A Sunday Morning in November

Today, John and I decided to get out of the house. I have been working on some ornaments over the past couple of days and John installed some sun shades yesterday for our patio. We really didn’t veg out too much yesterday so this morning we just sat outside and enjoyed our morning coffee. We try to leave the weekends open to just relax and, gasp! do absolutely nothing. After coffee and breakfast, we decided to get out of the house. We had no plan in mind until we drove past a new local coffee shop, just a few minutes from the house. After deciding to pop in to see if it was open yet, we were surprised to find that it was open! Apparently the shop is open every day from 7-1 every day and I was ecstatic because now we have two local shops to go to for coffee that are both in Jensen Beach and within biking distance.

After getting two iced coffees, we found a table in the shade. (Almost all the tables are under trees and in the shade, which is nice.) This shop is just across the road from the Indian River Lagoon, and beyond that, Hutchinson’s Island and the Atlantic Ocean. We couldn’t see any of the above because of all of the vegetation but we did enjoy the benefits of a lovely sea breeze.

I have been trying to get out of the studio and back in the habit of outdoor sketching so this seemed like a great opportunity for that. I love Bismarck palm trees with their blue green leaves, so I chose to do the one at the edge of the property, which had lights hanging from it. I pulled out a mechanical pencil and my trusty Lamy Safari sketched the scene. Then I added watercolor. I didn’t have a water container with me but I had water brushes. Unfortunately they chose today to make things difficult. The watercolors I used were a gift from a friend plus I also had use my mini palette, which has colors that I just can’t do without when painting anything green. The brushes were annoying but I managed to get by. (I’ll probably pull them apart after this to see why the water wasn’t flowing down to the brush from the barrel.)

This sketch is the end result of sitting outside drinking an iced coffee and dodging a rain sprinkle or two. It was a nice relaxing morning and John and I had a nice chat while I sketched.

Perfect way to start the day, and week.

Plein air watercolor and ink sketch of a Bismarck Palm.  There are two strings of lights on the tree.  Sketch has lots of greens, with a little touch of red blooms on a shrub.
Plein Air Sketch at the Crazy Dog
Plein Air sketch scene with art supplies and subject
Plein air sketch with subject and supplies
Plein air sketch with art supplie including a Stuart Semple watercolor palette.
Close up of sketch with supplies

Happy Halloween and the last day of Inktober!

Today is Halloween and it is also the last day of Inktober. I can’t say that I am not glad to Inktober go. It was fun to do the prompts but tough to squeeze it in. I am happy it is Halloween and I am sad to know that it is the end of October.

There is a special treat today where I am adding a Halloween sketch along with the Inktober Sketch. Today’s Inktober prompt is “farm.”

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and we were in BJ’s Wholesale Club and they had turkeys already! They were reasonably priced so we bought ours and stuffed it in the freezer.

Now that we are coming into November, I will be running around doing my Thanksgiving dinner scavenger hunt, because that is pretty much what shopping for my Thanksgiving groceries turns into, especially now since the pandemic.

The scavenger hunt starts with which store has the stuffing bread (I make my stuffing fresh, I don’t use those premade bagged stuffings), Publix makes fresh stuffing bread and they will even cut it and cube it for me. I pick that up right before Thanksgiving. Then its off to find who has turnips/rutabagas, getting the cream of mushroom soup, green beans and French’s onions for the green bean casserole for my daughter….buttermilk becomes hard to find because everyone is buying it, baking aisle items that are gone by Thanksgiving week. Oh hey, can I find chestnuts in Florida? Get that pound of uncased sausage for the stuffing….ANNNNDDDDDD, BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU DAY! woohoo! Have to get a few bottles of that for the holiday season before it’s gone.

And eggnog, which is usually everywhere.

Then I have to get pie making ingredients. Believe it or not, I already picked up melting chocolate because Sam’s Club got their shipment in already. The worst part is storing everything and running out to get the fresh produce right before Thanksgiving.

We have a running joke in our house that it takes almost a month to prepare for Thanksgiving, and the eating the meal take about 30 minutes tops.

But there are all of those yummy leftovers……..

Happy Halloween!

