Thursday, December 23, 2010

Blessings of the season

Now is the time that we share love and wish for joy throughout the coming year to all.One of the ways I'm doing this is by making an "Can you find?" quilt for my 3 year old grandson. 
Hopefully he will want to play the game of learning to read the words,  finding the picture, color or perhaps a letter as he is snuggled under his new cover.

Below is a close up of one section. I included his name and in other parts the name of his parents, sisters, grandma and grandpa. Yes, I've having fun!

Blessings of the season to all!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sketchbook pages

Really, it's observation that makes this project go. This pyramid grid is taken from a quilt that hangs over my bed. This color layout echoes the colors of the chakra.

The last page is a play on words. For the non Americans reading this, the joke is that gridiron commonly refers to an American football field. I'm just tweaking all the macho men.

There is a bit more to finish in this book, such as the title page and colophon and assembly, but the drawings are finished! Obviously, I was very controlled. No real surprise since I was a freelance calligrapher for almost 30 years. The challenge of stepping outside of the box and seeing was so rewarding.  I'm now looking forward to practicing other techniques and drawing different subjects.

PS Please note that I posted two pictures and I can see both. I cleaned out the cache - a folder that I never new existed. EDM members can be such a big help. Thank you!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sketchbook pages

For my Sketchbook Journal, I walked around this page for days. Now I am pleased with the results. The subject is lines and grids. Most of these lines can be used as quilting patterns. Only three more pages and I will be finished. Is it the last minute yet?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Out and about

I went to a band concert today and unsuspecting people get to be my models. Thank you very much for holding the pose for so long-whoever you are.

Sketchbook pages

OK, I am still around and working on various projects. Here are (hopefully) a couple of pages from my Sketchbook Journal with the subject of Line and Grids:

These drawings are after work by Ron Barrett. I found this book, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, in my grandson's collection in Ohio and knew that he wouldn't miss just one book for a few months. The characters are as funny as the story. Notice how I divided the page into a grid!

I can only image that there is another picture below this text. It is of a circle drawing that again, is based on a grid. It says that it is downloaded, but I cannot see it. Guess that I'd better limit myself to one picture per post.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quilt of Valor

After having so much trouble with the technical side of this blog, I am cautiously posting on my blog today. I won't push my luck and try to post more than one picture as additional photos seem to disappear.

This was a quilt that my friend Karen and I made for the Quilt of Valor Foundation. This organization is trying to make a quilt for all returning veterans. So far, over 33,000 quilts have been made. They have specific guidelines as they want it to be a certain size and quality.They also want a journal to accompany the quilt. We were glad to make it.

There is another organization called Quilts of Honor that is also making quilts for veterans. My next donation will be through them as they are more local to me. Each is reaching out to the the men and women who serve.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Catching up

I'm back from Ohio where I got to meet our twin 5 week old granddaughters and to play with the 2 year old big brother. I had visions of drawing the sweet little ones, but the best I could do was a couple of minutes drawing Loretta, one of the two hairless cats who was sitting on my lap. I mean, the breakfast dishes didn't get done until 4:30 pm. The parents are doing well, but what a lot of work.

Do you have a clue how many EDM postings are done in two weeks? It does take a while to catch up on the conversation and all your creative pieces-a task that I'm happy to do!

I'm having some challenges with Blogspot. I press to download pictures and they don't appear my blog. When I was in Ohio I saw three of the same picture on my blog using my son's computer. Here at home there was only one. I just tried to add a couple of pages from my Sketchbook Journal and they do not appear here. Any help would be appreciated.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sketchbook pages

Here are a couple of more pages for my Sketchbook Journal with the subject of Lines and Grids. The idea for the above piece came from my visit to the Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento. Guess that there is a connection between seeing other work and translating it to your work. I used metallic colored pencils.

This was done with black pen and colored pencils.

I can feel the pressure mounting as I must get the journal done.
It's so easy to say that I'll do it later!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I actually made it the a Sketchcrawl gathering which was held in Davis, CA. Pete Scully organized this group and all went well. Lots of inspiration, pleasant company and fine food. Of course, what to artists do while waiting for lunch to be served? They sketch each other!

