Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Media

Here is another picture I did yesterday using my new oil pastels with watercolor:

I'm pleased with the color on this one.  The basic technique I used here was to do my pencil sketch directly on my good paper (so I wouldn't have to transfer it) and then apply the oil pastel to the head & blouse,  followed by watercolor washes for the background and jacket.  I also used colored pencil for the small details.
This one will be going in my PaintSpatter shop.  I think I'm going to have a separate shop for my mom's paintings also, because it looks a little jumbled to have two artists on the same place.  It will take some time to move her paintings to a new shop.... and then I'll have FOUR SHOPS!  That's a lot of shops!  It's fun though  :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ponies, Goats, and Sheep

I have passed this fenced-in pasture a number of times, but this day I happened to have my camera with me and decided on impulse to stop and make the acquaintance of the miniature ponies that live there  :)

Click on the bottom picture to see a short video:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gleebella's Step-Sisters

Here are two Martian beauties  :)

N says this doesn't do anything for him.  They are rather repulsive, I admit.  They were fun to draw, though!  And I can't help thinking that having four tentacled eyes like the Martian's on the right would be a wonderful thing for a teacher --- the kids would never be able to get away with anything!  :)   

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Better Gleebella

Here is my latest Gleebella:

This one turned out much better, I think.  It is truly multi-media --- it is mostly water color and oil pastel, but also a little gouache, colored pencil, and ink!  I like the new paper I got from Dick Blick.  It is Strathmore 400 series Mixed Media vellum surface, comes in a 9x12 pad.  The watercolor flows on very smoothly and lifts off easily (which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage, I suppose), and it took the oil pastels very well also.
I will be putting this one in the shop tonight.  Next I think I might illustrate Gleebella's step-sisters, green skin, tentacles, and all --- ought to be fun  :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fractured Fairytale

Dug up an old assignment I did for my Children's Lit class & polished it up a bit and did an illustration for it, which I plan to put on my Home Sweet Teapot etsy shop.  Here is the story:

"Gleebella:  A Martian Cinderella"

Once upon a time, in the far northeastern quadrant of the Red Planet, there lived in the dusty crater of Nogwop a wealthy spiff who had three gawbs.  The two eldest gawbs were lovely creatures, with greenish skin the color of moldy cheese, and four long-lashed smurky tentacles each, which were crimped and craizzled in the very latest style.

The youngest gawb, however, who was the offspring of the spiff's first grazt (now deceased) was a mutant.  Her skin was not an attractively mottled green and she had no tentacles at all!
Her name was Gleebella.  She was double bi-appendaged and had only two eyes on the front part of her top anatomy.  No Martian could look at her without shuddering, and her family was so ashamed of her that she was forbidden to ever set foot outside the hutzel lest any unsuspecting stranger should chancely encounter a glimpse of her and die from a shrik-attack.

The two eldest gawbs did not want her even to be allowed the run of the hutzel, and begged the spiff to confine her permanently to the smallest and meanest room.

"She is not even worthy to do the lowliest of chores, dear Spiff," they insisted.  "We cannot stand to have her anywhere near us ---- she makes our tentacles shrivel up in disgust!"

And so, even though Gleebella was his own gawb, the spiff agreed that she should be kept in isolation from the rest of his hutzelhold.

Poor Gleebella!  Clear salty liquid oozed from her loathsome eyes quite frequently, and she would soon have faded forlornly away and died from sheer grief and loneliness were it not for the fact that her small prison had one small window, high up in the wall, through which she could see glimpses of the bright blue sky through the tangled branches of the lollilanga tree which grew very near the hutzel.  Sometimes little mogwils and thripterboozles would perch on a twig and trill sweet songlets there.

One day Gleebella made a tremendous discovery.  She had moved her bare cot against the wall directly under the window and stacked the old crate which served as her nightstand on top of it, and then balanced herself precariously on top of the crate.  Through this expedient she was able to reach the window ---- and, oh joy of joys! --- when she pushed against the glass she found it was unlocked!

Gleebella tremblingly pushed the window open and crawled through it onto the branches of the lollilanga tree.  It was wonderful to be outside, and after that day she would often leave her room through the small, high window, climb down the lollilanga tree, carefully skirt the cluster of hutzels which made up the town, and go on solitary walks through the starkly cratered and eerily empty landscape.

It was on one of these walks that Gleebella found the magic steel pod.  Or perhaps it found her.  Anyway, she turned the corner of a tall red boulder one day and there it was --- a shiny box-like object with variously-shaped protuberances covering its surface.  It propelled itself along the ground by means of long, spindly, jointed motion-rods, emitting whiny little beeping sounds as it went.

