Friday, December 21, 2012


Wishing you perfect Holidays
and a wonderful New Year!
This is my 2012 card and was painted with Procreate on my iPad.  This was my fifth idea for a card; I liked No. 4 but accidentally deleted it when it was almost finished (which is not easy to do).  Once this reindeer painting was finished I got a cardshop app--nothing as exciting as having a deadline and learning new stuff.  There was no grid for layout; just a tiny piece of ruler across the top of the card showing inches and FIFTHS of inches.  Fifths?  I'm accustomed to eighths.  My only way to check placement was to print one.  Print?  I had never printed from my iPad, and my Canon printer is not one of those compatible with Apple's airprint.
Luckily, the cardshop app has the option of sending a PDF by email.  That worked, but I was unable to print from the PDF reader on my desktop.  So I emailed it to the laptop in the dining room; from there I could send it to the printer in the computer room.  A solution at last.  I printed 75; none were upside-down and the inside greeting was in the right place.  I folded, signed, wrote some personal notes, addressed and stamped the envelopes, and got the cards in the mail yesterday.  I can check that off my list--and my fruitcake has been delivered.
Now it's on to cleaning and shopping.   Perfect Holidays?  At my house that's a joke.

Merry Christmas! 
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Chihuly Exhibit at VMFA

Organic Vase, created with Procreate on iPad
Last Friday I visited the Chihuly Exhibit at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond VA.  I left my camera in the car so I have no photos.  Instead, here's a Chihuly-inspired iPad painting of a red vase I bought at Mr. Harris' yard sale.  I painted without actually looking at the vase, and imagined it melting and changing forms, being displayed on a mirrored surface like Chihuly's works.  (And, yes, this looks a bit like an internal organ; I guess it's a ChiHallie.)  
Mr. Harris, Colorsoft pencils on Wallis Museum board, 9x6

My camera was in the car when I stopped at the yard sale and the light was right.  Mr. Harris said okay when I asked if I could take his photo; I told him I might want to paint it.  He's a neighbor and owner of one of the local funeral homes--a nice-looking man.  He hasn't seen this yet and it's not quite finished.

Outside VMFA, photo by S. Brooks
Here I am, outside the museum, pretending I'm holding up Chihuly's 25-foot chandelier which was hanging in the Atrium--my idea--and it took a while for the patient photographer to line this up.  Pedestrians probably wondered why I was posing like Vanna White.  My brother thought this looked like Miss Liberty with a tight grip on her pocketbook--not a bad idea for these times.

The Chihuly Exhibit was excellent--rooms filled with forms and colors and reflections.  I especially liked his Ikebana Boats and the Tobac Basket Bowls, which were displayed on huge beautiful slabs of wood.  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Small Town Drawing

Robert, Inktense pencils on hot press w/c paper, 12x9
I'm a Sunday evening regular at The Pizza Pub Restaurant/Bar here in town--so is Robert.  He's usually helping out or having a cup of coffee; and I see him outside always with his pipe.  I asked if I could take a few photos with my iPad--he obliged.  It's been a long time since I've tried portraits other than my own.  Robert liked this and, last Sunday, he walked with me through the restaurant as I showed it to the customers.

Most of you fellow bloggers live in cities where you can sketch strangers at coffee shops, but I have to brew Starbucks in my kitchen.  I live in a place where everyone knows our names (and The Pub knows my drink is unsweet iced tea) so Thank Goodness it does look like Robert.  This was not as much fun as my self portraits where I tear into myself and pounce on every wrinkle.  (Maybe I can do that with tourists or fishermen I don't know next summer.)

Hurricane Sandy looks ominous but I'm 150 miles inland from the coast; my area is not expecting much damage but we might lose our internet (that's what happened last year when Hurricane Irene hit the coast).  We think this latest hurricane is named for one of the bartenders at The Pub.

I'm now putting the Inktense pencils aside and will be trying Colorsoft pencils on different papers, then on to Polychromos pencils.  (Dick Blick had a sale so a big box was delivered to my front porch Wednesday--lots of new stuff with no instructions.)  I'll play with pencils for a while, then get back to my studio and paints.  Well.... that's my plan today.

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Monday, October 15, 2012


Caution, inktense painting on aquaboard, 11x14
My son took a photo of a blackbird with attitude; in the background was one orange traffic cone.  I started with the bird and played with the rest of the painting--don't know what it means but I like it (and each time I hit the highway I run into roadwork).  Traffic cones don't actually look like this but form tops function here; rectangular bottoms would have messed up my lines.

This was done with inktense pencils/blocks; a wet paintbrush, then lifting the lights; and I worked on it for three weeks--more thinking than painting.  If I repaint with acrylic or oil, the eleven lights or reflectors (the last one is very far away) might become eggs.  I've never repeated a painting; doing it again would be a bit like copying.

