Saturday, October 15, 2016

Art of Pumpkin

Hunab Ku - Mayan Galatic Butterfly
Also the logo for Hooked on Acupuncture

It's October and I like to paint a pumpkin of the logo for my favorite acupuncturist at "Hooked on Acupuncture" in Galveston.  This is my fourth one, and each year I like to try something different.  Of course, that means trying new art supply toys!

Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen Big Brush in White 101 and Black 199

Good coverage, the white was really opaque.  Juicy ink for both, no pull up of color when going over a second time.  One drawback, especially on a pumpkin, the black will rub off a little bit if said pumpkin rolls around the back seat floor on the trip to Galveston.  A little touch-up and good as new. I did not use a protective sealant this time, experimenting with longevity.  The black also makes a great marker, as hubby discovered.   They are considered India Ink and are waterproof, and acid free.   Texas Art Supply carries them - the large in black and white, and smaller sizes in additional colors.  I highly recommend these...for pumpkins and other art projects.

Faber-Castell Texture Luxe in Silver

A few weeks ago, I found this at Hobby Lobby in the Clearance section for $5.39, originally priced at $8.95.  I saw it at Texas Art Supply in silver and other colors, so it is still a current item.  I can also vouch this works great on pumpkins.  It is an opaque acrylic paste and permanent, and you have the option to build up layers for texture.   I used my finger to apply (washes off skin easily) a moderately thin layer to add shimmer.  The package also says it is good for stenciling.  This is definitely another addition to my art supply stash to be used again, post-pumpkin.

Daniel Smith Luminescent Watercolors in Iridescent Gold

I'm getting my money's worth and fun from this color.  It also works great on a pumpkin!  I learned that watercolor straight out of the tube is considered "paste" - which I applied to the pumpkin with a brush without using water.  I liked the result.  The watercolor was the pinch hitter, for I originally planned to use a copper or bronze rubbing accent compound for the flames around the Mayan Butterfly design.  Alas, the pot had completely dried out, which I returned to the store for a refund.

Schneider XPress Fiber Tip Pen

One of my favorite writing pens, I used it to draw the design outline on the pumpkin.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thursday Tea Time - Getting ready for the Weekend in Monte Carlo

At least with a sip of this tea from Madame Flavour, another Australian tea.

Weekend in Monte Carlo, Tea No. 47 is an unusual blend of of Pekoe and Green Leaf Tea scented with spearmint and bergamot.  Didn't see that combination coming, did you?  A surprising and refreshing discovery, it tastes best plain -- you don't need to add anything.  I tried the Italian cream - it hid all the good flavors.  A packet of Splenda didn't work either.  Nope, just enjoy it hot from the pot.

It is a loose-leaf tea, with gorgeous, unbroken leaves unfurling into wonderful strands of flavor.  Just use a teaspoonful in your tea bag or infuser.  The fragrance is intoxicating and the taste is nothing like you've experienced before.

The well-designed box seals up nicely for storage, too.  I will definitely look for their additional flavor combinations next time I'm in Australia.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

“Faites des lignes. Faites beaucoup de lignes.”

Inspired by Picasso The Line exhibition (through January 8, 2017) at The Menil in Houston and Imagining Backwards:  Seven Decades of Picasso Master Prints McClain Gallery (through October 29), our classwork including doing line drawings, learning to make our own mark.  Trying to make a continuous line using different marking techniques and not looking at the paper, was an interesting exercise.  In fact, I've used one of my drawings twice as cards to send to friends for birthday and get well by adding watercolor.

Here was my first attempt in class --

Kangaroos feeding in the Australian Bush
India Ink and stick, charcoal, graphite, Conte crayon

Then a few days later, I woke up at 3:44 AM, went out to the kitchen table, grabbed my sketchbook and started drawing a slightly wilted vase of sunflowers in front of me.  Each variation I started my line at a different place on the paper, as indicated by the arrow.   I even tried drawing with my left (non-dominant) hand!

(I did look while drawing this)
Perhaps I can draw better left-handed?!

Outlined with Micron pen

Using Tombow 977 Saddle Brown
over graphite tracing from
Enlarged copy of first drawing

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres - 1780 – 14 January 1867) French Neoclassical painter. 
(This was his advice to a young Degas who had announced he wanted to become a painter)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Walking along the Seawall in Galveston, I kept seeing all these twos. . .

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sidewalk Arf

Clever use incorporating tar or gum splotches on the sidewalk along the Galveston Seawall --

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Watercolor Wednesday - Abstract Thinking of Zen

Inspired by William Tillyer and Peter M. Hicks, working in abstract.  Washes of similar values with an added shape of opaque color.  Keeping an open mind and an open heart, I painted four pieces, at least I was having fun mixing colors.
10" x 14 1/4"

10" x 14"

10 1/4" x 14 1/4"
I even added a wash of Ivory Black Casein on this one, "Gray-dients"
It kept it from looking too "precious," but still needed something to save it from the card-making bin.
8" x 14 1/2"
After watching "Inspired Landscape" on YouTube and Google-gazing, I decided to add a pop of color to two of my paintings.  I spun the color wheel around and loaded up my largest round brush with a lilac gouache and made Zen ensō circles.

In Zen Buddhism,  the ensō brushstroke expresses that moment when the mind is free to let the body create.   A symbol of wholeness and completion, my paintings were finished.

