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Monday, February 27, 2017

SKETCHING OUTSIDE

Hello there!

Bonnie and I have an upcoming sketch trip planned for later this Spring and we look forward to sharing the adventures with you.  Can you guess where we are going by the sketch below? If you have been there, you will recognize the location, it's quite famous.  Here's a hint: near Miami. We'll leave you guessing until time gets closer to reveal our plans.



 We live about four hours apart in the same state and we like to get together to sketch, mostly we stay local whether here in south Florida or in our hometown of Jacksonville.

Indian River Park 
 We often visit parks in the area to sketch and paint.  The painting of Indian River Park was done on location and finished in the studio.
House of Refuge
 The House of Refuge was done from a photograph. Some days it isn't possible to paint at a location such as the beach due to weather and the no-see-ums.

Jupiter Lighthouse

Bonnie loves to sketch outside and paint on location if possible.  Only I'm not as fond of the "public" painting as she is. 

Old Ortega 
 This was a fun day in Jacksonville, we toured my old neighborhood of Old Ortega and sat in the park on the tailgate of Bonnie's SUV to paint with a great view of the shoppes.  This brought back many fond memories of the years we lived here.
Miss Lucy's Street-Jacksonville
Same day, we also rode around the Willow Branch area and landed on Miss Lucy's street where we were sketching.  A tiny, petite elderly lady comes out of her home dressed to the nines in her sensible heels, skirt and twin-set with pearls and politely asks us what we are doing in her most ladylike southern drawl. (At this point in the day, we may have looked a little rumpled and undesirable or perhaps she thought we might be casing the neighborhood).  This was Miss Lucy.  Once we introduced ourselves and explained we were just there to sketch the buildings across the canal, she was all smiles and good with us being on her street.  

Wherever Bonnie and I go, we always have our sketch pads and some art supplies with us, we know that we will find something wonderful to sketch.  I would also encourage you to take your pencil and paper outside and enjoy sketching wherever you are.  

Happy Sketching!
Suzy

Friday, February 24, 2017

PRIMITIVE ART AND MORE

                              PRIMITIVE ART AND MORE

                          
Isn't it amazing to think that about 40,000 years ago one of our ancient ancestors was inspired to create an image on a cave wall...therefore producing the first known art.  I never cease to marvel
at the simplistic beauty of these ancient paintings and drawings. I wonder if the artist cared about the opinions of peers and I wonder if he/she thought it was "good" or walked away frustrated as I have been known to do when I just can't get my "vision" onto the paper.


Art IS (at least for me) a form of communication, a form of play and discovery. An artist may want to share a thought, message or feeling through the art... Even simple things as "These colors are fabulous together. Look!"  Or  "Wow look at the detail and on this simple shell".  And sometimes we just... You know... Doodle.



Susie and I virtually ALWAYS have a sketch pad with us.  If not, any piece of paper will suffice. We have sketched in restaurants on napkins (my VBF is overcoming her fear of doing art in public).  We have sketched our food and strikingly colorful tiles on a wall.  I have sketches on 5x8 index cards. Whatever is handy when the moment strikes will suffice.



Often these quick sketches remind me of cave drawings in their rudimentary presentation and that's what I like the most about them.  I call it HONEST art because what I try to capture is the gist of what caught my interest. It's done quickly without fiddling and agonizing over it; and I have found when looking back at the art after a while that it has merit even without being museum quality. Lol. Best of all, every time I look at the honest art, it takes me right back to that place and time... even more so than a photograph because in sketching you really LOOK at the scene, the lines, the colors......

So I leave you with this today encouraging you to just do it. You will find, as I do when looking at the drawing later... That it wasn't so bad.....even if your original opinion was that it looks like cave man art and should be trashed. Thank goodness our long ago ancestors didn't trash their art.


Hope to see you back soon. Let me know you were here.  😘 Bonnie

Monday, February 20, 2017

Backyard Memories

Hello,

Recently our two oldest granddaughters came for a sleepover with their Mimi and Papa.  The girls love to go into Mimi's studio and "do art" but this particular evening was a pleasant one and we decided to take our drawing activities into the backyard.  Each child had a clipboard with paper attached and a pencil to capture whatever they saw in the yard that appealed to them.
Sketches from backyard finds.

The oldest (7) is extremely talented for her age and also a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to her art work. Of course she picks the hardest object to draw in the yard, a stone pedestal with a lovely conch shell on top, it sits in the back corner of our yard in the dense foliage.  The younger(5), is a free spirit and she is just happy to be here and she skips around the yard and draws whatever catches her eye. She draws with childlike abandonment.  No worries there.

