Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 ... it was a very good year

Tonight is New Year's Eve... the end of 2009 (in fact the end of a decade) and I'm filled with thoughts about 2009. 

At the end of 2008 I was reading about the approaching new year on Christine Kane's blog, Live Creative, and I was inspired to choose a word for 2009. The word I chose was Bloom, and now looking back I think that it was the perfect word for my year. Having the word helped me focus and grow/bloom in my art and in making new friendships during 2009. I'm still thinking about what word to adopt for 2010... 

As part of my "blooming" this year .... I began posting my paintings to this blog starting back in January, and I've appreciated all of the feedback and encouragement that I've received. In addition, I've thoroughly enjoyed visiting other art blogs throughout the year. I treasure the interactions here on my blog and on my visits to your blogs. Thanks for stopping by for a visit and I hope you drop by again in 2010!!

Looking back over my art for the year, some of the pieces most dear to me are the beer labels that I did for my oldest son. I blogged about them in two entries earlier this year (first batch and second batch) and he says he'll keep me busy with orders for more labels in the future. For Christmas he gave me the following framed piece in thanks for our collaboration on the beer labels for his 2009 home brew releases: 
I was thrilled to open the package and see all of the labels framed together. This was such a special surprise and it is now hanging in my kitchen. Thanks Ryan!!

I want to wish all of my blog friends Happy New Year!! and in the spirit of New Years.... Cheers!!!

P.S. I just remembered that I had a picture of us doing a tasting at home over the holidays: 

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Follow-up for Paris Trip and Christmas

I had so much fun with my Paris class this fall and after some of my family members expressed an interest in some of the paintings .... I got the idea that I could make a few Christmas gifts to share the images with them.  I ordered a hardback book for my Mom with all of the images and narrative that I had posted (much of it was fictional), and some coffee mugs. Here is a shot of some of the gifts.  

P.S. These were made on the Shutterfly site and I was delighted with the results.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Trip to Paris - cover for my book

This is the end of my Imaginary Trip to Paris -- the cover for the book that I made in the class. The image that popped up most in my journal is the Eiffel Tower so it is fitting that it also appear on the cover of my journal.  I enjoyed painting this cover -- and was pleased to even capture the cyclist (reminding me of my oldest son!) from the reference photo. 

P.S. I borrowed the lace/eyelet idea from elviestudio

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Trip to Paris - Final Impressions (Collage)

Not sure what there is left to say ... it was a wonderful adventure and a fantastic learning experience with Laure Ferlita!! A suprise bonus is the new treasured friendships with my traveling companions!!

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>> 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays 2009

Happy Holidays
With love and warmth
  from Claire

This image is from a Christmas card I did a few years ago.... and I had totally forgotten about it until my mother mentioned that she was sending out some of the leftover cards this year.  It brought back memories and made me smile when my mom showed the card to me last weekend, and I took the opportunity to scan the image before the last card went in the mail. Thank goodness for moms who keep some of our treasures for us!!  Thanks Mom!!  

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Visit to Sacred Heart

Today was a different venture for us. We went to La Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, or what we know of as Sacred Heart.  Laure described it to us as looking as a wedding cake and she was right.  To get to it we had quite a journey traversing steep hills and staircase streets all the way up to Montmartre. Along the way we came upon many spots that offered sweeping views of the city below. We were sidetracked at first with some of the souvenir shops along the way but we eventually reached the top. Sacred Heart was quite an impressive sight and I started to worry about how I could do justice to paint it in my journal. It was certainly going to be a challenge. But, I was so glad that we got up to see it up close in all its splendor. The architecture is definitely impressive and the stained glass windows are absolutely beautiful! I only wish we could have stayed longer to soak in all of the beauty. This really is a trip to remember!!

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Going to the Flower Market

One thing I missed from home while I've been traveling is going to the Farmer's Market. So I was thrilled when Laure said we would be visiting the Flower Market today.  I was amazed when we got there -- there were flowers going every direction in every color imaginable. I certainly felt like a child in a candy store and I was not quite sure what the 'best' thing was to pick to remember the visit. In addition to all the colors the market had a wonderful scent from all of the flowers.

After looking all over the market I settled for a single sunflower. After all sunflowers remind me of photos of the Tour de France when the cyclists ride through a field of sunflowers. Also, my brother Jim was nice enough to give me a bouquet of sunflowers for my birthday and to wish me Bon Voyage just before I embarked on this adventure. I hope I'll remember all the scents as well as the colors of the flower market when I look back at my journal when I return home! 

