Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to you all!!  Thanks so much for stopping by my blog this year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Grammy's tea cups

I thought it would be fun to sketch one of my grandmother's tea cups. She had many lovely things.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

End of season treasure

Most of the leaves have fallen, the weather has turned cold, and most of my blooming plants have given up for the year.... But there are a few that still try to push through to continue sharing their gifts. What a treat it is to find a bloom this time of year!! A subtle reminder to me to keep pushing through and don't give up!!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to you!!

I may be a day late.... but I still want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!! Thanksgiving Blessings to you and your families! 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Leaf Reflections

I just love Fall leaves - all of the colors and the opportunity to go out and 'collect' them on a walk. I've found myself picking up leaves again this fall and I've even noticed my husband picking up a few also - he set them out for me to paint. Thinking of leaves takes me back years to being a little kid and the times I raked leaves, jumped or stomped on piles of leaves, and the quiet contemplative walks where I couldn't resist the joy of picking up leaves. Its sort of like walking along the water's edge at the beach and feeling the irresistable urge to pick up sea treasures - shells or rocks that have washed up on shore.  Ah... the wonder of fall leaves.

While painting these leaves I became eager to find some wise words that I recently read in a magazine at the Dentist's office. The quote was sort of hiding in the middle of the magazine all by itself - it wasn't 'featured' in any article. It was just sitting by itself on the side of the page - sort of as filler. But, the words caught my attention and once I read them I couldn't get them out of my mind. Yes, I have many things I need to let go of ..... and each falling leaf makes me think about them. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One more hour ....

It started with the smell of fresh brewed coffee.... I took it as an invitation to take a break and 'smell the coffee'.

Fresh coffee ... well that sounded like the perfect reason to take out some home baked biscotti and gingerbread "Mini-Cooper" cutout cookies that recently arrived from my oldest son. So, I sat down with with a fresh cup of coffee in my neat Cool Moose coffee mug, with my new Cooking Light magazine and decided to just take a break.

I felt the fresh air from outside as the kitchen window was open, and I could hear the rain falling gently on the patio cover outside the window. A candle glimmered on the table providing a warm glow, and the smell of apples cooking on the stove for applesauce filled the air with sweetness.  

Ah.... a priceless 'extra hour'. Life is good!

How did you spend your extra hour today?

Reference photo:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Autumn Bounty

What a surprise when I came down to breakfast recently and spotted the grouping "at my place" on the kitchen table. I didn't remember seeing this arrangement when I went to bed the night before - and it really made me wonder where it came from. Perhaps it was a group of "midnight Elves". Ah.... after a cup of coffee I figured it out. Pretty sneaky Hubby!!

My husband joins his two older sons in providing me some painting challenges from time to time. The boys have given me multiple verbal descriptions of sunsets to paint, and even some beer labels. This challenge was different - it is sort of an odd collection of produce. My husband grew the eggplant in our backyard, the gourd was grown by local high school students, and the pears came from the grocery store. Quite a mixed bag!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Yali Pears from the Farmer's Market

I made a special trip in the rain recently to the Farmer's Market in search of pears!! Oddly enough it looked like I would come home empty handed. Apples are the big crop here this time of year. But.... just before I hiked back to the car I spotted some pears. I found my treasured pears and chatted with the saleswoman about them. She was quick to point out that they are not like the familiar Bartlett Pears. No, these pears are a special Chinese Pear called a Yali. Unlike Bartlett they are not soft when ripe. Instead, a Yali is crisp when it is ripe. They also didn't seem as colorful - the only colors that I noticed were yellow and green with some raw sienna markings. When I told the woman I wanted to sketch them and I asked about other colors .... she did a quick check and brought out the smallest pear that is in the left side of my composition. That pear had a bit more contrast between the yellow and green. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tasty memories of summer ....

