Thursday, December 24, 2009

Festive Footwear

This was fun to draw! These christmas ornament socks were actually in my christmas stocking one year. I'm currently wearing them - to honour the season, of course - but they are not very warm! But I will sacrifice comfort for beauty.

Watercolor pencil in Moleskine.

Thank you to everyone who has visited this blog - nearly 9000 in the last year. I wish each one of peace and love in the Christmas season and in the year to come. You are all wonderfu!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

EDM 252 - Draw a fir tree

Last week, I was a on a cruise to the Caribbean. It was fabulous! Mere hours after we left, Calgary was hit with a brutal blast of winter. There were recording-breaking cold temperatures and dumps of snow. For most of the 10 days we were gone, the city was virtually paralyzed. We were frolicking under palm trees and leaving our footprints in the sand, but at home it was snow on the fir trees and plodding through the snow. Fort Lauderdale, when we left, was approaching 30 Celsius, hot and steamy, and when we landed in Calgary it was minus 25 Celsius. I think I'll go and draw a palm tree now.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Winter vacation

I am so excited. This is where I'm going. Well, not exactly here as this photo was taken from Aruba. But I am going to the Caribbean on a cruise that will take me to 5 other islands. But this photo from the brochure, had such lovely water and sky colors and I wanted to see if I could reproduce them. Here in landlocked Alberta I don't get much of a chance to paint the sea or use this combination of blues and greens. This is just a quick sketch, I don't do a lot of landscapes and the perspective is a bit wonky, I think. It's all about the colors!

For the next 11 days, I will be flying and cruising, and exploring other cultures and ways of life. See ya when I get back!

Watercolor paint on 140 paper.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

EDM 250 _ Something for free

Who doesn't love a fresh box of markers? These crayolas were given to me, for free, by someone at work who had a leftover box from a workshop she conducted. She gave them to me, because she knew I would give them a good home, and allow them to fulfill their destiny by being used rather than simply drying up. So of course, I did just that for this challenge. Because every day can be made a bit better by scribbling with bright, cheerful colors. There is nothing shy or retiring about markers!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

EDM 249 - Draw a coffeepot

My new coffee pot, I mean coffee maker, is actually potless. The coffee is made inside the top part. When it's done, the machine beeps discreetly. Then you place your favorite coffee mug on the little ledge, and push the grey bar. The coffee fills the cup. It's pretty good because the coffee never sits directly on a heat source, so it never gets that nasty burnt taste and odd greyish color that is so very unappetizing. The only downside is that the tall travel mugs don't fit in it. Best of all, it can be programmed to turn itself off (or on) after however many hours you choose to set it.
Technical details: watercolor pencils in the Moleskine sketchbook.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fruit - how do I love thee?

This is from a photo provided by the Monthly Sketch Project. Fruit again - how could I resist drawing that especially with my new dip pen nibs. Then I spilled water on it and the paper wrinkled quite badly. But--- good to know the ink is waterproof. I added color with watercolor pencils. I like the bright cheerful colors that the wc pencils create.

Monthly Sketch Project is here

Sunday, November 15, 2009

EDM 248 - Draw a lock

This is my combination lock hanging on my favorite locker at the rec center while I am in the pool. There's not much to say about this lock except that it's a very pretty blue and has an odd clear silicone cover. The sketch uses my Sharpie pen (the new kind that's guaranteed not to "halo" in a few years), my fabulous Pentel brushpens, and my new white gel pen, which worked really well over the black brushpen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

In remembrance of all those killed in world wars.

And a special remembrance for the 133 Canadian soldiers who were killed in the struggle to bring democracy to Afghanistan.

Monday, November 09, 2009

EDM 247 - Draw something creepy

My definition of creepy is coming home to my Mexican vacation hotel, and finding a huge black slug on the bathroom floor. The bathroom was beautiful, completely white. There were no windows only the wooden shutter high up on the wall. And there was absolutely nothing with which I could scoop up and carry out my unwanted visitor. No brochures, coffee filters, paper doilies - nothing. So I turned on the light and closed the door, thinking that the slug would crawl back up the wall and go outside. As I was drifting off, it suddenly occured to me that the slug would crawl toward the nearest dark place which was where I was! I leaped out of bed, opened the door, and there it was crawling under the door into the bedroom. Finally I rummaged around in the luggage, and found the paper envelopes that held our boarding passes and after several futile tries scooped the big guy up and carried him outside. He put up quite a fight, and I was thoroughly creeped out by the whole thing.
Micron pen and Pentel brushpens in Moleskine journal.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

