Tuesday, January 31, 2017


This time during our stay on Anna Maria Island, we stayed at a home on a canal.  So quiet, peaceful, and we had access to kayaks, had a pingpong table (I tried but was horrible at it but was getting a little better when we left).  Nicely landscaped yard with a very nice hammock and a pool (heated but only about 81F so not really hot even with the pool cover/heat cover on most of the time).

The view from our dock looking out the canal.  It was a dead end on all but one side, where you could kayak all the way out to the City Pier and out to the Bay.

The view looking back from the dock towards the house (you can just see the stairs leading to the second floor, which is the living area - first floor = garage, pingpong area, bike storage and kayak storage).

Sweetie out in the kayak right off our deck.  He really enjoyed it this calm warm day and I sat on the dock and watched or just enjoyed the warmth and peacefulness of egrets and herons flying around, fish flopping out of the water (mullet) over and over - seems they did this just for fun at times, sometimes jumping up 3-4 times as they moved through the water.

A colder day (after a Sunday storm brought in cooler days, windy conditions, high waves and the dreaded Red Tide).
But Sweetie was itching to get on the paddleboard and try it out - getting on and off right at the dock made it easy to get settled and then you just flex your legs a bit to hold your balance and off you go.  Me, I'll stick to the kayak! ha ha

I'll leave you with some sandcastles on the beach (Bean Point/North Point) around sunset.  There are some creative types who spend good time creating sandcastles here but this one was a simply made castle.

And this one looks like a sea turtle and something else (not sure what).  Ephemeral art!

Sunday, January 29, 2017


I told you I'd share my artful birthday and here it is:

Sweetie and I were on Anna Maria Island again - for 2 weeks.  And on my birthday we drove up to St. Petersburg to the Dali Museum to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit!!!  It was wonderful.  We spent a few hours viewing the Dali paintings and the Frida paintings and drawings and photos.  They were selling teeshirts but none were as nice as my own (from Sweetie for Christmas), which I wore there.  

Then visited with one of Sweetie's previous students who is now the Chair of the Biology Department at the University of Florida at St. Petersburg (a small college but nice and we had lunch together before heading home).

On our way back to AMI, we stopped in Bradenton and saw that the Manatee Art Center was hosting the American Watercolor Society Travelling Show.  Had to stop in there and see that (and the Florida Suncoast Watercolor Society show, too).

Well worth a visit to both shows.  But the AMS show was full of cityscapes and dark stuff = a trend that is continuing, I guess.  Only a few light, beautiful, pure watercolors, including this one on the cover, which was my favorite = gorgeous painting!

The next day we saw the local juried mixed media show at the Studio on Pine in Anna Maria = a very good show full of wonderful watercolors, acrylics, oils, pastels and photographs - even 3D work was included.  

So much art in 2 days and I was very happy.  Also, during our stay, they had an art show/craft show outside in Holmes Beach (city next to Anna Maria but still on the island) and we got to see that (Sweetie bought me a very pretty bracelet and earrings and a batik-printed teeshirt with black crows on a dark teal background).

We went to the Olive Oil Outpost and I used my gift coupon from our oldest daughter, Jenny, to get cafe con leches every day I could = YUM; and Sweetie used his gift coupon to get lots of sweets at the Flip Flop Candy Shop.  

We took a trip to Sarasota to the Mote Marine Aquarium and took an Eco-Tour out around the bay and back and toured the Aquarium - all thanks to our friends Cindy and Joe who live in Anna Maria (she's a volunteer at Mote now so invited us to come with them).  Also had a delicious meal out with them on our way back to Anna Maria.

Will share more photos later but for now, feast your eyes on these:  We stayed in a house on a canal and had access to kayaks (they even had a pingpong table).  Every so often, we'd get a visitor to the dock out back (even when we were right there, they didn't seem too concerned with us).

This big guy, a Great Blue Heron, was on the dock and I walked down to the pool, watching him carefully step around the pool (I was within touching distance of him at times), check it out, and walk back and off he went, with a wingspan of 6 feet!  What a bird!  So graceful on his tall legs and feet and yet so powerful.

Being on the canal, you saw many birds flying and landing all around the docks along the way.  

Maybe he's thinking, "Why don't you take that cover off the pool and get in?  Too cold for you humans? ha ha"  He checked it all around, walking delicately all around the circular bit at the end and then walking back to the dock to fly off.

Another day, we saw this White Ibis on the dock but he/she was more timid and stayed there, not moving into the yard or pool area.  This is juvenile plumage, I think, with the dark head - most of the adults are bright white with pink legs and eyes.  

Another day, I was sitting on the dock watching Sweetie try his hand at Paddleboarding (thanks to Joe for lending his to us to try) and I turned and saw this one = a Snowy Egret.  It had landed without a sound right beside me on a dock post!  Just sat there for a while and then flew off - guess he thought Sweetie was doing a good job, too, nothing to be worried about! ha ha

The trip was full of nature and art = what could be better than that?

So another birthday come and gone and this one might have been my best in several years!

More photos to come from the trip when I get organized...

Left Anna Maria Island and it was 57F...arrived back home and it was 37F. 

