Friday, May 29, 2009

Heralds of spring

This is why I garden. Because of these cheerful, friendly pansies. They can survive our cool, unpredictable spring weather and are usually the first bedding out plants that can be planted outside. They are the herald of spring. Today, when we seem to have skipped spring altogether and gone directly to summer, they were there to greet me as I sat on the deck with a cool drink. Today is my last day of work until August 17. Ten glorious weeks to garden and draw and rejuvenate my soul with sunshine and flowers and fresh picked lettuce and tomatoes. Aah, life is good!

"The kiss of sun for pardon,

The song of the birds for mirth,

One is nearer God’s heart in a garden

Than anywhere else on earth."

Dorothy Frances Gurney

Monday, May 25, 2009


Spring has finally arrived in my world. The trees are budding out, and there are lots of pussy willows. We planted some bedding out plants in the gardens and the patio containers. Yesterday, we actually needed to put up the patio umbrella.

Holly the tabby cat, who likes to help with everything, chased a mouse out from under the deck and startled a baby rabbit. I suspect the rabbit is what has been nibbling on the tulips in the front garden, and we'll need to put traps down for the mice.

I have been taking a bit of an unintentional break from posting mostly because I've been indulging in my other passion which is baking bread. This week I made Anadama bread and Olive Oil and Rosemary bread which is delicious! I have also been using Bert Dodson's "Keys to Drawing". I've learned a lot, but haven't wanted to post those attempts. His style of drawing is very different from mine, so I'm ambivalent about the results. But the process is, I think, very good. The whole idea of blind drawing, and restating lines will teach me a lot. The first exercise was to draw your crossed feet. Who knew how ridiculously hard that could be? But seeing where your line went wrong, and how to correct is very valuable. So I'll soldier on in an attempt to become a better drawer.

Have any of you worked through the book? Did you find the process made your drawing improve?

The pussy willow is watercolor pencils in the Bateman sketchbook.

Monday, May 18, 2009

EDM 214 - Draw your other favorite hobby

This is why I haven't posted in the last week. We have finally been able to do a little gardening. Last weekend, the local mushroom farm was cleaning their barns and giving away free compost. Ten bags went on our gardens and containers. I planted lettuce and radish seeds. It felt good, after the long cold winter, to have dirt under my nails and the rich smell of soil in my nose. Today however, we're just a few degrees above freezing again (sigh...) so the tomatos are currently residing in the living room. The good news is that it's raining. Time to get excited about gardening again!

Monday, May 11, 2009

EDM 222 - Draw your favorite drawing tool

As usual, I couldn't pick just one thing. I'm still not very good at drawing so I need to start in pencil. (Ever notice how most pencils have erasers on the ends, but "drawing" pencils never do? It perpetuates that myth that talented people never need to erase lines.) The green pencil is a Kimberly HB pencil which is my favorite. Once my pencil drawing is satisfactory, I trace over it using that Pigma Micron pen in the middle. This is my oldest pen, and all the writing on the barrel has been smudged off. Then I add accents sometimes with the Pentel brushpen. While I like the brush pen a lot, it's tricky to use. Making a thin line with it means using very little pressure on the papaer and that betrays any little shakiness in your hand. This sketch was made with the HB pencil, then the micron pen, and the border and the brush pen were done with the brush pens.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

EDM 4 - Draw your favorite cup

Looking ack over the EDM challenges list for ones that were offered before I joined, I discovered this one. I can't believe I hadn't done this one yet! This is my favorite coffee cup. When I first saw it, it was a luncheon set with the cup, and a matching square lunch plate, and an astronomically high price tag. I tried very hard to justify that expense, but simply couldn't wrap my head around it. Later on, at the end of the summer clearance sale, there was one lone mug and 2 plates going for 75% off which was about what "real" people pay for dishes. They are Blue Berry Lane pattern from the Mikasa Handcrafted Collection (for the Fabulously Wealthy).

Pentel brush pens in Moleskine sketchbook.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

EDM 121 - Draw a hand held game

I almost didn't do this challenge. I'm a bit too old for the Nintendo and Xbox craze - I was in my twenties when they burst on the scene and so didn't "take" with me. I don't own a Rubik's Cube or any other hand held game. My nephew informs me that my iPod came preloaded with a few games, but it never occurred to me to check a music device for games. That must be age specific, too. So by default, the electronic crossword device is it. Technically, it's not a game but it is handheld. It holds 1000 New York Times crossword puzzles - easy, medium and hard. It's great in airports and on planes because it's small and light and distracts me from that airport related panic attack that's waiting to happen. I use it almost every day, and I'm sure that I've done more than 1000 of them, but have forgotten the ones that I did five years ago. It's a never-ending source of fresh puzzles! You get clues, select across and down, and type letters using the little stylus there on the right. It's quite an ingenious little toy.