New Paintings & Misc. Updates

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

The weather has been odd this May. The past few days have been incredibly cold, 20 degrees below average with freeze warnings. I have yet to plant anything at all. They are predicting a week from now it will be 84 degrees. So much for spring, right? In happier news, the orioles have returned. We have at least two couples and the males seem a bit territorial. The hummingbird feeder has been up the same amount of time, but no hummingbirds spotted yet. Everything is still shut down until the end of the month due to COVID-19.

This latest painting is a very small study in casein. A friend on Instagram had posted the photo of her cat and suggested it was worthy of a painting. It seemed to me to be a good opportunity to try out a new medium.

I painted this gouache from a photo I took last year of our garden for Mom for Mother’s Day.

Spring Birds

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

The spring birds are here, doing their thing. Above is a yellow-rumped warbler at the suet feeder in our backyard. I’ve not seen one of these before.

The bluebirds are already nesting at the shelter, with eggs in the nestbox.

So are the tree swallows. They are really pretty birds, and they are lovely in their flight patterns. They’re not shy of dive-bombing you if you get too close to the box, though.

Temperatures have been consistently colder than normal last week and this week, and predicted into next week as well. Today’s high should be 62, and we will top out around 42 instead. It looks like we will be tracking closer to normal the beginning of May. Things are still in lockdown for COVID-19, but we’re unsure when that will end. There is pressure on Governor Whitmer to open things back up here in Michigan. Not sure what will happen with the greenhouses at this point. Everything feels rather up in the air.

Painting Update

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

I am continuing along with my painting, and really enjoying it. Above is a piece I repainted over like three times. Still only happy with some of it; the boats, reflections in the water and pier poles turned out as I had hoped. The buildings, not so much. It is another opportunity to determine what I enjoy painting and what I probably won’t do again (buildings).

I follow a lot of artists on social media, and became interested in gouache. I decided to try a few little fast pieces with gouache. Here is the first.

It is really different to work with than acrylic, but I enjoyed the process and think I may do a gouache in between each acrylic study.

Here is my last work, a still life.

Making some kind of progress, I guess. Again, I really enjoy painting and probably so far prefer acrylic. I think I will do another gouache next, but with a very busy week in store I’m not sure when I will have time. Soon, I hope. I find I am having to train myself to really look at things, especially shadows. If I do what I normally do and just get a quick look and move on, I miss all kinds of subtlety just by thinking I know it already. That’s a good metaphor for all of life’s interactions, I think.

In weather news, the past few days have been a bit warmer and we’ve had some snow melt. Mom has seen robins, but I haven’t yet. My Christmas cactus is blooming for the second time in just a few months. We’ve done some projects at Mom’s house, including painting the bathroom in preparation for new tile and replacing the light in the eating area. Today is Maxy’s 17th birthday.

Misc. Updates

In 2020, I decided that I would take up painting with acrylics. Thought it could work a different part of my brain. I have started my first painting, which is based on a photograph I took of a sunrise at the shelter. It’s not quite done yet, but it is coming closer.

If you know you will be sending international mail over the next year (say, you write holiday greeting cards on behalf of the homeless cats in the Humane Society shelter, and those cats have an international following), you’ll want to note that some postal rates including international stamps go up in price on January 26. First class forever stamps are unaffected. It’s only 5 cents a stamp, and I’m happy to support USPS. February is International Correspondence Writing Month – InCoWriMo. So hopefully friends and family will receive some snail mail. I’m not committing to a letter every day, but hopefully those with whom I regularly send letters will receive one during the month.

So far, we’ve had a little bit of snow in November, December, and January but lots of more reasonable temperatures in between. I know a lot of people don’t like the freeze/thaw cycle, but I find it nice to have snow and cold and then have it all go away. I can’t personally do much to change the weather anyhow, so I might as well enjoy it when I can. I am not quite counting down the days until spring, but I am looking forward to the day the sun rises before 8:00am.

Crochet Lap Blanket Extravaganza

Monday, June 17, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

If you were to ask me what my favorite thing is to crochet, it would have to be lap blankets. I enjoy picking colors specifically for individuals. I like using a nice big hook and a HDC stitch with either a rippled or scalloped border. I make them in the evenings while I’m binge-watching something on Netflix. And so far this year, I’ve made quite a few lap blankets…working on number seven, and that doesn’t include a smaller one for a cat with cancer that I made back in January.

I started out with this blanket, made with all kinds of colors, for a special lady who crochets blankets for shelter cats:

Next up was a blanket for a friend’s mother who was having surgery:

Then a blanket for a friend’s mother who was moving into a nursing home (the orange color with the blue and green edging reminded me of a sunset over the Caribbean Ocean):

Then a sage-colored blanket for a friend who is facing a serious health issue:

Then a pink blanket for the feisty daughter of a friend who was in the hospital:

And lastly, now I am working on a blanket for a friend who is moving someplace really cold. I’m doing something a bit different with this stitch pattern:

As you can see, Maxy often helps me work on the blankets. He especially likes it when they are long enough for him to nap under while I’m working. There is something meditative about working on a lap blanket, the same repeating stitches. It’s very calming.

Rexall Drugs

Thursday, May 2, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

Through the years I continue to come back to the Rexall Drugs sign. I’ve shot it with numerous cameras during all different kinds of weather and all four seasons. This shot, around lunchtime, was before it started raining again. At least it’s a little warmer. And hey, we saw our first oriole at the feeder yesterday evening.

Too many gray days
The rain gives me a headache
There is no escape.

Rose Gold Coffee Kalamazoo

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

If one must attend meetings, one should reward everyone involved by selecting a coffee shop as the location of the meeting.

And if one has a meeting in Kalamazoo, Rose Gold Coffee Company downtown is especially lovely.

They make their own syrups for the lattes. The atmosphere is peaceful. It’s a really great place.

In other news, it is officially May but it still rather feels like March. And the rain in incessant.

Never-ending rain
Dampens the soul and spirit
There is no respite.

2019 Bullet Journal

Thursday, February 14, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

It’s a new year, and I just started on my third bullet journal. You can read the original post here. I really enjoy the creative process of putting the journal together, and I enjoy tracking things like the weather and the amount of sunshine we receive here in Michigan in the winter (not much). I understand my Grandpa used to keep track of the weather as well, so it must run in families or something. My monthly goal pages look just about the same as in the original post I made, as is the monthly tracking log. The weekly spreads are also pretty much the same. I have added some new overall tracking pages though, and I think doing it for so long, it looks a little cleaner.

Weekly Spread:

2019 Monthly Plans:

Sun Tracker: