Day 86: Monday, May 30 - Memorial Day

Cleaning up my desk today and came across a gorgeous little notecard that my daughter and son had sent me for mother's day. I loved, no adored, the watercolor frog on the front.  This sent me on an internet chase to see what I could find out about the artist Alison Fennell, a fabulous animal artist who lives in Wales. Through her Etsy store I finally made contact. I wanted to know if she had a blog so that I could see more of her wonderful work.  Sure enough:

and then there's these saucy birds:

I never did find even one other drawing of a frog so I'm going to photograph the frog on my notecard to show you what started my hunt.

Have a great week!

Day 87: Tuesday, May 24

Sunday was the last of the 6 weeks of oil painting lessons. It's been fun to have 3 quiet hours on a Sunday morning, out of the house, where you have to concentrate on painting.  Took another blank canvas (I paint too fast to work on the same canvas for consecutive weeks).  Took a photo of a tumbleweed  to class with me that I had taken in Park City, Utah, last year when I was there painting with my fellow painters.
Had meant to do this in watercolor as I think it would be wonderful to try to make the rocks with the sun's highlight along the top edge.  But, I decided to try it in oil.  So interesting that I'm trying to do oil washes (like you would do in watercolor) so that a color will bleed through the next coat of oil paint.  Got some of the background in, got the large rock pieces in....have a ways to go, but here's as far as I got:

I added one more challenge painting site to the list at the side of this blog. Studio Atelier. They've had some interesting challenges that my friend Nancie Johnson's been participating in.

Day 86: Sunday, May 22 - The Last Remaining Grownups

Nation Down To Last Hundred Grown-Ups

'Mature Adults Could Be Gone Within 50 Years,' Experts Say

May 19, 2011 | THE ONION
One of the Last Remaining Grownups
 in the United States
The endangered demographic, which is projected to die out completely by 2060, is reportedly distinguished from other groups by numerous unique traits, including foresight, rationality, understanding of how to obtain and pay for a mortgage, personal responsibility, and the ability to enter a store without immediately purchasing whatever items they see and desire.
"Our grown-ups are disappearing at a much faster rate than we previously believed," said Census Bureau chief Robert M. Groves, who believes the decline in responsible adults may now be irreversible. "Unfortunately, we've only recently noticed this terrible trend, perhaps because of this group's unusual capacity to endure hardships with quiet dignity instead of whining loudly to draw attention to themselves."
"If nothing is done, these wondrous individuals, with their special ability to consider the long-term consequences of their own behavior and act accordingly, will be wiped-out completely," Groves added. According to recent data, the grown-up population has plummeted dramatically since 1950, when a Census count found that more than 24 million Americans could both admit when they were wrong and respect a viewpoint other than their own. Today, only one in three million citizens can provide thoughtful advice to a fellow human being instead of immediately shifting the topic to their own personal issues or what they had for lunch.
Experts confirmed the mass extinction of grown-ups has coincided with the rapid expansion of other demographic groups, including people who seek medication for every problem they encounter, 33-year-olds who participate in organized kickball leagues, personal injury litigants, and parents who try to become friends with their own children.
"Grown-ups are as fascinating as they are rare," said anthropologist Arthur Ambler, who has lived among level-headed adult populations and documented their lifestyle. "It may seem odd to the rest of us, but for mature adults, occasionally putting the greater good ahead of their own interests or remaining calm when something doesn't go their way is commonplace."
"Imagine confronting a problem directly instead of pointing a finger, cowering in fear, or pretending it just isn't happening," Ambler added. "This is how these people actually live, if you can believe that."
Many social scientists, including Ambler, have called for a complete record to be made of the declining population's customs, worrying that knowledge of how to dress for a job interview or when to rotate one's tires could soon be lost to civilization forever. Future generations, they soberly note, will likely go their whole lives never knowing a grown-up person.
When contacted for comment, Colorado resident Ray Vogel, a grown-up, told reporters he was resigned to his group's fate.
"We recognize that our time has come and gone, and we're prepared to let nature run its course," said the 54-year-old, who has a well-funded 401(k) and has never taken out a high-interest loan to purchase a Jet Ski. "I'm just grateful my two children didn't turn out patient and considerate like me. They'd never be able to get anywhere in today's world."
According to Vogel, the nation's remaining grown-ups have drafted a letter to be read by the rest of us when they are gone that implores us to make "good decisions" in their absence and explains how to reignite the pilot light on the hot-water heater should it go out. The note is also said to include some money that we are firmly instructed to use only in case of a real emergency.

