Tag: watercolor

The Daily Blather

My brain is not doing so well as far as coming up with posts– frankly we are just too busy living.  So here is a cross section of what we are up to:

We spent the day running errands, going to the library (where we got some awesome book and audio books, including a Diana Wynne Jones) and got to go to the park for the first time this year.  We brought along Esther’s best friend -we called spontaneously as we were driving by her house.  I love that her mom, Rachel’s pinano teacher, is as spontaneous as I am and happily agreed that she could go along.  It was windy and chilly despite the supposed 65 degrees though it did get nice and warm when the sun peaked through the storm cloud dominated sky.  I love having kids that are old enough to play at the park on their own whole I sit in the warm minivan and read my library book.  They managed to get muddy via mud puddles and creek plus they explored a fallen tree and all the old fountains at the park.  (I forgot my camera and though my cell has some photos they are hard to get to.)  We got to explore both the purple park and the lower (gazebo) park because we had to leave for a bit (someone had to use the restroom so we ran to Big Lots and picked up some snacks too.)  After that we headed down to the smaller Alameda park where the kids climbed around and had enjoyed the creek.  Rach sat in the car with me as she is still pretty run down after being sick so we read our books and watched some Larpers preparing to play.  It was actually pretty awesome and Rach was tempted to go talk to them to see if she could get involved since that is one of her dreams and we didn’t even know there was a group in the area.  I am sure there are more but I actually recognized several of the people from the comic book store.

We stopped at the thrift shop where we found the original Clue game– which we played over and over when we got home.  LOVE that game.  We also found a Lego Harry Potter Night Bus still in it’s plastic bag for $.49 which is awesome.  Also we found Esther some much needed tennis shoes, Rach an awesome skirt (she is like me and lives in skirts–her sister?  not so much, except for in the summer.)  I found something for me as well but now I can’t remember what it was.  Oh, but I found my husband an awesome hat at Kohl’s (where I had one of those $10 gift cards they send out.)  I spent $4 which is more than I usually do with those but it looks awesome and I had promised him a hat after PAX, because we are also a hat wearing family. 🙂

 

We also managed to mail out a pile of things that had been waiting to go.  Of this I am proud–I am bad at remembering to mail things.  Our post office is awkward to get to though we have a sweet little post things place where we love the owner and this time, because my brain was on backwards, we ended up using both the main post office AND visiting Miss Josie who when the kids were small would let them help her box things.

I am working on another painting– based on the  18th photo down on Melissa’s post here.  Aren’t her photos wonderful?  When my own photos run out of interest I have a habit of turning to hers for something to paint, and that one is gorgeous.  I am thinking of doing partial color so that should be fun.  I am taking photos as I go and you can keep up with them here at my Facebook page.  I didn’t get anything done on it today because we were gone all day but I did get the masking on last night– which the kids think is funny because the liquid friskit I use is bright orange (you use it to mask out the white in watercolors) so the painting looks freaky.  Will post a photo of it to the Facebook page when I get the next layer don e and can post both photos.

We are celebrating our first Passover this week– it has been an interesting experience which I will relate in another post.

Life as We Know It

Yes, we still unschool.  Yes, it is still working.  Yes, we still both work from home though it has shifted even more from me working to Shamus working while I hang with the kids and keep the household running smooth so he can focus and be productive.  Yes, I still love our life and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Ice Skating

Shamus is working, a lot.  Things are financially stressful but that is another post (and one I have been pondering for a while but which may or may not actually get shared.  All I can say right now is that God is amazing and much more reliable than any paycheck.)  On that point I want to mention mint.com– if you are having a hard time seeing the big picture of your finances, suck at budgeting, or just like seeing everything in one place then it is well worth a look.  It is working great for this financially challenged family and being free helps.  We had recently discussed the possibility of me taking on  a part time job to fill in the current gaps, but various factors nipped that in the bud.  Mostly the fact that me being here facilitating the children’s learning is key (they would learn anyway but Shamus cannot field their constant questions AND write 3 comics a week, 3 articles a week, and do 30 hrs a week programming not to mention keep up on his blog and several side projects.)

Ice Skating

The kids are happily occupied talking to fellow unschooling friends on Skype and text chat, interacting on FamilyRUN, playing Build-a-Bear (their favorite game to play?  School–“except we know most of the answers already, but we get to learn new things too”.)  They are also occupied playing  Plants vs. Zombies, a lot.  Talk about an educational game that  you don’t realize is educational.  Essentially you could think of it as a fun way to learn financial planning and organizing your resources— of course you could say the same thing about Star Craft and other strategy games. At the pondDue to the snow, snow, and more snow they have been avoiding going outside (especially now that there is no ice to skate on).  The kids are also very involved in a new Lego Quest weekly challenge run  by a friend on Twitter.  Lego Quest carRachel is thrilled to have made friends who can talk when she can, Essie is reading her way through multiple series of books (having read all the Gregor the Underlander books in a week and moving on to several other series I can’t remember) , Issac is building all sorts of things and intent on beating Mario Galaxy on his own.  We are spending a lot of time listening to audio books together, playing games together, talking together.