"Oh!" exclaimed Gleebella, and tried to back away.  She tripped and fell in her haste and the magic pod advanced towards her.  Before she even had time to gasp, it had grasped her locomoting appendage by the end and pulled a flexible, transparent material over it; which quickly solidified as it molded itself around her foot.  Gleebella was very frightened.  She jumped up and fled, with the transparent thing which encased her foot hindering but not preventing her wild dash back to the hutzel.

Gleebella remained in her room for three days.  She had tried to remove the thing on her foot, but it would not come off.  There were strange symbols on it --- they looked like this:  "SPECIMEN 345".  Gleebella worried about it.  The spiff always came to see her for a few minutes every month, and it would soon be time for his visit.  How could she possibly explain this thing on her foot?

When the spiff finally came, however, on the fourth day, there in the doorway next to him stood his two eldest gawbs; a tall, splendidly robed Martian who was a stranger to Gleebella; and the magic steel pod!

"But you're making a terrible mistake."  the oldest of the spiff's gawbs was saying peevishly.  "You can't possibly want to see Gleebella!  She is a mutant.  No Martian lord could bear even to look at her, much less take her to visit his shining sky ship!"

The Martian lord, however, did not seem to be disgusted by Gleebella's appearance.  Slowly he came forward into the room and knelt down in front of Gleebella where she sat astonished and dismayed on the edge of her dingy cot.

"May I?"  he asked her.

Gleebella wordlessly held out her foot, and gently he pulled the transparent thing off and placed it into a receptacle in the magic steel pod.

"You do not know me, Gleebella," he said, "but I have the spiff's permission to ask you to visit me at my sky ship.  Will you come?"

As if in a dream, Gleebella rose and followed the Martian lord.  They left the hutzel and entered a hovercruz, which zoomed them quickly to a large, shining sky ship which was tethered about 30 kurgs outside Nogwop.  Once they were inside the ship, the Martian lord turned to Gleebella, asked her not to be frightened, and then unzipped his skin!  And stepped out of it!  He was not a Martian at all, but was wearing a disguise!  And the truly amazing thing was ----

"You're a mutant, too!"  exclaimed Gleebella.

"You are one of us, Gleebella."  explained the Martian lord who was not really a Martian.  "We are Earthlings and we live on a planet called Earth.  You are not a mutant at all, but were stolen as a young child from your Earthling mother by the spiff's first grazt.  She thought you were a Martian child, but when she died and you outgrew your disguise, you were taken to be a mutant.  We have only been able to locate you now because you happened to encounter one of our data-gathering pods."

It was all too much for Gleebella.  Salty liquid again began to ooze from her eyes... but this time...

"Don't cry, dearest."  said the Earthling commander (Martian lord) softly.  "You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.  Will you marry me and live with me here in my sky ship happily ever after?"

"Oh, yes!"  said Gleebella.

And they did.


And here is the illustration:  the pencil sketch:

and the watercolor and ink illustration:

I like the pencil sketch much better, actually.  It has a certain delicacy and expression which the finished piece does not.  Why is it so difficult to transfer the liveliness of an original sketch into a finished work?  Well, this one is a reject.  I will have to try again.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


The sermon this morning was on "Beating the Daily Grind", and the first thing advised was to learn to be content.  That was also part of what we studied in Ecclesiastes in morning Bible Study.  It reminded me of a passage from Jerome K. Jerome's "Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)".  This book, written in 1889, is still in print today, but since it's in the public domain you can read it for free on Project Gutenberg, or download it for free to your Kindle. (You could even check it out from the library :)   I have an old hardcover edition which I happened across years ago in a thrift shop, printed by Geo.M.Hill Co., Chicago, in 1889 (and I also have it on my Kindle :)  )  If you've never read it, I heartily recommend it.  It has a universal and timeless appeal.  The first time I read it, I had to get up and leave the library because I was laughing so hard out loud.  It has some more serious little gems, too, as well as humor.

Anyway, one of my favorite passages in "Three Men in a Boat" is the one where George and Harris and J are writing up a list of what to take with them on their proposed boating trip:

"The first list we made out had to be discarded.  It was clear that the upper reaches of the Thames would not allow of the navigation of a boat sufficiently large to take the things we had set down as indispensible; so we tore the list up, and looked at one another.

George said:
"You know we are on a wrong track altogether.  We must not think of the things we could do with, but only of the things that we can't do without."