The kids are back in school, traffic is picking up, the weather is getting cooler .... signs that summer is on its way out.  These cherries remind me of summer. Oh how I miss fresh cherries from the Farmer's Market!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I was recently surprised with a "care package" in the mail from my oldest son. I had fun creating a journal page to help remember this wonderful surprise. The page includes a 'surprise' in that the box top opens to reveal a fold-out mini-note representation of a handwritten note that was inside the boxI transcribed part of my son's handwritten note onto the mini-note and attached it as a foldout under the top of the box. Tracing paper was used for the mini-note to avoid too much bulk. 

Photo of the page showing the flap partially open and the folded note inside: 

What a treat!!!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another take on the word 'bloom'

This is a word image of "bloom" which was my focus word for 2009. I found it very rewarding to adopt a word for the year. As I focused on 'bloom' in 2009 I started to spend more time on my artwork and I even got up the nerve to start this blog. It seemed that my art "bloomed" during the year. Painting this image recently, I had fun remembering my art journey in 2009 and capturing the word in an unexpected way without flowers or other plants..... 

P.S. I got the idea of a focus word for the year from Christine Kane, and a word image from Laure Ferlita. My word for 2010 is Clarity, and I'm still working on that one!!! 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sunday morning in SLO

All is well.... a relaxing morning with my husband over a special cup of coffee at Peets in San Luis Obispo.... our college town many years ago...  But, this time we had returned to pick-up our middle son (and all of his stuff) so that he could venture abroad for a year of foreign study.  

Thursday, July 15, 2010


At the end of April my husband, my middle son, and I traveled to Texas to celebrate the "Winging" of our oldest son Ryan as a Navy Pilot. After the ceremony we traveled to San Antonio, Texas for a brief visit as a way to celebrate the big event. We really enjoyed wandering around the RiverWalk. 

These are memory pages of our short stay in San Antonio. I did these memory pages as part of the Artful Journaling class. For the second page the assignment was to use the same images as the first page but do different things to compose the page. It was a good exercise in doing things differently.

My reason for posting these images *today* is that it is Ryan's birthday.  
Happy Birthday Ryan!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

England: London Tour Bus

And my final image from my Imaginary Trip to England.  What a great time I had!!

England: Snowdonia

Finishing up posting some pages from my sketchbook of my Imaginary Trip to England. It was an wonderful journey!

P.S. In case you're wondering why my blog has been a bit quiet lately... I've been missing my blog and doing my art - but I've been busy with normal responsibilities and helping my mother with some recent health issues. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

England: Morning has broken ...

<< Another image from my Imaginary Trip to England class >>  
A path like this speaks 'welcome' to me. This scene also reminded me of some of the words of a familiar song:
Morning has broken, like the first morning  ....
Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden .....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

England: Visit to an Art Store

When we were given a 'free' afternoon I thought it would be a great opportunity to search out an art store that I had found in GoogleMaps on the internet. It was going to be a treasure hunt of sorts. I used the nearest Underground station at Tottenham Court Road to get to L. Cornelissen & Son art store. It was easy to spot - the Hunter Green signature store front. Once inside I felt like a kid in a candy store - there were so many tempting art supplies! I was especially taken with the nice leather sketchbooks that they had. So many wonderful supplies..... so little money.... so little time....

P.S. This is another imaginary adventure from my Imaginary Trip to England. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

EDiM21 Something Antique

I've fallen in love with these 3 small ceramic serving pieces from the Santa Fe train line that belong to my mom. I think they are individual cream and sugar containers, and a small plate or saucer. She must have picked them up when she and my Dad were chasing his love of trains. Lots of memories of trains and train-related items over the years!!   

EDiM21: Draw something antique. This is part of a series that I started in May. I'm still trying to catch up on a challenge that I joined for the month of May - to do items 1 to 31 from the Everyday Matters list.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

England: Cross Keys Pub

Another page from my journal of my imaginary trip to England - I had a great time. 

EDiM10 My hand

Its faint .... but its there. Yes, that's my left hand - bent fingers and all. This was an interesting exercise and I amazed myself in finishing it in under 10 minutes. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

EDiM12 Dinnertime!!