This article was sent to me by my son, who along with my daughter, are obviously two of the last remaining grownups based on the tongue in cheek criteria of this article.

Day 85: Friday, May 20 - David Hockney, IPhones, IPads, Apps

At long last, thanks to my daughter's efforts, I moved from my little teeny Motorola (fit easily in my pocket) cellphone which only made phone calls, to a brand new spankin' white IPhone4.  Whooey is it fun! It beeps, it quivers, it rings bells....there's always somethin' a happenin' on the IPhone!  And then today as I'm perusing other peoples' blogs, a great pastime, I came across an article on David Hockney
David Hockney iPhone Painting
and how he uses his IPhone to create art.  Thought it interesting because just yesterday someone showed me David Hockney's art on her cell phone and was talking about styluses and apps........

There's a great you tube interview with Lawrence Weschler.

In my March 23 blog, I talked about Myrna Wacknov's "paintings on her IPad and how she downloaded the Sketch Club App from the App Store. She enthuses daily about how much fun she's having drawing with this App and has now purchased a stylus by Targus at Best Buy for $20 to make the drawing process easier.

While wandering the web, I came across another artist's blog, Mia Robinson,  who talked all about how to use the Sketch Club App, how the various tools worked, etc. 
Have fun on your IPhone or your IPad!

Day 84: Thursday, May 19 - Painting of Ted

Ever since the first time I hired Ted Nuttall to come to California and to teach a watercolor workshop, I've had this picture of him. It must have arrived via a piece of email or some website and I've had the goal of painting it, in watercolor for these 3 or 4 years.

Instead? I just started an oil painting class on Sunday afternoons and grabbed up the photo of Ted and took it with me last Sunday.  Did a fast sketch onto the canvas (and as you can see it was a truly quick sketch - no measurements, no nada) and started painting away.

In watercolor? The sketch is everything. It takes hours. You measure. You erase. You paint pass washes.....

With oil? Wow!!! I just layered on the colors, moving eyebrows, moving lips, changing was so much fun!!

And it looks not one iota like Ted. Oh well. I had a good time and there's always tomorrow, tomorrow as Little Annie said!

Ted's workshop, this year, 2011, starts on June 13.  Can't wait.

grainy photo of the painting - sorry

Day 83: Wednesday, May 18

Came across this while "cruisin' the net".  Obviously I'm not painting if I'm looking at stuff like this........the airplane/lawnmower video

Day 82: Friday, May 13

Drat! My blog post for today, Friday the 13th, was deleted by Blogger as was everyone in the world's Friday the 13th post.  And I'd like to say, it was a wonderful post - all about the knitters who knit onto lamp posts, who knit covers for cracks in the pavement........a strange world out there of very interesting, creative, thinking people.

Drat. Blog entry was deleted.

Day 81: Thursday, May 12

And the blogger went down and deleted blog posts. Everyone's complaining about the missing content.............Monday and Tuesday were deleted, Wednesday was kept, Thursday and Friday were deleted. So here's Thursday again but Friday will just have to continue to be missing as I can't find it in my blogger history..............drat!

And continuing the conversation that I started on Day 70 about the Knitting Brigades/Yarn Bombers.....

This is a general conversation in Forbes Magazine about the yarn underground.  And then it starts talking about the wonderful Yarn Bombers in Seattle.   And then to the photographs of their latest knitting adventure.

And then there's this fabulous one. This woman fills potholes and cracks in the streets of France with individually knit projects........fabulous. Makes you smile for sure!

Day 80: Wednesday, May 11

Gorgeous day in Southern California.....way too nice to stay inside and paint! So I've been checking out all of the Challenge sites. 

The Virtual Paintout is the one that gets me (makes me irritated) the most. I spend hours cruising around the map of whatever area they have chosen this month's challenge is the French Riviera) and I see car after car after car, street after street after street.  Then I look at the paintings submitted for the challenge.  Today there's one that has pots of flowers on a window ledge and the painter says she found it on the map and that it's the window of a church..........yeah? where!

