Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Chocolate Collage?

Well, they really aren't mixed together but, they are dancing around on the same journal pages. And, so these journal pages come into being ...

Some of you have gathered early this year may not be the most comfortable period in my life ... readjusting one's dreams ... so you may understand that sometimes feelings can only be expressed in the tangle of a collage. The start of this come to me when I was putting away to interesting things I tend to collect on my working table. They can be things I find on walks, in garbage or friends bring to my attention. I had that black, shiny technology box and the lil' scrap of lace in my hand, and looking down at them more intently, I said to myself, "this is kinda how
I'm feeling". Something about the contrast of the techi-black box to the soft, intricacy of the lace hit it on the head. And I knew a collage was brewing. Pulling out other trimmings, I found more outer expressions for my inner tangle. The paper doll with her flailing appendages (yes, they do move - on brads), words about "me hiding out" and of course, the comfort of my "Cody" pup. And ... here's the result ... still not certain of the translation, but I feel better for the expression. This lil' pink flower escaped from somewhere to lighten the mood.

Now don't worry, I've not forgotten the chocolate. As Valentines Day rolls around, I've got two agendas. One is a theme for my upcoming Journaling "Clinic" on February 15 and lil' loving treats for my honey. Passing the Harry and David Country Store here in the Rogue Valley, I notice their sign for "2 Truffles for the Price of 1"! And knowing Roland loves dark chocolate, the car pulls in and you know the rest of the story. When Valentine's Day arrives, Ro and I discover we'd both purchased the very same chocolate covered bing cherriesonly I'd brought twice as many (no surprise to those who know me). So now, we had to get rid of some of them for our health's sake. The Journaling "Clinic's" theme became "Chocolate" and I furnished actual truffles to paint from and consume. Here's my lil' demo for "chocolate" and I had to incorporate the truffle label too. Still quite tantalizing as I look at it. I'm probably safe from chocolate flood again, at least 'til the holidays ...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lincoln Next to Our Delinquent

Just the title makes me grin ... these journal entries sound opposing but, actually both of these personalities are very strong and positive. Well, guess I'd better explain, right?

Thru the months of January and February we continued to find winter's warm entertainments. We had to go see Lincoln (pretty amazing ~ the reality of that war and the complexities of Lincoln and his strengths as well as his weaknesses). So, of course I had to honor him in portrait. Well, a fairly good portrait. The name tags come from a gathering of like minded friends ~ you can see I had the chicken and pudding while Roland had the Eggplant (and yes, the pudding too!). And once we'd discovered that on Mondays in Medford you can get tickets for matinees for just $5, we hit Les Miserables too! Wow, another dy-no-mite heart-breaker with powerful actors! If I had to choose, I'd favor Les Miserables. I'm a sop for tenderness.

Early in February I had a sweet reminder of a warm weather friendship. An elegant hand-crafted card arrived in the mail from one of our repeat participants in our annual Women's Journaling Alpine Retreat. Now Cookie is a lil' spark at our retreats, creative, ornery and a wizard at identifying nature for us (she's a park ranger, no wonder?). But she has also come to be know as our lil' "Delinquent" mainly for the reason that during our morning yoga on the lake shore, she's off taking photos or
identifying birds. And I've portrayed her in watercolor doing one of her "sit-on-the-big-rock delinquent poses". But we love her anyway and she's become an integral part of our kitchen prep, a possible "Sous Chef" I believe? Eh Izzy?

All that aside, the card was made by her and I delighted so much in the design not only of the cover but also her simple card logo. See the "simple sentiments" logo below the card. And inside ... what only an artist can appreciate, "May there always be time to paint". Yep, life is good with these kind of friends!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Winter Entertainment and Visuals

As I travel through December in my journal ... I know we dabbled our share in entertainment. The holidays
are rich here in the Rogue Valley with theater not to mention the festive visuals. That's precisely what has tumbled out onto these two journal pages.