George comes out really quite sensible at times.  You'd be surprised.  I call that downright wisdom, not merely as regards the present case, but with reference to our trip up the river of life generally.  How many people, on that voyage, load up the boat till it is ever in danger of swamping with a store of foolish things which they think essential to the pleasure and comfort of the trip, but which are really only useless lumber.

How they pile the poor craft mast-high with fine clothes and big houses; with useless servants, and a host of swell friends that do not care twopence for them, and that they do not care three ha'pence for; with expensive entertainments that nobody enjoys, with formalities and fashions, with pretense and ostentation, and with ---- oh, heaviest, maddest lumber of all! --- the dread of what will my neighbor think, with luxuries that only cloy, with pleasures that bore, with empty show that, like the criminal's iron crown of yore, makes to bleed and swoon the aching head that wears it!

It is lumber, man --- all lumber!  Throw it overboard.  It makes the boat so heavy to pull you nearly faint at the oars.  It makes it so cumbersome and dangerous to manage, you never know a moment's freedom from anxiety and care, never gain a moment's rest for dreamy laziness --- no time to watch the windy shadows skimming lightly o'er the shallows, or the glittering sunbeams flitting in and out among the ripples, or the great trees by the margin looking down at their own image, or the woods all green and golden, or the lilies white and yellow, or the somber-waving rushes, or the sedges, or the orchids, or the blue forget-me-nots.

Throw the lumber over, man!  Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need --- a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.

You will find the boat easier to pull then, and it will not be so liable to upset, and it will not matter so much if it does upset; good, plain merchandise will stand water.  You will have time to think as well as to work --- time to drink in life's sunshine --- time to listen to the Aeolian music that the wind of God draws from the human heart-strings around us --- time to ---

I beg your pardon, really.  I quite forgot.

Well, we left the list to George, and he began it.

"We won't take a tent," suggested George; "we will have a boat with a cover.....

Interested?  Get hold of a copy and curl up with a big bowl of nice salty popcorn (popped in olive oil on the stove in your large-size pan)(don't forget the secret to tender popcorn --- lift the lid a crack when it begins to pop to let the steam escape), and enjoy!  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gouache and Ralph Parker

I was looking up painting tips on gouache on the internet and came across an interesting site / blog.  Ralph Parker is an artist is in his sixties (retired) who has just moved into a motor home and is planning to paint while travelling full-time and doing art shows along the way --- very intriguing!  He works in gouache and his paintings are lovely:

Click here to go to his blog:

Monday, December 12, 2011


A photo I took years ago at a nursing home:  "Friends"

Click on link below picture below to see a video "Glorious Sky".

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Paving Porches Etc

N has been figuring and calculating and thinking about putting either pavers or tiles on our front and back porches.  This has been going on for at least a month.... well, this week the decision was made.  Pavers were ordered and delivered, and yesterday when I arrived home, I was surprised to see them already in place on the back porch.  Well, maybe not really surprised.  I know my husband by  now; he is a Type A and doesn't know the meaning of "take your time".  Anyway, today he did the front porch.  After the pavers are laid out in their pattern, you have to drizzle sand into the cracks between them, then sweep it up, then water it down, then repeat.  Getting sand down into the interstices keeps the pavers locked into place.  They were wobbly before we put the sand in (I helped this morning) but now it's just like a real floor!  At least the part that we did.  Still have more than half left to do.  Here is what it looks like:

I feel fine.  I didn't really do that much -- besides admire the result :)  -- but N is very stiff and sore.  That's what happens when you are a can't-take-it-slow-go-getter!  I have rubbed N's knee and elbow with camphophenique, and hopefully it will feel better soon.
Doesn't it look nice?
Here is a pitcher of fresh white daisies.  We had some people over about a week ago and I got the flowers to make the table look nice.  The house looks nice, too!  It gets cleaned much better than usual when we have company...

Today I had to throw out most of the daisies, but there were still a few that are still fresh --- here they are in a small glass vase:

Tracked my Dick Blick order this afternoon -- it's on schedule, and should be on my doorstep by Tuesday.  I just love getting packages in the mail... I hope the delivery man will appreciate our beautiful new paved entry way  :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Alice's Flamingoes?

Was looking through my photos and noticed these pictures I took of flamingoes in Busch Gardens.  They make me think of Alice in Wonderland.

