Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Animal Wednesday - there must be some down there!

OMG - I think I got the Mr. Linky thing to post see below!!

I am in San Diego, still on East coast time so it is early for me and for here and for everyone. I have no animals today because my lovely duck scan is at home on my home computer and I am traveling with my work computer. But I took these pictures and - there must be animals down there somewhere, just imagine them.

We were flying accross the country yesterday and I looked out the window and saw this very strange moonscape. I don't know if you can enlarge it and see how this is land cut up into geometric shapes, with only a few houses. The white is snow I think and the brown is where the snow is not. Looking at it quickly, it looks like a city...but it isn't.

Then we reached the mountains and I had to take a few pictures, isn't it beautiful?

A shot of Los Angelas Freeway for those who have never seen it. Looks rather daunting from up high and is even more daunting when you are driving on it.

When I landed I had a message from the Art School where my painting class is, saying that so many people had dropped out of the class that they were cancelling the class. So that's that. Oh well.....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Art Class Might Make me Crazy

I started a painting class last night - and immediately got into trouble. The teacher, a rather flaky lady, put out a still life consisting of a bony pelvis from a cow or something; an African statue; and a ceramic head. There was so much going on in that still life that I got confused, started getting hung up on drawing rather than learning how to use paints. So, typical me, I abandoned the whole item, and just focused on the table and made up a ball on the table. She was .....surprised, let's put it that way. Others were painting away, but I learned afterwards that most of them had taken alot of drawing and painting classes with other teachers. I did get a bit sharp with this teacher at one point. There is a young girl in the class from Iraq, she can't be more than 20. Very shy, very quiet, she brought photos of her paintings from her classes in Iraq - she did gorgeous very detailed work. She barely speaks English but is trying to learn. So...the still life gets set up, and this girl starts in on a detailed drawing - which is what she is used to doing. Nancy, the teacher, starts waving her arms and talking about Planes, and intersections, and the objects "talking" to one another, and really wants this girl to just let go and paint big and splash around. Finally, young Rama starts to cry....I went over and asked Nancy to back off, and spoke quietly to Rama about her work and how gorgeous her drawing was. ( I think this counts as a good deed for Friday - right?)
We settled down after that, but I think I'll use this lady to get little hints and tricks and ideas and just ignore her flaky personality. I know what I want to learn, and I'll figure out the rest.

Happy Saturday everyone!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hearts for Haiti

Laure had an idea about making some art to sell for aid to Haiti and of course most of us thought it was a wonderful idea. She asked for Heart-Art in ATC size - and she's going to do amazing creative things with the art she gets.
I took the piece I just did for ArtShine and resized it. Cheating a bit, I know but if I want to get it done this week that's the way I have to go.

If it even helps a tiny tiny bit, that would be wonderful.

Click on the link on Laure's name above it you want to join or just keep track of all the wonderful artist who are joining this group.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Animal Wednesday - Nikki

Cris had a picture on her blog of her Cat Nikki and I decided to draw it. Okay, before you look at this drawing - remember these facts:

1) I have never drawn a cat

2) I usually draw fish - they don't have paws

3) I have never drawn a cat.

So here is Nikki, looking rather weirdly foreshortened and glad that she is on a chair, as there is NO way that those paws would allow her to walk unaided on a floor.

So happy Experimental Animal Wednesday everyone - enjoy!

Oh, and go read this article - is it coincidence or has the soul of this cat started to invade AW???

Shiny new traveling artbook

A group of us are involved in a new traveling sketchbook - which is so much fun/work/challenge to be involved with - here is the front and back of my first page for my book. This then travels to 9 other artists around the world and finally makes it way back to me reading for binding.

Page 1 took me hours and hours to do. Detail work on the design, metallic foil application, painting etc. It was peaceful work and I enjoyed it.

Page 2 on the other hand was a 10 minute blast with watercolor crayons. I like it also, love those crayons and plan to do more with them.

Enjoy your day. I live in Massachusetts, where the voting will be hot and heavy today!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It was like spring out today....

....which is why my crazy husband decided that we should go kayaking. It didn't seem like a bad idea to me, and I thought I'd be a sport about it.

First there was the wetsuit challenge. I hate pulling on a wetsuit, and once it's on I look like a bowling pin and fell squished in places that one should not be squished in.

Worst luck, I asked DH if he was putting on his wet suit also, and he already had it on and the ass was baggy. Baggy!!! in a wet suit!!! What kind of guy is he to be so mean as to have a baggy assed wet suit. Okay, I got over that.

