Monday, December 26, 2011


This is the latest "Writing on the Wall" entry in my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project.  This гараж is located across the way from Rila Monastery, one of Bulgaria's finest historical attractions and a UNESCO world heritage site.  The Monastery is sublime (really, have a look and this little sketch is pretty silly by comparison, but was great fun to do.  The garage itself is quite important as it houses the local fire engine.  Next to the garage is a cafe that serves fresh-caught trout from the Rila River.  Yum.  Fond memory.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Darkness and the Light

I'm feeling a little melancholy this morning.  As we edge towards the longest night of the year, I'm reflecting on the darkness and the we need the darkness to appreciate the light. It can be an overstimulating time of year with all the shopping, cooking, parties, crowds, and made for TV specials.  It can be a lonely time of year with painful reminders of losses.  At the same time, it can be a joyous time of year with time spent with loved ones and I'm looking forward to Christmas with my family, and feeling very blessed.  We are having glorious weather so we may be able to get some good walks in while we are together.

We have a new grand baby in our family and are so thrilled to have met her and to have spent time with her parents and older brother this past week.  As she comes into the world, we are sharing the wonder with a friend whose grandson was born just a few days earlier.  However, another friend across the country gave birth to a still born daughter last week and  another friend's father died on Saturday.  I am so sad for them at the same time as being so happy for us.  So I'm reflecting on cycles.

For me painting is a time of solace, of time out of time.  I can get lost in the process and be completely unaware of time passing. And, I've been very productive in spite of the business of the season and family stuff.

Here's another sketchbook journal entry from "The Writing on the Wall".  Everything is such a learning experience...I used rice paper to cover the gaps after refilling the sketchbook with watercolor paper.  This particular rice paper is very absorbent and the water and color flow everywhere, causing it to look a little dirty, causing a big contrast with the rest of the paper.  Oh, well live and learn.  I'll try to do something deliberate on the next page that has the rice paper strip.

And here are two recently completed paintings from our Creative Every Day theme: Winter.
There's a funny pinkish shadow on this first one, but I'll leave it for now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Back Again

The sketchbook project has me back again, working on watercolor with a more regular rhythm.  I'm not thrilled with the results, but AM thrilled with the surge of creative energy.

Here are two finished sketchbook pages using the "Writing on the Wall" theme:
Prayer Wall at Mary's House, Ephesus, Turkey
Escuela de Acordeon, Madrid
And a watercolor showing a wintry, foggy valley.  This is in progress, as a couple of edges need softening and some other contrast put in place.  But I like how it's coming along, and you should know that the colors here aren't very true.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sketchbook Project

Well, I posted absolutely nothing during Art Every Day Month.  I did art some days, but not all.  Now, I'm embarked on the Sketchbook Project (information available at, first putting down my money and selecting the strand "The Writing on the Wall". While I was waiting for the book, I thought a lot about the topic, and looked up the reference.  Usually when we think of the writing on the wall, we think of a warning, a foreshadowing that something dire is going to happen, which we would all understand would be inevitable if we were only paying attention.  I decided to be much more literal and use it to mean actual writing on actual walls.

When the sketchbook arrived, I studied it and tried to figure out a way to replace the paper with watercolor paper.  I figured out something, though I'm not sure how durable it will end up being.   Here's the first sketch, of an actual sign found on the walls all over Suchitoto, El Salvador.  It's translated:  In this house, we want a life free of violence against women."

 I'm now working on the second sketch and have a roadmap in mind of where this is going.  The rules I've created for myself are...
  •  All have to have some writing or symbols
  • All writing or symbols have to be on or attached to a wall (well, maybe one won't)
  • I have been to the place depicted and have personally seen the writing or symbols, so the writing or symbols and general locations actually exist, though liberties may be taken with the composition and sketches may be composites
  • Sketches will use only watercolor and ink
  • I won't worry about an overall message, I'll just try to get it done
  • I'll have fun!