Friday, March 27, 2015

Peep-itude

Strathmore Mixed Media Visual Journal, 5 1/2" x 8"


Evening sketching and watercoloring last night, a nice way to end the day.  Qor watercolors.



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday Tea Time - Creme Brûlée

Still enjoying all my new Steeping Room Teas!

This week - The Steeping Room Creme Brûlée

Cost:  $7 from The Steeping Room in Austin, Texas
Number of tea bags/weight:  2 ounces
Caffeine:  No
Type of tea:   Tisane/Herbal - Rooibos
Steeping time:  3 minutes
Mix ins:  Not too bad by itself, however, Natural Bliss/cream and sugar, make it pop
Ingredients:  Rooibos, caramel bits (milk, sugar, glucose, butterfat, sorbitol syrup, emulsifier), artificial/nature identical flavor
Fragrance:   It really does smell like creme brûlée!
Opinion:  Advantages - is is rooibos/non-caffienated.  Versatile, an iced latte is also a yummy option.   Disadvantages - sorbitol syrup.  But it tastes great and really does have the flavor of creme brûlée, so it can be enjoyed in the afternoon/evening without worry about getting too buzzy.
Rating:  4 - only because of the sorbitol syrup.

caramel bits!

Caramel-licious!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Watercolor Wednesday - Just Gelli-in!

First Print

First "Ghost" print
The smaller circles are from wooden spools dipped into the leftover paint on the Gelli plate

Second "Ghost" print
Those other cool circles are from the ends of cash register roll tubes!

Rolling excess paint off the brayer and making another print!

Since it was the last day of class for the session, and since our teacher had attended a workshop demo using Gelli plates for printmaking - we could work on our projects and try our hand at this.  

We used the 5" x 7" plate.  But as I found out the next day at Art Supply, there are many different sizes and shapes. 

You use acrylics, but the slow-drying type - High and/or Slow Flow. 






Everyone's all turned out differently, with feathers, washers, leaves, sticks, paperclips, lace, corrugated cardboard...you name it, we used it.    Strathmore has their own version of printmaking paper (we used the Yellow "Better" level), but Bristol Smooth paper works well, too.



I'm looking forward to playing and creating with this new medium.  
Let's just say I earned this badge! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

March 26/28 -
Simplicity $1.99

April 2/4 -
McCall's 3/$5
Vogue $4.99

April 9/11 -
Butterick 3/$5


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Listen

Photo taken at Houston Arboretum - March 20, 2015
"When we pay attention to Nature's music, we find that everything on the Earth contributes to its harmony"
~Hazrat Inayat Khan

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday Snapshot - Houston Arboretum

Dewberry flowers and a Texas Bluebonnet

Muscadine grapes!
We found these on our walk around the Outer Loop at the Houston Arboretum.  I had to keep pausing my "Map My Walk" app to take photos.  (I subsequently moved the app to the first page, same as my camera...) 


Friday, March 20, 2015

Energize!


"Low energy attracts low energy.  Low energy thoughts, such as anger, hate, shame, guilt and fear, weaken you.  And they attract more of the same.  By changing your inner thoughts to the higher frequencies of love, harmony, kindness, peace and joy, you'll attract more of the same, and you'll have those higher energies to give away."

~Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thursday Tea Time - Coconut, Chocolate

This week - The Steeping Room's Chocolate Crunch


Cost:  $6 from The Steeping Room in Austin, Texas
Number of tea bags/weight:  2 ounces
Caffeine:  Yes, "Moderate Caffeine"
Type of tea:   Black
Steeping time:  3 minutes
Mix ins:  Nothing, tastes absolutely wonderful brewed as is.
Ingredients:  Organic black tea, organic rooibos, coconut, apple, cacao beans, vanilla yogurt bits, chocolate bits, natural flavoring (trace amounts of dairy and sugar)
Fragrance:   Coconut!
Opinion:  If you like coconut, you will love this tea blend.  This is one of the nicest coconut teas I've tried and liked, a lot.  The chocolate helps keep it from going tropical.  Bonus it is perfect by itself.   Another winner from the Steeping Room!  This has become one of my new afternoon pick-me-up favorites.
Rating:  5+

Lots of coconut!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Underpainting

A yucca plant!
Today I attended a workshop at the Pearl Fincher Museum with Evelyn Bouley - "Acrylic Underpainting"   Even though I prefer watercolor, I always feel you can apply what you learn in other mediums -- I call it cross-training.

Currently on exhibit "at the Pearl" -- Painting in the Texas Tradition:  Contemporary Texas Regionalism.  Two paintings in particular by Laura Lewis showcase her brilliant use of underpainting.  She uses layers of vibrant contrasting/complementary colors to create dramatic composition and visual energy.  Her paintings inspired us to try this technique for our own interpretations of the Texas landscape.

What you can't see well in the photograph versus the painting itself is the texture of the yucca blossoms...upping my "Cool!"  rating.  I have never really used acrylics other than for craft projects or face-painting at company picnics, so this was a great exercise in the trying something new department.   Painting leaves for example, are done just the opposite from watercolor.  Adding white instead of saving white, as I tried to cover the canvas board - to me it was like trying to smear toothpaste doing that underpainting!  Even signing my name was different.

