Monday, November 25, 2013


 I'm taking a chance....a HUGE chance here, posting these watercolor sketches of Bonnie.  A chance that she might not speak to me ever again when she sees them, and the great likelihood that she will post the most dreaded of paintings......Squaw woman. Or she might be delighted to see them again and they will bring back fond memories of the day we spent painting on her deck.

I had come up for a weekend visit and as usual we were having coffee, chatting and enjoying the morning out on the deck overlooking the pond. It was a beautiful sunny morning, breezy and perfect for painting outdoors. After the morning turned into afternoon, we came up with the idea of painting one another out on the deck.   We cranked up the tunes and made a cocktail and out we went to paint.   The rules, Yes there were rules.... no pre-sketching with pencil, watercolor only, 10 minute intervals.  Because we were limited to watercolor and only 10 minutes to do the painting we were free to mix colors on the paper and splash it on! I found it quite liberating but also a bit challenging.  We laughed, we giggled and chortled and had a fabulous time creating our paintings.
This is my favorite painting of the day. The one that looks most like Bonnie in my opinion.

This is my Lily Tomlin impression.

Marilyn Monroe look alike.
A Greek Tragedy.
A bit of Andy Warhol.
And finally a different medium-Charcoal was used.

At the time I was taking a watercolor class in adult education, up to this point I'd only painted landscapes and flowers (no people) and fruit. I took my paintings in to the instructor, told her about the fun we had painting and showed her my paintings. She was so impressed that she had the class take out their Drivers License and do a self portrait using the guidelines we had established for our painting session.  What fun everyone had that night!

I hope this will encourage you to invite some friends over for a watercolor sketch party! Let loose and have fun!

Happy Sketching!

Monday, November 18, 2013


Hi Everyone!

Bonnie isn't the only one cleaning out and doing some re-organization in the studio!  Oh yes, you can always tell it is FALL in my neck of the woods when I drag out the sewing machine, pull out the knitting needles and do a general decluttering of my work areas. This phenom takes place usually before Thanksgiving (Fall) and before Easter (Spring) in the studio ( oh there's the mini-declutter/straightening up in between too ;-0).  

So what does this have to do with anything?  I found these little paintings from an afternoon on the water near Bon's house.  You can see I was experimenting with pen and ink by the notes I've written on the page. 

 Often I'll add the details in a journal-like style or make notes on the back of the painting.  This particular day it was overcast with a hint of rain in the air, warm and humid.  It is funny that even without the notes, I remember exactly what the weather was like; there's something about painting outside that intensifies the senses. 

There definitely was some frustration for me that day with the whole marina thing. Lots and lots of boats were moored in the marina and for some reason this made me crazy.
Too many boats!!
But as you can see, I finally worked it out that I could use my artistic license to "edit" the scene and make a simplified version that captured the essence of the place.  I also took many photographs that day because it helps me to really "see" through my camera lens. 
Using Artistic License 
I hope you will find time to go outside and enjoy painting, drawing or sketching your surroundings!  Remember, you are the artist and you can EDIT the scene.....draw a portion or sketch the details and make field notes.  Go have fun!!

Happy Sketching!

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Sunset on the river

En Plein Air is a French expression which means "in the open air."  There are artists who go on wonderful trips to exotic places to paint village scenes, great mountains and ocean vistas among many other subjects.  There are numerous groups who regularly meet to paint en plain air; and there are teachers who hold seminars at beautiful inspirational sites. 

I ALWAYS wanted to do this painting outside thing, but lack of confidence held me back. What if someone came up and looked at what I was doing?  What if it was (which was very likely) crap?  I had just begun taking a watercolor class (having always worked with acrylics and oils previously) and I really wanted to start painting something other than vegetables, fruit and cups and saucers from my kitchen.  So for my first plein air experience I went just a few blocks from where I lived and sat at the edge of a cow pasture (where I figured it was not likely that anyone would pass by) to paint some wild daisies which were growing there beside the fence.