I love their lovely luscious pink feathers and the funny way they tuck their long curvy necks into their folded wings.  I haven't had much time lately for it, but I've been looking through some of my photos for things to paint.  Last night I ordered some oil pastels and some gouache from Dick Blick --- 2 mediums I've never tried, and I'm looking forward to experimenting with them.  Maybe I will try to paint some flamingoes....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lots of Blessings to Count

Thinking about thankfulness.  It seems that the older I get, the more aware I am of how much there is to be thankful for.  For one thing, I don't take good health for granted anymore.  Just being able to wake up in the morning and open your eyes to a new day is a wonderful blessing.  And I am so thankful for my family, and for my home.  My home is such a comfortable and comforting place.  I'm thankful for my eyesight -- it's not as good as it used to be, but it's so wonderful to be able to see.  I can imagine how astounding it must have been for the man born blind in John 9 to suddenly receive sight.  And this wonderful gift is something I have had all my life!  The older I get, the more I appreciate COLOR, too.  Here in Florida the sky is very blue.  Sometimes I just look up and up and up and drink in all the blueness.  I could go on and on; once you start counting your blessings, it's easy to keep adding to the list.  Of course the greatest blessing and the greatest gift is Jesus.

One special thing I'm thankful for is the interest in art and in creative things which I believe my mother inculcated in me -- it adds so much to life to have an interest like that.  I truly enjoy drawing and painting; I just wish I had more time for it!

Here are a couple of sketches of hands from one of my old sketch books:

Sunday, November 20, 2011


So far working from photos has not been much of a success...  but I will keep plugging away at it.  If you keep going, eventually something clicks.  I was going to post my painting I've been working on from an old photo, but it turned out bleah, so I won't.

Here is another sketch from an old sketchbook....  my younger nephew.  He did NOT want to pose!  That's why I drew some horns on his head  :)   he was being very difficult about it.  I remember it as if it were yesterday, and now he's married and has two of the sweetest little girls you ever saw, and a third one on the way.  Where does the time go?  It slips away like a coin vanishing from a magician's fingers.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Painting from Photos

It's hard to find the time (not to mention a model) to paint from life, so I have been looking through old photos to paint from.  Here are some sketches from a photo I am working on:

I'm trying to paint this with acrylics, but am feeling sort of uncomfortable with it.  I like acrylic fine for my whimsical stuff, but I really want to be able to blend better.  So I am thinking what to do...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Quickie Post

Just a quick post.  Here is a little doodle from an old sketchbook...  Click on the link below it and you will see something cute!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gargoyles, Otters, and Sir Isaac Newton

At my recent visit to Busch Gardens I took this picture of some beautiful orange halyconia.  I thought it was bird-of-paradise, but N just came in and says it is halyconia (only he's not sure of the spelling :)

If you click on the above link you will see a short video of three very cute otters and also some cute children who were watching them, enthralled, also from my visit to B.G.
After I uploaded this to YouTube, I was amused to see how many other videos of otters there were, also entitled "Playful Otters".  The word "otters" and the word "playful" just go together!

And here are some old sketches.  I've been going through my old sketchbooks lately.  It's odd how a sketch can bring back the past ... I used to sit in the 4th floor lobby of the university library between classes --- they had a comfortable black leather padded bench there --- and study.  There was a large glass display case in the middle of the lobby, and I used to look up and see this stone gargoyle crouching on a shelf inside.

It was some sort of medieval display; and in a small room leading off one end of the lobby there was an exhibit of medieval manuscripts.  During all the hours I sat there in the lobby I never saw anyone go into that small room to look at them.  One day I went in to see them.  I thought they were pretty amazing, but then I'm the kind of person who is impressed by antiquity.  I just think it's awesome to stand just a few inches away from a fragile thing like a piece of paper or parchment, covered with marks of ink (including some beautifully colored illuminations) and realize those marks were made by a human being who's been dust for centuries.  The man who made those marks is gone from the earth, but the ink and paper remains.  You can't help but wonder if he ever wondered... about time... and connections... In his time there were no cell phones, no planes or rockets or antibiotics or computers or any of the multitude of  gadgets we take for granted.  But the issues of the human heart were the same, and human creativity still uses ink on paper to preserve meaning.
Which brings me to Sir Isaac Newton, but unfortunately this post has taken longer than I thought it would, and I need to go make myself a mushroom omelette for supper now.  So Sir Isaac will have to wait til my next post.  :)PLAYFUL OTTERS

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Blog

Well I have done a couple of posts now for my new blog.   Click on Elspeth's picture to go there  :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Busch Garden Bird

Here is a very short video of a bird I took at Busch Gardens.  Not sure what it is, but it's a pretty common one here in Florida, I've seen them around.  I don't usually have my camera in my hand when I see them, though  :)  I like his long skinny red legs and his long skinny beak, and the way he walks with his long neck poking out at each step --- he makes me smile.