October sketch project

I did this for the monthly sketch project for October. The photo (taken by Leslie) was lovely, and that rich background really caught my attention. My favorite things to draw and paint are fruits and vegetables. The problem with drawing fruits and vegs is that I rarely have a story to go along with them. I didn't finish on time - due to lots of out of town travel, but I wanted to do it anyways.
Its watercolors on 90 lib block paper. The background color is one of my favorite darks - a mixture of indigo and veridian - done in several rich, juicy layers. The veridian lifts off when it"s wet so it requires quick work and not much messing around with it. It leaves you with interesting patterns and blooms. And that to me, is what makes watercolors so much fun. The results can be unpredictable and very beautiful.
You can see the rest of the monthly sketch projects here:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

EDM 246 - Draw your glove

My left glove. Almost reminiscent of MJ's sequined white glove, because in the middle of the embroidered snowflake is an iridescent crystal. The gloves came with a matching hat and scarf that have sequins instead of crystals. I bought the set because one day I came out of the rec center after my water workout class, crossed the street where there are no street lights, and was nearly hit by a car. After scampering out of the way, and catching my breath, I realized that it was dark and I was dressed in black pants, black coat, and black hat. No wonder the driver didn't see me! So now I have white accessories, a flashing light on my backpack, and a new appreciation for glitzy clothing.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

EDM 246 - Draw "October"

In my daily joural, I often do little cartoony drawings of myself doing my daily things. Or doing things that are not done daily, but that I want to remember. I don't usually offer them up for public consumption because they are very personal. But this one seemed appropriate for the week's challenge. It was my attempt to chronicle some of my favorite things about fall - the crisp, blue sky, the brilliant voluptuous pumpkins, my new beret that my friend bought me on her trip to France. And, in most Octobers, the fabulous colors of the turning leaves. This year, we had a record warm September which prevented the leaves from changing color. Then October plunged us suddenly into the freezing temperatures. The green leaves simply froze on the trees, and hung there soddenly. It's very weird looking. So this is me, walking home through the fall weather, wearing my new beret, and looking forward to flannel jammies and hot cocoa.
Pentel pen, watercolor pencils, Pentel brushpens, and charcoal in the Paperblanks journa.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

EDM 244 - The oldest thing in my fridge

This was a slightly frightening challenge. I found myself pausing in front of the fridge with my hand on the handle, wondering "Do I really want to know the answer to this question?" Rooting around in the back of the fridge could lead to some ugly self-realizations around hoarding and beliefs of wastefullness. But how bad could it really be? This fridge is only two years old and we did a major clean up while transferring things from the old one to the new one. The scariest thing then was a container of candied fruit - you know the stuff that you put into fruit bread or Christmas cake - that had congealed and hardened into a mass of sticky, crystallized nastiness. (And why do they tell me it's candied "fruit" when the first ingredient is "rutabega"?)
I felt more confident about checking the contents of the fridge. To my dismay, I found this jar of maraschino cherries. There was no syrup in the jar anymore, and I couldn't find a "best before" date on it. Does that mean I have had this jar since before there were "best before" dates? Surely not. The only thing I use these cherries for are an old family recipe for Cherry Loaf. The drawing came out kind of wonky - what's with the lid!? I drew with my new dip pen set using the B5 nib with the round end, which gives a pretty strong line, in the Moleskine sketchbook.
And because I have a secret desire to be a food blog when I grow up here is the recipe for this very pretty pink quick bread studded with red cherries.
Maraschino Cherry Loaf
1 jar maraschino cherries (10 oz. size)
1/2 cup butter softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Drain cherries and reserve juice adding water if needed to make 1/2 cup liquid. Chop cherries coarsely and pat dry. In mixing bowl cream butter and sugar adding eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla or almond flavor. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and add to creamed mixture alternately with cherry juice. Stir in cherries and almonds if using. Place in greased and floured 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350F for 50 minutes or tested done in center with toothpick. Cool 10 minutes in pan and remove. Wrap and slice the next day. Bread freezes well.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

3 years ago

My blog is 3 years old.

It seems like yesterday that I held my breath and clicked the Publish Post button for the very first time.

3 years and 211 posts (and drawings!)

Thank you to everyone for all your support and encouragement. I wouldn't still be here without you. Help yourself to a cupcake.