Certainly nothing fancy was involved.  There was no easel...just a watercolor pad in my lap and minimal supplies.  But while this was far from the glamourous experience I had always pictured in my mind, it was so relaxing that I quickly found myself absorbed in my little painting and immensely enjoying being alone with nature, albeit alongside a fairly well traveled road with a few MOOOOOOOO diary cows for company.  The tiny painting did not amount to much but I was hooked on the outside experience.

                                                                                                                       Ditch Flowers
                                                                                                                         circa 1992

My next plein air excursion was equally mundane as I, once again, went just a short distance from home to a school where there was a ditch....but not just any drainage ditch!  THIS ditch had some lovely colorful flowers growing in it which had caught my attention.  And, again, I thought this place was as safe as any as far as the chances of anyone coming up and being interested in what I was doing sitting at the side of a "ditch."  They probably would have considered me simply daft but that was something I could live with!

Finally I was one day able to convince Suz to go paint Plein Air with me.  She was nervous for the same reasons I had been back then, but we did it.  We went to the Saint Augustine lighthouse.  There were a considerable number of people there walking about and sure enough someone came up to us to look at what we were doing.  Someone asked if he could see our painting and Suz immediately hugged her painting to her chest to conceal it so quickly I feared she might          injure herself, and said, "noooooo".  LOL And the thing is, her paintings are always wonderfully spontaneous, full of beautiful saturated color...and delightful to behold.

                                              Boathouse in Mandarin on St Johns River

In the years which have come and gone since those first tentative outdoor paintings, I have enjoyed many many plein air outings.  Some have been on hot summer days when you could almost hear your flesh sizzle in the heat; and some have been on days so windy and cold (we can say the Outter Banks of N.C. here...another story entirely!) that it was hard to keep your grip on the brush because your hand was so freezing cold and fingers refused to work.  Some were days when a storm was approaching rapidly and the painting had to be done pretty darn quick!  And one I recall was on a beach in very early morning where gnats  were feasting on my flesh and flying into my mouth and up my nose ....ARRGGG.

                                  Dune Flowers On Gnat Beach

Every single one of those outings return to my mind in infinite detail when I run across one of the old paintings.  I can still remember every aspect of the experience and, regardless of the elements, would not give up one second of any one of those days...most of them spent with my BFF, Susie, painting by my side.     

Sort of makes you want to grab your BFF and a paintbrush doesn't it?  Well get to it.  I personally guarantee you will have an excellent time.  You don't even have to paint...just draw or doodle and enjoy yourself En Plein Air.  If anyone asks ... tell them I sent you.

Thanks for coming by today as always and remember to be good to your friends and...

Sketch on......



Friday, November 8, 2013


As I am going through an extensive reorg in my house (AGAIN!), it has occurred to me that a major segment of worldwide industry is dedicated to producing items which are designed to "contain" other items!  Now I know this is a great big "duh" but have you ever really stopped to notice how many things hold other things? 

My recent reorganization is primarily dedicated to craft and art supplies and all the UFOs (unfinished objects) which these endeavors have created over the  y  e  a  r  s.  It's always hard work to dig through all the "stuff", but there ARE rewards to be had as well as answers to many unanswered "I wonder what ever happened to....", or "Where did I put....", and "Do I still have...".   And not only are there answers to the things I wondered about but answers to unasked questions when something is found that was completely forgotten about ages ago.... (OHHHHH...I had forgotten allll about that.   Well....such is my life.  Kind of fun actually!  A surprise around every corner.... or in every container!
Applique quilt block (circa 1998)  


                                                                             Mariner's Compass

FABRIC - (which includes partial quilt blocks made and pieces cut to become blocks, etc.) all in cardboard boxes hidden beneath a score of other boxes or large plastic bags 

shoved onto the very top shelf of a closet, or in one of those large plastic storage containers that if you don't label it you, oh so soon, forget what the heck is "in" that container and simply don't have the energy to get it down and find out.  Don't laugh...YOU know what I'm talking about.  You have them at your house too! 

Small sampling of my "collection".  Some are natural stone and some are made made.
Paid $45 for one of these beads in Sacramento, CA.  
One of these was hand made by a man with one arm.  Can you guess which ones these are?