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I’m so excited! We’re taking a day trip outside of Paris to go visit the famous palace of Versailles. The palace and the grounds are unbelievable – they say it took 40,000 workers 50 years to convert Louis XIII’x hunting lodge into the palace. 

There is so much to see and explore at Versailles that it was overwhelming for me to pick a single image to remember the day by. I chatted with my mom about my dilemma and she came to my rescue with some of her own travel information. Mom loaned me her travel information from a trip that she and Dad took to Europe in the Fall of 1988. Mom even celebrated her 60th birthday during their trip - that was quite a celebration! The photo that I used for this image was taken by my Dad on that trip. I can just picture Mom and Dad strolling around the gardens – in sheer amazement!! And now, it is extra special for me to be able to share in their experience by painting this simple scene. I can’t wait to share it with Mom!! 

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Late afternoon ...

Another day in Paris ... by 3:00 I was sure ready to take a break and get a cup of coffee. We had spent several hours shopping in a busy part of Paris. I can't believe how much these girls love to shop! There are so many shops that we wanted to go in .... and so many things that I was wishing I could take home!! But, after a few hours I was totally exhausted. Kristen suggested that we take a break at this cute cafe and I was sure glad to hear her suggestion!

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our late morning brunch in Paris

After that late night I was so afraid I wouldn't wake up in time for breakfast. Fortunately we had agreed to meet for a late brunch at the nearby cafe. Kelly was an early riser and got to the cafe before the rest of us, just in time to snag this outside table with a view of the river in the distance. Thanks Kelly! It is such a treat to sit outside on this beautiful morning along the river. I wonder what they are serving for brunch today... something sure smells good! Maybe we can even go for a little stroll along the river after brunch.  

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Moulin Rouge

We were in a lively section of town when we came across quite a site - a building with a windmill on its top!!  It is the Moulin Rouge which is the most famous Parisian cabaret and it has been dazzling audiences since 1889!! The Moulin Rouge is known as the birthplace of the saucy French Can-Can. We  enjoyed some wine during the evening as we watched the Can-Can dancers. They were truly amazing!!

Thoughts.... well... I tried something different for me (no pencil or pen sketch -- just brush). Sort of strange... but I guess you get the feeling of a Can-Can dancer. 
<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Celebrating the Tour de France

There it is - The Arc de Triomphe. I feel like I'm in a dream - this is where the famed Tour de France race ends. I can imagine crowds are everywhere! Everyone wants to be here to see the exciting finish of the annual bicycle race that covers approximately 2,200 miles over a period of about 3 weeks. Cyclists flock from around the world to compete in this famous race. The race is broken into individual 'stages' each of which represents a day on the tour. Although the course changes every year, the finish is always in Paris along the Champs-Elysees.

The scene is so clear in my mind -- Its a hot day in July, and I can hear all the yelling and excitement in the air. Its been 3 weeks of excitement as the racers have traveled all over. I can see the colorful display of cycling 'kits' (outfits) in my mind as they approach the finish. What a thrill it is to be in this famous place where the cyclists approach the Arc de Triomphe and celebrate the end of an amazing race- the Tour de France !!

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Home Brewed Harvest 2009

This is the latest chapter in our tale of a journey, .... an adventure...

In preparation for the holidays my oldest son  brewed some special holiday beers with a friend, and once again he asked me to work on the labels. I am delighted to be able to collaborate with him despite the many miles that separate us (me in California and he currently in Texas). I blogged about the first labels earlier this summer (Home brewed...).  Here is the latest chapter in our story...

The latest brews were released to celebrate Thanksgiving. The wild names of the different brews are totally from the creative imaginations of my son and his co-brewmaster.  Note that these batches were not made from kits -- the contents are their own new recipes from scratch! For the labels, I started with some sketches of the artwork that my son sent me, and adapted them to the hand crafted label design that we developed earlier in the year. I fell in love with the fly that my son drew for the Winter Buzz -- the fly has quite a personality! 

Reindeer Fuel:  a Bourbon Oak Barrel Stout

Reindeer Fuel Extra:  a Bourbon Oak Barrel Stout with extra Bourbon additive for 'extra kick'

Winter Buzz (or 'The 10th Plague'): a Coffee Porter 

Holiday 2009 neck-hugger:

... what will they dream up next ???? ....

