Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Wishes from Clarksville VA

(inside greeting)
We're ready for Christmas
with our pretty main street.
There's a tree with lights
and the shop windows are neat.
The decorating committee gave it their most
and wreaths are hanging from every lamp post.

Welcome to Clarksville, dear Mr. Claus.
I tried to be good but I have a few flaws.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I have been AWOL from my blog for a while but I managed to create this Christmas card, get them printed, folded, addressed and in the mail Saturday.  This is a photo taken with my iPad during the summer; then, in my desktop Corel Photo/Paint program, I converted it to a watercolor.  Next, I sent it to my iPad and, using the Procreate app, removed parked cars, painted a nighttime sky with stars, added street lamp lights and wreaths; then painted Santa and the dog.  Text was added in Corel Draw.  (The dog was inspired by Big Ben, a mixed black lab, who was featured on our Lake Country SPCA site last week--he and many others need homes.)  I posted this on FB yesterday and, somehow, this scene touched the hearts of many who live/lived here, and brought back memories.  Some of their comments brought a tear to my eye (it is that time of year).  Clarksville is a beautiful little town, especially, at Christmastime.
I wish you a wonderful holiday and I hope to find more time for art and blogging in 2014.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sundays in Southern Virginia

After Church, created in "Paper" on iPad
This has been on my list of things to paint for about ten years.  I thought I'd try a simple sketch using pencils in this app; it's done from memory or imagination--and it took days to finish.  It was done, I thought; then I spotted Dad's Bible on my book shelf.  It wasn't black like I'd drawn but a deep red.  I had given it to him--that got changed; then the color of the chair cushion had to be changed.  The made-up chairs (the one on the left looks like the type we had in our store) are in the grass because I thought a baseboard, floor and rug under them would be too many horizontal lines.  Mom probably wouldn't like this because her shoes and pocketbook absolutely had to match.

Even before my dad studied for the ministry, Sundays were busy.  Mom fried the chicken (one of us kids stole the liver) and we went off to church for Sunday School and preaching.  We came home to "dinner" of fried chicken with gravy and biscuits, of course, lots of fresh vegetables and dessert.  Afternoons were spent napping, pitching horseshoes (I'm still a champ), or visiting relatives.  After a light "supper," we went back to Church.
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Friday, October 25, 2013


Listen, created on Ipad app, "Paper"

A new app, more play.  I don't know the meaning of this--I was playing with a face, a hand appeared and I left it.  I added a bird and a few red lines.  Is it a blue bird of happiness or is it removing brain cells?

Paper is the name of the app and it's based on moleskin sketchbooks (I never draw in my paper ones).  It began as free with pen and ink--then add $6.99 for more tools and colors, then another $1.99 so I could mix colors. Where can you buy such fun for $10?  This sketchbook is almost filled but I can delete and go back to clean pages.

I read about this on James Gurney's blog.

Okay, this link takes you to something called "Book."  The app is downloaded as "Paper 53."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

He's Not Heavy------Yet

Toting Willie, created in SketchbookPro
Willie is recovering from his knee surgery but I carry him up and down the front porch stairs.  I don't think he can make it up the stairs and cool weather will be here soon--might have to install a little ramp for him.   Every night, I notice the shadows cast by the street lights.  I've studied them, moving to the left; then right.  Willie wonders about the dance and my neighbors probably think I've been drinking!
This was fun but would have been much easier with pencil and paper (I have to try every option in the iPad apps).  I hope to get out to my workshop/studio soon. 
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Poor Willie

Poor Willie, graphite on paper
Cleaned up and colored with SketchbookPro on iPad
September has not been a great month.  My six-year-old dog Willie ruptured a ligament in his right knee two weeks ago.  During his weekly Thursday trash-night walk on the leash (his favorite activity), he jumped up onto a low wall, turned and screamed--I carried him home.  After x-rays under sedation, he had surgery Tuesday and came home yesterday.  I am his nurse, forcing pills down his throat; later I'll be his physical therapist.  He is so sad--pink bandage covering stitches on the back leg, shaved upper leg, chartreuse bandage on the front from the IV, and the cone.  He heard me taking the trash down tonight so I carried him to the street for a short two-and-a-half-legged walk in front of the house.  
Willie, age 4
We thought Willie was lazy when he'd stare at us--waiting to be lifted onto the sofa; didn't know he had bad knees.
I do realize that we are but specks in this world of floods, earthquakes, fires and mass killings.  May everyone have better days. 
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cow Painting

