A Beautiful Blonde

This drawing is of my beloved mother.  I had intended it to be an illustration type drawing, but I can't seem to get the hang of that.  I keep heading into realism...  Not that illustrations are not realistic, but I wanted to stylize it a little bit.  But, I love that picture and enjoyed drawing it.

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It is graphite and white charcoal on very smooth mixed media board.  I did it quickly.  I didn't spend very much time on it at all, so I guess you could say it is a sketch.

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Happy Independence Day!

Greek Guy Finished

Greek Guy is done. He is mixed media (graphite, white charcoal, and pastel) on 12x16 Canson Mi-Tientes paper. I had to scan it in thirds to fit it all on my scanner. I love his crotchety old face filled with personality and history. LOL!

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WIP: Greek Guy

Work in Progress: Greek Donkey Herder. Also known as "Greek Guy". LOL! He has been staring at me for a while, so I did a little work on him, today. I think he is coming along, but I don't know about the orange paper...

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I have been making firm decisions to get totally off the internet. Then I will find various reasons not to. Then I will get frustrated with my lack of concentration and much shorter attention span, in addition to creeping social media addiction and decide "This is it! I'm getting off the internet!" Then, I find other reasons to stay on. One of the big ones is that online schools are about the only ones I can afford.

So, I have decided to use a system for keeping me off the computer during the day and I will have limited time, in the evenings, to do my online work, including making posts and taking classes. We will see how that works. My first day, yesterday, was very productive and I was able to get back to peace and quiet. Lovely!

So, what do you think of Greek Guy, so far?

New Art School

Greetings!  I have joined a new art school and I am taking my first class.  The emphasis of this school is illustration, which I am still having a hard time defining in my mind.  I cannot seem to understand the difference between illustration and any other art.  However, I think a little light is dawning with the name of this new school:  Society of Visual Storytelling.  Hmmm...  So, illustration is making art that tells a story.  Doesn't all art tell a story?  Well, maybe not in the same way.  Anyway, I am determined to learn about this.  So, I am starting at the beginning, again.  LOL!  I have started at the beginning so many times!

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I am in the process of a class called "How to Draw Everything", which is basically the fundamentals of art.  I know I have already been through the fundamentals several times, but it is nifty to get it from other points of view.  Every time I have taken a class on the same thing from someone new, I have learned something new.

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I am doing lots of repetition and it is getting my creative juices flowing.  So, this is where I am at right now.

Also, my garden is almost floating.  LOL!  It has been raining for a while, now.  I need to get my wellies on and get some salad fixin's. 

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Early Season Garden Update

Okee-dokee!  I have the garden in and it is growing.  I tilled the soil at least eight times before planting.  It was heavily grown over with weeds, which made it difficult getting it ready for planting, but it also meant that it was fertile.  There are lots of earthworms, which is always a good sign.

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In past years, I always started my own seeds, but this year I bought almost all of the plants.  Plants include:  yellow squash, marigolds, tomatoes, lettuce, snapdragons, kale, kohlrabi, and sunflowers.  Seeds include:  green beans, zucchini, and radishes.  I have to hoe every day, because weed seeds are vigorously sprouting and growing with great glee.

I have them in raised beds, because our clay soil is very slow draining and, in past years, the boggy conditions have been very discouraging and I have given up.  I don't want to give up, this time.  I have planted almost all of it on raised beds and plan to put on my wellies, if necessary, to weed the garden.

The fence is an electrified fence, with a battery, to try to keep out raccoons and rabbits.  We have deer problems, also, but there is not much I can do about that.  One year, I planted a beautiful leaf lettuce mix.  It grow beautifully, but it never got high enough to cut some.  I kept watering, weeding, and wondering when it was going to grow.  Then I finally realized that the deer were keeping it mowed.  I never got a salad from the garden, that year.  LOL!  The deer can easily hop over the fence and wipe out the garden, however, if they would just touch the fence with their noses, I'm sure they would go elsewhere...

I will take more pictures as it grows.  I must attend to spring cleaning now.  It's hard.  I hate cleaning.  If only I could make my first million and hire someone to keep up with my messes.  I much prefer to make the mess!  LOL!  It is chilly and rainy, now, so it is a great time to stay inside and putter.  

Taking a Break

It is spring and time for spring cleaning and gardening.  So, I am going to take a break for a little while.  I don't know how long.  I have a lot of work to do and artwork and posting on the various places on the internet take a LOT of time.  It is surprising how much...

