Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!

Merry Christmas to all the blog friends. I wish you a wonderful holiday with your family and friends, and I hope Santa stopped by and treated you well...

As the holiday winds down this coming week, I look forward to getting back to my 'art toys' and doing some more watercolor journaling. I hope you'll stop by again to visit.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Let me introduce you .....

I hope my incomplete title caught your interest .... as I have something exciting that I want to share with you. I recently came across Leslie Fehling's charming Irish travel journal on her blog and I think you will enjoy it too.

Leslie recently traveled to
Ireland with her mother and she has captured priceless memories of their adventure in her sketchbook journal. It has been fascinating for me to follow along as she has posted the different pages on her blog. Leslie's images that I have posted here are just a small taste of what is waiting for you over on her blog. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, take a stroll over to Leslie's blog, and have a look at her charming Irish Journal. You're in for a treat!!

P.S. The link I provided above will go to the most recent post on Leslie's blog - which right now is the last portion of the Irish travel journal. Use this link to go directly to the first page of Leslie's Irish Journal.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My home away from home in New Orleans

This is the second 2-page spread in my NOLA journal - pages 4 and 5. I loved the Place d'Armes Hotel and I felt right at home in my room. I loved the quaintness, homey feel, and even the quirkiness of the hotel - and my room was an obvious choice to capture in my journal. It was GREAT that we were living right in the French Quarter - it really made me feel that we were 'living' the adventure - rather than commuting in to be a 'visitor' (or 'observer') to the French Quarter each day.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The beginning of an unbelievable adventure

Just a month ago I stepped out to do something very different for me. I had been looking forward to this trip since early in the year, and I was super excited and filled with anticipation as the time grew near. My adventure started as I took a week off of work and flew by myself to New Orleans to meet (for the first time) Laure Ferlita and 7 other women for NOLA Live! The adventure truly was "An Artist's Painting Holiday"!!!

I'm not used to traveling alone, I'm usually with family members. So there were more than a few butterflies in my stomach as my plane took off! Once I landed it still felt a little unfamiliar to get a cab by myself and just show up at the reserved hotel. I checked in, got my key, and went to my room by myself to unload my things. It was a quick stop as I hurried back down to the lobby to meet the group and go to dinner. It was an amazing intro - from the moment I met everyone it felt as if I had just rejoined a bunch of long time friends. During the magical week we explored the quaint French Quarter together, sketched and painted in our journals, walked and walked, chatted a bunch, and ate amazing meals too! It was all so much fun!

We had numerous sketching opportunities during the week to work in our journals. Since I have returned home I have continued working on sketches and adding memorabilia to my journal to record my adventure. Tonight I'm posting the first 2-page spread in my journal, and I'll continue to post the other pages as I work my way through my journal.

Pointing out a couple of things on these 2 pages - the portable chair that I carried EVERYWHERE to use for sketching, and Tujagues a charming old restaurant where we enjoyed our first meal together (Sunday dinner).

P.S. I am excited about the watercolor journal that I used for the trip. It was made by Lori Vliegan of Elvie Studio. The cover says 'Always follow your heart' and that is just what I did in traveling to New Orleans for this special adventure.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Where did the summer go? .... A view of St. Peters

This is a view of St. Peters in Italy. You might be thinking that I visited Italy over the summer... well not quite. I took another imaginary adventure with Laure Ferlita, and loved journeying through Italy from my dining room table. It would have been even better if I'd really been in Italy, but I'll have to save that experience for another time... when all the kids are out of college.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Admiralty Head Lighthouse - view from afar

First view of Admiralty Head Lighthouse (WA) - Claire

This page was painted from a photo that my son sent me back in June of the Admiralty Head Lighthouse in Washington state .... he took the picture as he passed by on his bike. He knows how I've developed an interest in lighthouses over the years. I looked up this lighthouse on the web to find out more about it. To my surprise.... I found out that my son's view of the lighthouse only captures the top floor. There is more that you can't see from this image.

We later visited my son and I got to see the 'whole thing' for myself and take pictures for future paintings.

They just caught my eye....

These are tiles on a retaining wall in San Luis Obispo, California. I discovered the tiles when we took our middle son back to college. We were actually in route to an art festival, but I couldn't resist looking at these tiles as we parked the car. I decided to snap a quick photo of them to use for a sketch later. Just a reminder to me .... that I can find a subject to sketch just about anywhere.... and its time to get back into the practice/habit of frequently sketching and painting. I'm glad to be back!!

P.S. This is painted in my handmade leather journal that contains handmade paper. It is a different experience working with the handmade paper, but it is fun to work with something that feels so organic or relaxed. It contributes to the informal style of the sketch. This isn't the journal that I usually work in, but it is fun to work in it for a change.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Shuttle Memories

The final Shuttle, Atlantis, landed this morning at 5:57pm. It marked the end of NASA's 30 year shuttle program. The first shuttle launched back on April 12, 1981. It amazes me to think that there have been 135 shuttle missions with 355 space flyers! What an incredible history!! I have fond memories of my husband, and all 3 of our boys and their interest in the Space Shuttles. Together we have watched numerous launches, landings, and broadcasts from space.

Back in February my son Ryan drove several hours in Florida to see the Discovery make her final launch. What a memorable site for a boy who grew up with toy Space Shuttles and a desire to be an astronaut. A photo that he took during the launch inspired the painting on the left.

I tip my hat to NASA - its been an incredible ride!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wandering through Coupeville - Whidbey Island

After visiting the Farmer's Market in Coupeville, we enjoyed wandering through town.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Good Morning Whidbey Island!!

My husband and I recently visited our oldest son in his new home on Whidbey Island in Washington State. I painted this from a not-so-great, out-the-car-window photo as we drove by on the first morning. I was really taken by the beautiful sites in the area and I have many more pictures to paint from.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy 4th of July

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July !! It sure was HOT here in California!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day 2011

Yesterday, two of my sons and I celebrated Father's Day by taking my husband to lunch at Aldo's at the Santa Cruz Harbor. It was a beautiful day as we sat on the deck at the edge of the water, and we enjoyed this view while we ate our delicious lunch. We had fun watching the sailboats that were going out along with a few paddle-surfboards to enjoy the wonderful summer day in California.

Aldo's was an appropriate place to celebrate Father's Day for another reason. I learned about Aldo's from my own Dad before he passed away in 2001. Regrettably I never got to visit Aldo's with Dad, but I'm grateful to know how much he and my mom enjoyed it. While enjoying our time at Aldo's yesterday, I kept thinking of my Dad and how much I miss him. With the sentimental connections, this charming cafe is a very special place for my mom and my family to come.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hoppin' Prop label

My oldest son brewed Hoppin' Prop for his graduating class from flight school in Jacksonville. The plane on the label is a P3. Classmates and teachers enjoyed celebrating their big milestone with this special brew. All of the new P3 pilots are now off to their first squadron assignments. Congratulations to the new P3 pilots!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!!

Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, comrades and friends - but only one mother in the whole world.
Kate Douglas Wiggin

Mom - you're one of a kind and I love you bunches!
Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Stones Everywhere

For some time I've really been intrigued by stone groupings or structures, many of which are in Ireland. I had hoped to see some recently during our real visit but we didn't have time to check them out. So.... I'll have to wait for a future trip to see some up close. In the meantime.... I can imagine seeing them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another Imaginary Day in Ireland

If only these walls could talk ... imagine the stories they could tell dating all the way back to 1228!! At one point the Castle was an estate for the Guinness family, and in the early 1950's the John Wayne movie, 'The Quiet Man' was filmed here.

Today the Ashford Castle is a resort hotel covering cover 350 acres, and a wide range of possible activities for guests. The grounds are beautiful and tranquil. Guests are lodged in 72 bedrooms, 5 state rooms, and 6 suites, which are all uniquely decorated in historic decor. Wouldn't it be fun to visit? 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dreaming of a trip to Ireland

I recently finished an Imaginary Trip to Ireland with Laure Ferlita, and then I also had a short 3 day real visit to Ireland with my husband and middle son.

