Thursday, April 28, 2011

Look What I Made!

My boss took me out for lunch for Administrative Assistant's Day, and I wanted to give him a thank you note. I decided to make a card with one of my images. I finally got the image to print on the top half of the card stock and I used Photoshop Elements to alter the image to make a matching envelope. It took me forever to cut out the envelope and looking at it, it is not even, but I am still happy with it. BTW, the altered image on the inside of the envelope idea came from Jane Davies. If you take her survey, the gift is downloadable notecards and envelopes.

Baci e abbracci

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Book Arrived!

The book I ordered from Apple came. It is beautiful! How exciting to see my own work in a glossy book. I think my mom will really like it. Apple really does a great job with these books.

I fear I am approaching a slump. I haven't really drawn anything in a couple of days. Gosh I hate when this happens. I've been reading and am thinking about starting a small art quilt. I even cleaned my studio up to be able to sew. I hope I am wrong, but have seen this pattern too many times. :-(

Baci e abbracci

Monday, April 25, 2011

First Day Back to Work

The first day back to work after three lovely days off, but still thinking about the weekend.

Got some prices on having my images printed on notecards and thinking about going for it. Of course that means producing some artwork. Once there is an actual project it becomes scary and difficult to produce. Time to get over it.

Baci e abbracci

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Holiday Weekend

Like many of you TOMA and I had Good Friday off from work. Friday I basically slept most of the day and did local food shopping in the evening in preparation for Saturday's baking. I baked King Arthur's Classic White Sandwich Bread--super easy, and I made it all be hand (no dough cycle on the bread machine). The video is very helpful for those of us who are not experts in bread making. Then I baked Lidia's Italy Almond Torta with Chocolate Chips. I saw this a month or so ago on TV and thought it looked good. I was right! The 5 eggs and over 1/2 lb. of butter help make the chocolate chips and lemon zest go just right together. Very sophisticated looking and tasting. An easy cake to bring to someone's home if invited as a guest. The recipe calls for almond flour, which you can either make or order from King Arthur. I ordered it and the bag was just a 1/2 cup more than I needed to make one Torta. Perfect! It is a little bit of an expensive cake to make. I also had to buy the 10" spring form pan, which I will not use that often (I lucked out and got that 40% off at A.C. Moore). Next week Doughnut Muffins only instead of cinnamon sugar on top, I am going to make that white glaze they put on doughnuts. YUMMMM! I also have carrot cake on the brain so who knows. TOMA is in a fairy bakery wonderland and soooo happy!

Today we visited the Quaker City Flea Market. I purchased a pair of cat in the teapot salt and pepper shakers and a wooden bull--very modern (I forgot to photograph both items). But I took a photo of pretty blue glasses at the flea market:

We also stopped at Glen Foerd on the Delaware. We were going to TOMA's aunts house from the flea market and I noticed it for the first time. The Director visited my boss a month or so ago, so when I saw the sign that I had seen many times and not noticed, I decided to go in. The grounds are beautiful and I heard many different birds (we did not have any binoculars with us). There is a bird walk next Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. If I can get myself up, I may go. Today I heard a flicker, woodpecker (not sure if hairy or downy) Northern Cardinals, Song Sparrows and heard and saw a ton of American Robins. May have seen a Summer Tanager, but cannot be sure.

I am trying to draw from life--again. Please note that in the hydrangea sketch below. I will watercolor it and show it finished. Sorry about the quality of some of the scans.

I am proud of the Tiger Lilies and the Grape Hyacinths even though they are from the photos in my last post. Those two are not quite as stylized as usual. The black and white is the Hydrangea (just leaves and stems, no flowers on the bush yet).

