Friday, November 20, 2015

Mixed Media Still Life: Week Three

:: This portion of Week Three challenged me to take an ordinary household or utilitarian object and turn it into something expressive, atmospheric, and beautiful in its own right.

:: An exercise inspired by the works of American artist Jim Dine, these drawings were created with charcoal, pencil, and oil bars (transparent, white, and antique white). An interesting experience creating new textures with these materials, focusing on form and observation, tonal values, and mark making. 

:: I can see myself working on a series of these in the future. Very fun.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


realizing:: that Thanksgiving is just a week from today. Need to get in gear for the holidays which will be here before I know it. 

working:: such a satisfying feeling to get most of the front yard raked this morning. Still lots more to do before the (real) snow flies.

eating:: Sloppy (lentil) Joe topped with leftover cole slaw for my lunch a little bit ago. These two flavors combined = yum-o.

watching:: gathered with Keith and Isaac Saturday night to watch Finding Neverland. That little Peter just kills me with his tenderness, cuteness, and superb acting.

reading:: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Smith). Enjoying this engaging, beautifully written book so very much. I can't believe I've missed out on this one until now.

listening:: soundtrack to Memoirs of a Geisha. Lovely.

creating:: haven't done anything with my art this week besides watching some instructional videos. I realized I needed a few supplies I couldn't find locally and am excited to begin soon now that my Blick order arrived today. Being more committed to my sketchbook has been on my mind a lot recently, but I'm finding it a little difficult to let go of my feelings of fear and inadequacy and just go for it.

going:: to see Isaac perform as Puck from Midsummer Night's Dream in his school play this evening.

playing:: Rummikub on Sunday, checkers on Monday, Battleship last night-- why is it that Isaac beats me every. single. time??

wondering:: what the morning commuters must think of this odd and interesting woman (in coat and pajama pants) pulled over to the side of the road taking photos of weeds, trees, cows, and farmer's fields...

Saturday, November 14, 2015

'round here

:: Waking up before 4 this morning, tossing and turning, praying for those that are suffering.

:: Yearning, more than ever, for peace on Earth.

:: Sweet chunks of ripe pear on morning oatmeal hit the spot.

:: College Portfolio Day (is finally here at last) for her.

:: Soaking in the art while I wander and wait.

:: Stopping for some grilled veggie sandwiches and the hummus platter sound like a good way to celebrate.

:: Exploring undiscovered country roads with the camera is my idea of fun.

:: So happy for this boy taking 8th place out of  250 participants in this morning's Math Matters competion. Way to go, Isaac!

:: Hunkering down for a quiet Saturday evening here at home. A much needed tidy-up, pancakes for supper, popcorn on the stove, and a movie sound like just the thing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pastel Portraits: Week Two

:: Man. This process feels like I'm wrestling a bear. (Similar to when I'm writing a poem.) But if I sweat through it and stick to it, the magic (sometimes!) starts to materialize. 

:: It's easy to look at the completed drawing and get hung up on the flaws and imperfections. But I'm learning to appreciate them for what they are. Seeing the good qualities and gently noting to myself what I've learned and how I can improve next time. It's a learning process that I believe every artist and creator (and really, each of us as human beings) experiences. 

:: So many things at work here all at once: My head, my eyes, my hand. Form, tones, colors, and line. The expression, mood, and emotion of the subject and of the drawing itself. All of what it is I'm trying to capture now coming to creation on the paper.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” 

~Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey

Friday, November 6, 2015

Still Life, Introduction to Place, and Drawing Individual Features: Week 2

:: Finding that I dislike the toothy texture of pastel paper. Gessoed drawing paper with a layer of bright color seems like it's working better for me. Working smaller (These still lifes here measured 6 in. x 6 in. I think next time I'll increase the size to 9 x9 and see how that goes.) seems less intimidating and more manageable (at this point) than having to fill up a huge page of my drawing pad. 

:: Found it a little difficult to to make my place drawings more abstract than I wanted and which was the direction to go with the lesson. I guess it's all about letting go and not being so stuck on depicting the image.

:: Discovering that the camera is a really helpful tool to be able to "see".

:: I'm pretty pleased with the work I've done this week. This definitely is work.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


thanking:: Last week, Gary came out from work to find his car gone. Stolen. The other night, the police called to say it had turned up. His poor little Honda trashed, the belongings of a purse and other items from other thefts dumped and left behind, some precious things of his and Greta taken, but we are very grateful they now have it back.

noticing:: first snowflakes falling today.

outing:: being invited the other night to join Eliza, her Financial Literacy teacher, and other girls from the school to attend dinner out and then a wonderful symposium geared for women and girls entitled: You're Already Good Enough: How Embracing Imperfection and Cultivating Confidence Frees You to Influence and Lead! Awesome, inspiring, and empowering. Wishing every woman in this world could hear and believe the words, message, and information presented by the panelists. Validating so much of what I'm finally coming to understand: "You are worthy and good enough just because you exist." Yes.

eating:: leftovers for my lunch from dinner last night-- mushroom Stroganoff over brown rice and banana squash.

smiling:: Isaac heaping his plate last night for more and more of that delicious squash. Wow.

rejoicing:: So happy for Eliza being selected as her school recipient of the Visual Arts Sterling Scholar Award.

reading:: finished some really beautiful novels these last few weeks: Caleb's Crossing (Brooks), The Invention of Wings (Kidd), The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy (Joyce). Also enjoying (sometimes finding myself laughing out loud) many essays from Elouise Bell.

listening:: in the mood for Anita Baker, Sade, and Norah Jones

creating:: spending most of my days with the art. I have lots to share in the next little while.

gathering:: various items to create still-life vignettes.

feeling:: resigned and okay that some days (some weeks like this week) I just don't have it in me to run. And acknowledging that immersing myself in this art is good for my soul.