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Thursday, February 6, 2014

JUST CHILLAXIN....




This little scribble was done at a little park not far from
Susie's house that we frequent often.  We were "just chillin" and enjoying the
beautiful day outside.  This was done in a small watercolor
journal that my BFF made for me.  

Although much of the art Susie and I have done together has originated either ON or FROM a trip somewhere, this is not always the case.  Of course, now that we live about four hours driving distance apart, there is that little trip, but I don't count that.

I have found the most difficult thing about going to spend time with my BFF is in trying to figure out what I am going to take with me.  Because we are heavily invested in SO many things, we have to check in with one another before leaving so we will know WHAT to bring and long ago figured out we can't take it all with us.  Will we make jewelry (should I bring the beads?), will we work on a new or old quilt (should I bring fabric?), or will we knit/crochet (bring the yarn?)...??????  So much to think about.

But there is ALWAYS the ever present mini watercolor set.  After years of purchasing a multitude of easels, pallets, watercolor tubes, sponges, brushes, watercolor additives and tools ad infinitude...which is not to mention all the papers and journals in every size, weight and texture imaginable, we have finally arrived at a tiny little kit we can usually fit into our medium sized purses.  And although we HAVE traveled with the BIG stuff in tow, the heavy duty supplies now mostly live at home in the studio.


Another park....another painting.  Susie wanted me to see the house
on the hill.  It was hot that day and, while I don't recall for certain,
looks like those are rain clouds in the distance.  Sometimes a few raindrops
on a watercolor painting can be interesting.  Unlike oils or acrylic, where the
paint STAYS where you put it, working in watercolor means giving
up control for the most part .  It's exciting to watch the colors flow, blend
and do their own thing.  Susie is a master of fluid technique and dashes
beautiful paintings out faster than I can drink a cup of coffee before it gets cold.
Most of the time she is finished and waiting anxiously for me to finish so we
can move on to our next scene.  The pressure, the pressure...... 

We are never quite sure where we will wind up on our little day outings, but it's always enjoyable.  The duration of our playtime is dictated by only weather and hunger.  Sometimes we bring food with us for a little mini picnic as we did the last time I was down to see her.  We had some unexpected guests for lunch.....

The Ibis showed up looking for a free meal.  They were quite respectful actually and nothing like some of the birds who have joined our picnics over the years.  These guys had absolutely no fear and hung around for a long visit so I had time to dash this off as a memento of that day.

We are all building memories every day... Do everything YOU can to make your memories happy ones.  Take care of your friends and those you love.  Carry them in your heart with a smile.  And as always I say to you.....

Sketch on.......
 Bonnie

PS:  We so much appreciate your comments.  It helps us
        to know that you are enjoying the blog and spurs us
        on to continue.  : )  So jump on in and leave us a message.






Friday, January 31, 2014

ONE NIGHT AT THE QUEEN ANNE





A number of years ago my BFF, Susie (aka Suzy) and I were blessed to have been able to take what to date is recalled by both of us as the BEST VACATION EV-ER.  You have to say EV-ER like a valley girl to really understand what I'm talking about here.  You just did it, didn't you?  

As with many of our vacations, this one began with only a rough "outline".  Other than flying into Sacramento for a BEAD SHOW (YEA) and staying with Susie's cousin for a few days and finally winding up at the end of two weeks in Los Angeles, there WAS no plan, no timeline, no deadlines and of course, NO RESERVATIONS....cause THAT'S how WE roll.  LOL.  Both of us abhor the thought that we might be somewhere having a marvelous time and then have to leave just because we have a committed reservation at another place.  Call us crazy but we both say a great big NO to that plan.

After having driven from Sacramento through wine country and then down the coast (many stories to tell there) we finally were in the city of legend that we both had longed to see...SAN FRANCISCO.  After a day of non stop activity it was getting close to sundown and if we had given any thought at all to where we would sleep that night it was only in passing.  While I consider myself adventurous, when the sun begins to get low in the sky and I don't have my bearings, I do begin to get a little anxious.  So Susie and I headed back to the pier....yes THE PIER, if for no other reason than we had a place to sit down and we could get a beverage.  We sat at our table, where we could see the lights from Ghirardelli across the water, and perused the AAA travel book seeking refuge for the night.  It was a little dicey at first as we called several places which were either booked or an exorbitant amount of money.  This was not the first time (nor would it be the last) that we thought we just might be spending the night in our rented car.  If you have ever heard the phrase, "God watches over babies and fools", this would be a place that it applied; and we were fortunate to finally find a room at a "vintage" hotel which was within our budget and not far from where were.  We got the directions and off we went into the San Franciscan night.



