Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Everyday, New Year and habits need to change


It’s time for new resolves…starting tomorrow it is a New Year after all.  Like most of you I’ve made resolutions in the past and like most of you, kept them for awhile but then slipped back into old habits.

One I did manage to keep in 2013, keep the weight that I lost in 2012 off for a year.  I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to stay within 2 pounds + or – all year.  Now, in spite of the fact that my skin no longer shrinks I’m thinking 10 more pounds can go.  I’ve gotten use to the saggy skin.

Now for 2014….I do plan to continue morning sketches but I’m now calling them daily sketches…. yesterdays didn’t get done until 10:00 last night.

daily tomato 12 30 13

But no resolutions, just a word.  I wish I could remember when I read about this so I could give credit but I can’t, sorry.  Anyway, my word is RELEASE, as in release unnecessary clutter from my studio; release feeling guilty about not being perfect… now that’s a biggie.

Who would have thought that someone who doesn’t do perfect is actually a perfectionist but I’ve discovered that I am which is why I don’t do a lot of things I actually could do if I worked at it.  I couldn’t do perfect right out of the box so I didn’t do.  I know where it comes from …. Mother. But that’s another story, perhaps another post someday.

Back to release – guilt about not getting my blog post done when I scheduled it or missing a day of daily sketching,  release --  the extra weight I carry, the boxes full of stuff in the basement that haven’t been unpacked since we moved here 10 years ago, the holiday decorations that have seen better days and have no real sentimental value.  So many things and all I have to do is remember a word…. Release.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

More Memories

Christmas sketch

This Christmas morning, one again I didn’t look at the list.  It was memories again.  I’m very nostalgic this time of year and as I sketched this so many memories of times past surfaced.

The chef doll…. two friends who have passed, well four actually and I am reminded of all but two owned the doll before me.  It first belonged to Katherine, then to Betty.  Betty got it at Katherine’s estate sale and eventually decided he needed a face.  She asked me to give him one.  I penciled it in and when I showed it to her she knew she wasn’t going to be with us much longer so she wanted me to keep him.  There were 8 of us who lunched together every Monday for years,  Katherine, Betty, Pat and Cheri are gone now.  Barb, Sally and Connie are still with us.  I ought to call them and arrange lunch when the weather is better.

The rest of the shelf, a sign from Connie that is up all year, “He sees you when you’re eating”.  I don’t know how to put a smiley face in her but I’m smiling. 

The blue juicer isn’t the one that sat on Aunt Margaret’s counter but it reminds me of her and the lemon pies Grandma Fear and Grandma Percy both made

Mother Lystra’s frog toothpick holder.and all of them live on the Hoosier cabinet Dad Lystra restored for us. 

All good memories…. and it was a beautiful Christmas Day when I had all three of my men here…. husband Ed, son Marshall and grandson Warner…. and a beautiful dusting of new fallen snow….

I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas……

It isn’t on the Everyday Matters list but it is what I wanted to paint this morning.  ‘

miniature tree

Are you sentimental?  I am.  This little tree usually sits in my studio during the holiday season but this year it’s sitting on our kitchen table.  My studio has way to much clutter, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it there.

Sooooo, here I sit with my sketch book and paints, a good cup of coffee and lots of memories.  There are the little angels from Mother as well as the strawberry she stitched… she loved red and often included strawberries or cardinals in her stitching.  I’m also seeing the miniature stocking, star and tree from my friend Annie, the gumdrop (real one that I dipped in resin) and a folded paper ornament, miniature like the larger ones I made for gifts one year.  The satin bow on top is ribbon from my grandmother’s knit shop, so is the gold chord that I used for the roping. If I turn it around there will be even more memories, like the earring bought on Caribbean cruise, one was lost so the other decorates the tree.

Good memories, I think the tree is going to live here next Christmas too.  I’ll have to find something else for the studio decorations.

Wishing all of you a


and a jolly good 2014

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas

Why do I even think about trying to keep up my blog when there are so many holiday distractions, like watching my almost 4 year old grandson decorating the tree.

my decorator


My Everyday project became do an ornament on a card everyday and once I got all those cards addressed – I needed more so it got to be 4 or 5 a day instead of one. 

This is the only one of 70 cards that I took a picture of and they are all off to new homes now.  I may do one more to post Christmas morning just ‘cause it was fun doing them and I have more ornaments. 

