Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

I can't believe it is the last day of the year. Where has it gone? Of course it is always this way. I feel like it got away from me in some way. In 2013 I hope to be more aware of each day's presence and its passing.

For the month of January I am planning to participate in 30 paintings in 30 days with Leslie Saeta. The challenge starts on January 2 and runs through the end of the month. What about you? Do you want to try it? Just click on the link and sign up.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to do a bit of sketching in preparation for this 30 days challenge. I tried my hand at a couple of still life setups and am feeling pretty good about them. I do need to put more value into my sketches. They tend to be too bland.

It's been snowy and cold here for the past week or so and the cardinals have been having a feeding frenzy at the feeder. I swear there were a dozen pairs of them on the deck and the tree waiting their turn.

Tomorrow I begin a sugar challenge with some of the people at Positively Chiropractic. I don't have all the particulars yet, but will tell you about it when I do.

I am not doing anything to celebrate the end of the year. I don't like to be out on an evening when people tend to be drinking too much. The hubster bought a bottle of champagne and perhaps we will stay up to watch the ball drop on Times Square and share a bit of the bubbly.

What about you? Do you have plans for New Year's Eve? Do you have any new art plans for 2013? Do share.....


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Desperation Drawing

I think I might be fighting depression, but am not sure, as that is not a natural state for me. I just know that I would be happy to just sleep all day until my hand/wrist gets better. I like to think I can will myself better, but it is not happening. I am being good about doing the exercises that have been prescribed by the OT people and am seeing some improvement, but I want to be my old self with complete use of my right hand right now! and that is not happening.

Instead of giving in to the urge to just go to bed, I decided to do a bit of sketching. There was a couple of cardinals out in the snow so I did a quick sketch and then added a bit of color. I used my Neocolor IIs and didn't have the colors I really wanted, but these will do. I think you would know they were cardinals even if I hadn't told you so.

And then I decided to try my hand at a couple of faces from fashion magazines.

Then I tried to sketch a variety of scenes from photos I've been saving for just that purpose.

That is a house on the left and a deer on the right.

And finally I tried a rooster and a street scene.

I think it is time to get out pastels and try my hand at a small piece of art. I'll probably start with a still life as that is my favorite kind of painting to try.

What about you? How are you doing? I've been faithfully reading your blogs, but haven't felt too much like responding, but I am really enjoying your art.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Watercolor, Neocolor IIs and AurynInk

I spent just a little bit of time while Miss Z was napping to begin a wet into wet still life - a pear and an apple. I obviously had too much water.

So I added a bit of Neocolor IIs.

And then added a bit of water.

Later in the evening after Zoƫ went home, I played with AurynInk on my iPad to make this tree.

I've done my 35 minutes on the treadmill, mostly uphill, then had a shower and went to Meijer's grocery shopping. The little girls are all coming over this evening to hang the dated ornaments (a yearly tradition). I picked up some hot dogs and brats and some crescent rolls to wrap around them and bake them in the oven. I believe they are referred to as pigs in a blanket. I will also whip up some cheesy potatoes from a package mix. I also bought 6 decorated cupcakes and half a dozen Christmas cookies. I will try to get pictures.

What about you? What are you doing today? Does it involve some kind of annual tradition? Some time for art? Do tell.....


Friday, December 14, 2012

Getting My Life Back and A Face Sketch

Today was the third day in a row that I walked 2 miles on the treadmill and I must say it feels good (if a bit boring). I am really looking forward to the day I can go back to my personal training class. But for now, it appears to be another step toward my old life.

Miss Z is coming today after dinner and will stay for 2 nights. I am really looking forward to her visit and hope to get a few pix. I can now take pictures, if slowly, using my right hand to both help hold the camera and release the shutter button.

I spent just a little time in my "Face It" altered book and tried to do a face with mostly shading with a number 2 pencil. I may add some color at a later time.

I am hoping to get a watercolor started this afternoon and then spend some time on it this weekend. I hope to have something to share on Monday.

What about you? I so enjoy the comments in which you tell me about your art projects! What are  yu working on? Are you finding some time for yourself during this holiday season? Do share....


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Working in the Art Room

I did get the bathrooms cleaned (I am unable to do floors or bathtubs) yesterday and did pick up the art room and then I decided to take some time to play a bit. I opened up a folder of reference photos on the computer and began to sketch on a page in an old Chemistry notebook from the late 1980s when I was a student at MSU. As you will see some of the sketches ran into each other, but I really don't mind. It was such a wonderful feeling to be working in my room.