BEADS:  Beads live in plastic tubes, round plastic screw top containers, plastic storage boxes with dividers, in bags and in baskets.... that is...the ones which are not lying all over a table or counter somewhere awaiting my inspiration to DO something with them.  

                                                        Painted in Boone, NC (Suz was sitting next to me painting also)
                                                                                                                Storm was brewing in the distance so we had to paint quickly.
ART SUPPLIES:  There are the water colors which have to be separated from the oil paints in their respective "containers", and the oil paint brushes have the be separate as well because they ARE different.  Ultimately the water colors had to be separated into plastic bags by color category (reds, blues, greens, etc.) because they had become so plentiful that I was unable to easily find what I wanted.  And, of course, these bags had to be housed in a plastic bin.  Don't forget about all the papers and canvases and art bags for plein air painting which have been sent to the garage to lie in wait (in what else?....large plastic storage tubs). 

                                                                                                                     Again, my BFF was sitting right next to me as we painted...
                                                                                                                     My trees look a little spooky, don't they?

YARN:  Scores and scores of skeins of yarn are housed in bags, cardboard boxes, over the door cloth shoe racks, vases and drawers.  Knitting and crochet needles are housed in vases and on shelves.

All I can do at this point is thank whomever made masking tape which is my primary labeling device.  If I change a storage bin to house something new....OFF with the old tape and on with the new...which I found through trial and error is MUCH better than marking the containers with INDELIBLE INK! .. which is akin to getting a tattoo!  

But getting back to my title "Cave Men Did Not Have Tupperware",  we only imagine what MRS Cave Lady did when she wanted to keep something.  I can hear hear now telling her husband, kids or whomever, "This crack in the cave wall is MINE!  Do NOT touch this piece of animal hide because I am saving it to make you a coat!  And DO NOT touch this sharp rock (aka scissors).  I mean where DID she keep her sharp piece of bone (needle) and her sinew (thread)?  No tupperware or plastic storage containers just had to be a drag!  So ladies and gents let's thank our lucky stars that we have so many ways to organize, keep and hide our STUFF.  I just hate it when I can't find my sinew!

Thanks for coming by today to visit.  Hopefully you will have time to take a break from cleaning up and organizing and you can get something out of one of your storage places to play with and have some fun.  While you are at it....sketch a little picture of it, and save the drawing.  You will be surprised how much you will like it later on.  Until next time....

Sketch on.....  

drawers, plastic tubes, plastic boxes, tub storage, glass and plastic bottles, shelves, knife holders, vases, cups, mugs, glasses, bowls, baskets, pots, pans, muffin tins, etc.,  cabinets, closets, plastic bags, paper bags, cardboard boxes, pencil cups, toothbrush holders, cans of all kinds, wooden boxes, penny banks, plastic tubes for lotions and medicine...............    

Monday, November 4, 2013



A long time ago......

In 1985 I took my first quilting class and met a wonderful group of women.  We quilted together for many years and we were instrumental in forming Coastal Quilters of Northeast Florida quilting guild in our area.  It is still in existence today. We were very enthusiastic quilters and one of our first projects as a guild was to make a queen size Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt to display at the annual quilt show.  It was a massive undertaking to say the least, making all those little hexagons, basting them individually and then sewing them together to make the flowers and the paths and borders (and a monumental effort to quilt it).  I don’t remember the exact count of hexagons that went into that quilt (thousands), but I DO remember I promised myself I’d never do it again! Well if your read Bon’s previous post about peanut butter statements, that was one…..never is a very long time!

Present Day.....

I’d forgotten how to draft a pattern for hexagons until I remembered an old quilting book on the shelf by Jinny Beyer “Patchwork Patterns”. After dusting off the book cover, I discovered drafting hexagons in any size was quite simple. Then there was the matter of getting the hang of using a compass again. Anyone remember those from math class?  Getting the pencil to stay put? 

And remember the Peanut Butter Statement? Never say never.  I'm back to the hexagons (the trendy name for them is hexies), but believe me, I am NOT making a quilt using hexies, but making a simple table runner. Photos are coming....soon. 

I've had to eat my share of Peanut Butter Statements over the years and I've learned to never say never!!! 

Hope you are having a wonderful week, go out and sketch something!