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

Horse

Another project that I have been working on is horse illustrations/art. Something I did a long time ago that I picked up again just recently. We used to own racehorses and I would sit in the paddock and sketch the horses as they were getting tacked up and harnessed for races. A lot of the horse folks would peek over my shoulder as I used to sketch. It was a lot of fun and I used to love it. We haven’t had a racehorse for a while now but it was awesome. My husband used to drive our horses in the races.

I also collect model horses and being part of the model horse world, you have to go to Kentucky for the Breyerfest at least once. Breyerfest is an annual model horse event held at the Kentucky Horse Park every year. I went a few times and it was a lot of fun. I did a lot of things there, like watch a polo match, that I was never able to do before. I was able to see John Henry and Cigar, were stabled there. (John Henry was a naughty biting horse so there was extra fencing around his paddock.) Some racing greats like Man O’ War are buried there. There are breeds from around the world there so you can see them in person. My personal fave is the Akhal Take. I want one.

The American Saddlebred Association is headquartered there and that brings us to today’s sketch. This was originally intended to be posted on Independence Day but didn’t, and it was the next one in my sketch book, so I am posting it today.

American Saddlebreds, aka Saddle Horses, were bred to essentially be gaited riding horses. They are a true American breed and they have a long history for gentle temperament, used as mounts in battle, performance in the show ring, as well as just pleasure riding.

Chocolate Palomino Saddle horse with rider with red white and blue banners for a national holiday.  Horse is doing an gaited pace.
American Saddle Horse Sketch in my Pentalic Watecolor Sketchbook

Mixed media Tempest

As mentioned in my last post, I have a homemade sketchbook in which I have been creating mixed media/collage spreads, and I have been trying to finish it for a while. Sometimes, I spend so much time on things I think matters, that I forget about the things I used to enjoy doing. It took me a while to get the hang of the whole collage thing, too. It’s smart to keep up the practice, at least weekly.

I have a large amount of 4×6 collage art because of my cat project that I started several years ago. I’d like to keep doing the postcards because I get a ton of ideas which led to creating larger works from those 4×6 pieces. Whenever you feel like you are getting stale, play in a sketchbook or do some postcard sized work. It really helps.

For instance, this page from my sketchbook has elements in it that surprise me. I look at the page and realized that I created some patterns that I can use in design work. This page was all intuitive work, placing things and not thinking about it, or at least, not planning. Just going with the flow. Sometimes when you go with the moment and don’t get hung up about perfection, creativity just happens. This isn’t meant to be a masterpiece, just sketchbook play to see how far I can go with it. Looking at this, I can almost hear Richard Dreyfus and Robert Shaw singing “Spanish Ladies” or something from John Williams and “Jaws” just a little ominously playing in the background.

(Like right now, I can’t get that Tango music out of my head, you know, the one from “True Lies?” …with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis…. Por Una Cabeza. I now have it as an ear worm because “Discovery of Witches” closed Season 3 with Por Una Cabeza. I am sure that will turn up in something I have created LOL….Harry, Helen, let’s not get distracted…….)

I guess there are worse things that could be an ear worm. Por Una Cabeza is pretty bad ass.

pale aqua background with collaged ephemera enhanced with gel and paint pens.  A few sharks, fish and a clipping from an old painting magazine.
Mixed Media – Tempest Sketchbook page

Mixed Media/Collage

Well, it turns out that the Inchie challenge was only 11 days, not 12. I was surprised when I pulled up emails Saturday morning and there was no prompt. Well that was a bummer because the Inchie challenge was fun. I’ll probably keep 2×2 squares with me to work on when I am out of the house. They would make cool thumbnail squares and I have plenty of art that I haven’t posted yet.

That being said…

Several years ago, before Teesha Moore had her stroke, I was a member of Teesha’s Artstronauts Club. I really miss that club. It was chock full of mixed media collage (MM/Collage) goodness. I started a few mixed media collage sketchbooks that I still have to finish. Some morphed into my Zombie doll Sketchbooks and my creepy portrait sketchbooks that I did finish. I never really thought of myself as a collage artist until I took a few of Carla Sonheim’s classes and things started to click. I have been playing with patterns, lettering and other techniques that gave me the skills I need to finish some of these unfinished sketchbooks.