I visited the Munch exhibit at N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh--he must have enjoyed working with the same subjects time after time.  Of course, I had to buy a book about Munch and just finished reading;  his paintings linger in my mind.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Out of the Blues

Holding Back the Drought?
Speech of the Era?
Hydrus Watercolors on Aquaboard, 12x12
I played with these watercolors--dripping, scrubbing, painting over, spraying with water, etc., until I had an underwater scene.

I can't pinpoint the source for the remainder of this painting:  I watched a Lakefest Idol contest at our local Fine Arts Center (my old elementary school), I was mesmorized by President Clinton's speech at the Democratic Convention, and my brother has a wonderful 4' tall wide-armed blue man sculpture whose eyes watch everything.  All of the above.  When I walked out of my studio a few minutes ago, I saw long hair instead of shadow in this and glimpsed Mona Lisa--made me laugh.

I've been AWOL from painting and blogging, and was gambling in Atlantic City last week (once every five years can't be considered a habit).  I picked my lucky machine at Trump's Taj Mahal and sat down to either spend my money or win a $500,000 progressive jackpot.  I was winning when a stage nearby opened their show.  LOUD music--I tried sticking my finger in my left ear and playing max with my right hand.  After an hour of deafening music and machines, I cashed out (at a profit) and went up to my room, read Vanity Fair on my iPad.  I overslept the following morning so no time for gambling--I brought most of my money back home; I guess that's a win.  I saw the Atlantic, the Boardwalk, and lots of Jonathan Livingston Seagulls.  During the 800-mile roundtrip, I saw Richmond, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Annapolis, and Amish country in southern Maryland.  My studio is now looking very inviting.     
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Moonlight Does Not Become Her

Moonlight Does Not Become Her, in progress
Oil Pastel on Sennelier O/P card, 18x22

I've been away from painting and blogging for almost a month.  I have managed to make it to my Painting-at-the-Y on Thursdays where I attack my paper with oil pastels.  When I'm in this mood I use myself as a model; I'm not quite finished with the cigarette and reflections on eyeglasses.

I will add this to my PWTO series (Painting While Ticked Off).  I like it!  Now I feel better.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Behind the Facades

Behind Main Street Facades, South Boston VA
 alkyd, 14x11
I don't remember playing with blocks as a child but I enjoyed playing with my kids' blocks and Lincoln Logs.  I have a trunk filled with blocks in my workshop (and keep buying more); I still play.  This scene reminds me of my blocks of all colors, sizes, and shapes.

I've been away from blogging for a while--it was a hot month, a beloved aunt passed away, and I have a few paintings hanging in a group exhibit at MacCallum More Museum and Gardens in Chase City VA.  I have kept up with reading your blogs; I'll now get back to leaving my comments.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Were The Stars Out That Night?

Childhood in Buffalo Springs VA, acrylic, 18x24
This is all true--I couldn't make this stuff up:

When I was three, I had a pet squirrel.  Whisko Wilkerson was his name.  I traded him to gypsies for a bird; the bird only lived for a few weeks.  The gypsy caravan came through southern Virginia on Rt. 58 about once a year and Dad let them park overnight in front of our country store; we got our palms read and we children were never stolen.

When I was about five, I saw a flying saucer come towards our back yard as I stood near the gate.  I ran into the house screaming; I escaped.  (Okay, it's possible that was one of the days I had watched someone patch an inner tube at the store--I loved the smell of that glue.)  My flying saucer looks a lot like a recessed ceiling light; maybe I was seeing the future.

At six, a calf was born and she became my pet--Pansy.  I used my hair brush on Pansy and I rode on her back.  Before my father studied to became a minister, he was a businessman--he owned the store which was on ten acres, owned several rental farms, was an antique dealer, drove a school bus, and he bought and sold livestock.  HE SOLD PANSY!  I'm sure I cried, but probably quietly, in my room.  About a month later, he hitched the trailer to the car and he brought Pansy home--I'll bet he lost money on that deal.  He told me much later that, as we drove past Pansy's new pasture on the way to church every Sunday, he could feel my feet pressing into the back of his driver's seat and just couldn't take it anymore.  I didn't know I was doing that--I was concentrating on holding my breath and trying not to cry.  

If we're lucky our parents teach us lessons in caring.  Happy Father's Day.

I'm considering adding a few faint stars to the sky (maybe the Virgo constellation for Dad's birthday); when I started this painting Saturday night the sky was starless and gray.  This painting makes me smile and it was great getting back into my studio for four straight days and having real paint under my fingernails again.

