Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

November 27th is Thanksgiving this year.

It's also my in-law's 61st anniversary. That's WAY cool! Hubby & I have known each other 30 years. I hope we are blessed with long lives & make it to our 61st anniversary and beyond.

November 27, 2006 was the day my Dad moved on to Heaven. I've been thinking about him more lately. He enjoyed observing jet trails in the sky. While we worked on our house project, there were many times I saw jet trails glittering in the sky as the sun was dropping toward the horizon. I think of Dad every time I see them.

So, I was thinking of my parents tonight on the eve of Thanksgiving. They gave us a loving home on the farm. Mom taught me so many things that I easily take for granted... sewing, embroidery, cooking, gardening. Dad taught us to appreciate nature and how to fish. He encouraged my singing. Together they taught us the value of love, faith, community, service, sacrifice and hard work. Mom continues to encourage me with love and support.

I give thanks to the Lord for giving me such parents and such a home. I also give Him thanks for helping us persevere on our house project and keeping us safe. Hubby placed the last siding and trim today.
The above image is my parents in the early 50's before Dad left to serve for 1 year in the Korean Conflict. The house is where Dad was born and where I grew up. The collage was formed in Photoshop Elements.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winter ArtFest AEDM2008

We had too much going on today to try get new photos of our exhibit at Chocolaterie Stam. I didn't use flash because of glass on our framed art. I knew I'd get a lot of reflections. So... here are some of the shots I took.

It was gently snowing yesterday. You could hear Christmas music outdoors. Giant lighted snowflakes lined the street.
Inside Stam, there was a lot of seating around cafe tables and on vintage sofas and rockers. Friends gathered to enjoy coffee, chocolate, and gelato. It was a wonderful setting for our art.

I enjoyed seeing friends and acquaintances who were making the circuit of shops hosting artists.
Later in the afternoon, I made my way to see some of the other artists. At Gallery 319, a basket weaver was making friendship knots to demonstrate a simple weaving techniques. She was handing them out to visitors, and I have one tucked in my sketchbook now.

As for our house project, Hubby and I took advantage of the warmer tempature (50's) that melted away yesterday's snow. He finished trim work on the front while I did touch up painting. All that is left for the front is to install the storm door and garage lights. We won't be installing the new garage door ourselves. The back of the garage has a little more work left. We are expecting some mild weather this week, and hope to complete the job.
I'm letting my latest painting sit tonight. We're watching the latest installment of "24" tonight.

WIP Tribute to Grandma AEDM2008

As for AEDM, I'm posting as often as my energy allows, but I do get some art in every day. It could be the doodles that I put in the margins of my sudoku puzzle book. Most nights I work on a puzzle for a while to help me wind down when I go to bed.

On Thursday I took two paintings to Chocolaterie Stam for the Holiday open house and art walk this weekend. Our group, Artists of the Heart, put together a very nice collection of paintings. It was fun catching up with each other and friends who came out to see the show today. I enjoyed gelato & chai. I took pictures, but I'm not happy with my results. I should have had the camera in a different mode.

I've had a canvas painted with grey gesso and a glaze of neutral green for a few months. There really was nothing in mind when I started preparing the canvas. The other day I decided to used up the blue and white paint left on my palette from Winterscape. I "sponged" it on with a piece of mesh from a discarded shower puff. The paint was very juicy and dried with a slightly distressed texture. I still didn't have a project in mind for the canvas, but the next day I knew what the subject would be.

