feel overwhelmed, breathe.
It will calm you and release the tensions.
If you are worried about something coming up,
or caught up in something that already happened, breathe.
It will bring you back to the present.
If you are moving too fast, breathe.
It will remind you to slow down, and enjoy life more.
Breathe, and enjoy each moment of this life.
They’re too fleeting and few to waste.

http://zenhabits.net/more/

Materials:
Artist's Loft 90lb Watercolor Paper
Faber Castell Watercolor Cakes
Staedtler Fine Black Permanent Marker
Pilot Extra Fine Gold Paint Marker

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Flora

Through all of the purging I have been doing lately, I have kept a simple mantra going: 
If you like it, share it. If you love it, Keep it!

I dug through a ton of old paper supplies and came across a bin that once belonged to my Grandma. She had started painting in her fifties and was always an inspiration for me. I found an old palette that still had remnants of some bright colors. She had packed them in a simple plastic newspaper bag and the purpley color still squished under my thumb even as six years have passed. After the sorting, I sat down at my cabinet and created this flower.

Dad's cousin had his funeral today and I guess I have been in a funk of sorts. My sister was also in the hospital today, so my heart was all over the place. The good news is, I created this picture as a card for my great-aunt, grandma's sister, with the beautiful watercolors Grandma left behind. I'm sure she has an incredible palette in heaven. I am keeping this one!

Next, I sat down in my usual style on the couch with the pooches to paint the art for the day. I used my permanent marker first and filled in the centers of the flowers next, then the bodies and colors last. I like this one-This is different than the style I've had lately, but it doesn't mean any less because the drawing is in honor of my sisters. I've heard from another sister that the surgery went well. That makes me so happy! Technology is such a blessing because we would have had to wait so much longer in the past.

 
And last year began my adventure into drawing for DrawSomething. I really don't set out to win against people, it's just really fun to create the pictures from background to foreground. Last year I nearly played Draw Something every night and longed to add foreground first, but quickly learned it is easier to start backwards. I found a quick and fun way to draw every day, plus have some fun! 
 

Ok- now is the time when I go to bed. Have a wonderful day and don't forget to love and hug the ones nearesst to you!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Phoenix, or vulture?

 Among the small amount of research I made after painting this piece, I found the symbolism of the Phoenix and Vulture to be quite similar. Both have to do with death, rising from ashes and rebirth. I don't know why this painting came to me tonight, but I will try to translate. 

 Inwardly, these symbols relate to the search for a job. I have been many things and performed many occupations in my short life only to begin again. This is what is happening for me lately as I try to move away from the teaching profession. I love teaching, but I would like to get to know my sweetie and reduce my workload a bit in order to create artwork. 

With my family, death has been all too present recently and over the years. I cannot imagine what my great-aunt is going through, but I will be writing to her much more now and hoping to be a place where she can turn in her grief and discomfort. I hope to help.

With friends, one is recuperating from illness and another is trying to begin a business after being in corporate world-business for a long time. Both will rise from the ashes and fill the world with their beauties sooner than later. 


I love the messages I get and hope there may be some more. 

Feel free to leave comments about which you feel serves the drawing. 

Phoenix, or Vulture?

Materials:
Canson 120Lb Watercolor Paper
Faber Castell Watercolor Cakes

 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Gratitude

Today was so beautiful.

My friend and I wandered throughout the shops of Laguna Beach and got some fresh air on the boardwalk. There are so many little nooks filled with the fun and whimsical to keep a heart singing. The ocean air is so relaxing and the sun warmed our faces. We ate well, had a series of little treats and just enjoyed being friends and the company. She is the first friend to visit since I moved in September and I have a grateful heart.

I kept my family in mind as the day passed. In Minnesota, my sisters and brother in-law went for the day to Spicer to be with my great-aunt. I got a picture of them with her and she looks wonderful, though I know her heart is probably hurting. The picture helped me feel like I got a hug, too. Hoping better days are ahead.

One of our last stops was into an art supply shop. I almost bought some Verithin pencils, but almost fell over when I spotted the PeBeo kit for painting porcelain. The kit comes with the basic colors so they can be mixed to make whatever I want on a piece. I can also re-use mugs from thrift stores and spruce up the ones I already have. The kit was on sale for $29.99 and cost nearly the same amount I paid at Color Me Mine yesterday. Even if I get only three pieces for the kit, I will have paid for itself because of the other two mugs I have made in the past.