Then we went outside and drew the restaurant!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fabric painting

The artists at Every Day Matters are constantly challenging and inspiring me. Shirley reminded me that I had Paintstiks hidden in my studio. They are oil sticks that can be used on fabric. It's hard to see the colors on this piece as I hid them under the stitching. However, the shape which I drew during my figure drawing session shows up. I cut the shape out of freezer paper, ironed it down and, with a stencil brush, added the color. Since I'm giving myself the permission to experiment, I added the dense stitching instead of just an outline and then quilted it with invisible thread on fabric that I had painted.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The twins have arrived!

I'm so excited and want to share the newest additions to my oldest son's family.
This is big brother Oliver with his mom, Lindsay,  holding Isla who was the first baby to come home.

These are the new sisters, Isla (Eye-la) and Ruby born Sept. 27th.
They live 2,000 miles away, but I do get to visit for two weeks in November!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm learning

I'm trying to overcome my fear (of failure?) and draw faces. Really now, what is going to happen if I draw in my sketchbook? For me, the fact that these faces each have their own look is a big deal. Now only 9,995 more to perfect this aspect of my art.

Today I attend the grand opening of the new wing at the Crocker Art Museum here in Sacramento, CA. This addition to the Museum is so terrific! Edwin and Margaret Crocker (made his money when the railroads were being built) bought a mansion and had it transformed to include an art gallery in 1886. From 1869-71 the two of them collected more than 700 paintings and 1,344 master drawings during a European tour. In 1875 Edwin dies. In 1885 Margaret gives the Crocker Art Gallery and collection to the city of Sacramento and California Museum Association.Over the years there have been additions to the collection and renovations of the mansion. 1997-99 the idea is underway to build the Teel Family (they own a grocery chain) Pavilion which acknowledges their $13 million gift. Today on 10-10-10, was the public grand opening. One room displayed a collection of work by Wayne Thiebaud. Since I seem to like contemporary art, I was blown away. So humbling to see so many outstanding pieces. 

I do hope that you have an opportunity to visit this museum that is now able to display the old and the new.

Oh yes, they had a large gift shop and An Illustrated Life was on display. A woman was glancing through books and I told here that this book was so filled with journal pages of talented artists and it was so inspiring. I noticed that she had the book in her hand as she stood in the checkout line. I felt so proud.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Great Portrait and news

This wonderful portrait was done byYevgenia Watts who is a member of the Everyday Matters group. She has set a goal of 206 portraits in 206 days. Oliver is my oldest grandchild and this is right on!

The big news in our family is the birth of twin girls, Oliver's sisters. They were born Monday, September 27, about one month early. Isla (Eye-la) and Ruby have lots of hair and are doing well. Early babies need to learn to suck, but they are working on that process. Hopefully they will go home within the next week. Since they live in Ohio, and I'm in California, I will have to wait until the end of this month before I get to hold them. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sketchbook pages

Continuing my Lines and Grids journal, I've added the pages shown above and below. Trust me, I use grids for the text. I'm not one of those calligraphers who can lettered without some guide lines! I just keep saying to myself, "This is my journal, I put put what I want in it". Ahhh, what freedom (OK, there is some restriction, but not much).

May you find a moment to pause and refresh.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fabric painting

I did it! Thanks to the encouragement of Shirley I completed these two pieces. First, I ran upstairs to pull out the box of fabric paints that I had not opened. Then I found the bleached muslin that I had bought for this purpose. After the fabric was painted and the "sandwich" made (front, batting and backing), I used the sewing machine, set on free-motion, to stitch this figure. What fun! Who knows there this will lead?

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Season for Figure Drawing

Although faint, here is a drawing from my Friday morning figure drawing session. Believe that this was a 20 minute pose. The arm is a bit long, but I'm pleased with my progress from the sessions last Spring. The piece on a 24 x 18" paper. That is huge for me. One attendee, who I believe has taught art, is encouraging me to go bigger so that the figure goes off the page. Then, if I have a smaller area such as the hand, I'll be able to actually have a chance to do some detail.
Each Friday for 3 hours we get a model. We do several 2 minute poses, a couple for five minutes, followed by 20 minute time periods. The last pose may be 40 minutes.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Special Gift

Sometimes you just get it right. I love this quilt and so did my 2 1/2 year old grandson, my chief critic for this piece. The fabric came with these adorable cats. I added the border and quilted it. Oliver immediately knew to put it on his bed. It makes nap time even easier.