Finding our way to the hotel was no problem.  We had been told there was a free parking lot "across the street".  We drove by once and did not see a parking lot of any kind, so we drove around the block again.  Hmmm still no parking lot across the street.  Were we BLIND here?  Again....around the block....frustration beginning to set in just a bit....still not seeing a parking lot.  So we decided we would just park on the street, go check in, and after asking where the mysterious parking lot is located I would go back out and park the car in the free lot.  Unfortunately the "street" parking was parallel and admittedly this is not my best skill.  We found a spot and I proceeded to attempt "the parking procedure", but then a car came by and I had to abort the mission (the street was narrow).  Around the block again to come back to the parking space....again during the attempt ANOTHER car comes by....ABORT MISSION.  After a few more times around the block we are both frustrated and tired (it being about 8 PM by then) so we decided to drive around the block ONE MORE TIME and find ANY kind of parking place.  This time we saw a tiny little parking lot without a sign across and DOWN the street on the SIDE of the hotel.  Who knew parking could be so exhausting?

The Queen Anne hotel was an elegantly furnished and fabulous old monument to the Victorian era.  We were thrilled to have arrived in our room and now we were starving.  Without even taking time to unpack we went back downstairs and inquired with the staff where we might eat.  The suggestion was a place in "Japan Town" which was a short distance down the street....optimal word here is DOWN...remember?  San Francisco?  Given the recent "parking experience" and the fact that the restaurant was not far away we opted to walk after being assured by the hotel staff that the neighborhood was quite safe.

Our late dinner was beyond fabulous and the wine and dessert was perfect.  I wish I could eat it again..right now!  It was about 10:30 or so when we finished our leisurely dinner, paid our bill, tipped well, and left to walk back UP to the hotel.  Funny we had not noticed how steep the street was on our way TO the restaurant, nor had we noticed how very   l  o  n  g
that "short distance" was.   Now after the dinner, dessert and wine it felt like trying to climb a mountain.  It was quite dark on the street and I began to also notice for the first time how many small alcoves and alleys there were between the buildings we were passing. It began to feel a little spooky.  By now Susie was at least three strides ahead of me as usual (I being 5'2" and she 5'8").  

Suddenly I heard the crunch of footsteps behind me and my heart skipped a few beats.    Although my mind immediately started racing, I kept telling myself to just be calm, it's just someone walking...but the person did not pass us....and those ALLEYS would be so easy to pull a person into....and it was sooo dark, there was no one else on the street and all the shops were closed, and we were two women all alone....  I knew Susie had detected the footsteps  as well because she had picked up the pace.  She quickly reached her best uphill speed while I struggled to keep the distance between us at a minimum as we both focused on reaching the hotel.  My heart was racing as fast as my mind, and my chubby little short legs pumped harder.  I had always wanted to be tall (so I could eat more) but now I REALLY wanted long legs so I could walk faster to at least keep up...and ahead of the scary footsteps.  

Finally we reached the hotel and almost FELL through the doorway panting like the devil himself had been chasing us.  The hotel staff said something to us to which neither of us had the breath to acknowledge so we merely nodded and may have mumbled something incoherent as we continued our accelerated stride to the elevator and then to our room where we LITERALLY fell onto our beds and lay there until we could breathe normally again.

Once the fear subsided and we regained our breath, we giggled and laughed like teenagers.  It was a HUGE "OMG I can't believe that just happened" thing.  To say we were relieved is an understatement.  Of course we learned a very big lesson...Never trust the hotel staff and NEVER walk blocks to your restaurant at night especially DOWNHILL  We never had looked back to see who (or what) had been behind us.  

Thanks for joining us here today.  We so love sharing our adventures and art with you.


Stay creative in all ways my friends... and 

Sketch on......


Monday, January 27, 2014

RESOLUTION CHECK IN

Hi Everyone!

Are you having difficulty keeping your New Year Resolutions?  Most people that make them do. Statistics show that older people (over 50) are less likely to keep their Resolutions than younger people.  As I mentioned a few posts ago I didn't make New Year Resolutions but instead have a 2014 List of things I'd like to do.   One was taking more classes and as you know Bonnie and I have signed up for a few of those!  (click on each icon to find more information about classes)

 I'm also writing a post each Saturday on the Journal 52 prompt of the week and you can see it HERE.

 As far as the One Little Word monthly class goes, I've started it and have completed the first assignment.

 My OLW is RELEASE and I've been working on that too, Releasing the clutter in my home One Room At a Time.  So far so good.  

Two of the three classes we signed up for are going well, in fact I'm pretty engaged with them online. You can check out my Flickr page HERE.  I'm still very excited about each class!