Inktober Day 31
Farm
Pen and Ink sketch of a farm stand with produce under a tree.  There are some pumpkins scattered about
Inktober Day 31 “Farm”
Happy Halloween 2022
A little bird with a witch's hat sitting on a branch.
Halloween 2022

Inktober Day 30

Two days to go! I can’t believe October ends tomorrow! So sad because this is the best month of the year. The sad thing about October ending is we jump from Autumn right into the Christmas season without being able to enjoy Thanksgiving as an Autumn holiday. I mean, it’s nice to hear the Christmas music but I am not usually ready for holiday music until the day after Thanksgiving. What’s even more annoying is that the Christmas season ends in January, on the Feast of the Epiphany, but the music gets cut off Midnight on Christmas. Really? Like, at least play it until New Year’s Eve.

Sigh. Putting the soapbox away.

Today’s prompt is “gear” and I opted to sketch my backpack with some of my art supplies. I haven’t used this backpack in a while and I had just pulled it out to tidy up my art supplies closet. This is not a realistic sketch because I lug around more than this when I go out to sketch. Way too much stuff……

I usually carry around several different sizes and types of sketch books. I usually carry one with watercolor paper and a square one, that’s Instagram friendly. Various pens including my trusty old Lamy Safari and usually a Uniball Vision. I carry mechanical pencils because they don’t need to be sharpened. I just realized I drew regular brushes when my go to brushes when I am sketching on location are usually water brushes, which are brushes that have water in the barrel and you squeeze them for water and you rinse the brush by squeezing and wiping on a paper towel. I also drew a palette but the one I use the most is the size of a credit card and almost as thin! I bought it empty and I put my own colors in it.

Inktober Day 30
"Gear"
Pen and Ink drawing of a backpack and art supplies which include a palette, brushes, pen, pencil and a sketchbook.
Inktober Day 30 “Gear”

Inktober Day 29

Wow, almost at the end of October. We are now into Halloween weekend. Where does the time go?

Today’s prompt is “Uh-oh.” For some reason I went right to thinking about the wildlife in the neighborhood, probably because our friendly neighborhood Little Blue Heron, was stalking through everyone’s flower beds, looking for “yum yums” like lizards and frogs. The lizards all head for the hills when they see herons and egrets. It’s hilarious to see the tall gangly Great Egrets balancing on top of trees and hedges, looking to pluck a tasty lizard morsel from the vegetation. It was this image of the balancing bird on a hedge that inspired today’s sketch. I hid some frogs and lizards in the sketch as well.

The Little Blue Heron, whom I affectionately call “Sid” (from Ice Age), trots through our flower beds and lawns. Then he’ll slow to a gangly stroll which is quite comical. I say hello to him and he just strolls on by, checking a bush here, a flower pot there. I saw him this morning, head cocked looking upward into a bush, hunting something. He’s a dark greyish bird and he’s very pretty.

The lizards, on the other hand, are the stupidest creatures. They have this whole territorial thing going on where they claim physical territory, like a tree, bush or their own personal plant in a flower pot. The males argue and do pushups to intimidate each other over females and territory. It’s hilarious when they are trying to kick each other’s butts when they are on opposite sides of a screen. When they see a potential threat, they will run to their “home,” even if they have to run in front of a car, bike, human, dog, Mack truck to get to their home. I don’t know how many times they get run over. Even the Iguanas run in front of cars. John and I just scratch our heads and comment “no wonder Dinosaurs are extinct.”

Inktober Day 29
"uh-Oh"
Pen and ink drawing of a heron hunting in a bush for frogs and lizards and the prey doesn't look happy.

Inktober Day 28

Inktober Day 28 and today’s prompt is “camping.”

I got the idea for this sketch from the season.  What do we do when we are camping? Usually a campfire is one of the evening activities that people do while camping. A campfire brings light to the dark.  It can be used to cook food, marshmallows, s’mores, it can provide warmth, or it can provide ambiance for an evening of socializing…..or the setting for storytelling by the fire.

 We have seen a lot of movies from Hollywood where the purpose of a campfire was a location used to create suspense to scare the crap out of the people sitting around it.  I get it it.  There’s that primal thing going on where our ancestors used a fire for cooking, warmth, possibly storytelling and for security. We still have that primal basic human instinct where sometimes logic can lose control. Fire kept dangerous creatures away and other dark beings that walk in the night.  We still seek the fire and light….to feel safe.