These three cupcakes seemed an appropriate sketch to post for this occasion. The photo was for a monthly painting challenge over at I missed the deadline for that challenge, and I wasn't sure that I liked what I had done. The truth is that I don't like the extreme angle that the photograph was taken at. It made a great photo, but the sketch looks a bit awkward. Although those sprinkles were a lot of fun.

And it seemed serendipitous for the blog's 3rd birthday.

Watercolor in the Moleskine wc sketchbook.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

EDM 242 - Draw a tzatchke

These ceramic chickens belong to my mother, and to my childhood. They have been there forever. Several years ago, my parents moved from a 3 bedroom split level house to a one bedroom condo. The downsizing was ruthless to say the least, yet somehow these chickens ended up in the new condo. When I decided to draw them, I asked my mom about them. Obviously, they had a place in her heart and meant a great deal to her. I sensed a story. She told me that she had finished normal school and got her first teaching job. For the first time in her life, she had more money than she needed. She had enough money to feed, clothe and house herself and some left over. Money left over that she could buy something for no other reason than that she wanted to. One day she passed a store, and saw these chickens in the window. She went in and bought them, for no other reason than that she could and she liked them. An impulse buy, a silly purchase. But nearly sixty years later, she still likes these chickens. And isn't that really the definition of "tzatchke"?
Pentel pen and watercolor pencil in the Robert Bateman sketchbook

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back soon

I am away for awhile.

There have been some recen bereavements in my family that have taken me away from both drawing and blogging.

I hope to be back soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

EDM 241 - The view from my kitchen window

This is the view, including the window frame. I'm not sure hwo successful this is because I sat on a chair which meant my eyelevel was a bit below the window frame. I actually could not see the ground - only the window box plants, the large fir trees across the sidewalk and part of the Co-op parking lot across the street. That's a truck parked in the loading zone.
And yes, the poplar tree on the left (the one with the messed up branch!) does have yellow leaves on it. Although we've had record high temperatures for this time of year, the nights are quite cool, and these trees are very sensitive due to an aphid infestation. Summer is going out with a bang this year.
I drew this in my Moleskine sketch journal using my new dip pens. I've been experimenting with trying to draw more quickly, and the dip pens seem to lend themselves to that - making quick, sharp lines, or long smooth ones. And it makes a very cool noise on the page. This particular pen (which was a bonus pen with the Speedball kit that I bought) has a very thin nib, that actually scratched the surface of the paper. So while I'm not sure that I like the final result, I really liked the process. Color was added with Pentel Brush pens and watercolor pencils.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

EDM 166 - Draw a Fish

After several medical tests earlier this week, I think I am about to be diagnosed with borderline high blood pressure. So goodbye to alcohol, salty snacks, ham and cheese sandwiches, and those extra 20 pounds. I will learn to love brown rice, bulgar, beans, and the varied species drawn here. I will swap fish for sausage (apparently it's better to die of mercury posioning than heart failure). Seriously, if I do everything the doctors tell me, I should live forever! And I'd also be perfect (and we all know how much fun perfect people are!) I wonder how many people can actually be the perfect patient - the one who only eats the right things, exercises the right way and never misses a workout, has no vices or weaknesses, practices perfect preventive hygiene. It seems to be an impossibly high standard to achieve. The whole thing has made me feel very self-indulgent and ashamed of myself for enjoying some of the finer things in life - like a medium rare steak and margarita. And I admit, I'm a little resentful of that. However, I'm hopeful that within a few months, I can again enjoy those occasional treats without guilt (or with only a little guilt).

These fish were drawn with my new dip pen and ink, a medium I've never used before but I think I like it. It takes a bit of practice to get a smooth line, but I like the effect. I colored them in with watercolors pencils, as this Robert Bateman sketchbook doesn't like water very much. The saying came from a T-shirt I saw.

Monday, September 07, 2009

EDM 239 - The gorilla that scared me

When I was about 4 years old, I went to the circus for the first time. The ringmaster wheeled out an enormous cage with a gorilla in it. The gorilla roared and beat it's chest and shook the bars of the cage. When the ringmaster turned his back on the cage to tell us all how fierce and dangerous this particular gorilla was, the gorilla shook the cage furiously and broke open the door. He bounded off the stage and into the stands, roaring and howling. Further and further he came, closer to where I was. I wanted to leave, tugging on the adults' hands, pleading to go. But they wouldn't move. Closer and closer the danger came. I burst into tears and shrieked. The child-eating monster came right in front of me, reached up its hands - and ripped its own head off!!
That's a cruel joke to play on a small child. I'm sure the man in the gorilla suit thought that by proving he wasn't a real gorilla, I would be comforted. But for many years, I was haunted by nightmares of gorillas pulling their heads off.
This is watercolor pencils in Aquabee journal.

