Monday, May 31, 2010


Day 31: Draw something you collect.  I have another rack up the hill that has another probably three times as many as shown here.  This is a bit rushed and wonky (no, the bottles weren't really changing size, and no I'm not drunk), but it's done.  They don't call it a challenge for nothin'!  I started this May Challenge after seeing a post from Borromini Bear on May 1st. I happened to have crayons handy, and so with no planning or forethought I found myself hanging in there, every day, drawing the things on the list.  What did I get out of it?

  • a rekindled love for crayolas
  • a new appreciation for the group of artists with whom I shared this trek 
  • a daily habit
  • a sense of accomplishment
  • 31 new drawings

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bienvenido a Barcelona

Day 30: Draw a Chair.  I drew this chair once before, as a little mini demo in my book.  I think I also sketched a few of them 100 years ago in design school.  I've always liked them.  They're kind of the Audrey Hepburn of the chair world to me.  Beautiful lines, elegant without being fussy.  Hard to believe it was designed in 1929.  That Ludwig, he was ahead of his time.

Little known fact: It was actually a collaboration between Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, the first woman the join the Deutscher Werkbund.  It's usually attributed just to him, but not so.

Oh my God.  I sound like Cliff Clavin from Cheers.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dreaming of Wells...

Day 29: Draw Something Architectural. I took some photos of this house when I was at an art workshop in Wells last summer. I'm just planning to head there this summer for the Toni Onley Artist's Project, and dreaming of camping in my van, painting all day, picking a little guitar by the campfire at night. Ah, Wells...

Only two more of these crayon drawings to go, and I'll be done! Woo-hoo!

How To Make A Watercolour Sketchbook Journal - Video Tutorial

Ok, this is my first attempt at making a how-to video, and it happened at about 11 last night, when I turned to Greg who was watching a movie on the sofa and said, "Hey, wanna come video me making one of these books?"  And so a video production was born.

Here's Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 on youtube.

Forgive the weird lighting and the 'where am I going with this again?" tempo of it, and go make a sketchbook!  I really hope you do.  Let me know if this makes sense, or if you have any questions.  And if it works for you, please let me know (and send me pics!)

I watched a bunch of videos online to figure out how to do this, but biggest credit goes to Teesha Moore.  Thanks Teesha.  And thanks Greg for turning off the movie you were watching and playing cameraman for me.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Return of the Cone Heads

Wow, only three more of these 'Every Day in May' drawings to go.  I almost want to just crank through them right now and be done.

We've been stepping over the boobie-dog and his giant cone head for two days now.  He lays in the most central thoroughfare he can find and gives a couple of wags each time we pass by.  When he eats he places the cone over his bowl, making perfect contact with the floor, and eats inside his own personal dome.  I knew when he tried to take off after a marmot today up at my work that he's on the mend.

I've been spread out on our dining table with my crayons 'Every Day in May'.  It's kind of taken over our living space.  I had a little studio up until recently, but the space is being converted into a daycare and we had to move our stuff out.  Now I'm setting my art gear up in the second bedroom here.  I think I'll use it more this way anyways.  I'm having fun unpacking and setting up.  There are all kinds of goodies in these boxes - yet to be used.  Fun times ahead.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Journal in Action

I LOVED using one of my new journals I've been making for life drawing last night.  Perfect timing, since Day 27 is: Draw a Book.  I hand-bound this one with wine coloured hemp, same for the closure.  The format was fun to work with.  I loved having the fold-out flaps.  It really let me play with the composition.   Two sessions will fill one of these little books (maybe three).  I'll be able to use the covers, inside and out, for painting as well, since it's all the same sturdy WC paper.  They'll be fun to decorate up.
Day 25: Draw a Glass - The kind you drink from.  That'd be one of these.  I was going to put the UB40 lyrics in this sketch, but after asking Greg if he remembered exactly what they were we both found ourselves droning over and over "Red, red why-e-eye-e-ine, goes to my heh-e-eh-e-ed".  I couldn't do that to any and everyone who ever looked at this.  So, it's Lord Byron instead.  This excerpt is from a poem called  LINES INSCRIBED UPON A CUP FORMED FROM A SKULL  It's worth a read.  It's here if you're interested. 

