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!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I feel like I've hit a Jackpot!!

I want to express my sincere thanks to Laure, Krista, and Sarah for sending me blog awards recently (and I apologize for being slow to post this information!!). It certainly was a thrill to find out about each one. Thank you so much! I think I hit a jackpot!! (I've always viewed my 3 sons as a jackpot, and the 3 blog awards feel like another jackpot.)

from Laure at Painted Thoughts Blog

from Krista at Hope in Everyday

from Sarah at Sarah's Tentative Artsy Steps

I certainly have been enjoying my visits to their blogs, and I think that these 3 ladies have some amazing art on their blogs. I appreciate the encouragement that they have given me with my blog. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and use the links above to check out their interesting blogs and you’ll be in for a treat. The next step is for me to tell you 7 interesting things about myself:

  1. I've discovered that I do better (i.e., feel better) with COLOR in my life. Having color around me is like sunshine to my soul. I don’t necessarily wear colorful clothing all the time, in fact I frequently favor neutrals. But, I do like to have color around me – paints, flowers, fabrics, yarn, beads, nature, shells, sea glass, and even rocks.

  2. I love live music – from youth concerts when my sons have played in band to professional concerts, and art and wine festivals. There is just something about live music that resonates throughout my body. Just a week ago I went to a fantastic concert with Dave Koz!!

  3. I love walking on the beach, and I’m always drawn to ‘look for treasures’ – shells, rocks, and sea glass.

  4. Cooking and chocolate: I love to cook – what I want and when I want. The day to day routine can be a grind, but when I get inspired, I love to get in the kitchen and cook. I especially like to bake. As far as chocolate….. what isn’t there to love about chocolate??

  5. I love to read, and I enjoy finding ‘quotes’. One fun book I’ve recently enjoyed is Scatter Joy by Kathy Davis.

  6. I love my family and I enjoy finding different ways to interact with them and keep in touch.

  7. I love the art blogs that I’ve been visiting, and I enjoy seeing creative paintings and entries that other artists post to share. It is exciting to make art connections with people around the world. I find that fascinating!!
Look for Jackpot Part II when I pass on 7 awards.... I tried to make it all of this post, but I had problems with the tool. So.... it will be a separate post.

Jackpot Part II - Passing it on ....

Finally, it is time for me to ‘pass it on’ and present these awards to 7 other bloggers. I am presenting the following awards:

The Stroke of the Brush Award:

Margaret at Water Blossoms: I love checking in to Margaret’s page to see what she is up to. I get energized just visiting her site – she has so much enthusiasm. Margaret posts quite a variety of images – from lovely paintings to intricate zentangles and ATC cards. I also love the inspiring quotes that she frequently posts.

Mary at Art Adventures: Mary is really taking advantage of her free time, and painting is just one of her passions. I envy the time that she can now devote to her art.

Kreativ Blogger Award:

Winna at Winna’s World: Winna’s pages are a wonder to look at as she incorporates so many things into a page. They remind me of rich tapestries.

John at John a Lookin' Around: It is fun to check-in at John’s blog to see journal pages from a male perspective. I find his pages very interesting- from his trips, stories about family treasures and memories.

Karen at Sketch Blog: Karen has a full life with young children at home, and her pages frequently record the events of the day. Her pages are fun to see, and they bring back many happy memories to me as well.

A Passion for Painting Award:

Liz at Adventures of Borromini: Earlier this year Liz painted several images of china tea cups that really caught my eye. They were lovely pages and gave me the idea that recording family treasures on journal pages would be a nice keepsake.

Lin at linfrye's photostream: Lin recently painted numerous images of Italy that really got me in the mood to travel! She painted some images while still in the US by using images on Google Maps. That sure was an interesting idea! Additional images were painted during her travels abroad.

Congratulations to you all!! You have all been a source of inspiration!! Now it is your turn to 'pass it on'....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Livestrong Challenge

Sunday morning I participated in the Livestrong Challenge here in San Jose, California. This was a good excuse for me to get up EARLY, and get some exercise which I really need! But, more importantly, it was a chance for me to come together with other people to raise awareness for the Livestrong organization (, and raise money for Cancer research. Collectively here in San Jose, we managed to raise 1.3 million during the event! What a great feeling to be a small part of a bigger effort!! I even had my own number: 2899!! It was also fun to think that while we were walking, running, or riding a bike, that Lance was over there in Europe riding in the Tour de France. It gave the whole thing a more global feel!!

I was delighted that the day started with a beautiful morning, and the excitement of it all gave me more energy than usual. I chose to enter the 5K walk around our downtown, and I made it a brisk walk. I don't get to walk around our downtown that frequently and I found my walk to be quite enjoyable. The walk gave me some quiet time to think and to take in the downtown sites and sounds. The walk was just a simple way of contributing to the larger good. Maybe next year my husband will join me and we'll do one of the bike routes instead!

We can do no great things...only small things with great love.
Mother Teresa

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dependable Wallet

We all have things that we depend on everyday -- like cell phones, key chains, purses, wallets, and checkbooks. It is easy to forget about them as they come in and go out of our lives. I've counted on my brown leather wallet for several years now. It has gone almost everywhere with me, and it has served me well. Recently the zipper broke and I realized that it was time to retire the trusty wallet. I'm really going to miss this wallet!! Given that it was a special gift from my son, I decided to draw it to have a lasting memory of it for years to come. Thanks Ryan!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

California Poppies

The California Poppy is our state flower. The poppies are very delicate - almost tissue paper like, and they bloom a single flower to a stem. California Poppies vary in color from yellow to a vibrant orange. When I first noticed them blooming this spring, they felt like smiling faces greeting me on my way to work. Quite a cheery site! I looked up some information when I painted this page, and I was surprised to learn that April 6 is designated as California Poppy Day -- that is the day before my wedding anniversary. Interesting!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Day - Bancroft Hall

Today is Induction Day at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Five years ago my oldest son started his journey at the Academy. Since then, he graduated and became a commissioned Naval Officer in May 2008. He is now in flight school to become a Navy Pilot.

All day I've been thinking of the families back in Annapolis today as a new class of 'midshipmen' are welcomed into USNA as the Class of 2013!! Remembering back 5 years ago when I was in Annapolis, I-Day is quite a transition and the beginning of a very unique journey....

During my son's "4 years by the Bay", I had the opportunity to visit numerous times. Many times I took my sketchbook with the intention to sketch, but I was too shy and intimidated to try to sketch on my trip. Instead, I returned home with lots and lots of photos of the wonderful architecture. However, I still find the Architecture intimidating to try to sketch. In the spirit of this being "I-Day" I'm posting an image that I did sketch back in the spring of 2007. This is Bancroft Hall which is one of the largest dormitories in the world, and it is the home to all 4000+ students. The building is fondly referred to as "Mother B" by the midshipmen, and it contains some 1,700 rooms and 4.8 miles of corridors. The architecture is Beaux-Arts. Each time I visited I was fascinated by the architecture and I enjoyed looking at the decorations on the sides of Bancroft Hall. In keeping with the Navy, the building is adorned with the bows of ships and wreaths.