Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Honey, I Shrunk the House!

Fitting in

I've been participating in Summer Colours Week over at the beautiful Poppytalk blog. They have set up a Flickr Group where you can upload your photos (a certain color every day) and in the evening they highlight their favorites on their blog. On pink day, my good friend Beth's photo was included (click here to see it on her blog). She is quite the photographer!

When I look at the photos uploaded to the Flickr group, I think that my photos don't fit in. Most photos taken are so dreamy and have that look that's all so popular now - slightly faded, more pastel than clear color, and a little aged. That just isn't me. I like clear colors and bright colors. So, last night I thought I'd just give up and not upload anything else for the rest of the colors.

But then, this morning, 123cabezas included one of my very colorful scarves in a very bright Etsy treasury.
If you click here, you can leave a comment if you want to! Such a nice boost this morning. So, now, I'm going to go upload my green images to the Summer Colours Flickr group!

Maybe I don't take photos that fit the most popular look, but I like them! And isn't that way more important than fitting in?!

P.S. Thank you all so much on your very enthusiastic comments on my latest painting. I am having so much fun with this and your support makes it even better!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Illustration Friday - Satellite

The local satellite branch of the library was her favorite place to get inspired.
(Light and coarse molding pastes and acrylic paint on 11 x 14 inch gallery-wrapped canvas.)

My paintings are changing in a way I had not anticipated and I am over the moon with excitement. When I had finished this woman, I told Daniel I wanted to paint a "real" background this time and asked for suggestions. His first response was "books" and so books it is. I am trying to be humble, but I am incredibly proud of this painting! And already on to the next one...

For more entries in Illustration Friday, click here.

P.S. Daniel is trying to outdo me and has started a second blog that is dedicated to his many travel sketches. It's called "Wanderlust, or Have Sketchbook, Will Travel: An Urban Sketcher's Blog." It's worth a visit! (Click here!)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Show & Tell

1. I don't know why I am suddenly into lists, but I guess that's what I do in my mind when I am trying to keep all my different projects straight.

2. Daniel is almost all better with his knee and is back on track with his blog. He wrote quite the story and added one of his amazing drawings. Click here to check it out and then come back here...

3. Daniel's sister, Patti, has also recently gone public with her very inspiring blog. Simply click here and visit (but come back)!

4. Speaking of blogs, I am starting to really enjoy many more German blogs (written in German) and have made a separate blog list for them on my left side bar. Go check them out! And if there are some you think I need to add, let me know (the same goes for the blogs written in English).

5. I bought some sock yarn the other day and am knitting a scarf with it:

6. On our recent road trip, I read this book and loved it.
Especially since it was set in southern Appalachia and I learned much about the region, in which we were traveling. Plus, it's a great story and so well written!

7. A nice harvest of shallots from our garden. So good!

8. This weekend I finished another painting and will show it to you tomorrow! I have to tweak just one little thing...

Happy Monday, everyone!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Moment of Perfection

This morning, I was sitting on our back porch with a cup of tea, Daniel was playing with Winslow in the yard, two squirrels were chasing each other up and down a tree trunk, the birds were singing, the air was balmy and a light breeze was dancing around me ... when it hit me!
This is perfection, that present moment! It didn't matter where I'd been or what I was planning to do later. Everything else sort of fell away and at the same time was contained in that single moment.
And then, in the attempt to hold on to that moment for just a little longer, it vanished making room for the next one!

Wishing you a Sunday filled with perfectly happy moments!!

P.S. Isn't that little tweety scrubbie the cutest? If you'd like your very own, visit my good friend Doris' Etsy shop. Just click here! For her fun and interesting blog, click here! Today's post will leave you hungry for blueberry pie... but luckily, she's included her recipe.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Good Friends & Food!