As I did my assignments for the Imaginary class, I had a sneaky suspicion that the "Cliffs of Moher" might be on my middle son's wish list for Ireland. Two years ago he sat daydreaming on our couch with a LARGE photo book of Ireland (about 12 in  by 15.5 inches) and he used green stickies to mark on a map in the book the sites he wanted to see when he could arrange a trip to Ireland. Well... half way through his study abroad year he has visited many, many countries in Europe but he still hadn't arranged with any friends to visit Ireland yet. So... when my husband and I went to visit him in Copenhagen last month .... we managed a 3 day side venture to Ireland. Unfortunately with our time constraints (only 3 days in Ireland) we weren't able to fit in a visit to the Cliffs of Moher. We'll have to leave it for a future visit. But, on this page I tried to capture a representation of my memory of my son, the big picture book of Ireland, and his green stickies as he was daydreaming at home. We had a great time in Ireland and I came home with many pictures to sketch from.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

More family collaboration

My oldest son continues with his homebrewing hobby and this post contains the latest beer labels that we collaborated on. He gets pretty creative in brewing his batches of beer from scratch - and he comes up with interesting names for them. Working on the labels has been an interesting adventure for us in collaboration over the internet - he sends me the info, I make up a label and send him the jpeg. He prints them out and applies them to his bottles. Of course.... it would be even better if we were under the same roof and could taste his creations together!! 

Links to previous posts for beer labels:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Beginning to explore Ireland

The page on the calendar has turned to March, the hills near home are green, and St. Patrick's day is coming soon. I'm starting to feel a bit Irish.  All together it seems like the perfect time to do some exploring of Ireland. I'm doing just that as I'm traveling on another imaginary trip with Laure Ferlita through Ireland. I continute to be amazed at how much fun and how much learning that I get out of these 'imaginary trips' .... without ever leaving home!! 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mouse Love

Thinking of Valentine's Day reminded me of a cute Messenger of Love that my parents used through the years to deliver their messages of love to each other. We never had real mice at my home growing up, but through the years there were many mice on cards and notes, and little mice figurines in the house. Since Dad passed away in 2001, I've taken over for him and I periodically find a special mouse to give my mom. She has even given me a few. I'm quite fond of the "Charming Tails" figurines that often feature mice, and I decided that one would be a good model for my page. The only problem was that I couldn't remember which Valentine Mice that Mom has... (and I didn't have any pictures of her mice). So, I searched the internet for a Charming Tails mouse to use as a model for my sketch. This Cheese guy looked so cute that not only did I sketch and paint him.... but I also ordered one to give Mom for Valentine's Day. Just a little surprise.... I had for her this year.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Special Valentine Memory

Valentine's Day is fast approaching .....  here is a special Valentine memory from my husband in the past.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thinking of Valentine's Day around the corner .... and blooming roses ....

I always think of roses around Valentine's day. But, in the moment ...I'm still busy with my annual rose pruning. None of my rose bushes is blooming at the moment, and as I'm poked by the thorns while I'm pruning - I need to remember that the blooms will come with time and they will each share their beauty. I 'm looking forward the beginning of their blooming season.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A few focus words for my year in 2011

Ok, now that my last Christmas ornament has been put away.... I can move on to 2011 thoughts/plans/ideas etc.The past 2 years I've followed others and adopted a word for the year. 2009 was 'Bloom' and 2010 was 'Clarity'. Over the holidays I let different words float around in my head - as I wondered what word would accompany me in 2011?  

I finally adopted the words 'Color My World' for 2011. I got the idea of these words when I saw a rubber stamp on the Elvie Studio blog with the words "Color Your World'. I was instantly smitten with the darling stamp - but more importantly, the words just kept nudging me. I know this phrase is more than a single word, but there is an idea here that really speaks to me for 2011. It might be another way of saying 'Intention' for the year, and I've changed the middle word to 'My' to make it more personal.

In the past couple of years I have realized how important color is in my life. My current passion for color is most obvious with sketching and painting. But, beyond luscious watercolors... I'm drawn to color in flowers, colorful foods at the farmer's market, sprinkles for cookies/cupcakes, fabrics, papers, beads or jewels, paints, pens, pencils, or even crayons. Sometimes I wear something colorful, but usually I prefer to wear neutrals. But I find that my spirits are lifted when I have colors around.

Beyond the colors of the rainbow, the phrase "Color My World" reminds me that I have some amount of choice, initiative or intention to contribute. Just how do I want to color:  
my life? 
a particular day? 
my role as mom? wife? daughter? sister? friend?
my art?

I have a couple of quotes/reflections on crayons to ponder through the year.  Each day I can consider and reflect - what colors are in my box of crayons today

I'm looking forward to a colorful year in 2011, and I wish you a colorful 2011 as well.

Looking for more info? see the following links:
 - 'Word of the Year' - Christine Kane
 - Color Your World rubber stamp - Elvie Studio on Etsy

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year - Welcome 2011

Happy New Year!
Happy Sketching and Happy Painting in 2011!