If you were to rate yourself from 1-10 (10 being the best) where would you say you are in terms of your Resolutions for 2014?   Are you still excited???  Not at 10 ?!?  Maybe slipping a little or falling behind??  Harder than you anticipated?? Whatever you do, DON'T GIVE UP!!!  Think of ways to make your resolutions work for you,ways to have fun accomplishing your goals and pretty soon your list will be completed!   It's okay to start and occasionally stop to regroup, but remember to keep plugging along each day, slow and steady wins the race!

Have Fun, Sketch On!
Suzy

Thursday, January 16, 2014

NUTS, NUTS, NUTS....

Watercolor of Susie from "Back in the Day


Title is referring back to Susie's last post wherein she asked the question, "Are we (meaning Susie and I) nuts or what?"  The unequivocal answer is, YES TOTALLY!  And this is not simply because we have both signed up for THREE art commitments for the year, not to mention the private challenge we have for the year between the two of us.  Both of us seem to have a penchant for charging forward before we fully evaluate whether or not we can actually pull off what we just committed to doing.  There must be a word for that...  Oh yeah there is....NUTS!

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon which adventure you examine carefully, this state of mind (or out of our minds) is not a new thing.  We have been this way for years.  Perhaps this is what drew (no pun intended  LOL) us to one another in the first place.  And while I don't know if this is the case, I DO know that we have had some amazing, weird, exciting, exhilarating, exhausting, hysterical and sometimes frightening adventures over the past thirty nine plus years.

Some of our adventures were in distant places (no worries, still on the planet).  During our travels whenever we have been a little uncertain of our bearings we always tell one another not to worry because we are still ON THE PLANET.  Now if we were to live long enough to have personal space travel we know we could be in BIG BIG trouble.  But for now we're good.

One close to home adventure that comes to mind does indeed involve a plane....just not one that transports people from one place to another, nor does it fly in the clouds.  But let's back up for a minute.

Susie has been a home decorating DIVA long before HGTV was ever even thought of.  She is always moving things around and putting nice decorative pieces around to spiff up her living environment.  I, on the other hand, usually just find a place where the sofa fits and leave it there.  Home decor is NOT my strong point.  In spite of this, I did actually hang wallpaper in one of my bathrooms many years ago.  I had no clue what I was doing, but hated the walls and figured, "how hard could it BE?"  Well, it was not as easy or quick as I thought it might be, but I did get it done and it DID look great!  Susie was so impressed that she decided SHE wanted to wall paper her kitchen.  Well, actually she decided she wanted ME to wallpaper her kitchen and she would help.

While I don't recall what time of day we began the project, but we both well remember that it seemed to go on forever.  The first challenge right out of the box was when we tried to moisten the wallpaper and it began to rip....before we ever got one piece on the wall.  NOT a good start.  That may have been when I had my first glass of wine.  I was anxious since I knew how much she wanted to improve her
kitchen decor and I knew I was not all sure of my ability to pull this off.  The bathroom was one thing but this kitchen was more area and had beams all across the ceiling which had to be cut around, plus the pattern match, plus it was ripping and dripping.....  This is when we say AAARRRRRGGGGG which is Greek for, "Holy crap, Batman."

So we pattern matched and pieced the torn pieces together...sometimes adding a little extra glue (Elmers I think).  Then it finally came time to do the top area over the cabinets, and around the beams and over the refrigerator.  By this time it was well into the wee hours of the morning and we were getting very tired and quite silly giddy.  So there I was up on TOP of the refrigerator on my knees (a handsome sight indeed!!!) (glad there are no pictures) leaning over the top of the adjacent cabinets to cut around one of the beams when the plane I was using to cut straight lines slipped out of my hand and behind the cabinet....and it did NOT come out from the bottom.  It had gotten lodged behind the cabinet.  And if you remember the series Fantasy Island, you will appreciate the accent in which Susie said (when she realized the plane was indeed lost), "The plane, the plane".  We both went into the biggest state of giggles till you cry that I was sure I would fall off the top of the refrigerator!!!!  It's one of those stories that you kinda had to be there to fully appreciate it, but I can truthfully tell you it's one of our favorites.  To this day all one of us has to do is mention "the plane" and both of us will think back to the late great wallpaper adventure and the lost plane.  

Hope you are having good times and making memories with your friends.  Our friends are treasures indeed.  And I also hope you find time every now and again to just doodle, draw, sketch what's on your mind.  Don't be scart...just do it.  Why not join in the fun?

Til next time....take care of your friends, have fun and

Sketch on.......
Bonnie                                                                                                                                           PS.....The plane was indeed found several years later when Susie had new kitchen cabinets installed.  THAT elicited a giggle from Susie as well.  And by the way, we never wallpapered again!

Tea and Grahams 

Monday, January 13, 2014

WORKSHOPS GALORE

HI Everyone!

