Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Summer Wardrobe, graphite on gray paper, 8x8
Two and a half days without the internet--I felt I should do something productive while it was down (re-connected this morning).

I reviewed my summer wardrobe--a linen jacket with huge pockets (pants are someplace), old but goodie Eileen Fisher black slacks, a silk blouse, an old but goodie DKNY blazer, a black "funeral" dress, and a silk print blouse.  I didn't move these to a closet; instead, I drew them.  Now I know where my extra hangers are! 

Imitating Art
I put away varnishing and framing materials (cleared some walking space in the workshop).  Last week, before varnishing, I had to try imitating Painter's Salute--setting the timer on the camera, grabbing the paintbrush, and running around the counter to get into position.  Not easy.  On Friday I had delivered this painting to Convergence Art Guild in Halifax VA for an upcoming exhibit of self-portraits.

Virginia 13-year Cicada
On the way to my workshop to frame Tabernacle Road yesterday I noticed a dead cicada--picked it up, blew off the ants, and spray varnished the big fellow.  He's on a slice of cucumber on a Fiesta plate.  Canape anyone?

Southside Virginia was fortunate--Irene (the middle name given to me at birth) brought hours of wind and rain but no damage and no loss of power.  We lost our Verizon internet connection because it comes out of the Hampton Roads (East Coast) area--they had major damage.

Let's see--one hurricane and one earthquake--do cicadas count as locusts?

Tonight I'll catch up on all the blogs I follow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

VA Earthquake

My house, August 23, 2011 at 1:51 p.m.
I was in the right place--upstairs, kneeling beside my bed.  I wasn't really doing the right thing-- I was retrieving a bottle of acrylic medium from under the bed (yes, a few art supplies are stashed there).

As I got up, I noticed the bed shaking and thought some huge animal had gotten inside and was jumping around; then I noticed the ceiling fans swaying.  I stared at a vase moving on top of a pile of books and realized what was happening.  I headed downstairs where my husband, in the computer room, was staring at a picture that had fallen onto the floor, and Willie, our dog, was on alert.  We just waited; we never thought of going outside.

Across-the-street neighbors called and my up-the-street brother called; he said he moved here from California to get away from such things.  About 120 miles south of the epicenter--we felt it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Wallpaper Samples Adventure

One huge book of wallpaper samples on my dining room table
The adventure began several weeks ago.  After lunch with a couple of friends, one picked up some paint at Sherwin Williams.  Since it was 100 degrees outside we all went in and I sat at the table that's set up for selecting wallpaper.  Out of the blue I decided to ask what they did with their old wallpaper books.  The young man said they're thrown out, so I left my card and asked if he'd call me--I thought the pages would be neat backgrounds for paintings (and I love recycling things).  He called and I picked them up last Saturday.  I carried one eight-pound book into the house and loved all the patterns and colors.  I couldn't wait.

I immediately tore a small piece out of the book, then tore a sheet of watercolor paper in half, glued it down and got out a few acrylics--alizarin, umber and white.  Using a large brush I played--I liked it-- but the paper was a bit wrinkled.

The next day, I used a ruler to tear out a beautiful beige 8x11 piece.  In my kitchen I coated the paper with acrylic medium and set it on the deck to dry.  Whoops--it's raining.  I ran out and brought it inside--no harm done.  It was off to the workshop to paint.  Paint what?  I spotted an old yearbook and picked a faded photo.  I painted; then I hated the beige background with the skin color, so I covered it with black.  Next, I coated the back of the painting with acrylic medium; then I glued it to a piece of mat board.  That's when I began to wonder why I hadn't just used one of my primed canvases or panels; after all, I had completely covered the background--my whole reason for using wallpaper!  I could have saved several days.

And it's not a good portrait!

She looks better tightly cropped.

So-------need any wallpaper sample books?

It was a wasted week but fun and I'll try it again.  I think I've defined the problem--I picked up 13 heavy books on the 13th of the month.  I usually don't leave the house on that date.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Southern Virginia

Looking East, graphite/white pencil on gray paper, 7x7
Sometimes, when driving home in the late afternoon, it's hard to keep my eyes on the road.  The sky is always beautiful.  I recently detoured to a side road and checked the view from atop what I've always known as Tharpe's Hill--just off Route 58.  I looked east towards my hometown of Clarksville and saw about fifteen miles of rolling hills and tree tops--all green.  A great place to live and breathe.

I'm still playing with my pencils.  This paper is from a Martha Stewart pad, something I picked up at Michael's, for crafting I believe.  It's acid-free--grays and browns-- but has a sheen; not the best for drawing but it was handy and fun.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Sheet!, graphite on bristol, 14x11
A guest is arriving tomorrow--an old friend.  I'm setting up the guest house and I always have trouble getting the top sheet even on all sides of the bed.  I never know if the finished hem should go down or up.  This is when I wonder if I should have skipped an art class and taken a home economics class in high school.  Nah--my housekeeping methods are more fun.   I'm grateful that my mother never taught me anything about housework or cooking (I suspect she didn't have the patience).  She did ask me once to slice cabbage for coleslaw; I suggested we pass the cabbage around and have everyone take a bite.

After searching for a couple of weeks, I found my tin of graphite pencils three days ago.  Despite my intentions of readying the house for company I couldn't resist drawing--hiding out upstairs with my pencils H & B through 9.

Now I'm off to put those sheets on the bed; I hope there's no graphite on them.  I'll be ready for my guest by 2 p.m. tomorrow; if not, the refrigerator is stocked with his favorite drink and I've made dinner reservations at his favorite area restaurant.