Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pink flowers blooming in the spring time!

Another flower painting...I love painting flowers...and I'm definitely ready for them to start blooming.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I was sitting downstairs waiting on my clothes to come out of the dryer...saw an interesting photo laying on the table...decided to do a quick painting while I was sitting there. I didn't even have a piece of good watercolor paper I picked a piece of the lightweight watercolor paper...and quickly laid in the colors for these trees. It's a scene from my front yard.

Spring Flowers in Yellow

Flowers loosely painted using watercolors

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Getting locked out...

One early morning in the cold of winter a couple of months ago, Chloe (my little dachshund) and I went out so I could get the paper. I was wearing only my gown and robe (thank goodness for the robe). The door I went out usually unlocks when you turn the knob…but for some reason it did NOT unlock and when I got back to the door to go in…YIKES…I discovered we were locked out. That door would not budge. This is one of those French doors with all the little windows…15 little panes. Hmmm…I went around to the kitchen door which has 9 little panes…but it was locked…just as I knew it was…but I was hoping maybe it wasn’t. The two other doors to the house have dead-bolt locks and they were locked up tight. I hated to break out a window…and I tried to think of what else I could do. I was getting very cold.

I was able to get in the garage where it was warmer…and when I got in there, I looked around for something to break out a window…when I realized I could get in my studio where there was a phone. The lady who pet sits for me has a key…but it was so early and I really hated to call her…but I didn’t want to sit in the garage for half the morning. I decided to call my husband who was down at the river house for a few days fishing. I didn’t know what he could do…but at least I felt better calling him. Now in cold weather, my husband is NOT an early riser…so I knew he’d be sleeping in… and I was afraid I wouldn’t even be able to wake him…but he finally answered the phone. I said…”I’m locked out…which door do you want me to break out a window…I’m cold and I want to get in”. To which he replied…”I don’t want you to break out ANY window…I want you to get the key out of my tool box and unlock the door”. And then, of course, he asked the “stupid question of the day”, “why did you lock yourself out”…to which I replied…”so I could wake you up this morning to see if we had any spare keys hidden anywhere outside the house”….but we did finally laugh about it and I felt so much better knowing I could get back in where it was warm. Chloe was at the door where we went out…barking “her head off”…mad, ‘cause she thought I’d forgotten and left her outside…and she hadn’t had her breakfast yet.

Make Your Own Notecards!!!!

This is a little notecard I painted using watercolors. I bought a box of note card sized envelopes, then I cut lightweight watercolor paper to fit them...and fold the paper over to make a card. This is not the best watercolor paper, so adding a bit of pen and ink drawing to it improves the overall look. These are to do...and then I have note cards ready when I need one. They can be used as birthday cards...or cards to stick in with a gift...or a quick "get well" card.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose!

While looking through my sketchbooks yesterday, I found these roses and thought I'd post them.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A New Sketchbook - A New Beginning!

I love starting a new sketchbook (or a painting, for that matter), but sometimes it can be intimidating. I don't want to mess up the first page in my new sketchbook and be sorry it's easy to procrastinate...and keep looking at that new sketchbook. What the the book, write your name, address, and all that good info on the first page...or put it on the inside back cover...but get that info in there. That way, the chances are greater in case you lose your book or leave it laying somewhere...that you'll get it back.

When you are hesitant to start working in a new sketchbook, turn to the first page and make a mark...whatever...but make a mark. Draw something that you're familiar with or is easy for you to draw. Doodle drawings are non threatening and fun. You can do these without even thinking about them.

I taught middle school and high school art. The first thing I would have them do in their sketchbooks was to do a creative name design. They'd write their name in large decorative letters to fill the page...then fill the letters and page with patterns, designs, and colors. They loved it. I did, too. I wish I had an example of one of these designs.

This "inside right cover" image was difficult to scan so it looks right...but this is something else I've done and had my students do. I glue a sheet of black paper to the page on the right side...but only apply the glue close to the I was adding in another page. I either tear out a hole or cut a flap that can be opened to a drawing underneath. This drawing can be something small and easy for you to draw. I then went back and used gold pens and gold spay paint to decorate the black. This sure makes a "grand entrance" to a new sketchbook...and then you're excited to keep "filling your book".