Monday, August 31, 2009

EDM 23 - Draw your foot

Aah, summertime... and the livin' is easy.

At the beginning of summer, I bought myself some flipflops. Now I don't believe in paying a lot for these bits of plastic foam that by the end of the summer will be worn flat and misshapen. Most of the time you can't wear them the next summer because they and your feet are no longer compatible and they feel hard and ugly. So I buy a couple of cheap pairs - this year turquoise and pink - and they match most of my outfits. At Michael's they sell strips of adhesive that have sparkly beads or sequins on them in just the right shape and length to glue onto plain old flipflops. And now my $3.99 shoes look like a million bucks!
Because what's summer without a little bling on your shoes? Life's too short to wear ugly shoes.
I wore these to Expo Latino on Sunday. I sat in the shade and watched the salsa dancers, and the mariachi bands, ate tamales, and freshly made corn tacos, drank an icy cold Corona, and yes, I admit, I danced in my chair. Later that evening, I wrote in my journal that this was a perfect day. And it was, but it occurred to me that I had written that ver same phrase about a lot of days this summer. Maybe I'm easy to please, or not very discerning, but I'm pretty pleased about that. Yep, life is good.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Garden's Second Wind

The first two weeks of August were cold and grey and rainy. It was so gloomy that my solar-powered fiber-optic glow light didn't even come on at night. The tomatos were shivering and sulkily refused to ripen.
But the last two weeks have been gorgeous and hot and sunny. The tomatos are feeling much better, and the roses and nasturtiums have found a new reason to bloom again.
The symbolic meaning of this pink rose is simply "happiness". What could be more perfect?
And the meaning of nasturtiums is "victory in battle and conquest" which seems odd for such a short-lived blossom.
This post has taken me 45 minutes to do, mostly because I can't figure out how to first of all add a second picture, and secondly, how to arrange the pictures. And preview looks nothing like the real post. Aaargh! (Technology can sure blow away all the serentity you get from both art and nature, can't it?) So Iwill leave you with a poem, and go and do some yoga to rebalance my chi.
Kind hearts are the garden,
kind thoughts are the root,
kind words are the blossoms,
kind deeds are the fruit

Saturday, August 22, 2009

EDM 235 - Draw a butterfly

This is a white admiral butterfly, native to Alberta. Their wings are beautiful - a shiny, irridescent black with orange and blue touches of accent.

As I was recently looking through the list of EDM challenges, I noticed that I had quite an emotional reaction to the ones that I had done. I could remember what month the challenge was issued, what the weather was like, other things that were going on that week. It was like the challenges anchored that particular week in time and all the things that happened were attached. My sketches were like little keepsakes boxes that held the story of my life. Even if the sketches did not illustrate what was happening in my life, they seemed to hold the memory and the sequence of events. Has anyone else noticed this?

Sketch is watercolor in the Aquabee Co-Mo sketchbook. The dark color is a mixture of Indigo and Veridian.

Friday, August 07, 2009

EDM 232 - Draw a recent purchase

This is a new garden ornament that I purchased because of its cheerful countenance. The pierced petals are made of metal, and the face is translucent yellow plastic. It looks very fun in amongst all the green of the garden. The lettering was done with some alphabet stamps that I also recently purchased.
Most of this drawing was done outside on the patio, a fact of which I am quite proud. The weather was beautiful in July and my back yard was lush and fragrant. I spent a lot of my drawing time there, doing this and the flower series (from my previous post, and some future posts). I am far behind in posting my drawings, because it was often too hot upstairs in the computer room, and I didn't want to waste one minute of sunshine. Life is good.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Where it all began...

This is my 200th post - a milestone. When I began to draw, it was my garden that gave me both inspiration and courage. I wanted to simply draw the flowers that were blooming each week during our short growing season. These were just done in my day journal using some old colored pencils that I found in a craft box. I also wanted to try using simple line drawings to illustrate my journals. Flowers were generally willing to stand still and pose, they were non-judgmental, and forgiving. And as I began to draw, I began to see, and then I began to look - to really look at shape and form and pattern. I discovered the rhythm and flow of looking and drawing, looking and drawing. The more I looked, the more I saw. That was in the summer of 2006.

