Thursday, November 29, 2007

100 things and a question

When I was coughing fit to break last week I did work on alot of the 100 things. It was something to do while at my folks, it was very relaxing, and while I sat at the table drawing, Dad talked alot, sort of like he was thinking out loud. I took advantage of it. Many of the 100 things are active projects so I picked most of the quieter projects and did them sitting at the outside table, out of the sun but in a light area, and drew, coughed and listened.

My mom went hysterical laughing over the flying saucer oreo cookie, and I went hysterical over the egg that looks more like a haystack. The "almond" also started out as an egg - but turned into an almond pretty quickly. Eggs are hard to draw. What the hell color are they? The tomato-y thing is supposed to be an orange which I didn't buy but PICKED in the back yard.

I did offer to do the grocery shopping and while my actual list did not include all of these items, I liked drawing them so made allowances.

Please check out Casey's blog - she's joining the project with her wonderful style. We hope Ms. K will still play as she is about to be a published artiste.

So the question is this (and it has nothing to do with a grocery list) . Does your significant other/husband/wife/lover/whatever, know that you have a blog and do they ever read it? or leave comments? Kerstin you can't answer cause we know B is very blog-supportive.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

100 things - circles - # 34

Kerstin and I now have a new partner, Casey Toussiant - who will join us in the 100 things project. I've said before how much I like this project, both Kerstin and I are finding that one thing/project leads to another. A drawing of a tree leads to thoughts about trees, and drawings of more trees, and thoughts about growing up in the city or in India. I'm finding that it's a bit of a 100 things journal - more than just a project. Casey's wonderful drawings will be a treat to see.

So, I did # 34 - "draw small circles and fill them in with color". This was a great exercise for me, I started off in my usual slapdash manner and found myself slowing down, adding color, outlining some circles and not others. Even as I look at this today, I think I might add some shadows ("where's your light source mim?" - continuous question from Tony). But the other thing that I like about this project is that it's totally on our own time, no deadlines, no competition - and I can add color as I please. Lovely project.


My good friend, Ms. Forever Young tagged me to tell 5 random or weird things about myself. Okay FY - here I goes.

1) I too am a member of the mile high club
2) Underneath my frantic activities I am lazy, lazy, lazy!
3) I love early mornings, before anyone get's up, before the cars are driving.
4) I think I suck at just about everything but that makes me try even harder.
5) I like and love my family from mom and dad to littlest grand niece.

I am not going to tag anyone cause they've all been tagged! Maybe later -

Tree Love

In one of my last posts, I wrote about my favorite trees and showed a picture of one of my little fir buddies. A lot of people have commented on what their favorite tree is, and Kerstin has gone onto drawing different trees for our 100 things project.

My relationship with trees in interesting when I think back onto it. As I've mentioned, I grew up in Brooklyn, New York - where we actually did have magnificent trees lining the streets. I was a very nearsighted child (my parents didn't figure this out until I was 10 - but that's another story) and because my world was circumscribed by what I could see, I tended to be dreamy and did a lot of reading. We all played outdoors in our cement courtyard - stoop ball and the like and I didn't interact with trees much aside from using them as bases for stick ball, and walking the dog near the tiny patch of green around the base of the tree. Google earth comes in handy to show a picture of our old apartment building. We actually did have more trees on the streets when I was a kid.

But I did spend time on the fire escape in our building which overlooked the wide avenue in front of the house. We lived on the fourth floor of the building and I would spend hours looking down into the leafy head of the street trees. I distinctly remember seeing a fuzzy, dreamy swath of green - no distinct set of leaves, but just light and dark green, usually dappled by sunlight. To me this was nature, and I would imagine who might live in those leafy houses - little beings? Magical creatures?
In later years, I established different relationships with trees; awe at their color changing abilities and caring for the trees at my old house - but this first fuzzy tree relationship started me off on what I consider to be the right foot.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Illustration Friday - November 23rd - ZOO

This drawing was inspired by Forever Young's post. Her post reminded me of the time that I was 4 years old and at the zoo with my dad. I was feeding the elephant some peanuts, and he reached out and took my entire hand into his trunk. Way into! I don't remember being scared, just thinking that I must not have held the peanuts correctly. Of course my dad was panicked and yanked my hand out of the animals nose! Perhaps that elephant was really just reaching out for a touch, some connection with another animal. I'm sure he didn't want to be in the zoo.
I've always had a soft spot for elephants, and love to watch their pack habits. They have a matriarchal society and are very social animals, with aunts and cousins and mom's. I feel so sorry for elephants in the zoo, mostly because they are alone and must be so lonely. It just breaks my heart.

