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)

Monday, September 05, 2016

P is for Palette

Inspired by watercolor artists extraordinaire Heidi Willis and Judi Betts, I decided to upgrade my palette.   I found it at Texas Art Supply.

Thirty-three wells!  And two rimmed mixing areas to make really juicy colors.   Before squeezing out the paints, I'm going to play around with the order and placement.  I still like my Jane Jones palette, but found it was getting crowded with the extra dabs of paint I was putting around the perimeter of the center mixing area, definitely limiting the space available to mix my colors.  And the palette itself a bit large and awkward to carry back and forth to classes and workshops.

 Free tube of Mijello Mission Gold in Burnt Sienna inside!
And what a nice surprise to find a free Burnt Sienna #564 7ml size tube of Mijello Mission Gold watercolor paint.    Definitely check around their website, there's even a page with product comparison videos.  Now I want to buy a tube of their Chinese White!  Look for an upcoming Burnt Sienna paint off soon.
I love to check the Hobby Lobby clearance section for my initial stickers.  There is usually the letter P left over.  P for Peggy, paint and palette!

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Divino Nino - The Beckoning Child Jesus

8" x 12"

My watercolor rendition of Divino Nino / Divine Child Jesus.

I always loved the Holy Cards with the touches of gold metallic.  I found the perfect paint from Daniel Smith (Iridescent Gold) to do just that to my painting.

Devotion to the Divine Child Jesus is very strong in the Latin-American culture, and it has also been growing here in the United States.   The Spanish words, "Yo Reinare" at the base of the statue translate to “I will reign”

I noticed the statue at the back of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, a suburb southwest of Houston.  There were blue and red candles you could light and an offering box, under each section.  And a Novena card in English and Spanish with this prayer on the back -

Powerful Novena to the Divine Child Jesus
(May be prayed every day for 9 days or, in urgent situations, every hour for 9 hours)

O Jesus, Who has said, ask and you shall receive
seek and you shall find,
knock and it shall be opened to you, 
by your Divine Childhood and through the intercession of Mary, Thy Most Holy Mother,
I knock, I seek and I ask that my prayer be granted.
(Make your request)

O Jesus, Who has said, all that you ask of the Father in My Name,
He will grant you, by your Divine Childhood and through the intercession of Mary, Thy Most Holy Mother,
I humbly and urgently ask the Father in Your Most Holy Name that my prayer may be granted.
(Make your request)

O Jesus, Who has said, Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away,
by your Divine Childhood
and through the intercession of Mary, Thy Most Holy Mother,
I am confident that my prayer will be granted.
(Make your request)

Our Father...Hail Mary...Glory Be
Jesus, I trust in you (3x)
There isn't a lot of information really about Divino Nino, at least in English.  The story of  Divino Nino began in Bogota, Columbia with Father John Rizzo in the early 20th century in his quest to build a church and his devotion to the Child Jesus.  This link probably gives the best background.

Intrigued by the statue, I stopped by a Catholic store after Mass, and I did find a laminated Holy Prayer Card and a religious medal for Divino Nino/Beckoning Child of Jesus

This is the Prayer to The Beckoning Child of Jesus on the back of the Holy Card -

O Beckoning Child Jesus, I pray that Thou will give Thy servant the grace to love Thee more and more, with a love like Thy Blessed Mother had for Thee. 

Give me the grace to have the time often, if not daily, to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and to witness with the eyes of the sinner, Mary Magdalen, to behold Thee Crucified, and to see Thy Sorrowful Mother and St. John at the foot of the cross on the Hill of Calvary. And then, O loving Child, give me as food for my soul thy Body and Blood, as at the last Supper that Thou gave to thy Apostles. 

And after a good confession and when death is near, as the beckoning child meet me at the last moment of my life and bid me to come with Thee and show me Thy palace Thy Heavenly Father has prepared for Thee. Amen.   


And I also found this online -
Divine Child Jesus Serenity Prayer / Prayer to the Divino Niño In Difficult Times

Divine Child Jesus, 
In my difficulties, help me.
From my enemies of my soul, save me.
In my doubts and pains, comfort me.
In my solitudes, be with me.
In my sicknesses, invigorate me.
When others despise me, encourage me.
In temptations, defend me.
In difficult hours, strengthen me.
With Your paternal heart, love me.
With Your immense power, protect me.
And, into Your arms, when I die, receive me.



And another Novena on the EWTN website -

Divine Child Jesus, we believe in You; We adore You; and we love You; have mercy on us sinners.

We've come to this Temple in response to your love. We've come in response to your mercy and grace. We are here because You invited us to come before You and to pour out the cares of our hearts to You since You deeply care for each of us.

We remember Your words to the disciples: Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened. Trusting in your infinite goodness and trusting that You always keep your promise, we now ask this intention which we pray in the silence of our hearts...

Thank you, Divine Child Jesus, for listening attentively to our prayers all the time. We hope that You will ask this before Our Heavenly Father And, if what we ask for may not be good for our salvation and sanctification, we trust that you will grant us instead what we truly need, so that one day we may be with You for all eternity enjoying that ultimate happiness of Heaven.

Divine Child Jesus, bless and protect us.
Divine Child Jesus, bless and lead us.
Divine Child Jesus, bless and provide for us.

All this we ask through the intercession of your Holy Mother, Mary, and in Your powerful and Most Holy Name, Jesus. Amen

Thursday, September 01, 2016

“Yet we keep flashing, disappearing, and again blossoming out in this Eternity.” —Yayoi Kusama

What is neat is the lights do disappear and then return. . .
(You get less than a minute, but I was lucky with my allotted time and was able to capture the light - and take photographs, too)

“Yet we keep flashing, disappearing, and again blossoming out in this Eternity.” —Yayoi Kusama

This "Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity" is one of two installation rooms.

The other is "Love Is Calling"   You can stay in this one up to three minutes and walk around, awestruck also.  The silken tubes extend from the floor and ceiling and constantly change color.

In the background you can hear Kusama reciting a poem in Japanese. . ."Residing in a castle of shed tears"

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston has the Kusama exhibit through September 18.  It took me three tries to get in to experience it.  Reserve/purchase your tickets online and don't miss this opportunity.