I thought about starting now and doing them for next year but as I write this I have another idea for next year… more on that later.  For now, I may not get back here until after Christmas so to all of you who read about what’s going on in my studio…

I wish for you All the Blessings of the Seasons

and wishes for a jolly good 2014!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

More Everyday and Some Stitching


Number 29, Draw something architectural and this was part of the wetcanvas weekend drawing event (wde) a couple weekends ago. I love buildings like this almost as much as I love old boats.

Number 24, a piece of fruit.  Our grandson brought us a pear from a tree at his mom’s.  “Lance threw it down and I caught it.”  I do like painting pears so it’s my fruit.  The next day instead of doing something different, I did the pear again before we ate it.  I like the first one best.

both of these were done on note cards which will go in my desk to use when needed.

I have to admit, I didn’t sketch everyday but I did do some art, in my studio.  Finished 6 purses, 5 will go to the gallery Saturday, one I’m not happy with so not sure what will happen to it.  I haven’t photographed the purses yes but here’s a photo of a start on a table runner I’m making from scraps.

holiday table runner start

I did a few more quick sketches for the Everyday Challenge but I haven’t photographed them.  I may – or may not.  I will keep sketching because it’s fun but my daily sketch for the next several days will be more like this last one.  I’m hand painting Christmas cards this year and would like to finish enough for everyone, no two alike, so I have to get crackin’.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Some sketching and some sorting

david bag sketch

Another bag for the Everyday Matters challenge, I know, I already did one but this is such a great bag and what a fun one to do.  It’s part of the David Baas collection at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum where my plein air buddies and I sketched last week.  If you haven’t seen the collection do go, it’s fascinating.

I only got three more done from the list…. a piece of jewelry, my spinner ring, lower left; a tin from the kitchen, our cinnamon shaker; and a hand, mine.

my sketchbook

The rest of the week I spent in my sewing room sorting fabric.  Here is a look at the mess and one small portion done.  You can see what my favorite color is….

fabric to sortfabric sorted

That small pile on the left is only a fraction of odds and ends to sort.  There is a very large table in the next room, 4’ x 8’, also full of piles like that and I’ve put 2 boxes of fabrics like satins and velvets and one box of laces on a shelf in the next room.  I need to get stitching to make room for more fabric.

Monday, November 4, 2013

More Everyday Challenge And A Painting In Process

everyday leaf

I got 5 done this week and managed to get a small painting done.  For some unknown reason I’ve been in a funk for awhile and haven’t been painting, my muse has been visiting someone else.  Maybe she’s been helping my friend Li deal with leaving the Bahamas.

This week done… the leaf above, my morning coffee cup; something from my collection, the blue bottle; an antique, my ivory and silver eraser and brush; and a bag.

everyday this week

The daily drawings, my creativity class and my plein air group have kept me going but just going.  Today I woke up enthused and had some ideas….. Hooray!  My muse came back from vacation!  I’ve been in the studio all day and I’ve been productive, it felt so good.

Admittedly, most of what I did was clear space so I could work,  It’s a start!  And a couple of the ideas I woke up with are actually in process.  Not far enough along to show anyone but in process, that’s the important thing.

And finally, the painting in process.  It’s small and it’s non-representational which is way out of my comfort zone but what the heck…


Monday, October 28, 2013

The Everyday Matters Challenge

my shoe

My first entry, the first one on the list, a shoe.  It was easy, I was wearing one.

I didn’t manage to do a daily sketch, my grandson’s Halloween costume had to come first.  More on that later.  For now, the next three I did ….

A well loved object from childhood, one of the miniature pottery cups and saucers from the set that went with my dolls…

my blue cup toy

Next was something Holiday themed.  This time a Santa I made from one of my husband’s discarded patched Pendalton shirts

Santa from Ed's patched shirt

And Draw in public.  After viewing American Landscapes at the Grand Rapids Art Museum we stopped for an appetizer and a glass of wine.  I sketched a fellow sitting at the bar.

Saturday sketch at the bar

And my grandson’s Halloween costume, he wants to be a car so here it is.  The touch of red is from Grandpa’s ski suspenders shortened so they fit his front

Monday, October 21, 2013

do I dare

red hat and bongos

This is a sketch I did a few years back; we were having dinner late and the entertainment had started.  I already do sketch regularly but not always daily. I don’t know how I’m going to do with this but I’d like to give it a shot; a challenge I’ve seen many times -- the Everyday Matters Drawing Challenge.  The challenge is on Danny Gregory’s website.

I did finish all of the exercises in the book I challenged myself to finish so I’m on a roll.  Right now I’m drawing on cards which will be used as my Christmas card; everyday a different piece from my collection of Christmas decorations.  It’s new for me, usually I paint a winter scene and have cards made from that.  This year I decided to do something different but I digress.  Back to the challenge….

