Friday, November 29, 2013

Snow Art

I blew it - missed two days of NaBloPoMo.  Wednesday night rolled around and we were out in the garage cutting out snowmen shapes.  I decided the family time and all the activities on Thanksgiving were more important than posting every day in November.

Partially fueled by the creativity going on around here, I decided we would try a different Thanksgiving activity this year.  When I mentioned it to my husband, his response was "Whatever you want darling."

I drew shapes.  He cut them out.  My son sanded the edges.  The next afternoon, after our turkey-induced naps, we all sat down to blank snowmen and a table of possibilities.

My husband dubbed them our "Snowldiers."  I absolutely love how different they all are!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

One of Those Days

Some days inspiration abounds.  Some days creative types delve into the tools of their trade with extra enthusiasm.  Some days are filled with new color and line.

Today is not one of those days.

Some days you simply do not want to pick up the pencil.  You should.  It's best to create at least a bit every day, but sometimes the waiting sketchbook brings only irritation and you're not in the mood to argue with it.

Some days you just want to veg on the couch with your furry and not-furry family.

Some days you'd rather get lost in a book, find lovely things on Pinterest, or plan your Thanksgiving gathering.

Yeah, today is one of those days.

Quiet down paper.  I'll deal with you tomorrow.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Flowering Frustrations

The idea people who designated November as National Novel Writing Month and then National Blog Posting Month should have their collective heads examined.  Ugh.

I dedicated an hour to art endeavors today.  First, painting the flowers sketched yesterday and, well, ew.  I'm already out of practice with watercolors and am so not happy with most of this.  I'm okay with the top two blooms and the top of the vase.  There - that's my attempt at optimism.  I'm sharing just because it's part of the process.  However, I can't make myself share a straight on photo.

The top yellow daisy was obviously first.  I was losing interest in completing this and regretted sketching all the flowers in the vase.  My mind was on cleaning and prep for Thanksgiving.

And a quick sketch before tackling supper.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Sketching

The plan today was read awhile then sketch & paint awhile.  I started The Book Thief so I can finish it prior to the movie.  Great book - I lost track of time.  Oops.

I started sketching later than planned. Then Milo came to investigate and now it's time for football.  Painting will come later.

Whatchya' doing here?

I need to check this out.

You're done.  Go watch the game so I can commandeer your lap.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Books and Crannies

This is day 23 of NaBloPoMo.  Good grief, the month is speeding by!  The main realization so far is how little I am sketching.  I take some solace in the pile of recently created pottery.

We're taking a detour today.  I enjoy reading, but tend to put it off until late evening.  Unfortunately, reading at that time guarantees sleep within minutes.  The book is soon set aside to catch dust.  There are a couple dozen unread books scattered about the house.  I remember buying each of them and thinking "This looks great.  I'll be reading this tonight!"  Yeah, right.

Thanksgiving is near, so I started in on cleaning and reorganizing.  It was a very productive afternoon - for awhile.  Then a forgotten book caught my eye.  Hmmm, I should round up all the unread books.  I found one to return (from 10 years ago - fairly certain I'll never get to it).  The rest were carefully rearranged.  Perhaps I'll read this novel if it's stashed by the recliner.  Maybe the spiritual book would beckon to me from the nightstand.  That old classic seems to fit the couch atmosphere.  The strategy is similar to organizing the art tools.  The perfect spot guarantees future use, right?  Does anybody else have this problem, er… I mean... incredibly brilliant plan?

They all have new homes & I have a plan to make time for reading and sketching earlier in the day.  It's kind of a winter resolution now that the cold weather is here to stay.  Plus, as resolutions tend to wilt away, January 1 is just around the corner to bring renewed motivation.  Smart, right?

We shall see.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Watercolor Doodling

The watercolor painting in the online class earlier this year was done with dry pans of a lesser quality than the tubes mentioned last night.  They work well enough for this beginner, but I've also wanted to check out Winsor Newton tube paints.  With the newest members added yesterday, it seemed the right time to try them all out.  I've been researching pigments and the true color wheel recently.  The most significant thing I've learned so far is to buy according to pigment codes instead of color names.  As an example: Though they appear very similar, quinacridone gold (purchased a few months ago) contains three pigments and gold ochre only one and it seems cleaner or something.  I need to use them more to understand the differences, but I'm learning.