Its unusually cold here this year and we even getting some rain. As I drove home from work I noticed the dark clouds rolling in ...and decided that it felt like soup weather. So I fixed up a pot of homemade tomato soup with spinach. Not bad for a quick dinner after work! 

P.S. My EDiM (Everyday Matters assignments done Every Day in May (well sort of)) posts are going to be out of order as I get an opportunity to attempt them. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

EDiM13 My cell phone and .....

My cell phone and old fashioned letters have vital communication links for me. They are especially priceless with my two sons who have flown out of our nest.  I'm glad to have multiple ways to reach them when our spare minutes line up -- a cell phone call, text message, email or online chatting, or real letter in the mail!! While I make use of all of these methods of communication, the best by far is a chat in person and a big HUG!! 

P.S. My EDiM (Everyday Matters assignments done Every Day in May (well sort of)) posts are going to be out of order as I get an opportunity to attempt them. 
   EDIM13 = Draw a telephone

Monday, May 24, 2010

EDiM11 Sunglasses

I will say that this EDM challenge is a good discipline to find something to draw each day.  I surprised myself in freehand drawing these sunglasses.  Perfect - no way ... but much better than I would have drawn a year ago!! Its true - practice, practice, practice!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

EDiM5 Bed in the Cozy Corner at Mom's

The EDM5 challenge is to draw a bed. The first bed that came to mind is the day bed at my mom's. Its a comfy bed in a cozy little room making for a special get-away retreat. When I decided to sketch this bed I didn't have a photo reference - but I thought of a secret way to get a photo reference. My sister-in-law Amor came to my rescue by taking a photo and sending me the digital image. I think Mom will be surprised! 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

EDiM4 Draw a cup or mug

This is my 'comfort mug' - my everyday mug for my morning coffee.

P.S. My EDiM (Everyday Matters assignments done Every Day in May (well sort of)) posts are going to be out of order as I get an opportunity to attempt them. 

EDiM7 Draw a bottle from the Kitchen

I couldn't stop with just one. I chose 2 of my favorite bottles from the kitchen - Vanilla and Balsamic Vinegar. What a combination!! 

P.S. My EDiM (Everyday Matters assignments done Every Day in May (well sort of)) posts are going to be out of order as I get an opportunity to attempt them. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

EDiM8 Draw a piece of Jewelry

I decided to draw my 'comfort jewelry' -- what I go for day after day - a set of 3 simple, silver cuff bracelets. My very first silver cuff bracelet was given to me by my Grammy years ago when I was a little girl. It was a souvenir from her visit to the Grand Canyon. I still have that small bracelet in my jewelry box and I cherish it. That bracelet got me started on my fondness for these simple pieces of silver jewelry.

This sketch is the 3 bracelets that I wear on most days. The two bracelets on the right were purchased in Williamsburg a few years ago as my souvenirs from a family vacation. The bracelet on the left is a new one that I recently ordered with my own words. I'm very fond of 'quotes' and I'm always scribbling them on scraps of napkins or pieces of paper. But every now and then I ask myself why I don't have the confidence to use my own words more.... instead of always looking for someone else's words. When an opportunity came up to order a bracelet with any words I wanted -- I decided to go with my own words:  
  Find the joy in your life....

These words are a message to myself - an instruction to take the initiative to try to find the bright spots each day.   

P.S. You may notice that I like to do many things in 3's -- because I'm the mom of 3 great sons.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

EDiM3 One of my Art Bags

I have quite a few bags for all different reasons. Several are used for my art supplies. This is one of my "fun" art bags. I purchased it at a Farmer's Market in Morro Bay a couple of years ago. It is made from a pair of recycled jeans for a small girl. Its even got some pink flowers on it and small ruffles - definitely "girly". This bag is certainly different for me being the mother of 3 boys! The bag looked so cute hanging on the rack, but with no daughter to buy one for - at first I looked walked on by. But it sure got my eye and I kept thinking about it - it was hard to ignore. Before long the wheels in my mind were turning and I went back to the denim bag booth. All of a sudden I had an aha moment and thought it would be perfect for some travel art supplies! Bingo! Sold

P.S. My EDiM (Everyday Matters assignments done Every Day in May (well sort of)) posts are going to be out of order as I get an opportunity to attempt them. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Buckingham Palace Guards

I'm just finishing up another wonderful Imaginary Trip with Laure Ferlita to England. I'll be opening my sketchbook to share a few of my journal pages with you .... 