A painting friend AnnMarie Thomas submitted a fun painting to this challenge. She actually found people on the docks, walking:

And I believe her when she says she found this.  I was grumping around and she sent me two "shots" she'd found on her internet search so I guess it's possible but I have yet to find anything emminently paintable!  It's a great way to waste wonderful time though, cruising around an area on a google map.

Here's one of AnnMarie's suggestions:

The challenge is for all of May so there's time for me to get myself up and painting!!

Day 79: Friday, May 6

There's a new, I almost wrote, "Challenge" but that's not what it is.  It's an obligation to sketch, daily, and post your sketch, which is what keeps you honest.  Take a look. It's a nice group.....

I might even try to catch up with this group.  The first girl, Casey Touissant, whose blog I follow, posted 4 drawings on her first day so that she'd be in sync with the daily drawings.....

You have this whole weekend, 48 hours or more, coming up and I know on Mother's Day you're going to just get to lounge around and be pampered and spoiled, no one expecting a pot of coffee with their scrambled eggs, no one expecting that big steak dinner with potatoes.............just your time for yourself......

Go for it and let me know how it worked out.  The first drawings are supposed to be:

May 1 - Draw a bar of soap
2 - Draw a power plug
3 - Draw some exercise equipment - what you use to stay fit.
4 - Draw some salt and pepper shakers
5 - Draw some scissors
6 - Draw something tart or sour
7 - Draw how you get your news - at a newsstand, vending box or on your porch
May 8 - Draw a light bulb

Day 78: Thursday, May 5

Hoping to paint today. Want to paint a portrait of Suzanne McDermott based on her photo of herself with all her jewelry on. And then I'd like to ask permission of Carol Marine to post it as a "challenge self portrait". Suzanne took such a horrible fall a couple of months ago and is still not "back together".  I emailed Suzanne Carol's challenge for this month on the DailyPaintworks site telling Suzanne that she should paint the wonderful hand with all the jewelry........she said she still wasn't up to it.............Or maybe? Maybe people who are reading this blog could paint it for Suzanne and we'll just inundate her with our paintings of her hand and her jewelry and give her a bit of a perking up!  If you think you might be interested in doing that? Let me know and we'll band together to make her happ(ier).

Here's the photo I'm talking about.  I love it. The repose, the color of the sweater, no face just that hand, languid...........Give it a try and let me know.

And a final note on the skunks: Had left the Have-A-Heart trap out behind the garage thinking I'd deal with it tomorrow, kinda like Scarlett O'Hara........ so Monday  morning I take a look and lo and begorrah! There's a giant skunk in the cage. Go inside. Call the Humane Society. Tell them I have the momma skunk for those 5 live babies they have, Humane Society lady tells me that it isn't the momma because momma skunks do not leave their babies and go to Vegas like humans.......She says it's a totally different skunk but that she'll be out to deal with it momentarily.  Fifteen minutes later, she arrives, creeps up on the cage, drops a bedsheet over it without startling the skunk, picks up the cage, walks across the street in front of our house, to the edge of the canyon, opens up the trap, skunk walks out, skunk crosses the street, skunk goes right back up the next door neighbor's driveway to the rear of the house and is back in position within 15 minutes.

For what did I call the Humane Society I'd like to know!! I thought they'd at least take him a block or two away!!

So skunk saga is over. Yesterday I hired a repairman who put wire with small holes over the existing hole-y fence behind the garage.  The skunks are gonna have to learn how to climb to get into our yard again!

Day 77: Wednesday, May 4

I keep talking about Suzanne McDermott and her fabulous self-named blog. Carol Marine has mounted a self portrait challenge on the Daily Paintworks site...........Suzanne has a fabulous picture of herself, posing gracefully with some of the jewelry she has taken to making as she recovers from her horrible fall and horrible fractured leg, ankle, knee, shin...........I'm not sure what all she broke but it's a long, long recovery.  I saw this gorgeous photo of her

on her website and thought wouldn't it be fun if many people painted Suzanne this way and submitted their version of her to the Daily Paintworks Challenge.  She is feeling mentally and physically challenged at this moment and this could be just what she needs to perk right up. I wrote her about using this as her self portrait and her answer was so depressed that I think we should do it many tmes over.......remember Karin Jurick's self portrait that all of us painted?   I'd love it if Nancie Johnson? AnnMarie Thomas, April Foster, Michelene.....would take this photo, draw it up, paint it up and submit it to the Challenge.  Suzanne would be thrilled.  And then in your spare time you can all paint a portrait of yourself and submit that as well.  Paint, Paint,'s almost June and what do you have to show for yourself so far!!!!!!!!!!!  Get to painting.