Last night, our friends Jorge and Nathalie and their two beautiful girls came over for dinner. We had so much fun that we completely forgot to take more than a couple of photos. Daniel made cosmos for us (big) girls - oh, yum!
Nathalie brought quesillo, a wonderful Venezuelan flan for dessert. I could have eaten it all by myself!
Daniel and I prepared Thai grilled chicken and cucumber relish and I wanted to share the recipes with you, but totally forgot to take pictures of the meal when it was served, and I can't post without photos!! So, we'll make it again and then I'll share. It's one of our all-time favorite recipes ... and so delicious that there were no leftovers!

Today, we are having a quiet and lazy day. We have nowhere to go and nothing to do except relax and enjoy our time together...

I hope your day is relaxing as well!

P.S. Nathalie's gorgeous necklace is from talented Theresa's beautiful Etsy shop Fairie Moon Creations.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Refreshing in the Summer Heat!

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved the scent of lemon balm (Zitronenmelisse). My mom grew it in our garden, but I can't remember what (if anything) she made with it. I'll have to check with my sister to see if she remembers.

Now, we grow several bushes of lemon balm, which is easy to do as it likes to reseed freely. Every few days, I pick a good handful of stems and leaves, add about 4 cups of boiling water, and let that steep for about 10 minutes. I then strain the infusion into a 1/2 gallon pitcher and fill the rest with ice and water. And voilà!
You have a very refreshing summer drink! Enjoy!

Is there something you make to keep you hydrated in the summer heat?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Painting for Ripple

So many of you have inspired me to finally get out of my comfort zone and also do a little sketch to donate for Kelly Light's amazing movement at her blog Ripple. The cause is so important!

From Kelly:
Donation Details - How this works
Each sketch card on this blog is $10.00. The $10.00 is a donation to help the animal victims of the Deep Water Horizon Gulf Oil Spill. Every penny is donated. The two Non-Profits that are benefiting are The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies and The International Bird Rescue Research Center. You can purchase a card if you donate directly to one of the non-profits and email me the confirmation and your address to The artist will mail you the signed card.

We don't have to feel helpless. We can help. Our small actions together will ripple outward.


So, head on over to Ripple and either purchase a card or donate a little painting of your own (and I know many of you have already)!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Loving right now...

1. Our aging hydrangeas.
2. Our blueberry bushes actually gifting us with a few blueberries in their first year.
3. Our fig tree growing enough figs this year for us AND the birds.
4. Still loving reading it - can't believe it took me so long!
5. I'm really loving some new German blogs!

Do you remember my good friend Verena? I wrote about her here.

Well, she has a really fun and interesting blog, Gerlindes Blog, about life with her girls (click here to visit). AND ... she's gotten several of her friends to start blogging as well.

So, my German-speaking friends, make sure you visit them.

They are:

Carmen's Stilgeflüster - an inspiring blog about fashion and style and how to find your own. It's and area where I can use some help and visits to Carmen's blog are always informative and inspiring!

Elisabeths Welt - a new and very active blog about the life and thoughts of two sisters in Germany!

Besonders Gewöhnlich - an endearing blog by another Elisabeth about life with her family. The really fun part is that some of her posts are written by her children! Just wonderful!!

This is connecting me back into life in Germany in a way that's different from being connected with my family. I love it!! Go visit them!

6. Yesterday we finally (what took us so long?!?) watched It's Complicated and it made us both laugh out loud. Meryl Streep is one amazing actress! Click here for the movie trailer.

7. Still loving:
Click here for the trailer. I love everything about this show - the beautiful people, country side, sense of humor, colors, their accents - just wonderful! (By the way, we are watching the DVD's of the show from Netflix, since we don't have cable TV. We are still on season 1!)

8. Ramses teaching me how to properly enjoy life.
9. All of your visits and sweet comments! How did I get to be so lucky?!?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Baby Bird

Can you see the little baby Green Heron that visited our yard the other day? Click on the photo to see it larger. We watched it for a while and then went inside so that mama bird could tend to it.

I've been painting some more, but nothing is to the point of showing it to you yet. Maybe tomorrow...