It would appear that scale is not a feature here and that I really like drawing birds.

While I was picking up, I rediscovered the "British Weather" book that I was altering and had retitled "Face It" and decided to try a page in it. I first added a bit of clear gesso and when it was dry I did a rough sketch and then used Neocolor IIs to add a bit of color.

It will be another busy day. I am hoping to spend a bit of time on the treadmill (I walked/ran 2 miles yesterday.) and then do a bit of art before getting help with a shower. The hubster is going to therapy with me and then we will do a bit of Christmas shopping before ending our afternoon at Klavon's for pizza. I cannot have any milk products, but have found their pizza with chicken, pineapple and mushrooms is really good even without cheese.

What about you? Are you getting your shopping done? Are you making handmade gifts? Cookies? Are you finding time for art? Do share.....


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Art in the Mail and A Sketch

I received a lovely card in the mail yesterday from my lovely and talented friend Tracey Fletcher King and wanted to share it with you. If you don't know Tracey, you will definitely want to follow the link above to visit her.

I took this photo using Photo Booth on my iMac.

I've been working hundreds of crosswords during my convalescence, and found a space at the bottom of one of them on which to sketch my left hand.

At yesterday's PT session, I finally began working on moving the wrist. I still  have to wear this hard cast/splint, which makes it really difficult to write/draw with my right hand, but I am working through it. The exercises can only help. I am hoping to get clearance to no longer wear this contraption before Christmas.

Today I have to try my hand at cleaning a bit in the bathrooms and then may actually begin the overwhelming task of cleaning off the surfaces in my art room so it is ready for me when I am ready to get back in there and really do some art. Perhaps later today I will try to get a photo of the junk drawer so I can catch up with Aimee and List It Tuesday - it appears I am a week behind.

What about you? What are your plans for the day? Does it include some arty projects? Are you making cards? sketching? painting? Do share.....


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

List It Tuesday

I think I am a week behind because my list is Comforts and I think that was for last week. Maybe later in the week I will take a photo of the junk drawer and list it contents so I can catch up. For now here is my list of comforts. It is written with my right hand, but the cast is still making my handwriting a bit shaky.

I've been reading quite a bit lately and have a couple of books to recommend. The first is The Sandcastle Girls and the other is Cutting For Stone. Both very good reads. I've been downloading ebooks from the library and reading them on my iPad.

Today I have the chiropractor in the morning and then physical therapy in the afternoon. If I am up to it, I plan to do a bit of shopping for stocking stuffers and the like. I think Christmas is sneaking up on me and I don't want to be caught unawares.

What are you doing today? Are you ready for the season? Are you making art? Do share...


Monday, December 10, 2012

A Bit of Sketching

I had a good weekend and am still improving at a good pace. The pain in my hand that has been white hot nerve pain is beginning to settle somewhat - still quite painful, but much less white hot. And the better I feel, the more I am chomping at the bit to get into the art room. I've been fantasizing about beginning a pastel drawing, but don't think I should be getting pastel dust on my cast. I think I will get rid of this blasted, but necessary accessory (the cast) in a week or two and then watch out. I have so much art stored in my brain just waiting, I am sure to be a maniac for the first few days of freedom.

For now I have a few sketches I did over the weekend to share with you. The sketchbook is too large to fit on the scanner bed, so I took photos instead. It feels good to finally be able to hold the camera and actually be able to push the shutter button.

What about you? I've already read this morning's new posts in Reader and have some really nice art. What a great way to start my day! Do you have some art to share? I'd love to hear about it and have a link to follow so that I can look at it.....


Friday, December 7, 2012

Getting Better and A Quick Sketch

Both the doctor and the PT people were quite pleased with my progress in terms of my range of motion improvement. Athena, the PT goddess, altered the hard cast so that it would no longer rest directly on the most hypersensitive knuckle on the back of my hand. The doctor thinks that when I am fully healed he will remove the screws as he feels they are interfering with the tendons. I am not looking forward to that, but Athena did say it was a minor thing that did not require therapy.

I missed posting yesterday and didn't take the time to sketch, but have done a quick sketch this morning of a favorite pitcher I bought at the Salvation Army earlier this Fall.

I have been dreaming of drawing and then painting landscapes, but realistically I think it will be awhile that really happens. For now I am just happy to have a pencil in my right hand.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Decorative Birdhouse

It is a beautiful, sunny morning and I am feeling pretty good. I've done my first workout of the day (range of motion for my right hand) and the only really difficult, very painful part is the desensitization exercises. For now I am lightly running a silk scarf over the portion of the back of my hand where the radial nerve runs. It is unbelievable how badly it hurts. I continued this for a full 5 minutes. The feeling becomes a bit less painful as I work, but is still quite awful. This is the area in which I need the most work so far.

