Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you all for stopping by my blog and for your kind and encouraging comments. I really do appreciate it.

Thank you, too, for sharing your work. I learn something from each of you!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sailing O'er the Bounty Main

Going away for three weeks in November wreaks havoc on Christmas planning and organization. I do plan to post my sketches from the trip eventually but today I had to post these randoms sketches from days at sea.

The first one is the view looking down, the second is Stromboli, and the third group are sketches from the solarium done on a day at sea.

According to the news today, The Brilliance of the Seas, the ship we were on last month, was caught in a huge storm in the Mediterranean. It's hard to imagine a ship of that size being tossed around like a toy boat but it was. We had a smooth ride the entire time and the crew was fabulous. I hope all is well on board.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Home from the Sea

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way,
where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
From Salt-Water Poems and Ballads, by John Masefield

We had a wonderful and long vacation. As I slowly dig out from the daily flotsam and jetsam of life that collected at home while we were gone for almost three weeks, I'll post some of my sketches. I sketched more than I thought I would but, of course, less than I hoped! From five glorious days in Barcelona to quick stops in Aix en Provence, Florence, Rome, Athens, Ephesus, Santorini, Amalfi and back it was an unforgettable time.

I'm looking forward to catching up with what all of my favorite bloggers have been doing.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Running in Circles

I didn't run in the Chicago Marathon (or any marathon for that matter!) but I did do some sketches. These were done at mile four on October 10. I post them now because I feel like I've been running around in circles getting ready for vacation.

The sketchbook and watercolors are ready to be packed for the road. My intention is to sketch daily. Well, you know what they say about good intentions and the road… Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, Monday

Yes, I know it's Wednesday. This sketch was done on Monday at our sketch group's meeting at Millennium Park in Chicago. It turned out to be a beautiful day. I'm not thrilled with the buildings in the background but I am happy that at least I attempted them.

This was our last meeting until January. I'm going to try to still put aside the time on Monday to sketch by myself. The weekly outings have made me braver (still not BRAVE) about sketching in public.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Plan Not Followed

Last Monday our sketch group went to the Shedd Aquarium. I always go with a plan of attack in mind but rarely follow it. Monday was no exception. The plan was to work in Ebony pencil and do value sketches. Ha! The colors were so glorious I don't think I gave pencils a second thought and the watercolors came out immediately. The lesson I learned was it's hard to paint in the dark!

The Chicago weather is getting unpredictable so we're beginning our fall-winter schedule and we'll meet only once a month until late spring. Where did the summer go?!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Page for December

What a beautiful day! Our Monday sketch group met at Belmont Harbor. It was the first time in several weeks that I've been able to be there so I did a lot of catching up - chatting. I did get these quick captures done. Just enough for a visual respite come December!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Still Plugging Away!

Two more assignments done! I rarely use backgrounds in my journals. I like my "white space". But I had fun doing these samples and will work on adding more backgrounds in the future. In the second assignment I played with the enlarging the stripes idea and the plaid border from a previous assignment. That led me to play with the different points of view with the cherries. I should have planned better for the text. I ended up cutting and pasting over the original since there was a misspelling. The blank squares were left that way on purpose. I wanted a little breathing room, that "white space" thing maybe.

It's funny how looking at a scanned image can help you see things that you don't see at first. The double cherries would be more effective if I had the shadow cross over on to the background border.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I'm Late, I'm Late! Reprise

This week has been as crazy as the Mad Hatter's tea party! That's my excuse for being so late with my assignments and I'm sticking to it.

When I opened a box of Bonkers Tea the tag on the tea bag reminded me of one of the borders that I did for the first half of this lesson. Tonight, I finally sat down with a cup of the tea and went to work. This is the second half of assignment 7 on borders.

Friday, August 27, 2010

More "Homework"

Here's the first half of assignment #7. Numbers 1 & 3 use only pen. Numbers 2 & 5 use only watercolor. Numbers 4, 6 & 7 use both pen and watercolor. I

I did these much wider/larger than I think I would ever use them but who knows. A softer, more graceful border is missing and I should work on one. I'm not a ruffle kind of girl and who knows if I'd ever use it but never say never!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Little Late and a Little Early

A little late and a little early at the same time — I'm trying to fill a sketchbook a season so I decided to do lesson 6 for the Art Journaling Foundation class on the first page of the sketchbook I'll start using after Labor Day. I may go back and add to it but for now it is what it is.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Getting There!