Wishing you a most wonderful day!

Monday, June 21, 2010


First of all, I would like to thank all of you for your supportive and kind comments on my post yesterday! What a community we have created here! Once again I realize that we all go through similar things in our lives. And I know I can always count on you to uplift and inspire. Thank you!!
Well, today, I kept things light and fun and did some redecorating with my own art. I usually just have my pieces sitting around, but I've never incorporated them into any decorations.
So, today, I boldly dared to place my paintings on either side of a print by the famous Friedensreich Hundertwasser. And you know what?!? I think they look good!

What do you think?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I wish...

Do you ever have days when you catch yourself repeatedly thinking thoughts that start with: "I wish I were..." Some of those thoughts carry a real yearning and others are just plain silly, but I thought I'd put them out here in the hope that I am not alone in my desires and doubts.

(This may sound like a heavy duty post, but it really isn't - those are just tiny voices, but sometimes irritating like a tiny mosquito!)

So here it goes:
1. I wish I had a knack for creating sacred spaces like what Vicki has created for her knitting studio. I see it and would like to move right in, to wrap that energy around me like a nurturing blanket. But when it comes to creating that kind of space for me, it just doesn't feel like me. Yet I want it... go figure!
2. I wish I were not derailed so easily by others' opinions. I try not be, but those little doubts always creep in. Someone asks me a simple question out of curiosity, and I start questioning everything. Do you ever do that?!
3. I wish I were a "real" artist - sometimes I just feel like an impostor! I have no training, I just paint whatever comes to mind. Is that what "real" artists do? Shouldn't I be sketching first? Figure out the best composition? Know about color theory? And then again, I paint and I LOVE it!! Go figure...
4. I wish I were petite. Ok, I know that is silly! But there are times I wish I were small and cute and not tall and statuesque. (That thought never lasts for long and usually only comes up when I've been around some petite friends and feel like a Nordic giant around them!)
5. I wish I had more of a sense for fashion. That's a tricky one. I would like to have a little more flair in the way I dress (a little more playful look), but it doesn't come easily for me and there are many other things that are more important to me. Add to that that I am NOT a shopper and this is pretty hopeless...
6. I wish knew how to accessorize better. That one goes with the fashion wish and again, it's only important to me temporarily. It's just something I have not learned and don't have an innate sense of (and not much patience for, which doesn't help).
7. I wish I were more girly. Not pink, frills and lace girly, but just a little more feminine in some ways. Let me give you some examples: I don't like to shop, I don't like to pamper myself, I don't feel the need to go get spa treatments (although I do like them when I go), I am a loner, and I am not very emotional outwardly. All of that is fine, but sometimes I just wish I had a little more of a girly girl in me.
8. I wish I were more fearless. I've talked about that before, but I have such a talent to always imagine the worst that I think I miss out on a lot just by thinking that it's going to be too dangerous. Silly, I know! That goes hand in hand with being a worrywart! All I can do here is use my common sense to decide between what's really dangerous and what's just plan foolish worry...
9. I wish I could just do thing without thinking about them so much first. Do you know what I mean? I'm a thinker and for the most part I like that a lot. But sometimes it gets in my way. Sometimes it would be better to just take action without thinking (sort of the way I paint without a plan and without a sketch - oh, maybe that's a good thing after all?!).
10. I wish, I wish, I wish ... I wish I had a piece of cake right now! Oh, wait! There's cake in the kitchen! A blackberry tart Daniel made yesterday - delicious!! I'll be right back!
Ok, enough with the wishes.