Day 76: Tuesday, May 3

I've talked about the topic/project of "The Conversation" before in the month of March posts.  Our watercolor class taught by Peggy Reid had a "conversation". The idea is based on the book "The Conversation" by Milton Glaser and Jean-Michel Folon.

Now that that introductory statement is out of the way......

A woman we paint with, Gail Green, also paints with a wonderfully talented group of women in Santa Barbara. The group is called Women with Paint and its ten members are Heidi Bratt, Claudia Cook, Marcia Engelmann, Chris Flannery, Gail Green, Anna Lohse, Dorothy Nalls, Gail McBride-Kenny, Cathy Quiel, Martha Shilliday. They all met in Cathy Quiel's art classes in Santa Barbara some years ago.

Over a year ago, completely unrelated to anything our Glendale class is doing, they (the Santa Barbara group) decided to "Converse" via a painting dialogue.  Each woman of the 10 painted a 4x4 square with colors? abstract? realism? whatever she wanted to paint in whichever colors she wanted to use.  That was square number 1.  Square number 1 was then handed to another painter in the group and, following the same rules as Peggy's class did, the second painter created a painting on a 4x4 square that picked up the colors and lines coming off of square number 1.

This is Gail's 4x4 square. In Gail's group, the next woman chose to paint off of the bottom as we're looking at it and she saw a woman in Gail's painting.  She picked up shapes and colors off of the bottom edge and painted this:

Joined together?

I think the 4x4 size is interesting because you have 4 sides to choose to paint from. If woman number 2 had painted off of another side of the painting?
If she had connected to this colorful chrysanthemum-y thing......

Here she would have connected to the green with perhaps a bit of pink showing

Here a lot of pink, some green, no eye, no nose.............
The two paintings are joined together with bookbinding tape and handed to painter number 3.  Here is the progression of paintings that formed Gail's Conversation. Each of the women ended up with her own totally finished 10-panel Conversation.

Think this horn player is fantastic

Followed by a piano keyboard
taking you off of the page

I just think the connections are fabulous between the paintings
From a keyboard to an actual piano

Day 75: Monday, May 2

Carol Marine has a website the "Daily Paintworks" where monthly challenges are mounted by her and a group of people.  This month's challenge, mounted by Carol is to submit a self portrait of yourself.  The link is below:

and I think you can also click on the link above that they provide to the site.

Because of David Lobenberg's challenge about a year ago, I was ready with a self portrait, which is cheating.  I was supposed to take photos of myself and paint and paint........maybe this week now that "life" is resuming I will paint a new self portrait.  Here's my painting of Carol Marine that I did a while ago:

and here's Carol's self portrait entry.  She's changed? No, she just still has a great sense of  quirky humor.

and here's my self portrait:

Day 74: Sunday, May 1 - Skunks

And with everything else going on this last few days, we had skunks.

We have two dogs, Australian Shepherds and we live in a canyon with coyotes, hawks, obviously skunks.......

Thursday: I got home from the Arlington Gardens to be greeted at our driveway gate with a long remembered smell: "eau de skunk".  We hadn't had any skunk problems since our old dogs departed this world about 8 years ago but boy, is it a recognizable smell.  Drat, rats and phooey were of course the first words out of my mouth as I got back in the car and drove to the pet store to get the skunk removal juice.  Home again.  Poured it over both dogs' heads, rubbed it in.......and then the dogs went out in the back yard and pointed to a dead (almost dead it turned out) baby skunk.  They had been playing with the poor little thing whose tail was still twitching just in case the dogs came back.  So, baby skunk bites the dust.

Friday:  Over at the Gardens, again, setting up the racks for the painting sales. Husband takes the dogs to the groomers to get them washed to get rid of skunk. Come home.  Eau de skunk once again on the dogs' muzzles only this time they're pointing me to a truly dead baby skunk right by the back door.  Skunk is removed to the trash, dogs' muzzles are once again washed down with skunk removal stuff and I think we should be done.

Meanwhile husband has gone on the internet reading up on skunks and their habits.  He comes back into the room and announces "Skunks mate in March. Skunks have litters of 4-5 kits. Skunks this, Skunks that."