Cow with a Green Earring, oil on cradled board, 11x14
based on photo by Susan Marks Dalton

My friend Susan posts great photos of their southern Virginia farm on FaceBook; I asked if I could use some for paintings--she agreed.  Okay, so her trees weren't violet and there wasn't a dead one in the foreground, and the grass wasn't golden, and there were four cows--not just one (this is based on the photo).  I liked this one who had delicately picked up her left front leg.  How do those little legs support so much cow?
Lots of paint on this one--it may never dry, and I'm not quite finished.
I don't know the breed of cow--red angus?--I like her color; the same color as my hair when I was younger.  AND my parents let my friend and me paint my bedroom lavender when we were about 10 years old.  We used lots of paint and signed our names behind the headboard.  Holy Cow--this is probably another self-portrait.
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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Tobacco and Tombstones in Turbeville VA

Tobacco and Tombstones in Turbeville VA, oil on cradled board, 11x14
Several years ago I drove west, to where the hills start rolling.  I turned north at Turbeville and pulled into a church parking lot to make a phone call--this is what I saw.  Luckily I had a camera and got a photo; I immediately knew the title.  Of course, in this just-finished painting I moved a few things and deleted others.  (And I just noticed that the bottom left of the photo is washed out--I'll need to re-do.) 
I had already taken several photos of the beautiful, threatening sky as I was driving.  I was the only car on the road so I simply aimed my camera up through the windshield and clicked.  Here's one: 
I am enjoying the oil paints; I need to learn to be less stingy in squeezing out the paint.
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Saturday, July 27, 2013


Cultivation, oil on canvas board, 16x20
                                In the future not too distant
                                I will definitely need an assistant.
                                In the back I'm growing one.
                                He needs water, he needs sun.
                                Arms are sprouting, one eye's opening.
                                He'll have a brain--that's what I'm ahoping.
                                When he's ripe among the rose mallow
                                 I'll probably need a large wheelbarrow.
I got new oil paints; it's been about thirty years since I've painted with regular oils--they're nice and buttery.  On an old primed canvas board I tried them out.  A head shape on the lower right; then what?  I thought of giving him a dog's short compact body and a long leash.  I thought of having a torso on a spring--maybe several.  Yellow rubber boots popped into my head.  Someone would be watering a planted torso; that would require a hose.  Wild rose mallows are blooming alongside my driveway so they were added along with the ivy.  Being from the South, a painting like this requires a story; I had to make one up so I made it into a poem.  (I might have watched too many Twilight Zones when I was young.)
There is a painting by de Chirico of a torso and yellow bananas; it's in THE ART BOOK.  I suspect that triggered the thought of yellow boots.  Today I googled de Cherico--interesting artist; I think he inspired surrealism.  I am also reminded now of Gaugin's leaves strewn around some of his portraits. 
A guest is arriving next weekend, an old friend who's a psychologist--I should probably keep this painting under wraps.
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Another Gouache

August on Buggs Island, gouache on Arches, 12x12

Another Thursday, another gouache from a photo taken several years ago.  I now have a folder on my iPad, "Painting Subject," and this photo was among them--a guest who was working on his tan.  He'd make a great model but he lives about 400 miles away.  I like people of substance; maybe I'll try this in oil.

Friends and family don't usually look at my blog; he would recognize his bracelet.

