Eucalyptus trees have a minty, pine scent with a touch of honey. There are more than 600 eucalyptus species throughout the world. These trees hold a strong place in my childhood memories.
Meeting my oldest and dearest friend. Rainy nights, and foggy mornings. The crunch of fallen bark. Sticky leaves in my hand. If you have ever breathed in their fragrant scent, you are sure to never forget it.
The server is still under repairs. This site may be up and down for the next week or so. Fingers crossed it won’t be. In order to be able to start posting on the first, I had to recreate my posts for July and August. (Posts have to be applied in consecutive order or it causes problems.)
On top of that, if the site does go down unexpectedly, I may lose the new posts and have to do them a third time.
I plan on adding the links I had originally, and also the comments for each post. That will be a major task, and will not be tackled until October.
I will be posting as I am able in September. If I have to skip a day (site down), I will make it up. I will be painting daily. I finally signed up on Instagram, and will be posting there daily. Hopefully. (Have to learn how to do that. LOL)
My Tech Guru is in the middle of a major move until mid-September. On top of the server crashing, he is setting up a clone of the server. There will be a backup to take over if one goes down.
Thanks so much for checking up on me! Looking forward to the challenge!
This, That And The Other
Storm lifting, Mingus. SMD
Gray skies are gonna clear up
Put on a happy face
Brush off the clouds and cheer up
Put on a happy face
Spread sunshine all over the place
Oh put on a happy face
Last Light, Mingus. SMD
Both taken on the same day. Late afternoon and early evening. Loving the Arizona rain!
Work In Progress
Kids Art Week
Carla Sonheim hosted Kids Art Week 2017, for the young folks. She invited big kids to take part as well. It is a free class, and you can still sign up the kiddos!
Early Bird. Watercolor Pencil on paper. SMD
The week started with “Blob Hunting”. Her video showed the kids running around looking for blob shapes, or cracks in cement. After drawing the shapes, the next step was to try to create creatures from them.
I found cracks in the sidewalk, that formed a triangle. The cracks became a bird with a worm.
Next was a fun attempt to duplicate “Young Hare” by Albrecht Dürer. This started with another blob shape, the outline of the rabbit. The entire shape was filled in with white oil pastel. We added light, and then mid tones. Next the darkest values.
Albrecht Dürer Bunny. oil pastels on paper. SMD
The final touch was to scratch through the pastel, to create the illusion of fur. Fun!
A lesson from Picasso followed. Cubist cat. We drew an eye, then rotated the paper 90 degrees. Drew a larger eye, and rotated the paper again.
Draw and rotate. An ear. Whiskers. A tail. A paw. Nose and mouth.
Cubist Cat, marker and watercolor on paper. SMD
The video’s were entertaining. The lessons, fun. These were quick, late night activities for me. Led me to begin 12 x 12 piece. Larger than my usual. Thank you Carla for the invite!
Here is a look at where I left off. In the original post, I mentioned that I was happy with the painting, and that it came together quickly. This was Day 22 of September challenge 2013. 2013!
The background on the bottom half is a washed out green, showing almost white here. Very washed out as a whole. This sat on my desk for a week. I had to think about where to take it.
Finally jumped in, by adding dark to the bottom right corner. I worked piece by piece, covering the areas between the stems. Looking at the results, I think that I probably could have gone a little darker still. It’s a done deal though. Sealed in an envelope ready to fly to a friend.
I am happy with how the greens and blues mixed on the paper. Happy with the whites I left. Happy with the jewel-toned sky. I really like this piece now.
I wish the same were true for Bloom. I like the wonky shape. I could not find the original image post, but the petals were solid yellow, and the leaves were not as defined. I tried to improve this, adding a warm rusty Neocolor. I kept adding, and adding. To the center around the head. Three or four colors. And you know what’s wrong. I know you know. Value.
Think I botched it even more that it was to begin with.
I was trying for depth at the base of the petals. Didn’t achieve that. I don’t think you can see it here as well as in person, but the head almost looks 3-D. It looks really cool. Seems to bulge. That was a nice surprise.
When I first posted this painting, Janet gave me some golden nuggets. I know I need practice with my values. I admit, I was not really thinking of values when I did the painting. Janet explained that my yellows and the Shiraz were reading as the same value. Blew my mind. But you can see below, she is absolutely right.
To the original I have added digital dark areas. I will tell you, I have struggled with this
for weeks. Because I do not know where the dark areas should go. I am not “seeing” them.
I was so… worried about going forward. It finally came to me to play with it in Photoshop. I can try it several ways, and no harm done. Looking at the original, there are “hints of dark”. In the foreground, the trunks, and the base of the tops. I followed those areas, with a deeper, darker shade of the Shiraz. Janet suggested adding another value, and maybe adding some black to the Shiraz for more dark. (Click here to see her comment on the earlier post.)
I am not very good at drawing or painting in Photoshop, I don’t have a tablet and stylus, so I work with the mouse. I am not fond of the result, the jerky lines, but you get the idea. What do you think? Am I on the right track? I do like what is happening in the foreground. I don’t want to differentiate between the tree tops. But I could. Set a few of them in the back, and their trunks as well. I like though, that they look like a group of friends hanging in the school yard.
Well, still thinking.
I am really enjoying our summer storms. These photos are ALL about the clouds. Enjoy!
Clouds over Mingus.
Light up the sky.
Today I watched a dark grey storm move in from the south (Right). It obliterated the mountains. Seemed like five minutes, but maybe it was ten. And then it was gone. The mountains were visible, and there were bits of blue sky in the clouds. Nice show!
Color chip flip book.