At the pond
Picnic at the pond

Me?  Aside from all the cleaning and rearranging going on (lots of re-purposing and getting rid of which I find a quick way to beat the urge to go buy something new. )  Now that the website issues have been dealt with I have been free to work on painting (trying acrylics still.  It is interesting but maybe I am getting somewhere?)  I am doing less reading and spending time on the computer  (due to eyesight issues) and more listening to audio books which means I am being more productive– I feel like I need to be doing something if I am listening to audio books.  And since the cd player is in the kitchen and we are being VERY frugal in our meals I am spending a lot of time in the kitchen cleaning, rearranging, and baking.  Yesterday it was no-bake cookies (naturally sweetened, carob, peanut butter, coconut, and oatmeal), homemade granola bars (naturally sweetened with oatmeal, cranberries, peanut butter, cocoa nibs, coconut, flax seed), and lots and lots of bread dough.  The day before I chopped all the raw veggies in the house, making a nice salad mix and freezing the rest.  Oh, and I finished a painting–a commission by my sister-in-law for her employers. Watercolor

Projects

Once upon a time there was an artist who had a habit of putting too much on her plate (or more often others serving way too much and she just went along with it.)  One day she had many artistic projects coming her way, more and more people commissioning her to do paintings, not to mention 3 lovely children who wanted a lot of attention at inconvenient times, plus a side business of webhosting and design.   And whilst she had too much on her plate she would get an idea and decide to run with it.

Painting

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day
My Mother's Day gift to you.

As you may or may not know I am not a fan of holidays. I don’t like that, especially for mother’s, they give us unreal expectations. We get so caught up in our expectations that we forget how God has blessed us and how He has provided for us. God has blessed us so very much and yet we get frustrated and disappointed because the world tells us that we should get this and that and Mother’s Day should look like this or that and in the end, no matter how wonderful our families are, we end up disappointed and discontent–because no one on earth is capable of living up to those expectations that the world has given us. Regardless of your situation, regardless of how much you get or don’t get, regardless of your place in life, God is still in control and God loves you. And regardless of how perfect your Mother’s Day is or isn’t your children are a blessing from God and you are God’s blessing to them. And so, regardless of my feelings for what I feel is just another “media and marketing get people to spend money by guilting them into it” day I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day and want to remind you that YOU are greatly blessed and a blessing to your family–regardless of whether they recognized it today outwardly or not.

Part of the process

I am currently working, in my head, on a project.  It has taken me a long time to realize that part of the painting process, for me at least, is in my head.  The process goes something like this:

  1. Get an idea–usually it is a request from someone or an idea that is inspired by something or someone.
  2. Push the idea to the back of my mind since I am busy with something else.
  3. Idea keeps coming forward, eating at my brain.
  4. Chew on idea, consider beginning but decide to keep working on it before I start.
  5. Consider idea some more, start thinking about possible execution.
  6. Come up with multiple ways idea may present itself.
  7. Chew on it some more.
  8. Begin to consider paper size and possible colors for idea.
  9. Change mind multiple times.
  10. Get sudden bee in bonnet to just do it already.  Push all other projects out of the way while work on new pet project.

Am I the only one who works this way?  I am surprised to realize that despite it only taking me an hour or so to execute a painting it has taken me weeks of brain work to get it right–and the paintings I have put the most thought into are the ones that turn out the best.  Some of my favorites–like the shoe painting took years in the making even though they only took 3 hours from the moment the pencil hit the paper to finish.

And what got me thinking about this?  I have a project for an illustration for a Homeschool Zine that has been running round and round my head and I am itching to begin but am forcing myself to wait until I have it worked out before I start.  I have learned that that makes all the difference.

Shoes

Idea: 3 years in the works Painting time: 3 hours start to finish.

Idea: 1 year Painting: 4 hours

Idea: 3 days Painting: 1/2 hour (small painting–5x 7″)

Idea: 3 weeks Painting: 1/2 hour

2 ACEOs

I have a potential project for which I am doing some ACEOs (art cards–2.5″ by 3.5″).  I am not going to go into it now in case it doesn’t go through but it is rather exciting to me and I wanted to share the results so far.  The ACEOs need to work in black and white so these are ink (Micron pen) with a bit of watercolor wash instead of straight watercolor.

The 2 photos down below are actually larger than actual size–which is why I took a few photos with my brushes and whatnot–to give you context.  After working on the much larger series it was surprisingly fun to go back to working small scale.  Tiny details are fun to do and get lost  and forgotten when working larger scale (when I was working on the large series I was too sick of the painting by the time I was at the end to do small details).  An ACEO only takes maybe half an hour or so from start to finish including a detailed beginning sketch-which I usually don’t do when working straight watercolor.

And yes, as you can see from the photo I like using cheap mechanical pencils (.5 preferably) –I HATE broken pencil led and sharpening pencils and like the crisp line I get from a plain old #2 mechanical.  And the gumband on my paint brush is to make it easier to hold–when my RA is bad thsoe tiny brushes are tricky to keep hold of–most of my pencils and brushes have gumbands on them as grips.