Monday, February 27, 2012

A strange day...

Today was one of those weird days that started really early for me. I woke up at 1:30 in the morning with a start and couldn't go back to sleep. 
I tried to sleep a little after Daniel left to teach, but Ramses didn't think that was necessary at all. He kept climbing on me and waking me up again.
So, finally, I got going, except I never really did. It was a gloomy day outside and pouring rain for much of it.  Not good for trying to stay awake and getting things done...
I was so happy Daniel had bought us bright and beautiful flowers over the weekend.
My very own indoor sunshine to make me happy.  On days like that, when I am so tired, everything seems so serious. My emotions are close to the surface and I can quickly feel anxious or guilty about whatever it is I think I should be doing or should have done.
Luckily I have learned over the years not to take anything seriously that floats through my mind on those days...
Instead, I put most things on hold and simply look for what makes me happy. Little things.
One of those things today was this little project from the latest issue of LandLust Magazine.
I love tiny projects like that. They are fun to do and finished so quickly. Instant gratification!
All I needed was a little bit of yarn and a couple of stray buttons. And a little birds nest, of course, for picture taking.
Aren't they adorable? One of those buttons arrived on a package from my friend Beth not long ago.
I like these little egg cozies so much I am sure I'll be making more.
And I have a feeling some of them might actually show up in my future giveaway...
I hope that your today was better than mine (even my attempt at printing did not go very well...).

Tomorrow is a new day! And I'm glad...

Blog Stats!

Some blog stats today that amaze me...

Number of posts: 743 

WOW! I never thought I had this much to show and tell. Ever! Or that I'd stick with it.

Over the last  (almost) three years, I have shared 150 pieces of art with you (!!), plus knitting, crocheting, sewing, cooking, baking, pics from around Savannah, our home, travel photos, family photos and simply my thoughts on many things. And you have come back again and again. Thank you!
Loyal Readers: 419

Ok, now I know not all of you read my blog every day and that some who signed up early on probably forgot that my blog even exists, but still. WOW! So grateful!!!
And here it comes. The number that had me do a double take and then stare at the computer with eyes wide in disbelief:

Published Comments: 12,695

I know I'm repeating myself, but WOW! Can this be true?!
A print in progress.
The background was created using an airbrush
with soap ground over a doily stencil.
And then etched, of course, and printed.
I just love the soft edge of the lace!!

To say I am humbled and grateful would be an understatement. How is this possible? That I still have more to say and show you? That you keep coming back to visit? From all over the world? That you keep commenting? That new readers find what I have to offer interesting and of value? That longtime readers haven't gotten tired of me yet? And that because of this blog, my creations have traveled the world...

I'm blown away! This most definitely calls for a giveaway in the very near future!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

You are THE BEST!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sketches & Underpaintings

Sometimes I find myself in a creative dry spell, and other times everything just spills out of me... This is one of those "other times"... 
The first face is drawn on a layer of fiber paste, which makes it feel like I'm drawing on handmade paper. Really nice!
And in the underpainting you can really see the texture - sort of grainy, but soft. It takes a little getting used to painting on it.
Do you remember this sketch above? Well, she was just a little too cute for me. So, I lengthened her nose and moved her mouth down a bit (and closed it!) and like her so much better!!
Do you see the pretty papers showing through? I had gotten them from here on Etsy a long time ago. In fact, I had forgotten that I had them. Not anymore! They are so fun and colorful and I'm sure some of them will be peeking through in the final piece...
I think the underpainting turned out beautifully! She looks so soft somehow. We'll see how she changes with color washes over the face and her hair and background also painted.
And just because ...  a picture from the opening of the student art shows at the school last night. Lots and lots of great art! We got to connect with quite a few students and also friends who came to see everyone's work. Quite inspiring!!

Wishing you a most relaxing and peaceful Sunday!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I love when things happen that are not at all connected, but then again maybe they are. I'd like to think they maybe everything is much more connected than we think... 

When I first started this current etching class, on my way to and from school, I started listening to the audio book "The Serpent on the Crown," number 17 in my favorite ever audio book series by Elisabeth Peters. I listened to the first one (Crocodile on the Sandbank) 17 years ago and will probably listen to all of them again at some point in the future. They are set in Egypt around the turn of the 20th century and narrated by the amazing Barbara Rosenblat, who is a true artist when it comes of different voices and accents! 
Every time before I get to class, I am immersed in archaeological excavations with a good murder mystery added to the mix. So I thought I was still not yet quite present in class when my professor mentioned an international juried student print show that was happening in Egypt, at El Minia University in March.

Egypt. Really. Weird coincidence, right?!

