Sunday, January 31, 2016


Returned home yesterday evening after 2 weeks away on Anna Maria Island - again.  Spent the whole 2 weeks in a large, pretty, violet house that had so many smart appliances that both Sweetie and I felt dumb (especially when the alarm on the refrigerator started going off and we couldn't find the manual to figure out why!! = turns out I had the door open too long!!!  What???).  The place was large, pretty, clean and had a little pool in the back (which was unuseable due to the temperatures - which sometimes went down to 45F at night = brrrrr).  

We had tornadoes touch down close by the first week, then cold, windy days; then warming enough to bring more rain rain rain.  I think we may have had 5 days of sunshine total, but still checked out the beach each day and, especially, at sunset.  So...until I catch up with things, here are some sunsets on Bean Point (the north end) of Anna Maria Island.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 29, 2016


Thin Ice
   by Ellen Doré Watson

Reedy striations don’t occlude the beneath—
earthy mash of leaves, flat pepper flakes, layered,

tips protruding, tender-desolate above a mirror
surface, gently pressing on horse-mane, nest material,

tickle-brush, fringe. Buff block-shapes further down,
ghost-bits of green-green, a lone leaf burned white.

My thrown stone skitters on ice. The next, larger,
plunks through and for a moment I am a violator

but then I see it opened a bubble cell, a city,
a lesion, a map—the way in cold and luminous.

Ellen Doré Watson 
is the author of Dogged Hearts (Tupelo Press, 2010). 
She’s the director of The Poetry Center at Smith College 
and lives in Conway, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Using the technique from the faux encaustic demo in the Winter issue of Acrylic Artist, I started another.  This one is on canvas board (8 x 10 inches) I had in the corner (I seem to have a lot of bits and pieces of boards and things I've collected over the years.)

I began by choosing 3 blues and putting them down in a sweeping motion.  

After it dried, I put down the second layer, separating "top" and "bottom" of the painting and laying plastic wrap over the top while the paint was still wet.  Letting that dry overnight, I pulled off the plastic wrap and here is what it was at that stage.  (It had to be tilted for the photo so the shine didn't block the painting in spots.)

I like it.  It makes me think of a strange seascape with a wild sky!  So I will let it sit for a while and decide what I should do next.  

The problem with painting with acrylics, for me, is that I'm unsure where to go when I get to a stage that I like - but that needs a bit more.  I guess that comes from more playing and experimenting and trying new things.  Nothing can become too precious to change.  

Monday, January 25, 2016


Another drawing in the Strathmore toned paper sketchbook (tan).  I like the warmth of this but like the gray toned paper, too - don't think they make other sketchbooks that aren't white.

These are Royal Terns but Sweetie and I call them Elvis birds because they look like Elvis with his black hair and their look of cockiness.  They aren't afraid of looking right at you as if they are saying, "Who said you could take my photo, tourist?"

Elvis Bird on the Beach

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Winter Leafage
 by Edith Matilda Thomas

Each year I mark one lone outstanding tree,
Clad in its robings of the summer past,
Dry, wan, and shivering in the wintry blast.
It will not pay the season’s rightful fee,—
It will not set its frost-burnt leafage free;
But like some palsied miser all aghast,
Who hoards his sordid treasure to the last,
It sighs, it moans, it sings in eldritch glee.
A foolish tree, to dote on summers gone;
A faithless tree, that never feels how spring
Creeps up the world to make a leafy dawn,
And recompense for all despoilment bring!
Oh, let me not, heyday and youth withdrawn,
With failing hands to their vain semblance cling!

This poem is appropriate to the time of year - and also because I will be having another (!) birthday this month.  The days, weeks, months and years continue to add up until I am an age now that I feel, not quite comfortable with, and one that is coming very close to a milestone year that may mean I've passed my sell-by date!

Thursday, January 21, 2016


On the Strathmore Tan Toned paper sketchbook.  I enjoy doing these black and whites - it really makes you see and hones your drawing (and seeing) skills.  But to get my color fix, I play with the acrylics on canvas/board/etc. and do this while the paint dries (or I don't know where to go next).

Bird in Tree

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Using a very long piece of black gessoed canvas board (not sure how I ended up with that, but it was in the pile of boards I keep in the corner).  

First, I put down the gesso juice mixture (white gesso, acrylic medium, water) over the black and pressed a stencil over it, creating the stones.  Then I used a small plastic "brush" tool and wiped across the top.  So it's looking like sea and stones to me right now.  

I am letting it sit and dry.  

I like this start - now what?  Perhaps a little glazing of color?

Sunday, January 17, 2016


The Strathmore tan toned paper gives your drawings a warm look.

Great Blue Heron

Friday, January 15, 2016


I'm slowly reading through the book, Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanance by Andrew Juniper.  It's making me think about less being more, impermance and imperfection being accepted.  

So, with that in mind, I just did a few strokes on the toned paper.  Even this may be something I explore a bit more.  No comments necessary.  It is what it is and that's fine.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Yes, I know.  I said I was going to do more drawing and more work in black and white.  Well, this is mostly black and white...but I don't seem to find the energy or inspiration to just do black and white so I cheat a little with color in acrylics for now.  And while that dries, I do a little in the toned sketchbook - it's all good :)

This started as a mishmash of colors and drizzles and stuff on watercolor canvas.  Looked like this.  

Nothing to write home about...

So, getting out the acrylics and acrylic mediums, I began by turning it over, applying soft gloss medium over the top and bottom thirds.  

Then added some color, scraped into the top with my palette knife, and scraped a bit here and there over the cobalt teal (water) and white (foreground) while everything was still wet.  I'm using mostly Golden Open Acrylics with some heavy body acrylics and regular acrylics.  I don't seem to purchase one thing but a mishmash of acrylic colors and types.  The bottom white is Atelier Open Acrylics (which are supposed to stay wet a long long time but that doesn't matter with this one).

Landscape/Seascape No. 2:  Lake Thingvallavatn in Winter  

Monday, January 11, 2016


Charcoal pencils and vine charcoal on Strathmore toned paper.

Turkey Vulture

(From a photo taken on the last trip to Anna Maria Island - having the red tide come through meant a lot of vultures flying around the rooftops.)

Saturday, January 9, 2016


On Strathmore toned gray paper sketchbook.  


Thursday, January 7, 2016


I have two Strathmore toned paper sketchbooks.  This one is the grey one and I'm using black and white charcoal only for the drawings for January...

This exercise is just to help my drawing (and seeing) skills so no color for now.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Before I get into black and white, I did a few more doodles/abstracts in my AquaBee sketchbook.

I like this one but it looks a little zany!

Now...on to the black and white on toned paper...just for the experience of it.  

What are you going to do this year that you did not do last year?

Sunday, January 3, 2016


Using the faux encaustic techniques demoed in the latest Acrylic Artist magazine, I created something.  

I wasn't too crazy about it.  

So...went out to Michael's and picked up what acrylic mediums they had - found this nice little set that had everything I wanted (and then some).  

The piece ended like this before I got more supplies.

I sanded down the top part (which was fiber paste, not what the demo called for). 

Then I gave serious thought to the colors.  They just didn't work for me - and didn't even work together.  So I made some changes to that, both in the top and bottom portions.

I like it enough now to give it a title:

Landscape/Seascape No. 1: Lake Thingvallavatn in Autumn

Friday, January 1, 2016



My wish for the New Year.

I know, probably not going to happen.
But we can keep wishing, and trying 
to make it so.

And wishing for good art magazines and art books to fill the year with beautiful inspiration.

These will keep me busy for a while.  As will all the novels I got for Christmas = 14!!!