Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weekly Challenge at Inspiration Avenue: "Tea"

Here's my entry for this week's challenge at Inspiration Avenue- the theme was "tea" and I thought it was a perfect oppurtunity to experiment with the oil pastels I just got for my art class supplies.  I had been letting my students use my Caran D'ache pastels which worked great for a small group to use in my dining room- but this party that I'm teaching tomorrow has 10 young ladies coming, and there was no way I could stretch my own stock that far!

Anyway; I bought some sets of Sennelier oil pastels  (at about half the price of my others) and wanted to see if they were as good as advertised, and they ARE!  I love the way they layer- you can build color on top of color using either your finger or the actual pastels to blend them-I LOVE these pastels!
So here's my entry for this week's challenge:
I've been wanting to do a portrait of our kitten, Mojo, so I incorporated her into the challenge.....
And there you go!  Be sure to stop by IA to see what everyone else came up with- as always, there is sure to be a beautifully diverse collection of art!
Happy Sunday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Paint Party Friday- July 29, 2011

Backgrounds seem to be my nemesis....or something, because, they're almost always the hardest part of every painting for me!  Anyway, this background has been numerous shades of green, and then blues and then browns and then finally ending with a mixture of all of the above- the blues and turquoises really don't show up well here- but enough to get an idea.  And, I'm mostly happy with this.  I like the border, even tho' the final effect wasn't exactly what I had in mind- I did want to play with softer colors and maybe because they're a little different from my usual color palette this seems so different to me?  I really don't know- I do know I was happy to finish and am ever so ready to move on to something else!
Be sure to stop by at Paint Party Friday- either to check in your own work or just to check everyone else out- it's always a blast!
Happy Friday (a day early ;))

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What's Up in the Studio- Progress....

Just popping to give a quick update on my two main WIP's
First off, I finished Miles the choco lab- I ended up adding more shading to emphasize how dark his coat is....
So, here's Miles:

As for my butterfly, I'm still adding layers of color, but to just to give you an idea of where I'm at.....
I'm really trying to keep it from looking too "sweet" or cliche.....and also I've been "browning up" the main background, because yesterday when the two backgrounds were alternating shades of dark and light greens (and since it's not St. Paddy's day), I decided it was TOO much green- I love green, but not at those levels!  And as always, when I'm working on a painting, I alternate between being happy with it and then not so much....right now, I'm on the not so much end of things which is usually a signal that it's about time to stop for the day!
So, I'll just do a couple more things and hopefully end on a good note!  Then it's time for TEA- that's the theme at Inspiration Avenue this week.  There's still time to enter a submission for the week- just hop over to Inspiration Avenue and leave a link in the comments section of the current challenge; tho' we promise not to tell if you choose an alternate cuppa ;) to feature.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook- July 26th 2011

Every once in a while, I stumble across a fellow blogger's gratitude list, and I've thought "Oh how, neat, I should really start doing this too!"  But for whatever reason, I never have.....I also never realized that these gratitude lists were part of a blog hop hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook blog by Peggy .  I bought the book "Simple Abundance", by Sarah Breathnach YEARS ago, and I still have it out where I can flip through it daily (actually, it's in the loo...;))  It's one of those books that no matter what page I open it to, the writing is always relevant to where I am currently in my life.  WONDERFUL book.  Anyhow, I digress.  One of the exercises the book recommends is a  daily gratitude list of 5 things you're grateful for.  I got out of the habit a while ago, but it's something I've missed.  For now, the first step I'll take to getting back to it is to join the Simple Woman's Daybook blog hop.  So, here I go;

Outside my window...I hear the morning birds calling, see the garden blooming and neighbors on their morning walks.

I am thinking...that I love looking forward to each new season- I am truly ready for Autumn!

I am thankful...that school begins next week- time to get back on a real schedule!

In the kitchen...There is fresh coffee- soon there will be bagels and cream cheese.....

I am wearing...My Betty Boop pj's, a grey tank top and my glasses

I am creating...a painting of a butterfly, a portrait of a chocolate lab, a journal page for July and lots more ideas are swirling in my head......

I am stay home and paint today

I am wondering...what I should paint next- too many ideas, too little time

I am reading..."What's Nest on my List" by Jill Smolinski

I am hoping...that I won't have a hard time breaking my habit of smoking in a couple of weeks

I am looking forward to...receiving the next Traveling Sketchbook- it's always like Christmas!

I am hearing...the washing machine, a kitten purring, Blue Jays and Towhees calling

Around the house...All is quiet, because I'm only one up!