Flamingos in the Fish Tail Palm

 Meanwhile sister is deeply concentrating on every nuance of the shell, pedestal and did I mention the pedestal has vines wrapped around it?  She was intrigued by the vines so that is mainly what she wanted to draw along with the shell on top.

In between drawings they hunted for flowers in bloom which is another favorite activity at our house, along with finding shells or sticks, berries, rocks, etc.   This particular night they found lovely flowers, tiny white flowers with dark green leaves that we believe are faux orange blossoms.  Also, some hibiscus and fern-like leaves they collected for a "bouquet" that we put into a vase that sits on the ledge of the kitchen window.

The flowers have long since died but the little piece of green fern was left in that vase unnoticed until yesterday when the sun was shining in the window and the lighting on the leaves caught my attention. With new growth on the stems in a luscious limey green against the aqua vase, the lighting was perfect to capture in watercolor. Late last night I painted from the image in my head and journeled about our backyard adventure.  This little sketch will be a precious reminder of our time together.

Keep Sketching!
Suzy


Thursday, February 16, 2017

WHAT EXACTLY "IS" ART??

                                                 WHAT EXACTLY "IS" ART????

Based on the almost endless descriptions reported by Google (my fav resource), art can be almost anything.... Written, sung, pasted, drawn, painted, colored, stamped, danced, molded, spun in finitum.
Therefore we are ALL artists of one sort or another. Even when the "art" doesn't turn out to be anything I would deem salvageable, if it was spawned by purpose and intent, it must indeed BE art.



Looking through older artwork of "intent" if not complete (or anything even close to) success I am relieved in knowing it is a process like every other worthy endeavor.  Some days I am so frustrated that I feel tempted to throw all of my art supplies in a heap and burn them. 😖. And other days I finish up a project wondering, "How did I DO that?"  I am still learning to just go with it.

The sea gulls are very simple sketches on inexpensive drawing paper I have had for ages. This was done at the beach (duh), some 15 years ago, with my son and my grands. I was trying to get some ideas for different head views.


And of course at the beach we will find SHELLS.  I really need to sketch more shells as I have a pile of them on my counter awaiting.  I want to throw a little color on them as well.


Over the years I have done many a sketch of dear Susie.  This one was done in 1991. It's not perfect, but does resemble her.   I was going to put some color on it (see the auburn paint swipes at the bottom of page?  That was going to be hair but I either ran out of time or could not get the color right.




My boy Bob (aka BOBCAT) was done in 2014. He is gone now but he was a very special boy who adopted ME one day by walking off the street right into he warehouse office where I was working at the time. He jumped right up in my lap and made himself at home. When lunchtime came we shared a hot dog (my favorite food group, remember?) so I knew we were a match.



My last piece to share with you today was a real stretch for me.  While Susie is more than a pro at many approaches to art, my forte is generally based mostly on the tangible and realistic (at least as realistic as I am able to produce. I long to be able to do much of what she does and have tried on many occasions but I just don't seem to have it in me. At any rate this was based on a theme of letting go (no I was not thinking of Elsa).  I love frog images, knick knacks etc. and FROG is an acronym for Fully Reliant On God. Thus, in the picture the hands are depicted "letting go" of the things that are/were troubling or fearful to me at the time and the circles represent those troubles as bubbles floating away.


So. My friends once again I thank you for taking the time to give us a look see. We would REALLY REALLY like to see your comments or just a thumbs up in the comment section below. It means a lot and keeps us encouraged just to know you were here.  Until next week..... Keep sketching.

Bonnie


Monday, February 13, 2017

Heart of Hearts

Happy Valentine's Day!


Hearts, flowers, cards and candy are traditional tokens of love given on Valentine's Day to those we love.

Most mothers love a hand-made card or gift, I know my Mama did.  This heart was a hand-made gift for her birthday.  I knew she would love it because she loved pretty things, hand-made things and so for months I poured my heart into making her a gift of love.

She was crazy about lace, pearls, buttons, ribbons and beads, especially the Victorian crazy quilts with lots of embroidery.   I incorporated all of these things into this heart for her and she loved it.


Why is it that we only celebrate love one day a year? Why not everyday?  I suppose flowers, hearts and cards everyday would get a bit old, right?


But telling someone that you love them is a timeless gift.  Even better.... it is a free gift and always well received.  It's something money can't buy.