Grandma. I've wanted to do something with a photo taken on her wedding day in October 1930. We had a special relationship, and I miss her very much. She's been gone four years today. I'll tell you more about her in a future post. For now, I leave you with the work in progress.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winterscape I AEDM2008

After contemplating adding some wildlife to the foreground, I decided to go with the atmospheric mood that developed during my first session on this painting. I think all the critters are hunkered down after a heavy snowstorm that hit the high country. I developed the mountains in the background and the snow-covered rocks in the foreground. After a bit of tweaking here & there, I decided to be done with this landscape. I really surprised myself, because this painting crept out of my imagination and the memories of the trips to Colorado the past few years. The process was a dance between the intuitiveness that comes from letting the memories flow and the voice that kept reminding me of composition, value & such. When I haven't painted for a while, I start to get nervous that I won't be able to make another painting that I'm happy with. That the last painting that I was pleased with was just a fluke.
I'm not saying that I'm completely happy with any of my work, but I can see that I have been making progress. And I don't think a painting must be perfect to be enjoyable.
I took the photo this evening & the lighting wasn't optimal. But I've got to get it in the frame I selected after work and take it to Chocolaterie Stam in Ames on Thursday. This weekend the downtown Ames merchants are having their Christmas shopping season kickoff. There will be special events all weekend. On Saturday afternoon, there will be an artist walk with the opportunity to meet artists in many of the shops. My painting group will be at Chocolaterie Stam. Yum! Good friends, art & European chocolate.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New at Swinging Bridge Studio AEDM2008

Friday afternoon I took several jewelry items and fantasy icicles to Swinging Bridge Studio. I found a nice lighted tree at Target that I used to display the icicles, and angel and crystal pendant necklaces. The photo really doesn't do justice to how cute it turned out. The silver chains sparkle like tinsel on the tree.

You can see my paintings in the background. I'm so happy the studio has given me a wonderful spot close to the front. If you live in or are traveling thru central Iowa, stop in Story City. It's right on I-35.
I've added a couple items to my Etsy store.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Winter Landscape & Snowman Earrings AEDM2008

This is a quick post before I leave for the office. Yes, I do have a nice part-time job.

As promised, here's the landscape I started last night. I think I'll tweak it a bit tonight. It's acrylic on canvas (11 x 14).

Also posted are a pair of the new earrrings I made last night using glass pearls. I hope to get them in my Etsy store tonight.

Have a blessed day.

Give Thanks Card AEDM 2008

Even though I've been doing many artistic things, I haven't managed to post for several days. The weekend was very busy. One thing I spent time on was putting together kits to make greeting cards with women from my church on Monday night. In my last post I showed one of the cards I designed. This is the second card. It is embellished with punched leaves and flowers. Thankfully, dear Hubby offered to help punch the flowers. My hands and arms had had enough after doing all the leaves for both cards. Have you ever used one of those hand-held punches? They aren't so bad with text weight paper, but card stock is a real bear to punch. Before I was done making kits, I was ruing my decision to have so many elements on my cards.

BUT - it turned out to be worth all the effort. We had lots of fun Monday night. We started assembling the card shown here. It was fun to see that most of the women expressed their creativity by assembling them differently from my example. I showed them how to make a simple stitched binding that held a single insert in the cards.

On Sunday, Hubby took me to the Two Rivers Art Expo in Des Moines. My dear friend Brandie Isley had a booth & Hubby bought me one of her prints, "Arm in Arm We Face the Day". He also treated me to a print by Bekah Ash, whose work I have admired for a long time. I placed the prints so I can glance at them from my desk. Once I frame them, they'll have new homes, but I want to keep them where I can be inspired.

Earlier today I sketched an idea for a fun painting featuring a snowman, but once I laid in the background of the painting, I changed my mind about the subject. Instead it became a winter landscape inspired by my memories of our trip through Colorado on Amtrak last winter. I'm not sure if it's done yet, but I'll be sure to post it soon.

But snowmen were not forsaken, because I made several pair of snowman earrings tonight before I started painting. I'll be taking some to Swinging Bridge Studio in Story City on Friday, and hope to get some in my Etsy shop, too. Two pair of snowman earrings I posted earlier have been spoken for. Already in my Etsy shop are Swarovski crystal trees. They are emerald green, but I also have clear crystal trees available, too.