These cats have attitude!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Non dominate hand portraits

Several members of the EDM group are practicing drawing portraits with their non dominate hand. I had to give it a try. Think that it slows you down so think before you draw. Hey, that is a good idea for me!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lines and Grids

Moving right along, although slowly at times, I've done some more pages for my Lines and Grids journal as part of the Sketchbook Project. Later, when we finish the quilt I will post the completed project. This is a gift to a service person who has served in the war,  through an organization called Quilts of Valor Foundation.
Didn't want the journal too get to serious so I added the quote regarding ice cream cones. One of those silly quotes you get on the internet

The triangle is after an artist IL Lee. His work is predominately done in ballpoint pens and I was lucky enough to see a show at the San Jose Art Museum a few years back. I have plans to include piece after his style.
The last piece is influence  by a local artist, Laura M. Manthey. I had such a delightful time viewing and buying some of her pieces. Since I like line, this was a perfect match.

My list of ideas is growing. Daily I can observe line and grid work. I positive bonus of this project.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sketchbook pages

Lines and Grids is the topic for my Sketchbook Project. That is pretty safe, since most of the tools I use leave a line. I have developed a new perspective on what I see. Look at what that artist has done! See the magic of those lines! How did they do that?! The above is lettered with homemade Logwood ink that was a gift. The quote was by Madeline L'Engle. 

This pattern came from the book, 500 Wooden Bowls. I mean, there it is again. Observing and appreciating what others have done.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I had to try it. This is study number 2 followed by study number 3. Don't think that this is going to become my passion, but at least I now know. Again, the process is to punch, with needles, the felt, fine wool or silk or other fibers into the base fabric which, in this case, is felt.Quilting and beads were then added.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The first step

OK, I've taken the first step. This is a page in the Art Sketch Journal. There are so many thoughts that went through my mind before starting. Yes, I changed the paper as I know that most of my work will be in pen and the original paper was too thin. The subject is lines and grids. One bonus of this project is that I am more aware of lines from nature and from other art pieces. Getting over the thought that this is really not meant to be a piece of art for final publication in a book for all time, I was able to grasp "journal". I'm looking forward to the rest of the pieces that will go into this project.

Thought I'd share a plant from my backyard. I call this a Lion's Tail, but I couldn't find the official name, so it may go by another name. It's fun to watch as each stalk keeps growing and may add up to 10 "tails". This is the biggest it has ever gotten and summer is not over.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lettering in my jornal

It's been a few years since I retired as a freelance calligrapher. I really haven't done any lettering since. Suddenly-this was what I wanted to do. I have to keep reminding myself that it's my journal and I can put what I want on the pages. That is such a comforting thought. Yes, onward to combine lettering and drawing. It may happen.

If nothing else, I've enjoyed going through my old collection of quotes. My students were always encouraged to keep a file of special sayings. Then, when you want to practice-you have something to write. When I first started lettering, I would sit in the garage with the door up so that I could keep an eye on the kids as they played. At that time I would letter the name of each child in the neighborhood. Dang, the kids are all grown up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


This project is done with a method called needlefelting. The light blue is delicate wool that is punched into the darker blue felt. There is a layer of Angelina (shiny polyester fibers added next-they don't seem to show in this picture). The medium blue is also punched with the tool that has about 5 needles. I then put tulle (fine netting) over the entire piece, quilted it by hand and added the beads. Yes, the beads are sewn on one by one. Hey, I like to do that sort of detail. The binding was some silk that I had painted which I found in my stash. 