I am so excited! In fact, my friend told me she saw me excited like that when I won the Gelatos at the scrapbooking show last spring. Look where the Gelatos have taken me! I cannot wait to play with the ceramic paints. Another friend thought painting on mugs would give her and others a way to "take a little Kim with them wherever they go." I blush at that, but if it makes them happy, for sure I'll be happy.

The piece for today, as it's been for the last couple of days, started completely different. It was just a plain heart followed by an intricate design that I promptly painted over in blue. For some reason, I have been drawn to the white paint. I can completely change to look and feel of a piece by mixing the white opaque into other colors. I love the effect it gives me. I hadn't planned on it, but the heart almost looks three dimensional around the edge. 

I have a grateful heart.

Materials:
Canson 120lb Watercolor Paper
Faber Castell Watercolor Cakes

And Happy Birthday to my Mom's Sister today!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Try Something Different

My friend's vacation weekend started with our doggie walk, then breakfast at Polly's Pies. They had some amazing waffle with cherry streussel on top and good price to go with it. Afterward, we went to a local "Color Me Mine" to paint our annual mug.


We each have two mugs already and have now painted a third. I guess the point of the whole day is based on disappointment experienced throughout the afternoon. We have been to other CMM shops and have had excellent experiences. This time was ok, but different. 


We planned out our designs and asked for the chosen glaze colors. In the past, there have been pin-point containers to help with tiny lettering or sweet final touches. However, today, there was no such tool and the public service girl said they "only had black." Black wasn't the color scheme I had planned for, so I had to try something else. None of the brushes matched the quality of the ones I have at home, even if they are just for "beginners". The only thing I could do was make an experiment. I wanted the words on that mug. If they do not show up, I will know I tried.

So, with a only pencil, I started carving letters into the layers of glaze I put onto the mug and started hoping for the best. I really like putting a quotation on my mugs because words mean a lot and seeing my favorites brightens my day whenever I use said mugs. I really do not know how the mug will turn out because I had to take an entirely different approach to lettering in order to get my thought out and onto that mug. 

But that is just it.

Sometimes the plan looks like all will fall into place as expected and probably more times than not, changes have to be made because the plans we make and the ones God makes are similar, but I really need to listen to the sweet urgings from above to color a little outside of the lines and relax. And really, rather than stick to something I really don't like, I just can't understand why I didn't just start playing and having fun, instead. Why is it people stay with things they really don't like? A job? A significant other? A house? It baffles me. Move on. Find what you love.

My mug had certain boundaries of three different colors and by the end, there were four total colors on my piece and I have no real idea how it will look when it is done. I am thankful to be shown today that the plan I make is not necessarily the one, or many,that the big guy upstairs has in mind for me, but it worked for today. I planned for some of it, but the rest is truly a blessing no matter how much it seems to differ from the original.


Until then;
Materials:
Canson 120lb Watercolor paper
Faber Castell Watercolor cakes
Pilot Extra Fine Point Gold Permanent Paint Marker

 

Here's the mug from earlier today! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fresh

The past few days have been spent working on organization in our house. It was the gift I wanted at Christmas and it has turned into a Valentine's gift as well. Don't get me wrong, it's been a mountain to move for both of us, but the really good part is we worked together as a team to get it all done. 

All done? Well, we have a few things left to do, but at least I would feel comfortable asking a friend to come in to, at least, wash her hands. That's another story, by the way, but we do feel better about the place now because we have a guest this weekend. 

Things are looking up.

Working to a deadline usually helps with productivity and this deadline was no exception: One of my best friends is here for the weekend and has brought her poochy girl with her. And although I consider her to be one of my "sisters", I wouldn't have even been comfortable with even family seeing our conglomeration. You see, I'm being kind with the description, but it really was not nice. 

But NOW it is better. In fact, the more I dug through things and gave away, I felt lighter. Enough time has passed from the move that it is clear what can stay and go now and the space is beginning to be space and not just a jumble of clutter. 

It is a beginning. 

The weekend will fly past and we will have good times with stories to tell. When my friend goes home, we will be left with memories, a lighter disposition and fresh spaces. I already enjoy my life here and now it will be even better. 

