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.