Then we loaded up the car, and I started to realize that I was cool, actually kinda cold but figured I'd keep up with the good sport thing.

We went to our usual river and it was totally frozen, no big surprise. We thought there would be a channel in the middle but no luck. Okay, by this time I'm thinking we'll never get onto the water and I'm starting to relax. We checked out a few more places and they were frozen also , or there was no car parking.

Then we went to the Devil Landing - over my protests. I have never launched from that site without getting wet and I wasn't in the mood to get wet today. DH promised I wouldn't get wet so I agreed to try.

He did get me into the water without much wetness, just the tips of my fingers. We had a nice paddle, and I stayed warm, but you could tell it was cold out. Just look at that clear blue sky. and that brave running water

We had a good paddle, chopped thru some ice, but no real problems. We turned around after about 2 hours and paddled back. By time time, I'm getting very tired, and was not my usual coordinated graceful self hence, when I went to get out of the kayak....

I fell into the freezing cold, maybe just above freezing water. Over backwards, like a turtle, floundering around. Mr Sympathy was laughing so hard that I got furious, which actually helped me get up and out of the water and stomping back to the car to change clothes. But oh, was I cold! My teeth were chattering and I stripped as fast as I could to get my warmies on. Mr Laughing-so-hard was a tiny bit worried and turned on the car so I could get warm but I wouldn't even grace him with a smile. I pouted all the way home, (not really but I felt like doing just that) but am ready for bed now - tired and a bit sore after a fairly strenuous day on the river.
I keep asking myself - wouldn't I rather be inside baking cookies? At the time the answer is YES! When I reflect...I'm glad we did the excursion...I think I'm glad.

Friday, January 15, 2010

An Award

Michele gave me this award and it truly is sweet of her and absolutely cracks me up for a few reasons. Firstly because I am sitting here at 6:00 am in my ratty pink plush warmy winter bathrobe - and believe me, I ain't good lookin' in this thing. Secondly because my DH adores Marilyn. She's been his pinup girl from the time he was a BABY! Really!! I have two funny pictures of him as a little tyke - one where he is looking at an airplane as tho' it were a god and the other one with a picture of MM in the background, I think he is guarding her. In both pictures he is about 2 or 3 years old. And now he is a pilot and has been for 30 years and for Christmas I gave him a Marilyn calendar and some collector "Marilyn Merlot". He adores her movies, we have watched "Some Like it Hot" and "Gentlemen prefer Blonds" about a million times. And scene where she sings "Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend"? - send him off into movie heaven. (I won't get started on the social and political thoughts about her sad life, diamond mining, women in the 50's etc. - not here, not now)

So thank you Michele.

The rules:
1.Thank the person who gave you the award
2. Link the peron who gave it to you
3. Keep it going and give the award to whomever you would like.

I am only following the first two rules, and since all my friends are glamorous and gorgeous - you ALL get this award. So go ahead and embrace your inner Marilyn!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

yes...more paper mache bowls

What am I learning by making all these bowls? Well, for one thing, I am learning what I like and what I do not like, in terms of color and finishing and edges, and size. I made 4 little ones (three shown here) and basically like them...but since the top edges were more structured, I had to finish them off with a top. I do like the tops but not as much as I like the raw edges, and light colors. It's a learning experience, one that I'm enjoying. Color does not come easily to me, its' a constant learning experience.

The one below I've shown you before, but I have now finished it with the edging - a cord made out of some old ribbon I had hanging around the house.

I have no idea what I am going to do with them, perhaps friends will be the happy (?) recipients. Or maybe not.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Animal Wednesday - EEEEK

I have been doing alot of work in the kitchen lately, pretending to be lonely down in the basement. I draw and paint and in general get in the way of the kitchen work. (thoughts of the dining room have come into my mind, ridiculous room, never used but let's not go there now OK?)

So why am I abandoning my basement cave where I can make as much of a mess as I want? Because of these little dears who have been scampering around...just out of my sight. I see a blur go across the floor and I shriek and run. I am not in love with mice. I do think they are cute if I see them behind glass or in a cage, but I have a Navaho fear of mice in my house. Yes...I know they are cold out there in the winter, but that's why they wear fur. They are meant to be outside in a cozy little hole somewhere - NOT in my warm basement.

They really do carry disease. OK, maybe not here in the Northeast so much but they really do in the Southwest. And who knows if any of these guys have traveled and have come back here to tell tales of warmth to their furry cousins.
So - my micey friends - GO AWAY or Mr. T will do nasty loud disgusting things to you - involving heavy springs, and cheese. Or we'll get a cat - ha ha ha!!!

