Monday, February 28, 2011


The February Sktechbook Challenge theme was Opposites. I thought of night and day.

Day sky colored with washable crayon and water soluble oil pastel. Night sky painted with some inks I found when I reorganized a drawer. Higgins Blue, Purple, an a bottle of Scriveners which was given to me after a friend took a trip to England. The black ink isn't good for writing, but it worked nicely as paint. dot from a Pilot Gold marker were used as a resist. A picture of a full moon was printed out, cut in half glued with matte mediim and colored with oil pastels. The other half of the picture was used as a template to draw a sun on a scrap of 90# Arches watercolor. This was also glued with matte medium and colored with the oil pastels.

While searching for day/night or sun/moon quotes I came across: "We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other; to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each other's opposite and complement" - Hermann Hesse. Done with FW acrylic black and Ziller Winter White, Nikko G nib.

What do you think of when you think of opposites?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Udo Treatment

It's snowing again. Not a block buster mega storm, but a teasing fluff that has already passed the 3 inch predicted limit. There's just enough snow to make driving a slushy, fish-tailing sort of E-ride on our rural main drag. I'm so sick of seeing the white landscape with margins of black carbon exhaust.  I want to give Ol' Man Winter the Udo Treatment.

That's my hero, Richard Widmark, in his film debut role as gangster, Tommy Udo,  in Kiss of Death. In the film, Udo pushes poor wheelchair bound Mrs. Rizzo (Mildred Dunnock) down a flight of stairs because she lied and refused to tell Tommy where her rat of a son skipped out to. (Rizzo the rat. Sound familiar Muppet fans?)

I'd like to see Tommy give Winter a good shove down the stairs. Winter, good riddance! And don't come back, ya squirt!

If you haven't seen this film noire classic, you need to get yourself edumucated. The wheelchair scene was quite shocking and caused quite a stir in 1947. Widmark received his only Oscar nomination for his chilling performance. His maniacal laugh which stemmed from a nervous giggle because he couldn't remember his lines became his trademark. The storyline holds up fairly well 64 years later though you have to overlook the fact that hero Nick's children (Nick played by Victor Mature) never age through the film.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Friday Five

Continuing with the assignment for the "Start Where You Are" journaling class. Five things I like to see:

1. Impossibly bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds

2. Rainbows in the sky or in puddles

3. The stars.

4. Blue hydrangeas

5. Watching the waves at the ocean. The movement and the sparkle on the water is mesmerizing.

I'd also love to see an end to Winter.

What are some of the things you like to see?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Picasso Cats

From Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists by Carla Sonheim. Lab 19 Picasso Dogs. I'm not much of a dog person but prefer cats. So that's what I did because I can color outside the lines and break the rules.

Was a fun and relaxing exercise. Draw an element and then turn your page 90 degrees clockwise. Connect the lines and color in. Give it a try drawing dog, cat or whatever critter you love best.

Upper left is Mitty, the cat we had before Ink ( lower right)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Counting Blessings

Always good to have work to do and a bonus if you love what you do.

Do you love what you do? What are you working on?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Marker Organizer

While killing time in Walmart, I came across this tubular ice cube tray. Ice pencils didn't appeal to me, but I thought the tray would make a great desk accessory to organize markers.

Do you repurpose items for your own use?

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Friday Five

The second Strathmore Visual Journal Online Workshop ,"Start Where You Are", is scheduled to begin on 1. March. 2001 (Plenty of time to sign up. Workshops are self-paced and the workshop classroom will remain open until August. Click on the link to sign up. Workshops are free!) Instructor, Linda Blinn,  has asked students to make a list of things to be used as journaling topics. She has suggested students use the five senses.

This week's five and the first of my homework assignments. Five sounds I like to hear:

1. Thunder. I love that deep base crack so loud it reverberates through your body sending a thrill and a trickle of fear through you at the same time. As a kid, we lived in the testing flight path for jet planes and I loved when the pilots would break through the sound barrier. You'd feel the shock wave break from you feet to your heart. I also love the sound of rolling thunder. Every summer, hundreds of motorcyclists come roaring by the house on the way to and from a swap meet.

2. I love the call of mourning doves. When The Eldest was four she would sit on the front steps and call back to the bird. Yooo-Hooo!

3. The sound of rain on the aluminum sun room roof is comforting.

4.  Cats purring.

5. I love to hear my girls laughing and talking.

And a bonus sound: I love silence. It's the way I work best.

What are your favorite sounds to hear?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thought for the Day

"If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning" - Catherine Aird

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thought for the Day

"One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries" - A.A. Milne

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Grumpy alert. If you enjoy this holiday, skip my post.

I'm not much for the hearts and flowers of this greeting card company holiday. If you're under 10, it's fun to make and receive valentines from all your friends and classmates. It's a good excuse to have a party with cupcakes and some chocolate.
  As adults it's annoying to be pressured into showing affection by how much we spend. The cards alone cost a fortune never mind adding a gift. (I'll also gratefully acknowledge any gifts of chocolate, jewelry, or dinner invitations and not just on Valentine's Day either)

I really dislike the greeting card companies selections. The cards are so schmaltzy with bad rhymes that take days to read. You can't find a simply stated card. I know. I've tried for years because Himself doesn't like cards that rhyme.

So if you're like me and want a simply stated card, you can download and print the example above. From Mmmcrafts. Simply stated and to the point.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Friday Five

With Valentine's Day on Monday, five movies to watch while snuggling with your honey. That is if your honey will watch any of these "romantic" movies. My honey generally skips these so I watch them with Ink.