I'm so glad that our adventure began with a visit outside Buckingham Palace so we could capture a view of the Palace Guards. They were quite a sight -- just like I had seen in all of the tour books, and there was a constant stream of visitors outside the Palace gates just trying to catch a glimpse of these popular Palace Guards.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

EDM in EDiM 1: Draw a shoe

EDM in EDiM:  While surfing other blogs recently... I found an interesting idea to keep me busy in May on the blog of Liz and Borromini Bear. I learned about a group who have decided to do a drawing a day in May from the "Everyday Matters" (EDM) list. This seemed like a great idea to encourage me to do more sketching. The timing was almost right... as I am just finishing up a fantastic Imaginary Trip to England class, which is the reason that I haven't started this EDM challenge for May until mid-month. But... thinking positive I figure that I can catch up.  So.... this is my first sketch for EDM in EDiM  (Everyday Matters in May).

Now let me tell you a little more about this shoe....  My husband and I recently enjoyed a short get-away to San Luis Obispo, CA where we went to college. Over the weekend, we met up with my roommate Christy and her husband, and a few others for a mini-reunion of sorts.  Right away I noticed a pair of cute pair of honey colored shoes that Christy was wearing. They looked so cheery - the spiral on the side looked sort of like a smile to me. The next morning I took a walk by myself to the downtown area before the shops had opened. When I walked by a shoe store - I just happened to notice a display of those same shoes in different colors (and some were bright!). I just kept looking at them, and thinking about them on my walk back to the hotel. Later in the day, Christy and I managed to get away to go back to the shoe store so I could try the shoes on. First I went for red... but they weren't quite right for me. Next I went for the dark blue - similar to denim or indigo. Ah.... they felt great and seemed like they would be fun to wear. As soon as we left the shoe store we stopped outside for a picture -- looking down at both of our pairs of shoes. I knew when I snapped the picture that I would want to paint it sometime. Then along came this EDM in EDiM challenge #1 to draw a shoe!!  

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I may be a couple of days late .... but the wishes are the same. I wish you all a 
Happy Mother's Day 

- especially to my Mom!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Place de la Concorde

.... another stop on my journey around Paris.... 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Doing something different - Mission San Jose - San Antonio, Texas

Some may be wondering about the recent silence on my blog - I've been busy with my normal life, Imaginary Trip to England class, and some family travel. Most recently I was in Texas for my oldest son's Winging as a Naval Pilot. This was my first visit to Texas and we managed to spend one night and the better part of two days in San Antonio.  

During my travels, when I was checking some of the blogs I follow, I happened to find a post on Urban Sketchers for several sketches of Mission San Jose in San Antonio, Texas by Paul Heaston!! This was both surprising and interesting to me as I am from San Jose, California where we also have a Mission San Jose. Since we were already planning to visit San Antonio I added the mission to my list of things to visit.  

On Sunday afternoon we visited Mission San Jose in San Antonio. Although I didn't have time to do my own sketches with watercolor, I took many photos that I can use as resources in the future. However, during my visit I was able to do a couple of "rubbings" of a brass plate depicting the mission in the Visitor's Center. Mission San Jose is one of several in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and the Rangers had supplies to do rubbings. I enjoyed doing the rubbings - it was fun doing something different!! and I look forward to doing some watercolor sketches of it from the photos I took.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Musee Rodin

I used a couple of photos off of the Musee Rodin website as inspiration. What a fun place it would be to take a stroll through the gardens.
This second image was painted from a very small and long photo. It is one of my favorites because of the different format.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sacred Heart

Another view of the Sacred Heart in Paris....  also known as La Basilique du Sacre-Coeur.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Another view of the Arc de Triomphe

I've enjoyed sketching the Arc de Triomphe several times before... Recently I decided to sketch it again... but this time I decided to do something a little different after I found an interesting photo using GoogleMaps
Google Maps reference photo:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Afternoon Coffee at the Corner Cafe

I'm dreaming of Paris again.... do you want to join me for a cup of coffee in this cute corner Cafe? 