Once I was done with the torture exercises, I did a quick sketch of a decorative birdhouse that lives on a shelf in the living room using my right hand. I am finding the pencil a bit easier to hold, but the cast is still very much in the way.

Miss Z is coming later today to spend the night with us. I am still unable to change diapers or dress her or pick her up, but I am loving having her around regardless.

I will do the prescribed exercises and desensitization exercises three or four more times today and have an x-ray, doctor consult and PT session tomorrow. I am very pleased with my progress and am hoping for more of the same as I continue.

How are you doing? Are you finding time during this very busy time of the year to make time for yourself and your creativity? Do share.....


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Quick Still Life Sketch

I have a busy day planned today. I am going shopping and out to lunch with a dear friend and then I have physical therapy. I am looking forward to more advanced exercises even though the current ones do offer a bit of a challenge.

I took a moment this morning to do a quick sketch. It is so difficult to get a good grip of the pencil.

I am hoping to try a longer drawing with more detail later today.

It is really good to be back even if only with the most rudimentary drawings.


Monday, December 3, 2012

A Bit of Art

I have finally been referred to the hand specialist in this area and no longer have to see the awful orthopod who continued to ignore the soft issues in my hand and appeared to be actively trying to crush my spirit. I have begun physical therapy and am already seeing a bit of improvement.

Yesterday while sitting in the living room after one of my PT take home workouts, I decided to try to sketch the view out my large window with my right hand. I am still in a cast to protect my healing wrist fractures, but am able to lightly hold a pencil.

I am going to try to get into the habit of doing art everyday and post to this blog Monday thru Friday.  I can make no promises that this will become a reality just as typing is still quite difficult and I really need to do some major picking up in my work room before any art can be done in there.

I have been keeping up with the reading of the blogs to which I subscribe, but have not been leaving comments. I must tell you that I've seen some fabulous art, though, and it makes my heart soar and my spirit begin to mend.

I need an assisted shower this morning and then the hubster and I are going grocery shopping and stopping to pick up my prescriptions.

I will try to do something arty later.

Until then.....


Friday, November 23, 2012

Art Rage Non-dominant Hand


Just a quick post with a vase of flowers painted with my left hand using Art Rage on my iPad.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Health Update and A Wee Bit of Art

So, I spent the first eight days after suffering a constant white-hot, searing pain in the back of my hand, and the medicine was just not getting ahead of it. Yesterday the cast was removed to find a severe tendinitis in the back of my hand. A stronger anti-inflammatory was prescribed and a splint has replaced the hard cast. This leaves the affected part of my hand pretty much unwrapped. I am still experiencing a good bit of pain, but is not so searing and the medicine is able to quiet it a bit.

My dear in-laws sent a lovely bouquet to me. I wasn't able to get the right perspective when I photographed it because I had to set the camera on a stack of magazines in order to hit the shutter release.

I attempted a loose left handed sketch but my eye level was further up than this camera angle.

The scribbles on the right are courtesy of my youngest guest, Miss Z.

I've been trying to stay up with your blogs and they are adding bright spots to my long days. It is such work to leave comments that I haven't been, but I do want all of you to know how much having your stories to read and your art to look at has meant to me as I work on my recovery.

It feels really to post to my blog, but it has worn me out.

Til next time.....


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Unexpected hiatus


I was being a Good Samaritan yesterday morning when I took a bad spill on my daughter's tiled kitchen floor. I fractured my right arm near the wrist in two places. I have an appointment with an orthopod early this afternoon.

Somehow I can't see myself carving stamps for awhile, but maybe I can improve my non-dominant hand drawing.

I'll keep you posted and hope to be able to find a creative outlet during my recuperation.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

List It Tuesday

Aimee at Artsyville is hosting List It Tuesday again and I thought I'd participate once more. This week's topic is Quick Fixes - things you could do in a flash that don't get done. So without further ado, here is mine.

Each of these items on my list would only take a few minutes to get done, but I don't think of them until some inopportune moment and so again they don't get done.

What quick fixes are you putting off?