1. The Quiet Man, the courtship of Sean Thornton, the big Yank, and the tempestuous Mary Kate. John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara are magic together on screen. The Duke in a soaking wet silk dress shirt makes me weak in the knees.If you don't watch this for Valentine's Day, save it for St. Patrick's Day.

2. She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, another John Wayne. There's the rivalry between lieutenants Cohill and Pennell for the attention and affection of Olivia Dandridge. The better, more touching love story is that between Capt. Nathan Brittles (John Wayne) and his wife. The Duke should have gotten an Oscar for his performance.

3. The Way We Were Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand.  Redford as heart-breaking handsome Hubbell Gardner (deep sigh) and Streisand as headstrong Katie. Sometimes what we want for others is not what they want for themselves.

4.  Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, conservative lawyer, Paul Bratter (Robert Redford), and his vivacious bride, Corie (Jane Fonda) set up house in a tiny New York apartment and learn what marriage is really about.

5. The Electric Horseman, Robert Redford (you can probably guess why Himself doesn't watch these movies with me) and Jane Fonda.  Though Sonny can take your breath away, this isn't a typical romance. Sonny is more in love with his way of life. Mama don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys.

What are your favorite romantic movies?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thought for the Day

I saw this quote somewhere this week, I think on Facebook. "Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I'm possible." The quote was attributed to Audrey Hepburn, but I didn't try to verify that fact. I just scribbled the quote in my quote book. That quote kept nagging at me so I hastily wrote it out in an art journal.

Do you collect quotes, proverbs, thoughts, and sayings?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Counting Blessings

What a blessing if you have someone you can spend long hours talking, laughing and whining. If your ear is sore for a day or two, it's worth it, and a lot cheaper than traditional therapy.

I'm almost out of my beloved Ziller's Glossy Black. It's too cold to order more as it will freeze solid before it arrives. I found a bottle of Speedball acrylic ink. Meh. Had some problems with it bleeding on this piece. Good for practice, but I won't take a chance with it on commission or fine work.

Do you have someone you can talk to for hours on end? What's the longest you've chatted on the phone? Our record is 6 hours.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Google Art Project - Visitor's Guide

Does all the bad weather have you down and yearning to get away? Can't get away because you've paid the kid next door a king's ransom to shovel your driveway? Fear not! With a few mouse clicks and powered by Google, you can explore artwork and museums from around the world at the Google Art Project 
You can even create your own artwork collection. Watch the Visitor's Guide to get you started.

Meet you at the Uffizi in front of Boticelli's Birth of Venus. Ciao!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Friday Five

In an effort to banish negative thoughts about the hellacious Winter we've been having, this week's five attempts to focus on the sunshine side of the weather.

1. The alpine range that we are building on the sides of the driveway is pretty impressive. The snowblower bought the farm during the Christmas storm so the driveway (60 of the 75 feet) has been shoveled by hand.

2. The Young One and I enjoyed a colonial treat. Snow Ice Cream. Fresh snow drizzled with maple syrup (if you're a purist) or some other flavoring: vanilla syrup, soda, chocolate syrup. The dessert is more like a slush or sno-cone than ice cream, but it was delicious. Nothing like lowering your core temperature a few degrees.

3. I love snow days to reduce stress. You're forced to stay home because the roads are treacherous and you can't travel. The day takes on its own time zone where the hands of the clock move very slowly. Plenty of time for playing on the computer, watching movies, reading in between bouts of shoveling. Oh, and eating the storm provisions: chips, soda, chocolate, cookies. A perfect junk food day.

4. Monday, we received a nice note from the oil delivery man jotted on the fuel delivery ticket. Himself had shoveled a path from the front walk to the fill pipe. The delivery man thanked us for clearing the path so he didn't have to wade waist deep in snow. It's nice when someone appreciates your efforts.

5. I have enjoyed the opportunity to work side by each with Himself as we shovel the driveway and clear the snow off the cars. We cracked jokes and tried to think places to move where we wouldn't have bad weather. Minnesota wasn't even considered. (-;

What's your silver lining about lousy weather?

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I usually don't re-do work done in a workshop setting. I try to absorb the lessons and incorporate them in later work. I decided to re-do the journal page done for the first Strathmore journal class which finished last week. I was disappointed with the way the piece turned out by following the directions. It was fine for a first draft. The idea for the piece really resonated with me as it's been a tough two weeks as I struggle to wrestle and tame the dragon.

Since the lesson was about recycling art work there was no problem to start over again. A couple of slight moderations had to be made as I used all the  knight stamps I had. Since the page was washed over with gesso, the pastel stamps really faded into the background. Happily I found a clipart knight I liked. I used a more medieval background tissue paper and since the colors were a little too bright, I used the gesso wash on this before adding the collage elements. I also changed the color of the dragon hoping to give it a more menacing look. Though the pink and baby blue colors in the scan make the dragon look girly instead of the deep blue, red, and black coloring.
 The text in the "chain mail" background: If you can't stand the heat and is finished in the knights' banners: Don't tickle the dragon. The rest of the text: How do you tame the dragon without killing it or getting burned?

I'm really pleased with the final page. This one is definitely me.

How many drafts do you do until you get a final piece you are pleased with?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ground Hog's Day

Punxatawney Phil, the rodent who is ripped from his burrow to predict whether Spring will arrive early or not, predicted we will have an early Spring. I think Phil was coerced into giving an early Spring prediction. From my back door, Phil would have had to claw his way through the snow. I'm betting from the looks of the Devil's Tower structure in the back yard (it used to be the picnic table), it would take Phil 6 months to poke his nose above the snow line.

We're getting desperate. Send chocolate!

Happy Ground Hog's Day, Imbolc, Candlemas, Feb 2. or whatever you celebrate. What's the weather like out your back door?