Friday, March 25, 2016

Dogwood for Paint Party Friday/Fourth Week....for me.

For my fourth week of participating in Paint Party Friday I have chosen to do a quick rendering of a silk dogwood that sits on my desk during Lent and Easter season.  The colors used are Cobalt Blue, Alizarin Crimson and Hansa Yellow.  There wasn't much time to paint this week but even something small keeps me on track.  Each work of watercolor offers a learning experience!
Happy Easter Weekend to you all! 

Monday, March 21, 2016


 We have all heard those elusive frogs croaking when we're outside, and we heard one that was close by this day! This guy was under a plastic bucket near our raised garden. He was shocked to see us, and we felt the same!  I quickly ran in the house for the camera!  Brown frog didn't move a muscle until I got back to take a few pictures, and immediately put the bucket back over him.  
On Google I looked up Oregon Spotted Frog and found they live in Oregon and Washington. It is a "relatively rare frog, and listed as "vulnerable" on the web site.  They use to live in California but have been extirpated there. They live on insects and rotting vegetation.  He probably came to our place from a nearby stream.  It was pretty exciting to find him, and we had to share the find with our grandson who likes to go on frog hunts often!
Much to our surprise, while we were uncovering the frog, our grandson was falling off a slide, and broke his arm!  This is a first broken bone to one of our Grand Treasures, and there is a lot of sympathy sent his way!  He got a bright red arm cast that will help mend the break in a few weeks.
 A special sucker was needed this day! 

Later that same day we got our raised beds ready for planting, and a dozen strawberry plants went in the dark rich earth.  There are several bags of Starbucks coffee grounds in there! Smells wonderful and keeps our kitty from stepping in! 
For the past two years we have planted Sea Breeze strawberries.  They are ever-bearing and as nice as they can be.  We'll have strawberries all summer long!  Delicious!
The rest of the garden will get planted over the next couple of months. Pea's can go in early and so can lettuce. We'll hold off on tomatoes and cucumbers for warmer weather in May.

Having a garden is so worth the little work they require. It's all organic, fresh, healthy, and delicious.  This year we have bought heirloom seeds from a local seed company, not far from us called Victory Seeds.  If you are interested in finding quality heirloom seeds this is the place to buy them!

There is much to be grateful for, and this week was no exception!
We are looking ahead to Good Friday and Easter!  We will be celebrating Christ's resurrection with friends and family. 
I hope you have a good week! 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Standard Palette

Painting each day is something I strive for but it's not always possible.  I leave my painting out on the dining room table all week, make quite a mess out of our living space, and that's how I'm happiest creating. If we have guests over it takes a few minutes to pull the house back together. Does anyone else do that?  Another thing I do is paint throughout the day as I'm busy with other things. I'll walk by the painting, add more color, darken areas, and then leave to do something else.  Off and on all day like that.  Rarely do I sit down for hours at a time to work, but I'd like to...someday! 
Since I've joined up with Paint Party Friday the motivation to paint has kicked in it has allowed me to think about the subjects, color palettes, and design techniques to accomplish within the week. It's been fun and good change in my focus.

Week Three: Standard Palette of Alizarin, Hansa yellow, and French Ultra Marine
Subject: Flowers and Lemons  Paper:  140 lb cold press Arches (my favorite)

10 x 14 Arches Watercolor Block


"Spring Flowers"


Painting is fun and it takes practice, practice, practice! 
I think I'll do the lemon's over again but rearrange them. 

Happy PPF! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sprouting in a jar!

I'm itching to get out in the garden but the weather is making it difficult! What we hear from the weather man is this has been the most wet year in our area since 1947. We are accustom to rain.  It allows us to have lush green gardens without watering constantly, and we do grow weeds rather well!  Our raised beds are being weeded today, and prepared for planting.  This is being done quickly while it is not raining! Next week I'll share how that has gone. 

Inside the house I've started sprouting bean, radish and lentil seeds.  It's something anyone can do and the outcome is a very fresh tasting salad.