But it was a fun morning spent with a group of very creative people, and trying to keep my mind elastic, not plastic.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

"For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way -
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day."



Monday, March 16, 2015

Nice score!

No, not talking about March Madness - but these two watercolor/art magazines from the UK I found at Barnes & Noble -- Leisure Painter and The Artist  A different perspective and a nice complement  to Artist's Magazine and Watercolor Artist Magazine.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Color of Pi

The color of Pi
Hex color code 243f6a

There is actually a mathematical color of Pi!

If you express Pi as a hexadecimal, you get 3.243F6A8.  

Dropping the integer, you get the Hex triplet 24 3f 6a -- 
24-bit color 243F6A -- which is probably closest to Pantone #280 "Catalina Blue."

(I used QoR's Indigo)

Given Pi's infinity, I thought this would be a meaningful first page to kick off a new sketchbook journal!  This one is Strathmore Mixed Media Visual Journal, 5 1/2" x 8"     It handled the watercolors quite well without any bleed through or rippling.

Be Good


Take in the good of everyday experiences.

Practice compassion for yourself and others.

Recognize the good in other people.

Sense the goodness inside your heart.

See the good in the world and the good in the future we can make together.

~Rick Hanson

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday Snapshot - Ashton Villa, Galveston

antirrhinum majus

A break from the rain...snapped these beautiful snapdragons in the garden of Ashton Villa - Galveston, Texas

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Flashback - Jelly Bean Fabric and Bunnies

I like how the tops of his ears have blue jelly bean extensions!
Serendipitous, I just noticed it.

Tight squeeze in a 5" x 7" frame, so you can
get an idea how big they are.
Feel free to enlarge or reduce them

Very versatile bunny appliqués from the 1991 Burda Easter issue.  I originally made and posted these in March, 2008

The top bunny made an appearance later for the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit in 2011.

-- And I'm still working through the yards and yards and yards of jelly bean fabric I bought over 20 years ago.  I can carbon-date it back at least that far because it was used in my daughter's Easter dress when she was 3.
Truly magical year for Texas wildflowers at the ranch.
A mislabeled rye grass seed bag had wildflower seed instead!
Seriously, I think I bought at least 10 yards back in the day when Wal-Mart had $1/yard fabric.

Jelly beans and bunnies and bluebonnet photos never go out of style.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thursday Tea Time - Mate Latte - choco-latey

This week - Mate' Latte from The Steeping Room



Cost:  $7 from The Steeping Room in Austin, Texas
Number of tea bags/weight:  2 ounces
Caffeine:  Yes, "High Caffeine"
Type of tea:   Tisane, herbal
Steeping time:  5 minutes
Mix ins:  Splash of Natural Bliss or even just plain
Ingredients:  Rooibos, mate', chocolate chips, cacao beans, coconut, artificial (nature identical) flavor
Fragrance:   Chocolate!
Opinion:  Not only smells terrific when you open the pouch, but tastes great, too!  I have  been drinking this practically every day.  Even though it has mate', it doesn't make me jittery. And I like all the health benefits of mate, bonus this has rooibos, too.  Next time I'm in Austin, I'm grabbing two bags!
Rating:  5


Big chocolate pieces!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Watercolor Wednesday Afternoon

Sue and Zuma (Dezuma Lea)
Watercolor 
9 1/2" x 8 3/4"


My sister had a favorite picture and I thought for funsies I would try painting it.  Never having painted a person I knew, or horse for that matter.  The photo was taken outside in dark in the the winter with a flash.  Not the best circumstances for painting inspiration.   But score points for trying, right?  And a chance to pull out my QoR watercolor palettes - Earth, Introductory and High Chroma.  I used colors from each one and was really happy with the intensity and just overall fun using them.
And with the way the painting turned out...so was my sister!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Positive Negative

Giant Leaf Frog
Phyllomedusa bicolor
White gel pen on Canford Imperial paper, "Russian Green"


In class Monday, we worked on line drawings, using light gel pens on dark paper.  Positive and negative drawing.  Which took my brain more than several tries to wrap that concept around.   I literally wrote on the corner of the paper, "Pen - light, Green - dark"   Our teacher encouraged us to use different shapes/patterns to make the dark light.  (This is knocking my brain cells around even typing this now._  By the third try, this frog, I think I got the hang of it. And started to get over my fear of sketching without using a pencil and more importantly, an eraser.

I stocked up on supplies today to practice some more. . .

A little difficult to find jelly gel pens in white and in stock.  (Apparently the best ones are the Uniball Signo White Gel Pens-Broad UM 153...Update 3-12:   Found at Texas Art Supply today for $2.80)   However, the gold and silver "Sunburst" metallic by Pentel from Office Depot looked nice.  And on a whim I went into Tuesday Morning next door and took a $3.99 chance on these American Crafts Galaxy markers.  I liked them a lot! 



Monday, March 09, 2015

Heal the World

Free Heal the World mug from Penzeys coupon, attached to their Spring 2015 catalog.  (Coupon code 94049C)  It's pretty and no minimum purchase?!   Especially next to the Impossible Coconut Cream pie on the cover.