I have just found out that Etsy is going to start letting people change their shop names.  Neat!  This is supposed to happen on the 18th, and since I've decided (again) that I don't like the name I picked, I plan to wait til the 18th to start my new shop, when I can change the name.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Elspeth Peasemarchington-Smythe

I have been planning to open another Etsy shop and have a blog to go with it.  The blog will be the ostensible diary of Elspeth Peasemarchington-Smythe, a fictitious young woman living in the 1930s.   Here is a sketch of Elspeth:

This young lady has attitude.  She is determined to be a great artist -- in what genre or style is still undecided -- and her first goal is to reach the status of student at an art school.  

But it is the middle of the Great Depression, and her ambition will be very difficult to achieve.  Presently she holds the position of secretary to Mr. Samuel Hardy, a probate attorney in a small metropolis in the Mid West.  She answers the phone, schedules appointments, takes dictation, and types letters and pleadings by day, and sketches, draws, and paints by night in her small closet-like room at the Louisa Datchett Boarding Home for Young Women.  

Sometimes, despite her passion for art, she feels discouraged --  especially at night, after a painting session has gone badly, when she realizes afresh her need for tuition under accomplished teachers.  However, she always wakes up each morning with new hope and new determination to reach her dream, even in the midst of the Depression.  "Where there's a will, there's a way," she tells herself.  "Somehow, some way, I'll make it."


Here is another video from my visit to Busch Gardens last week:   (click on link below to see it)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ready to Expire

I got an annual pass for Busch Gardens last year about this time, and used it only once or twice....  it will expire this Thursday, so I thought I had better go and get some of my money's worth!  It was a beautiful day Saturday, sunny but not too hot, with a cool breeze.  Not too crowded, but plenty of people to watch (I am an inveterate people-watcher ---- the humans are just as interesting as the animals, really, and if I'd had enough gall I would have liked to have taken pictures of some of the people I saw, to paint).

Click on the link below the picture to see a short video of a roller coaster ride, seen from the parking lot.  Did I go on any roller coasters?  NO WAY!!!

Click on the link below picture to see a short video of the tram ride from the parking lot to the gate (this ride was more my speed  :)   Actually, I did go on the log flume and the sky ride

Monday, September 26, 2011

Breast Cancer Page

I just figured out how to make a stand-alone page  :)   These are at the bottom of the sidebar under "Pages".

My first one is titled "Breast Cancer".

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, and immediately had a lot of things to learn and a lot of decisions to make.   The most important thing is to seek God and His help; to read the Bible in order to hear what God says; and to pray.

Also there are a lot of natural things people can do to improve their health.  I wanted to let others know about the books and information that I found most helpful.  Hence, my brief little monograph on breast cancer resources.  I am publishing it here on my blog in the hope it might help someone else.  So, click on the picture of the red rose in the sidebar, and you will see it!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

20 Eggheads

Leafing through my old sketchbooks and thought I would post these "egghead" exercises.  The way you do them is first, make a hollow eggshell by poking a hole in each end of an egg with a pin, and then placing your mouth over the opening of one hole and blowing the egg out through the other hole (over a sink, of course).  Be careful not to let any raw egg come into contact with your mouth.  {Have you ever read an old-fashioned novel where the characters eat or drink raw egg?  (Yuk.) They could get away with that then, but nowadays we have Salmonella.}

Anyway, once you have your empty eggshell, you can mark your proportion lines on it with pencil, making sure you place your eyes half-way down the head.  Then you can stand the "egg head" up by putting it in an empty bottle lid; direct your single light source from whichever way you are interested in studying the shadows from, and sketch at least 20 eggheads.

Here are mine:    :)

I got a little carried away with #4 

I would tell you the name of the book that had this exercise in it, but I've forgotten it, sorry

And here is a weird-sort-of-looking guy from one of my old sketchbooks.... I wonder why he is looking at those planets with such a baleful glare?  And why are those planets so small (or him so big, whichever the case may be)  I have a feeling he's nothing but a doodle  :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Clingman's Dome

Here are the last pix from our short trip to North Carolina:

Some wildflowers

At the Dillard House in Dillard, Georgia.  If you leave hungry it is not their fault!  The food is wonderful

The people are just as interesting as the scenery.

Click on link above to see a 5-1/2 minute video of Great Smokies Mts National Park.
The video shows the view from a scenic overlook on the way to Clingman's Dome; then the view from the Visitor's Center at the foot of the trail to Clingman's Dome ---- we didn't actually hike up there  :)  we weren't expecting it to be so cold and windy, since it had been so unusually hot all during the rest of our trip....  The last of the video shows the ride back down toward Franklin.