Monday, January 22, 2018

Elephant Wandering

I was immediately attracted to a golden elephant statue, 
in the midst of many lovely tea cups, pots, & decorative objects at our local Tea Room 
when I went sketching with the Group. 

The above sketch no longer exists because I was overly critical of it. 
I went home, painted it over with gold acrylic paint, & then ~ tore it up. 
Note to self: Don't be so quick to reject the results of my sketching.

(A friend had taken the photo before I destroyed the picture.)
2nd version, sketch from the sketch,
it doesn't have the spontaneity of the first. IMHO. 
In one of the many books these days about sketching, 
I am reminded that I do this for the love of the process, 
more than for the result. 
However, the results are part of the process.
More Elephant explorations in my 7 1/2 by 11" book 
(that does not have watercolor pages.) 
Ganesh, the Hindu Remover of Obstacles. I need this.  
The Smithsonian Elephant, my friend from chilhood. 
Elephants at the Washington Zoo, we also go way back.

I don't think I'll ever go to Africa or Asia,
but I would like to visit some elephants.
Did you know there are some amazing online videos?

Have you seen real elephants? Do you believe in Ganesh?

PS. Have you read the beautiful & sensitive story,
 The One and Only Ivan?
It is for young readers, but it is for everyone.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Nourishing the Body and Soul in Winter

 Montessori education tells us to surround ourselves with all things beautiful, 
taking care with selecting our environment.
Since my move to the new studio (dining room), 
and since my increased museum attendance, 
I "curate" my shelves, making order, selecting, arranging, re-arranging.
(The book, top right, The Secret Lives of Color
Box of cards by a company called Retrospect.)

 Top, from the local Bright Bird Studio. Below, a shrine box by 
local artist Micaela Grasse. (I placed the little sign inside the window that says, "Good Health".) 
 Watercolor painting on my wall by local artist Ben Hall.
I love that it's a local scene, & love its abstract quality!
 Twinkle lights were up in November. 
They and Bright Birds, shiny baubles, cheer me. 
Colorful woven bowl by a local artist, 
& original illustrations by artist Melissa Sweet 
(also local though nationally known.)
   On a recent cold, gloomy, gray day I bought a sampler of glitter, 
to spark my spirit,
at the art shop on Main St. 
It worked, & I've used it on my latest coptic book 
which I stitched while sharing tea with a visiting friend.
She knit & I stitched in my sunny warm dining room.
And we chatted while the cold winds blew.

 Feeding my body (organic wild blueberries & organic rice cereal
feeding my soul, with color & art tools.

Since January 1, I read & copy passages from the book, Simple Abundance, into my morning diary, 
using the French translation. The author is all about
gratitude, appreciating life, inner happiness...
 The Library Sketchers group, which I have turned over to the group to lead now, 
still nourishes my love of drawing, 
& feeds me with inspiration & comaraderie. 
Artist Leslie gave us a presentation on paint brushes. 
She generously brought gazillions, & let us experiment with them!  
(the other page: sketching without my glasses 
at my local hair salon, looking into a big mirror.) 
 Leslie's brushes! Talk about abundance!
 Saturday morning, my body & soul get nourished at our indoor Farmer's Market. All local vendors & it has a European feel! This time of year, New Beat Farm had carrots, beets, rutabegas, and cabbage. I sketched, 
then bought a bunch of organic carrots, later made a vegetable soup.

My friend has a lemonade stand, adding hot chocolate & cider at this time of year! 
More to show in another post, but, in short, 
to be at her stand for me is like being in the film, Pollyanna, so much good feeling, color & prettiness!

Many older folks go to Florida in winter, but I love finding
sparkle, light, & color right here. All the more intense, perhaps, against the backdrop of neutral winter grays, umbers, siennas, and muted dark greens of the out of doors. 

Question: What do you surround yourself with? 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Paste Papers and Bookmaking with Abby Read

  I attended 2 workshops at a local arts center. 
One was on paste papers & coptic stitch bookmaking by  Abby Read, 
wonderful artist & teacher. 
Made sketch notes in my Art Learning Book.
I got to wear a long printer's apron too, a grand costume! 
Even though I had done the coptic stitch before,
it's complicated for me & lots of repetition & re-learning helps! 
My finished book! I'm proud of it, like a young child
coming home from arts camp!
This one shines because I swirled in Pearlescent paint. Ooooooo!
(I also added some colored pencil marks when the paper was dry.)
 We made papers to take home! 
You mix a paste with acrylic paint, you goop it on Canson papers, 
you swirl & cut into it with tools like combs & plastic credit cards. 
I used a putty knife. 
It's fingerpainting, except without fingers, as acrylic stains! 
Such joy to dance in lines, to blend colors,
such fun to see what will happen next!
A new book in progress here at home!
The notes help me to be able to do it independently.
More using up stuff that's been around here forever,
 papers I've been saving for just this thing!

