Thursday, March 29, 2007

Springtime in the south

These are some pics of my yard in the springtime. The people who lived here planted all kinds of flowering shrubs and plants so it's beautiful in the spring. I'm sad, tho, because we are leaving for the beach for a much needed vacation and I'm afraid everything will be done blooming while we are away. I hope my iris' don't do anything until we get back. The first pic is a small tree and you can't tell by the picture, but the grass underneath is carpeted with little purple flowers. I'd like to do this scene in pastel, so that's why I took the pics. My son was cutting the grass yesterday and he left this part of the yard untouched so I could enjoy the violets. He's a great kid! The next 2 pics are of the backyard from our deck. I have big plans for the grove of trees. Shade shrubs and a small private sitting area with ivy and ground flowers. It will be my oasis from the world. The last pic is of a tulip tree. This is a most unusual tree and I'd love to do a pastel of it also. Happy springtime to all!

Another CL sketch

I had forgotten to draw the table! I was reading more of Danny's book and there it was, staring me in the face and I don't know how I missed it. So, I sat down to sketch one of our end tables. These tables are something to see. When we moved into this house, we were coming from a little starter home that we bought in the mid 1980s. It was only a small cape cod, but it was in a good eighborhood and it served us well. When we moved into it, we were coming from an efficiency apartment in the city and we never dreamed we'd be buying a home. But, at that time the monthly rents and mortgages were running about the same, so we thought why waste our money? Anyway, I raised two teenaged boys in that little house, but we were becoming quite crowded, so we bought this rancher that we live in now. Our old house could fit inside the great room of this house! It's only about 400 more sq. ft., but in our cape we had 3 floors and this is all one floor with a garage where I have the frame shop for now. Anyway, we got a deal on this house. It had been on the market for over a year and the man selling it was going through a divorce. Not that I'm happy about benefitting from someone else's unfortunate circumstances. He was moving into a much smaller place and was going to have to put the furniture in storage and he didn't want to do that. So, he worked out a deal with my husband for us to buy the furniture, too. Which was good, because our furniture from our tiny cape would not have looked right in this huge room. We live near the furniture market area of NC and it is everywhere. I never dreamed of owning furniture like this, at least until after my kids were grown and on their own. Boys are rough on furniture. Anyway, he sold us an entertainment center, custom made dining table and chairs, and this coffee table, end tables and a welcome table. All are solid wood, no particle board. The tables are carved with inlaid, beveled amber glass. They were the most beautiful tables I'd ever seen. So, our furniture is placed exactly like his was in the great room because I lack any creativity when it comes to interior design. This is the leg of one of the tables. It's not done well at all because even though I am sketching, it has not become a habit for me yet. I still have to force myself to complete the assignments. I was sitting on the floor with the top of the table at eye level, and as you can see, my sketch looks like I was above the table instead. Oh, well. I did it, right? That's the goal.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Meryl (Last name removed per request)

Some more sketches of Meryl Pikett who performed at Moby's Coffee Shop on Friday night. Awesome voice and great songs.

Life According to Danny Gregory

These past few weeks have been really tough. At the beginning of March I had to go to my hometown where my mother still lives to go with her for cataract surgery. I had told her months ago that I would come up and go with her because she was so anxious about it. Well, without going into all the gory details, let's just say that there is a lot of history between me, my mother and my hometown. I don't go there often, and when I do, no matter how good I have been doing, I always find myself reverting to the hurt, little child that grew up there. Even though the rational part of my brain knows that I am a grown up now and completely in control of my life, the inner child still throws a good tantrum. *sigh* So, when I come back home, where I live now with my wonderful, supportive family, I always go through a period of depression. I am paralyzed and can't bring myself to draw. It's awful. So, anyway, before I left on this trip I had gotten Danny's book and I needed to do some sketches and it wasn't happening. My friend Penny invited me out to the coffee shop on Friday night to hear this girl sing. She said she was wonderful and she thought I would like her. I took my sketchbook and magic happened! This girl has a wonderful voice. She reminded me of Michelle Branch. I did some sketches, talked with her a bit and traded compliments. Her dad was all over my work which is displayed in the coffee shop, but sadly no commissions were requested and no sales. But, I did do the sketches for the book. Yay! Progress. Now back to living and art. Adios!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

