"If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow."
-- Louis L’Amour
Write, draw, paint. I imagine it's all the same... J
Mr. Man really outdid himself this year with all the presents. (!) In addition to all sorts of art supplies, books and magazines -- truly, an embarrassment of riches -- he surprised me with this 6 season set!
It’s official: I *love* NCIS!! I stumbled upon the reruns on the USA network this fall and have fallen in love with this TV show. But… up until now I’d only seen random episodes from various seasons. But now, we can watch them in order!!! Yay! I can’t tell you how happy that makes me! And ya know what? I never would’ve thought to ask for it. J
And then, he also got me this:
These are the most delicious girly-girl “jams and jellies” I’ve ever tried. It’s a set including a body scrub, body cream, shower gel and a lip balm. The lip balm is a minty flavor, and the rest are the most divine sugary almond scent.
(It comes in 4 different flavors: almond, lavender, pink grapefruit, and delicious mixed.)
They are made by 100% Pure, from QVC.com, and their scents are soooooo good. They use pure essential oils, not chemicals, are totally organic and maybe even vegan. I can’t do perfume anymore (the chemicals give me headaches), but these, these I can enjoy.
In fact, I have a caffeinated eye cream by 100% Pure that is vanilla-scented, and it is so delicious that you just about want to eat it! Yummy!!
This is a photo of the best Christmas lights in Edmond.There’s nothing like seeing it in person, but I wanted to share it with y’all anyway.
It is most spectacular, and rumor has is that the owners have Indian casino money.Isn’t it nice that they share their abundance with us??
The lights are motion-activated and the brilliant LED kind…The first time we drove past, they all came on at once -- it was a great surprise!And this year they’ve added some new lights:they’re white and go down sequentially, like melting ice, or like a meteor.Cool.
We love to drive around and see all the Christmas lights
with our dog.Don’t you?J
"The moon will be shadowed by the Earth starting late Monday and into Tuesday morning, the first such eclipse in nearly three years. The event can be seen from anywhere in North America.
Weather permitting, observers will see the moon enter the Earth's inner shadow, or umbra, at 10:33 p.m., with a red-brown shadow creeping across the bright moon. This shadow has a curved edge, a fact that was taken as proof to at least some ancients that the Earth is round. The sky will get darker as the shadow progresses across the moon, and more stars will be visible as sunlight reflected from the moon fades.
Unlike during a total solar eclipse, when the sun is blotted out, in a lunar eclipse the moon rarely appears black. Because of sunrises and sunsets around the world that scatter and refract light from the sun, the moon generally appears bright and coppery orange, or sometimes brown or dark red-black, depending on how much pollution is in the atmosphere."
And from Accuweather.com:
"It is extremely rare for the two events [a lunar eclipse and the winter solstice] to take place on the same date. The last such occurrence took place on Dec. 21, 1638, though this was only at the Greenwich meridian, according to Space.com. In the Americas, the eclipse fell on the evening of Dec. 20, 1638 with the solstice following the next day.
The next time the two events pair up will occur on Dec. 21, 2094."
Okay! The telescope is set up and we're ready!
Maybe I should go have some more caffeine...
It may be a long night! Haha
This is one of my favorite winter soups…
It’s full of fresh veggies and soooo yummy!
I had a recipe from my mother’s neighbor that called for ground meat, tomato juice and frozen mixed veggies, and I decided to bump it up a notch. If you ever make this, I think you’ll agree that the beef consommé soup and fresh produce are well worth the effort. If not, you can always go back to the original idea.J
I made up this soup the first day it snowed after we moved to Oklahoma. Mr. Man was caught in a traffic jam, as I recall, and I put the time to good use and made this hearty soup as he was driving home.