Directions: Get a quart jar and a lid with holes in it for draining off water. I have a special sprout lid that can be purchased in most stores that carry kitchen gadgets. 
Put one part seed to four parts water in the jar, and let them soak for 3 to 4 hours.  Rinse and drain.  Allow the seed to spread out evenly in the quart jar.  Rinse and drain sprouts two to three times per day, and keep them from direct light.  By rinsing and draining it helps prevent fermentation. When all the seeds are sprouted put them in a plastic bag, and refrigerate until used.  It's best to use the sprouts within 2 -3 days.  They should smell fresh and green! 
This batch of sprouts are about a day off from eating.  Don't they look good?  This is a great way to add minerals and vitamins into the diet without taking a pill! 
It's one way I'm "Keeping" in tune with living healthy! 
And, it can't hurt to have this kind of food added to the diet. 
I hope you give it a try! 
Happy Days!!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Student watercolor paints and journal coloring book

 When my kids were young, kindergarten and third grade, I was hired at our local district as a teacher's aid.  To my delight we had children's author's come to visit the school several times a year, and I was asked to create large "copies" of their books artwork for display.  It gave me experience
with student grade art materials, and I quickly understood that painting (not coloring) a large piece of butcher paper with a picture on it, was the quickest way to get the job done. I assisted teachers for about four years, after which I applied for a Science curriculum job, and changed my path. 
The love of drawing, using color and creating pretty things have followed me almost daily since that time. 
Below are some drawings, done quickly, for use as a  journal coloring book.  It is something I work on periodically.  The paint set is student grade and one I couldn't resist.  It is a Grumbacher watercolor set, $37.85 on Amazon.    Fine for budding artists and anyone for that matter.  The downside of them is they aren't quite as brilliant as professional grade paints, but for learning, and playing I suggest them strongly.  They are better than the cheaper student paint sets that cost very little, and deliver weak color. 
 The art journal book I've chosen to use is called Nature's Sketch, 9" x 6".   It is available locally, has a nice weight paper of 130lb, and good tooth for the paint. 


These few pages were done with permanent felt tip pen, and watercolor. It felt like play!  My time was well spent to explore another avenue of watercolor painting and create coloring pages for future grandkid time!  All four of mine like to draw, color and paint!  I like to provide art time for them because it brings another element of play into their lives and art is enriching!

Thanks for coming to Paint Party Friday  and for my week two contribution!

Monday, March 7, 2016

In the garden and out

There is a wonderful thing happening in the garden!   Perennial flowers and bulbs are popping up!
It means a profusion of color is coming!  
Presently the pansies are one of the most colorful plants in the garden.  Pansy winter over quite well and don't die back.  They go into a bit of shock but usually pull out of it as soon as winter wanes.

Daffodils have been up for a while, but this clump has waited to put out flowers.  It may because they were planted last October and this is their first year in the garden. 

The round leafed plant below is Columbine.  It's it a beautiful plant with fragrant flowers. Columbine self sow, have a mind of their own, and grow profusely. It will be a bit before we'll see the flower, but as they progress, I'll bring them back to show. 

Bushy Forget-me-knots come up all over the garden, another self sower.  There will be a burst of blue in about a month and when that happens, I'll share it, too! 
It's a brand new week and full of promise!  My first stop this morning will be the floral shop!  It's work, but the kind that gives rather than takes, if you know what I mean?  I have my usual customers on Monday mornings.  One person is a young man that drives ten miles out of his way to buy roses from us.  He is a delightful, and has a very happy wife. She gets these bouquets regularly. He brought her in to meet me a few weeks back, and now we are friends! This another kind of seed throwing and friends like this make my week! 
You have a good one!! 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Paint Party Friday - First

I have joined up with Paint Party Friday to  share weekly paintings and see what others are doing in their art exploration! 
Blueberry's are a common fruit to find growing in Oregon in yards and fields.  I love their color and chose to do a quick painting of them this week.  The watercolor used is Daniel Smith, Indanthrene Blue, Windsor Violet, Cobalt Violet, and Hansa yellow. This is done on a small sheet of Arches 140lb cold press paper. 
 This little bird painting was taken from a greeting card which was done in paper quilling.  I simply translated it into a sketch, added watercolor, and was pleased with how it turned out.  It is 5 X 7.

The frame finished it off nicely and it became a gift for a friend who loves anything with birds.

The next exercise is a study in color using a Bright Earth Palette: Indanthrene Blue, Perylene Maroon, and Raw Sienna. 
I think these Pears will be good gift tags.
That's it for this week and Paint Party Friday
Have a good week painting! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Keeping my outlook healthy.....

....... is as simple as reading Philippians and gazing at the beauty around me.
Fig Buttercup

 I needed these words today. 

Philippians 4:8-9
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.