Last night I worked on building more layers of texture and color on a canvas I started a few months ago. I had a concept in mind while I painted last night, but when I looked at the canvas this morning, I realized the color was different from what I had in my head. I often forget the slight shift of color as acrylic dries. I'd been working with watercolor lately. It's the opposite of acrylic, drying lighter than it appears wet. Anyway, when I looked at the canvas tonight, I think I'll be going in a different direction with it. I may need to make some skins. I flipped through some of my clip art books for inspiration.

I promise to take some pictures of what I've been working on, but I just wanted to get a new post up. Now it's time to get some sleep.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Watercolor Pumpkins - AEDM 2008

Next week I'll be co-leading a group making greeting cards. I designed two Autumn cards, and Sonia designed two Christmas cards. Because each woman will make all four cards and time is limited, I'm painting all the stamped images for the kits. I like this coloring book type of painting. It relaxes me.
I tried different inks for stamping the image, but have settled on the Colorbox Chalk Chestnut Roan. The paper is 90# Fabriano cold press. It's a good quality product that works well for this type of thing. It's sturdy, but torn edges are manageable when that look is desired.
I like to use my Van Gogh watercolors for crafting. They are a nice student grade paint. I save my artist grade paints for paintings.
Later, I'll show the other card we'll be making.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bird of Paradise WIP

This is a painting I started nearly 2 years ago just a couple weeks after my Dad passed away. Instead of wallowing in my grief, I went to my art table and started this painting based on a photo & study I had done earlier that year. I had just started working in acrylic that fall and was making the adjustments of transitioning from traditional watercolor.

The reference photo had a very busy background and I didn't know what to do next. So I just painted it white and have had it on display at home ever since. I'd like to complete some unfinished works. I think it will help me move on with new ideas that are brewing.

The AEDM challenge spurred me on to make progress on this painting. Tonight I played with a photo of the painting in Photoshop Elements. I used the magic wand tool to select background area and fill it with different colors. I eventually came up with some layer filters to create the image I'm posting. I think I'll attempt to paint a background based on this.

Or I could play some more and come up with another plan. This is the first time I've worked on a painting like this. I learned a few things tonight. And no paint was wasted in the process.

Thanks to Leah for leading the AEDM challenge.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Art Every Day Month & House Update

We've completed the east end of the house! Hubby took some shots with me wa-a-a-ay up by the peak as I was touching up the paint. Yesterday a friend helped up make more progress. The big job he helped on was getting the old front door out and getting our new door in. It was too dark for pictures last night and I forgot to take some today.

This morning I dragged my weary body out of bed and went to church. Two or three Sundays each month I sing with our worship band. It's a blessing to be able to be involved in music ministry. I love it! In addition to our mid-week practice, we always rehearse before Sunday School. I usually get some breakfast during the Sunday School hour before heading back for our worship service.

Today I went to Panera for a pink ribbon bagel (scrumptious) and a cup of tea. My body was really aching from all the time spent working on the house this past week. I decided to sketch my cup of tea while I sat there. When it was time to leave, I realized that my pain level had decreased significantly while I was sketching. Sure, I'd taken some ibuprofen, but I think the process of making art contributed to my improved sense of well-being. That's a lesson for me.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

House UPdate

The weather has been gorgeous. It's officially Indian Summer weather. We took some time off work and the surge has been on to get the siding project done.

We will complete the east end today and proceed to the upper part of our garage.

I painted nearly 60 planks this week. We usually place the freshly painted planks on the unused section of scaffold - but it is being used for its intended purpose right now. I spent most of the afternoon up there yesterday handing off tools to Hubby as he worked from the ladders on either side of the scaffold. While he was cutting the next boards, I was either touching up paint or sketching!

I got to place a few nails with the air nailer. oo-oo-oo

We put a bowl of candy out front because all the little beggers started coming around while we were still working. Their little "twick or tweat" voices sounded so CUTE!

Canadian geese come honking overhead each evening. I can hear them from so far away & suddenly they are overhead.

I signed on for the Art Every Day project & hope to be posting daily this month.
That's why I added the new link over to the right. Time to get back up on the scaffolding....