So now we're thinking "Great!" There are more babies where the first two came from.  But a grown skunk has yet to appear.

Saturday: Home absolutely exhausted from the Garden Party.  Eau de skunk again but no dead skunk can I find. I frantically call the Humane Society to rent a "have a heart" trap...the kind that when the animal goes in, the door slams shut. The Humane Society assumes it's kinda like trapping a feral cat: Put a can of stinky mackerel cat food in the cage and "they will come".  Using dog fencing, I put the trap behind the garage where the dogs hopefully can't get at it or any skunk who might become trapped.

Sunday: I race out behind the garage and lo and behold, there's a baby in the cage. This makes 3 that we know about.  I get the barbecue tongs and lift him out of the cage and drop him, very much alive and very stinky into a garbage can so he can't run away.  Are there any more?

I go out behind the garage about 20 minutes later and !!!  There are 4 more of the little devils rummaging around the cage. It becomes a scene out of Groundhog Day and "Bop-A-Mole", the game at the carnivals.  I am frantically grabbing at these little suckers who are moving fast through the holes in the fence. I have the bbq tongs, they have squirting tails.......I get those tongs on 3 more of the little suckers, dropping them into the trash can, going back to try to grab another.........I end up with 4 in the trash can very much alive.

I drive off to my oil painting class, worried as heck. It's hot, those babies are kinda in the sun, they have no mom husband calls the Humane Society and explains that there's been no mom in evidence and we're worried about the babies.  We're especially worried because we know there's one more out there!  Humane Society comes within 20 minutes and picks up the babies and tells my husband that there are people who will bottle feed them until they're big enough to be released in the canyon. That makes us feel not quite so barbaric.

Now, Sunday night, we're looking for number 7.  We can't let the dogs loose in the yard.  I go check behind the garage twice for that last baby. No luck. We relax and put the dogs out and within 32 seconds, or so it seems, they're screaming back to the house with the last baby in one of the dog's mouths.

Done.  Poured some more "eau de skunk" removal liquid on their snouts.

Poor baby skunks. No mom. Lost 3 siblings.

It's 9:30. Off to bed and a good book.  If you haven't read "Tinkers", last year's Pulitzer Prize winner, do.  If you haven't read "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson, do.  If you haven't read Ellen Gilchrist's collection of essays that she read on NPR, do.

See you next week.

Day 73: Saturday, April 30 - Arlington Garden Party

I wish I had pictures. The Arlington Garden was filled with people, filled with wildflowers, filled with birds, filled with over 100 paintings from wonderful local artists who had come and painted in the Garden.  We had a party! We sold many wonderful paintings, we sold marmalade made from the orange groves on the property, we sold lavender sachets that I had made from the lavender fields........

Speaking of which.  I had painted my first oil painting, very impressionistically, of the lavender in the Garden and I'll be darned...... someone actually paid good money for it and took it, in its gold oil painting required frame, home with them.  Wish I knew who's going to hang it on their wall.  Wish I had taken a picture of it in its gold frame. I actually was quite proud of myself. 

The sales were busy......I even sold my watercolor that I had done and had talked about in an earlier post.

I had framed it wonderfully, I thought but again, I have no idea whose home this ended up in.  Too many wonderful people buying, too many wonderful people admiring........Just a wonderful day.

I crawled home to a scotch and water, ibuprofen and bed.  But it was worth it!

Day 72: Friday, April 29

Oh my........long day getting ready for the Arlington Garden Party tomorrow. Set up all the grids to hang the paintings after having driven all around town picking them up yesterday.

But had a wonderful highlight:  Crazy women friends years ago used to give an annual party with a theme. In 1982, 'cuz everyone remembered, they gave a royal wedding party in honor of Lady Di's wedding. We were required to wear hats, wear gloves, have handbags......lots of diamonds (rhinestones anyone?)...twas fun.  Then the parties dwindled away until this year. This afternoon, I got out my same hat that I'd worn to Lady Di's wedding and wore it to Katy and William's wedding........that luscious event. Such fun to watch all that pageantry.  The hats were awesome.

Moi in my designer hat from Chaz of Beverly Hills.
Purchased at the Salvation Army for 2.50 in 1982
She wanted photos to prove to her grandchildren
that she's crazy!