"Snow Soup” is much more fun than "Vegetable Beef", so I actually ran outside and got a scoopful of fresh snow and added it to the pot so I could really call it that. And while I don’t always add real snow to it, I do keep some snow in the freezer. What’s more fun than snow ice cream in July??J
So here’s the recipe. I do hope you try it. You brown the meat, open some cans, and chop some veggies while you watch NCIS. Oh wait. That’s me. hahaha
Lucky Dog ♥
1 lb. ground meat
1 onion, diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
2 cans of tomato soup
2 soup cans of waterJ
1 can of corn
1 can of Beef Consommé soup
1 T. sugar, optional
½ a stalk of fresh broccoli florets, chopped
1 fresh yellow squash, chopped
some fresh carrots, chopped
4 potatoes, chopped
whatever you have in your crisper—cauliflower, zucchini…
1. In a 6-qt. type pot, brown the meat, remove, and sauté the onion and celery in beef fat until translucent. (or however you normally do these things!)
2. Add remaining ingredients.
3. Simmer until veggies are tender.
(After browning things and adding the cans, I chop and add the dense veggies first, the carrots and broccoli, and then chop the rest while it all simmers, adding the potatoes last. They usually need only 5-10 min to get tender, depending on how small you dice them. And then it’s ready! Yummy!!)
In an effort to “stretch” myself and satisfy my curiosity...
Lately I have been preparing to attempt a little piece, done with some art journaling techniques that I have seen on the Internet.
I really like the art journal pages that have a bit of text showing through, and pieces with quotes made with typed words. It gives the pieces so much energy and visual texture. And lots of Busyness. J
I pretty much know nothing about art journaling, but I see these things online... And while I don’t know if it’s my “style” or not, I still wanted to try it out, ya know?
Most of these art journal pages seem to begin with white gesso, so first I had to buy some of that. (I had some, but it ruined--aarrgghh!!) Next, I needed some printed words to use. And since we don’t take the newspaper anymore, I asked Mr. Man to bring one home from work.
(Maybe I’ll go to a used book store and look at old books for my next Artist’s Date.)
So, I got out a piece of bristol board (heavier than most paper--to take the layers of gluing, but cheaper than, say, my Rives BFK), and I tore up some pieces of newspaper copy and glued them on with a gluestick.
Oh, and I found out by trial and error that if you glue on lots of small text but then, here and there, glue on some headlines at various angles, you get a lot better variety and contrast. Otherwise, it’s all the same and kinda dull.
And then, since I’m so weird about painting (haha), I painted the now newsprint-covered piece using pastels. What I do is, I wipe the pastel stick with a tissue and wipe the color onto the piece. It’s soooooo easy, it’s ridiculous. My kind of painting! LOL
(BTW, I used my Schmincke pastels rather than my PanPastels, for a softer color, but I plan to try out both and see if there’s much difference.)
Okay, then I globbed on some white gesso and spread it around with my fingers, and dabbed at it with a tissue to remove some here and there, and let it dry.
After that, the piece had some boring areas that looked like they needed a little “strengthening”. So I got out my new punchanella (AKA sequin waste--something else I learned about on the Internet) and, using the same blue pastel as I used on my piece (to echo the same color scheme), I put some very soft punchanella stencilling here and there with a stencil brush. And then with a tissue, I also wiped a bit more color on top of the dry gesso wherever it looked like it needed it. (where it looked a bit weak)
Then I brought the piece down to the kitchen and propped it up against the wall on the kitchen desk, where I always put my new pieces at the end of the day. I do this so I can live with them awhile, view them from a distance, and see what else they need. And also enjoy my latest creation! J !
After awhile I thought, it needs some words, but not calligraphy. And not gel pens or Sharpies, either. No, it needs words also cut out of the newspaper, to harmonize with what all is already going on. At least, that’s the way my brain was going at the time.
So I got the newspaper out again and “harvested” letters and words for my Scripture quote and glued them on. And then it was finished! ♥ Yay! ♥
However… I can sure see why most artists use words they’ve typed or printed out. It took tons of time to find the right size letter that was the right color and also the right kind of font. Good grief! Maybe some of that was because I only had one little ol’ tiny Air Force Base newspaper to harvest from, but still, it took a lot of time!