She urged us all to enter. The show had stringent print size restrictions, so I printed both of these on eastern paper (the Japanese Kitakata paper), which is super thin but you can print right up to the edge of the paper. Beautiful, warm, luminous, and incredibly delicate.
Both of these prints were accepted - along with many other beautiful prints by other students from the print program - and are going to be traveling to Egypt! And if they don't sell, they will become part of their permanent collection.

My art.

Going to Egypt.

Some day Daniel and I will, too... 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dolores - Finished Painting

I wanted to paint a woman with downcast eyes and in the sketch phase (click here if you want to take a look) I thought that was impossible. The eyes looked closed.
But then I got a great suggestion in my Fabulous Faces class ( of some paintings to take a look at and after many hours of just working on the eyes -- success!!!
She does look like she is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, like she knows true sorrow. Which is why I named her Dolores.
But somehow she also carries a quiet dignity and strength, as though she knows even though her heart is heavy right now, she is quite capable of dealing with just about anything.

I had fun using a rubber stamp to lift off paint while it was still wet (the lighter areas in the background) and also add darker paint. It's something I hadn't tried before but I am sure will do again!
6x 6 inch acrylic painting

available for sale in my Etsy shop (click here)

I am entering her in the weekly Illustration Friday exhibit (the theme is capable) and also am linking this post to the wonderful and very fun Paint Party Friday.

In the next few days, I have much more to share with you, a new print, more art, and some exciting and art-related news...

P.S. Thank you all for the wonderful comments on this piece!! I cherish every one of them...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Some thoughts...

Yesterday, something fairly insignificant happened that got me thinking. I was wearing a pair of shoes and suddenly one of the heels was falling apart. At first I couldn't believe it, but given that I bought these shoes probably 20 years ago, they were due to fall apart. 

As I threw them out, I said to Daniel: "Good riddance! They were always uncomfortable." 
That made me think. How often do we do that? Stay with something that is slightly (or even very) uncomfortable, just because it is familiar. I have certainly done that. In fact I still do sometimes. It also reminded me of a passage in Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach I was reading the other day:

"Our dragons are our fears: our day stalkers, our night sweats. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failing. Fear of starting something new and not finishing it. Again. Or the real fear, the one the sends shivers up our spines: the fear of succeeding, of becoming our authentic selves and facing the changes that will inevitably bring. We might not be happy with the way we are living now, but at least it's safely familiar."
I am totally happy with the life I am living now, and I realize that that is the result of many small and big changes. I have known plenty of anxiety attacks (and still do on rare occasions), but somehow my inner voice was always just a tiny bit louder. I didn't always listen, but the good thing is it never gives up!
The reason this is especially on my mind these days is that I have a number of friends who are in that unsettled place right now where change is inevitable and looks so very scary!
It could be the best thing ever, but when we are in that frightening place, we cannot imagine that things could ever be good again. We certainly cannot imagine that this change that is happening to us could bring something even better! I'm sure we've all been there. I know I have.
And another thing I know for sure - without those scary moments, without listening to my inner voice even though I was going into uncharted territory, without surrendering to the changes that were happening in my life, I would never have started making art, living my creative life, never have started blogging and would never have met you all.
First print of a new etching in progress - love it so far!!
I thought the Lara painting would make a good print!
And when I see where that has taken me, how my life hasn't only been changed but completely transformed,  I know that wonderful things are in store for my friends, too, and all really who are facing unsettling changes and are courageous enough to take the first small step.

Which brings me back to my uncomfortable shoes that were falling apart ... good riddance, indeed!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Works in Progress

First of all, thank you for all your comments lately! I love this exchange we've got going here in blogland!! 

Well, I've been busy...
With this sketch above (on another square canvas), I am trying to draw and then paint a woman looking down. I am not sure how I'll manage to have her eyes not look like they are simply closed. Any suggestions? If they end up looking closed, I'm sure it'll still look good. She looks so inward right now, and a little sad.
This lovely, on the other hand, is wide awake and somehow looks expectant. Or something. I'll be eager to see how she develops when I start with the underpainting.
And ... FINALLY ... I've painted another portrait onto a copper plate to etch this afternoon. Lara is becoming a layered print! I'm not sure yet what to do with the background plate(s). Any suggestions?

Well, it's a cold day here and I'm enjoying it in my warm and snug little studio.

I hope you are having a great Monday as well!!

And to all my German friends and readers: Ich wünsche euch einen wunderschönen Rosenmontag!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Grace - Finished Painting

Well, here's a new one for me: I am using art to procrastinate on doing other art. I need to be painting another portrait on a copper plate for my etching class. Instead, I surround myself with canvases of all kinds and paint on those...
I used to get upset when I procrastinated, but now I just know that my energy isn't in the right place yet for doing the other work. And I know I'll get it done. I always do.
So, I enjoyed my little paint party today. And I finished "Grace." She turned out to be a little jewel on a deep 5 x 5 inch canvas. I enjoyed that smaller format for a change.
I love extending the painting over the sides with these 1.5 inch deep canvases and I did so here.
5 x 5 inch (13 x 13 cm) acrylic painting
for sale in my Etsy Store
I hope you are all having (or have had) a beautiful Sunday.

