Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tulips to brighten a cold day

Its been a very cold winter here in California, with very little rain to speak of. I'm used to green hills this time of year, but without the rain we're left with unexciting brown hills. When I saw these beautiful tulips in the grocery store, they really caught my attention. I decided to treat myself and mom to bouquets of the tulips to brighten the cold winter days. My idea sure worked for me - the tulips brought warmth like sunshine on a bitter cold day. I also had fun sketching and painting the crystal vase that my parents gave me years ago.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Twenty-five and a half hours in San Luis Obispo...

Twenty-five and a half hours in San Luis Obispo (or as the locals say "SLO town") ...

Last weekend my husband and I drove about 3 hours each way to spend what turned out to be 25.5 hours in San Luis Obispo, California. We're very attached to this sweet little town where we both attended college, and where two of our sons have attended as well. This time we went to visit our middle son, Sean, as he is finishing up his Architecture degree. Although we were only there for 25.5 hours, we sure fit a lot into our time, starting with wine tasting when we arrived at 4pm.

This page is my keepsake of our weekend. We were sad when it was time to head home Sunday evening. But, I managed to bring part of our weekend home with us - my journal page 2 bottles of wine, and "goodie bags" filled with our son's homemade Toffee Chip cookies that he made during the football game. It was a wonderful weekend and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with our son. Lots of memories to treasure!

I think Oprah and National Geographic's "Thrive" have the right idea in calling San Luis Obispo "The happiest city in America". That sounds pretty good to me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Orleans Adventure: Mardi Gras World

Its a new year.... but I am working on some unfinished business from 2011. I'm continuing to work on finishing my travel journal of my Watercolor Adventure in New Orleans with Laure Ferlita and some other special women. I posted the first two double page spreads last year (first and second), and this post contains my next set of pages.

What a fun adventure I had at Mardi Gras World! There was to much to SEE!!! and I learned so much more about Mardi Gras than I ever would have imagined. When Laure first suggested that we all find a spot and take a seat for awhile and sketch ... I sort of blanked out -- what should I choose. I remembered the sun image as we first entered the big room (from the intro room w/King cake) - it was lying near the door and it was a happy image that appealed to me - so I chose it first (but sketched it later). Then, wandering around I spotted Leonardo... and I just couldn't focus on anything else. Leonardo touched on some special memories with my 3 sons when they were enamored with the Turtles. In some ways I think sketching and painting Leonardo was less intimidating than trying to capture a real person - even though there are similarities in the overall shapes.

I've got plans for many more pages and it will be fun to relive my adventure as I work on the remaining pages.

P.S. I plan to add the small fold-over, credit card size promo for Mardi-Gras World. I plan to stitch it into the seam between pages 6 and 7 - so all 4 sides will be visible and not take up any space on these 2 pages.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Clementines from the backyard

I thought I better capture a few of these Clementines from our dwarf tree in the backyard before we pick them and forget that we had some. I think this is the first real (although small) harvest since we planted it 10 years ago when my youngest was in 2nd grade. His teacher introduced us to Clementines and my little guy was smitten right away.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Twas a few weeks after....

Yes, one more holiday related post here. As I put away our Christmas decorations, I kept 5 ornaments out for sketching. I've captured one of these ornaments on this page and I'll save the others for later in the year when I'm thinking about holiday cards for 2012. Once I had sketched my little Santa here... I put the green pen in my hand and some silly words started flowing and filling the page. Hope you get a chuckle.

Now.... on with 2012!!!

P.S. Now I get to go paint my square on my 2012 Art Calendar!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm going to do it again ...

Back in 2009 I adopted 2 practices that helped me focus on my art and added meaning to my year.

One practice was to make and start keeping an
Art calendar, to keep track of the days that I incorporated some 'art' in the day, and to encourage me to do more art in my days. At the end of the day, it has become a treat for me to color in a square on my simple homemade calendar if I have done something art related. The color I choose might be reflective of the colors that I painted with that day. I've punched holes in the calendar so I can keep it in my daytimer. Whenever I open my daytimer to the calendar, just seeing the colors and the reminder of 'art' makes me smile. I enjoy this so much that I've found myself thinking 'I want to do art tonight so I can fill-in a square'. It must sound silly, but, there is something motivational to me to fill in a square with a little spot of color each day. It is fun to watch my colorful calendar quilt emerge as I get further into the year.

I originally found the art calendar idea on Margaret Ann's website. Have you tried keeping an art calendar? or does it sound like an interesting idea to you? Let me know what you think of this.

You may notice the big word, Sparkle, on my calendar this year. That is my Word for 2012. Choosing a word for the year
helps me set my intentions for the year. This is another practice that I started back in 2009 (my word for 2009 was 'Bloom', 2010 was 'Clarity', and 2010 was 'Color my world'). I like to put my word of the year on my art calendar to keep it on my mind. I have found it interesting, fun, and rewarding to adopt a special word or phrase of intention for the year. The word also gives me a lens to reflect with as I go through the year. With a new 'empty nest' at home (youngest son has gone off to college), 'Sparkle' captures for me that this is a year for me to branch out more as an individual (as well as reconnect with my husband) than focusing on being a mom. Holding the word 'Sparkle' in mind encourages me to look for ways to put more art and creativity in my days. We'll see how it goes...

I originally learned of the 'Word of the year' idea from Christine Kane's website, and I've seen it mentioned on several other websites or articles since. Have you ever adopted a word for the year? what was your experience like? or does it sound like an interesting idea for 2012?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!

The end of 2011 arrived with a spectacular sunset this evening. I guess that is sort of fitting for the 'end' or sunset of the year.

When I returned home this evening after running some errands, and as I was carrying in my bags, I was suddenly stuck by the colorful sunset in the sky. Fortunately, I thought to pause and appreciate it, and then I quickly ran in the house to grab my camera. I took a couple of photos of this view, looking down my street between the other homes. As I waited for the clock to approach midnight, I was in another world as I painted this scene to remember.

Happy New Year!!
I wish you all a wonderful year in 2012!
-- Claire