Painting #25 and #26

Wednesday, November 25, 2020 0 No tags Permalink
painting #25

I am slowly continuing on with the Class101 online painting class. If I painted as much as I thought about painting, I’d rarely leave my studio. But it’s no good to paint if you’re physically, mentally or emotionally too tired and this time of year can make you feel all three at once. Above is an assignment on glowing again, like the previous candles.

I’ve always been quite afraid of perspective and can never quite get it right. This assignment was on perspective, and I wanted to try something a bit more difficult. Does it look familiar, like from a movie?

Right now I’m working on a garden scape. I think I have three more lessons after that, and then I’ve signed up for a nocturne painting class. Honestly, painting has been the best new year’s resolution I have come up with.

In other news, coronavirus is changing how the holidays will happen. Even though I’ve been congratulating myself on stress management, I’ve had several things happen that are making me think I’ve been lying to myself. If I owe you a text or a letter or an email or a phone call…I’m pretty much paralyzed at this point when it comes to doing anything but barely making it through the day and going home with Bob and Maxy where I put the rest of the world behind me until the alarm clock goes off the next morning. Repeat.

Painting #23 and #24

I started an online class recently with Class 101 for painting. Over the past year, I’ve taken a number of online painting classes. There’s always something new to learn and new techniques to try. Through the class assignments, I’ve recently completed acrylic painting #23 and #24.

acrylic painting #23 clouds

The first painting assignment, in acrylic, was to work on clouds. I still don’t think I have them quite right. I haven’t done an acrylic piece in awhile though, so it was fun to get back to that medium. And I think the trees turned out pretty good.

acrylic painting #24 candles

For whatever reason, I really like this acrylic painting, #24. I keep going back and looking at it. The goal of the assignment was to get the glowy bit around the flame. Next assignment is to try a similar glowy bit with a Christmas tree, and I hope to work on that this weekend. I am always looking forward to painting, and find such peace while I do it. I’ve had lots of new year’s resolutions over the years to try new things or learn new skills. This one I can say has absolutely been a success.

After snow last weekend (experienced on a hike at Fort Custer with Sue and her dog Disco), this week has turned out a little warmer. Warm enough to bike in fact. Yesterday, I turned 1,000 miles for the summer. I should be able to get in a day or two over the weekend as well. COVID-19 cases are out of control here in Calhoun County. Between that and still not knowing the full results of the election, it’s been an odd week. Anything I can do to get out of my mind a little is helping.

Like reading this? You may enjoy these:

See my first acrylic paintings here

Learn more about my biking here

Misc. Updates – Painting, Crochet and Weather

It seems we are ready for some misc. updates. I’ve been doing better keeping this updated in general this year, but I am lacking on the postcards. I’ll have to work on that.

We’ve had our first major frost, and it’s been colder than average the past week or so. It is supposed to warm up in the next two days before dropping down again so maybe I will get two final bike rides in. I sure hope so.

Mom and I went up to clean up the cemeteries on the 13th, and took the back way home to take some photos for later painting inspiration. I think this has been the most beautiful autumn I ever remember. It’s so lovely, it fuels my neuroses and makes me wonder if the beauty is to make up for a horror that will arrive soon. Do you ever feel that way? Anyhow, I pulled over at Goldies Motel to snap #10. This photo has not been retouched. The colors were that amazing.

Goldies Motel

I’ve been doing website updates at work. The shelter is closed to the public through the end of the year, except by appointment. It’s more peaceful this way, and we’ve still been doing fine with adoptions. I do miss the Trail of Terror though, and dressing up for Halloween, even though it is a ton of work. Donna and Jerry Castleberry died from COVID-19 this past weekend. Cases are climbing in Calhoun County.

crochet blanket

I’ve been watching streaming and crocheting in the evenings. This blanket is for a relative. The colors reminded me of water…that of the ocean and of the great lakes. It’s Lion Brand Mandala which is self striping, and I’m doing my old trusty repeating HDC using an L hook. I watched The Trial of the Chicago 7 which was quite good. And the Haunting of Bly Manor. Just started Deadwater Fell.

When I am not painting, it seems I am always thinking of painting. I’m taking an online class to build my skills now. I’ve been working on color swatches which is helping me to pick colors I guess. So I have learned something new from the class. It is cool we live in a time when we can take classes and learn so much online. This is my latest piece, which was inspired by a photo in an old Sunset magazine. It’s in gouache and is piece #22. It serves as a reminder that you absolutely need a ruler to draw your horizon line. But I think the rocks are pretty good.

painting #22

I got my flu vaccine and have been having nightmares and bad headaches again. Not because of the vaccine, but just because. I’m finding it somewhat hard to concentrate on writing snail mail letters and impossible to read.