Something else I like to do to my sketchbooks is to paint the covers with abstract designs using brightly colored acrylic much fun...and what a beautiful book it makes.

I used to feel the same way about starting a painting on a canvas. I'd set it up, then look at it "forever"...afraid I'd mess it up. I'd want to paint...but just couldn't get I'd keep looking at that blank canvas. I began to realize that once I got started...I got so involved I couldn't quit...or didn't want to. I walked by that canvas...I'd grab a brush, pick up some paint or some medium...and smear it on randomly. Then, it was easy to keep painting.

Once you've started your sketches and drawings...if you "feel" like you've messed it up...put it aside for a few days...then look at it again. Things always look better the next day or a few days later. But...if you're absolutely SURE you've messed it up and you feel like it's going to inhibit you from doing future drawings...then collage something over it. Your art is supposed to be fun, enjoyable, and satisfy that "creative urge" inside you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lost keys...

Yesterday morning, I went out (in the rain again...where is the sun?)...ran some errands and bought a few groceries...came home, unloaded the car and put the groceries away. I locked my car using the remote. I usually either put the keys in my pocket or in my purse. I only have one set of it's important that a person with only one set of keys keep up with the keys...right?

I got ready to go to a meeting last night, reached in my purse for my I ran to the bedroom and went through the pocket of my jeans that I was wearing when I went out yesterday keys...darn...where could those keys be?

I grabbed Gene's keys, jumped in his car, and took off for the meeting. I tried to put the missing keys out of mind so I could enjoy my dinner and the meeting. But when I got home, I dug in and started looking again for those keys. I looked everywhere...even emptying my purse...which is good, because I got rid of all the receipts that seem to collect and clutter my purse. I traced all of my steps from that morning...even going out in the rain and checking around the car...also checked the yard where I had walked the dog as soon as I got home...but...still no keys. I was missing "Dancing With the Stars"...and I was getting very frustrated. I knew the keys had to be SOMEWHERE!

My husband told me that if they didn't turn call and get a replacement set of keys from the serial number...and I was sweating that $200 cost!

I kept trying to think if I had missed anything else I had done during the day. The only other thing I remembered that I did was to lay back in the recliner in the couch and grab a short catnap! But I had already run my hand all around the inside edges of the seat, then laid the recliner back and checked under it with the keys. I was in a quandry. I happened to remember that you can take the back off this couch...good thing I even remembered that you can do that...and Gene's jaws dropped when he saw me doing it. He thought I was tearing the couch apart...but the first thing I found lodged back there was a toy from my grandson, Ben...and the next thing I found were those keys...thank the Lord!!!! That was enough to make one!

I decided to buy a "key finder" off I went this morning searching for item which is apparently more available at Christmas...but anyhow, at Walgreen's, I found one....tried it out and bought it. When I whistled, it started beeping...and I whistled again, and it beeped again. So, I'm hoping this will help me in the future...hopefully, I will NEVER need it.

This drawing of my keys was done after Claire posted the suggestion in her comment that I do so...and you can see that I've added my key finder.

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Hard Drive installed...

I've been working on my computer...installing software and downloading programs from the internet...but I'm taking my time and making sure that what I'm doing is what I REALLY want on there. It doesn't take long before you can get your computer so cluttered with stuff you never end up using that much...just sounds so good when you hear about it, that you think you've got to have it....then you find's not that great after all...just something new.

One problem I was having before I installed the new hard drive was that all of my email from Yahoo groups, plus some other regular messages...and just about ALL of my own emails...were coming in marked SPAM! It was so irritating and I tried to figure out why but couldn't. Then when I realized I had to have a new HD, I thought, "well, at least I'll get rid of that annoying "spam" problem with emails that were NOT spam.

Guess what...after the new HD was was STILL doing the same thing. Now that just irritated the "poo" out me. It bothers me when I can't figure out why something's happening and I can't find a solution. I searched the internet for a solution, I asked a Windows Vista group for a suggestion, I went to Microsoft's trouble shooting site, I called my ISP...and found no solution...and I was stymied.