Friday, November 27, 2009

Leaving my comfort zone

Our next assignment (Trip to Paris class) sure pushed me outside my comfort zone. The idea was to leave behind all pencil, erasers, and pens... and just use the 'brush'. Eek.... this sounded impossible and I felt like I was wearing someone else's shoes... but I gave it a try. I relaxed a bit when I discovered that the reference photos were darling little ballerinas. They were not as intimidating as some of the architecture that we've seen on our travels. Each sketch/painting was done in 5 min or less. 

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

With best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Moment in Time at Giverny

Somehow I didn't put two and two together -- Paris and Monet ... but here I am in Giverny for an afternoon. The gardens are absolutely beautiful, more beautiful than the paintings and photographs that I've seen before. I just wish there weren't so many people so eager to see these gardens today. I would love to sit here for an afternoon of peace and quiet and just 'soak up' all of the beauty.

I was drawn to this corner of the pond in the Water Garden - the delicate pink water lily reminds me of the water lilies back home in the pond in our backyard. Although our backyard is nothing as elaborate as Giverny - it is a peaceful escape. But, now having seen Giverny I bet images of it will come to mind once I return home ... and I'm sitting by my own pond.

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My room at the Meurice Hotel

The hotel rooms in Paris are known to be small, but Laure splurged for us all at this hotel, the Meurice. I was so surprised -- my room even has a "les sejour' (living room) - unbelievable! The couch looks inviting after another day of walking and site-seeing. Now, if I can just find a tasty glass of wine, maybe I can lounge on the couch a bit and reflect on all that we've done so far....

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Parisian Courtyard

I'm really enjoying traveling with this little coterie throughout Paris. It is such a JOY to wake up in the morning and take to the streets to see what we find. I get so excited thinking about what will catch our interest and to see what we each capture in our journals. This is a trip to remember! 

We've walked down so many interesting streets - I feel like a kid in a candy store when I try to decide what to sketch and paint. On this little back alleyway, the staircase caught my eye with all of the potted plants. The steps and walls looked quite old with all of the chips, different stains, and signs of moss or plant life. I  wondered who lived beyond the open door. I wanted to remember the image so I gave it a try.... but it was a challenge!

co·te·rie : an intimate and often exclusive group of persons with a unifying common interest or purpose  <Date: 1738>
Etymology: French, from Middle French, tenants, from Old French cotier cotter, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English cot hut

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Monday, November 16, 2009

Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees

<<< from my continuing adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Wow ... there it is. I'm here on the Champs-Elysees where 12 boulevards radiate out from the Arc de Triomphe as if they were coming out from the center of a spoked bicycle wheel. This street layout explains why the monument is also known as the Place de l'Etoile (the Star)!

I can't believe that I'm here in front of this monument which I've heard so much about - from the history books, news footage, and many tales my oldest son has shared of the "Tour de France".
The idea for the monument started with Napoleon back in 1806, but it was not completed until 1836 long after Napoleon's reign was over.

In current times, the Arc de Triomphe has been photographed frequently during the Tour de France. The Tour de France is held over several weeks in July, and the last stage of the race culminates with a ride through the Arc de Triomphe on the third or fourth Sunday in July. What a magnificent sight (which I've only seen on video!) to see the riders come through the Arc as part of the final Champagne celebration. For the 2010 Tour, the final stage will go 105 km from Longjumeau to the Champs Elysees in Paris. Oh what fun it would be to see that finish!!

For now... I'm going to look for a tourist shop on a side street and see if I can find a souvenir Tour de France T-shirt for my son Ryan.

A September Evening in Paris

<<< from my adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Last night was yet another memorable evening in Paris.   We all agreed to put on our fanciest clothes and meet at L'Ambroisie for a special dinner. This restaurant was recommended in one of my guide books for having fine food, a renowned wine list and a chocolate tart that is 'out of this world'. I was excited because I was certainly in the mood for a good glass of wine. L'Ambroisie turned out to be a perfect spot to unwind in for dinner on a cool evening. We all enjoyed settling into the deep burgundy velvet chairs - which were perfect to warm us up from the chill of the evening air. Our waiter was very friendly and attentive, and he even provided some humor for the evening with his many tales of Paris.    

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

7, Place Bastille, 75004, Paris, France ...