It made me smile, though, cutting out letters and gluing them on, sorta like a ransom note. (!) It takes me back to my junior high school days, when I would cut out pretty letters out of my Seventeen magazines and save them in envelopes. How weird was that?!? Ha-ha! I guess my lettering and my collage roots run deeper than I realize...! J
ANYway, I am especially thrilled with the results of this particular experiment because it’s so different from what I naturally do. Because it looks so jazzy and busy and artsy, and unlike what I usually do. (clean. quiet. simple.)
Yikes, I haven’t done a “Thankful Thursday” in awhile! It isn’t because I haven’t been thankful, to be sure… But now, wait. Before I get down on myself for that, I have to remind myself that these little Blog Ideas are to “serve” me, not weigh me down, and that I don’t need to dwell on any “shoulds”! Right?? Okay!
Today I am thankful for a funny little thing… I am thankful that a lot of my art supplies don’t go bad. J I have had paint get rock-hard in tubes and have had to throw out gobs of $$$ in the trash, and I just hate that, don’t you??
But today I am thankful that my little beads and ribbons and glitter wait patiently, sometimes for years for me to get inspired and pull them out and use them. And I did that today, and I am so happy that they were there, waiting for me, just as good as the day I bought them. (!)
So, today’s little piece, what I generally refer to as a “piecelet”, incorporates my new Casual Caps, written in neon green with a gel pen, and accented with lime green and chocolate ribbon and “bejeweled” with light green crystals. ♥
I guess that’s a new category for me: no glitter, glitter and “bejeweled”. Hahaha
Finally! Here are a few pages of the alphabet that we studied with Peter Thornton the other weekend. The workshop was entitled, “Casual and Inventive Caps”, and they are delicious! I don’t want to go back to using anything else! J
Now these photos are of my own samples, written during the workshop, so please take them with a grain of salt. I hadn’t been doing this but for only a few minutes or hours at the time, so please be kind and realize that I am just a beginner at this. Still, though, I hope you enjoy them!
(You can click on any photo to see it bigger, and even then use Ctrl + repeatedly for even greater detail.)
Peter started us off with straight Roman capitals done with a pencil, learning their proportions by family. We used a pressure and release technique, so the letters weren’t monolinear, but waisted.
Next we changed the straights of the alphabet to subtle curves, the key word being subtle. (Should the word “subtle” ever be bolded?? LOL) Anyway, the curves should be gentle. A capital H shouldn’t look like a barrel! J
Then the 3rd variation had us playing around a bit with deviating from the norm. Try crossing the E extra low… Instead of the stem stroke of a T being in the middle, try placing it toward the front of the crossbar... That kind of thing. Peter’s inventiveness in this regard was just amazing.
This next photo shows the progression of "straight" pressurized Romans, then more relaxed, and then more inventive:
And Peter was such a good teacher! He was so funny but also very informative. On several occasions he would use such great descriptive imagery that it helped you “see” and remember, instead of just trying to teach us an abstract form. For example, for the leg of a K, Peter said to imagine the graceful hem of a gown, draping across the floor. (!)
Jo Miller has some fantastic photos of his work on her blog:
The pressure and release technique took such concentration, though!! Whew, my eyes were stinging by that evening, for sure! But I really loved working with a pencil. I could erase my mistakes, for one thing! LOL But there was something freeing about using such a humble tool. No ink to spill… No gouache to mix… Just a pencil to keep nice and sharp. J
(BTW, I love love love the sharpeners I found at Staples. Peter gets out a knife and does it the “right” way, but I use my Staedtler Wedge Pencil Sharpener. You get 4 for a little over $4, and it boasts a 3-point fixed blade and all metal construction. Dime store pencil sharpeners may be cute and colorful, but I love a *sharp* and serious tool!)
Oh, and I need to mention that at first we worked on layout paper, even tracing the alphabets, but then switched to a nice toothy paper, like Arches Text Wove. And we ran outa time, but you can also make these casual caps with a broad-edged nib and also pointed nibs, so there’s a lot of material to explore for quite awhile.