Home Again and More Mail Art

I'm home from my visit to my Mom's for her 88th birthday and the weather has taken a turn. It is cold and windy here this morning. My heart goes out to those of you on the east coast where the storm is wreaking havoc. I have a couple of photos to share from my visit to St. Ignace. Here is one of Mom and the 11 of her remaining 13 children. My brother, John, lost his battle with cancer four years ago (I can't believe it's been that long already) and my oldest sister, Pat, who lives in Florida, wasn't able to attend; and my youngest brother, Joe, who lives in Texas, couldn't make it. For those of you who might be reading this and know my family a bit the ones standing (from left to right) are: Kathy, Mary, Molly, Tim, Anne, Mike, Dan, and Jane. Those of us sitting are (from left to right) Susie, moi, Mom and Margaret.

And here is a photo of the Mackinac Bridge that connects Michigan's two peninsulas, joining Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. I never tire of this sight and the approach of this man made wonder is always a sign that I am nearing home. The weather was chilly (mid 40s) while I was home, but it was beautifully sunny.

And when I returned I had two more mail art postcards from the Autumn Swap. One from Stephanie Chao,

and one from Kit Gonzales Moore,

I have an appointment with the chiropractor this morning, but don't think I will make it to the Yoga class. The hubster and I are planning to spend some time helping my daughter get her garage dunned out so she can park her car inside now that inclement weather is upon us. I think that will be a good workout.  And then I think the daughter and I may go to the gym and join up.

How about you? Are you safe from this storm they are calling Sandy? Are you enjoying electricity? Does that mean that you have a chance to do some art today? Do share.....


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hummingbird Stamp and Mail Art

I found a hummingbird image in one of the books in the little girls' room and decided I really needed a hummingbird stamp. I must admit there is something very soothing about carving, even when I make mistakes. I also tried my hand at a dead tree to use in my mail art with a Fall theme.

And I got the postcards ready to mail, but because I am leaving early this morning to go north and the deadline for mailing them is actually mid-December, I will wait to post them until I return early next week. I will drive into Leslie to mail them as the ladies there really appreciate seeing the arty things I send.

I used a filter to obliterate the addy.

I had a wonderful workout in my personal training session yesterday afternoon and shortly after I got home Miss Z came for the night and then my daughter and her two girls came for a late dinner. It was wonderful to have the three girls here together. The baby really loves her two bigger cousins and they all had a great time.

I've had a shower this morning, but need to go blow dry my hair and get packed while Miss Z is still sleeping. Then I will have a quick bite and play with her for a bit before I head out. I am taking my camera with me and my iPad, so if I get a chance I will post from the road.

What are you up to today? Does it include travel? art? baking? Do share.....


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mail Art Progress and A New Stamp

I took my 15 watercolor post cards that I'd cut to size for my mail art swap outside yesterday and put them on an old sheet from the hubster's workshop. I spray painted them on one side with Grape Jelly and Lady Bug Fireworks inks and sprayed them with Liquitex Yellow Oxide spray paint on the other side. I just needed some background color on which to stamp. I've arranged them on my drafting table with appropriate stamps and think I am ready to begin, but then I think, "I should make more Autumn themed stamps, maybe a sheaf of corn or a bat, or maybe a scarecrow." And then I think I am never going to get these finished and in the mail if I keep thinking I don't have the right handmade stamps for the job.

I made a new bird stamp last evening. I'd found a really cute bird shape on a folk art calendar that I'd saved from 2007, and decided I'd like a stamp like that. I messed up on one of the toes, but overall I like her.

My hamstring feels much better today after resting and icing yesterday so I am ready for my personal training session this afternoon. I am really looking forward to it because I will then be out of town for the rest of the week and won't return until Monday.

It is Mom's 88th birthday today. There is a small party for her that on Saturday in the commons room at her apartment complex. Rumor has it that 11 of her 14 children will be there. Mary, Anne and I will be staying at Mom's and I anticipate a really good time watching the World Series, playing cribbage, scrabble, and Yahtzee and working crossword puzzles. There will undoubtedly be trips to the second hand store and to the Moose for a Friday night fish fry. I am planning to have the perch. Pasties are probably on the menu at some time during the visit as well.

So, I guess today I will be doing laundry and packing for my trip. I am really looking forward to this visit as I probably won't be going up to the UP again until the Spring, maybe not until Mothers' Day. I am picking up my sister, Mary, and it will be so nice to have company on the four hour drive. I usually make the trip alone and it can get really tedious on the highway with only myself for company.

What are you planning to do today? Will it include communing with nature? making art? baking? or some other creative enterprise? Do share.....


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fragmented Watercolor and Nature Pix

I am having a lot of fun with the latest watercolor that I call fragmented watercolor. I traced my last watercolor outline and then drew lines through it. While adding color, I am treating each segment as a separate piece. This is what I have so far.