Here are some pictures from past gardens:  (By the way, I can't figure out how to make the font in the photo captions larger.  Sorry!)

 Our doggy, India, in our garden in Deltona, Florida, in the late 1990's.  Notice her ball?  She never was without it.

Our doggy, India, in our garden in Deltona, Florida, in the late 1990's.  Notice her ball?  She never was without it.

 In Florida, we had our garden completely planted by March 1.  Here in Ohio, often I don't have it planted until June 1.  What a difference!  LOL!

In Florida, we had our garden completely planted by March 1.  Here in Ohio, often I don't have it planted until June 1.  What a difference!  LOL!

 Sunflowers in our Ohio garden.

Sunflowers in our Ohio garden.

 Mr. Beloved harvesting beans while I am canning them as fast as I can.

Mr. Beloved harvesting beans while I am canning them as fast as I can.

 A good year in the garden...

A good year in the garden...

 Our first wheat crop.  

Our first wheat crop.  

 Our second wheat crop.  We planted about 75% of the garden, that year, in wheat.  That was very nifty!

Our second wheat crop.  We planted about 75% of the garden, that year, in wheat.  That was very nifty!

I will see if I can give you garden updates every once in a while.

Do any of you plant vegetable gardens?

Spring Flowers and a WIP

Okay, who watched Loving Vincent?  Please comment below and let me know.

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I took some photos, today.  I was trying to get some of my own reference photos, but I don't know that I got anything I can actually use.  They are pretty, though, so enjoy.  The one, above, is the chicken coop, which is not being used by chickens, right now.  It is scheduled for some renovations, this summer.  Also, I will be tilling and planting the chicken yard with good things for chickens to eat.  It won't last long, once chickens are using it, but they will have something for a little while, at least.  For the plants to last any time in the chicken yard, there must be very few chickens.  Like, maybe six, but we usually have at least a dozen, so it turns to bare dirt, soon.

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Spring Beauties.

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These wild violets are the most wonderful thing that ever happened to grass!

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Ants lovin' on Peonies.

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My favorite Redbud tree, in front of our lovely River Birch.  I tried to capture the bees that are swarming the redbud tree, but was not successful.  I do like the pictures that I did get.

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I started another portrait.  I found a nifty photo of a Donkey Herder from Greece.  I love faces with character.  I hope I get it...

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Book and Movie Reviews

I have had three very intense migraines this week, among other health issues, and have not done any arting the last couple of days, so I thought I would give a couple of reviews.

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My friend, Traci, gave this book to me a while ago and I started it, but it was slow going in the beginning.  However, it picked up and then I couldn't put it down.  It is called "A Portrait of Emily Price" and it is about Emily, an artist and art restorer, who is having personal issues and has traveled to spend some time on a job in Atlanta.  She meets an Italian chef, they fall in love, get married, and move to Italy, where there are issues, too.  The book is filled with the beauty of humanity, art, Italy, and I cried over that beauty quite a bit.  She was able to articulate what I feel when I am making a portrait and, yes, I cried over that, too.  LOL!  Thanks, Traci, for thinking of me and giving me the book.

You can find a copy of the book here.  I try to avoid Amazon, if I can.

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Now, for the movie!  Oh!  What a wonderful movie!  It was amazing!  It was "Loving Vincent".  I'm sure you have heard of it, perhaps even watched it.  If not, please do.  It takes place about a year after Vincent died and a friend talks to those who were around when it happened.  There are flashbacks and I don't know if the story is totally accurate, but I don't know that anyone will ever truly know.  The best part of the whole thing is that it is an animation done with original oil paintings in Van Gogh's style.  Some of them are based on his own works.  It is truly amazing and wonderfully beautiful!  I almost could not follow along with the story for looking at the brushwork.  I did not cry until the end and while the credits were rolling a lovely voice sang the song, "Vincent:  Starry Starry Night" by Don McLean.  So, I sobbed.

I watched the movie on hoopla, a free library site that you can sign up for, if you have a local library card.  Here is a trailer.

Have you read A Portrait of Emily Price?  Have you seen Loving Vincent?  If so, please tell me what you thought.  Do you plan on giving them a try?  Please comment below.

Two Mugs and a Bottle

I thought I would do a little graphite still life.  It was just practice, but I think it came out okay.  I need to work on folds of cloth.  Boy, is that hard to make look real!  LOL!