On the left, I've remembered two live theater shows we attended. First, was at the new Camelot Theater,Forty-Second Street. Naturally I had to mimic the numerous chorus girls in the show and ... sadly ...too, that "the girls were hot, the music not" in my lil' teeny notation. Oh, well, we all have our off days. The next show was outrageously great ... at the Randall Theater (a wonderful secret in Medford!) ... Scrooge! It's a crazy warehouse building with
imaginative and inventive arrangements to cushion the 
rugged interior. I loved the variety of chairs for the audience and that they had a raffle to auction off the "specialty seats", a cozy love couch, right in the midst of the other chairs! And then, the performance, with limited space, funds and staging, did an amazingly effective job of Scrooge! with brilliant characters, singing and stage props! I was giddy with delight at the performance. GO there if you get the chance! It's a magical space ... and it so brought me into the holiday spirit!

My adjacent page centered around seasonal festivities too. You can also see more clearly, the "HOME" text I'd formed to show thru the paperclay overstuffed chair on the previous page. But back to seasonal ... it was nearly a normal day, my going into the Ashland Art Center to work in my studio (they are working Studios, we must work in them 10 hours minimum each week). My mind must have been doodling around because I missed my regular highway exit and ended up going to the south end of Ashland to get into town. That normally would have been no problem, but with all the huge snow storms at that time, this end of town is the "Chaining Up" area of Highway 5, just before reaching the climb to the Siskiyou Pass.

So bumper to bumper I sputter along, arriving an hour late. I'd missed my appointment with a patron who'd wanted to buy one of my prints for his wife for Christmas, but luckily he returned. I just have time to set up for my Journaling "Clinic" with this month's focus on "Holiday Images". I've chosen this playful riding horse in a Jacksonville window. My wax crayons allow a quick loose sketch, saving my window lights and highlights on the horse. He turns out pretty happily and I add his reins when I get home. He makes me smile ... well, actually these two pages do. It's been one of my better holiday seasons. So ... ho, ho, ho!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Journal ~ Snow with Cozy Chair

I've come to a lil' custom with each new journal. I search out a theme for where I am in my life or a goal at which I'm aiming and I craft a paperclay (see item to stitch into this first page.For this entry I'm focusing on "home" and have used an overstuffed chair stamp to imprint into the paper clay. I paint it warm reds and browns, then stitch in red. As usual, because of the paperclay I need cut additional pages out behind the first page to allow for it's thickness. And on the final page that will show thru the paperclay window, I letter in the word, "HOME". I like it :)

T'was mid-December, the day blossomed clear blue and sunny ... and my lil' family (Roland, Cody - the furry one, and I) decide to take a spin up to Mt. Ashland Ski Area. We may just poke around, take a walk, play in the snow ... but just in case, I pack in the snow shoes. The snow sparkled and we find a remote spot where Cody and romp freely, a bit past the skiing parking lot. We see now that you have to buy at least a $3 parking permit and I already know it will get cut up to go in my journal. There is a wicked wind
that swings around from the south side of the mountain and it dampens our outing. So after a few snowballs, and tumbles in the snow we opt to head over to the ski area for some photos and then, return home. This snow sketch was the demo for my Journaling "Clinic" for the topic "snow" and as one of my students remarked, "the best way to paint snow - is not to!" I loved this image I caught of the rock mound frosted with white snow and framed by blue sky and evergreens.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Holidays Close Out 2012

These last two pages of my 2012 journal happen to tie the year up with both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The holidays often are turbulent for my mind and heart ... my mind thinks I need be disappointed that I don't have that Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving Dinner and that I don't have oodles of family around for Christmas. But my heart knows those things are mostly an illusion painted by movies, television and marketing firms. I try to spread my spirit of "Christmas" and "caring" through out the year, rather than save it up for one month. I feel it's more realistic and certainly what my lifestyle accommodates more comfortably.
But we still have the celebratory Turkey Dinner ... often it's just Roland and Cody and I. This year friends couldn't make it so it was a quite feast of gratitude and acceptance. My aim was to remember how fortunate we are compared to so many families (especially those who'd just experience the Hurricane Sandy). So my journal page is a slice (oh my, pun not intended) of our delicious dinner, prepared mostly by my honey (who loves to cook) while I assisted in things like chopping etc. T'was a peaceful, yummy time.