What can you give away to change your world?

Materials:
Canson 120lb Watercolor Paper
Prang Watercolor Ovals

Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Life

The other day I told my sweetie about how thankful I am to be living here in Southern California and how much I love my walk in the morning with our dogs. Everything is so crisp and clear filled with blue sky and fresh green. As kids, we made jokes about "bottling it up" for others to enjoy in different parts of the country. Now, we can share pictures and immediate thoughts online because of the blessing of technology. 

I was completely absorbed on my walk because it was the type of morning that reminded me of when the snow finally melted back in Minnesota. I could just envision the snowbanks melting with the materials for snow ball weaponry at the ready, as well as the streams of melt-water showing up just below the banks of gravel and salt mottled piles. The banks freeze at night and in the morning there is a frame of ice ready for demolition by kids walking to school. The air smelled like the melt and spring's arrival.

And then I woke up from the daydream because as loud as it was shrieking, the noise roused me to the point of guard because it was a hawk somewhere above the park and my dogs are small enough to be lunch. The hawk shrieked and shrieked, took off flying, and shrieked more. As soon as it was out of the area, I felt a lot better.

The thing is, my family has a thing for hawks. On long road-trips, Dad spotted a hawk, pointed the direction, and then simply said, "Hawk". We got really good at spotting them and pointed like he did, along with the simple "hawk" message.

Since Dad passed away, the hawk has become a certain message that he is around and keeping an eye on us. So, in the aftermath of Dad's cousin leaving this earth to begin new life, it was a loud and very clear message that all will be ok. It's like they're having their own cousins reunion up there, along with Dad's parents, aunts, uncles, and friends. I felt so much better than just yesterday. 

The very real part of this is the hawk could very well be guarding her nest, for at dusk, I heard two birds that were shrieking an unrehearsed shriek and then saw their white underbellies against the sapphire blue sky of dusk. Again, I was walking the pooches and made sure they remained very close to me.

It just felt like confirmation. I saw two birds who were experiencing life for the first time. Dad and his cousin get to experience life again, but they are now among the angels. I will always miss them, but the hawk will always remind me someone is looking out for me and my family.

Note: This is up for Thursday, but text will follow in the morning. I'm just wiped out!
Materials:
Canson 120lb Watercolor Paper
Prang Watercolor Ovals

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cope Rhymes with Hope

And Grief and I do not get along. We are not friends. We have had our go-arounds and usually the Grief wins. Just when I think I'm ok and past it or moving on, the Grief gets in there and pushes me over like a feather. It is so hard to lose a loved one - young or old, near or far, family or anyone close to the heart. 

A few weeks ago I wrote of how fragile we are and today it pains me to say a relative has lost a battle with cancer he didn't even know was present until just weeks ago. It is so much to take in and, as I've said before, the timeline of death just doesn't matter. And that means it is difficult when somebody dies, no matter what the circumstances. 

To combat the Griefster, there are certain truths that lift me away and above it. These truths comfort me and help me to reach out in ways I can to help. 

The truth is: 
I hope for his peace and pray for a sweet resting place.
The music of the angels will accompany this "picker" to the pearly gates.
We will gather as family to honor his life and the lives of each other.
I want to hug his Mother because no Mother should have to survive the death of her child. 
Hug the ones around you who bring joy. 

Nobody knows the Grief timeline

All I know is 

Cope rhymes with Hope.



 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

More hope

 There's usually a national holiday every day of the year and today happens to be national tulip day. Tulips are some of my favorite flowers and I enjoy how simple they are. Rather than paint one today, I relaxed and went a little more abstract. Realism has hit me on the head lately and I want to rest from it.

Tulips live life from a bulb and they spring up when the temperature and soil humidity is just right. They suffer through the elements and become absolutely beautiful for a short time, then retreat for a few seasons. Perseverance is the key to life as a tulip. Its goal is to become breathtakingly beautiful for no other reason than to make the day for someone. That is just how this one appeared today on paper.

To me, perseverance is the work of hope. A little work per day helps to keep hope alive and hope thrives on the bits we do from day to day. Today, I only feel like this piece is only a start, but I continue to persevere in the name of hope. 