Childhood in Buffalo Springs VA (w/stars added)
 Sat. 6/16/12--IMPORTANT UPDATE.  Out of curiosity, I googled "UFOs in 1947" and the results were exciting.  There was a six-week "wave" of reported sightings that year--all over the US.  I only reported my sighting to my parents and, until this blog, never mentioned it to anyone.  Maybe I really did see a flying saucer!!  

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reading Dreams

Untitled, created in SketchbookPro on iPad
Our local newspaper sometimes has an insert called Lake Country Living.  I was surprised to see an article by my blogger friend Celeste Bergin on Page 4.
Unfortunately, I woke up this morning before I could read the article (I often dream of reading newspapers, scientific books, poems, and lawyer stuff).  I remember the title, that it was the left-hand column, half-way down the page.  Had I stayed asleep and actually read the article, it probably would have said that Celeste has worked hard to earn what sounds like the wonderful artist's life--the classes, the shows, the coffee-shops-in-Portland, museum visits, hanging out with other artists.  She has earned the gifts and now enjoys them.

I cannot guess why the article was illustrated with this atrocious gaudy boudoir chair--deep red cushion, white wood with gold paint, curlicues.  I don't think it's Celeste's taste and I don't remember seeing one on Antique Road Show (and that's the way it was facing in my dream newspaper--I would have flipped it).  

Hallie's Cleaning Tips--I have none.  Quentin Crisp said cobwebs soften corners and when you've got a quarter inch of dust, no more accumulates. 

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Friday, May 25, 2012


My husband had more back surgery today; hopefully, it will alleviate some of his pain.  He'll be in the hospital for a few more days.
This drawing was done on a website a few years ago--and I don't remember the name of the site (Celeste had tried it and provided a link).  It was fun; lots of lines. 
Waiting is much easier now with an iPad.
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Friday, May 11, 2012

A Mother's Reach

Reaching, size variable, iPad painting
My mother lived with me for a while when she was suffering with Alzheimer's/dementia.  She explained her illness once--she extended her right hand and said that names and memories were floating in the space just beyond her grasp.  Several years after her death I dreamed that I saw her stuck in concrete up to her waist, wearing her raincoat.  This has been in my head for about four years--time to let it go.  This was painted with the iPad app, Procreate. 

Pansy, colored pencils on paper, 18x12
Happy Mother's Day
This drawing began with one pansy; then it grew--had to add a sheet to the bottom.  Planning.  What's that?

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

When I Met Harry

Chase City VA, pastel, 16x12
I finally had this framed last week--the 98-percent finished pastel had been lying in my studio since October .  When I showed it to friends, they said, "That's Harry's house."  I asked, "Who the heck is Harry?"

I was one of the artists invited to display a few works at the celebration of MacCallum More Museum and Gardens' listing on the Virginia Landmark Register and on the National Historic Register.  Since it's in Chase City, I set up this painting at the Sunday afternoon event (I also took my iPad and a printed copy of my iPad Bottle painting). 
When I Met Harry
And.......someone fetched Harry!  He said he chose the old mill because it was the most interesting building in Chase City.  Perhaps the building and occupant found each other.

Every local who saw the painting had a great story about the Southside Roller Mill, the water tower, or what they did down by the railroad tracks

MacCallum More is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon; here's a photo from an earlier visit. 

Autumn at MacCallum More Museum and Gardens

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pest Control

Pest Control, size variable, iPad screenshot
Another summer, more bug spray.  My husband has armed himself, and all the bugs who wander onto our front porch get zapped--he thinks there are no good bugs.  I worry about the birds.   I'm a bug-rescuer; if I find one inside, I carefully take it outside to freedom.  Now I wonder if I'm sending them to the great beyond--I'll have to take them out the back door.
This is not a portrait of my husband; I don't know who it might be--looks a bit like a man I worked with many years ago.  I wanted to check out skin tones and figure painting on my iPad.  Now I need to learn how to move the painting from the iPad to my computer without including the little circle that's part of the screenshot from Sketchbook (and you probably thought it was a bugbite).

**Afterthought.  If I downsize the drawing on the iPad with my fingers, I can eliminate the little circle.  Aha!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Like Passing Notes in High School

While waiting for the clothes dryer to beep, I practiced using my stylus on the iPad.  I sat on my Hans Wegner chair at the dining table and drew my Siesta chair from the 70s (an agility test in my living room).  My iPad beeped--there was an email from my brother about a "Modernism" auction in Charlottesville VA on Saturday.  Perfect timing.  This was my response, the modern method of passing notes.  Love it.  I know, I know--I'm having too much fun.
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hitting the Bottle after Taxes