Showing someone you love them doesn't necessarily mean you have to buy them extravagant gifts, it could mean you show them love by doing the everyday things, like cooking a nice dinner or washing their clothes or sitting together to watch a show on television.


It's the little things, maybe chatting with a friend every night via text, just to say hello and how was your day?


 There's a million ways to say I love you.....Take every opportunity to tell those you love, it will brighten their day, put a smile on their face and joy in their hearts.





Thursday, February 9, 2017

COME TO THE WATER

                                                      COME TO THE WATER

Gravitating to the water is an ever constant theme. Whether Susie and I are pondering a site to sketch/paint or just to walk or sit and chat.

Avon Beach, Outer Banks, NC
Aside from all the other things in life that sustain us, the waters draw us (pun intended).... bidding us to join them in their peaceful ebb and flow.  Beside the waters is where we are always able to sit the longest....taking in the sun (or rain clouds), listening to rhythmic pounding of  waves in their quest to finally escape the depths that bind them or to almost undetectable laps almost caressing the shore as we gaze from a riverbank.  Beside the waters we can breathe in the calm and perfection the universe has to offer us and become revitalized.

Sailboats
The "jaunts" my BFF and I take for art opportunity are not always to far reaches of the country as some posts may seem to imply.   We live in Florida so we have PLENTY of water... RIGHT?!

Very well I recall the day while visiting Susie in south Florida that we decided our venue that day would be the Jensen Beach Causeway that crosses Indian River.
Sailboats on the Indian River
Taking our "painting" chairs  (regular folding chairs purchased especially for outdoor "arting" out to a shady place with good subject in view we organized our supplies within arm reach and balanced our watercolor blocks on our laps..... which is hysterical considering all the outdoor painting equipment we have both collected over the years. So, while individually and collectively we both have a plethora of easels, art bags (large and small and everything in between) various pallets, paint brands and colors, we now go out with everything in a very small bag and we have scrapped the easels altogether which has given us the freedom to traverse more territory without succumbing to heat exhaustion, muscle cramps and various other outdoor perils I will share at a later date. Who knew? 😉
House of Refuge
Making "art" does not require a huge investment. It can begin at any time with a pencil and a piece of paper or a cheap set of children's paint.  Just have fun watching the colors run together or make patterns. You don't even have to show it to anyone.  I hope you will grab a pencil and sketch out something every day. You will see yourself improve constantly.  Start with sketching your salt and pepper shakers and send it to us and come back on Monday for another arty post.  Till then,

Sketch on......
Bonnie

Monday, February 6, 2017

Quilts & Cucumber Sandwiches

Hi Everyone,

Long, long time ago or so it seems, I used to be an avid quilter, maker of large and small quilts for beds and walls, tables, blankets and clothing to cover one's self with and totally into all things involving quilt making.
My Favorite Quilt
Hand Pieced and Hand Quilted
You could say it was an obsession or lifelong hobby depending how you looked at it <wink wink>.  Ever hear the phrase Eat, Sleep & Breathe .......?  I ate, slept and breathed quilts and quilting, couldn't get enough of it.  Just ask my family, they will tell you that there was colorful fabric on bolts, fat quarters in drawers, tiny snippets of fabric on the floor that seemed to follow us thru the house..... patterns everywhere, Oh and did I mention Quilt books?
Quilt Books for Keep.
Books galore on every aspect of quilting. I spent a lot of time making quilts, researching patterns (before Internet), teaching, organizing groups, going to meetings, symposiums and it was such fun!

 The quilting bug started when I took my first Community Education class in Beginning Quilting with Anne Marie (I'm sorry I can't remember her last name) and met the most wonderful group of ladies (they knew each other)!  After the six weeks of class were over, we decided that we really enjoyed our time together and in order to finish our quilts we would meet weekly and work on them. Those weekly gatherings were a blessing to a young wife and mother of very young children, a grown-up diversion of epic proportion. These ladies were gracious hosts and lovely role models and became life long friends, in fact we are still friends to this day after some 30+  years!
 Even though we don't see one other for long periods of time (mainly since I moved away) when we do it is an instant re-connection which never skips a beat when we are together. Do you have friends like that?  Isn't it wonderful that the bond is so strong between us even after so many years have gone by?

We had a weekly quilting group that met in each others homes until the group got so big that we began meeting at the community center and eventually we formed a quilting guild that met once a month, The Coastal Quilters of N.E. FL. are still going strong at the beaches in Jacksonville.  The core group continued to meet weekly and that group Kindred Spirits is going to this day!  I love that about quilting and the women who quilt, it (quilting) weaves the threads that binds us all together in love and friendship.  To my quilting sisters, a SHOUT out of love to you all (Florida, Virginia, Colorado...) where-ever you are I miss you and love you!