Materials:
Canson 120lb Watercolor Paper
Prang Watercolor Ovals


 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Temptation

Yesterday I complained about the paper I was using. A good friend of mine told me to embrace the torn look and just go with it, and I have, but other thoughts have crept in with it. I thought about it some more and realized the torn look wasn't the problem at all. It was my impatience at taking the tape away and my craving for the clean lines of the finished border. I was tempted to take the tape too soon, but I took it anyway and my impatience created something beautiful, yet not what I really wanted.

Temptation is a horrible beast. It gets in the way of good health, sanity and relationships of all kinds. When food is concerned, Fat Tuesday falls tomorrow, and I will probably eat just as I usually do, but there is definitely one of these cupcakes left in the kitchen. And strawberries just begging to be dipped in chocolate. And marshmallows waiting to be melted into smores bars. These things are tempting, but what is it I really want?

Ugh. 

It's not a good time to start a diet, but temptation needs to be taught a lesson of restraint and Lent begins on Wednesday. The season of lent is forty days of reeling in the things that tempt us and obeying the discipline the Holy Father hopes for us. In response, my intention is to allow sweets on the weekend and only fruity sweets during the week and that means minus the chocolate. 

Wait. We are supposed to give it up for forty days? Well, yes, and my personal story right now means that giving sweets up for five days a week is definitely a sacrifice. I intend to lead myself into a place of better health with God's help. It's just that recently I feel like I could just eat all of it, no matter what it is, and then eat it all again. Everything just tastes so good! I hear the reel tugging my line to pull it in and exercise restraint in order to fully enjoy the excess. 

I've been tempted to draw, or paint, a cupcake because I've been inspired by another MeetUp friend. She paints luscious cupcakes that look like the ones I have to eat. Yes, have to. Today marked the second cupcake I have tackled in my career. It was a struggle and it did not come easily. I had to give up the temptation to pull the tape and finish it quickly. Instead, I waited for the color to dry every once in awhile, photographed it, then compared it again and again to the picture of the cupcake and then made changes as needed. 

I'm very happy with the way the actual cake part turned out inside the wrapper. I am not sold on the frosting, but I will look into more "subjects" in the following weekends. I look forward to further studies of goodies and will be posting this for the theme of "sweets" on the Sketchbook Challenge Flickr page, as well as the Creative Every Day Challenge site for "light" in February.




Sunday, February 10, 2013

Peace

Again went the struggle with the paper.

When looking at the border of this piece, it is easy to see where the tape took some of the paper with it when I removed it. It looks like I planned it but, truth be told,I was really mad to see the tape pull part of the surface away. I have about eight more sheets of this stuff before I can move on to another pad.

I've been researching papers since beginning to work in this particular pad. It seems the type I have is reserved for complete beginners. If I didn't know anything, I might feel a little awkward using a kid's type of paper pad. I've agreed to myself not to purchase any new paper, rather I would like to use what I already have. Still, I am frustrated with the paper and beginner or not, I really don't recommend this type of paper at all.

A few weeks ago, I misplaced one of my favorite brushes and that pushed me out and into the world today the maybe find another. Instead of just one, I bought a couple of brushes today and that helped a little with the color exploration. In itself, that helped me to have some fun playing and thinking of how I can use them for calligraphy.  

As far as today is concerned, it was my sister's birthday and a day to relax with Mark and the pooches, at home. Happy Birthday to my Sister! And please have a wonderful week. The weather is weird lately in many pockets of the country, so just be careful! Cheers!

And Peace:
Thanks and Goodnight!
 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Out of the Blue

 There have been so many blessings through this blogging process. I am deeply touched by the feedback I have received and messages that come from out of the blue. It continues to be a learning process for me in every moment and every new piece has an effect on me no matter if it is because of the process or how the thing came to be. How amazing it is to be part of the most wonderful times on earth. 

Today I received one of the Valentines from the swap I signed up for a few weeks ago. It was made from a reused Netflix envelope and it was a treat to get fun mail in the mailbox today! The swap is so interesting because it is strange to send a Valentine to someone I do not know personally. It has become a holiday to spread love in its simplest form. I love to pay it forward, even though this isn't really qualified as such, but I will not get a Valentine from those to whom I sent one. The feeling is sort of strange, but oddly beautiful at the same time. It is a simple reward for showing up in life. 