I am pondering...what color the last zinnia should be in my painting......

One of my favorite things...Weekend barbecues with family and friends

A few plans for the rest of the week: I'm hosting a paint party for 10 second graders- super excited about this!, finishing my painting, hanging out with my kids, grilling with the family, and buying school supplies

Here are some pictures for thought I am sharing...
Spiderman stopping for a little refreshment

One of the snaps I took for last weeks IA challenge: "Wings"- Does anyone know what kind of bug this is?

Mojo enjoying the sunshine- I can't believe how big she has gotten!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekly Challenge at Inspiration Avenue: "Wings"

Since I didn't finish my butterfly painting, I modified my photo to submit instead.
Here it is:
I'm really excited about this painting, so you can be sure that I'll be giving updates throughout the week!
In the meantime, stop by Inspiration Avenue to see what everyone else came up with!
Have a great day!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Paint Party Friday- July 22, 2011

For this week's PPF, I have two WIP's to show.  The first is a portrait of a Chocolate lab named Miles....he's almost done, just a little tweaking to do.  I like to include a combination of shading and line work in my pencil drawings.
So I'll do a little shading on his ears and just a touch on his hind foot and then call him done!  I love working in pencil- it's funny but lately I spend so much time painting, that I forget how much I enjoy working in other mediums.....

For my other WIP, I started a new painting for this week's challenge at Inspiration Avenue- the theme is "Wings" so I chose to do a butterfly surrounded by zinnias.  I'm planning to work to the edges of the tape, then re tape along the painted edges and finish the composition in a paler palette creating a "frame" of sorts...I've never done this before, but I'm really excited about seeing how it turns out.
Here's what I have so far:
Be sure to stop by Paint Party Friday to see what everyone else has been up to- it's always an amazing collection of work!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My July Entry for Andrea's Sketchbook

Yay, I finally finished my entry for Andrea's sketchbook....I had so much fun doing this and truthfully, half the fun was when I thought I'd messed it up and had to brainstorm until I'd figured it out.
Here it is finished:
And for those of you who didn't see it on Friday; this is what I started with, but it didn't work with the background I'd made for it, so I cut it up and "made some lemonade"........

For the first page, I always loved the background, just not with my painting, so here is my picasso inspired painting in pop up format- which I must admit, I'm realllly happy with!

And to update from yesterday....I never did see my dragonflies- I wonder if they're hiding from me knowing I want to take a picture?  But, I did get a picture of our little froggie (Emmie has named him Toadie) and our Swallowtail butterflies that have just started coming through....

That's all for now, folks- I need to get back to work on my canine portrait and start sketching for my IA challenge....
Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wings in the Garden.....

The challenge this week at Inspiration Avenue is "Wings" and since it's been a while since I've painted a new canvas, I've decided to use this theme as a starting point.  My first thought was to do something Dragonflies, since I LOVE them, collect them and have several hanging out in my garden lately.  I will try to get some pics of them when it's drier outside- they haven't come out yet today. 
But, I do have some garden art that relates to flying....which relates to wings
I have a flying fish:

 Here he is up close.....

 I couldn't resist sharing a shot of our baby Koi- they just got brave enough to feed while we're watching!

 Some of my Dragonfly garden art......which fits the theme better, since they have wings :D

This is a picture I took last year....and I'm thinking it's the one I want to use unless I get really lucky with the dragonflies today ;)

That's about all for today.  I also need to finish my journal spread in Andrea's sketchbook and start a dog portrait I've been commissioned to do....and there IS the never ending housework and chores.  Of course the kids are still home, but we've entered the teen phase where they'd rather be with their friends or on FB, reading, really anything other than playing around with me....I think that's called growing up ;)
Have a beautiful Tuesday!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Paint Party Friday: July 15, 2011

Yay- it's Paint Party Friday and I'm finally able to participate again!  Between vacation and lots of doctor's appointments, I haven't had a chance to be part of the party for several weeks now- I've really missed it!
I've been working on Andrea of Falling Ladies sketchbook this week and I based my design on several themes.  I wanted to do something that acknowledged Independence Day without being too cliche- so I decided to use stars.  Also, Andrea is famous for her wonderful paintings of falling ladies and I wanted to do something that was a nod to her, and her style.  SO after playing around with various words and quotes and sketches, I came across the words "Cloudy with a Chance of Stars"...and everything fell into place after that- or so I thought!
this is the background of my central spread- and I never had a problem with it....
my plan had been to do a painting of two women flying with umbrella scanning agross the page with a fold out of the canvas....and I was happy with the painting; just not with the background AND the painting together- they clashed and fought!
 the colors just refused to work together!