Happy Animal Wednesday everyone

(I'm working on the mr. linky thing so won't put it in this week. I couldn't get the names to show so following Teri's advice, I've contacted them for help)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kates Girlfriends book and Carolines ArtySoul Book

Kate's book theme is "Nature". Gorgeous art work in there - wow... I chose to do miniature nature - drawing pollen, spores, virus', and seeds.

The back side is..what else...a fish. As I was working on this, DH commented "have you thought about birds?" (hint, hint). I told him that I had to master the sea, then the land, and finally the air...and it could take millenium. He sighed.

Marianne sent me Caroline's book for ArtySoulSisters - and the theme is color. The artwork in there is so amazing! I did a watercolor of houses, I've been playing with this technique over the past few weeks. Using a resist to draw the shapes and windows of the houses, and filling in with color. With planning, this is a fun technique and can be taken further than I have done here. There is a second side but the scanner is cranky this morning and won't scan side 2.

These will go out to the next person this week!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More crafty bowls

The "Pink" one. Fabric made into a rope, stitched on with gold wire. I just glued the purple sequin things on cause it was too plain, and not in an interesting way. I tried watercolor paint to give more depth to the pink paper but it didn't work well hence the sequins. Besides...I love glitter and glitz anyways.

I have two more in process - the one below is smaller and I've already removed some of the beads, and made a yellow-ish cord to tie - in a different fashion - around the top of the bowl. It's drying downstairs now, hopefully the glue will keep the cord on. I am also in the process of making a much larger purple bowl, which will probably have yellow accents. More to come later in the week.

On another note, Lynn is starting a new traveling sketchbook - and hurray for that! I know that our traveling sketchbooks for "Girlfriends" and "ArtySoulSisters" are getting ready to close, and I really like the challenge of coming up with something worth while to add to the books. A nice winter challenge will help drive the winter blues away.

Six Word Saturday

Sun Light on Freshly Fallen Snow

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I had a craving for making Paper Mache bowls over this winter break, so what else to do while the men are off fixing the heating system, but give into my craving.

I started with a bowl shape, covered the bowl with plastic wrap and covered that with pieces of torn up tissue paper - all put together with watered down PVA glue. You can use the traditional flour and water paste, but I chose the easier way out. I used about 5 layers of tissue paper, and it's pretty strong.

I let it dry on the form and then gently took it off.

I put a blue/violet tissue paper on the inside and smoochesh around more watered down PVA. Let it dry again.

I added a blue paper to the outside - this was a bit more difficult as this paper was kind of stiff so parts of it stuck out. I decided to use the form of the paper, and did some rubbing with a gold ink pad.

I sewed on beads and gold wire and gold thread - just free sewing, no plan or pattern.

I like it, it's cool looking and I can see the possibilities for other decoration, or even no decoration at all. I have two more forms waiting to be worked on, we'll see how they turn out.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Animal Wednesday - taxidermy

(Check down at the bottom of this post, I'm hoping I added the Mr. Linky thingy - give it a try OK?)
Back to AW -

We went to a "cracker" museum during this last trip in Florida, and they had a great building which was set up like a dry goods store. In the back there were all these stuffed animals, very strange to look at but great to take pictures of with my blackberry.

Did I write down the names of each animal??? Nope - but I think I remember. This one is a Bobcat (I think!)

And a Pheasant....
And a hawk, but I'm not sure which kind. He has a worried look on his face, doesn't he? or maybe befuddled....

Turkey feathers. The turkey itself was too moth eater to take decent pictures of.

And 1/2 of a bear - I actually don't like this one, he looks like he's struggling to get free of the wall, but it was interesting to see his claws and mouth up close without thinking about running as fast as my legs would take me.

Happy Animal Wednesday everyone!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


On the way to bike riding one day last week, we saw this corner deli/gas station/liquor store in Picnic, Florida.

What I want to know is this. Does it say "Fried Chicken Gizzards" or "Fried Chicken" and - separately - " Gizzards". You tell me.

I do know what "Hot Pressed Cubans" are - but still it brings an interesting image to mind.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Keeping a sense of humor

An interesting start to the New Year from Calamity Em.

Flew home from Florida - plane delayed two hours but since I knew it was going to be bad weather at home, I really can't complain about that. I'm just glad we got in to Logan - even if it was 1:00 am. I had a car service pick me up, and he got a flat tire on the way home. OK....they sent another car to pick me up and I got home at 2:30 - not so bad.