As a sideline discussion, while we were at Disney, they have an Animal Kingdom area and I took pictures of this elephant. The guide assured me that this bull needed to be a loner - but I'm just not buying it.

100 things - Favorite Tree

I love Kerstins drawing of her favorite tree, and wanted to get mine done while I still can get out to the trees without stomping thru snow.

Picking my favorite tree here at this house was easy, we mostly have pines around the house and I'm not in love with the tall white pines, but do love the Blue spruce so drew that. I was tempted to go back to my old house, as that house was surrounded by wonderful trees. We had a giant, beautiful, useful maple right in front of the house. Besides being beautiful, it shaded the house in the summer and let the light thru in the winter. I just love(d) that tree. We also had a beautifully flowered catalpa tree, a horse chestnut, a plum tree, and two apple trees, two butternut trees, a rowan tree, multiple ash trees and for many years, an old and wonderful elm tree that had not yet succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease. That tree was just magnificent - tall and reaching it's branches upwards, just inspiring to see. It finally did succumb to the disease and we had to have it cut down, if it had fallen it might have taken the house or barn down. I didn't go home the day it was cut, and then had a young cousin come over to split and stack the wood.

So, the decision of which tree to draw here was easy. I would have been hard pressed to choose at the old house - each and every tree was my buddy.

100 things - Drawing Red things

We're back from Florida, and I'm now feeling exhausted. I have the sort of constitution that will keep on going until I get a chance to relax and them ....wooph. Down time needed! So Sunday will be a true day of rest for me this week, before going back to work.

But I did get a chance to do alot of 100 things this week. Here are examples from "Drawing Red Things" ;

Red Grapes (kinda purple)

A red silicon potholder - more about the words later

Red Purse

and of course, Cranberries

and an apple...

I sat at the kitchen table in Mom's house drawing - it wasn't the best place in the house but Dad would sit at the kitchen table and talk to me while I was drawing. He told me about an uncle of his named Tony Pinelli, who was a musician and artist. Tony would draw pictograms letters from his travels and send them to my grandmother. He'd draw a little picture of each of the aunts (there were 5) and incorporated them into his letter somehow. The actual letter's haven't survived but Dad told me that his mother got such a kick out of them. He also told me that Tony Pinelli was a guest conductor at the Met, and that somewhere there was a picture of him and Toscanini at the Met. I don't know who has that picture now. Tony Pinelli died in Mexico after being hit on the head with a large bell. This story sounded strange to me, and Dad said that his father (who was a doctor) was very suspicious of this story also but no one could prove foul play.
Interesting the things you can learn while sitting quietly, doing a quiet task and just listening.

Here is the link to Kerstins latest post. I got a giggle this morning comparing our two notebooks. Mine is becoming smudged and worn out. Kerstins still looks beautiful and clean. There is more to this project than just doing drawings and posts. I'm likin' it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Day After Thanksgiving - thank goodness!

Lots of people over yesterday and good eating and drinking, but we are all exhausted today. I am still sick but with the help of antibiotics am hoping that this cough goes away; it's been an ab workout with all this coughing. My cousins are all in town and I'm invited to play tennis but I may go watch only. They are younger and very lively and enthusiastic - groan.

I've had time to work on my 100 things, and also bought a instructional booklet on colored pencils which has been great fun to work thru. I'm tempted to go out today and buy some additional colored pencils (they have a great art store here in Sarasota) but I keep hearing Tony telling me that I only need three pencils to work with, red, blue, yellow. But - there are so many different reds, and blues and yellows - so maybe I need to get different ones???

I have been helpful to my folks, driving them to Dr. Appointments etc. but hope that they don't catch this cold, that would be such a drag for them. Mom was complaining last night of a tickle in her throat - I'm really going to feel guilty if they get this, and I'm not here to care for them.

Hopefully homeward bound tomorrow. Hopefully we'll have a tailwind. Hopefully I won't throw up in the plane like I did on the way down (little 4 seater - no escape) . I live in hope.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What a drag....

I am in beautiful Florida. I have the worst cold I have had in years. Instead of helping my folks with household chores, and helping with Dad - taking him out and relieving mom of some daily burdens - I am settled in bed, coughing and sneezing, and generally miserable. I may just have to have boil-in-bag turkey on Thursday with cold medicine. Oh well, I guess I'm thankful that I'm not in the snowy area on top of it all.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Illustration Friday - November 16th

I seem to be out of time lately for IF - but love the challenges and don't want to miss them all. So I dashed this off and scanned it in before leaving home - it needs color and some more details but you get the picture.