In 2007, I joined the EDM group and began doing the weekly challenges. I began that summer to draw garden grids in an actual sketchbook.

This summer, the garden is spectacular and lush. It stills the clamor and soothes my soul and inspires my drawing. Between the garden and the drawing, I find peace and rejuvenation.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

EDM 233 - Your favorite drink

Once again, I couldn't decide. I drew two of my favorite drinks. The morning one which is, of course, coffee. But not just any coffee. The product discription states that it is a "bold, assertive coffee" with a "heady aroma" that comes from "an exclusive blend of the world's finest arabica beans including the very rare Indonesian Sumatra Mandheling". And they allow mere mortals to drink this coffee!
My new favorite evening indulgence is Copper Moon Pinot Grigio wine. These writers are just as enthusiastic about their product. Copper Moon comes by its name because the grapes are "harvested under the light of the moon" and the wine has "a cool fresh taste that captures the mystery of the night itself, its spirited individuality exudes citrus, green apple and melon". Obviously my palate is not sophisticated enough to discern all that! I just thought the label was pretty.
I think I'll read the label descriptions more often. Clearly, I'm not getting the full value of the item through my own devices and I'm not appreciating it as much as I should.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

EDM 72 - Draw somewhere new

Last week, I went to Red Deer to visit my parents. While there, I went across the river to Bower Park - a lovely little park with walking pathways, a pond that is stocked with fish, paddleboat and canoe rentals. It was so nice that I did what I hardly ever do - I pulled out my sketchbook and quickly drew what was around me. So much of what I saw is typical around this part of the country, things that I see everyday and I have seen every summer since I was a child growing up in Red Deer. There were crows perched on a bench looking for all the world like they were gossiping about the fat little Mallard ducks. The wild roses were blooming and are the official flower of Alberta. The pond is stocked with trout each spring and there is a platform for the kids to fish from. It was a very hot day and the Canada geese waddled over to the shade of a large tree to groom themselves. The seagulls were swaggering around giving everyone attitude, and chasing those beautiful blue dragonflies. It was a perfect summer day.
I drew these in pencil in the Moleskine sketchbook, then added pen and wc pencil later.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

EDM 232 - Draw your junk drawer

This is a sampling of what's in the junk drawer. At least these are the useful things in the junk drawer. There is a lot of junk in there that isn't used and probably could (should!) be thrown out. I have for the last several years waged warfare against the clutter that has accumulated over the last decade or so. Over the winter vacation, I shredded a drawerful of household bills that dated back to 1996. Earlier this spring, I shredded decades worth of old insurance and investment papers, and threw out manuals for appliances that hadn't been here for years. The junk drawer is the next step in Operation Clutterbusting. But the junk drawer, I discovered, has a lot of emotional baggage attached to it. "Look there, that's the plastic orchid that was attached to the birthday cake when I turned 40. How can I possibly throw it out?" A Google search for "clutter" proved that this is not just my problem, but a universal issue. We are drowning in paper, and useless junk. There are millions of websites dealing with it, there are people who make their living helping others get a handle on their junk. The late great George Carlin did a classic monologue on people and their "stuff". Why do we have so much trouble throwing things out?

Staedtler pen and watercolor pencils in Moleskine sketchbook.

Friday, July 10, 2009

EDM 230 - Draw a map

This is the way I walk to work every day. Here are some of the highlights of that walk:

1. My house.

2. Pearl Express Takeout - love their Salt and pepper Squid!

3. Two big dogs live here. They can put their paws on the top of the fence and look over.

4. This house had to be completely renovated when a crane that was fixing the overhead power lines tipped over and smashed into the front of the house.

5. This house has been for sale for a whole year in a neighborhood where houses usually sell within days.

6. There is an enormous apple tree on this corner whose owners let the fruit fall to the ground and ferment. The birds get tipsy.

7. This house has rock garden with a lot of cute little rock sculptures.

8. This is the bike path to and from the park.

9. This house has the best rose garden in the neighborhood.

10. A little grey Schnauzer lives here and watches out the window every morning. When his people put the Christmas tree up in front of the window, he has to go underneath the tree to see out the window. I wonder if his people know this.

11. This house has a glass front door so their dog can lie down and look out. That's luxury!

12. This retaining wall was hit by a car and smashed. The owners then created a pretty little rock garden filled with poppies and pansies instead of just a plain wall.