<<< from my adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Walking through the streets of Paris - I went in search of my traveling companions. We agreed to meet at Les Phares for coffee, but as luck would have it I got lost on the way. Navigating through a foreign city by yourself is a unique experience!! I went looking for 7 Place Bastille, but I got lost while walking around Place de la Bastille. I guess I got distracted by all of the things to look at, as well as all of the new sounds (French!!). There were several interesting buildings including this one (left page) on a corner. I was disappointed when I realized that it wasn't the 'right' cafe as it didn't have the novel red awning. However, I decided to capture this one anyway with a quick sketch to show by travel buddies what I had found.

To complete the story... when I finally found Cafe de Phares I quickly did a sketch of it as well (right page). My traveling buddies kidded me about getting lost, and then we enjoyed our time chatting with our coffee.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cruising along the Seine River

<<< from my adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Laure planned a surprise for us today – an amazing dinner cruise on the River Seine. Talk about an unforgettable adventure! We glided along the river for 4 hours, to the sounds of an onboard Jazz band, as we enjoyed an unforgettable three-course French dinner. I’ll never forget the scrumptious dinner and flamboyant dessert! We cruised in a ‘Bateaux Parisien’ boat, which had a glass roof and panoramic windows, giving us a great view of Paris from the river. These boats go up and down the Seine River all the time. We departed just before sunset from near the Eiffel Tower  and sailed along the Left Bank. After dinner we returned along the Right Bank back to the Eiffel Tower. On our return, I was stunned to see Paris in lights including the Eiffel Tower. What an evening to remember!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Old Man under the Bridge

<<< from my adventures in 
Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Several of my traveling companions ventured out to walk along the Seine River today. I was amazed to learn that there are 37 bridges across the Seine River within Paris!  When they returned, I overheard them chatting about the 'old man under the bridge'. They had stumbled on him during their walk. In their eagerness to remember him they each painted an image of him. I was certainly impressed with their paintings and how they had captured the old man. 

I decided that it was my turn to venture out and get a look at him myself. Tonight I finally decided to take on the sketching and painting challenge ... but I think my patience was limited and I'm not so happy with my results... Maybe next time I'll slow down and be more patient -- and pay more attention to the paint drying....

P.S. The old man is part of the decorations that are part of the architecture of the bridge.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Imaginary trip to Paris: My visit with Pan

<<< from my adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

It was a lovely Fall day in Luxembourg Gardens. I wandered over to see the statue of Pan that I had heard so much about. I was happy to find a bench that I could sit on for a bit while I admired all of the colorful flowers that surrounded the statue. The air was fresh and cool, and there were sounds of birds in the air. It was a beautiful scene, and one that was certainly a challenge to try to capture on paper.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reflections of our first day in Paris

<<< from my adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

Wow... it seems that our first day has just flown by. Hard to believe that we were all scattered across the US a few days ago, and now we're traveling together and exploring Paris. I'm so excited ... but I must find a way to calm down and get some sleep before tomorrow morning!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A walk down the alley

<<< from my adventures in Laure Ferlita's An Imaginary Trip to Paris class >>>

I enjoyed our walk around Paris today. It was a treat to get out and move after the long day of travel yesterday. Luckily I wasn't the only one in a mood for a walk, and I thoughly enjoyed your company while we  walked some of the streets of Paris.

I remember when we turned down an ordinary alley and discovered the colorful planter of flowers. Several of us remarked at how unexpected it was. It was sort of like finding a prize on a treasure hunt. I wonder what we'll find tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Breakfast in Paris

This is my first page for my Paris class.  There is a small group of us that are traveling together (i.e. classmates).  It is fun to see everyone's images and get feedback from one another. 

Paris is lovely this time of year ...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day

While driving to work this morning ... I heard the following on the radio:
  Its Columbus Day ...
    Discover something ....

Sounded pretty catchy.... and I've been pondering the suggestion all day.  I think what I'm discovering these days is lots of interesting things about Paris in the Imaginary Trip to Paris class that I'm taking.... Its so fun!! 

What are you discovering today???

Monday, September 28, 2009

.... off to Paris....

This may sound like a random idea... but I've packed my bags and headed to Paris with Laure Ferlita and her "Imaginary Trip to Paris" class. I've never been to France so far, and with no real travel opportunity on the horizon, I just had to jump at this opportunity. Through this imaginary adventure I hope to learn more about painting, and also learn some interesting things about Paris -- for some future day when I can make a real visit there.