Baci e abbracci

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some Pretty Flowers from Food Shopping Today

A funny thing happened while taking pictures at one of the food stores we were in. I was shooting with my point and shoot at the cheese section because there was a colorful display for easter and the head cheese man came up to me to let me know that I am not supposed to be taking pictures inside this store. I need to stop at customer service and get a badge that says I am a visitor. I was actually embarrassed in front of the other customers. I can't imagine what they think people would do with the photos. I explained that I like to take pictures of color combinations for quilting, etc. Everyone is so afraid that someone is going to steal an idea away from them, that they stole from someone else.

It was a good weekend. I baked TOMA brownies (he left written requests all over the house) and I baked a really Easy Cinnamon Bread. It came out really good, like a quick bread on the inside and really crispy like a loaf of crusty bread on the outside. TOMA loved it! I have to say that the best ingredients make a difference that can be tasted. I used the Vietnamese Cinnamon and the Cinnamon Chips for the cinnamon bread, and the Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract for the brownies, all from King Arthur Flour Company. If you can afford it, treat yourself to the best every once in a while, but if you can't you can still bake at home, that is the real difference.

Baci e abbracci

iPhoto Book

It has been a while since I have posted, but I have been creating. I purchased a couple of DVDs by Jane LaFazio. Having watched the first, her new Interweave Press  From Art Journaling to Art: Drawing, Watercolor, and More Techniques for the Mixed Media Artist with Jane LaFazio, I decided to finally purchase The Small Art Quilt. It has been in my Amazon cart for some time.

I have not completely watched The Small Art Quilt yet but it looks good. I do have a criticism of the Interweave DVD. I realize that the DVD is created with the beginner in mind, but I think that the air time spent showing another person (Pokey Bolton) the techniques on the video could be spent showing additional techniques. The consumer would get a little bit more for the money.

Also, Mother's Day is coming and a while ago I decided to make a book of some of my work for my mom. She confirmed that this was a good idea by asking me if she could show my sketchbook to her friends. Since I am a little attached to the book, even if it was filled, I couldn't allow it out of my possession for any amount of time. It is so nice that my mom is so proud of my work that she would like to show it in lieu of pictures of grandchildren (neither my brother or I gave any to our mom), and she says her friends ask to see my stuff.

I used the Mac iPhoto program and ordered it last night. I am a little excited to see it myself. I did a lot of scanning and cropping--until 2:00 am last night--to finish it. Here are some pictures of the new and old stuff I haven't posted.

Baci e abbracci

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Promise, This is the Last One Tonight

I think I like this best...

I Figured Out How to Change the Background Color!

Much better!!! Yeah!!!
Buona Note e Sogni D'oro

One More Thing

I had an idea, but this is just a sketchbook entry. I would really need to work on this. It would be great if I knew how to use Photoshop. I bet I could really improve the drawing if I could alter it in Photoshop.

More Work

I know I am repeating myself, but I am so happy when I am making art. Whether it is sewing, knitting or drawing, whatever I am into at the moment, it is great to be in a creative flow. I always fool myself into thinking that finally I have turned the corner, no more ruts, this is it, and of course, I fall into the deepest rut ever. I get tired, uninspired, miserable. So this time no kidding myself. I am grateful that I am really into drawing and hope it will last as long as possible.

And my friend J. at work confirmed that I am complaining less! The blog is working! Remember, I started this blog to create more and complain less and I am!!! (Okay, enough, let's not jinx it.)

The bird above was for a sympathy card for a co-worker, and the flowers and feathers were just playing around in the sketchbook. I just love, love, love my Lamy extra fine fountain pen and must use it as much as possible. I am also enjoying playing around with the Copic markers.

I am also proud to say that I am using all of my best, expensive supplies--Copic markers, Noodler's Ink, Faber Castell colored pencils and Aquarelle Arches Hot Press Watercolor Paper. No more saving it until I am good enough or have a good idea. I'm using it all up and if the sky falls and I cannot afford to replace it--I'll cry and wish I had saved it because that is who I am--you just can't change who you are deep inside. But I am having a great time and hope I can always afford art supplies. Really, I would cry harder if something happened and it was all destroyed and I had never gotten the chance to enjoy it.