And, I should say, that for the most part I really love who I am and what I do. These are just little nagging voices that come into my head and I hope that by putting them out there, they'll quiet down...
And while I'm at it, a couple of confessions (it's good for the soul, right?):

1. I tend to resist fads and so often when everyone is reading a particular book or watching a certain movie, I don't do it "just because." So, many years after it was in, I am finally reading "Eat, Pray, Love" and was prepared to not be blown away. But I have to confess that I am loving it. Totally inspiring!! And I'm sure the movie will be gorgeous!
2. I like Diet Coke. I know it's not the best for me and I try to limit my intake to one a day (and sometimes even none a day), but I like it. There, I said it!
3. I like to watch crime shows and mysteries on TV. I know I should be only reading and painting and having deep and meaningful discussions, in fact we should not even own a TV, but I have to say it relaxes me (even crime shows) while I knit or crochet in the evening. Trying to read at that point usually just makes me fall asleep.
4. I'm a total homebody. Don't get me wrong, I have a passion for travel, but then I love to be home. And when I am home, the days when I don't have to leave the house at all, are my favorite days.
5. I used to be someone who never finished anything creative that I started, and I have to confess that I am still amazed that I now finish (most of) my creative projects.
6. Even though I am German, I am not a natural-born housewife! I like order, but I'd rather paint than dust, read than do the dishes, knit than vacuum, and I'd definitely rather do anything else than clean the bathrooms...
(All photos were taken on our recent road trip. Don't you just love water?!? You can click on any one of them to see them bigger)

Well, that's probably more than you ever wanted to know... and I thank you for the kind ear you lend me and the loving comments you leave me!

Tomorrow, something fun and light-hearted.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Evolution of a Painting

Dare to Be Yourself
8 x 10 inch (25 x 30 cm) Mixed Media Painting on gallery-wrapped Canvas
Available for purchase at Etsy (click here to visit my little store)

Do you remember this painting from it's first two versions? She seemed finished in the first version, but only for a few days.
Then, I added more layers in the background and again called her finished.
But I was keeping the painting in the living room and every time I looked at it, there was something missing.

I kept her pretty and tame and safe, but I really wanted to add more depth. So, here she is after her transformation. She may have been prettier before, but now she feels "herself" to me!
Someone in my family asked me today why I paint women and why only women. I had to honestly say that I don't know. It's pure inspiration and I guess when I'm done with women, I'll know.

For now they fascinate me - so representative of heart, strength, creation, compassion, endurance and courage. If you had told me just two years ago that I'd feel so fulfilled not only painting but painting women, I would have called you crazy. Funny (and good) how life can change, isn't it?

P.S. Daniel and I are watching DVDs (Netflix) from the PBS series "Colonial House," where a group of 21st century people live like a community of 17th century British colonists in the US. It's so interesting! Have any of you seen it? A whole new look at the difficulties of the "simple" life.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Welcome to My Studio!

About a month ago, I had shown some before and after photos of my studio and the talented Vicki of "2 Bags Full..." suggested I sign up for "Where Bloggers Create II" at My Desert Cottage. Click here to see what it's all about!
Yesterday, I almost backed out because my studio really isn't anything special. It's more functional than anything, and here's why!
It took me 42 years to figure out that I wanted to paint. And when it finally clicked, I didn't want to waste another minute making an elaborate space for myself. So, I repurposed one of our guest rooms. This bookshelf holds some supplies and my creative and inspiring books,
these few little plastic drawers are filled with paints, paper and supplies,
and this surface was created very simply by a plywood board held up by three filing cabinets. Here you can see all my gel mediums and varnishes, plus old tea containers filled with pens and other goodies.
I use one of Daniel's old portable drawing tables as my small work space. It works perfectly for me because I am one of those people who can get forever sidetracked by making a beautiful work space and actually never do any work. Plus, when I have too many options at my disposal, I get paralyzed and also end up doing nothing.
This way, I have just enough supplies, just enough space that I can keep it simple, keep it clean and - above all - a space where I can paint, paint, paint!

Thank you all so much for visiting! To see many more creative spaces, click here! You won't be disappointed...

P.S. Someone asked about the colorful dolls/figures on the wall. We've brought back many of them from our travels to Oaxaca, Mexico. The faces are made from coconut shells and they are all painted in bright, happy colors with many different designs.