Here, it poured rain all morning complete with thunder and lightening, but now it is sunny once again... And in that sunshine I am off to the grocery store!

And then tonight we have a date with the last episode of the season of Downton Abbey. What a great program! Maggie Smith is one of my very favorite actresses!

Life is good! I hope for you as well!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My trusty helper ... and some blog stuff

When I paint, that is where Winslow likes to be and watch me or sleep and dream. I think he gets too hot laying on the carpet in the room - the floors in the hallway are so much cooler for a very furry dog like he is... He is such a sweetheart!

I am so glad you all liked my last painting as much as I do! Thank you all for your very kind comments. I relish every one of them!!

And speaking of comments, I have a few blogger/blog changes and issues to tell you about (that rarely happens, but right now they all seem to happen at once).

1. Thanks to KJ's blog, I have figured out that when I embed my comments into my post (rather than having a popup window) I can reply to each comment individually. It's so cool!! I've always felt bad that I don't reply much to comments and didn't know if I should write a separate comment or send an e-mail if I have an e-mail address, but this takes care of it. From now on, my reply to your comment will be right underneath that very comment. Yeah!!!

2. Sometime in January, Blogger apparently implemented a limit to blog rolls (the blog lists I have on my sidebars) of 166 entries. Well, I have more than that and right now that fact seems to freeze my blog list completely. That means I cannot remove blogs that are no longer in existence nor can I add any of your wonderful blogs I found just recently. My blog list is how I keep track of which blogs to visit, so this is a bit frustrating, but hopefully it will get resolved soon.

3. The new word verification that blogger has implemented (and not just blogger - I see it in lots of other places) is very hard to read. At least for me it is. To those of you who are wondering about not having word verification, I just wanted to say that I haven't had any comment control for the last two years (at least) and have only once been spammed. After that time, I went to comment moderation for a few weeks just to be sure and then went on without comment control again. It has not been a problem at all.

Well, that's it for today. No art to show at the moment. We are having a rain system come through here today and I can feel that the pressure is changing. That means - after a busy morning running errands - a quiet afternoon for me with my knitting.

What have you been up to today?! Hope it's been fun and enjoyable!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lara - Finished Painting

Lara is quite different from my other paintings if simply for the fact that she has blond hair!
I am so enjoying painting these women at the moment! Each one of them is different and with none of them do I know how they will look in the end.
It was the same with this one. And I'm so happy I am painting on collaged papers again - I did this in the very beginning of my painting life three years ago and then sort of got away from it. I love texture and the depths I get from a layer of papers.
11 x 14 inch acrylic painting
available for purchase in my Etsy store
My friend Cathy (Artsy Butterfly) inspired me to share this painting over at Paint Party Friday. And because her hair looks very fluid to me as it blows in the breeze, I am also entering her in this week's Illustration Friday Exhibit.

I'm already on to the next painting and can't wait to show you!

P.S. I loved all your comments on my previous post about coffee or tea! I am drinking tea right now, but I think later this morning I'll go by my favorite cafe in town (on my way to the print studio) for a latte...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tea or Coffee?

Are you a coffee or a tea drinker?
We used to be coffee drinkers, but have somehow changed over to mostly tea now. I still LOVE the smell of ground coffee beans and the smell of coffee brewing, but drip coffee doesn't agree with me anymore. It makes me nervous and upsets my stomach. I still love espresso drinks though (you can see me drinking a delicious latte in my profile picture).
Some years back - when we still lived in Albuquerque - we discovered Harney & Sons and now we buy our tea in bulk. My absolute favorite tea of theirs is the Paris blend and for a strange reason.

When I was a teenager in Germany, we were into drinking tea. My hometown of Münster had quite a few tea shops and they always had a very special smell - a combination of black teas, scented teas and fruit teas. Paris tea smells just like that to me and instantly brings back memories of happy times with friends! Smell is such an amazing memory trigger, isn't it?
Every time I order I get a small tin of a tea we haven't tried yet. This time it was Black Currant flavored black tea (it actually has chunks of dried fruit in it), which I can already tell is going to be a favorite.

And, when the tins are empty, they become great containers for art supplies. They are lining the window sill in my studio and the top of a bookshelf in Daniel's studio. Tea and art - I think they go together beautifully...

So, are you a coffee or a tea drinker? And are there special blends of either you like best?