Flower Sample made with thread. 

Now what does this have to do with Bonnie and I?  Both Bonnie and I love to sew and so it was a natural progression that I would share this new love of quilt making with her.  She probably resisted my prodding as long as she could but then she caught the quilt bug and the rest is history as they say. She and I have spent many hours together making quilts together which reminds me of a story about when we went to stay at her mother's condo for a weekend. Our first Road Trip was one and a half hours from home.
THIS WAS BEFORE GIRL TRIPS AND ROAD TRIPS BECAME "THE" THING TO DO. 
In order for us to have a "girls get-away" weekend there was strategic planning to be done, who would take care of the kids, meal prep while we were gone and of course:  what we would be taking with us.  Our goal was to each take a "in progress" quilt and finish up other projects. Oh AND we had a new quilt pattern to try, naturally we might have slightly over estimated what we would get done.

The Plan: I would meet Bon at her apartment in town on a Friday night, and we would drive down to Ormond Beach, grab some dinner and start working on our projects.  Bonnie would bring cucumber sandwiches (w/o crusts) because we both LOVE cucumber sandwiches, so she made a shoe box full for the trip.  Little did we know that shoe box full of cucumber sandwiches would come in very handy as the weekend progressed.

Cucumber Sandwiches and Quilt Weekend


It took longer to load up the car (abundance of projects and luggage) and get out of town (Friday night traffic) than expected and we arrived later than planned at the condo, by the time we unloaded the car we were too tired to go out for dinner so we stayed in and ate cucumber sandwiches and talked into the wee hours of the morning.

Next day we decided we would try to find a quilt shop that I thought (remember, this was before GPS and Internet) was "near by", I couldn't remember the name of the town or the name of the store, I just knew it was a log cabin on US1 South of where we were.  Turned out it was almost 2 hours South but we finally found it and had a great time purchasing fabrics, in fact so much so that we barely  had enough money for dinner and gas to get home!

Fabric Stash Collecting over the years.
 The rest of the weekend was spent at the condo quilting and eat cucumber sandwiches and whatever we could scrounge from her mother's freezer! Those were great days and so much fun together!

I would again encourage you to take class on-line or better yet in a community class to learn a new craft or improve your art work.  You never know who you will meet or where it will lead you in the future.

Stay Creative!
Suzy



Thursday, February 2, 2017

Quiet Places

Today's world/life is so completely filled with chatter and clatter, technology (my nemesis) and exponential CHANGE that seems one scarcely has the opportunity to assimilate into each new DAY before another day is upon us heralding a new myriad of challenges.


Even as a young child I sought the "Quiet Places".
Exploring the world and taking in every tiny detail was immensely fascinating. For hours I could roam about the neighborhood deriving much pleasure from the most mundane (by most standards) scenes.  I was captivated by the sunlight reflecting off a small stream, tree branches swaying in the breeze or I often could be found sitting for long periods engrossed in the activities of tiny ants marching in long lines as they created (or remodeled) their miniature abode.  Today (many moons later) my close friends will attest that I have never put away my interest and fascination with observing.

A quiet walk with a friend has been known to come to a sudden halt as I declared, "Look.... a dung beetle!", or "Oh my gosh.... look at these beautiful leaves" as I pick up the colorful treasures and hold them tenderly with every intention of painting pictures of them later. I never pay any heed when eyes begin  to roll as we all stop to observe the tiny creature pushing along his precious load (so to speak) nor when I am met with a blank stare over the beauty of the fallen leaves. My friend, Susie, does GET and tolerate me now...even though I still get the occasional "look" if she is in a hurry to move on to her next venue while I am still trying to get the shading on the dung beetle "just right".



She puts up with a lot from me .... getting this first post from me up has been no exception as it has been fraught with technical (and my) failure to comprehend issues from the moment we decided to reawaken the blog. For this and so much more I give her kudos and lots of love.


We both sincerely thank you for taking an interest and coming by today for a gander. Hope we can inspire you to pick up a pencil (any ordinary pencil will do) and just start sketching. You will be surprised how quickly you will like what you are doing. It's very relaxing if you don't agonize over it (of course WE have never done THAT 😩).  I leave you now til next week. Enjoy your friends, the sunshine and shadows dancing over the trees, a comfortable chair and a nice glass of wine in a quiet place from time to time.

Bonnie