Then this morning, I was going through all my new emails and saw the first one...a Welcome Message from Microsoft Windows Mail...decided...what the I read it and found the Microsoft's Help Newsgroup. So...I opened that and started reading. I couldn't exactly find my problem listed...but there was a suggestion about the antivirus program doing some weird things to people's emails. So...I went in to my anitivirus program and cut off the "spam" protection only...since Windows Mail already has a anti-spam program. VOILA!!!! My problem solved...oh, how happy that makes me!

I've restored all of my files from my online backup...except for my photos. That will probably take forever...well, at least a long time!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New hard drive - lots of work ahead!

I've been busy all day installing a new hard drive on my laptop...then updating everything that was on the new hard drive and then validating it...and then trying to install some of my software and download my favorite programs. Tomorrow, I'm going to try to upload my files from an online storage facility...I'll see how good they did backing them up for me. the midst of all of that, I decided I needed a break...a "painting break" I painted a flower I already had drawn out on some watercolor paper. I've been working on trying to get my backgrounds a darker, richer color...too bad my scanner won't show the colors any truer. I tried to adjust the color...but never could quite get it like the original. Maybe tomorrow when I'm not so tired.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Daffodils blooming...

Yesterday in the warm sunshine with 86 degree weather, I took a walk around my yard and found some daffodils finally blooming. What a good feeling it was to know that spring is just around the corner and cold weather will soon be gone. I grabbed my camera to capture their beauty so I could share these with you today.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Pen and Ink drawing...finally finished!

I finally finished the pen and ink drawing I've been working on for the past two days. When they're this seems to take forever.

Today's such a beautiful day...nice and sunny with some warm temperatures...a good day to sit outside and work...or just soak up some sun rays.

My day didn't start too well with my computer. For over nine months now, I've had problems burning and copying CDs and DVDs...and this laptop is only 18 months old the problem started when it was less than a year old. Thank goodness, I purchased an extended warranty. When I contacted Dell last September they tried updating the drivers and the software...and decided that it was a software problem with Roxio. I replaced Roxio with Burn4Free and for a while that seemed to solve the problem. But...this morning, I tried to just PLAY a DVD...and got a message that there was no drive installed. After restarting, the drive showed up...but when I inserted the DVD...again it disappeared. I contacted Dell and the guy ran the diagnostics on my laptop. The result being...the hard drive is failing. So they've dispatched a new hard drive for me to install...and I'm in the process of backing up all of my files. I have an online backup...but they recommended backing up to an external drive as a precautionary measure in case I have problems downloading what was saved to the online account. Guess I need to pull out my sketchbook and start another drawing.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cold weather blues...

This cold weather is really bothering me this winter. I just seem to want to stay huddled up and wrapped up inside...not doing much. Our electric bill has increased this winter by we've turned the thermostat down to 70 degrees...and I think it's cold in here at that. Some of my friends have told me they've cut theirs back to 60 to 65 degrees...and added another layer of thermal undies. We used to always keep a fire going in the fireplace...but that creates a lot of breathing problems since both of us have allergies. I am so glad to see the sunshine this morning...and it looks like we're in for warmer weather this weekend...up to 80...after being down in the teens at night the last few nights.

I am working on a pen and ink drawing with lots of detail...that I will post when I'm finished. Yesterday, I started working on a small watercolor painting...but didn't get it finished. I'm in the process of reading Danny Gregory's "The Creative License" which I'm enjoying...and I'm also still playing around with the new "tools" in Paint Shop Pro.

Today is my dulcimer "music day". I will go play with a friend...and we are going to practice a new tune that we're working on. I need to be able to play it without having to look at the music. Also, I play with a small group of ladies and we call ourselves the "Wasp" group...and the music we play is a bit more challenging. There's one tune that we play that is "creating havoc" with me...because the fingering doesn't seem to flow as well as some other tunes...but I'm working on it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Local artists making cards from old art work!

I packed up a box of supplies...glue, scissors, pencils, old art work to be cut up...and examples of cards made from old art work and watercolor techniques. I hate to throw anything away and try to salvage and use it other ways. At the meeting last night, I did a demo and showed several examples. After that, I open the box of supplies and they created cards of their own. Not all of them were able to complete their work...but I added some photos of their work.