Thanks for the Yogi inquiries.  For those of you who're interested, here's the update.  He's home.  Surgery was successful.  Getting around is pretty tough; he can hop but he gets tired and sad - big woeful eyes.  I've been carrying him everywhere - all 75 lbs of him.   We're a sight in the elevator, huge cone like a bonnet on his blonde head, limbs sticking out everywhere as I wrap my arms around his middle and try to keep him hoisted off the ground.   Oh well, it is what it is.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When Is An Herb A Veggie?

When is an herb a veggie?  Today.  Day 26: Draw a vegetable.  I'm at Mom and Dad's, not really wanting to get the broccoli out of the fridge and draw it before dinner.  I've been eyeing these couple of herb pots in her window for a while now.  I was loving the smell of the basil as I sketched this.  Funny, looking at this now, I realize I sketched my own pots on a window at almost the same angle!  I think it was one of my first posts on this blog.  I'll find it and post it again below.

I drove Austin back to Vancouver yesterday afternoon, picked him up this morning and drove him to work, then beetled up to Kelowna in time for family girls weekly golf game (fun).  Dinner at Mom's, then off to life drawing in Summerland (tomorrow's post).

Yogi had his surgery today.  The doctor called and said it went well.  We can see him tomorrow, then we're hoping he'll be home the day after that.  Miss that boobie-dog.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Recycled Fruit

Day 24: Draw a Piece of Fruit.

We were out all day, first visiting Yogi at the hospital, then at work, and then at the funeral of one of Greg's hockey buddies (very sad).  We went for dinner with friends afterwards and got home late, tired, and with no fruit in the house for me to draw for the May Challenge.  It was dark out, so no going down the elevator and drawing the Giant Peach concession stand in front of our house either.  I'd done this watercolour sketch of it  a while back, so I pulled it off the wall and reprised it.  I was laughing at myself as I hit the upload button on flickr at 11:59.  Just like college days.

This peach is such a cool thing.  The opening each year marks the start of beach season.  There's a bikini clad sunbather in the original, but I clothed her and gave her a buddy in this one.  It's too early in the season for solo sunbathing.

Here's the original.  Now that I see them side by side, I think I'll add a little more crayon inside the peach.  It needs to be darker.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sketchbook Adventure Journals!

I've been on a journal-making binge.  I love these little ones.  They are:

  • 7 1/2 inches square
  • 140 lb watercolour paper
  • hand stitched with fine hemp twine
  • double folded closing flap to create a spine on the front edge
  • 18 pages (counting both sides and flaps)
  • several pages fold out to create a 22" landscape 

They're just the right size to fit in my paint bag.  I love the fold-outs, allowing some more ambitious landscape moments if I need them, but keeping the book size small.  The spine on the closure will allow me to do up fun titles for them when they're complete that'll be readable when they're lined up on the shelf.  

Can't wait to see how this will look all painted up!

I made a bunch of them yesterday, using blue, purple, wine and wheat coloured hemp, then filling the journal letters in to match.  I'm heading back to Opus to get some sheets of drawing paper too, so I can pack some up with boxes of crayons and give them as gifts.  Just spreadin' the journal bug :-)

Yogi update for those of you who've been reading - He's doing Ok.  We went in this morning and laid on the floor of the animal hospital for awhile, sticking our heads in his big plastic cone so we could whisper nice things to him while we scratched his ears.  Every time he tried to wag his big tail the blanket thumped up and down.   It was pretty cute.  I saw the X-ray today.  He broke a bone clear through, and very close to the joint.  Looks like we'll probably have to go the surgery route.  They haven't been able to splint it, and can't cast it either since his skin is too roughed up to be encased in plaster.  I've a feeling he's about to become a very expensive dog.  