The first thing I thought of when I saw the word camping was the universal tent icon. I have fond memories of tent camping and if you are reading this and you have never tried tent camping, try it once.  The tent segued into a guy telling a story by a campfire with just a ghost in the speech bubble pretty much summing up what’s going on.  That idea just popped into my head to simplify that he was telling a ghost story.

I added the tree with the owl and moon for mood.  I was thinking of adding a coyote howling at the moon.  If you have never heard a pack of coyotes yipping and howling near your bedroom window in the dead of the night, I can tell you it’s unnerving.  Exciting that we heard coyotes! Maybe even beautiful in a way…. But again…deep down, there is still that instinctual survival “thing” that kicks in and maybe you experience a little twinge of….panic? The house has concrete block walls but you still listen to ensure that the coyotes are gone….and try to go back to sleep.

Inktober Day 28
"camping"
Pen and Ink Drawing of a couple sitting at a campfire in front of a tent.  There is a tree with an owl behind the tentand a full moon in the sky.  The husband/man of the couple is telling a ghost story indicated by a ghost in a speech bubble.
Inktober Day 28 “camping”

Inktober Day 27 and THANK YOU!

Before I start the post with my Inktober sketch of the day, I just want to thank all of you for following me. I really appreciate the “likes” and comments (If I missed your comment, please let me know!). I don’t want to overwhelm you with a ton of blog posts or emails, so I really appreciate the patience and support during Inktober, when you are getting the daily posts. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Today’s prompt is “SNACK” and I almost posted the wrong prompt!! LOL. I have Plumchester square sketchbook from Artsnacks that I have been sketching my ideas in first, before I do the final. I sketched an apple and did a couple of “ego” ideas, then I moved on to another page and did more “ego” ideas and a sketch for tomorrow’s prompt. Without thinking about what I was doing, I completed tomorrow’s prompt in my Inktober Sketchbook, LMAO. I was like “Oh crap!” when I caught it before posting the wrong one. So now they are out of order in my sketchbook.

Oh well, glad I caught it.

I sketched an apple for today’s “snack” prompt. Partly because I am telling myself I should eat more natural snacks, and partly because our elderly neighbor gave us a bag full of Red Delicious apples. The problem with Red Delicious apples is they aren’t good for cooking. Although I may try in order to get them out of the fridge. Any ideas?

My son and I were just discussing apples the other day. He likes Sweet Tango and Cosmic Crisp. I can’t find those here in Florida. But I can find my favorite, the Pink Lady. Which is indeed, pink. Wonderful combination of sweet and tart. Try one if you can find one.

Enjoy today’s sketch!

Inktober Day 27
"Snack"
Pens and ink drawing of an apple with leaves.
Inktober Day 27 “Snack”

Inktober Day 26

Today’s prompt is “ego.”

I was totally uninspired by this prompt. There are some prompts, like this one, where I want to go off the reservation and just draw something else. The nice thing about a subject I don’t like, it forces me to be more creative and just do it. The more I tackle prompts I don’t want to do, the better I get as a creative.

When I first graduated from college with that degree in Art, I didn’t push myself to draw all subjects. I didn’t sketch as much as I should have but I did paint, sometimes plein air. However, my painting skills got better when I began drawing in my sketchbooks. My friend, Jenn Danza, showed me her sketches and explained why sketchbooks were so important and a lightbulb came on.

The one thing that I have observed over the years is that artists that have the best drawing skills are the ones that do it every day. I have heard various artists complain over the years that they can’t do this or that, but the common denominator I observed among the complainers is that they don’t have a daily drawing habit.

I am a fan of James Gurney and his wife Jeannette. They have a daily creative practice. I wondered why they used sketchbooks instead of boards or canvases until I realized that painting in a sketchbook has a TON of pluses. Painting in a 7×5 sketchbook is small and portable and they only require a small storage space. James paints on one side of the page which makes removing a page painless. Using sketchbooks instead of boards and canvases saves a TON of space and MONEY on materials. A sketchbook doesn’t require an easel, although James has made a custom easel for his sketchbooks. A sketchbook is small and convenient and makes a daily painting practice less intimidating. If it sucks, you turn the page and you didn’t waste an expensive board or canvas. Genius!