Sunday, March 08, 2015

Matthew 5:7-8

Matthew Chapter 5, Verses 7 & 8
Watercolor - 5" x 7"

A friend gave me "The Beauty of Friendship" year of quotes by Dayspring book, and I flipped to March 8 and found today's quote, inspired by Matthew 5:7-8 --

"You are blessed when you care.  At the moment of being "carefull," you find yourselves cared for.  You're blessed when you get your inside world - your mind and your heart - put right.  Then you can see God in the outside world."

I wondered, how would I paint this?   Upon contemplation, the first thing that came to mind was balance.  What is inside your heart is reflected in your life outside.  And the Karma of how what goes around, comes around.  We are continuously transforming.  I thought a Yin and Yang design with hearts could reflect the verse.  Colors?  Green and blue for Earth and water of our world, and a surrounding yellow glow representing our Creator.  I do realize I'm integrating different religions, Taoism, Buddhism and Christianity, and yes, a wording combination from the both King James and New American Bibles, so be it.  Let's just add water and go with the flow.

I used my QoR paints from their Earth palette set -- Indigo, Sap Green and Naples Yellow.  Great vibrant colors and combination, perfect.  Working wet-in-wet,  it was so much fun to watch those colors dance and come alive on my paper.

(I hope to get and post a better photo tomorrow, I like to take my photographs outside for better lighting and it was raining all day today.)

Friday, March 06, 2015

In The Heart of Texas


Heart-shaped rock along the banks of the Blanco River in Five Mile Dam Park in San Marcos/Kyle, Texas

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Thursday Tea Time - Warm me up!

Cost:  $7 from The Steeping Room in Austin, Texas
Number of tea bags:  2 ounces
Caffeine:  Yes, "High Caffeine" per the package label
Type of tea:   Black
Steeping time:  3 minutes
Mix ins:  Just a touch of honey
Ingredients:  Organic black tea, organic cinnamon, natural flavor
Fragrance:   Fig-Cinnamon jam
Opinion:  The package says "a cozy, organic black tea with cinnamon and fig"  I think fig should be listed ahead of the cinnamon.  It has a very pleasant fig scent and flavor.  Not at all artificial or cloying.  In fact, I keep opening the bag to take another whiff.   Next time I will use more than a teaspoon to make it stronger.  It's a generously-sized bag.  I bet it would also be nice iced, too.  But given today's winter blast, I needed something cozy and warming.  It brewed to a delicious amber color.  So pretty, so comforting.  A perfect Fall/Winter weather brew.
Rating:  4



Watercolor Wednesday - Sheepishly

Watercolor sheep grazing
5" x 5"
Definitely a practice piece, these two sheep were the best of the herd.  I sheared off the rest.

We were practicing tracing and re-arranging our composition from photocopies.  However,  I think the photocopies were too dark and we couldn't see all the details.  Our "sheep" looked like bulls, pigs of the bovine and guinea, grizzly bear, jelly beans ("What are those?"  "Sheep in the distance!"), and perhaps even an Australian sheep dog.  The photos actually were taken in Australia.

Best take-away lessons here were learning to save the sunlight atop of the sheep, dropping in and using casein Ivory Black wet in wet letting the paint give them definition and shadow, working with values -- one did the entire picture in Windsor & Newton "Indigo" - just gorgeous and prompted me to run out and grab a tube for my palette! -- and using better photocopies!  Our class was just cracking up and the teacher laughing right along with us.   

You learn by painting...and laughing!

Update 3-14-15-
Framed!  I found a frame at Hobby Lobby, originally for a 4" x 4" photo, I trimmed and placed the watercolor atop the opening, keeping the deckled edge and getting a pretty "linen" border.   The brushed metallic frame was the perfect complement.  (50% off $17.99)



Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

Jo-Ann's "We Celebrate Women" Sale

March 6/8 -
$1.99 Butterick and McCall's patterns

March 8/14 -
$1.99 Simplicity

March 20/22 -
$4.99 Vogue

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday Tea Time - Chocolate Raisins

This week - Rishi Limited Edition Cocoa Cabernet


Cost:  $9.99
Number of tea bags:  10
Caffeine:  No
Type of tea:  Herbal
Steeping time:  4 minutes
Mix ins: Nothing
Ingredients:  Organic - red wine grape skins, roasted cocoa nibs, maquis series, cinnamon, acai  powder, vanilla bean, black pepper.
Fragrance:   Like Raisinettes
Opinion:  Brewing to a pretty chocolate-wine color, this tastes well worth the price of almost $1/teabag.  The Rishi website no longer has it, I found it at Central Market.  Judging by Googling, this probably came out in 2013, as the expiration on the box is October 5, 2015.  No problems, it will be gone before then.  I like it, it is different.  It starts out chocolatey, then a distinct wine flavor, closing with a nice tangy berry.  What a tea ride!  It even smells good. And photographs Pinterest posting pretty.   If I'm back by Central Market within a few days, I may pick up an extra box.  Head's up Houston -- There were a couple left.  Maybe not now.   Only dinged because of the price.

Rating:  4.5
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