Painting #20 and #21

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 0 No tags Permalink
painting

I’ve dedicated more time recently to painting. I find the time I spend painting reduces my blood pressure and ignites my mind at the same time. It’s something I can completely get lost in, like I did with playing music years ago. It seems impossible to think sour thoughts when you’re focused on colors and images. This past week I did gouache swatches with white of all my colors, which I am hoping will be helpful in selecting appropriate colors. It also helped me figure out that I am missing a few key colors, an excuse to make another order at Blick. Here’s a tip for ordering: spring for the next level up in shipping. It shortens the time significantly, sometimes up to a week, and it’s not much more money. Blick is amazing and has all kinds of arts and craft supplies.

Right now I’m taking a fun little online class on painting a daily journal. The focus is kind of coming up with faster painted sketches as a means of overall improving your painting. The above barn was from a photo I took on an earlier walk this summer. I’ve gotten these small gouache pieces down to two or three days to complete which is a huge difference compared to my first acrylic pieces.

painting

The image of the bird, above, is from a photo I took a few years back in the Florida Everglades. I’ve repainted it a few times and the beastie still looks rather like a duck. It’s also a bit too big. But I’m happy with the rest of it.

I’ve taken some great photos of autumn leaves, and am looking forward to painting some of the season over the next few weeks. I’d like to grow in my imagination in my painting. I’m not a very realistic painter, so the idea that I have to copy an image is unnecessary.

Crocheting and Biking

crochet

I finished the third of three baby blankets. This was a really soft, fuzzy yarn that was hard to work with, but the nursery color needed is coral and it fit that perfectly. It’s my standard, continuous rows of half double crochet. On this one, I did a border of rows of half double crochet as well because the yarn is so thick and fuzzy you’d never be able to see a scallop pattern. My friend liked it, and I’ve moved on to another blanket, this one using mandala yarn. Expect an update.

As I’ve been crocheting, I’ve also continued watching documentaries. A Secret Love on Netflix was excellent. Such a heartwarming love story. Athlete A on Netflix was a horrific look in to Larry Nassar and the US Women’s Gymnastics program. A good watch just the same. I started watching Dick Johnson is Dead and honestly I couldn’t get past about 12 minutes of it. Life is too short to watch uninspiring tv or movies. Anyhow, I’m making pretty good progress on the available likely nominees for 2021 Best Documentary Oscars. I have also started the next season of Great British Baking Show, which is balm for my sore and aching heart, and the Haunting of Bly Manor which I am enjoying. We’ll watch the West Wing reunion this week, and have one more episode to go of Raised by Wolves.

I’ve put on 954 miles on the bike this year. Over the weekend I pulled my back gardening and it is supposed to get quite cold this week. I’d like to think I can still get out a few more rides and break 1,000 miles. It’s easier to do it on a sunny day, because at least the sun is warming. Coming up with a replacement exercise plan for winter is going to be challenging.

Crochet and TV

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

I’ve been working away on some crochet projects. One of the employees at work is having twins, so I came up with two baby blankets. The body of both is a variegated baby yarn. Both are half double crochet with an L sized hook. The edging on one is a coordinated yellow with a scallop pattern and the other is the coordinated green with a ruffle edge. It turns out they are both girls, so the gender-neutral colors should be fine. I have one more blanket to go, for a friend. It’s a different yarn than I’ve used before and it is heavy but really very soft. I still have another two skeins to kill on it before it’s done.

You may know that while I’m crocheting, I’m streaming tv shows. This summer I watched the first half of the new Unsolved Mysteries, Tiger King, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, season 2 of POSE, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, The Devil All the Time, and all three seasons of DARK. That’s a fair amount of tv watching.

Now that we are getting closer to the 2021 Oscar season, and nomination predictions are coming out, I’ve turned my attention to the feature documentaries, short docs, animated shorts and live-action shorts. I never care as much about the main attraction movies. So far, I’ve watched Welcome to Chechnya, Crip Camp, Disclosure, and Circus of Books. Documentaries are amazing. They make you see the world in a new way. You almost get to live a life other than yours for an hour or so. I always wind up being moved to help, or to become a better person, through learning more about others.

Painting #19

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

I added them up, and I suppose this is painting #19. When I started the year, I hoped for one piece a month. I’ve done more than that, but I didn’t paint at all in August. I so enjoyed getting back into it this month, I really want to make more time in the rest of the year. I’m not sure that I’m getting better, but again I love how I feel when I am painting. Anyhow, this image is of the old school house that’s on the corner of Beckley and Helmer in Battle Creek.