 It's really quite intriguing - at least to me.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pants on Fire

Out of town today for more medical tests on my man.  I took a few sketching & painting supplies, but the nurses kept me busy most of the time and I only had time to doodle a quick birthday message for an old friend.

It turned out all is well!  We celebrated by driving home on icy roads.  First, however, a quick stop for office and art supplies.  I've been slowly building a watercolor palette and added a few colors today.  As the cashier slid the small tubes across the counter, she noted the price and asked how long they would last.  "Oh, it varies, but for me it will probably be a year."  The realist in my head yelled "Liar! More likely 3 or 4 or 10 years!"

I'm intent on proving her wrong.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Magical Hot Box

I helped load the kiln tonight.  There's a whole lot of time and creativity on these shelves.  Two of my pieces are visible - tear drop vase on the very bottom and the similarly shaped jar & lid at the front of the second shelf.  It will be like Christmas when the door is opened again to a riot of color.

Before the magic happens.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

All Glazed Over

We unloaded the kiln from last week's firing tonight.  Then it was the last time to glaze - last chance for artistic expression possibilities.  The final evaluation will happen sometime soon.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Planting Hope

We found daffodil bulbs 75% off at Ace yesterday.  The forecast called for two 60 degree days, then it's 30s and 40s with a chance of snow.  I pushed the end of the season envelope and planted half of the 99 cent bulbs.  The rest will go in the ground tomorrow and we'll see what happens in the spring.

Those are Milo ears behind the sketchbook.  
He was desperate for lap time when Daisy & I returned to the house.

Update:  Yes, the bulbs did survive and bloomed early in the spring.  Nice investment indeed.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Colorado is my home state.  I've been a Broncomaniac since grade school.  If you follow pro football at all, you know tonight was a big night for my team.  I knew I would be busy yelling at the screen tonight so the afternoon was spent writing a paper for class.  Then came supper and it was game time.  My hubby's comment yesterday reminded me again how I've been neglecting sketching.  The game would end late (after 11:30 now).  So, at halftime I grabbed my big sketchbook...

What else could I possibly sketch while football watching?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturdays and Metamorphosis

Saturdays always wind up being the hardest days to work in some art.  Today - cleaning up leaves, shopping and a trip to the farm.  Suddenly it's after 11 and we finally sat down to watch a late movie.  Me "Oh, I need to do a post real quick.  I'm blogging every day this month."  Hubby "I think it's more important you catch up on drawing."  I love that he just said that.

He is right.  Regardless, I'm sticking with NaBloPoMo.

The caterpillar sketched a few weeks ago is now a chrysalis - along with the other six.  Four additional little guys came in with the dill picked to feed the first half dozen.  That's what is going on in our garage.

stages of change - in the garage... in the studio too

Friday, November 15, 2013

To Turn No More

All is quiet in the ceramics room.  Sort of.

Last night we were instructed to finish all damp pots and glaze everything already bisqued.  A riot of glazing and kiln-loading ensued.  No more throwing.  No more trimming.  No more carving.  The four remaining class periods will be dedicated to glazing and cleaning.  I only have 3 pots to glaze.  I do need to write a reflection paper on the various lessons learned.  Otherwise, the crazy hours in the evenings have drawn to a close.  I shall miss the fickle spinning wheel.

On the plus side, we will be eating way less fast food.  Oh yeah, and I can sketch more.  (sheepish grin)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Following Everywhere

I believe the animals appreciate my artistic endeavors.  Sitting in one spot means they can snooze while I sketch - as shown in the past two posts.  

Bonus for Milo - a shipment of art supplies means the arrival of a new cat trap.  I order sketchbooks solely to give him new boxes.

Side note:  As I type this, he is attacking a small carpet sample while eyeing Daisy.  She is giving him the "I'm not amused" growl...  Aaaand, he just zoomed out of the room.  Full kitten mode tonight.

Cooking time.  Another activity that keeps me in one area.  Plus, Daisy can nab every spill, dribble or drop.  Of course Mr. Milo is too good for such things, but he hangs out with us anyway.

Sorry for the fuzzy photo, but it's the best shot of the bathroom attendants.