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Not A Good Day To Be A Dog

Day 23: Draw your foot (or someone else's).

I'd planned to draw mine, or Greg's, but our day took a sad and near tragic foot-related turn.  Our water loving boy wandered out of sight, jumped in the creek, and was swept over the falls.  He traveled a long way down a cold and angry creek, until a stranger heard his cries, searched through the woods, and waded into the strong current to rescue him.  His foot is seriously broken, and he's all cut up, toenails worn off from struggling against the rock, but alive.  Thank God.  And the stranger.  And our dog walker Linda who knew who's dog he was and where to find me.  And Dr. Rob and Mary-Ellen who came to the hospital with me, and of course Dr. Harvey and the x-ray tech who raced in on a long weekend and took such good care of him.  He's overnighting there.

Other dogs have gone over the falls there who didn't fare so well.  I'm just so thankful he's alive.  He was such a brave boy.  Hardly whimpered once we'd settled him down (and not at all after they gave him the magic juice).  He wagged everytime someone new came in and said hi to him.  Friendly boy through and through.

Have a good sleep Yogi.  We'll see you in the morning.

Wedding Book

I made this little book for my friend Johanna's wedding to the lovely Tom yesterday.  It's made of watercolour paper, 18 pages inside, some of which flip open to make a three panel spread.  It's about 7 1/2 inches square and has a nifty folding closure that is fastened with rich burgundy hemp.  I wrote out quotes about marriage on the edges of several of the pages inside.  My camera battery was dead-deady-dead, so we had to grab a couple of pictures of it with Greg's phone before we gave it to it's new owners.  Poor photos, but I think you get the idea.  I hope she fills it up with lots of notes, sketches, keepsakes and photos of their life together.

I really like the way the little spine on the closure allows room to put a title on a sketchbook that can be read when they're stacked on a shelf.  I'm constantly looking through reams of identical black coil bound books for something.  My idea is to make one hardcover folder, then use these little inserts inside.  When it's full, I can take it out of the folder, paint and decorate it's cover and spine, insert another one of these and keep going.

They're smallish, so they could be easily filled up in one trip.  I'm using 140 lb watercolour paper.  On this one I used binding thread, but I think I'm liking them bound with coloured hemp more.  They'd be good trip journals, wine touring notebooks, garden journals, that kind of thing.  I'm going to make up a handful of them for my workshop next weekend (Saturday, 1-4, Penticton Art Gallery, part of a two Saturday thing) and see how they go over.

New Header for this blog

I painted this new header for my blog today.  It was fun to do, pulling pieces from a bunch of different sketchbook sketches and repainting them into one.  The elephants are from my Thailand sketchbook, the swans from Hawaii, the grape vines and market scene are from home, the dandelions from a trip to Wells/Barkerville, and the foot and sketchbook in the corner are a variation of a sketch I did on the plane to Vallarta years ago.  It was interesting trying to figure out how to sketch and paint them all so they blended together. I'm really happy with it - makes me think of all the places I've, well, wandered.  Now I just need to figure out how to get it up there.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Electric Pink Robe

Day 22: Draw a Piece of Clothing.  The Electric Pink Robe. It's actually not me at all, in fact I find it a bit heinous.  It is, however, the comfiest thing I own, and therefore a weekend morning ritual.  The lyrics are Lyle Lovett, also a bit of a morning ritual.

Here's the whole verse:
"I like cream in my coffee
And I lke to sleep late on Sunday
And nobody knows me like my baby
I like eggs over easy
with flour tortillas
And nobody knows me like my baby"

How's that for a little weekend morning fare?

Last night was the opening of the Penticton En Plein Aire show.  My piece was hanging right in the middle.  Greg was so proud of me, hanging back and listening to comments, then coming and sharing them with me.  Austin came to, as did Diana and the whole Mary Ellen crew (thanks guys).  There were a lot of really great pieces there.  Nice to be a part of.  And a good cause, so if you're in the area (or not) come and bid on a piece.  It doesn't have to be mine.