"Within the spinning circle of life we are born.
The human heart too should always be kept
round and complete."
~ Nantembo (1839-1925)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Pretty in Pink - September Pre-Fall Rose Edition

Signs of upcoming Fall - the Pink Promise rose starts cranking out lovely blooms again.   I always await with anticipation when I see a bud form, for depending upon the weather conditions, you'll never know what you will get.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thursday Tea Time - Français Flagstaff

Oui, Earl Gray Français from Steep Leaf Lounge in Flagstaff, Arizona - (1 E. Aspen)

We stopped there last year and had this delicious Matcha tea latte and of course, picked up a few "souvenirs" of tea - including their highly recommended and fan favorite - "Earl Gray Français"  I'm not quite sure what makes it français-y, but this is one of the best Earl Gray teas I've had.  I didn't even add any creamer to it to turn into a London Fog.  It tasted too wonderful as it was!
This is most certainly a 5 star tea in my teapot!

I think what makes it "French" are the pretty blue cornflower petals.

Ingredients:  Black tea, organic oil of bergamot, organic cornflowers and natural flavors.
tastes as good as it looks!

A one ounce package was priced at $4.95.  Good news is you can order online and there is free shipping on tea!  This particular blend is sold in a 2 ounce ($8.95) or 4 ounce (1/4) for $15.95.  Definitely worth the investment.
And the trip to Flagstaff to check this place out in person.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wednesday Watercolor - When Still Life Gives You a Lemon

"When Still Life Gives You a Lemon"
10 1/4" x 11 1/2"
Just like practicing the scales, a still life painting gets the creaks out and provides opportunity to practice and play around with brushwork, interpretation and problem solve.

I think the best take-away from this was creating the shadow of the lemon - not by glazing over the background, but by cooling and dulling the colors the shadow would cast.  You can also see that in the lower right hand corner stripes.

And remembering to wet the dark areas first before adding and glazing more layers.  I liked how velvety the black turned out.  Perhaps painting first the "oops, what was I thinking Lunar Black?!" helped.

I also liked curving the lemon reflecting in the jar.  (Using that Artistic license)

And really trying to work bigger, more wet-in-wet and looser.

We are all developing our own style and then pushing to expand.  Each of us in class had their own interpretation and it was fun to see their perspective.

Will this be sent off the framer - no, entered into completion - no, sold? - Make an offer  ; )
Will it be kept to see how far I've progressed and to help remember techniques?  Yes.

The learning is in the doing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Make Way for the Ducklings

Sixteen ducklings hatched yesterday in the planter in front of Beck's Prime in Sugar Land - A prime location indeed!  (In addition to their great burgers and steaks, may I suggest their Kirby salad with grilled chicken add-on - you will eat every last bit)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sounds of Silence

Edward Moran 

Fifteen years later. . . (click for the YouTube link to the version by the band, Disturbed)

Friday, September 09, 2016

Women of Watercolor - Pretty in Pink

Playing around on my Fabriano cold press watercolor at the end of the day before putting away the paints and after seeing inspiration on Pinterest courtesy of PaperFashion/Katie Rodgers and Christian Siriano.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Thursday Tea Time - Twinings Classics Prince of Wales Tea

Still clearing the shelves of the teas I've accumulated and tucked away.  Here's an oldie but goodie from 2013.  I think I bought it at World Market.  FYI World Market has a good collection of Twinings teas, especially the seasonal ones -- Head's up for the Fall and Winter blends which should start appearing in the displays soon if not now already.

The Prince of Wales Tea was specifically created by Twinings for HRH The Prince of Wales in 1921, who later became King Edward VIII.   I thought I would still give this tea a chance, since I wanted to keep the metal tin.

Sealed for your protection
And I was surprised to see it was sealed inside.  So that gave me hope to try it.  It had a pleasant, slightly woodsy fragrance.  The tea leaves were a good size and not dusty bits.

It brewed to a pretty reddish brown.

For a label description which reads "Light Flavor Strength" (2 leaves out of 5), it was pretty strong.  That could be because I forgot to set the timer while I was going about fixing morning breakfast, but I would guesstimate it was probably 4 minutes, well within the recommended range of 3-5 minutes.  It had a nice beginning bite to it, but an astringent finish.  Even after adding creamer, I couldn't finish it.

I tried
I personally would rate this a 1 - not purchase it again, for I scored the tin to use for my art supplies.  You can't discount the fact it is also over 4 years old.  If you like a sour, slap you in the face tea, you may like this.

Redbox Review - A Royal Night Out

A Royal Night Out (Redbox Rental) - 3 stars

A period piece from 1945 and the madcap adventures by the Princesses Royal in London on VE Day.  It was a nice bonus to see the footage and scenery of London.  I didn't think it would be a light comedy, a little on the ribald side.  It seemed to drag a little in places and take a little too much time to resolve.  The casting of Sarah Gadon and Bel Powley as the Princesses was spot on, the leading man - not so much.  He seemed a bit off-putting.  I thought I would like it more - definitely the trailers were better than the movie.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Watercolor Wednesday - Chillin' at 72 degrees

Chilllin' at 72 degrees
10" x 8 1/2"
Playing with my Strathmore 300 Series watercolor paper, trying to get those darker values. . .
This is a Chacos feetside view of the Texas Wild Rice (Zizania texana) in the year-round 72 degree San Marcos River.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Pinked to Gray

Fireberry tea - great to drink, dye wooden spoons...

but not so much paper.

Well...It's a pretty dove gray, a nice neutral background.

For starters, don't add the alum to cold water until after you have boiled and added the dye/tea.  It reacted to the stainless steel.

It's a gorgeous pot of pink!

While the paper was still damp, I added drops of purple watercolor above.

And then I tried sprinkling some tea to the damp paper - I liked that effect!

The dyed paper started out as a beautiful shade of pink and then turned into gray before my eyes as it dried --  albeit a pretty shades of gray which made a great backdrop to purple and pink painted and leaf stamped back in. . .

(Click to see an earlier art post here from this adventure)