My First Attempt at Pastels

My first attempt at something representational in pastel. I don't like it. I can't seem to get that luminosity of the glass. I do like the shadow of the glass, tho. I kept squinting at it trying to see the colors that I thought were in there. It just looks so flat to me. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Challenge 1 & 2 and Iris shoots

I've been busy this week, trying to get tax stuff together (blah!) and doing a small commission for one of my students. I wasn't getting anything done but thinking about it, so I decided I wouldn't check my mail until I finished a weekly challenge because every time I heard the little ping from my 'puter, I'd amble on over there and I was using it as a distraction. So, I sat down and spent about an hour and a half doing the sketch. I combined challenges 1 & 2 for a very good reason. This lamp is one heavy industrial deal. It doesn't look like much except a regular desk lamp, but when you pick it up, if you're not ready, gravity takes over quick! Anywayz, when I was still working at the printing company, one of the guys and I became fast friends. We had a lot of things in common; odd family members, we both enjoyed biking (he was more of a roadie), and we both loved bananas. The desk lamp was his and before he would peel his banana, he would take the sticker off of it and place it on the lamp. So, that's what all the little ovals and circles are in the sketch. Sometimes we'd have apples instead, but being into biking, bananas were good because of the potassium in them. I got laid off first, and then lost touch with my friend, so I don't know where he is anymore or how he's doing. I hope he's healthy and still riding. The shoes in the sketch under the lamp are my clipless riding shoes. They are a bit banged up. I didn't notice until I was scanning this that I never put the shadow under the second shoe, but I kinda like that unfinished look. I've always wanted to do this lamp as a close up in color pencil so I can show the stickers in all their colorful glory. Maybe this is the beginning of the finished piece, I don't know. But, that's why it's called Ode to Steve. Everytime I look at that lamp, I think of him.

I couldn't draw my iris sprouts last week because of the rain, but I got out there on Monday morning and sketched them. I almost forgot about sketching them, and when I did I was going to blow it off, but I made a promise to myself I would do this, and so I am going to follow through. Draw something every week I'm hoping will grow into draw something every day. I'm learning to manage my time better, so we'll see. And now, I have other things to do, so I'm going! Au Revoir!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Bad Attitude