For our journey now, we're given several assignments each week to be done in our own trip journal. So far I've had fun creating 3 journal pages. It is so fun to see everyone's individual interpretations of the assignments, and we're all sharing feedback on our journal pages. My travel partners are quite creative. I'm having a great time...

But, I did want to leave a little information behind... so you would know that when my blog gets a bit quiet -- I must be out exploring Paris!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Summertime Strawberries

This was a summer of strawberries .... my son Sean was home from school ... and now he has gone back to school....  

Monday, September 14, 2009

Family Camping Trip - McArthur Burney Falls State Park

In August we were fortunate to get away camping as a family (minus the oldest son) for 5 nights. We went to one of our favorite spots -- McArthur Burney Falls State Park. It is located between two inactive volcanoes, Lassen and Shasta, in Northern California. We had quite a bit of packing to do before we could embark on our adventure -- gathering up all of our camp supplies and 40+ year old tent trailer before heading off on our long 6 or 7 hour drive from home. 

The main attraction in the park is a beautiful waterfall that flows year round, originating underground. At one time Theodore Roosevelt even remarked that it was one of the wonders of the world. The park also contains Lake Britton which offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and swimming. I appreciate the basic facilities with flush toilets and showers (50cents for 5 minutes)!! Many times during the week I found myself reflecting on prior camping trips to the park for my own family, and when I was growing up many years ago. Burney Falls is a special place. 

Waterfall tidbits:   The water originates from an underground stream emerging 900 yards upstream from the falls. The height of the falls is 129 ft., and the depth of the pool at the base is 22 ft. Its amazing to think that about 100 million gallons of water flow over the falls each day!!

We did lots of hiking and scouting for other waterfalls in the area. It was a relaxing week -- Oh.... if summer vacation could only come more frequently and stay longer!! 
Fortunately I came home with a large collection of digital photos that I can enjoy, as well as use as inspiration for future journal pages .... as time allows...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Night-blooming Cereus - Queen of the Night

I have many fond memories of a favorite plant at my home while I was growing up. It was called a Night-blooming Cereus, and it had come to our family from my Father’s family. Our plant was a cutting off of Dad’s Mother’s plant (Grandma Jessie). It was certainly a strange, gangly looking plant and it had stickers that could really cause pain if you got too close to it. This plant was truly unique. Most of the time the plant was just plain ugly. But, once in a while (once or twice a summer), the plant would ‘bloom’. A bloom for this plant was a pretty spectacular sight – it would start opening about 4pm in the afternoon and continue to open during the evening. By morning the bloom was ‘done’ as it had started to wilt. The blooms were a single night affair, and there was no way to hold it off until it was convenient to see one bloom. If tonight was the night… then tonight was the night. My father told us stories of how his mother would really celebrate a bloom by cooking up special desserts and inviting the neighbors in to see a bloom unfold. She enjoyed sharing the special blooms with her neighbors and friends. My parents continued the tradition as my mom would bake cobblers, and they would invite our neighbors over to share in the rare occurrence of a bloom.

My Dad gave my husband and I a Night-blooming Cereus plant early in our marriage. Through the years, my husband has nurtured the plant, and he has even started new plants from cuttings off of the one from Dad. So, the tradition lives on with my family now. We get excited when the plant is ready to bloom. One year (I think it was 2000) we had 3 blooms in one night – this was very unusual. Somewhere I have a picture of my youngest son and the 3 blooms…. I’ll find it ‘someday’.

Our most recent Night-blooming Cereus bloom was on Sunday, June 28, 2009. As usual we took a few pictures throughout the unfurling. Sometime during the evening I stumbled on a small old mini-calendar that was dated 1943 in the box of my Father's treasures that I had picked things out of to sketch for Father's Day. Finding this 1943 calendar on that Sunday night was pure serendipity!! The first page that I randomly flipped the calendar open to included June 28, 1943. Oddly enough, there was some writing on June 28th noting that the Night-blooming Cereus had bloomed. What a coincidence …. a bloom on June 28, 1943 and now another bloom on June 28, 2009 – two special blooms 66 years apart.

You might be curious about who the 1943 calendar belonged to … I had found it in amongst my Dad’s treasured items in his nightstand. It didn’t take me long to realize that the calendar belonged to his mother, my Grandma Jessie. Unfortunately she passed away just a month before I was born so I never met her. But, here in 2009 I now have her calendar with some of her own handwriting. I flipped through a few more pages in this calendar and found notes when Grandmother Jessie had sent care packages to my father in the war. This touched me deeply and her notes and handwriting made me feel more connected to her. Knowing that Grandma Jessie enjoyed sending care packages to my father brought a smile to my face as I thought about my own pleasure in sending care packages to my sons at college and beyond. Jessie and I may have lived many years apart, but through this simple 1943 calendar I discovered special connections between us.