I posted this earlier but the photo did not display--maybe Google thinks it's a nude.  It's a puzzle to me, but I'm trying again.
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Friday, June 14, 2013


Mockingbird, gouache on Arches, 14x11
Oh My Gouache!  Two paintings in one week; definitely a record for me. 
At the Y yesterday, I painted this from one of my photos stored on the iPad.  When I sat on the front porch several years ago I was constantly eye-balled by a young mockingbird couple; one had a single feather always out of place.  Is this the evil eye?   Purple and yellow?  Why not play with all my colors? 
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Arting around the May Pole

MRI Waiting Room, Gouache and Black China Marker on Arches, 18x12
Remember those May Pole dances?  Going in circles and weaving in and out--that's what I did during May.  I decided I must finish something so, on Thursday, I used gouache and a china marker, and painted this quickly from a photo taken in a waiting room during January (I accompanied a friend).  I don't know who this is but I liked the newspaper and the cap.  I sneaked a photo with my iPad and used it as a guide; I don't think anyone will recognize him (unless the foot cast is an identifier).
Rose drawing, on back of envelope
On May 8, I cut the first rose from the front yard and drew it on the back of an envelope.  I liked it so..
Rose with Paul's Ashtray , colorsoft pencils on pastel board, 10x8
I began drawing it with colorsoft pencils, after I found my hand-embroidered napkins--no roses so I went with violets.  I stood to look at the arrangement; then sat to draw--exercise.  Unable to decide what to do with the background I took a photo of the drawing and...
Rose with Planets Aligned, iPad painting
played around on the iPad.  I have five different versions now but have never finished the colorsoft drawing! 
Snake by my front step, photo
Then there was the snake...      There is a crack in my walkway beside my front step.  I haven't had it repaired because the skinks (blue-tailed lizards) live down there, and I like watching them.  Maybe I should say they lived down there.  My dog Willie had been sniffing the hole; then my husband asked, "Is that a lizard?"  "Well, no."  I put Willie in the house, sent my husband inside, and I sat on the porch for quite a while waiting with my camera.   

Snake Departing, photo
Later, my neighbor called to say she had seen a snake in her house.  Willie and I (SnakeBusters) visited but didn't find anything--it was only a black snake and I'm sure he's long gone. 
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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Another Thursday at the Y

Clarksville Y, black/white conte on Strathmore, 12x9
Thursdays are for Art at the Y.  I showed up with black and white conte, gray paper, and had no idea what I might draw.  I looked out the side door of the Y and loved the clouds (yes, they actually looked like animals heading south).  The road leads to the soccer field.  I took a photo on my iPad, sat at the card table, and drew.  Later I added the soccer boy sculpture with vine charcoal--hope he doesn't mind being moved about 30' north.  In real life, he's closer to the front of the building.
Creating on the iPad is fun but nothing's better than getting dirty with conte or charcoal while drawing.  I was limited in my choice of supplies; sometimes, that's a good thing. 
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Friday, April 26, 2013


Shorthand, iPad painting
I've always loved the symbols for shorthand--a secret way of writing--so I bought a small Gregg Shorthand Manual at the thrift shop.  I intended to draw in it.  I couldn't bring myself to mess up the pages (I have the same hesitancy with my neat sketchbooks--they're still pristine).
Instead, I used the kaleidoscope photobooth of my iPad to photograph a page; then added a layer with a painting. This was done in the Sketchbook app.   I like the "transform" feature; I can move and resize the painting--no symbol poking her in the ear.  I don't know the secretary in the above painting but I suspect she was influenced by my Sunday-night TV shows.  I watch Call the Midwife (the clothing), The Good Wife, and Mad Men (the chair).  Then I watch Mr. Selfridge on my PBS app (the women have this hairstyle).  Who programs all the good shows for the same night?
I remember my days as a secretary--shorthand got me from the country to the big city of Washington, D.C.--working for the Federal Government, wearing hose that never matched my pale legs, and walking (even dancing The Twist) in HIGH HEELS.  I loved it.  In the photo above, my boss was away so I took over his desk at U.S. Department of Commerce--I was 19.
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Painting with Purpose

I have been painting.  I'm 99 percent finished with a painting a friend is buying as a surprise gift.  I've always said no to commission work so this is a new experience for me, and I find it nerve-wracking.  I can't post the painting yet so I used the iPad PhotoBooth Kaleidoscope to take this photo of a part of it.  I liked this photo so much I took more photos--in the studio; then in the house.
My water bottle and Blue Man painting. 

A carved plaster sculpture from years ago, yellow ducks, and radio. 