I've been thinking a lot that last few days about my attitude. In all honesty, I don't have a very good one. But, trying to be positive all the time seems to stress me out. I think some people are just naturally positive. Maybe there's a gene for that, too, there's one for everything else. A few weeks ago I saw the movie The Secret. It really made me think about my bad attitude. If you haven't seen it or heard about it yet, the premise is the law of attraction. I've heard about this from time to time throughout my life, but not to this depth. Anyway, so I've been trying to be positive so that I can attract positive things and people to me. I have had contact with too many negative people in the last few years, and my family has been affected by them, too. My oldest son has lost his best friend because of negativity. Not ours, but the friend's mother's. So, I thought about what I don't like about my life, and what I would like for my future. The only one that can change my life is me, so, that's what I'm trying to do. I know what I don't want to be. I don't want to be overweight and bitchy, always talking about what I was like 10 years ago; how active and athletic I was. I want to BE that way now. I love mountainbiking, but I haven't been on my bike in over a year. I've been sick, thinking I was getting old physically, and being sad about it because in my mind I still feel pretty young. Come to find out, there's a medical reason for my fatigue, depression and mood swings. And no it isn't menopause yet! Actually it's my thyroid. So, now I'm on a regimen of vitmains, minerals and Armour thyroid. I'm getting better, but now that I know I still have some kick left in me, I'm impatient to be healthy and active again. So, there's something to look up about. So, where's the rest of my bad attitude coming from? It's one of those things that can 't be controlled. I feel like I'm being crowded and that I don't have enough space. I feel like people are always invading my personal space. Noise is the worst culprit. When we moved from PA, we decided to live in the country. We're not as far out as I would like to be, but this is where we are for now. I like my house, just wish we were more rural than we are. I grew up kind of in the country, but lived for years in the city when I was going to school. There's something to be said for city life. You can walk to most places and you're close to shopping and conveniences and work. But, I don't want to live in the city anymore. I'm tired of the loud stereos and especially the awful thumping of the bass lines. I don't know what makes people think I want to listen to their music when I have my own going in my own car. Or my own house. There's a SUV that drives past my house every day, and you can hear him coming for at least a full 40 seconds before you see him. I can't hear my own tv when he goes by. If it's that loud that I can hear it before I see him, what must it be like inside that vehicle? Now, I'm libertarian by nature, so I really don't care what anyone does, that is, until it affects me. And this does affect me. I moved out here for the peace and quiet, and most of the time it is quiet, so I have to live with that. I can't control what other people do. They'll all go deaf and then they'll have to FEEL the bass because they won't be able to hear it. The other reason I want to be way out on the edge of the earth is because I don't think people know how to be good neighbors anymore. I'm tired of parties where the stereo is brought out onto the deck so that the whole neighborhood can hear the music all night long. I wasn't invited, so I don't want to be a part of it from afar. Especially at three in the morning and this has happened to us. I'm very grateful that those people moved away. To get to the point of my bitchfest here, it is hard living in a society when you don't feel a part of it. I'm very comfortable being alone. But, I also realize the benefits of being with people. The best decription I have ever found of myself in print came from Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' The Yearling. It comes in chapter two where she is describing why the father went to live deep in the forest instead of in the village. "He had grown from under the the sternness of his father into a world less direct, less honest, in its harshness, and therefore more disturbing... The peace of the the vast aloff scrub had drawn him with the beneficence of its silence. Something in him was raw and tender. The touch of men was hurtful upon it, but the touch of the pines was healing... The wild animals seemed less predatory to him than people he had known. The forays of bear and wolf and wild-cat and panther on stock were understandable, which was more than he could say of human cruelties." I feel like that. Developers are putting in cookie-cutter housing developments out here full of trophy homes. The city people move out here and then complain about the smell of cow manure, the roosters, the coyotes, etc. I wonder why they come out here? They obviously don't see it the same way I do. I love the coyotes! I think if you don't want your little dog eaten by one, then you should keep it on a leash. But, anyway, that's how I'm feeling these days. We had decided to stay here for at least 10 years, and then maybe look for something in the mountains, with more land to seclude myself. Ok, now since I complained enought this morning, I need to go have some lunch and work on a drawing. On a positive note.... Have a wonderful day!

sketch crazy

These are just some sketches I've done in the last few days. I find myself wanting to draw now and leaving other things to go to pot. I realize I'm a bit obsessive. When something new comes along, I throw myself into it fully, and that's what this feels like again. Something new. Excitement has been a long time in coming. The first one of Toby (again) is just a quick sketch. He is by far my best model. I turned from the computer the other day and there he was! All stretched out in the sun coming through the deck doors. My moleskine was right next to the computer so I grabbed it and quickly drew him before he moved. The next one started from a doodle. It's been a long time since I doodled or drew anything out of my head. I felt so pressured to draw realistically that I was constantly using reference material. I have a huge box of photos of all sorts of things; clouds, trees, mountains. I even keep photos that didn't turn out because they might come in handy. Anyway, we were at our homeschool co-op and I was talking to someone and just started doodling without even thinking about it. Once our conversation was finished, I looked down and just SAW the picture. So, I began shaping it and this is what I ended up with. I might go back and finish it, I don't know. This was so spontaneous, I'd hate to ruin that feeling by planning. I did the last sketch at co-op also. One of our members got her church to let us have have our classes there. This is the view from the table where we sit waiting for the kids. I wasn't in a very good mood that day so I'm really surprised I was able to draw at all. But, sketching kept me from making everyone else miserable by talking. At least something positive came out of the day. Hope you all have a very positive day, too!