The black and white picture is of my Grandma Jessie’s Night-blooming Cereus, which I think must have been taken in the early 1900’s in Santa Cruz, California. The color print is of our bloom this year on June 28, 2009. I opted to paint the latest bloom before it was full open, as a full bloom was just too intimidating for me to paint with all the ‘white’. Maybe sometime in the future I’ll have the skills and confidence to paint an open bloom of a Night-blooming Cereus.

You just never know what surprises may come your way! What family treasures have you found?

Monday, August 10, 2009

A special day for Kevin

Some time ago, I sketched this page showing my youngest son Kevin's computer corner, but I didn't quite finish the page. Kevin's birthday today reminded me of the unfinished page, and I decided that it is about time that I finish it and post it.

Kevin has been quite interested in computers for some time -- playing computer games etc. When he wanted a more powerful computer for 'gaming' than our family desktop - he set out on a journey to build his own. He surfed the internet for parts, financed his purchases himself, and put it all together. It was a very successful venture for him and he is very happy with his own computer.

Today is Kevin's 16th birthday - another very important family milestone. Happy Birthday Kevin!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Without Art ....

Without art ..... ?? ouch, what a painful thought for me! I'm sure feeling overdue for spending some time sketching and painting. I always feel better when I can carve out some time for my art.

So... when I saw my friend's mug ... the quote sure stuck in my mind!! I've got to find some time this weekend to get with my art toys!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Home brewed, handmade labeled - Family Affair

This is a tale of a journey, .... an adventure...

I was recently asked by my son Ryan to do something artistic that he could use to label his 'home brew'. My son has made several batches of home brew these past few years, and he was now interested in labeling the different batches to them separate them from one another, and provide an interesting look to his bottled brew. This assignment has kept me busy the past month and a half. So far we have collaborated on labels for 4 different batches of home brew. An added complication is that we are collaborating 'across the miles' - my son is in Texas and I am in California. We exchanged ideas, rough sketches, early drafts, and the final images via phone calls and email. I shipped the final digital images via email, and my son printed the labels in Texas and applied them to the bottles. This picture shows labeled bottles from 3 of the batches.

At the beginning of June the request for the first label was for the "Apricot Ale". This label assignment appealed to me because I love apricots - I was raised in a house that had an apricot tree in the backyard that was left behind when our home was built. With my first assignment I went to the grocery store and bought some good looking apricots and took them home and arranged them in my son's glass beer mug that he had received from his brother. The first sketch included just the mug and the apricots. I sent a digital image of the label to my son in Texas, and he asked if I could add some Hops.... Gee, I had no idea what Hops looked like. But, with Google and Wikipedia to the rescue.... armed with a few printouts I went to my painting class, and my teacher Jolene Anderson helped me figure out where I could 'tuck in' some Hops. My son was pleased with the final image.

Next up was a Cider that was to be titled, "Simply Cider". This time I bought some new fresh red apples and arranged them on the table, and scanned the internet for some sort of picture of a keg or barrel. I settled on drawing a barrel.

At this point I realized that the necks of the bottles needed some decoration as well, and I designed the following '
neck-hugger' that could be used as a general label:
One night my son called to say goodnight (he is 2 hours ahead of California time) and he said he needed another label for an 'Ale', but he didn't have a name for it - it was 'unnamed' and he was heading to bed... But, he did mention the name of a nearby street 'Whitecap Drive'. That got me thinking about a wave image that I had painted last fall. It took me several iterations, but I was able to 'harvest' my November 2009 wave image, for "Whitecap Ale".

The final label in the series for the time being, is for a Kolsch. For this label, Ryan wanted to use a sketch that he had done of a bike coming over a mountain top. You see, my son is a bike racer and he loves hills!! During a road race there are awards besides the final winner. In the middle of the race there may be one or more 'KOM' awards for the cyclist that gets to the top of the mountain first. They are designated the 'King of the Mountain' (KOM). This was the inspiration for the "KOM Kolsch".

This has certainly been a fun venture with my son, and an excuse for me to do some sketching and painting!!