The house seemed a bit chilly when I got in, and I found that the furnace was not working. Now I know what it takes to solidify olive oil - as mine was completely solid on the kitchen counter. The house was 43 degrees downstairs and 41 upstairs. Conferred with DH, down in Florida still, about what to do, after an hour we gave up, turned on as many back up systems as I could, and slept in the living room in front of the fire. It was actually quite cozy and comfortable - but I'm hoping for a fix on the damn furnace soon.

So...the way I see if is this. If this is all fate throws at me - I can deal with these little irritations. Keep the big nasty stuff to yourself mr. fate, and let me laugh at these little inconveniences. I could afford to fly home commercially. I got two nice guys to drive me home. I have a house that needs heating.

What more can one person ask for? It's a good start!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Winter vacation - 2009

This has been an odd Christmas vacation for us..but good. I'll explain a bit if you'll put up with it.

I, being brought up Jewish, never celebrated Christmas - my Italian relatives did and we'd visit them but as outsiders only. We never really got involved (which in hindsight vision was pretty silly) and I didn't know much about traditions and customs for Christmas aside from what I read in books. For some reason I did believe in Santa until I was about 6 when a cousin happily told me the truth about that mythical elf. I didn't believe her. I didn't know what trimming a tree was, I thought it had something to do with power tools and getting the tree into that triangle shape!

When I got married, my husband was totally into Christmas and I took over the present buying and he did the decorating. I learned how to decorate a tree, and put up stockings. We did family Christmas's at his mothers in New York with friends, good food, late nights - everything I thought that Christmas should be. It was alot of fun, and good to be with the family for a traditional dinner. But he had a small family, and it began to dwindle - his grandparents died, friends moved away, MIL moved to Washington DC to be near his sister. So we started traveling to Washington and continued the tradition, but without some of the gusto. I began to resent having to be down there, wanting to stay home with my nephews and their family, or go to California with my brother's family. But it all meant so much to DH, that I...being the continual nice guy....always gave in.

When his mom moved to Florida - it really became a stretch. DH continued to push the tradition, but MIL wasn't really into it and it became a bit forced. We did the Christmas Eve dinner with the traditional different fishes - and invited over my family, and had a good time - but things had changed so much that it was obvious that we needed to change also. I've certainly been ready for that change for's taken longer for DH to get with the program.

This year - you can just imagine the changes that have been forced upon us. Dad is gone - and he really did enjoy the Christmas eve dinner - MIL was in no mood to celebrate or cook. My mom went to California on Christmas eve. It was going to be a small group - just the three of us - but out of the blue, my cousin decided to have a big Christmas eve dinner and we went over to her house and had a wonderful time! No tree in her house, no present exchange, but good food and talk and a change in tradition.

DH and I haven't even exchanged presents this year - there are some at home but we haven't gotten around to opening them and it will seem anticlimactic when we finally do get home.

Having mom away in California has been strange but nice. We miss her around the house, but it's been peaceful and quiet, and much less stressful without one other person to pay attention to. MIL has needed tough love - she was feeling very sorry for herself and I had to read her the riot act a few times. Her recovery is totally in her own hands right now, and she was not pushing herself at all. Her doctor told her to exercise and she has been doing the minimum. After being yelled at a few times, she is beginning to pull out of the doldrums and seems a bit more like her old self - thank goodness!

So, because there were less obligations this year, we did get to do a bit more of what we wanted to. DH and I got to bike ride quite a bit this week, below are some pictures that I took in Myakka state forest at the end of our ride.

I spent hours and hours going over mom's finance books and have gotten everything in shape at this point. I feel very good about accomplishing that. I knit a sweater with gorgeous purple yarn, but didn't measure right and it came out enormous. Happily ripped it out and started again. I'm teaching myself how to knit socks! I only drew ONE thing - a coupla strange fish. We finalized paper work to donate Dad's old beat up car to the kidney foundation. I changed mom's home insurance to be more reasonable, and paid all the bills. I made a delicious ham/bean soup yesterday on a rainy day - it felt good to cook down here, we usually eat out.

It's been an unusual ending to a strange year, and I am keeping my fingers crossed for 2010 to be void of drama. Life will go on, but I'm hoping for no dramatic life changes. I am going home on Sunday and hope to avoid the blizzard that is coming into New England. DH is staying down here for a few more days, and then coming home.

So...Happy New Year to all of you - new friends and old. May you have a wonderful year - let's all hope for boring, and just make our own excitement!!!!