Now it's off to the street market for breakfast, then up the hill to work.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bookshelf Angel

Day 21: Draw something vintage, antique or old.  I don't know how old the bookshelf angel is, but it's got a little patina, so it's in.  All my old stuff is either in storage or up the ski hill.

The lyric is from Holly Cole's 'Make It Go Away Or Make It Better'.  It's the song my girly-friend Mig and I sing to each other on the phone when one of us is going through something hard.  We change the words to 'I will be the angel...'.  It's pretty nice to come home to that sung with abandon into your voicemail box when you're blue.

I love peeking at what's in someone else's bookshelf.  Says a lot.  If you're into sketchbooks and sketching (and you must be or you wouldn't be reading this blog) check out The Doyle Diary by Charles Altamont Doyle.  It's Sir Conan Doyle's father's sketchbook journal, unearthed in recent years.  He created it while in an insane asylum.  Doesn't make much sense, but it's fascinating, and the sketches are lovely.  I picked up this old copy at The Book Shop in Penticton.
It opens with, "Keep steadily in view that this Book is ascribed wholly to the produce of a MADMAN.  Whereabouts would you say was the deficiency of Intellect? or depraved taste?  If in the whole Book you can find a single Evidence of either, mark it and record it against me."

Sorry Mr Doyle, but it all looks a bit crazy to me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 20: Draw Something 'Dad'.

What could I draw that's more 'Dad' than Dad.  This is from a photo taken of him, well into his 70's, racing in the Master's Series.  If you read the text (and look closely at the photo) you'll know why this was his last moment ever in a racecourse.

He's 86 now.  No longer ski racing, but still the same guy on the inside.  When he was sick in the hospital last year with a heart condition, I wanted to print a t-shirt with a picture of him, young and sooo handsome, that read "Treat me like I still look like this".

He's still as charming as ever, though.  Just ask the ladies in the drugstore downstairs from their apartment.  That's his current slalom course, making it through the labyrinth of doors from the lobby to the shops on the ground floor on his scooter.  I get lost in there myself if I'm not paying attention.

Thanks for the good genes Dad.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Great Austini

Day 19: Draw Something You Made.

I think I'm a creative person.  I had searched our house.  Other than 2-D things like paintings and lino cuts, the only thing I found here that I made was a very clunky gravy boat.  It would be charmingly naive, except I was well into adulthood when I made it. I wasn't feeling inspired.

But truly, the best thing I ever made was riding in the car with me, coming up from Vancouver for a little break from city life.  We visited Grandma and Grandpa on the way through.  Dad lit up when Austin came into the room.  It was so nice to see.  They went for a cruise around the neighbourhood, Aus walking and Dad on his scooter, while Mom, the nieces and I played a good ol' game of garbage rummy.  Then we feasted, as we always do there.  I'm so full now I hurt.  That's how those visits always end.  It's a good feeling.
Tomorrow is: Draw Something 'Dad'.  I'm so looking forward to it.  May have to start now.  That sounds like more fun than going to bed.

I did a portrait of Austin in chalk pastel for Christmas two years ago.  It's blogged here.  Funny, I like the quick crayola one better.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lion Drawing

This drawing is for tomorrow, but I couldn't wait.  I'm supposed to be on a Vancouver run, and I didn't want to fall behind again with this May drawing challenge.

This deck is such a sanctuary.  This is where my early riser hangs out every morning while I'm still sleeping.  There are a million great views with every fractional turn of the head, but this is what I see when I sit in the comfiest chair.  Most mornings it is a sheet of glass with the view repeating itself perfectly in the lake.  This morning is a little cloudy with a steady ripple, but it's nice enough for us.

I used my own advice (it's in my book) and drew the thing that can move first.  While I was doing the rest of the drawing, Yogi was in about 15 different positions.

"Lie down like you were, or you'll end up as a line drawing".

"I think I would like to be a lion" he replied.

"No, not a lion, a line.   Line drawing.".