Friday, April 9, 2010

I remember hearing about the Moulin Rouge

There it is - the famed Moulin Rouge. It opened way back in 1889 and is best known for the CanCan with the fancy costumes. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Coffee Shop Pleasures

A while back I was reading an entry on my oldest son's blog and it instantly made think that his reflection would make a memorable journal page. I printed out his blog entry and put it in my folder of items to paint "someday".  Today was my first Easter that I was unable to celebrate with any of my 3 boys and I missed them all. It is sad how their time at home passes so quickly. Tonight I remembered Ryan's blog entry in my folder of painting ideas, and decided to paint it as a way to add some more 'family' to my day. 

Although I've never visited "Coffee Waves" I have heard lots about it from my son. It sounds so unique and it looks like I will get to visit it before the month is out -- when I visit my son in Texas for his "Winging".  I hope this journal page will be a special keepsake for him to remember this special place in Texas as he moves back to Florida for more flight training.  

P.S. "Coffee Waves" is in Corpus Christi, Texas and all of the written prose in the journal page (except for leftmost margin) is taken directly from my son's blog.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kids can be a challenge ....

I'll bet that something came to mind other than a sunset... Let me explain... my kids periodically challenge me to paint something like a sunset or artwork for a beer label. Most recently, my son Sean left me another teasing phone message about a beautiful sunset in San Luis Obispo. I have painted a couple of these before (see one and two). I find it's an interesting exercise to paint a scene just from some words without any visual reference -- good practice. I have fun transcribing the phone message onto my journal page with my painted image to capture more of the memory. 

Thanks Sean for the latest challenge!!!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The end of my day at the beach

Ah... it's the end of the day and that means it is the end of my trip to the beach (oops I mean end of my beach 'class').  I had a wonderful time soaking up the sun, the fresh air, the colorful sights of the beach, and painting!! I made new friends and I think my Beach Buddies had a great time too!! 

..... I better start packing for my trip to England!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gathering shells on the beach

I love walking on the beach and picking up shells and rocks along the way. It always feels like a treasure hunt. Through the years I've collected many memories of walking on the beach with my parents, my husband, my boys, and many friends. It always provides me with a "breath of fresh air" from my day-to-day life. 

Yesterday was my grandmother's birthday. I called her Grammy. Thinking about what I wanted to post on my blog - I remembered this beach image and how fitting it would be to share it in celebration of Grammy's birthday. She introduced my mother and I to the wise words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and I still treasure her copy of the "Gifts from the Sea" book.   Thanks Grammy!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Off in Paris again

My infrequent posts are the result of keeping myself busy in two different classes with Laure Ferlita. The Beach class just finished and we're just finishing up another trip to Paris. I sure have had fun traveling around Paris again!!  I'll post some more images from Paris in the coming days. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A little bit of green ....

Its St. Patrick's Day ... and I didn't paint a special image for today so I went looking in my recent images to find something to share with you. I decided on Old Mr. Turtle as his shell has some deep greens...  I hope you all have a special St. Patrick's Day today and I hope you're wearing some green too!

Old Mr. Turtle and I offer you this familiar Irish Blessing to celebrate the day....
May the road rise to meet you,
may the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

P.S. While I've got my turtle here... I'll leave you with some turtle wisdom:
Try to be like the turtle -- at ease in your own shell   

Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.
James Bryant Conant

Have a great St. Patrick's Day!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Come walk with me to the beach ....

Come walk with me to the beach.... feel the fresh sea air blowing through your hair, walk barefoot in the sand, get your feet wet, look for beach treasures and take it all in ....
..... b r e a t h e ......