Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Graduates

Here they are: Wyeth and Warren....as photographed by Jeff Goulding of the Times Herald Record. This wonderful photo was taken by our area newspaper and is up on their website. I was able to email it to myself and save it. I was too far away to get any great shots like this. I still have to upload all my pix... Interestingly enough, on their very first day of school--all those 12 long years ago--they had their picture taken for the paper. Sundial Sister Cindy pointed out how it's all come full circle. Neat.
It was a great night; the ceremony was held outside on the school athletic field; the thunder clouds held off until just after the ceremony finished so, unlike my graduation 25 years ago, everyone actually got their diplomas.
We didn't actually manage to get seats. It was packed. But we had a great spot overlooking the whole field and not obstructed by anyone's head. My sons happened to be seated almost directly in front of us,so that worked out well.
The Saturday BBQ was hectic for me but, everyone had a great time and that also turned out really well. And now....I have a few days to pause for breath and maybe even celebrate my own birthday and then we're into prepping for college and all that fun stuff.
So...for the moment...join me in admiring these two high school grads. Class of 2009......Huzzah!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Painting: Camillia

Sunday, I wished my hubby a Happy Fathers Day; gifted him with a beautiful train photograph (not done by me) and a silly card (an audio card of Napoleon Dynamite listing all his 'skills') and then spent the day in the studio painting this little girl above. Her name is Camillia; she was inspired by my Edward Gorey calendar. And I had Interview With The Vampire playing on dvd in the background so maybe she has a bit of Claudia in her too.
She's painted on heart shaped wood that I covered in torn up phone book pages and sanded down. I love how the wrinkles and creases give it almost a stone-like texture. I love her mixture of rough and delicate. I'm planning on adding a little bit of charcoal detail to her wings and coating her in beeswax.
I also spent some time tweaking Theodora a little...and here she is.

I overlayed her hair and eyes and the lighter part of the background with Perfect Pearls...also painted some into her rabbit suit. I love it. It's hard to convey in photographs (for me, anyway) but she has a glimmer to her now. She really catches the light and glows.
I'm glad I had a fruitful studio day Sunday, because the rest of the week is just crazy. My sons are graduating tomorrow night. I'm up to my eyeballs in cleaning and shopping and prep for a celebration BBQ we're having on Saturday. Luckily, it's all close friends and family and they all know that dust is an accessory in my house...but I still have tons to do.
I'm stealing this moment and hoping for at least one or two more before Saturday. I know this busyness is a mother's defense. In a couple months my sons will be 18 and college freshmen in different states. Wow. It boggles my mind.
Well.....off to 'chore-land'.
I think Camillia is laughing at me...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Some Sunny Pictures For A Dreary Day

I'm always facinated by the way the sunlight comes into this wonderful old house and plays with everyday objects, making them into something different to the eye. These photos were taken in late afternoon this past Sunday. Something about these pictures makes me feel like they're almost images from my houses' past. Quilt rack in the bedroom. The quilts actually are from the houses past: they were handmade and embroidered with the names of my husbands family(on his fathers' side).
Sewing table in my studio. When we first came through this house before moving in; I knew this would be my art room/studio when I saw the light that came through the windows. It's not a very big room, but the light is so awesome. At certain times of day, this room absolutely glows.

Cabinet in the back of the hall; between the kitchen and the family room.

Another view of the cabinet with the reflection of the lace curtain on it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Painting: Theodora the White Rabbit

Yesterday I was 'gifted' with an entire day in my studio! I pretended that there wasn't a bathroom to be scrubbed or laundry to do or groceries to shop for and I spent the whole day working on Theodora.
Originally she was going to be done all in varying shades of white; as a kind of experiment. But, that didn't last long. Forgive the terrible photos...I was in a rush to get her posted.
Thank you to everyone who posted their love of my sweet maple tree. I am going to give it a big 'ol hug later this morning.

Monday, June 15, 2009

View From My Kitchen Window

These last few weeks, I've been feeling particularly grateful for the lovely view I have out my kitchen window. This is what I've been seeing (on the sunny days) as I wash dishes or brew coffee. This little garden is oh so lovely looking from a distance, but it's really a tangled mess. The lush looking half is peppermint; then we have my attempt at repelling woodchucks: I planted a tremendous patch of catmint and catnip...which cats from far and near come to visit. Actually, I planted it for my cat Mr. Jinx. What you can't see is the little square of paving bricks I put in so he could lounge on sun-warmed bricks in the catnip. Mr. Jinx is gone,but his kitty-spa lives on.
This maple takes the brunt of every storm that blows across our hill. It's been scalped by wind and lost more than a few good branches. I love this tree. For it's perseverance and for it's imperfect perfect beauty.
I am always inspired looking out this window...no matter the season. It makes a chore like doing dishes...almost something to look forward to. .....Almost.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back In The Studio Groove