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Glass and shiny stuff is so much easier...

This was done on smooth toned paper with graphite and white charcoal.  Usually, I use a rough paper with tooth, but this one has no texture whatsoever.  I think it makes it a little more difficult to blend.  Or maybe I am just not used to it.  Well, I like the picture, anyway.

David!

Oh, what a relief!  LOL!  I knew the Lord was giving it to me from the first, when I got the eyes.  After that, it was easy.  I jiggled it when I scanned it, but I think it looks okay.  It is graphite and white charcoal on 12x16 Canson Mi-Tientes pastel paper.  It took about 10-12 hours, I didn't keep perfect track of my time.  I believe that listening to the painfully beautiful music of Bach helped an awful lot...

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Now, it is time to till the garden.  Yes!  I have decided to have a garden this year, after about four or five years of not having one.  Toby and I went out this morning and pulled wild mustard plants.  He loves to jump for them when I throw them and eat a bite of each one.  He will have to stay inside while I till.  He is going to hate that!

It is a beautiful, sunny, warm day and I hope you all have the same.  Enjoy!

Work in Progress: David, again...

Okay, first I just want to say that I have decided not to do anymore posts on commissions, because I just can't think of a thing to say about it, other than is already said on my commission page.  If you have any questions, please ask me, otherwise I can't think of anything new and exciting to say.  LOL!

You all saw my attempt at a pastel portrait of my nephew, David, and what a flop it was.  Since then, I have tried to do an acrylic portrait of him.  No go!  What a mess that was!  LOL!  I had determined, when I started this online art journey, that I would share all my failures, but I won't share the acrylic attempt at David.  I want to spare him the pain.

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So, Mr. Beloved suggested I go back to graphite and I have.  This morning, it took me about two hours to get the sketch down.  Now, to work!  You don't know how much I want this one to work out.  It drives me nuts when I can't get it.  Especially the eyes, my favorite part.

The Edge of the World

This poor little feller looks like he has reached the edge of his known world and is wondering what to do now.  LOL!

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This painting took three days and when I was finished I couldn't see it.  You know, it is a strange phenomenon that when you paint a picture, you can't see it, but when you walk away and give your eyes a rest you can come back and suddenly see it.  Every single time, I despair that I have made a mess and every single time, after my eyes have rested from it, it is so much better.  (Sometimes, yes, it is a mess, but it is a much better mess after I rest my eyes.)  This is acrylics on canvas.  It is 8x10.

I thank the Lord for giving me the ability and desire to paint and draw.

Have you ever eaten snails?  I have not and have no plans in that direction.  LOL!

Fire Island Light

I love lighthouses, but I have seen few up close and personal.  Photos will do, though.  I loved this stone house attached to the light.  Lighthouses remind me of one of my favorite books:  Anne's House of Dreams, the fifth book in the Anne of Green Gables series.  Captain Jim is the lightkeeper and he is such a character.  If you have not read it, please do, you will love it.

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"As the dusk deepened, the great beacon cut swathes of light through it, sweeping in a circle over the fields and the harbor, the sandbar and the gulf.  'I feel as if it might catch me and whisk me leagues out to sea,' said Anne, as one drenched them with radiance; and she felt rather relieved when they got so near the Point that they were inside the range of those dazzling, recurrent flashes."

Have you visited many lighthouses?  Do you have a favorite?  Do you like the Anne books?  Do you have a favorite of those?  Anne's House of Dreams is my favorite, but I love them all.

Genesis 1:16

 "And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars."  

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I have had this in my head for a while and I just love it.  The sun is a big hot glorious mess and the moon is a cold dead rock, but they are both beautiful and necessary.  And they and their companions, the stars, glorify God every moment of their existence!  Hallelujah!

This is three canvases: the middle one is 8x17, the sun and moon are 5.5x5.5 each.  It is acrylics and the canvases are 1.5 inches thick.

Do you like to walk at night and look at the stars?  I do and I have the opportunity almost every night, when I let Toby out before bed.  Sometimes the beauty is overwhelming and makes my heart sing with praise to the Lord!  I wish I could capture it properly.

Barn Party!

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Today's art:  Barn Party!  This barn owl is having a party.  I have never actually seen a barn owl, have you?  They sure are strange looking!  But, beautiful!  LOL!

So, because I painted one, can I mark it off in my bird watching book?