Paint Shop Pro Photo XI (Corel)

I've been using Paint Shop Pro software for many years...after one of my high school art students showed me what a great program it was! One thing that was nice when I first found out about it...was that you could download a free trial version. What's better than to try out something to see if you like it before you pay for it. I think I ended up paying about $100 for the software and it was definitely well worth the price. I worked through lots of online tutorials to learn about the tools and its features...then I would pass them on to my students through various lessons that I created for them. All of my students ended up with a good working knowledge of creating artwork and manipulating digital images.

In the fall of 2007, I got a new laptop with Vista. Since most software was not compatible with Vista, I figured it was time for an their newest version which was PSP Photo XI. Since they were about to release PSP Photo X2, I got a deal and ended up getting mine for less than $50. I continued to use the same features on this new program that I was already familiar with. I hated to think of having to learn everything new that was included...along with having to learn about Vista, too. Now that I'm more familiar with Vista (I like it) and some of the other new programs, I decided to read the book that came with PSP. I hate reading manuals and how-to's. I'd rather play around first...then when I can't figure it out...ask questions or read the manual.

But...sometimes that plan backfires. I have done stuff on my computer before...clicked buttons...downloaded programs...only to have to end up "calling for help" to undo what I did. Thank goodness I purchased a three-year warranty...a VERY good idea...for me! The other day, we were watching TV and the telephone rang. Our landline telephone provider is the same as our internet provider. WELL...lo and behold...when the phone rang, the caller ID info popped up on the screen. I thought...wonderful...especially since the caller ID feature on our phone had just quit working the day before. (Side note: and since then, our entire wireless set of (4) phones have quit working and that was right after I purchased new batteries for two of them to the tune of about $30+. Does that ever happen to anyone else?...not just ONE phone...but all FOUR of them. I guess that might be...because they're all connected to the same line...and they're all wireless. Right now, they're all "no good"...will have to buy new ones. Thank goodness for one phone that we originally had before adding the set of 4 wireless phones...which we purchased to keep from paying for new jacks to be about $$$$ costs plenty to have new jacks installed.... hmmm, might be cheaper to build a new house...) Back to my caller ID popping up on the television. There were two buttons on the screen that related to two buttons on my remote. I decided to figure out what those buttons would I pushed one of them...and you guessed it...I messed up...could not get caller ID to work again. I ended having to "call for help"...but you know what...that's one way of learning...and the majority of the time, I can figure it out withOUT any help.

Back to PSP...this morning I decided to start reading the manual...because lately, I've been having some problems with some of my art work that I've scanned...colors not right, values not right, etc. OMG...they have made lots of changes in this new version...and they've addressed some of the problems I've been having. Actually, when I would be trying to adjust an image, I would...wish they had a tool that would do "this" or "that"...and now they do. may be a good idea TO read the manual when getting new software. But anyhow, I love PSP and highly recommend it!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cards from old art work!

I'm doing a program tomorrow night for the local Artist League. It's supposed to be only 15 minutes long. For the past three years, I've done a variety of presentations for them and I've decided it is a LOT of work! It's not so bad pulling everything out...but the problem is trying to get it all put back where it was to begin with when I get home.

But anyhow, for this program, we're going to make "greeting cards" out of old art work...a way to cut them up and use them. I've posted a few examples...but I've got several more to show them. I'll try to take photos tomorrow night and post some of them.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Flower Garden - Pen and Ink Rainy Day Drawing!

It has rained all day long...constant and hard...and our yard is standing in water. They had predicted a chance of snow for tonight...but it looks doubful to me. With all the rain, this was a good day for napping and drawing. This is the first drawing in my new Moleskine...which is larger than the other one I have that I carry with me in my purse. This one is about 5-1/4" x 8-1/4"...and this is my favorite size...and I believe it will still be small enough to carry with me.

I'm ready for I decided I would draw a flower garden using a new pen (for me) that I'm trying out. It's the Sharpie (fine) that's not supposed to bleed through your paper. They're doesn't bleed through and it's waterproof. I used the Sharpie along with a couple of Micron pens in other sizes.