Baci e abbracci

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I've Been Busy...

I am always happy when I am productive.

The first picture above has a white background, not pink. I've been playing around with Pitt and Copic markers. I just love the Lamy extra fine fountain pen loaded with Noodler's Fountain Pen Ink. It smeared a little bit when I was erasing my pencil lines on the pastel drawing above, but I think that was the paper--Bee Paper Aquabee Artist Marker Pad, 140lb--because it was hours since I used the ink so it should have been dry, but the paper is a plate finish.

Baci e abbracci

Springtime Inside, but Not Yet Outside...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Out and About

Today TOMA and I went to the flea market, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. At the flea market I purchased a few things including the enamel plate and book below. I bought the book for the cover.

I also picked up a metal first aid box (cool for art supplies) and a bowl from Japan. The Coke bottles below looked neat so I took a photo.

As soon as I got to the flea market I saw a young woman. She was so attractive in red. She had a 1950's style red dress, red shoes, lipstick and a red cup of coffee. All of the red in contrast to her body art was striking. She also wore some netting in her hair. In all honesty my eyeglasses get so dark outside it is hard to see, hence to poor photograph.

The funny part is that it took me over a half hour to get up the nerve to ask her if I could take her photograph. When I was younger, I would have just snapped a candid. I loved showing that I was an "artist." I didn't mind dye/ink/paint stained hands and clothes--it showed that I was special, a creative person. Now I don't really care about stained hands, but it no longer makes me feel special.

Anyway, here is Cole D. (she even has a cool name). She really stood out in the crowd. I didn't get to talk to her long, but I bet she is creative and confident. She was also very nice to let me take her photo. Thank you, Cole.

What actually inspired me to take her picture is Maira Kalman's book "In the Pursuit of Happiness" which began as a New York Times blog. It has great paintings and photos in a sort of journal form.

Baci e abbracci

As Promised

As promised I am posting the second painting that I was trying to prepare for the exhibition. I did not have time to scan it, so I photographed it with my new Faber-Castell Polychromos. They are gorgeous! I read about them in the new book I purchased, "Botanical Portraits with Colored Pencils" by Ann Swan. She uses these pencils and since I am not crazy about the repellant nature of the Prismacolors I thought I would try these. In the store I was able to use my fountain pen filled with Noodler's Fountain Pen Ink over them, so we will see.

Also, the opening of the Continuing Education Show was last night. I told my mom not to come downtown during rush hour, so it was just TOMA and me. There were some really great works hanging. Mine paled in comparison. I don't agree with the judges choices for the prizes. Some works that were great got Honorable Mention or no prize at all. I, of course, don't understand the criteria so am not one to criticize.  There was a print by someone that I work with that I don't know well, so I didn't realize he was so talented. His name is Mark K. I really liked his work and he won 3rd prize. Congratulations!

And guess what? I won a prize--AGAIN! I won the Strathmore Pre-cut Watercolor Paper from the Sketchbook Challenge. It comes in different sizes pre-cut to match pre-cut mats and frames. Great idea. I just had a H-E-double toothpicks of a time finding a frame for the work for the show, and I mounted it on black paper rather than matting it because I cannot cut a mat. The best part is it comes in hot and cold press!!!! I love hot press because it is smooth and I use pen and ink. I hope I get really lucky and that is what they send to me. I am already lucky though to have won. I would definitely use it instead of the odd size Aquarelle Arches--although I like the block. It keeps the work flat while working on it.

Blick was having a sale on frames so I bought a bunch to frame some of my work, the Kathy Dunn print I won, and these 2 beautiful prints someone gave me as a gift. The artist's name is Chantal Westby. She left some prints of her paintings with my boss for review and when she came to pick them up she asked me to pick out 2!!! I never get a perk like that! I am very grateful; they are just lovely. Please look at her website.

Lastly, 2 people I know have serious health problems. Count your blessings if you are healthy and realize how small our problems are in comparison.

Baci e abbracci