Finally got organized with my Spoonflower color map. There are about 1500 color chips, printed out on one yard of fabric. This gives us a better idea of what the colors look like on fabric instead of back-lit by the monitor. And the hex codes are there, for easy use in the programs. I cut them into long strips, and had to shuffle through them all when working on a design. Such a mess. Fold and unfold again. Threads falling loose.
Don’t know why it took me so long, but the idea finally came. Why not stick them in a book! A mini photo album. Perfect. I mean really, they fit perfect. (Whew! Got lucky there!) Now I have a color chip flip book!
Changing subject again. Had a visitor the other night. On my bed. It was about an inch and half long. Looks upside down in the photo, but his legs came up over his body when I grabbed him. (With a tissue, no I am not brave around BIG ugly bugs.)
I usually climb into bed in the dark. But for some reason, an angel on my shoulder, I turned on my phone light. And I saw something move. Fast. So quick on with the light. And I swear he came running towards me, which is good. I could have lost him in the corner. It is a Pale Wind scorpion. Terri?c. But it is actually in the same class as spiders. And it bites, but it is not poisonous. I also read that they are aggressive. Ha ha, he was running towards me!!
I took part in the Art Is Magic online creative retreat this weekend. I thought I had missed it, but I am so happy that I didn’t. Each session was an hour-long. Nine on Saturday, and eight on Sunday. The artist instructors are amazing! They each created a nurturing, welcoming space to explore in.
I started took notes of the lessons, and will come back to them as time allows. Sharing just a few with you today.
Secret Garden came from spending time with Tiare Smith Woods. She calls it her “Garden of Tranquility”. Tranquility. That is hard to come by. She worked in acrylics, pouncing them on with a sea sponge. I used watercolor. I was working late, and knew they would dry quickly. I used a sea sponge as well, grateful for the reminder to pull it out.
I mixed several blues for the sky, and greens for the grass. For the girl, I used acrylics as a base, and then layers of watercolor. (The dress is acrylic.) Listening to Tiare speak as she worked was so relaxing. Joyful! I think she is a wonderful instructor.
Galia Alena started us off with a tour of her gorgeous surroundings. We took a walk through the trees, listened to the birds and visited the loch. Oh and the joyful sights and sounds of her dog exploring! Again, the elusive peace.
Mark making tools.
Next we headed into the studio to loosen up with some wise mark making. I used a Le Pen, Inktense, Neocolor, Derwent watercolor pencil, a pencil eraser, pencil, a brush (just the tip) and a palette knife. So lovely listening to Galia’s soft accent, with musical interludes while she sped up the video.
Dipped the eraser in watercolor to make dots. I used the knife at the end to smear water over the marks and let the colors flow.
I was reminded of a book I have from childhood. I have been told I was reading it at a very early age. (All parents say that right!) If true, then I have been making marks from very early on as well.
And there it is. My true self. My happiest moments. My soul. The signs have been there all along. I am an artist. The need to make a mark. The need to play with color. And can you see it? The need to make a pattern. (V’s or check marks on the bottom image.) That made me laugh. And I would make my own books. Pictures cut out of magazines. Color added, lines and patterns. Short stories.
Stick Figures and Flowers
Stick figures and flowers.
My notes are incomplete (dang it!!), but I am pretty sure Catt Geller showed us her stick figures while working on her Cosmic Smash book journaling. I always tell myself I can’t draw figures, but Catt made it look easy! She just started with sticks, and then fleshed out each figure slowly. Catt has so much energy and her session was a blast!
Louise Gale, who many of you know from her heART Postcard exchange, showed us how to draw lovely flowers. She created a lovely clay maṇḍala using the drawing as a start. And I found some Celluclay the day before. Cosmic forces at work there, no? She has a new book project she is working on with her Botanical mandalas. So fun!!
We had a wonderful lesson from Laly Mille as well. Remember when I ruined those 4 x 4’s trying her technique by guessing? Well, I was VERY excited to spend some time with her creative genius!
Such a terrific weekend! I was familiar with several of the artists, but most were new “discoveries” for me. And THAT is always JoYfuL!
Learning is powerful. And being surrounded with like-minded creatives, who value the things I do. Who cherish creative energy and the life of the soul. Who know that desire and intent are treasures. Well even this brief encounter, feeds my soul. And gives me courage to continue.
A few of the projects were meant specifically as visual reminders for ourselves. You know, “You are worthy, you are loved, you are enough”. Valuable truths that we so often forget.
My water wells were dry! It had been so long since I had painted. Trying to take care of business, so I can continue. But I injured myself by not creating, and not posting. Because when I do not hear from my followers (and dear friends), then most days I do not hear anything positive at all. I think perhaps that is why I am so effervescent when I comment on other blogs. Because I know the power that kindness holds for me.
The simple acknowledgement, and acceptance. Priceless.
So blessed to have you in my life!
It’s all about the light. I reclaimed light by dabbing a damp paper towel into the treetops. Also found a bit in the first, large trunk. I dipped my rubber comb into clean water, and scraped the paint in the foreground. I love that those marks remained subtle after drying.
To the treetops I added more yellow, some orange and Shiraz in selective areas. Seeing it here, I feel like I need to add some shadow at the base of the trees. What do you think? Not going for realism, just think a little more contrast would be good.
We had rain for about 20 minutes today. Full sun, windy, light rain. Clear blue sky to the south. I kept hoping the sun would catch and really make this pop. Very dreamlike as it was though.
Was inspired by Sandrine Pelissier’s newsletter, as I always am. Dug out my travel Spirograph. Had a bit of a worry when I didn’t find it in the first two looks. The 4 x 6 paper did not fit, so most of my drawings ended up more centered, less random. I filled the edges with doodles. I am going to try again. But maybe this lends itself to trees better.
Just FYI. If you ever buy a travel Spirograph, post-it notes fit perfectly!