13. A day home for little kids right across from the playground.

14. Down the steep hill of 46 Ave and then up the short hill of Richardson to my workplace. Half an hour listening to the iPod.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Comin' up roses

The roses are blooming! These are Hansa roses in my back garden. They've been there for many years, and this year they are quite spectacular. I wanted to draw the promise and potential of the buds, as well as the glory of the full blooms. Shortly after I did this, they exploded into blossom, perfuming the air. Their color this year is very intense, as is the scent. They sure attract the bees, which is good because the bees are also visiting the nearby tomato plants.

I'm trying to draw all the perrenials as they come to bud and then full flower. Right now it's happening so quickly that I can hardly keep up.

"The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things"

- Veronique Vienne

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Take my advice

This is my journal page for Advice. It made me think that everyone wants to give you adviceon everything whether they are an expert on the topic or not. Even advertising is all about advice:

- if you invest here, you'll be a billionaire

- if you use this product, you'll live forever

- if you look like this, you'll be successful

The media is always giving us advice on how much to weigh, how to dress, how to entertain, and who to emulate. It must be hard to be a young girl nowadays (and you know you're not young when you use words like "nowadays") when the media promotes role models like Lady Gaga and Gossip Girl as "real".

So "take my advice" and look to our mothers and sisters and aunts for the "real" people to learn from. They're the ones who know right from wrong and can steer us through the minefield of constant advice out there.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sounds I like

This is a departure for me. For a long time I have wanted to do more creative journalling. When I journal I usually just write, but I've started adding drawings to it as well. But I really want to do the kind of illustrated journalling that uses a theme or a concept as the starting point. I joined an art journalling group, and the Creative Ever Day group for inspiration (and also for tips on how to do it). This is my first entry - Sound. I used collage, stickers, and drawing. I'm not sure that I like it and I really struggled with the words - I'm not used to "public" writing, but I think that will come with practice. And I played around with the composition till I nearly drove myself insane, and the cartoon cat is not very successful. But it represents the theme, and I put a lot of work into. It can only get better from here!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

EDM 228 - Summer joy

Many years ago, I planted these irises in the back garden. This year they are spectacular! We had a lot of snow this past winter and they were protected from weather fluctuations by the snow cover. They rewarded us with a wonderful display for the last two weeks. I love the shape of these flowers (although they are a bit challenging to draw) and the gorgeous curves on the buds are wonderful.
They herald the summer for my garden. The day lillies and daisies are also budding out.
Nothing says summer joy for me like the irises welcoming the summer solstice.

Friday, June 19, 2009

EDM 224 - Draw a pitcher

This is a very old coffee carafe that was given to me by my mother. Remember way back when the fashionable colors for every home were "dusty rose and grey"? That's the era this pitcher came from. The days of big hair, big shoulder pads, and big floppy bows on blouses. The only good things that survived from that era are this pitcher and Michael Jackson's Thriller video.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

EDM challenge 127 - Tote bag

A few years ago, I fell and broke some bones. I was off work for a while, and my wonderful co-workers created a care package for me. In this tote bag, they placed gifts such as scented candles, musical relaxation tapes, a book stand, herbal teas, chocolate covered blueberries, and a tiny stuffed polar bear. I was very touched by the gesture and appreciated every one of those gifts. I'm positive that their kindness and compassion contributed to my recovery. And the tote bag itself makes me smile every time I use it.

The pocket in the front has a bit of musical score printed on it. I went to the web and printed it off in light grey, pasted it on the page, and then drew the Chopin bag on top. In case you can't tell, the "p" is a quill pen. The bag is hanging off the back off my patio chair because it is finally nice enough to draw outside.

Friday, June 05, 2009

EDM 225 Draw something sticky

Draw something sticky - yep, this container of molasses certainly is the stickiest thing in my kitchen. I used it to make Anadama Bread for the Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge. Anadama bread has a curious combination of molasses and cornmeal along with regular whole wheat flour. Once I had wrestled this waxed container open by soaking the top in hot water to melt the dried up molassess that had welded it closed, I went ahead and made the bread. But this molasses was far too dark and sweet for this bread, it ended up rather heavy and too molassesy to be considered a real success. It should look like this

The molasses, though, would do well for the EDM challenge. But it's not a real success either. I had a marker that was the exact color of the container - one that had a large nib on one end and a smaller nib on the other. They are supposed to be the same color but clearly the smaller end was darker. It did give me a chance to try out my new white gel pen. It worked well even over black pen. I hesitated over even posting this one, but it was the challenge and I did do it so I will post it.