My grandmother was so superstitious and she taught me everything she knew. It didn't take on anyone else in the family but I was her best pupil. She always claimed that "she wasn't superstitious, but just wanted to be careful. Bah Humbug! Grandma was as superstitious as they come. She also taught me how to knit, how to make gefilte fish, how to make a peach pie, how to be afraid of heights and the worst one... to be terrified of bats. She convinced me that bats would make a beeline for my hair, make an immediate nest and I'd have to spend the rest of life with a bat nest in my hair.

Anyway - here's to Grandma and all her superstitions!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Remember my turkeys? I'm sure that they are strung up somewhere, I've heard the hunters out there.

Off to our folks for the week for the Thanksgiving holiday. Since they are on the west coast of Florida, we're spending the week down there. Here is where I hope to be at sunset tonight...or at least tomorrow night.

More disney observations

I bet there aren't alot of people who notice the more hidden disney stuff, but most of it caugh my eye. I already mentioned how detail oriented their designers are, so I was on the lookout for the details. I don't know how they do it, they must travel around buying up stuff from esoteric places. Part of me wants to think of Disney as Walmart - robbing people and places and I don't know if that is true or not. Here are some items I noticed.

Yes, it's a Cinderella mozaic - but what amazing work! I'd like to recognize the artist that did this but he/she wasn't mentioned.

There were these wall art pieces that I swear looked authentic but again, I just don't know. Either way, they are amazing. Apparent fresco's and carvings. I didn't touch them maybe because I wanted to preserve the illusion of actual pieces. Again, either way, they were incredibly detailed and wonderful to look at.

Lots of overhead prayer flags in this section

I love signs and have alot of my own so of course I noticed these

I know it's probably fake rust, but if I didn't appreciate the real thing, then I appreciated the idea.
As I read this I realize that there is the skeptic in me that is reserving judgement and sort of holding out on truely enjoying the experience. So I'm going to let it go, and just say again what a good time I had with my boys and best friend.

Illustration Friday night - and so I wait

I don't know exactly what she is waiting for, but she looks aprehensive.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Illustration Friday - late, late, late

I'm not even posting this on the IF site, it's wierd. Started in on a plane to Florida, and doodled around with colored pencils and watercolor; it originally had an audience but I erased them and her hair also.

Anyway - it was fun to do.

100 things - unknown person biography - project # 8

The project is to draw an unknown person and make up a short biography about them. I had fun with this as I love to make up stories about people, about their lives. I also learned (again!) that if you try to work with a pen that has any kind of liquid ink - it will explode on a plane. I worked on this portrait and story and then put it aside and started to work on something else. Tried to use my silver ink pen on the back of this sheet and SPLAT - a big blob of ink came out which now shows as a grease spot on my man's head. Oh well, perhaps the 95th thing I should add is "mess up your artwork".
The Biography of this guy reads: "John Q - born in Spain to a poor family. Went to school thru 7th grade and then started working with his father on the family fishing boat. Got big and burly. Married at age 20, had 6 kids by age 30. Bought his own boat by age 35 with money from secret cod fishing spot. Hired a crew and expanded the fleet.
Died at age 35 when a rogue wave swamped his boat at his secret cod spot. Son Cesar survived the wreck and was picked up by a passing Italian fishing boat. Cesar never fished again and never ate cod for the rest of his life"

100 things - draw your dinner

I drew my dinner on a plane (where else) on Thursday night going down to Florida for my mini-vacation. You can see that I didn't start out this vacation with good food, and while the food was somewhat tasty at Disney, it was NOT good for you in any way. So I started off this trip with a dinner as nutritious as most of the meals that followed. Peanut butter crackers and coffee. I did this in pencil as I can't use pen and ink on a plane as it usually explodes - as I will show in another post for 100 things.

Here are links to some of Kerstins 100 things - 1 and 2

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Disney World Vacation - First impressions

Well, it was a whirwind mini-vacation, from Thursday night to late on Monday (2:00 AM - arrived home). The first time I went to Disney was when the boys were 6 years old, and there was alot of watching them, going on slow rides, afternoon naps by the pool and alot of "watch me, watch me" shouts. It was a fun trip, and not too exhausing if I remember correctly. Now 9 years later, keeping up with two 15 year olds was a bit of a challenge, but still fun and do-able.

DisneyWorld amazes me, with it non- stop merchandizing, the incredible attention to detail and the actual feeling of being away from it all. I did fall under the Disney spell - I admit it! - but stopped short of thinking that all of the clothes with MM ears were chic. First off we went to the original park, Magic Kingdom, where the Cinderella castle overlooks the whole park. Here is a picture of it during the day - and the illuminated night shot. Below it is a shot of a little US colonical house that you pass while walking to some of the rides. In clever Disney style, the dimensions of this house are off just a bit. Adjustments are made to the house measurements to make the structures seem cozier, more approachable. This is done everywhere - and it's a very clever approach. The buildings are not overwhelming, they look like you could walk in and settle down by the fire with a good book. Anyway.....

