Tuesday, July 24, 2012


There's a website I like to look at called Daily Paintworks.  It's a site where artists can join with other artists, paint "together", critique each others' work, and even sell their work.  They also host "challenges" where a topic is chosen and then everyone paints their version, photographs it, and then uploads it onto the site for all to see.  Some challenges are ongoing, some are a one-time deal.  Here are three of the challenge categories that I would like to enter and some of my own photos that I would paint from.

 White on White
Taken at home with my grandmother's platter, a small pitcher,  and a "Lime Light Hydrangea" from my garden.  The rule for this one is, 85% white.

Up Close Animal
Taken in the country, on the way to Monches Farm and at the Wisconsin State Fair last summer.

Paint It Primary
I took this on a small island off Captiva.  The first one is the original color, the second one is with the color altered to be a little more aqua.  I loved the way the little boy was fascinated with his shadow in the sand.  I would take some liberties by adding some red to his shorts to qualify for the primary color category.

Yesterday, I thought I had it all sorted out.

Now to choose . . .

Monday, July 23, 2012


Guess who's going to Boston?  Lloyd II will be leaving my Etsy shop and heading out tomorrow morning.  He is a little apprehensive and it shows, but he'll be fine.  So I spent part of the day getting him ready to go. 

Au revoir, Lloyd! 
Then I picked up a couple new canvases and got ready to paint by taking some photos of flowers from my garden.  Even more than the flowers, I'm looking forward to the challenge of painting the jar of water.  These are in an empty mayonnaise jar.  I love the distortion of the stems underwater, and the little changes in color from above, to surface, to under the water.  We'll see how that goes . . .
 A photo taken from above allows you to see so much more of the water and an interesting view of the stems.  That, along with the sparkle of the glass and the ridges around the rim should be pretty challenging!
 There are lots of different blues, grays, and greens in that water. 
 And so much beautiful detail in these flowers!

I like to crop out individual flowers in different positions and stages of opening so I can get a close-up view of all the colors and shadows.  The photo below really shows good detail of the dark green, overlapping bracts zinnias have, under the flower head.

Zinnias have little "disk" flowers in the center, and "ray" petals around the outside.  To make it realistic it all has to be there.
My canvas for this is large - 24" x 30" - so the flowers are going to be WAY bigger than life!

And just one photo of a large part of my garden.

Just because.
 So, tomorrow will be a painting day.




Can't wait!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


A while back, on a blustery March morning, I wrote about the mysterious appearance of a winter fairy house at my house.  Well, guess what has appeared in my summer garden?  

Last night there was nothing.  


This morning.


There it was!  

A bona fide fairy house right smack dab in the middle of my flower garden!

With her own gardening tools . . .
 a birdhouse . . . 
a pebble path leading the way home . . .
 a fairy-sized hutch . . .
A heart-shaped rock for a bed and a Lamb's Ear leaf for a pillow . . .

all cleverly hidden amongst the garden blooms.
This tale wouldn't be complete without a picture taken at dusk right about the time the fairies appear . . .

 Now won't Miss Gillyflower and Lloyd be happy to hear about that!

So, tell me.

Are you lucky enough to have found a fairy house in YOUR garden?

Sharing on Metamorphosis Monday

Friday, July 13, 2012


Time to share a great project that my book group girls just finished.  We had a great time putting these birdhouses together and most of the girls had never used a drill, jigsaw, or electric sander.  These turned out so well that I think we'll be doing another wood project down the road.  Here are some pictures to show the process of Woodworking 101 - it was a beautiful and cool summer night when we worked on these!  
Jan and Beth, sanding away at their roofing pieces.
Measure twice . . . cut once!  And whatever you do, don't forget your pearls!  That's Kirsten, keepin' it classy!
We had a few nailing mishaps . . .
The jigsaw didn't scare Gwen!
Kirsten - making an entrance.

Then, Day Two:  Painting  
(Not everyone could make it today, so there will be two more birdhouses added to the pictures soon.)
 After painting, we sanded to rough up the edges a bit.
 Then stained and wiped it off quickly - just enough to give a warm color to the sanded spots.
 And we're done!

 My birdhouse is in place by the garden and ready for customers.
Beautiful!!!  What bird wouldn't want to make these their home?

Do you want to have a craft day for the birds too?  Keep these things in mind:

1.  Birdhouses should not have a perch.  Even though they look nice, the birds don't need them and they give predators easy access to eggs and baby birds.  Birds will be more likely to choose a house that looks safe.  They're smarter than you think!

2.  Birdhouses should have drainage holes on the bottom to keep down the growth of bacteria and mold after a rain.  (Yes, ours have drainage holes.)

3.  Ideally, a birdhouse should have a hinged roof so you can clean out old nests after each nesting season.  (No, ours don't - that will come next with Woodworking 200!)

4.  The holes should be at least 5" from the bottom of the box, to discourage predators from just reaching in and helping themselves!

5.  Adding another piece of wood for the door makes for a deeper entrance - another deterrent to thieves.

6.  Remember, the height of the birdhouse will help determine who will be interested. 

        Tree Swallows prefer houses 5-15 ft. off the ground in an open area near water.
House Wrens prefer to be 4-10 ft. off the ground in a field or thicket.
Carolina Wrens prefer being 5-10 ft. off the ground in a field or thicket.
Chickadees prefer to be 5-15 ft. off the ground in open woods.
Downy Woodpeckers prefer to be 5-20 feet off the ground in forest openings.
House Finches prefer to be 5-10 feet off the ground in backyards.

Sharing on Metamorphosis Monday

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Instagram's filters enhance just about any photo, but I especially love it with photos of flowers and drawings.  The colors become more vivid and there is a lot more contrast between light and dark.  Just thought I'd share some of my favorites from this summer's garden.

Instagram can also make an ordinary drawings look like woodcarvings or etchings.  I took a couple of the cemetery statue and pear drawings I did last winter and tried it out on them.  So many possibilities for framing, printing onto fabric, or making Christmas cards, gift tags, or business cards.
A Christmas gift tag.
From pencil drawing . . .
to cropped and filtered . . .
to framed.

The possibilities are endless!  What creative things have YOU done with your Instagrammed photos?



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