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure there was much of a groove to the studio at all, before now. My creative endeavours were only coming in fits and starts and it seemed like as fast as an idea or inspiration would come to me, I'd pick up the pencil and it was gone. I felt like things came to a creative 'rest' of sorts after my father died--nearly six years ago. Our art was something we shared with each other; we belonged to the same gallery groups. We did shows together. Even though our styles were very different, our artistic temperaments were similar. We would sit and talk and throw ideas out and hash over paintings and sketches and things that were inspiring us or blocking us and it always came out right in the end. After he died I felt lost artistically. I couldn't find my muse for a while and then when she did return to me, I just couldn't find my groove. It's strange that somehow my mother's passing has initiated this fire in me right now. I'm back to keeping a sketchbook by the bed and a few Moleskine books in my current purse and another sketchbook downstairs and one in the studio...just so that I'm never without something to hand to put all these ideas into. The photo above of is one of the easels in my studio, loaded with works in various states of progress. There is also a worktable with wood blocks being prepped for more pieces like this one below. This is an inspiration that hit me late last week. She's a little Christmas-In-June angel done in coloured pencil on a vintage book page.

Her name is Juniper...as in the wonderful smelling berries and branches. She's a lovely thing who flowed so easily from my pencils to the paper. Thank you Juniper. Her wood block came from a huge bag of precut blocks that I'd bought ages ago to mount rubber stamps on. Anyway, they sat in my studio like so many other things, gathering dust...and then, the other day, in a fit of straightening up I found them again. And here's what came of that re-discovery.

I think she is just so sweet. I'm off to draw some sisters for her. It feels so good to be back in my studio with a strong sense of direction for my art.
I wonder if--in some way--bringing in all the things from my mothers craft room--her easel, her sewing machine, her sketchbooks and paints, etc. has re-invigorated me.Having these things around me, with me...along with old brushes and paints from my dad...has made me feel like they're encouraging me to keep creating. And there's also the thought that you truly have to sieze this one day and make the most of the gifts it brings you.
Carpe Diem.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Most Wonderful Favourites...

Thank you to Julie Ann of http://heavenleighart.blogspot.com/ for my first ever blog award. What a wonderful thing to recieve and share over my morning cuppa joe and english muffin.
Now I have the daunting task of passing this on to eight other wonderful blogs. Especially daunting because I know I have barely scratched the surface of art-blog land.

So....my eight are as follows:

1)http://mystele.blogspot.com/ little glimpses studio

2) http://countryfolkart.blogspot.com/ country folk art

3)http://sascalia.blogspot.com/ sascalia

4)http://vagabondartistry.blogspot.com/ vagabond artistry/half the sundial sisters

5)http://therubynest.blogspot.com/ the art and life of the ruby nest

6)http://peachycheek.blogspot.com/ peachy cheek

7)http://reverieart.blogspot.com/ audrey eclectic

8)http://primoriginals.blogspot.com/ primoriginals

If each of these wonderful bloggers could, in turn, share this with eight others and spread the inspiration far and wide that would be awesome.I know lives are busy and time is in short supply,so I understand if you can't. And if you haven't already, please visit these wonderful blogs. There are so many more I wanted to name...and as I said I've only just started journeying in this blogosphere.

I also want to be sure to remind everyone of the Silent Art Auction going on at http://countryfolkart.blogspot.com/ . This auction is for the benefit of children with cancer. Please go and take a look at the donated artwork and make a bid. Bidding is open, as of today and closes on Sunday night at 9 pm EST. There are many wonderful donated works of art. Myself and my fellow Sundial Sister, Cindy @ Vagabond Artistry have made donations: a OOAK owl doll and OOAK mixed media art box, but there are also paintings and prints and many great things. It's worth a look.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rainy Days and Prom Kings...

These two super suave, sophisticated Bond-like gentlemen are actually scruffy 17 year olds in disguise. This was Friday night before they left for prom. Much to their eternal torture I made them pose for a 'GQ' photo shoot in the front hall. And yes, that is a 'Funeral ...No Parking' sign. It was an anniversary present from hubby last year.Found it in an antique shop. I have an odd sense of humour. I think it's very funny having it there in the front hall as a kind of greeter.
This morning is dark and dreary and rainy and thundering...I've been running up and down stairs closing windows through out the house. The best part of rain like this (the sheets of rain, deluge kind) is the tin roof. It has a few drippy spots, so I have to go into the attic and strategically place containers and the sound up there is just awesome! Rain on a tin roof makes the most amazing racket. I love to go and sit on the attic stairs and listen to the rain beating on the roof. Somehow it makes you feel like your right inside it.
The thunder is making the house and the windows rattle. And it's making my little dogs very nervous. They haven't left my side all morning. The scruffy 17 year olds had to take their chances sloshing down the hill to the bus stop, but the dogs and I have other plans. A pot of Irish tea and a day in the studio sounds about right.
I love rain.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Alexis, Robin Red and Generous Hearts...