They really do follow everywhere... even the bathroom.  Hey, you're sitting down!  Obviously you want to scratch behind somebody's ears and you know laps are meant to jump on.  Don't want visitors?  Shut the door tight or a furry nose will nudge it open within seconds.  The scene above often greets me outside the bathroom door...  "Where to now?"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

When it's Cold

My fan club also follows me in the snow - but only if it's not too cold or windy.  
They are wimps.

Trying to sweep the steps with "helpers."

Daisy generally ignores Milo in the house, except when he ambushes her from the couch.  
On the rare occasions he is allowed outside, she keeps a watchful eye on him.

Nap time follows snow time.  
This moment was in between cat teasing dog and cat declaring lap time.

Art update:  I learned how to repair pottery tonight since one of my rejoined pots un-joined while moving it after firing.  Once again - learning new things starts out with anxiety and ends with a nice feeling of accomplishment.  I really need to stop fighting the learning process.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

When it's Hot

As previously mentioned, my furry kids like to stay nearby.  Daisy spends many summer hours in the garden or the shade of the deck while I water, hoe and harvest.  Milo is an inside cat and stands at the door yowling until we return to the air-conditioned house.

If it's exercise time, I get the look . . . 

"Sit down.  I need a lap."
However, Milo does not appreciate lap warmth in the summer for more than a minute.  The carpet is cooler and comfy.  This is a common scene in the evenings.  

I believe they prefer me to stay put so they can nap while I procrastinate drawing... er... 
I mean draw.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Furry Fanatics - or - I'm Never Alone

I will be busy in the ceramics room much of my free time this week.  Thus, I've decided we'll take a break from the creative process during the second week of NaBloPoMo.  Instead, I would like to introduce a couple of my favorite followers.

Meet our 14 year old graying mutt, Daisy and her "sibling," 3 year old feisty feline Milo.  Daisy arrived via the animal shelter - from a group of puppies found on a country road.  Milo is the offspring of a bossy stray who found our farm, found a boyfriend and then delivered 6 rambunctious kittens in the cow trailer.

You know the doodads that sometimes follow the cursor around as you move it - bees or sparkles or something?  Well, that's what these two do as I move about the house.  Over the next several days you'll see how they hang out with me everywhere... and I do mean EVERYWHERE.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


As mentioned a couple of days ago - the art focus this week will be clay.  I carved the knob bottoms while watching football today.  I believe I need some wood to sculpt.

Milo showed up after I was all done.  He didn't seem to mind the photo session, not even when I used his back for a little texture contrast.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day 9

Today's agenda included drawing, but it was a day of unexpected distractions, finishing up the garden cleaning and my husband just started up Monsters University at my request.  Maybe I'll sketch before I hit the hay, but now it's time for some Mike Wazowski!

Friday, November 8, 2013


I sat at the potter's wheel again this afternoon - outside of class time.  The wheels are off limits in one week so we can focus on firing and glazing and finishing up the semester.  I don't know if or when I'll have this chance again, so there will be much throwing this week.

The last assignment is lidded vessels.  I created a casserole dish Tuesday - first the dish, then a lid and finally some knobs.  We're instructed to create a few different knobs for each pot and pick the one that fits best.  Let me just say... I LOVE THROWING KNOBS!  Why?  They're small, have no walls and you can sculpt endless forms from spinning clay.  I want to create knob after knob after knob.  I wish there were more uses for knobs.  Everyone I know would receive Christmas knobs.  You get the idea. 

These were rejects for the casserole dish.  Linda suggested carving patterns on the bottoms and use the bisqued knobs as stamps.  Nice.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Evening Pottery / Evening Sketching

The pottery class time is scheduled for 3 hours and 15 minutes.  Tonight I was there 4 hours and the time flew by.  It was a good night.

Clay time precludes drawing time.  Thus, I'm sharing the pen sketch mentioned back in July - a panorama of the cars behind us in the fading daylight.

Sketching this fast involves some blind contour and gesture drawing - completely letting go of anything close to perfection.

