"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind". - Henry James

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Time is Here

It's been a while since I've been able to post, but Dust Bunny kindly asked for a wintery scene.  In searching through my images, I found this small painting of birches.  It looks pretty wintery here in New Hampshire of late.  Although we missed out on the big snow storm last weekend (yay!), we still have some leftover snow from the previous storm.  And honestly, I don't mind snow if I don't have to drive in it.  I'm not a skier, but there is something exciting about a good snow fall.

What I don't like about winter is the weather we've been having lately - very cold and windy!  Walking in the woods is no fun with the bare trees creaking and groaning overhead and the snow and ice like shards of glass under foot.  Not terribly inviting.

I've heard that it is supposed to warm up a little in the next few days, all the way up into the 30s!  It'll feel balmy after the chill of the last week or so.

~ Merry Christmas ~

Friday, December 4, 2009

New Hampshire Sketchers

On Monday I met with three other women who are taking Kate Johnson’s online class, Keeping an Artist’s Journal.  I had a terrific time chatting, sketching, and eating with Kathleen, Pat, and Hannah, all lovely women and all wonderful artists.

Here are a few attempts at sketching en plein air from the warmth and coziness of Pat’s van.

We sat beside Swain’s Pond in Barrington and it was such fun to be in the company of sketchers.  I’m usually by myself, which is wonderful too, but this was a pleasant change for me.  Security in numbers.

I added color later to pen sketches.

It was a memorable and fun day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One Day I Went Out for a Walk

One day
I went out for a walk
everything changed
all at once.

I had been
reasonably happy.

But then someone,
lots of someones,
smashed my heart
my world.


I'm all right

November 14, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Adventures in Bookbinding

I have been looking for a bookbinding class nearby for a couple of years now, with no luck.  Kate Johnson listed these on her amazon list as helpful for those wanting to bind their own sketchbooks.  I'd like to bind my own because I like hot pressed watercolor paper and I've yet to find one commercially made that has hp paper.

I watched the DVD, Bookbinding: A Traditional Approach, through once.  It is a traditional way of binding books with sewn signatures and a hard cover, etc.  I'd like to give it a try, maybe when winter really sets in and I need an involved project.

The book, How to Make Books:  Fold, Cut & Stitch Your Way to a One-of-a-Kind Book, is lots of fun! It has a playful approach to making less traditional, folded and glued sorts of books.  More my speed, I think.  I've already made two books following the clear instructions - lots of pictures and diagrams for those of us visual learners.

Chapter 1 is Instant Books.  Right up my street.  I made the Basic Instant Book out of a single sheet of paper in about a half a minute.  I know!  I wrote a poem called One Day I Went Out for a Walk and I want to learn how to print it on a single piece of paper and make an "Instant" book out of it.  I'll have to lasso my talented graphic designer daughter to show me how to do it in Photoshop.  She's a wiz with Photoshop, but she does everything so quickly that I can barely see what it is she's done and there it is.  If I do figure it out (or get help), I'll post it here.

The second book I made is an accordion book out of an old watercolor painting that never went anywhere.  I have a big pile of those that I've got plans for.  I made a wrap-around cover from some corrugated cardboard and I think I'll fashion some sort of elastic tie to keep it together.  Nifty, isn't it?

Paperwhites II

Worked on the paperwhites a little more yesterday.  They should be blooming soon.  Maybe I'll draw them daily as they change.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One More Goal

I'd like to get more comfortable with the Kremer Pigmente watercolor set I bought a couple of years ago because I like the way the paint granulates.  They are quite different from the usual transparent watercolor paints I use - Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton, etc., but I like the effect.  So I'll add that to my growing list of goals for the online Keeping an Artist's Journal class.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Accordion Book and Goals for the Class

And what am I going to do for my first Artist's Journal pages?  Here is the unfinished accordion book that I started using an old watercolor painting that never went anywhere.  I'm trying to decide if I should use the unpainted back or the painted front.  I think ink drawings look sort of good over the prepared backgrounds, so I might do that.  And I have to devise some sort of cover for it and a way to keep it closed.  Still thinking about it.

Oh, and goals:
  • I'd like to be more consistent in keeping my artist's journal.  
  • I'd like to learn to work more quickly, not get bogged down in detail so much.
  • I'd like to incorporate more writing, better notes.  I either write or draw, but rarely both.

I think that is enough for now.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Folded Sketchbook for Online Class

This is the improvised folded cover I made for the folded, single-sheet sketchbook I made following directions from Nina Johansson http://www.ninajohansson.se/2008/01/fold-a-simple-sketchbook/

I'm taking an online class called "Keeping an Artist's Journal".  Not that I don't have a "few" journal/sketchbooks already on the shelf, mind you.  But I've been having lots of fun making my own.  One of the advantages of making your own is that you get to use the paper YOU like.  Yay!  My current favorite is Hot Press Watercolor paper.  It's just so much fun to draw on and add washes to.  It works well with pencil, ink, watercolor, watercolor pencils, whatever.