There is a list of 300 plus things to choose from; I’ve listed 52 of them figuring between my Christmas card and the list I should be able to get through it by the end of the year. 

The real challenge for me is to post  regularly.  I’d like to be able to post daily but I know myself well enough to know that isn’t likely to happen so I’m saying weekly.  If I manage to do more, it’s a bonus.

Here’s the list….

1 – Draw a shoe
2 – Draw a desk lamp or other lamp
3 – Purses, Wallets or Bags
4 – Draw your mug or cup
5 – Draw your bed
6 – Draw your favorite well-loved object … or a childhood toy
7 – Draw a bottle, jar or tin from the kitchen
8 – Draw your watch or other piece of jewelry
9 – Draw “organized chaos” –messy desk, table stacked with books, etc.
10 – Draw your hand or hands (or someone else's if you like)
11 – Draw your glasses
12 – Draw what you ate for dinner
13 – Draw your telephone (land line, cell, old-fashioned?)
14 – Draw what you see in the morning when you get up
15 – Draw a tree or trees, leaves or branches
16 – Draw a favorite tool
17 – Draw a musical instrument
18 – Draw the view from a window of your house, office, etc.
19 – Draw something you’ve made
20 – Draw something “Dad” – in honor of Fathers Day
21 – Draw something old, antique or vintage
22 – Draw a piece of clothing
23 – Draw your foot
24 – Draw a piece of fruit
25 – Draw a glass (the kind you drink from).
26 – Draw anything you like                                                                 27 – Draw a book or anything else you want.
28 – Draw an appliance.
29 – Draw something architectural.
30 – Draw a chair.
31 – Draw something you collect
32 – Draw something metallic
33 – Draw an eye
34 – Draw a fall leaf
35 – Draw a bicycle or a part of one
36 – Draw out in public
37 – Draw some keys                                                                         38 – Draw something related to Halloween, All Souls Day, All Saints, etc.
39 – Draw something with folds
40 – Draw a landmark of your city
41 – Draw something you are thankful for
42– Draw something china or ceramic
43 – Draw an animal – a pet, a zoo animal, a stuffed one …
44 – Draw your medicine cabinet (the inside of it)
45 – Draw something holiday themed (Hanukah, Christmas)
46 – Draw a challenge from 1-46 that you didn’t try before
47 – Draw something that represents your new year’s goal or resolution
48 – Draw your refrigerator interior (and contents) or exterior
49-- Draw your home’s entryway
50 – Draw your TV and favorite show playing.
51– Draw a mouth and journal about speaking out or holding one’s tongue …
52 – Draw someone or something you love – and journal about it.

Anyone want to join me?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Discovering Kantha Embroidery

art quilt fish embellishment

What I find intriguing about Kantha work is the use of one simple stitch to create intricate motifs. How easy is that; and, it’s just a straight stitch.

That got me interested so I did a little research.  One quilter I found did a beautiful quilt full of little circles, intricately done but using only the simple Kantha stitch.  I can’t remember where I found here but will have to make work of finding it again.  My little fish is about the size of her circles but not nearly as intricate or as colorful.

The blog I learned the most from was Deepa from India.  This is part of what she had to say about it….

“The art of Kantha (pronounced Kaatha in the north, Kontha in the east, kantha in the south) originated among the rural folks of India and literally means 'rags'. It was a method used to make fresh usable pieces of clothing from old worn out clothes especially saris. Bengalis were especially reluctant to throw away their fine quality muslin and cotton saris.All the old clothes are first cleared off the zips,hooks and buttons and any other embellishments and then piled in layers and stitched.”

Since hand embroidery is something I add to my small art quilts that adorn purses I decided to try it on one of them.  This one is a combination of reverse applique and the Kantha stitch….

art quilt pink green

I like the look so I’m going to have to do a bit more practicing.  Yes, it’s a simple stitch but even is better and mine is anything but even.  I’m not aiming for perfect but I would like it a little more even than I’ve done so far.