The piece is 8 1/2" by 11". Designing in a monochromatic color scheme was a very big challenge. Now I'm working on another study in this technique.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Journal sketch

I am constantly learning. Actually, I think that Michaelangelo said the same thing. This is the houseplant on our kitchen table. I am congratulating me for not doing a tiny anemic drawing and for not freaking out because the shading may not be perfect, etc. Believe that Danny's idea to just record the moment is the point. Oh yes, I've taken rubber stamp pads to color the page before doing the drawing.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fused glass

An opportunity came up for me to try designing a fused glass plate. I really had no clue how to prepare and would certainly to it differently next time. However, this is the result. I started with a piece of clear glass, then  thin rods of the black were laid down to create a basic shape. If there is a next time, the design might be drawn out and put under the glass as a guide.  Scoring and breaking the little pieces was a challenge. The colored dots where just sprinkled onto the glass. Last, a second plate in the blue green color as added to perk it up. The glass is carefully placed in a kiln and there you have it. If nothing else, there is now a better appreciation of work by other artists!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bird dog

The story of the birdies is not a happy one. Not only do we have a dog, we have a bird hunting dog. The growing birds were driving him crazy. Despite being dive bombed by both parents, he got two of the three birds. We can only hope that the third got away.

This hunting stuff was serious business. I did put a wire barrier up after this picture was taken, but he probably got to the other side and knocked them out. As much as I enjoyed watching the nest being built and seeing all the food being delivered, I hope that they do not try to build a nest in my yard next year.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Three babies in a bush

We've been watching momma and papa bird going in and out of a 6 ft bush that we have in the backyard. I was able to capture a picture yesterday. Today the babies listened to their parents and would not pop up.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another Concert in the Park

This may become our summer routine. Sunday evening band concerts in the park. Give me a Sousa march anytime! As I drew the tree I realized that sadly, it has very few leaves. Think that comes with old age. I see that I draw older people. The kids are having fun on the play equipment which is behind me and they are to fast to sketch. Nice excuse.

We are family that is interested in the World Cup games. Of course, there is no way that I want to watch 64 games. However, the USA plays tomorrow and I'm hoping for a win. I'll worry until the game is over. Having a son in South Africa at the game, makes me more attentive. At least the boy knew to take two jackets. The temperatures have been around freezing for some of the games.

By the way, I have some comments done in Chinese characters with what, I believe, are not nice messages, so I've changed the way to comment. I have no idea if this is better or worse. I'll find out as the days progress.

Beautiful weather here in California. This is why we put up with the politics.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Band Concert in the Park

One of the joys of summer is the band concert in the park. This first weekend in June is a band festival which gives us two days of music, without charge. You can bring your chairs or blankets and enjoy a picnic while bands give us their finest sounds. Kids are attracted to the play equipment and the rest of us get to relax. I do take my sketch book and this year I'm seeing some improvement in "my people".

 Of course I'm still much more comfortable drawing the backs of people. They are somewhat in proportion which is a big step for me. Wait, just maybe those session of figure drawing are beginning to pay off. The bluish drawings were done with a Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705 -"a bottle of ink in a pencil". The color has been darkened in Photoshop so that the images would be easier to see. The gray sketch was done with a Derwent Sketching Light Wash HB pencil. The color did not move a much. I believe that I need to make my marks heavier to get more action with the water. Geez, move out of my comfort zone. What a concept.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Well, here are the last three challenges for the month of May. I have gotten the feeling that I've bored viewers and almost bored myself. Bigger steps in my artistic journey might be more interesting. Yet, there is a sense of accomplishment. Will I feel lost tomorrow? Who knows?

Thoughts are turning toward the World Cup soccer games in South Africa. We have a son who is a BIG fan and will be attending the first two weeks of the games. All teams start in a group and will play each of the other three teams. USA has England as our first game and that is going to be very tough. Although there is lots to see, as outside the stadiums fans from different countries gather and it is celebration time all day long, I'm happy to be home and watch from my comfy sofa.

This trunk was in my grandma's scary basement until I used it to pack my stuff for college. Today it sits in our living room holding the old family photos.

The chair ( I drew the seat to long) was made by my grandfather who worked in the furniture department of a now closed furniture store that made the desks and chairs for the California state legislature. Furniture that is still in use today. This is a big chair because he was tall. I did not know him as he died before I was born, but I keep this as family history. A sense of belonging-a connection with the past..

This is was fun because it is part of my fabric stash. Hey, a quilter has to have a lot of material for the next project. Trust me, I know people who make my two sets of shelves look like a beginners collection. 

Thanks for checking in!