"Oh" he sighed, and resumed his former position.

Flute Music and Ear Candles

Ah, memories.  I played the flute a little in elementary school.  It didn't last long, but a flute was purchased and we hung onto it.  When I was expecting Austin, my dad dug it out, had it refurbished, and gave it to me as a gift.  I took a few lessons, but we lived in a cramped apartment with lots of neighbours - not the best time to learn an instrument.  After our flautist in the woods experience, both Austin and I took it up in earnest.  We had a good teacher, and we played a few duets, his flute with a bent head joint so his little fingers could reach the keys.  I got almost proficient, good enough to play with the Whistler Chamber Music Group while we lived in the region.  But of course, life got busy and they were put aside.  I pulled mine out yet again when I moved to Penticton, joining the flute choir here.  I finally played it enough to enjoy the sounds I was making.  I bought Greg a clarinet for Christmas one year, since he's often boasted about how they cut an album (yes, we're that old) when he was in Junior High Band.  It mostly stays in the box, and my musical interests are usually expressed on my guitar now, stomping around the living room like it's a stage, singing my heart out and having an all 'round good time.  But now that this is out of the box again, who knows?!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Champ

Day 16:  Draw a favorite tool
I was planning to sketch the tool I use to do lino cuts, but I couldn't find it, so the wine opener got to model for me yet again.  We had Kassia and Miss Lily here this weekend while Rob and Mary-Ellen were away.  It was nice to have some company at the colouring table.  Now they've gone home, Greg is watching Avatar on TV, and I'm blogging and watching the amazing flash lightening show happening outside right now.  We get some great lightening shows here, often followed by forest fires.  Last year we were up in Kelowna taking Mom and Dad to the theatre when a forest fire struck in Westbank, blocking the road and cutting us off for days!  An hour from home and it took us three days to get there.  We had Austin and Chelsea with us, camped out on Grandma and Grandpa's livingroom floor.  Family bonding at its finest.

Lightening is still flashing, the intergalactic battle still  raging on tv, but I'm tuckered.  Going to bed.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Drawing Trees, Escaping Death and Dodging Coyotes

Another tough day at work.  I slipped out to draw a tree for today's challenge, and ended up drawing the entire scene. This is where I work; my office is a trailer that sits about  8' past the right border of this view.  That's my car.  Yogi is running around the hillside behind me, but never very far.

I saw a big ol' coyote here the other day.  He was right about where I'm sitting now.  Every time Yogi barks with any urgency I turn my head expecting to see him on the hill behind me.  But no.

This is the cross view of the lake.  I'll do the North view at some point.  It goes forever (well, about 70 miles) up past Kelowna, Vernon.  It's so stunning.  In fact, the beauty of this view almost killed me today.  I was driving home from here on a little ribbon of a road above the main road, and a guy came over the hill, fast, completely on my side! I had steep bank to my right and nowhere to go on the left.  I wailed on the horn and he snapped his head back from the view to the road, swerved back onto his side and carried on.  Happy to be alive yet again.


Sketchcrawl day.  I hit the market early because I have to work today.  It's always such a cool scene here.  Good food, good music.  I just had time for a couple of quick ones.  

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day 12: Draw A Phone

Finished colouring this drawing today, which means I'm all caught up on these May Challenge sketches.  Tomorrow marks the half-way point.   Woo-hoo!

Here's the whole list:

1 - Draw a shoe
2 - Draw a desk lamp or other lamp

3 - Purses, Wallets or Bags

4 - Draw your mug or cup

5 - Draw your bed

6 - Draw your favorite well-loved object … or a childhood toy

7 - Draw a bottle, jar or tin from the kitchen

8 - Draw your watch or other piece of jewelry

9 - Draw a bit of “organized chaos” - your messy desk, your table stacked with books, etc.

10 - Draw your hand or hands (or someone elses if you like)
11 - Draw your glasses or sunglasses

12 - Draw what you ate for dinner

13 - Draw your telephone (land line, cell, old-fashioned?)