Now Christmas was also a mental parade. I tried to stay on board with with a surprisingly energetic program Roland invented for seeing several Christmas Parades in the area. Our Jacksonville Parade was sweet, although sporadically spaced. I heard others inquiring if the parade was over several times. But the music was joyful and being out in the chattery crowd stirred "visions of sugar plums dancin' in my head". And that's a good thing. Here, I did my best to replicate one of the bands.

When it's the end of my journal I've taken to choosing a quote and sometimes an image to close out the collection. I try to sum up what I most feel or need at that time in my life ... for this ending ... "The light, always follow the light" was fitting for me. Happy New 2013 is on it's way.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Autumn ~ In Sights and Sounds

I adore these two pages in my journal. They carry the epitome of the serendipity that charges my journaling with joy and a momentum to keep going with each new page. Not only are autumn days some of my favorite of the year ... so I'm already smiling with the onset of the page ... but ... well, I'll just tell you the story ...

I was on my way into the Ashland Art Center, November 16th, with the day ahead holding my monthly Journaling "Clinic". This month our topic was "Fall Colors" so I already had photos selected for me to do my demo from and for the participants to
choose from for their painting. As I walk towards the back door, I see a square of pure white laying on the asphalt ahead of me. When I get closer, I realize it's one of those company labels usually dangling from an object of clothing. The tiny hole in the top encouraged me to flip the already run over label just to see the front. And guess what glowed a beautiful red on the other side ... a print of a delicate maple leaf. Inner happiness spilled out onto my face, quiet giggles and smiles. I completed my lil' demo of the glorious colors along the autumn Rogue River and placed the brilliant red maple tag nested in the inner corner of the page. I love serendipity!

Across from autumn in blossom resonates the sounds of November 19th, 2012. I have a beloved artist friend, Irene Brady (do go check out her amazing talents with a ballpoint pen and water soluble colored pencils at: who likes to go to the Black Sheep in Ashland. No, not for the food but (what else do artists do?) to sketch. On Sunday's they have a gathering of Celtic musicians who play for nearly 2-3 hours ... just jamming and frolicking in the rhythms. Now the music was contagious but the outfits (fitting any charming Irish lass or WHAT fun! I snapped many photos too and once I was home took to filling in some of the personalities and instruments. A sheer delight was the ole' British phone booth in the corner - a great backdrop!
laddie, yes, even the children!) and the natural poses struck by the listeners and the performers was classic. Irene took on doing more thorough individual people, I took to playing with a contour drawing.

But I wasn't content just with the sketching and painting, I had to have one of these comical coasters. I took it home too and planned to just split the coaster's thickness so that it would lay more flat in my journal. But to my demise this "creature" would not nicely split. It tore and came out pretty bumpy ... but it still did not escape my journal page. I mean ... the color helps tie together my autumn pages!! Really now!!!

Some journal pages just come together for us artists ... and we are just as surprised as ever. And actually feel quite smitten with the visual impact, quite like someone else had designed and created the pages. Huuummmmm . . . perhaps someone or something else did create it ...

Monday, July 22, 2013

It May Look Like Cheese Cake . . .

I know you will swear this looks like cheese cake, right? And it was really, really good cheese cake. But above and beyond wanting to remember the flavor and source of this cheese cake, this page served a second purpose. Last October was not an easy month for me ... I'd listened to this dream in my heart and for awhile ... it really seemed like it was coming to fruition. It was going to be a big change for me but I was ready to leap. Then, the foundation, the supporters just sort of floated away. There was some heart break ... but disguised on this page and with the text mostly unreadable in the midst of the cheese cake, I've aimed at expressing my feelings yet keeping it mostly private. So just suffice to say ... it was really good cheese cake.

My adjacent page was a serendipitous free concert. A friend of mine had won these two tickets to a local venue and couldn't go. She was kind enough to ask if I'd like the tickets. Well, shoot YES!! Bill Staines has many noted albums and a history of lovely ballads as well as some children's songs substantially under his belt. It was a soothing evening just listening to a gentle guitar and a rich, often humorous voice dance across the room. What I sometimes do, because I don't always get a photo of a performer to sketch from, I went online and compiled an image of Bill at his best. I'm pretty pleased with the image and ... was especially pleased with the evening! The ticket stubs echo the purple color notes behind the cheese cake and in my illuminated letter "A". AND ... many thanks to my friend, Wanda!