Bottle, iPad painting using SketchbookX
This bottle was excavated from my back yard; I've always loved the colors which can only been seen from a certain angle.  It's sitting on my kitchen desk/bar--a Danish piece bought in the early seventies (saw it on HGTV once and it was called "vintage").  The grain of the walnut is beautiful--I see cathedrals in it.  This painting was done with my fingers in the free version of Sketchbook and still needs a bit of work; I now have a stylus, like this app, and will upgrade to the Sketchbook Pro.
I am still enjoying my iPad.  My friend, whose enthusiam for his iPhone convinced me to order an iPad, passed away Sunday; he had helped me with setup, and his name was the first contact on my iPad.  He was in ICU for about a week.  Since he had his iPhone, I emailed a simple drawing to him each night (some are below).  He was a joy to know--an actor, a painter, a sculptor, a musician, a singer, a world-traveler.  He leaves a hole in many lives.
A hell of a couple of weeks--death and taxes--and the bottle is empty.    
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

iPad Screenshot

iPad Sunrise, in progress
Okay, I'm addicted to my iPad.  I looked at the inktense drawing I made last week (still unfinished) and painted this in SketchBookX, a free app I downloaded this morning.  This is what I worked on during Art at the Y today--I demo'd and said, "No clean up and no odor."  Neither this painting nor my inktense drawing looks like the actual photograph.  SketchBookX is a bit like the Corel Paint programs I've played with for years.  I didn't use layers here and I've never used them in Corel--not that I don't like them, I don't know what the heck they are.  LifeArtist has been working with the iPad for a while--she gives me tips.

This is my first ever screenshot--can't believe it worked.  It took many steps to get this painting posted.  I emailed the screenshot to my verizon account on our HP computer.  It was HUGE and a PNG; I opened it in Corel, made it smaller, converted it to a JPEG, and saved it to Picasa; from there I posted to my blog.  Whew!

I promise not to post every day!  These iPad works really save on storage and framing costs. 
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First iPad Scketch

Elder, iPadding

I ordered my first app--it took a while to find it on my iPad.  Who knew it was hiding on another screen other than home.  I spent two days reading about drawing/painting apps; most had comments about problems running on the New iPad.  I'll be patient, but I just had to try one so I ordered Sketchpad for 99 cents.  With a slider I can "size" my finger, then pick colors from the wheel--that's about it--no blending, no eraser, no zoom, but there is an "undo" button.  This was fun, took about 30 minutes; I've always wanted to be loose with my drawing--this is definitely loose.   
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tied Up

Tied Up, Ink, 4x3
I've been tied up with things other than art and blogging for a while--back problems, a bit of yard work, made some business cards for a friend, got a hair cut, attended an art show opening, etc., etc.  Tomorrow I will begin gathering papers for taxes.  I will also make time to visit blogs and leave comments.

Sunrise, inktense drawing on w/c paper, 6x6
I did manage to work on this drawing at the Y on Thursday.  I had nothing in mind so my friend Terry Smith Denton offered her photos.  She evidently walks very early--like at dawn--and her farm abuts Corp property and the lake.  This was just a portion of one photo.  I haven't finished my trees and I'm not sure it looks like a lake.  The lake (known by two names--Bugg's Island Lake and Kerr Lake) looks quiet but a 143-pound catfish was caught last year.
The above photos were taken with my New iPad (hard to believe), a belated birthday gift from my husband.  He inadvertently ordered two and I convinced him we needed both--one for him; one for me.  They were delivered by UPS on Friday so I've spent the weekend setting up two iPads. Apple was helpful each time I screwed up.  I've read the manual and know how to use the keyboard now and I've played with the camera and made videos of my dog Willie.  My husband has watched a movie on his--he was aiming for DaVinci Code but accidentally rented The Descendants--for a month. I haven't bought any art apps yet but I've looked.  Any recommendations?
Here are a couple of self-portraits using the iPad.        
iPad Photo Booth--Thermal photo

iPad Photo Booth--Mirror photo (my favorite) 
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Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Fortune Teller

Sister SoLean, w/c on arches, 14x10
I went to Sister SoLean
Who sat against the wall 
Her table was tilted
Her hand covered the ball 
And I saw what she saw
Lillies--yellow and bold 
"The future's iffy" she said
"You've reached the age OLD" 
I put down my dollar
and jumped out of her trailor

Then went to the Pub
and danced with a sailor.
Today I am 70.  I thought I'd be depressed.  I'm not--I am just as semi-sane as I was yesterday; nothing changed.  I will admit to eating just Mrs. Smith's Blackberry Cobbler for dinner.
I've been playing with this watercolor for some time because I couldn't spend quality time in my workshop.  I was undecided--paint the faded Good Will photo of a tiny lady or paint my photo of a yellow lily on a blue bowl.  I chose both and tried everything you shouldn't try with watercolor.  Then I needed a story.
My husband's having out-patient back surgery on Monday so I may be "on-call" for a while. 

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