I'm catching up slowly but surely! I really struggled with the watercolor on this one. I was going for an Asian feel with the text running in vertical columns behind the image. Not quite there but a good idea. The text on the fortune paper makes the curve more believable. I like that.

I also like the fact that these, though still small, are larger than I usually work. One of my goals this year is to increase the size of my work.

I've got one more to do before tomorrow's assignment is posted-I don't think that's going to happen with three grandchildren visiting today!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Playing Catch Up-Again or Still?

I'm taking Laura Ferlita's online, Artful Journaling Foundations class. I'm running a little behind in my assignments (hmm, didn't my kids and later in life, editors make me crazy when they said this?)but I'm enjoying it. Here are the first three pages. Only two more and I'm caught up!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Small Big World

Last week we joined friends for a great evening under the stars at the Pritzker Pavilion to hear the Grant Park Orchestra. It was a beautiful evening. No need for the umbrellas we lugged along with our chairs and dinner! While I sketch often when I'm out by myself or with the Monday sketch group this is the first time I ventured to sketch while out with "people".

Little did I know that Drew Bryant was there too! I love what a small big world we live in and how Flickr shows it to us!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's Not Easy Painting Green

Our sketch group went to the Caldwell Lily Pond yesterday. It was a beautiful location but I'm still struggling with the Khadi paper. The paper is so absorbent that the paint just doesn't flow no matter how much water I use. Green isn't one of my "easy" colors either. I seem to go from dull to neon. It definitely was a green spot and I definitely prefer neon!

There was a huge frog in the pond. He made the loudest, strangest sound, not anything like I expected. He sounded like an air conditioner turning on - hmm, maybe it was his way to beat the heat.

I discovered that a Sharpie makes some nice lines on the Khadi so I think I'm going to change my approach in this book, maybe just sketching and eventually adding spot color later.

All in all it was a good day. A beautiful day, a beautiful location, good friends, good talk and I learned something!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm Late, I'm Late

I'm finally getting around to posting this. Last week we went to see "Lookingglass Alice" at the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago. The show was superb. The Lookingglass Theatre never disappoints. The best part, however, was watching the wonder and excitement in our granddaughters' eyes as they were engrossed in the chaotic wonderland.

LOL, I hope they don't try any of those stunts at home - worse yet, at my house!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer in the City

Every summer I'm delighted all over again by the incongruous palm trees on Oak Street Beach!
We had a wonderful Fourth of July, sitting under those palm trees with family in Chicago, enjoying the beach, a delicious picnic and fireworks.

I hope your day was as happy and safe.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Where's the Happy Medium?

These two sketches are from our Monday sketch group. The first one was done at the Chicago Cultural Center where we also viewed the Romare Bearden exhibit. The exhibit was extensive and covered his many ways of working. Needless to say it encouraged us to discuss and chat. I didn't get much sketching done.

The second sketch was done last Monday at the Lincoln Park Zoo's new Nature Boardwalk. There wasn't much chatting going on and I produced this overworked watercolor. It was still fun and it's always good to make time to sketch but somehow I must learn to strike a balance between socializing and sketching! LOL

Monday, June 14, 2010

Still Celebrating in Chicago

These sketches were done watching T.V. over the series - and what a series it was!

The Khadi paper doesn't take the watercolor as I would like but I will learn to compensate. I've also discovered it's difficult to write on it. On the plus side, Ebony and Woodless Graphite pencils do make beautiful marks on the paper. I still love the way it feels and those edges are great! We'll see how things progress.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Where's Noah When You Need Him?

We went to the Gospel Fest recently. Good music, good food, good friends but terrible weather! We still had a great time. Actually, it's the Pritzker Pavilion.

This is the first entry in my summer sketch book. It's made with Khadi paper. I'm not used to it yet but I think I'll like it. Have any of you used it? I welcome any tips you may have!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spirit of the Gulf

Thank you to Suzanne McDermott for inviting me to join this group. Please check out her blog for her poetic thoughts on the tragedy that is ongoing in the Gulf of Mexico. I have been fortunate to visit the Gulf of Mexico every year since 1994 and I'm always amazed by its beauty. My heart aches for the people of the area who are losing their businesses and jobs as well as their paradise.