(And do I need to mention how much FuN these caps are with colored pencils and gel pens?!) J
But, ya know, in a workshop there’s so much new stuff to take in that you just can’t absorb it all right then. It’s like sensory and information overload or something. And now that the dust has settled, I wish I could go back and take the workshop all over again. I might actually know what questions to ask now. Oh well -- isn’t that always the way it goes?? JJ
It was a most excellent workshop and I’d take another one with Peter in a heartbeat!
Well, everything’s been so CrAzY around here what with the holiday weekend and all -- I’m sorely behind on my blog entries!! Please tell me that the whole month of December won’t be like this. LOL
So, I hope you had as wonderful a Thanksgiving holiday as we did. Oh my, what good eats there were to be had! And while my Pecan Pie was a little on the liquid-y side (who knows why--it never has been before), it was most delicious, as was everything else. ♥
And while the Dallas Cowboys didn’t win their football game that day, they fought hard, and I was so proud of them. And I remain absolutely thrilled with Jason Garrett being their interim head coach. You non-Cowboy fans probably wouldn’t know, but back in the day, he was their 3rd string quarterback under Troy Aikman, and is famous for a certain Thanksgiving Day victory of his own. He’s a cutie-pie redhead with a great smile, and a Princeton graduate to boot. And I hope Jerry Jones is smart enough to keep him. (!!)
Okay, sorry I digressed there for a minute. For us Dallas Cowboy fans, Thanksgiving equals football and food, and I have been married long enough to Mr. Man to know that! Haha
So I still need to write a blog entry on the Peter Thornton workshop with some VISUALS…! Goodness, where do the hours go? I need another hour or two in the day, just for writing blog entries and processing photos (moving them from the camera to the computer and re-sizing them). Oy.
In the meantime, I posted a little snippet, to hopefully tide you over: a photo of yesterday’s Scripture verse that I wrote out in the Casual Caps that we learned last weekend. But. I used a gel pen instead of a pencil. (!) I know, I know, Peter would spin in his grave, were he dead, but I just had to try it out, what with all my gel pen craze lately. And you know what? I like the look. I was afraid it would be too thick and clunky, done with a monoline gel pen, but I think it works! What do you think??
Okay… I need to go do some regular stuff, like get dinner going, duh. I’m thrilled with the day’s productivity, though. I finally (and that really should be underscored, italicized and bolded) cleaned and polished my hardwood kitchen floor. I’d been agonizing about that crazy floor for a long time, wondering what to use, and I finally got some Bona products at Lowe’s yesterday. And the floor is drying as we speak! (type?)J
I’ll try to post more this week, 'cause I also have a new piece of artwork to share with you soon: my experiment with art journalling techniques. I can’t wait to for you to see my newest little creation. ♥ Okay, soon, very soon. After I post some samples of what we did at the workshop.
In the meantime, Happy Cyber Monday!
I’ve already done my online shopping, have you?
“Some are by nature more controlled, others are looser. Temperament will be expressed in your writing and we must acknowledge who we are. Nonetheless, if you consider yourself careful, aim for a little more energy in your strokes. If you consider yourself a free spirit, then slow down and be a bit more careful. Strive for more of what you think you lack. Calligraphy comes from both discipline and freedom.”
Well, I just finished taking a 2-day workshop with Peter Thornton on Casual and Inventive Caps.THE Peter Thornton.Ahhhh…I’ve wanted to take a class with him for at least 20 years, and it was *so* worth the wait.(!!!)
And while I was inspired and educated and came away with greater *understanding*, I couldn’t help but think of a particular Peanuts cartoon during the course of the weekend.
(Remember this one, Jane Ann??)J
Lucy, Linus and Charlie Brown are lying down, looking up at all the clouds, and Lucy asks them what they “see”.
