Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Spring is finally almost here.  We'll be able to bring my baby horse over to the new house soon.  But first, a fence.  A shelter.  Gates and graveled areas and such.  And before that: site prep.  In this case, that meant removal of a surprisingly tenacious old woodshed.  And shoveling and hauling wood chips to get them out of the way of the shelter/corral.  We worked all weekend and yesterday and a bit more today and we're finally ready.
But the ol' blog has taken a backseat.  I'd stagger in from outside all wet and cold and couldn't bear to lift my hands to the keyboard to post.  But I think I'm going to be ok now.  

My clear gesso arrived yesterday and I've put a coat onto several different surfaces (wood and canvas) to see how I like it.  More on this later.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Well, they're mini to me anyway - 5x7".  I was drawing the seeds I started this spring in the window of my studio as they came up and I thought I should make something out of them.  These are digital prints from the pencil drawings with color added and custom brushes for the backgrounds.  I'll probably do more of these as more seeds sprout because it seems appropriate to make them in quantity, just like the seedlings themselves are all coming up in a big group.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Addictions? Me?

Thanks to Belinda for the tag...you want five addictions?  Here ya go.

1. Creating things.  Anything, really.  I get cranky and irritable if I haven't made something in a while.  Sewing, drawing, painting, even just a quick birthday card can help.

2.  Tea.  I don't drink coffee or alcohol (not a moral stand, I just can't stand the taste of either) so my drinking problem is tea.  Ty-phoo or Barry's preferably, with milk and a bit of turbinado sugar.  

3.  Cute!  I wouldn't have thought of this except I just bought a bag that I absolutely did not need just because it has cuuuute lil' cartoon owls on it.  And I read Cute Overload every day.

4.  Ben and Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream.  I've never been an ice cream person and I don't usually go for sweet things, but this has me totally addicted.  Small portions is the key.

5.  Color.  I react really strongly to colors - the ones I love and the ones I hate.  I'll see a photo online, a fabric, a paint chip, whatever it is and have a physical reaction.

How's that?

I know I ought to tag more people, but (single tear) I haven't made enough blog-friends that I would consider asking.  But I'm pretty new to all this blogging and Flickring and such, so I'll do better the next time :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Waiting for the UPS van

So to practice applying canvas to the wooden panels I bought the other day, I stuck some plain canvas on two 9x12" panels, gessoed and sanded them, and trimmed off the edges.  I feel like I can do that process consistently enough now, but that meant I had two blank canvases all ready to paint on.  Here's what I painted...just sort of messing around.  I don't usually paint on such a small canvas so it's challenging for me, but of course I didn't want to spend much money on the panels that I was using to practice on.  

I'm waiting for some clear gesso that I ordered this week so I can try that on top of the printed canvas, since just using acrylic medium made an annoyingly plastic-y surface.  More specifically:  one coat of medium felt fine to paint on but apparently caused some bad chemical mojo because patches of the painting went all flat and dull after a few days.  Two coats of medium prevented that problem but was so unabsorbent that I couldn't blend and scrub in my paint the way I like.  Bleargh.  Oil painting is kind of frustrating, you know?  Maybe I'm just doing too many weird things with it...or else I've just been doing too much drawing for the past several months and I need to get some momentum going with a good direction and then it'll come back to me.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Forcing" sounds so harsh...

...so let's just call it "suggesting," ok?  I "suggested" to a couple of magnolia branches and one unidentified tree's twig that if I brought them inside, gave them lovely warm water, and lots of encouragement, that they could maybe open their flowers early?  And today my reward was this lovely pink branch (of whatever it is).  The magnolia buds are moving slower, but this one is shedding its fuzzy gray jacket so I'm hoping it will soon bloom for me.  It's wonderful to have something blooming in here when there's still some snow outside and it's so chilly.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fresh watercolors

Here's what the magnolia buds look like this afternoon...

...and here they are the way I like them (no snow).  Instead of leaving them to sit around for a while like usual, I brought these out of the studio and popped them in the scanner as soon as they were dry.  I'm annoyed at the snow and the cold so I'm trying to get some work done in defiance of wanting to curl up and hibernate.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

As the gesso dries; or, back to watercolors

My canvas-on-panel issues aren't entirely worked out yet.  I think my next step is to try clear gesso over a print and see if a more absorbent surface works better.  In the meantime, I've got a coat of regular gesso drying on a plain unprinted canvas mounted to a board.  I usually put 3 coats of gesso down and lightly sand in between each one, so it's going to be a little while before I can start anything on it.

So I pulled out the ol' Yupo again and made a couple more drawings.  These are magnolia buds from some of the pictures I've been taking.  I'll paint these in later but I wanted to make sure I scanned them in first.

It's snowing outside.  I'm so over it.  

Thursday, March 5, 2009

On my easel

Goodness, has it really been a week since I posted something?  How does that happen?  Where did the week go?  I know artists are supposed to be flaky but sometimes I think I take it to a new level ("What day is it?  Where am I?")
Here's the latest project I've started...I'm already about 4 days into these and I still have yet to open a single tube of paint.  I like oils and all, but all the prep work gets me down sometimes.  I'm glad I can turn to watercolors and digital work when I get too impatient.

These are printed canvases that I've mounted onto panels with help from a great article in a recent Daniel Smith catalog.  I couldn't find that article on the DS site but you can read it at the manufacturer's site under "feature article."  It came together nicely, but between letting the prints cure for a day, drying the mounted canvases under weights overnight, and waiting for each coat of acrylic medium (to seal the print) to dry, it takes some time.

I've been taking a lot of pictures of the magnolia trees behind our house as the buds slowly open and change.  I'm kind of obsessed with them right now--they're so weird looking with huge fat buds and the twigs grow at odd-looking angles.  When we first looked at this house last November, the seedpods looked like deer poop hanging in clusters and I had no idea what the trees were, having never had magnolias around before.  Magnolias evolved before bees (thanks, Wikipedia!) and everything about them just looks strange and slightly otherworldly to me.

I had a sudden whim to put together some little mossy terrariums.  Total cost: around $8 since most of the materials were free.  Maybe if I didn't have moss growing in quantity outside, it would be a little more difficult.
While collecting my mosses I found this wee little snail shell.  I saw an actual snail outside yesterday, and I coveted his house, but he's still in it so I'll have to wait for another empty one.