14 - Draw what you see in the morning when you get up

15 - Draw a tree or trees, leaves or branches

16 - Draw a favorite tool

17 - Draw a musical instrument

18 - Draw the view from a window of your house, apartment, office, etc.

19 - Draw something you’ve made

20 - Draw something “Dad” - in honor of Fathers Day

21 - Draw something old, antique or vintage

22 - Draw a piece of clothing

23 - Draw your foot

24 - Draw a piece of fruit

25 - Draw a glass (the kind you drink from)

26 - Draw anything you like. If you want to draw a vegetable, that’s fine, too.

27 - Draw a book or anything else you want.

28 - Draw an appliance or anything else you like.

29 - Draw something architectural or anything else.

30 - Draw a chair or anything else you feel like.

31 - Draw something you collect

Day 14: Draw the first thing you see in the morning

I wanted a dog for sooo long before circumstances collided and made it possible.  I'm glad we waited.  We ended up with the perfect boy.  He makes life more fun. He's a good traveller, and he can be low maintenance when we need him to be.  He loves the water so much, we can't walk by a fountain without him wanting to jump in it.  He's just a big noodle head and we love him.

We've had him just over a year now.  We got him here.

I was thinking I'd better stop writing about how great Greg is, getting up, making me coffee, taking care of Yogi.  Some clever girl may read this and want to steal him.  Well, hey clever girl, back off, he's MINE!

There.  That ought to take care of that.

No line drawing this time.  I forgot to scan when the drawing part was finished.  Oops.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 13: Draw What You Had For Dinner

We drove out to Kelowna for Mom's birthday tonight.  I came home a bit early, thinking I would drop Yogi off, then go out and pick up her gift.  When I got home, I saw the line drawing for the portrait of her and dad I was thinking of doing.  It was about 3:30.  We had to leave at about 5.  I thought, well, why not just paint for a bit, and if it's coming together fast, I'll give her that instead of a stack of books to read.

Not having much time I think can actually help a painting.  No time to muddle and overpaint.  I got the painting to a point I could at lease show her.  Her feet weren't visible in the reference photo, so I left them out, took the painting up as her present, looked through old pictures to see what kind of shoes she wore then, and brought it home so I can add her feet.  I haven't done it yet, but you'll find the footless version below.  My dad lit up when he saw it.  Turns out the car is a Martin, it was tan, and they drove it for their honeymoon.  He may be struggling with his memory now, but his memory for 1953 is perfectly intact.

I'm glad I did this in time for her birthday. The nieces bought her just about the same stack of books I was going to pick up.  That's one good thing about painting presents - I never have to worry that I'm giving a duplicate!

Thailand Hand

If I was right-handed we'd be looking at my lovely  engagement ring, but I've already told that story.  The scar on my wrist is from when I broke my hands and arms (yes, plural.  never go rollerblading down a hill where large dogs may be running off leash).  It looks the same on both hands.  People always think it's carpal tunnel surgery.  I used to jokingly call them blonde suicide scars, then I realized that wasn't very funny.  I've stopped.

If you study Spanish (like I do) you're probably familiar with Marina Dias and Ben Curtis's 'Notes in Spanish'.  If not, check it out.  In one of their podcasts, Ben tells the story of being in Bangkok and getting scammed at a Gem Shop.  I'd listened to it before I went on this trip, but bought the ring anyways.  I just liked it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 9: Draw Organized Chaos

I've done so much backing and forthing over the years, I'm now very quick at packing.  I know what I actually need and what turns out to be bag fodder.  For example, I no longer pack gym gear.  Ever. It's a fantasy thinking I'll hit the gym when I'm on the road.  If I have any down time, I'm sketching or playing my guitar.  If I think I'm doing anything else, I'm kidding myself, and I'm not willing to use bag space or spend energy carrying things just to maintain my own delusions anymore.

Yep, we're down to essentials.  The bag doesn't change much, whether it's a three day or a three week trip.