Artist Trading Cards

Thursday, January 20, 2022 0 No tags Permalink

While I am taking an online class from Cornell on botanic illustration, I’ve also stumbled across Artist Trading Cards, or ATCs. They are 2.5 x 3.5 and can be mixed media, painted, drawn, or whatever you like. There are groups where people trade them. You post yours, and others ask to trade, and then you exchange them through the mail. You collect them, these tiny pieces of art from all over, and store them like baseball cards or something.

Anyhow, in some spare time (a few minutes every couple days), I’ve been putting some together. Next up I am working on a small series of painted ATCs for Twin Peaks Day February 24th.

I’ve been sleeping terribly. Not falling asleep until after 2:30, and having terrible nightmares when I am sleeping. I’ve had excruciating headaches this week, too. No days with highs above 27 in the ten day forecast. It’s a desperate feeling. I know it’s only January, and we have a long, long way to go until spring.

I’m a bit behind in my letters, but I have nothing to say. Nothing that isn’t complaining about the weather, anyhow.

January 2022 Update

Monday, January 10, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
January 2022 update

I haven’t been able to do several things since October, updating catobear.com being one of them. Today I woke up feeling a little better, more able to think of what I need to do and plan for in coming months. Don’t know if it is just a fluke or an actual change. When I look and realize I’m the only one looking at this, I suppose it doesn’t matter much anyway. I have been pulling together my 2022 bullet journal, photo above. I always like a new journal when it’s compact and clean and full of possibilities.

January 2022 update

I cleaned up my art space, as I am starting a botanic illustration course online through Cornell this Wednesday. I have a real fear that I won’t be able to keep up. I haven’t really painted or done much artistically since October. Perhaps you’re thinking the desk is still a mess, but everything I need is within easy access.

I have managed to keep some YouTube videos going up on my channel. Do check it out if you like postcards, vintage calling cards, old Christmas cards, etc.

Anyhow, that’s where we are. Miles away from spring. Treading water, but no longer going under. At least for now.

National Postcard Week 2021

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 0 No tags Permalink
national postcard week 2021

It’s National Postcard Week 2021 and I didn’t get my crap together. I had selected a great vintage card and was going to photoshop Maxy’s head on, but I didn’t get it done in time to have the cards professionally printed. So this year I’ll be sending fewer cards, with an uglier, more personal touch.

national postcard week 2021

I’m not counting these as paintings, because I’m doing them in about 15 minutes each. And they aren’t turning out great. Some of it is I’m trying to paint new things. Some of it is that the postcard paper is really crap. The images are inspired by various card sets…flowers and different tarot cards. Mom and Kirsten did such an amazing job on their tarot cards for the Trail of Terror, I thought some fun small cards would be good inspiration.

national postcard week 2021

I’m going to have to practice the cat cards more if the shelter is going to do a pet portrait thing in June and I volunteer to paint. I mean, the middle one above looks like some kind of demon. Of course, I wouldn’t use postcard paper and probably not acrylic either. It’s easier to fudge gouache and blend it better I think.

Bob was so romantic. He found this vintage postcard of the dining hall at Brook Lodge and sent it to me for National Postcard Week 2021. The card is from the 1960s. We ate dinner here on Memorial Weekend many years ago, and Bob proposed to me by the water surrounded by forget-me-nots.

It has turned cold again. We had a fire last night and will hopefully have a few more over the next few days. I did get the radishes, arugula, carrots and beets planted last weekend. Bob and I planted 30 trees at the shelter over the past two weekends as well. We still have a few weeks before greenhouse day, so hopefully the warmer weather will catch up. Really looking forward to having the martini event behind me.