Thank you Abby Read and classmates!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Filling the Air With Christmas

during the season of long nights
when we fill our coastal villages with
Colored Lights, 
Wreaths All Red and Green, 
Decorated Evergreen Trees, 
Fake Candles and~~ Sales. Lots of Sales!

Music on the radio and in shops 
fills quiet air with songs
 Jingle Bell Rock and Silver Bells,
White Christmas and Winter Wonderland...
Meanwhile I take a break,
stopping for a cup of hot soup  
in the back café of 
Beyond the Sea at Lincolnville Beach. 
I stare out the back window and sketch...
Only quiet colors here,
 of a low tide 
where the sand meets the woods beyond...
Those are ducks...
They are slower and quieter than people 
at this time of year...

May you have a serene holiday season...R.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Batches of Mini Cards

My mom & I used to bake Batches of Christmas cookies.
A few times we made crafts. Each year during 
the darkness of the year I fall into making cards (not cookies).
This year, Batches of mini cards, 2.5"X 3". 
I call them "Reet's Paper Treats".
 Some to give away. Some to sell at The Sail Locker (click here). You can also catch the Sail Locker at the Saturday United Farmers Market of Belfast.   
 Using my bits & pieces again,
and my themes that have sat in the idea journal for awhile.
They're in cellophane packets, hence the reflections.
I forgot to photo them before wrapping.

Also a batch of 4" X 6" cards. 
Some are re-purposed pop-ons from last year's French alphabet series.
Working toward a line for summer tourist season in Maine.
So many talented artists & artisans on the coast of Maine
who are also great entrepreneurs. (Marketing is not my forté.)
"Magic for you!" says the fairy!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Recent Sketchbook Wandering

At LL Bean recently I had left my sketchbook in the car. Horrors! "Oh please, I asked the young woman in the café, do you have any scrap paper, I am desperate!" Yes, she did, so I was able to sketch out the window 
on that chilly morning while waiting for my breakfast. 

On a trip to Boston, I sat on a bench at the edge of the Commons, at Park St. to sketch. 
After years of Boston trips, 
I never before noticed a large fountain! 
A fast scribble sketch, just making notes, watching, listening.
Sitting there in the park, a great theater experience, 
with diverse characters & conversations!
 A mellow November day in peaceful Harvard Yard. 
Lots of chairs out, so I hung out after going to the Fogg Art Museum. 
(loved the museum, not as grand as The Museum of Fine Arts, but wonderful.)
People waiting for subways, and buses...
...are always favorite city subjects.
 Sketches at the Portland Museum of Art...They & the Fogg don't allow ink pens, 
so a lot of the sketches in this series are too light to post. 
 The last 2 are from the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland.
 ...which does allow ink pens. 
The Farnsworth: one of my favorite art museums!

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Tiny Pumpkin

Today, it was like that nursery rhyme I used to do with the kids:
"Oooooooo went the wind, and out went the light,
and the 5 little pumpkins rolled out of sight." 

A lot of homes in the state are still without light...
And, without computer. Maybe that is the real horror of the day!

But I enjoyed my early morning, writing with my fountain pen
by candlelight.

The mini card above is the size of a business card. 
I'm selling them with various popped on images.
Will show more soon.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

At the Scenic Train Ride Station

Field trip with the group to the local scenic train ride station.
Instead of focusing on the trains,
I was attracted to the scene across the street. 

Colors are fading, but the big old pine showed her vibrant greens. 
I heard that when she sheds her needles (leaves), 
they are from last year's batch.
 So wonderful to be with the other sketchers.
Each of their sketches, very different from mine,
taught me something, & each pleased me.
Diverse comments about each work enriched my viewing.
From seeing their art work 
I thought maybe we had shrunk down 
found ourselves to be figures 
in a miniature toy train station.
This place is designed for us kids, young & old!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Autumn Sketching in Maine

Our local sketch group goes out twice a week to beautiful spots in our area. 
They/we are like school kids on a field trip.
But often I'm not able to go.  
 Yesterday I went to a place they visited without me,
an unknown cove along the coast.
Tourists and boats are gone now.
I sketched from the car, instead of from my folding chair. 
It was a bit clumsy, but it worked. 

 Previous week, quick sketches from the shore of a pond, 
on smaller, non-water color paper. 
Another place that one of the Sketchers found for us.
The 2nd sketch was about feeling linear rhythms.  
Adding color masked what my ink lines expressed. 
I learn from this.
Don't always be seduced by color, even in Autumn!
 Same view in my larger watercolor book. 
This time I worked without my ink lines.

They say the leaves weren't as intense this year.
Many dropped before reaching full color, due to dryness
& warm temperatures. 
Still, I found Autumn out there
when I went looking.

PS Someone asked me if she could copy my sketches 
& post them online. I say, No, don't do that. 
Explore on your own, I say, however you want, but in private. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

More Books from Bits

More little blank books from.... 
 my newly organized bits and pieces.
These guys are waiting for their turn.