Also today, I received a letter and a Library sale "retired" Artist magazine from a dear friend. She has been discovering more of her design-side lately, was at the sale and saw the magazine, thought of me and sent the magazine. How very thoughtful, kind and sweet of her to do that. It made a difference in my day and I've already drafted a note of thanks. But she will probably read this, so I guess that's a double thanks. 

The blue sky today was beautiful and made me think of others with the snow. It is so beautiful here, I can only imagine what it's like to have snow again. How strange to see the roses blooming and to hear the hummingbirds playing with the bees high up in the trees. Well, at least it sounds like that (wink!)

I am thankful for ideas and things that appear out of the blue.

As far as process goes for today, I've used three of my sketchbooks already and started a new one today. Ugh. It was a real fight to make anything happen on this paper. If anyone has any advice for using the Canson 120lb Watercolor paper with the big blue "W" on the front, please let me know. My watercolor seemed to slip and slide on it and not deposit where it should. It seems like the paper is wildly inconsistent and apparently I am spoiled from the kinds I've used already. Anyway, my tape stuck to it and tore a different piece. We'll see what I make of that. Maybe something will appear out of the blue. 

Materials:
Canson Watercolor 120lb paper
Prang Watercolor
Faber Castell Watercolor
Staedtler Black Permanent Fine Pt. Marker


 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Storms

There's a part of me that misses that white stuff, the same flakes that are falling all over the midwest and east coast. It's so beautiful to see snow fall and swirl with the wind. I love to see it sparkle in the moonlight! However, my back doesn't miss the shoveling and my style's not been cramped by scraping windshields, losing gloves, or a car in the ditch. All of these things are pretty liveable, of course, unless you're in a blizzard. 

With all of the super-storms out there this year, Nemo might just be another giant keeping people from places they might usually travel for some time. Nemo will bury streets and cars, bus routes and train tracks. Streets that haven't been scraped by metal in years will feel the white coat cleared and business will be slippery and usual after awhile. 

Snow is different than most storms. It creates silence and covers all the ugly things and builds a beautiful landscape for fun and quiet thoughts. Snow can make troubles seem small because things are pretty much disguised to be all clean and new. In fact, sometimes snow has a habit of pulling people indoors and into the softly buffered comfort of home.

Sandy wasn't so nice. Full homes were leveled and those same streets were useless, but Sandy wasn't very careful about how she left things. Many people are still displaced by her fury and it is possible they will not have a home like they did once before. I still have hope those people will find comfort again, somehow.

The four letter "s" word is only bad when it causes accidents, hides slippery spots and turns ugly when the covered becomes uncovered and mixed with reality. And if there's been too much of it, the possibility of spring flooding becomes all too real. Snow. Man.

Storms happen. I'm not so afraid of them as I have been in the past and for that I am thankful.

I've been wondering how to illustrate a hug, and I guess this heart showed up to give some. It comes from a more tranquil place and it is filled with the hope of warmth and comfort, as well as time to be creative with family, fun and love. There is only some rain here and the blue sky peeks out more often than not lately, but we need the rain. My heart has been warming, too.

Be safe out there and don't forget to have some fun in the white stuff!

Materials:
Faber Castell Gelatos
Prang Watercolors
Canson XL Mixed Media 98lb paper


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Long Distance Dedication

Today is a very weird day.

First, I woke from a really weird dream that basically ended with somebody from my former married life yelling at me and throwing a bicycle through a big window. I had just told him that riding our bikes across the country after getting rid of our possessions was not a fine idea. The good thing is it was a dream. 

Next, in local reality, there is an ex-cop who has written a manifesto and has carried out two premeditated murders against the LAPD force and then shot at random officers this morning and killed another. It's been an unsettled day in Southern California. The man is at-large and they recovered his burned vehicle in the mountains near Big Bear. I hope they locate him.

Finally, the school district where I used to work has settled arbitration and the District has won. This means pay cuts for people I know in a district that is huge and largely disconnected from its teachers. That is my opinion, but when there are greater than twenty thousand teachers in a district, how is it higher administration can provide adequate morale or proper support for its staffing? Difficult is just is the beginning. Professional athletes receive hundreds of millions of dollars and teachers? Well, we never did do it for the money, but a teacher has to eat!

It has been an unfair day all around. All of these things I can truly do nothing about, really, but I can support my friends in their frustrations, un-glue myself from the television, and hope I don't have the same dreams tonight.