Linus:Well, those clouds up there look to me look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean. [points up]That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor.And that group of clouds over there… [points] … gives me the impression of the Stoning of Stephen.I can see the Apostle Paul standing there to one side.
Lucy: Uh huh. That’s very good. What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?
Charlie Brown: Well… I was going to say I saw a duckie and a horsie, but I changed my mind.
When I am around such greatness, I feel like I’m just playing with duckies and horsies by comparision.JAnd yet, at the same time, I am so inspired to achieve greater things.
Gosh, I love workshops!!!!!
And while there were many things “worth the price of the workshop”, Peter had some advice was most insightful.And I want to be sure to pass it along to you, my little chickadees, just in case there are a couple of you out there that haven’t heard it before.
He instructed us at the beginning of the workshopthat we were not to say, “I can’t”.As in, “I can’t make a good S” or whatever.Instead, he said we were to add the word yet to the end of that.“I can’t do that yet.”
It’s obviously less negative and it helps our subconscious mind be open to such possibilities, and, I think, is a very worthwhile habit to cultivate.(Although, it was very hard to not think it, especially during a workshop!)J
So!I need to unpack my art supplies and come down from my workshop high…But really, I hope it lingers a bit longer than usual this time.It was truly a *wonderful* workshop and alphabet.
Today I had fun trying out an idea: lots of horizontal lines of white writing, accented with a visual. And my favorite choice for that is generally collage. ♥
The paper I used is a light blue commercial stock with silver flecks all over it, and the white pen is made by Pilot. And the collage elements are from my collection of bits and bobs, odds and ends, jams and jellies. J
First I handprinted Psalm 8, verses 3-5, over and over for a textural background and then started having fun. (!)
I don’t know why, but I just naturally love collage! I love putting together colorful bits and creating texture and usually making something a bit 3-dimensional. And I always appreciate the fact that you can “audition” elements (try them in place) before commiting yourself with the glue.
Somehow I just love that you take these separate elements that you pick up and hold, and then put them together to create something new. I have no idea why that appeals to me so much.
I even love that it’s a tidy, dry method. ♥ Especially with today’s scrapbooking glues like glue dots and tape runner thingies. I played with some new toys the other day, some spray bottles of iridescent paint, and got it ALL over my hands. And it didn’t wash off, and my hands were soooo stained.. Yuk, what a mess. I felt like Monk, trying to get it off! LOL (TMI!!!) J
Like painting doesn’t feel messy enough to me.I don’t know why, but I haven’t ever enjoyed painting.Heaven knows I’ve tried.(And I will continue to try, for the record.Go with your strengths, but continue to stretch yourself, right?)
But I love love love gluing and making collages. Isn’t it funny how we naturally prefer some things and not others?? I mean, we each pop out differently, don’t we. Vive la différence! I guess it contributes to making your own art, with your own unique voice.
We really are all little snowflakes. J
To more experiments and even enjoying the process…
“Sleepover”, by Tiffany Duffy, printed on a 3-ring binder.
Today I would love to share with you a really good internet find. J Her name is Tiffany Duffy, and she sells her artwork on Zazzle.com.
I fell in love with her pieces immediately. She has so many darling illustrations and watercolors of happy fun times…
I love so many of them!!
And on her blog, http://tiffjamaica.blogspot.com/, she mentioned that Zazzle was having free shipping right then, so I knew it was time to order. In fact, I think they're having free shipping on orders over $50 for the rest of the year!
(From her blog, you can find links to her Zazzle store and website.)
"Sleepover", by Tiffany Duffy, print.
The cool thing about Zazzle is the variety of products they offer. I especially loved Tiffany’s piece, Sleepover. The hard part was deciding if I wanted a print, a mouse pad, cards, a notebook binder or a coffee mug! And there were soooo many more options!
“Night Lights” by Tiffany Duffy.
I finally chose both a print and a notebook of "Sleepover", and then got cards of some of her other artwork to round out my order.
"Cupcake Tree", by Tiffany Duffy.