Friday, January 27, 2017


Another January, another birthday - this just keeps happening, doesn't it?  Had a good birthday but now have a headache (not because I drank too much - or any -alcohol so don't know what it's from).  Oh, well.  Now have to get my auto tags and driver's license renewed!  Can't forget that stuff.

I had a day full of art for my birthday and I'll share photos and tell you all about that after the weekend...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Didn't like how static the previous composition looked so made some changes.

Playing with more variety in background colors, too.  

More to come...

Friday, January 13, 2017


Background done first, wet-in-wet using one color = Daniel Smith Shadow Violet (which separates into 3 colors, if you're lucky) and then a touch of Cobalt Teal for movement.  

Now that I see it, it looks pretty static.   Might start over to get more movement.

This one is on a half sheet (15 x 22 inches).

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


From a photo in a book, I did this using the Cuttlelola dotspen.  Kind of fun and interesting - I don't have the patience to use it on the lower range so keep it on high. 

Probably bad for your wrist in the long run and it makes a sound like an old Singer sewing machine running, but I like it - something different until I get back to painting.

Monday, January 9, 2017


I've been thinking about crows again...after a break for a while, they return and say, "Paint us!"  Using several photos taken during our last trip to Shaker Village in the fall, I sketched out some crows flying on a large sheet of tracing paper.  From there, it's a matter of choosing the composition and then drawing or tracing them onto the watercolor paper.

I have several crow models sitting all around my little art room watching me, to make sure I do it right! ha ha

I get these fake ones around Halloween when they are out, being used for decorations.  Not sure why crows have gotten such a bad reputation - they are such amazing and smart birds...and have learned to survive around humans forever (not an easy thing for some animals).  

I haven't seen or heard many lately but they often are more obvious in the wintertime.  Never sure where they go or why they choose to gather in some places and not others (usually it has to do with scavenging food).

Some of my models are a bit worse for wear, their fake feathers bent and falling out, in need or repair.  I have six in my art room right now and will probably add more in the future.  

What is your muse?  What inspires you?  What do you want to paint this year?

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Several months ago I was perusing Etsy and checking on some Frida Kahlo stuff and found this teeshirt.  OMG!  Had to have it!  So got it for Christmas from Sweetie...

The teeshirt is made by Hancock Creative Shop run by Shawn and Missy Hancock.  I LOVE THIS TEE!  It is called St. Frida the Fierce - love the quotes surrounding her head like a saint's halo.  It is soft (I washed it before wearing it and it's so comfortable and fits like a female-style tee, not blocky like a unisex tee). 

 Charcoal grey (it comes in red, too) and I love it!  Shawn and Missy sent the tee quickly and included a nice note and a Creative License for me to use at any time :)  You can bet I am going to be ordering from them again - they have St. Vincent (van Gogh) and others for all your artists out there.

Now I have to get back to Etsy and give Hancock Creative Shop 5 stars!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2017


Have you gotten into the adult coloring book craze?  Meaning, coloring books geared for adults to sit and color (some say, as a means of meditation or shutting out your mind for a while - isn't that what all art does?).  I got one coloring book for Christmas from Sweetie - it's from BasBleu and they have tons of coloring books geared for adults, including 2 of the Impressionists' paintings.  

I started on one of the "easier" ones in the book = less little bits to color in (Van Gogh's Sunflowers).  I only have a few colored pencils so I'm using my watercolor pencils and then wetting them to blend.  The paper is pretty sturdy and is even perforated so, if you create a little masterpiece, you can tear it out and frame it or hang it on the fridge :)  It's interesting to see how they want you to mix the colors to get the correct color that's in the painting = some mixes are of 5-6 different colors and I may just try to match the color as closely as possible.  

Who would have thought adults would be hooked on coloring - or are there just hundreds of coloring books out there no one is buying?  Seems like they are everywhere right now and BasBlu has some good ones = even postcards you can color and then send to someone.

I don't mean to brag about all my cool toys and presents, but I'll share another present with you next = one of my absolute favorites from this Christmas from and Etsy shop...wait and see!

We had our first snow of the season and are supposed to get 2-3 inches accumulation by tonight.  Yuck!  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Sweetie bought me 2 very cool gifts for Christmas...

The electric dotpen from Cuttlelola.com is a quick and easy and fast way to stipple in ink.  The inks now come in black, blue, pink and yellow so the colors may be a great way to merge colors to get other colors.  Right now, the kit came with black and I'm learning that.  It does take a little practice and I'll get better = more detailed.  But right now just doing a few little coasters I have lying around for artwork.  Pretty cute but simple.

This is a WorryEater doll and her name is Seggo.  She is fantastic for a worrier.  You write your worries on a piece of paper, put them in her zippered mouth, zip up and she eats them = no more worries.  Ah, if life were only this simple!  But isn't she cute?

I also got an Impressionists Coloring Book full of paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Morrisot, etc.  Plenty of paintings to color in and enjoy.

And, of course, chocolate - Harry and David Peppermint Bark = YUM!

Hope Santa was good to you and that the New Year brings you much joy.

Haven't been painting or posting = got a cold after Christmas and feeling yucky for a while.  I'll be back on track soon.