The shadow of my two-headed dog.
He also has two tails!
Makes me wonder why I paint--I could just walk around taking kaleidoscope photos of everything.  (I get distracted--too much arting around.)
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Saturday, March 30, 2013


My Clarksville VA, created on iPad, SketchBook app
Easter is here so I'm eating blue chicken peeps and my front porch is decorated with yellow wooden ducks.
This is one of my first iPad projects from August.  I took a photo of our downtown with my iPad, then removed the moving cars using Corel on my desktop, and sent it back to my iPad.  The photo is one layer; the duck is a second layer.  It's fun making the duck larger (he blocks the lake) or smaller and ducking into the Pizza Pub.

Happy Easter.   
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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Attack Cat

Skeets, the Attack Cat, SketchbookPro app
This was painted on my iPad from a 40-year-old small faded photograph; I don't think I've ever tried to paint a cat or a dog. 
Skeets was a tiny stray when she came to live with us in 1969; our first cat.  You'd think she'd be grateful for a nice home but, whenever her ears went down and her tail switched, the kids and I had to run for cover--she attacked feet!  She was a long-haired beauty who lived with us for about twelve years.  I have photos of Skeets sitting in an Adirondack chair on the deck, and our beagle, Cleo, sitting in the other chair--a matching pair. 
I need to learn about sizes of paintings in my various apps.  I thought this would be larger--maybe it's the Procreate app that creates really large files, or it's possible I have choices of sizes in SketchhbookPro.  I might have to read some directions.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Welcome March

iPad sketch (Sketchpad)
I make at least four quick sketches a day in this simple app; I usually don't save them or publish them on my blog. 
February was not a great month so I welcome March (even the Ides). 
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Still Standing--oil painting

Still Standing, oil (alkyd) on linen, 12x12
Since it was cold and icy, I slid out to my studio for the last couple of days.  This tree is down by my dock; I always stare up at it for a while before walking back up to the house.  I don't know if it's still alive--it's surrounded by other trees and I can't tell if there's any green at the very top; there's none on the lower branches.  I thought it was a cedar; now I'm not sure--the trunk is rather hairy.  I painted this from memory; the photo is a bit different.  I like that this is stark naked against the cold sky.

Maybe I should title it reforestation.  

Sketches for Still Standing
During the past year, I've thought of the tree often.  I like the one on the left--Crayola crayons on card stock.  Top right is hydrus watercolor, and lower right is, I believe, oil (it was painted from the photo). 
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Inktense Pencils and Hydrus Watercolors

Low Lake Level in the Cove, inktense pencils on clayboard, 5x7
Like everyone else, I hate finishing and framing.  Two of my paintings--The Blue Man and Caution--were finished some time ago and just sitting on my easels.  I've read that watercolors on Ampersand aquaboard can be varnished and framed without glass, but what about inktense pencils or hydrus watercolors on aquaboard?  I decided to test with this small drawing of maybe a willow tree behind my neighbor's house (sometimes it's in the water--sometimes not).  This is from a photo I took as Willie and I checked out the cove; I liked the colors--the orange and yellow parts are usually filled with blue water.
A Walk IN the Cove January 2013, photo
Two weeks ago we actually walked IN the cove behind my house (though I do have a fear of quicksand); it was 70 degrees that afternoon and not much water--my dock was on dirt.  I looked for arrowheads and found a couple of smooth round rocks.  I considered taking my metal detector down but it rained the following day--and for several more days.  The Lake's back--and it's a 50,000-acre one.  I can see the water from my upstairs window and I don't need to walk down; the weather has turned cold.
Hot Feet, hydrus watercolor on clayboard, 6x6
Just a sketch to test the varnish.  I suppose I could have just painted squares or lines but what fun would that have been? 
Okay, today I gave everything several coats of varnish.  I set up a varnishing station in the workshop bathroom--covered the toilet with large pieces of cardboard and turned on the exhaust fan--ran in and sprayed; ran to the porch door and breathed.  Nothing disappeared and it passed my Q tip test--dipped it into water, then rubbed the painting--no color came off and no lines were smeared.  I used Golden archival satin varnish.  
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