I tell kids aspiring to be artists to draw in their sketchbooks every day. It’s the same thing as soccer drills. Practice makes it look easy but like sports, practice gives you muscle memory of your eye/ hand coordination.

Practice made me think of a pumpkin head for EGO. LOL.

Inktober Day 26
Ego
Pen and Ink drawing of a pumpkin head character with EGO spelled out on his shirt.  The head is large to emphasize EGO.
Inktober Day 26 “EGO”

Inktober Day 25

Six more days left in October. It’s always amazing how fast October whips by. Then Christmas goes into high gear, pretty much skipping over Thanksgiving. I think that Thanksgiving has been turned into the Memorial Day of the Holiday Season. It’s a shame because it really is nice to enjoy November for the beautiful month that it is. You can get some bitterly cold days, maybe even some snow, and you don’t quite get Indian Summer anymore. However, the crunchy leaves and the pumpkins, Indian corn and corn stalks left out to celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving have their own charm. Thanksgiving is the holiday to be thankful for what you have been given during the year and to celebrate with family and friends. No gifts. No annoying fireworks. Just good food and spending time together, maybe watching a parade, football or some annual activities.

My kids love Thanksgiving and my daughter tells me that it’s her favorite holiday. She says it is the food. I can see why. Thanksgiving, at least in my family, was all about homemade food. Everything from scratch. I even use a Food Network scratch recipe for my biscuits, which I make the day before and then reheat them on Thanksgiving. (I use spelt flour instead of white flour.) The joke in our family is that it takes days to make the meal, then everyone seems to wolf it down in about 15 minutes on Thanksgiving.

The favorite Thanksgiving food? Stuffing, hands down.

It seems fitting that today’s prompt is “tempting.” Especially as October winds down. We are coming into the season where healthy eating goes flying out the window. Halloween with the excessive candy, Thanksgiving and the holidays with the rich foods, wine and desserts, and cookies; it’s the season of food and calories.

Speaking of today’s Inktober sketch; this is a pen and ink version of a watercolor sketch I did several years ago, when Cleo was still alive. I swapped out what was originally on the plate for the fish.

OK, someone please tell me why cats are associated with fish? Cats are domesticated from the African wildcat, a species that still exists today and they eat mice, rats, insects, birds, lizards and sometimes baby mammals. Where’s the fish?

Inktober 2022  Day 25
Tempting
pen and ink drawing of a cat sitting on a chair so all that you see is her eyes and ears as she is contemplating the fish on the plate on the table.  Which is most likely going to be poached by the cat,
Inktober 2022 Day 25 “Tempting”

Inktober Day 24

Today’s prompt is fun! It is also one of my favorite things; “fairy.”

I drew a bunch of sketches in my sketchbook of various different approaches and didn’t care for my initial sketches. It is October and I wanted to do something along the lines of an Autumn Faerie. I wanted to create a faerie that doesn’t follow the normal sex diva stereotype of faerie. The sex divas are everywhere and I find it hard to believe that a faerie would be wearing a gown with a crown or a slinky “sex kitten” goth outfit while flitting out and about in someone’s garden. Or going into a nursery to swap out a changeling with a human baby. (I picture a hooded faerie for this swap.) Faeries, for the most part are less likely to call attention to themselves and a “goth” outfit sure isn’t going to help them lure a child into a faerie ring. On the contrary, a child would be lured more by a non threatening pixie-like costume. Any child today knows to run the other way when seeing a goth dressed witch with a tainted treat. We’ll all up on our faerie tales these days.

My faerie is an autumn faerie who’s job is to dress trees in their autumn finery. She and the other autumn faeries take their outfits from the leaves and sew them into whatever fiber material they find to create warm clothing that is climate controlled and functional. They reserve the more beautiful leaves for the end of the season when they have their autumn Ball where they do make dresses out of the leaves and party before they go into winter hibernation. No humans are invited to the Autumn Ball, but the woodland creatures and other beings are more than welcome. If you see a fox with leaves braided into his fur, you’ll know he has been to an Autumn Faerie Ball.

Inktober
Day 24
Fairy
Pen and ink drawing of a fairy sitting on a spotted mushroom.  She has monarch butterfly type wings because she is an autumn fairy.  Her costume is made of leaves and fibers and she is taking a break from her work changing the color of the leaves.
Inktober 2022 Day 24 Fairy