Signs of Spring

Friday, April 9, 2021 0 No tags Permalink
signs of spring carnival

Signs of Spring are everywhere to be seen now. The maple trees are fuzzy puffballs, the forsythia, daffodils, and crabapple trees are in bloom, and the carnival has arrived in town! Probably the carnival isn’t the best thing for our huge local spike in COVID, but it did brighten my soul a bit driving past it. We’ve had some rain and everything is really greening up.

signs of spring carnival

It’s hard not to get excited about planting. I ordered some tree seedlings from the Calhoun Conservation District to do some planting around the shelter. Still too early for vegetables, but by the end of the month the trees can go in the ground. I am tracking the progress of the hummingbirds on the Journey North website as well. There’s so much excitement in the air, it’s hard to keep one’s thoughts tethered to work and responsibilities.

signs of spring carnival

We’re in a bit of a pickle at work, with not enough staff. I’m working this Saturday, but may get in a situation where using my vacation time is difficult. Kitten season has started as well and we have several mom cats with kittens. They aren’t well socialized, so we will be working on that. I feel like I need a whole extra day to catch up on sleep again. Meanwhile, the stacks of letters keep growing and I can’t catch up on anything else. I am scheduled for my vaccine on Tuesday, the Johnson and Johnson, in Albion. I also have to get a crown towards the end of the month. April is moving so fast, as this time of year often does. I can’t even think about the martini event without feeling dizzy and sick to my stomach. Better to concentrate on painting, the recorder, and upcoming gardening and hope for the best. What signs of spring are you sighting in your area?

Misc. Updates

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 0 No tags Permalink

Today’s misc. updates include gardening, sewing, and painting. What a mix! Last weekend I got some gardening done. Did the preliminary clean-up on the monarch butterfly beds. Last fall I planted a cover crop and it didn’t die back, so I turned over the soil and put down heavy black plastic. Hopefully by April 17th the soil will be ready for planting arugula and radishes. It’s still well over a month before the rest of the vegetables can be planted. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be around 80 degrees, so it seems like we went straight from winter to summer. Bob put in the screen in the bedroom Sunday night after we got home from a bonfire at Cindy’s. The spring peepers were singing their love songs.

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any sewing, but this weekend I had a few mending projects to take care of and so I decided to make a pillow as well. I don’t remember why I bought this fabric originally…maybe for a skirt? I do love it though. It was nice to do a little sewing again. Maybe as I have more time off the next few months I will do a bit more sewing. Right now I’m working on a crocheted shawl and practicing at least half an hour an evening on the recorder.

This is painting #37. I was going more for the concept and of course the brush “lettering” is not real lettering as I couldn’t make it out from the reference image. I like the yellow lamp to the left best of all. It didn’t turn out quite how I had hoped, but on to the next painting. I’ve been having some trouble with inspiration, and clipped some photos from a travel magazine. I’m not sure what my problem is. I sometimes think the more you paint, the less your inspiration has to do with it and it becomes more about the act of painting. I don’t know.

I’m working on a new project, Bright Line Publishing. I’ll have some documentary film reviews coming up. Click here to check out the site. More misc. updates will be coming up here, with summer reads not too far off and the progress of spring weather. Hope your spring is off to a good start!

Signs of Spring

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 0 No tags Permalink
Signs of Spring crocuses

It’s nearly April and we are seeing some signs of spring. Today on the drive in I noticed things looked somehow different. Then I realized the grass is really green and the monochromatic browns of winter are gone. The crocuses (above) were out March 20, which is just a bit early compared to normal. The forsythia outside my window at work is opening, and daffodils are in bloom. Tomorrow and Thursday are supposed to be cold (in the 30s on Thursday for the high!), but that may well be the end of the cold weather.

Mom and Bob at the creek

Bob and I spent part of two weekends working on cleaning up the creek behind Mom’s house. A number of trees had fallen, and had blocked the path of the water. It’s not 100%, but it’s better for sure. We even saw two fish as soon as the path opened up. It was like nature sent us a sign to thank us for the work. It was nice to be down there again and I know Dad would be proud of the effort. Due to the changes with the trees, the whole lower area gets more sun now, so I’ll be interested to see the new signs of spring as they occur there in the cleared space.

painting #36

This is painting #36, in gouache. It’s inspired by a photo from a Conde Nast Travel magazine. I’m reasonably pleased with how it turned out. I was having a bit of difficulty with inspiration, so a few travel magazines have hopefully filled that void. I have been practicing half an hour every evening on the recorder, and making some progress on that. Hope your spring is off to a good start!