Hopefully you can see the suggestions of fellow firework-watchers in their lawn chairs and a young boy waving intently from his family's pickup bed.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Beneath My Feet II

NaBloPoMo Day 6

We're in process of selecting new carpet for the living room & bedrooms.  The studio / guest room will instead have a not fuzzy, nonstaining surface - due to my messy artist ways.  During the planning process, my husband began contemplating taking out the bed & dresser and moving his office desk into the room with me.  He asked if I was okay with that.  I am.  New floor.  New together time.  This makes me smile.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Artist Pants

I threw a casserole dish then spray glazed a few plates in class tonight.

Someday they will be paint-splattered artist pants.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Waiting with Pens

My husband had a few medical tests last week (all results normal - whew!) and I spent a couple of hours in a waiting area.  I hadn't expected to wait so long and didn't bring extra art supplies.  However, I did have a thin Moleskine and pens strategically stashed in my purse.  The usual procrastinating first - Facebook, email and such - and then sketching.

My husband sat with me and chatted between testing portions, so sketching time was broken up into three sessions.  First a hugemongous potted plant and then, of course, my shoe.  It soon fell asleep (my foot, not the shoe) and that was that.

fine ballpoint on Moleskine Cahier

The waiting room had a wall of windows with a nice view of some native grasses and the parking area.  I switched to the Copic pen.  My husband walked out as I was adding the framing leaves.  "Is that a Dodge?"  He glanced from my drawing to the pickup outside.  "Oh, nope it's a Ford."  Oops - I had ignored the partially hidden logo.

Copic multiliner on the Cahier

Sketching in public is a little less nerve-wracking now.  The details of the moment are forever connected to these pages, especially the good news!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

New Resources

Day 3 of NaBloPoMo.  I have no photos ready and it's late, so I'm sharing yesterday's mini adventure.

Saturday mornings were made for eating cereal in pajama pants (cat on the lap, dog at your feet) with no particular goals.  The only chore accomplished before noon is a load or two of laundry.  I get up before the sun five days a week.  I do not like getting up before the sun.  I like lazy Saturday mornings.

This Saturday was cholesterol blood test morning - pulling one sleepy human out of the house.  I took advantage of the forced outing to complete several procrastinated errands.  The last stop brought me a block from our only book store.  On a whim, I decided to stop in and check for used art books.  I could live in a book store (or an art store) - hour after hour scanning the shelves and learning new things.  The magazine section sucked me in this day and I was pleasantly surprised at the array of art-related publications.  I haven't read one of these since my college days.  I picked a couple and made a mental note of what to splurge on next time.

One busy Sunday later and I haven't had a chance to read anything.  Excuse me while I crack open International Artist.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


No, I am not typing with mittens on.  The title is correct.  I just discovered November is National Blog Posting Month or NaBloPoMo.  I knew of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  My sister is a writer and partakes every year in the writing frenzy.  I was oblivious to the blogging event.

Catherine Carey mentioned daily posting today and I thought  "Wow, she's brave, especially in the busy month of November."  That rolled around in my brain a few minutes until I decided to check it out at BlogHer.  Hmmm - supposed to be taking little leaps on this journey.  Plus, I'd conveniently already accidentally posted on day one of NaBloPoMo.  Perhaps, in some odd way, this relates to yesterday's post about doing something every day - badly or otherwise?  Well, what the heck, let's just do it!  I signed up and put the badge on my blog and here we go.  Now I have to put away Halloween stuff, pick out carpet, do dishes and check on the caterpillars before I can make some time to make art to share this month.

2 down... 28 more to go.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Just Do It! . . . badly

"If something is worth doing, it's worth doing badly."

Though an odd twist on an old saying, after viewing the TED talk by Elizabeth Perry, it makes sense.  She wanted to learn to draw and began drawing daily... nine years ago.  She has never missed a day and is one of my inspirations.  Check out the video - "Do something badly" on her blog - quite inspiring.  Really, go watch it and then come back.

Ms. Perry's three bits of advice - draw every day, don't erase, don't criticize - can apply to many things.  What do you want to learn?  What dream are you chasing?  Do it every day.  Learn from your mistakes.  Don't tear yourself down.

An entertaining follow-up... This London artist sketches with a typewriter.  She is remarkably talented.  Intriguing, but I don't aspire to learn this skill.   Speaking only for myself - typewriter sketching is not worth doing badly.  My artistic agenda is plenty full without it.

Update: The video link has disappeared.  However, you can read about the artist and her work at her website -
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