As we head into the second week of January I'm wondering where that time has gone!  Wow, don't tell me this is how the year is going to be!   Last post I mentioned that wasn't making any Resolutions but I did have a list and one of the items on my list for 2014 was taking a class and asking a friend to join me.  Well here's the deal, a FREE Journal workshop fell into my lap and Bonnie has agreed to join me in the weekly workshop (you can read about it HERE ).  CHECK

Another workshop we'll (yes, Bonnie is also joining me in this too) be taking throughout 2014 is a workshop with Ali Edwards called One Little Word, it is a once a month workshop.  And if that isn't enough, I've signed (and yes, pretty sure Bon is signing up too) up for another class called Drawing Your Awesome Life with Joanne Sharpe.  I'm really excited about this workshop which uses watercolor, lettering and illustration to keep a personal journal record for a year. CHECK!!

Watercolor is a medium that works great with pen and ink and it is one that we love to use. The opportunity to learn lettering and illustration from Joanne Sharpe has been a dream of mine and I can't wait to learn lettering and illustration techniques! Looks like we are going to be pretty busy over the course of the year which is a good thing for you!  You will get to see our works in progress and we hope you will give us some feedback too.

Please join us each week to see how Bonnie and I are progressing and how we are juggling (I'm speaking for myself here) our classes.  Are we nuts or what!?!??

Friday, January 3, 2014

And Away We Go......








Somewhere in Florida
Sitting here at my desk wondering how many of you remember Jackie Gleason and his famous line, "And away we go".  Gleason would make his appearance on stage and do a little prelude to the upcoming skit or maybe just a little stand up comedy (with no X rated language because those WERE the good ole days!).  As he prepared to exit the stage his line was, of course,
                                        "And    a   w  a   y       w  e      g  o".
I can hear his voice in my head now as I write the words.  I am including a little picture I gleaned of the net which depicts him in the posture he used while uttering these words.

As you may remember (or perhaps can see in this picture)
the look on his face seems to say he's not quite sure how
how the show is going to turn out.  And from what
I have read of Gleason and his shows, he wasn't much
on rehearsals (to his cast's dismay) so in truth he most likely
didn't have any idea how the show was going to turn out since
he made up most of it on the fly.

Art Op near Susie's house.  We have spent
a good deal of time there painting from
a number of vantage points here.  
Now as we enter stage 2014, we have not had an opportunity to "rehearse" for what this year will bring to us.  However, and more importantly, we have had the opportunity to rehearse through all of our past experiences and years what WE will bring into the new year; and we can choose what we leave behind that does not serve our God, humanity, family, friends and all those things we purposefully want to foster in our lives.

As I happily embark on Voyage 2014, I hope you will continue to join us as we travel through times to come and visit times past through our art and sometimes whacky reflections.  Well...sometimes the art is  a little whacky too but that just makes it so much more fun.....(fun for us to do and we hope fun for you to look at).  I will leave you with a few art selections from the past.  So, from my desk to you, happy new year, sketch on..... and     AWAY WE GO..............



Take 1: From a vantage point on Pacific Coast Highway

 
Take 2:  From a vantage point on Pacific Coast Highway
In Orlando, Florida

Monday, December 30, 2013

NO RESOLUTIONS, JUST A LIST....

Hi Everyone!

It's that time of year again when we all start to think about the past year and look forward to the upcoming new year.  Do you make New Year Resolutions?  I've learned that I'm not very good at keeping any I make so why bother, they'll be broken within a few weeks anyhow.  Ok, so let's move on.
Personally, I'm a list maker and so is my dear friend Bonnie.  We make all kinds of lists and I'll let you in on a little secret, her lists are on spreadsheets!  Right, you heard it here.  She is the QUEEN of the spreadsheet!!  And here's something really funny, she just discovered after a number of years of owning her Mac that she has a spreadsheet program on there!! She was beyond thrilled to discover it. (I know <wink>).

 My current list is of Things I'd Like to Do in 2014 (yikes, that sounds like Resolution but trust me, it isn't anything like Resolution).

 One item on my list is Take a Class and Invite A Friend.
 I used to take lots of classes and have somehow fallen out of that mode.  One of the best classes was one taken with friends, we would meet before class and have dinner and then attend class.  It was something we all looked forward to doing together.  Maybe you know someone that likes to draw or paint, why not ask them to take a class with you?

On My List:  Challenges....take a few.   Bonnie and I occasionally like to Challenge each other to paint different scenes.  We email the photos to each other and then say: Paint it!

Here's a few I've painted from places we have visited.
San Antonio TX

Spring Creek, NC

Along Pacific Coast Highway, CA


Spring Creek, NC

 So there will be challenges in the coming year and we'll be sharing the results with you. Stay tuned!  Why not grab a buddy and start your own painting challenge?  It's a guaranteed good time!

Wishing you all a Healthy and Happy New Year!
Suzy