Most of my MM/ collage sketchbooks are home made and hand stitched so that they would could be a specific shape or size and they have a theme. Most have a limited amount of pages which makes the project easy to finish.

This sketchbook is a mixture of cut collage from pretty much anything; some collage is home made from paint drips and such. I used Teesha Moore’s “Amazing 16 Page Journal” format. It’s a full sheet of 30 x 22 hot or cold press Fabriano watercolor paper that’s cut into 3 10×22 pieces and are folded into pages and stitched to create the 16 page sketchbook. On my mixed media pages I use paint markers and gel pens, fortune cookie fortunes, cut out lettering and quotes, basically a miss mosh of pieces assembled to make a whole page.

This has been in my “to do” pile a long time and I and finally posting some of these pages. The page size is 8×10 and the excess wasn’t trimmed, it is a flap that became a design of it’s own on one side and on the other it was part of a full page spread. I had a ton of chihuahuas from a 365 desk calendar that I save and used in various art projects. Lots of paint marker embellishments.

8x10 Mixed media collage sketchbook page using various bits and scraps of collage.  Chihuahuas, old ticket stubs, embellishments with paint markers. The Chihuahua heads were added to "bodies."
Pages 2/3 Mixed media collage
8x10 Mixed media collage sketchbook page with lavender background  using various bits and scraps of collage.  Chihuahuas,  embellishments with paint markers.
Page/Flap 1 Mixed Media Collage

Inchies Day 11

One more day of Inchies! I can’t say that this hasn’t been fun because it was a lot of fun. I like experimenting with tiny art. Today’s prompt is “interwoven” and I went in a bit of a different direction. We went swimming very early this morning and there was lightning out over the Atlantic. We debated the wisdom of our swim but we could see the storm clouds being shredded by the wind, slowly breaking up the top of the storm. The storm hovered offshore before being pushed out to sea.

This morning’s clouds inspired these Inchies;

It also inspired a bit of…writing…I usually make time in the morning to squeeze in a little creative writing. It helps my overall creativity.

2x2 inch square of watercolors in Indigo, Ultramarine Blue, yellow and pink....abstract pieces of an early morning storm, white gel pen illustrating the lightning
2 x 2 Inch squares of abstract storm clouds

Lightning

In the distance, lightning flashes 

a spider web of electricity 

bolts down and across the sky

“It’s going offshore, right?”

“Will we be able to swim this morning?”

The sun is still considering its rising

But has to compete with the storm

Looming menacingly 

Slate blue thunderclouds

Adorned with puffs of light gray

An angry Poseidon reflected 

In the face of the storm

Thunder grumbles and rolls

“Should we get out of the pool?”

“But it looks like it’s going away

See, the top of the storm is melting away”

“Not yet!” says Poseidon

Stirring the sea with even more dark clouds

The winds challenge the sea god

Continuing to blow off the tops of his storm

Poseidon’s face is gone

Blown away along with the clouds

On the dancing taunting winds

gleefully shearing the clouds in the storm 

More lightning protests behind the clouds 

Slowly being pushed away 

But not without 

More clouds stacking and building

Poseidon shaking his fist at the winds

“I’ll get you next time” as the clouds and storm 

Get blown out to sea

Paper Lanterns

We went to Animal Kingdom last week. One of the streets in the back near Asia had colorful lanterns/flags and lights hanging over the ‘village.’ It looked so pretty that I knew I would have to work it into one of my posts. Disney can truly make magic out of something so simple.

And today’s stamp was supposed to be holiday lights but morphed into something more abstract.

Absence

Absence 

You were the last thing

we wanted

You came to us

on a warm summer evening

Tiny and sick

dark as the night

We took you in

and you grew on us

You thought you were

a chihuahua

You ingratiated yourself

into our hearts

Soft and silky

svelte and lanky

A queen in your own right

Gardening with your company

Birds and mice brought

into the house 

There were those times

we pulled our hair out

You ate almost  

 a whole cake

But we loved you

You went to Florida 

with Erin

a companion and

a friend 

We enjoyed your company

during lockdown

Then one tragic day

you fell ill

No vet could save you

You were only five

We didn’t want you 

to go

But we had to let you

We feel your loss

every day.