I’m very pleased with the quality of Zazzle’s merchandise, their shipping, and I couldn’t love Tiffany’s artwork more.
(They shipped the print flat--yay!)
"Big Fun on the Bayou", by Tiffany Duffy.
Check it out, because Christmas is coming, and this makes for some VERY easy shopping. Click, click, and it comes to your front door. Ya gotta love that! J
So I’m looking at some pretty photo on the Internet, and I’ve already clicked on “Larger Image”, but I’m still wishing that the photo was bigger. Sigh.
Well, I don’t know how we got to talking about it, but all of a sudden my sweet husband is telling me about Ctrl+ and Ctrl-. WoW! They have changed my computer viewing world!
Let’s say you’re on a photo, for example, the “Chilly Today” piece that I put on my blog yesterday. And let’s say you’ve already clicked on it to make it bigger…
If you want it even bigger than that, you hold down the Ctrl key and press the + sign as many times as you want to make the image larger. WAY larger!!!
And to make it smaller, yup, Ctrl and the minus sign.
And to return the image to its original size, press Ctrl plus the numeral zero. (reset)
I just love seeing details and super large images. Gosh, I wish I had known about this sooner! There’s just no telling what all Mr. Man (AKA Mr. Computer Whiz) knows that I don’t even know to ask about!!
So, enjoy those images up close and personal now.
(Unless you already knew about this, too. In which case I will say, “never mind”.) J
I have been playing with my little whimsical pieces a lot lately, and realized that I had a problem.Well, a “need”.
I needed to be able to emphasize a word or have one word bigger than the others.I needed to have a way to create contrast.
The problem is, I’m using gel pens that are monoline.There’s only one size of the line that it makes.So off to the drafting table I went to experiment.
First I used my Crayon Cursive with a black crayon and sparkly gel pen highlights.But that ended up being actually too big.And I wasn’t wild about my results with a colored pencil.It needed to “go” with my gel pen hand printing better or something.
Then I tried drawing a cursive-style, coloring in the thicks and thins with the gel pen, but I was sorely lacking in enough skill to pull that off.
Then I tried using two colors of gel pens for an almost double-stroke, which looked crummy, but it gave me the idea to use a colored pencil to “shadow” the gel pen line.And that looked kinda neat.And soft.And I generally love soft.
And I don’t know what got into me, but somehow I got the idea of putting polka dots on top of the monoline.Polka dots??I truly have no idea how that occurred to me.But I tried it, and they were fun, and sorta worked!So, yay!J
Then I graduated from a “shadow” to a “halo”.It reminds me of the outlined words of my junior high days.HahahaDid everyone else do that, too?Outline around complete words, kinda like puffy clouds?…Ah, youth.J
Anyway, that’s what this new combination is:my fun cursive made with a gel pen + a halo done with a colored pencil + polka dots using a gel pen.
Oh, and done with neon colors, too!How much fun is that?!
And just think of all the possibilities:you can use the same color for both for a low-contrast look, or something like neon yellow dots on top of a neon green cursive for a high-contrast, very whimsical look.(I find myself using that combo a lot.)
So that’s the latest from the studio…Fun, fun, fun!!
Today I am thankful for my husband being my very own art patron.JHe is so supportive and so generous.Plus, his stargazing ways have inspired yet another painting.
“Moon over Venus”, though, apparently isn’t possible, sky-wise.
I painted the crescent moon going the wrong way for that…It should’ve been painted like a backwards C.Aarrgghh!!!!
Mr. Man said it was covered by “artistic license”, but I think another painting is in order. Too bad, eh? HahaI guess I’ll just have to paint another one! J
This is about the most realistic that I paint (being a true Lover of Abstracts), and it’s the view that we had each night in Missouri, at the condo on TableRockLake.Venus really was setting then, behind just such a hill, but I added in the moon myself.Moons are so romantic, aren’t they?I find them to be utterly irresistible.
To crescent moons and the starry sky...
And to my sweet husband who buys me pastels and glitter
and gel pens and black paper and and and…. !