The park was filled with little girls dressed up as Pricesses. For just under $300.00 you can get your little girl the full princess treatment, complete with dress, hairdo, and nail polish. It certainly seemed excessive to me, but I can imagine how thrilled and happy I would have been as a 6 year old princess. Ah yes, Princess Mim of Brooklyn.

We all went on roller coaster after roller coaster. I love thrill rides, usually can't get enought of them. I am always terrified, can't believe I got myself into this, and scream out loud, or laugh hysterically through out the whole ride. My life passes in front of me as the ride twists and turns and speeds down steep slopes. But I keep going back for more. The great thing about doing this with 15 year olds is that they love the rides too, and will scream out loud along with you but probably for different reasons. Plus, I get to keep reminding them that I am OLD and they should be grateful for a loving aunt who will do this with them. They smile and pat me on the head and drag me off to the next ride. How lucky am I?

Here is a shot of the outside of the Everest ride, where you hurtle upside down and backwards

More impressions coming soon. Also to answer Kerstin's question - I think that Disney World is much bigger than Disney Land. World has the inside-the-park resorts and hotels and much more acreage than Land - but I'm not sure on the actual details.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Yes - I am grateful that I have been able to keep up with two 15 year olds at Disney World and that I can do all the crazy rollercoaster rides with them!

My feet on the other hands - oh boy, the dogs are barkin'!!

More fun tomorrow and Monday AM.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A mini vacation

I am going with my two nephews and their mom to Disney World for a few days. I remember taking the kids when they were 6 years old and vowing never to go back...but never say never! This time they are old enough to be on their own so that when my dogs start barking loudly, I can sit by the pool and have them check in periodically. Should be an interesting and fun/relaxing week.

Monday, November 5, 2007

100 things - morning collage

I thought I would take one of the ideas and do a morning collage. I think I can still call it that but it morphed into an all day collage, so I may not count it towards the 100. I have been fascinated with glazes recently after seeing a demonstration. I wanted to give it a try, and my first try was an unqualified disaster. Even my art teacher said "hmmmm". So I tried it again with no focal point, no goal and I really like the way it came out as a background. So now...what to add as a feature, or focal point or whatever it's called. I tried one of those lugubrious Victorian ladies, but that is not my cup of tea.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

100 things and 1,000,000 pieces of stuff

ElizT left a very true comment recently about unused stuff. I am in the process of cleaning out my basement studio - we had additional electrical outlets put in (I only had one down there) so in the process, I had to clean up and out. What junk I have collected! In my defense, I knew nothing about what I was getting myself into and first went completely down the craft road. So I have tons of little stickies and paper and weird paint. And little bits of paper and pictures. Way too much for one person. So I am categorizing, and cleaning and finding out what I actually have and then...what to do with the good stuff that I don't need anymore. Someone else could use it. There is an artist trading site, but I don't want anything new. So, I will cast about and see if anyone needs a million little mermaid pictures, or stamps, or whatever. Let me know if you have a place that you know could use some stuff.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

100 things

Kerstin and I are doing the 100 things-to-do as mentioned in an earlier post. In order to start, I felt I needed to do action number 3 and buy myself a nice watercolor notebook and my favorite pen. Funnily enough, Kerstin started out with the exact same action and got herself a beautiful red covered journal and pencil set. Do we know how to shop or what? Additionally I made myself a copy of the list in a more ordered format and am going to paste it in the front of the notebook - all this before I saw what Kerstin did. It will be interesting to see how similar our other actions are.

Illustration Friday - November 2nd

Hats! My first thought was crazy hats on somber men and women - but that's been done to death. Last night I was picking up around the house, and put my coat on the hat rack and thought about how I never really look to see what is on that rack, and how surprised I might be if I dug thru the layers to see what is hanging around. Got me thinking about what I would find...hence this little drawing.

The caption is "The Smiths finally realized that Dick really was a Christmas Elf"

Thursday, November 1, 2007

More stuff from the antique store.

You can tell by now that this was a bonanza trip.

This picture was one that I had to buy for a measly $3.00. This photo was about 10X14 - hand colored. A picture of the family dog, in hand colored glory, in it's own frame - I just felt that it had to be rescued. Someone really must have loved this pooch, with his little feisty look and standing up ears. It would have broken my heart to have left it behind.
I named him Sparky.