With that being written, I've been saying prayers today for all the sadness and strife going on all over the place.Hope comes through again- and so does the light. 
But it takes the dark to see the light and with that, the blues help encourage celebration. 
Here's to hope for a celebration - sooner than later, I hope!

Materials: 
Canson XL Mixed Media 98lb paper
Prang Watercolor
Staedtler Black Permanent Fine pt. Marker

 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Very Fishy

There are a bunch of Valentines I made today, but the fishy thing is nobody can see them but the recipients until Valentine's Day. As a result, and in an effort to keep my word of posting a creation daily, I have drawn something "sweet" for the Sketchbook Challenge

I took a photo this time because I wanted to get as much detail in as possible because the color of the candy is so saturated. The result is lighter than I wish it to be, but it is on the right track for color duplication. I am on the search for a good set of Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils because they lend a finer layer of color over the traditional thick-lead Prismacolor pencils. I had a set of them at one time in my life, but after a series of interstate moves, the pencils have not presented themselves. More than likely, they were accidentally left in Minnesota more than five years ago. 

I can picture the container that held them. In 2007, I really did try to pack up as many art supplies as I could in order to not have to buy them again once I got settled in Vegas. Once I started teaching there was no way I even thought of using them because I just didn't believe I had the time to let go and just be free. Even in the summer, I might have cracked the case open a few times, but never really accomplished much. I started art and never completed it back then.That was the time period where I created all of those half-hearted pieces that I finished just a few weeks ago in January. 

I am so thankful I have the opportunity to explore my art now.
By the way, the fish below closely resembles the first fish I ever caught as a kid; A minnow.

(Below) Somewhat tasty copy, but certainly not as sweet. I wasn't able to get enough of the shine I sought, or the depth of color, but I'll try a different medium and see what happens some other time. Watercolor might help. I'm just used to the level of control I can get with colored pencil.
It was a good catch and the sketch is about three times the size of the original fish.

Materials:
Prismacolor Colored Pencils
Canson XL MixMedia 98lb. paper
Swedish Fish

 

(Original Fishy) YUM! 
I took the bait like other artists did on the Sketchbook Challenge page and took a picture in order to then EAT the subject. Or two. Or three. 
Ok, a lot.




Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Conversation?


 Technology is a funny thing; it can be completely annoying and nonfunctional when it's needed most and especially if it is needed for a presentation, or it can be a best friend in the form of a conversation that can be held when emotions may not provide an easy speaking situation. Today it has been the latter and a complete gift to have been given a purpose for a day otherwise spent recuperating again. 

 About the time I felt like I had not been motivated at all and felt like maybe I was wasting a day, I just got up to shower and get going. Yet, now it seems like I must have been feeling better if something really dragged and pushed me out of bed to get ready for, if nothing else, a friend's message out of the blue about breaking down in a relationship. Little did I know I had prepared to be counseling a friend over the miles with the magic of technology. 

I think that's Grace. 

I've never seen the word "Grace" on a conversation  heart. Or, "B Good" to your partner no matter the circumstance. How about, "Thank U", or "UR Best", or "Time W/U", and simply, "US". It seems like there should be more conversation heart inklings and I guess that is why mine are blank. They need nothing else than to be sweet and we can provide our own meanings every day.

By the end of the text chat, my friend was feeling better and called me a "bestie" when I haven't even seen this friend since a year out of high school. Connections to me are golden that way because I don't forget people. They cross our paths for a reason every single day and we may not know the reason for years, if even at all. In my heart, it is just enough knowing we are here for each other. Well, I am here. Always.

Art-wise, the process for this piece was really just for fun. Had I looked at an actual picture, I might have been sure all of the shadows were exactly in place, but I like how it turned out for the most part. It's sort of like jazz improvisation because the framework is in my head and what comes out is my own personal expression. Sure, others might have dome something just like this, especially because of Valentine's day approaching, but it is still my twist on conversation hearts and my own solo, so to speak. 
B Kind
CU 2Mrrw

Materials:
Canson XL 98lb Mixed Media Paper
Faber Castell Watercolor Cakes
Prismacolor Pencils
I am also participating in the Sketchbook Challenge and the theme for this month is "Sweet".

Here is tiny Louis with his bright eyes watching me work tonight. Then he got tired. Again. Sweet!