Life, moves along ...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Colorado Reunion Ending into Plein Air at Eden Vale

So I've met up with my dear "sister" in Montrose to wrap up my Telluride Retreat adventure. Karen and I were sister-in-laws many years ago and the deep friendship has lasted many years past that. Those kind of relationships are rare and, for me, very treasured. We chose to have dinner the easiest way possible ... and just across the parking lot was ... "The Red Barn". Sure, salad bar sounds good to me on this hot Autumn evening and we giggle as we catch up. With an early-to-bed agenda to accommodate my early shuttle to the 6am flight out
of Medford, we nest into our beds early and say our g'byes. After one transfer at the Denver airport, I arrive safely into the arms of my honey, Roland and a wagging-tailed golden retriever, Cody. It is good to be back at the "660" address in cozy J-ville.

I'd scheduled and promoted my "Plein Air on Location at Eden Vale" two day workshop and had several participants signed up. Eden Vale Winery is a lovely painting venue, with a historic and elegant 2-story white mansion, rolling vineyards and a mountainous backdrop to savor. And the people are so kind and welcoming to work with ... I can't say enough about them. Above and beyond that ... our class meets for the last afternoon shadows and rich sunset. I select some yellowing grapes for a quick demo ... not too thrilled
with the results ... but plein air can be like that. Next afternoon, I've chosen the peak of the white barn peeking over the deep green vineyards and all that cupped by the budding roses and blue flower pot. This lil' sketch I'm more pleased with ... it feels more clear and complete. Again, some days paintings work, some times it's just turns out to be a learning experience.

And after all, isn't that what life is all about? What we make of our lessons? How we move on from situations, good and/or not-so-good, and what wisdom we squeeze out of the experience? and walk away smiling?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Colorado Reunion ~ Final Daze

My apologies for being so delinquent with my blog ... I've vowed to post daily 'til I get you guys caught up in my journals. So THERE it is! Let's get started ...

This is my final full day from the Telluride Reunion, September 2012, and it's one rich in memories. I'm up early to attend the Flora-Dora's "Trivia Quiz" from the 70s and I end up actually participating on a team. YIKES - since dates and names are not my forte'!! But we finish in the middle of the groups and I leave smiling. I patter off to change clothes for a final ride up the Gondola with my friends to lunch at the "Peaks" (wow - what a view!). I sketched this fabulous view back down into Telluride from a camera shot.

Once back from lunch my sadness and I trek back to my room to finalize packing up me and my paintings. As a final farewell treat, I've decided to go to the "Steamin' Bean" for a sunset cup of Chai. This image has ended up as one of my very favorite ... so much emotion there in the steam of the Chai and the sunsetting shadows. I love this place but my reality is elsewhere.

My next wake-up is bitter sweet. I'm all packed and my friend comes to drive me and my things over to Hether's, where the "Telluride Transfer" airport shuttle will pick me up. We have some extra time and we all opt for one last saunter along the picturesque river walk. It makes me blue.

Once I'm off in the shuttle, we swipe past numerous houses and even up to the Mountain Village to pick up passengers. The day is sunny - blue sparkling from the sky and the San Miguel River. I'm snapping photos longingly trying to maybe bring some of this county back with me. But soon we are dropping down into Ridgeway and finally Montrose. I'm the last to get off the shuttle.

At the Days Inn,  I'm poised to meet my previous sister-in-law for a catch up and dinner before I fly out in the early morning. The lodging is refreshingly clean and painted in glowing yellow (helping to brighten my mood too) and to my sheer delight . . . I find this darling lil' yellow rubber duckie sitting adjacent to the bath tub. Smiles!!! Soon Aunt Karen, as I still call her, arrives and we wander off into Montrose, chattering like lil' magpies. What a sweet relief from my leaving Telluride ... to spend this time with a precious friend. AHHhhh!