This little beauty is Alexis. She's just turned three. Alexis has cancer. To read her story please go to http://countryfolkart.blogspot.com/ where Tammy (one of the generous hearts in the title of this blog) has set up a Silent Art Auction to benefit Alexis and other children with cancer.Here is a link to Alexis' mom's blog:http://prayerservant.org/ps_alexis/ . Many artists have donated works to the auction. They are also the generous hearts from the title, as are anyone who has made bids on these artworks. Myself and my fellow Sundial Sister, Cindy (of http://vagabondartistry.blogspot.com/ and http://www.sundialsisters.com/) are donating items as well. Cindy is donating one of her awesome original owls; Lament the Blue Who Owl and I am donating the Robin Red art box; which I just finished this weekend. This is how the interior came out.
I deco-ed pieces of dandelion pattern scrapbook paper, then overlayed that-in the center-with cut up pages from a vintage book...painted the eggs and nests. They are also stamped and heat embossed with sparkling copper powder.
Robins' face was painted over deco-ed vintage book pages...then sanded and worked with coloured pencils and oil pastels and ink.She was also rubbed over with a walnut ink antique stain. She is sealed with a matte finish and will also be sealed with beeswax.
The back of the box--the figure of Robin--was also painted over vintage book pages. (I sketched the face and the figure onto the box and then cut the vintage book pages to fit the outlines of the sketches.) She's been overlayed with a one-step crackle medium that only crackled a little, but had the interesting effect of bringing the book text back to the 'surface' of the paint. I love the effect. She was also worked in coloured pencil, oil pastel and marker and rubbed with the walnut stain as well.
The sides of the box have been painted with a mixture of gesso and paint over deco-ed squares of vintage book pages. I also stamped scrollwork and inscribed the edge of the lid with a handwritten phrase: "Gather your eggs of inspiration,keep them safe in the nest of your heart...they will open to reveal your true joy..."
The artwork is protected with a matte finish, but I am also sealing it with beeswax. This is an art piece, so I didn't add any new hardware like handles or a new latch. It's done on a basic blank square cigar box; about 6"X 6" and about an inch deep.
I will cover the cost of shipping. To bid on Robin Red please contact me at yellowhouse36@gmail.com . I will let the winning bidder know on Sunday.
I think Robin Red is very happy that she will in some small way help little Alexis.
I really hope everyone will check out the Auction items at Tammys' blog.

Robin Red was 'won' by my own sister, Heather--who made a wonderful bid/donation to benefit Alexis and Seattle Childrens Hospital. Robin has already gone to her new home...and I'll even get to visit her sometimes. Thank you Heather.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Well I made it through the weekend; all the moving and hauling. I've very nearly 'absorbed' all the stuff I'd brought home from my mother's house into my own house...or into the attic. (Thank goodness for humongous farmhouse attics)
Yesterday, as a reward to myself, I paid a visit to the local A.C. Moore with a wonderful coupon in hand and bought myself this set of Windsor & Newton coloured drawing inks. Plus a small new set of brushes (because none of my hundred or so old brushes would 'do' for these new inks) and some other fun things from the Clearance aisle.
But the inks are truly the thing...
I have a love affair with Windsor & Newton inks that goes back to my dad. The paintings I used to do--ten or so years ago--on watercolour paper were these intensely crafted pieces that layered ink on coloured pencil on ink on coloured pencil and so on...until I had gotten the intensity of colour and the depth of detail I wanted.
I want to revisit that style again and see what happens. I'd believed that I'd never paint like that again, but I've been inspired by the wonderful blog http://littleglimpses.blogspot.com/ and Mystele's journey toward a simpler, more playful way with her art.
It's funny what a struggle it can be to try to get back to the simple act of play in my art. I watch my two year old nephew draw with crayons and sidewalk chalk and his utter joy at having made a mark and his complete surety of what that mark represents (it's a car; it's a plane;it's a dinosaur) are just marvels to me. I know I still have that feeling inside me. When I see something like Robin Red or Anais 'come to life' beneath my fingers I feel it.
Monday night I went to a digital media art show at my son's high school. All the seniors were presenting their work...everything from graphic design and print ads to fully produced and scored mini-films and computer-animated movies. I was blown away. These kids are so hugely talented at 17 and their work still reflects an ability to just play. They're not afraid to try new things.
I'm barely computer able with the few things I do--like blogging--so no worries there. But I want to 'remember' what it was like to just open a bottle of new ink and play for a couple hours.

A tremendous hooray and thank you to Julie from http://therubynest.blogspot.com/. I came online today to catch up to date on blogs and such and discovered I'd been drawn a winner in her lovely giveaway. A print of Princess Fauna. I'm very excited and happy. I knew birds were 'speaking' to me this spring....