I liked how it was progressing, but the lines were bothering me, so I decided to make them more a part of the picture. I outlined the parts of the picture including the lines. I think I like this better.

It still needs shadows and some background, but so far I like it quite well.

Meanwhile, I worked on the Van Gogh-ish flowers on the windowsill and came up with this as my value study. We were instructed to ignore the flowers, so I tried to do that.


Late yesterday afternoon, the hubster and I drove to Haehnle Sanctuary just south of here to check out the Sandhill Crane gathering. We went for a walk on the mowed path and observed the park itself while listening to the calls of the birds. The sky was flat, colorless, but there was still some color in some of the surrounding trees.

We saw a couple other living creatures on our walk.

The lake where the cranes congregated was about 1/2 mile away from the bench where we were sitting. I used my 20x zoom Canon point and shoot camera and was able to get a picture of them. The quality is not what I wish it was, but I am still impressed with the zoom on this little camera.

I could not believe the number of cranes that arrived while we were there. I wanted to come up with an alliterative phrase for them, like a cacophony of cranes, a crowd of cranes, a crateload of cranes, a cluster of cranes, a carload of cranes, a cornucopia of cranes.....

I finally looked it up and a group of cranes is called a sedge. Not exactly the lilting off the tongue I was looking for, but for what it is worth, the hubster and I witnessed a sedge of cranes last evening.

I am quite sore from yesterday's conditioning and core class and my left Achilles' tendon is still bothering me, so I am not going to yoga this morning. I am, however, going to the chiropractor.  I spray painted the post cards I'd cut to size for the swap that I am involved in and will try to work on them this afternoon. I will share them with you when they are done.

What about you? What are you doing these days? Are you out of doors enjoying this warm weather before the big chill? Are you finding time for your art? I'd love to see it....


Monday, October 22, 2012

Watercolor Still Life Finish and A New Beginning

Miss Z was with us from the time I got home from my Friday personal training class until around 1:30 yesterday afternoon. She is so much fun, but so much work, and she is growing so fast. She is quite the talker these days and is such fun to talk with. Here she is in the little girls' room playing with a bear that is as big as she is,

After she'd gone home, I decided to add some shadows to my still life and then put a light layer of paint over the entire picture and put scrunched up plastic wrap over it all to dry. This is what I have as my finished painting.

Somewhere, but I can't seem to find my reference, I read about an interesting method of painting in which you draw sections on your drawing and then paint each section separately so that your painting is fragmented a bit. Here is what I've drawn - does anyone know what this is called or maybe where I've encountered this idea?

Today I am planning to finally work on the Van Gogh flowers on a windowsill. I will try to use various grays of watercolor pencil to make a value study and get it posted to the Watercolour Pencil Buddies group. And perhaps I will begin the fragmented watercolor painting.

For now, I need more coffee before heading for my conditioning class. And then, except for a bit of dusting and bathroom cleaning, I will have time to spend in my art room playing. My Mom turns 88 on Wednesday and I am picking up a sister nearby and heading for the Far North to help celebrate. I am really looking forward to the visit as I will see lots of sisters and a few brothers and it will surely be a great time.

What about you? How are you doing these days? Are you finding time for art? Do you have anything you'd like to share with me? If you leave a comment, I can follow your link back to your blog. You wouldn't believe how many of the blogs I subscribe to have been found in that way.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Watercolor Still Life WIP

I spent much of yesterday cleaning house and then watching the Tigers clinch the American League Pennant. Afterwards I began the task of choosing a still life to paint. I chose the top left even though more of you liked the bottom right. Something about the angle of the rectangular books and the trio of rounded is the beginning sketch,

I began with the background in a purplish color and added salt to it. I was expecting magic, but I got ugliness. But I persisted. I added a bit of color to the books - as it turns out, not the color they really are. Then I added a bit of color to the fruit. It is not at all like I pictured it, but it is not done yet. I need to add more contrast to the colors and shadows.

At this point I cannot decide whether to add shading and then do a glaze overall with plastic over it to create interesting texture. Or whether to begin to add interest with pastels or colored pencils. Comments/suggestions are more than welcome.

This morning I am getting my teeth cleaned and then have to take a camera battery back to Best Buy. It will not power my camera. I probably should have insisted on the Canon battery, not a generic. I then have the middle of the day to play in my art room. In the afternoon I have a chiropractor visit followed by my personal training workout. When I get home Miss Z will be here for the weekend.

What about you? What do you have planned for today and the weekend? Does it include family time? art time? baking or homemade soup making? Do tell....