Friday, September 13, 2013

How it started and wondering where it's going

This little jam jar is where my journey as an artist started.  I didn't paint it, my mother did.  She gave it to me for Christmas when I was 30.  When I learned that she who didn't think I had the talent required to be an artist painted it I made work of finding someone who could teach me china painting.
I spent a couple years painting china with my good friend Joan Potere.  Joan lost a battle with cancer many years ago but back when we were painting together we talked another friend into teaching us oil painting.  China painting was set aside and I was immersed in oil painting for several years.  During that time I also did a bit of pottery and some jewelry, and I was making my own clothes.
It was also during this time that my aunt and I owned and operated a knit shop and I was designing
sweaters, dresses, skirts and a variety of other knit pieces along with a variety of other needlework pieces.
Eventually I discovered watercolor and rediscovered drawing for the sake of drawing.  I concentrated on those for many years and still enjoy them.  However, the sewing I abandoned when I decided I didn't like making my own clothes has resurfaced.  I am once again, watching what others are doing, trying new ways of doing things, experimenting with both of my sewing machines and having fun. 
I have no idea where all of this is going.  It's been a fun ride so far and I expect the road ahead will be the same.  I'm still painting...
This is a small plein air piece that will be in Grand Haven's ArtWalk.
And here are a few new stitched pieces
This one is going to go on a purse
so are the next two

This one is sold, it's an 8" x 8" art quilt
And recently I learned about the art of Kantha.  It originated among the rural folks of India and literally means 'rags'. It was a method used to make fresh usable pieces of clothing from old worn out clothes especially saris. Bengalis were especially reluctant to throw away their fine quality muslin and cotton saris. All the old clothes are first cleared off the zips, hooks and buttons and any other embellishments and then piled in layers and stitched. I love the look so I'm going to be doing some of that next.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Bit of This and That….

Stitching and sketching … and a painting thrown in for good measure.


This is some of the stitching; a couple friends and I did a Trunk Show and these are a few of the bags I had for that.  Here’s a detail on one of lafazio detail

I did some similar detail work using reverse applique but haven’t done anything with those pieces yet.

Sketching…. plein air and wetcanvas weekend drawing events.  First the weekend drawing events. These two were done at the end of June. 

6.29 hull and buildings

I had fund doing the next two this weekend…The fire hydrant was one of this weekend’s images, the boats were from the weekend before.

fire hydrant

lis boats 7.36 wde

I do love old boats… so before I move on to sketching here’s a painting I finished.  I’ve titled it Classic because that’s what it is to my mind.  Do you agree?

Classic finished

I’m pleased with the result but as I was working on another painting which I didn’t finish I realized I’m sort of in a painting rut.  I can spend the time it takes to do a painting if it’s an old boat.  Not so with most other subjects…. for those I’d rather do a plein air sketch so that’s the other thing I’ve been doing…. Blue pots at the Grand Haven Garden House

blue pots garden houseor one of the many little spots that Dale and his crew have made into inviting settingsgarden house 7.31

Or in my back yard where I’ve planted a clay house (a final exam project from a ceramics class I took several years back.)  I added a little path leading up to the house which is tucked up under a hosta and dubbed it a fairy house.

my cabin fairy house

And yesterday I joined some friends at Lloyd’s Bayou, thank you Ruth Kelly for inviting us to use your view.  First I did a quick sketch of the Lotus

lotus sketch

Then started a small painting of the view across the way

lotus across the river 7 13

And now another month is well underway…. where will I put most of my energy?  I’m really needing to focus, can I learn how at this age?  I have to at least try.  Haven’t figured out how but there has to be a way.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer travels

It’s been awhile but I have an excuse, I’ve been away.

dinner sketch

Earlier this month I was at Bay Harbor with my summer art travel companion and dear friend Terry.

h & t

She and I have been getting away to make art a couple times a summer for several years. This was the first of two annual trips,     next month we go to Traverse City for a week.

Bay Harbor was a new spot for us and a great experience. We had a cottage and the view out my bedroom window was to die for….

out my bedroom sketch

Little Traverse Bay … but a bit cold for swimming. However, there was a pool and we took advantage of that every morning.

the pool morning swim

You can see there was also a bit of fog too.

I seem to be mixing things up a bit in my art right now….

I did some sketching….

sketch of birch 6 12 small file

And some stitching…

stitching blanket stitch

stitching done 6.12.13

Even some knitting….

knitting scarf

It was a good week and I came home refreshed and ready for the next trip….

This time with my dear spouse…


to Baltimore to explore the waterfront and spend time with good friends.

When Ed and I travel together I sketch while we wait at the airport,

travel sketchbook

or for lunch or dinner. Sometimes it’s the interior of the restaurant….

Bubba Gump sketch

Sometimes it’s the view….

Rusty sketch

And now, back home for awhile before my July trip to Traverse City. I have to get more stitching done for an exhibit that happens before I leave.