I used some corrugated cardboard pieces I had hanging around from another project.

I traced the folded sketchbook (you can see it up in the right corner) and made a fold in the middle for the spine.  I cut out two pockets for the first and last pages to slip into.

I used something called Terrifically Tacky Tape (which is a fairly strong double-sided tape) to adhere the two flaps to the front and back covers leaving the inside and top edges open.  Here is the folded sketchbook ready to slip into its cover.

I slipped the front page into the front cover and the back page into the back cover and done!  I like the idea of having a cover to keep all the accordion folds together.  I have visions of picking it up to draw and having the whole thing unravel on me.

Next I'm going to make another accordion book out of an old, unfinished watercolor in the style of Judy Wise.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Turkeys in the Yard

Yikes!  The last time I posted was October 1st!  Good grief.  We've had five tom turkeys marching through the yard for the past few days in search of acorns and beechnuts.  There's a good supply for them this year! I love turkeys.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I signed up for a painting class and yesterday was the first class. It wasn't my first choice. I wanted to sign up for a drawing class but the two drawing classes I tried to sign up for didn't run. So my third choice was this watercolor class. And now I'm having second thoughts about the whole thing. It is sort of crowded and I don't particularly like painting among other people. I like being in my own studio and I like painting my own way. "Why" I ask myself, "did you sign up for this class? You know you don't really like painting in a group!" I think it was an impulse. One of the reasons I take classes is it gets me to paint. I can find all sorts of excuses not to paint, which is really weird because I like to paint. Very strange. Anyway, the way this class runs is we are supposed to pick something we want to do in a series. Yikes. By the end of the class we will end up with eight or so paintings in this series. And if I run true to form, I'll have eight unfinished paintings in a series...

The other reason I'm having second thoughts about this class is the teacher wants us to paint on full sheets of paper using big brushes and lots of paint. I like to paint on smaller pieces of paper, using smaller brushes and lots of water. I see disaster looming on the horizon.

And the whole series issue has me worried. I tend to be a person with interests a mile wide and and inch deep. This seems like it is an inch wide and a mile deep. What am I going to do in a series? I'm stumped. I thought about doing birds, but then the idea of a huge shorebird on a full sheet of paper overwhelms me. The other idea I have is for a series of paintings of the trail by the stream where we walk most mornings and evenings. It is a beautiful place that has much meaning for me. However, I'm not really a landscape painter so that might not be a feasible subject for a series. What to do? I'm not sure I can get my money back if I drop out and that also requires a decision. Maybe today just isn't the day to decide.

This painting is one of the exercises we did in class. The teacher thought is was nice and said I should finish it. I think it is finished in a way.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Growing Garlic


Last November I planted some garlic a wonderful friend had given me. Shortly after I planted the cloves the wild turkeys showed up and rearranged them with their scratching. But they sprouted green shoots in the spring and were, amazingly after the turkeys marched through, in neat rows. We’ve had such a cool, wet spring and summer so far, that most of the other things I tried to grow this year (tomatoes, basil, peppers) are sort of sorry looking. Unfortunately, I chose to plant things that like sun and light and warmth and this has been a year of clouds and rain and coolness.

The garlic, however, did pretty well. The tops grew tall and produced lovely scapes, which I did not eat. I’ve been told they are delicious sauteed in butter. I think most things are delicious sauteed in butter, but that’s another story. Anyway, the garlic books says to harvest the garlic when the sixth leaf turns brown. I assume they mean the sixth leaf from the top and the other day, sure enough, the sixth leaves from the tops were yellowish brown. I pulled the first one and there was a neat garlic bulb!

I ended up with about two dozen bulbs, a few larger ones, a few smaller ones, and the rest sort of medium size. I brushed most of the dirt off and left them under an umbrella on the picnic table to dry. After a day or so, I took an old toothbrush and brushed more dried dirt off them and trimmed the root hairs to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. I gathered the stalks into two groups and they are hanging under the umbrella to dry further. I’m told it takes about 2 to 4 weeks for them to dry completely and then they can be stored for use. Can’t wait to try my own home-grown garlic!

This drawing is done in pen & ink and is my first attempt using the new watercolor pencil set I bought.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pastry Case at Countryhouse Corner

I went out sketching on Friday, but it looked like rain. Instead of drawing outside I stopped in to my favorite little cafe, Countryhouse Corner. They have wonderful sandwiches and pastries and have a variety of coffee drinks and tea. I'm a tea drinker, so I don't know how good the coffee is. Generally quite a few people stop in for coffee while I'm there. I guess it must be good.
Pen & Ink

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sleeping on the deck

While I was organizing my sketchbooks from the past few years (they were scattered in various places around the house), I came across this sketch I did of my dog relaxing on her favorite chair on the deck. This sketch is as good as any to start this blogging venture.