My Etsy Shop

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy (B)earthday!

I made this design for Earth Day. I put it on t-shirts and totes and stuff at my Cafe Press store.

"Where the heck have I been?" you may be asking. I know, haven't had time to blog lately. Well, I took a trip to Denver to attend an art licensing workshop presented by Jeanette Smith. I found it to be very informative.

While in Denver, I got to stay with my good buds, Max and Blackie (and their friend Jean.)

Denver is a pretty interesting place. It's an eclectic collection of cowboys, Christians, New Agers and artists. Since Jean's an artist, I got to meet quite a few of the latter category. It was snowing and 30 degrees the day I arrived, and then 78 degrees and blazing sun a few days later when I flew out. Spring is arriving there and we took a trip to the Denver Botanic Garden. They have a great collection of alpine plants, as well as a bunch of other interesting specimens. Here is one we liked for it's weird hairy foliage: European Pasque Flower or Pulsatilla vulgaris.

I also liked this little cactus flower, although the succulent building was way too hot for us to stay in for long.

Jean took me shopping to this great little store called 5 green boxes. They have a cool selection of home decor and other items. I got this beautiful pillow from Peking Handicraft there.

Since returning home, I've been busy getting caught up. Sunday I built a raised vegetable bed in my garden for my tomato plants, which seemed to have doubled in size in the 4 days I was gone.

This bed is really cool. It's made from a kit I found online from a company called Frame It All. You can buy the components at Home Depot too. The "boards" are composite plastic lumber. They are hollow core, which is lightweight for hauling up the stairs and they trap air so it warms up the soil. I want to get 2 more. The only bad thing is the labels are hard to remove.

Yesterday we celebrated my birthday by going to lunch at Bistro Jeanty in ...

...Paris, France? No, Yountville, Napa Valley, CA. Bistro Jeanty is really like a little slice of France here in California. I had the most decadent slice of ham and leek quiche I've ever tasted.

Today I bought myself a large bouquet of flowers.

It's nice to be back home again.

Happy Earth Day everybody!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Saving the Stages of a Painting

Once a painting is done, you forget what it looked like in the process. I thought it might be interesting to document the stages a painting goes through. Above is a photo of my watercolor setup.

Here you see the painting with the first light washes laid in. I usually work on the lightest and warmest colors first.

Now I have a few more washes of color added to the painting.

Here I'm beginning to add in some cooler color washes.

Once I've got the lighter washes in, I can start adding darker colors

Adding the black and the final touches makes the other colors "pop". Here's the final painting. (This last one was also photographed using only the sunlight. The lamps made the previous photos have a yellowish color cast.) Now I'm ready to scan this in and create some prints.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ethereal Beauty of Spring

I've been driving by this gorgeous tree in my neighborhood covered with blossoms day after day and I finally remembered to bring the camera with me today to get a photo of it. Too bad it wasn't sunny this morning. It's completely glorious with the morning sun shining on it. It looks like it's lit from within.

While I was taking the photos, a man I recognized from the neighborhood stopped on his bicycle to comment on this tree. He said he thinks it has retained its blossoms longer this year because the weather has been cooler. According to him, it has been in bloom for almost 2 months. Anyone know what kind of tree this is? Please leave a comment.

This huge ceanothus bush is growing around the corner from my house. I've been admiring it for years. When I walk by it in bloom, the fragrance is heady. It's always buzzing with bees. The common name is wild California lilac. But it doesn't smell anything like the lilacs back east, which I miss so much. The scent is sort of, well, wild.

In keeping with my vow to "go native" with my garden, I planted a couple of what I think is the same variety of ceanothus in my back yard. This one is called Julia Phelps. As you can see, mine have a LONG way to go to get to the size of my neighbor's ceanothus. It might help if I cleared out all the weeds surrounding them.

I made a trip to the Haight Ashbury Recycling Center Native Plant Nursery a couple of weeks ago. One word describes this place...funky! It's smack in the middle of the recycling center, and the place fairly reeks of stale beer and garbage and there are lots of flies buzzing around, along with those folks who steal the recycling from the bins in front of your house. They have a cat who looks like she weighs about 25 lbs., (no lie...check the link...there's a picture.) Greg, who runs it, is so into recycling, that he makes these plant markers out of old aluminum blinds. He's the only one who seems to know where things are there. Greg has a garden a few blocks from our house, which is either an amazing display of native plants, or the abomination of the neighborhood, depending on your point of view. Here are the plants I bought there, yet to be planted in the ground. (Awaiting removal of the aforementioned weeds.)

Speaking of natives, here are a few of my California poppies growing in the front yard. Steve thought that they had volunteered, but I planted seed.