I also had the Inspiration Avenue challenge to contend with- the theme was Picasso and I do like this painting with the background!
 I'm not finished installing it- I'm planning to glue it in as a pop up- which I think will be really cool!

but what about the first painting?

since I'm never one for throwing things away, I've already cut up the painting and am planning to use it for my other two pages along with my description of what I did and why.
more on that later :)
Be sure to stop by Paint Party Friday- there are always so many wonderful artists to visit!
Happy Paint Party Friday!

Weekly Challenge at Inspiration Avenue: "Picasso"

The challenge this week at Inspiration Avenue was "Picasso" which thrilled me as he's is one of my favorites!  I love how free he was with his use of color and shapes, but his line art is truly my favorite of all his work.  So simple, yet sophisticated- and yet, so hard to emulate.  In my opinion, it's a lot harder to leave something out than to draw all the elements of something.  SO, since I have  Andrea's sketchbook sitting on my desk waiting for a July entry, I chose to do a take on Picasso's "The Face of Peace" and incorporate it into my design.  Instead of using a dove, I added stars (as a nod to Independence Day) into my drawing and used the words "Cloudy with a chance of Stars" as my theme.....
So, here's my lady:
I know, not nearly as elegant as Senor Picasso's work, but I had a LOT of fun with her!  Be sure to check out what everyone else came up with this week at Inspiration Avenue- or even better yet, make something of your own inspired by Picasso!  You have until noon Sunday to submit it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What I would have done for last weeks challenge at IA....

Some of you thought I'd been on an extended vacation when I was away for so long, and while it wasn't *extended*, I did go on a short trip to West Virginia last.  My hubby doesn't like for me to post online when we're out of town, so I didn't say anything until now....
Anyway, I had several great ideas for last week's "Poetry" theme at Inspiration Avenue.....but unfortunately, I left my camera cable at home, so I'm posting this belatedly.....
One idea I had was to post pictures of some graffiti I'd seen that spelled out "I FLY" across the top of a bridge.  I loved the possibilities of this, but unfortunately, we could never get a good shot of it.
I did find some other graffiti that I thought was interesting but a little negative in that it stated- "Welcome to Hell" paired with another sign suggesting to "Kiss it"- I'm not sure if these were meant to be seen together....but in any case I decided against posting it for my entry!

But my favorite find was this crumbling coal miners cemetery from the 1800's with just a few mossy tombstones remaining.

 this was the sign at the entrance- I think if you click on it, you can read it.....

 I doctored this picture until I could read some of the words and thanks to Google, here is "my" poem submitted on the behalf of those lost coal miners:
 "Peaceful in the grave so low.
     Thou will no more join our number
     Thou no more our song shall know."
I couldn't resist taking this picture- in my head, I was waving to my friend Cheryl of Healing Woman who lives in Roanoke- what a beautiful area you live in, Cheryl!

And for anyone who might have been curious about the "Welcome to Hell" graffiti, here it is.......

and one last picture...I promise not to bore you with too many ;)
This is the railroad bridge beyond the graffiti....
We saw so many incredible visas on this trip and some AMAZING bridges too.  And speaking of incredible things, please stop by Inspiration Avenue to see what people submitted who WERE on time!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm still here!

Sorry I've been MIA for so's been a roller coaster ride of a life the last several weeks!  I find it really hard to strike a balance between being personal on my blog and not getting too personal, so I didn't want to write about this until I knew what I was dealing with.  To make a long story short; two and a half weeks ago, I found a (painful) lump in one of my breasts and went to the doctor who sent me for a mammogram and sonograms which led to a visit with a surgeon who ordered a biopsy- last week was a whirlwind of in and out of various doctor's offices and the word "cancer" was thrown into more conversations than I like to think about.  Anyway, I didn't want ya'll to have to play the waiting game with me, so I'm writing this now too say that the results came back negative.  We will have to deal with the lump which turned out to be a chronic/acute abscess, but that's nothing compared to what it could have been! 
I think of my friends in blogland as real friends- almost to the level of family, so it seemed important to share this with you even tho' it has nothing to do with art or any of the various ways of creating it.  And I would have shared this earlier, but I just couldn't think of a way to write about it without voicing the many fears I was experiencing while I was going through it.
 I will leave you with a peek into my garden as it was last week - my refuge for when I was trying to stay positive and not be scared and also manage to keep all these worries from my children- one more level of the roller coaster, I expect.