  • Find a photo or other resource depicting some living aspect of the Gulf of Mexico before the oil disaster or
  • Tap into your spirit and use your imagination
  • Make a drawing, painting or other piece of creative work with love and gratitude for the beautiful life of whatever you're depicting.
  • Post what you make on your website, include a link to this post to Spirit of the Gulf Challenge
  • (or the facebook group — ( and put the icon below in your sidebar with a link to this post (or the facebook group).
  • Invite 5 of your friends or favorite artists to accept this challenge, include a link to this post, the facebook page, copy this description of the challenge and the icon below for their sidebar.

My Gulf of Mexico sketches.

What a magical sight it is to watch a Gulf rainstorm dance it's way to the shore. What silly sight it is to see me try and out run one! This was done recently from memory.

These sketches were done on site a while ago to catch one day of many moods on the Gulf.

To complete Suzanne's challenge I invite Elaine Magliacane, Dan Kent and any other artist out there who would like to share their vision of the Gulf of Mexico to join us in a visual tribute to the area, its people and creatures.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Shop 'n' Sketch

Hooray! The Green City Market is open outdoors. The Market is open all year but in the warmer weather it's open outside in Lincoln Park. On Saturday mornings my husband shops and I sketch - a perfect arrangement.

I wish I had been bolder in my color choices, especially in the shadows, in this sketch. That's something I intend to work on as the season progresses.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Memorial Day - A Day to Remember

I come from a long line of veterans on both sides of my family. My cousin, Tim, sent this to me in a forwarded e-mail. I don't know who wrote it but I would like to say thank you.

It is the
not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.

It is
not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is
not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is
not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is
not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is
not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

TGFM-Thank God for Monday!

Yes, I know it's Thursday. Monday, our sketch group went to Navy Pier in Chicago. The weather was cold so we opted to draw inside in at the Crystal Gardens. I've been so busy at work (I'm not complaining about that!) sketching just hasn't been on my agenda. This was a wonderful refreshing pause.

When I have had time to sketch I've been trying to loosen up so I avoided using my pencil as much as possible, though not entirely. I've also joined the Illinois Watercolor Society thanks to the encouragement of Carol Hennessy. I'm hoping it will inspire me to work more in watercolor and larger.

I'm grateful to all you bloggers and Flickr people for posting your work. I learn so much from you. Even though I haven't had much time to comment lately, I have been viewing and enjoying!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

There's Something About a Kite!

What is it about a kite that sets the child in us free? Last Saturday was Chicago's annual Kite Festival. We've attended the last three years and each year it gets better. Bring your kite, buy a kite there or make one there for free, you have no excuse not to take flight.

The professional kite fliers (how do you get a job like that?) were out with magnificent specimens, a squid that was the size of a bus, a cat the size of an elephant and a sea horse that swam in the wind, incredible. The weather cooperated. We had sun, clouds and wind, but no rain!

Two adults, two children, four kites, hm-m-m, we could have used two more adults. Our usual cohorts were working but we managed and had a fabulous time. All that fresh air knocked me out!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Busy and Distracted

It's been a busy and eventful couple of weeks. I did make the time to go to our monthly sketch group. These sketches show I was more than a little distracted! The first one I sketched there but added the color later using the color code on the left. The second one, well, what can I say other than Koi don't hold still.

My plans for posting more this year seem to have fallen by the wayside but I haven't given up on them. I am still committed to it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Drawing Breath and Sighing with Relief

Am I calm because I draw or do I draw because I'm calm or is the whole thing a a cover up for nerves? No matter why, it sure keeps me contained and focused. Luckily, this latest trip to the E.R. helped prevent a bigger crisis and all is well – or will be soon!

My family knows if you nap while I'm around chances are you're in my book. I'd just rather not do any more in emergency rooms

Sunday, March 14, 2010


We'll be heading out to San Francisco for a few days in April. I've pulled out some old SF travel logs and sketch books to browse through and possibly post a few oldies. Lo and behold, Cathy (Kate) Johnson (AKA Kate the Great to me) posted a great sketch of flowering tea. You can see her sketch here. Serendipitous!

These are two sketches done in 2007 in a Moleskine City Notebook, San Francisco.