Plaza Motel

Thursday, March 4, 2021 0 No tags Permalink
Plaza Motel

PLAZA MOTEL

4410 14th Street, West
On U.S. Hwy. 41 between Bradenton and
Sarasota at Cortez Plaza and DeSoto Mall
Bradenton, Florida 33507
Modern Air-Conditioned Efficiencies and Over-nights. Restaurants, Coffee Shop and Cafeteria in Shopping Centers.
Phone (813) 755-9032

International Graphics Inc, Hollywood Florida
Coml. Photography, 2809 Auburn Ave., Tampa 33614

This lovely card is not used, but someone has written 1976 on the back. I can smell this place in my mind…air conditioning and cigarettes. Get your ice from the ice machine and an RC Cola. Pop in to the coffee shop for breakfast.

Unfortunately, it’s long gone. Shame.

Painting #33

Monday, March 1, 2021 0 No tags Permalink
painting #33

A not-great study in gouache is painting #33. It needs more work. I need more work. I haven’t been painting much lately. February was hard and now we move into March. What will it hold? I am doing some practicing of the recorder. I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix. I think maybe that’s some of the trouble. I’m quite tired mentally at the end of the day, and doing much more than sitting passively on the couch, crocheting and watching Netflix, is more than I can handle. I had all of these thoughts and ideas on prepping for the Academy Awards, and while I have watched a lot of films, I’ve also spent a fair bit of time watching British crime mysteries. And just sitting and staring into space. Not great. Not great all around.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 13, 2021 0 No tags Permalink
valentines day

Oh, but doesn’t this card have it all? Cherubs, a bird, stars and moon, forget-me-nots, embossing and gilding. Every delightful trope of love from the 1910s or so. This card was not sent, but there is some lovely fountain pen calligraphy on the back. I’d like to think it was hand-delivered. This card is from a collection gifted to me by a friend.

I’ve always preferred Groundhog Day instead of Valentine’s. It’s the halfway point between the solstice and the equinox. If you are lucky enough to have true love, which I am, it should be celebrated every day…not just on February 14. And if you are not lucky enough to have true love, I doubt you need a reminder of it.

I’ll leave you with a favorite line of mine as a Valentine’s Day gift suggestion, no matter your love status:

“Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.”

― Ogden Nash

Too Cold

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 0 No tags Permalink
too cold

This is from Accuweather’s prediction center. Quite frankly, it’s too cold and I’m hating it. Average temperatures this week should be climbing, up to 35 for the daily high and 17 for the daily low. Next week should be up to 38/19. Honestly, I’d be fine with 32 for the high. That’s still freezing. We’d still have potential for snow and the snow on the ground wouldn’t melt. It’s still winter. We went out for a walk on Sunday (11 degrees).

too cold snowy walk

There was a decent wind, so it was cold on the face. The snow made it enough of an effort to warm up the rest of the body. It was a pretty day for sure. We are at 39 days now until the official start of spring. But normal temperatures still seem like a long way off.

too cold but sunshine

Work has been a stream of Zoom interviews for the front desk position, as Front Desk Sara is leaving the state to go home to take care of her family. Yesterday was her one year anniversary at work. It seems one year is about all we can expect for a front desk staff member. We also need about three kennel techs as well. It’s a hard time to be hiring for sure.

Mom, Aunt Suzie and Gail have all gotten the vaccine. COVID variants are showing up all over. Michigan opened indoor dining again. I can’t imagine it feeling safe enough to where I’d want to dine indoors. Last night I dreamed everyone around me had the virus and I was trying to get away from them all.

cedar waxwing

Over the weekend we had a large flock of robins and cedar waxwings, along with a couple eastern bluebirds, on the crabapple tree at home. Lovely creatures, I snapped a few photos. I’m sure they are regretting their early return. It is simply too cold.