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.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

EDM 220 - Draw the moon

Is the moon tired?
She looks so pale
Within her misty veil:
She scales the sky from east to west,
And takes no rest.
Before the coming of the night

The moon shows papery white;
Before the dawning of the day
She fades away.

From Sing-Song by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Watercolor on hot press paper 4x6" painted wet in wet with the stars masked out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Virtual Sketch Date

This is from the photograph for the Virtual Sketchdate for this month. It's a rhododendron bud. We don't grow many of those here where I live and its a good thing. Right now it's snowing and has been all day. Temperatures dropped to several degrees below freezing, and anything that has budded is in mortal jeopardy. It's been a long, cold winter and this photograph is my only ray of hope.

Watercolor in Moleskine watercolor book

You can see all the other wonderful renditions of this photo here Virtual Sketch Date

Photograph by Jeanette Jobson

Thursday, April 16, 2009

EDM 219 - Draw a window

This is a drawing of the stained glass windows of our hotel room at the Lodge at Uxmal in Mexico. This was one of the prettiest hotels I've ever been in. The windows in the front and back were like this, and the window in the bathroom door had roses and butterflies. We had the smaller room, the larger ones had orange lillies in their windows. In front of the rooms was a verandah that went the whole length of the building and by each room's door were some wicker rocking chairs. Our verandah faced the pool, with a magnificent view of the Magician's Temple on the Uxmal site. Seriously, the best trip ever!
If you want a virtual tour, click here: Lodge at Uxmal
Pentel brushpens in Aquabee sketchbook.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

EDM 218 - Draw a knife

This is my Leatherman Micra tool that has to be one of the handiest tools invented. It folds up to be quite small - only 2.5" long. All those little tools fold up into the handles, and the handles themselves flip out to become the scissors. I keep this in my backpack and have used for many different things. I can open bottles, tweeze out a sliver, screw my eyeglasses back together or cut something free. However, it can't go on an airplane in my back pack, which is too bad because I could probably disarm a bomb with this tool, or disable someone who is trying to set their shoes on fire. Instead I put it in my checked luggage and retrieve it later. It came in handy during my last trip to Mexico where it proved useful in cutting up limes that we picked off the trees and squeezed into our icy cold cervezas!

This is Pigma micron pen in my new Robert Bateman sketchbook. It's made of 100% recycled paper, and has a really nice texture and a bright white color. I like it a lot.

Friday, April 03, 2009

EDM 217 - Umbrella

This is as close as I'm getting to an umbrella these days. In my part of the world, we still need long underwear and mittens. Winter is refusing to relinquish it's grip on us. It came in November and by now has long outstayed it's welcome. I'm regretting not having booked a tropical vacation this year, no matter what the economy! Instead I'm dreaming of margaritas on the patio while gazing at snowbanks.
These funky plastic cocktail glasses really did have margaritas in them in anticipation of the first trip to Mexico, with the fancy matching straws and speckled umbrellas. The other colors were turquoise and lime green - very fun and festive.
Watercolor pencil in Moleskine sketchbook.
I'm off to stay with my mom for the next 4 days, where I hope to do lots of sketching (and relaxing). Here's hoping spring has sprung in your part of the world.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there's not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb; Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world's out there
With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it's not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself, will make more dust.
Rose Milligan

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

VSD March 2009

This is the photo for VSD, an excellent photo taken by Stacy Rowan. When I first saw the photo, I thought Irecognized these birds as Pine Grosbeaks who breed in northern Alberta, and occasionally can be seen at backyard feeders in the winter and early spring. However, my backyard in Calgary is a very long way from Stacy's backyard. I checked in the bird identification book "Birds of Alberta" and it really looks like Pine Grosbeaks. Some birds have been known to fly long distances. There is a fabulous documentary called "Winged Migration". The film crew used planes, gliders, and balloons for four years to follow migrating flocks on their long journeys. Some flew for thousands of miles to reach their breeding grounds. There is very little narration in this film, just the sounds of the birds, and natural sounds set to classical music. It's a spectacular undertaking.
Click here for Virtual Sketch Date
Click here for Winged Migration
(Watercolor paint in Moleskine watercolor sketchbook 5x7)