Salsa Verde

Monday, September 28, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

It is really looking and feeling like autumn now. And it actually is autumn by date as well, so there you have it. The temperatures this week are going to be a little bit below normal. We’ve actually already had our heat on a few times this month. I have long winter bike pants and other bike supplies, so I do hope to be able to bike another month at least. But not in the ice or snow. Will we have snow in October? It’s not unheard of.

Last weekend I cleaned up the vegetable garden. We had a good overall crop of tomatoes this year, and some carrots, green beans and cucumbers. The peppers did well, as did the tomatillos. As such, I decided to make a batch of salsa verde to end the season.

Broil the tomatillos, jalapenos and some garlic for 15 minutes or so until blistered. Then blend it all up and you’re good to go. It keeps for about a week, maybe two, in the fridge.

I put in a cover crop for winter, but the birds were treating it like a birdseed buffet so I’m not sure anything will come of it. The flower beds should hopefully last another few weeks.

Kindness is the Most Flattering Thing to Wear

Friday, August 14, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

As I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across an interesting post on The Fold Line group. Anna Forsaeus wrote: “A little OT, but here goes: How do you guys feel about “flattering” when it comes to clothing? I have started to loathe the word, because I feel it restricts me. It wasn’t up until I turned 50 a few years ago that I started to try and rid myself of the concept. I am a plus size (another concept to discuss…) woman with an hourglass figure, and I’ve always been told, and thought, that I should emphasize my waist. BUT I HATE WEARING CLOTHES THAT EMPHASIZES MY WAIST! (Sorry, didn’t mean to scream). I find them uncomfortable and not at all my style. My style icons are fierce women with an androgynous take on their outfits. However, I still struggle with this. Anyone else?” Ms Forsaeus linked to this story in the Guardian, and her post on Facebook received a lot of feedback. It made me think of my own clothing, as well as how I judge others.

This point is generally where I have a conversation with myself about body autonomy. Other people are in charge of their bodies, and I am in charge of mine. It’s not for me to judge other people for how they look, what they wear, or how they decide to present themselves physically to the world. If someone is overweight, it’s simply not my business. I am dieting and exercising like crazy these days. But that’s my concern. I’m not dieting and exercising because people like Bill Maher think I need to as a civic duty.

To make mental comments about what others wear can be a dangerous step into making mental comments about what others can and can’t do. Judging can lead to ableist, sexist, racist, ageist, and transphobic thoughts. You know what I mean:

“She’s too old to wear that”
“Is that a man wearing a dress”
“No man is going to find her attractive in that”
“He’s too lazy to put on anything but sweatpants”

Don’t be that person. Don’t be that person to yourself, either. Celebrate yourself! Ask yourself, do I wear clothing for myself, or for other people? I think I’d like to be the person who wears what I want to wear because I love it. Full length cape? Ok! Sequins? Absolutely! I’m sewing a dress (above photo) and I’m not sure what it will look like on me when I’m done. But that will be for me to decide. Do I like it, or do I not? Does it make me feel good when I wear it? Forget “flattering” and focus on being kind to yourself and others. Kindness is the most important thing you can wear.

Painting and Sewing

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 0 No tags Permalink
Brother Pacesetter Sewing Machine

I’ve been looking at new sewing machines for awhile, and came across a great deal on this Brother Pacesetter. I believe the last clothing item I sewed was the Endora dress for Halloween several years ago (can that really be it?), so the dress I started is a challenge. I’m not going to show the pattern, as I am going to be altering the yoke significantly. However, I will post the finished dress, whenever that actually is done. I know since the Endora dress I’ve made some purses and some masks, and of course mending work. But I have missed sewing.

gouache painting water scene

This is my most recent gouache painting. Haven’t had much time to paint lately, either. The inspiration of this was a vacation photo my friend Pam took and sent to me. It turned out ok I think.

gouache painting Waffle Window Portland Oregon

And here’s the one before, which I don’t think turned out that great due to issues with perspective. Again. But it’s important to show the successes and failures. I can’t help but think if I had more time to paint, I’d be showing more improvement. But isn’t that the case with everything in life?

The summer is going quickly, nearly August now. We’ve had two generations of monarch caterpillars and are getting lots of cherry tomatoes and some peppers and cucumbers from the garden. This year we’ve had very little rain. Maxy cat has a vet appointment today to check again for thyroid issues and high blood pressure. He is such a sweet little beast, and I know this will be stressful for him. I will finally be getting the old Subaru in for the airbag recall later this week. This Summer of Covid has been so strange.