Thursday, December 03, 2009

Christmas Cards

A series of paintings (about 3.5" by 2.5") I used to make into Christmas cards. The first few are the original ones I made with glitter and gold paint- neither of which scan well- so these will be made into unique cards :)
The last 12 are the 12 Days of Christmas :)

I love how the flames worked out on this one :)

This one turned out a little dark, but I liked the way the glitter 'picked-it-up'!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Notebooks :)

So in the past week I have made two notebooks- the first to replace my finished art notebook, and the other to use for Cay's Advent Retreat.

My artist's notebook is a lovely size- with my usual mixtures of paper in it. I like the 'deckled edge' effect so I tend to rip it to size :)

The advent one is Christmas themed- because I plan to use it throughout the Advent and Christmas season. I have just read Hannah Hinchman's "A Life in Hand: Creating the Illuminated Journal" and so intend to both journal AND draw in it :)

My first entry in the new artist notebook- my wriggling son. He is reading- but he is still not still!

The ever present artist's model- the foot. It and the hand are often seen in my notebooks ;) This one was an experiment with Derwent pencils- which I lack the colour I really need to get my English paleness. Oh well! You can also see my menu and shopping list here- as Hinchman suggests. I have to admit I prefer looking at my shopping list in my notebook as I shop- it is far more interesting ;)

Next up, EDM #249: Draw a Coffee Pot. Ours is rather new, though old fashioned- makes a lovely cuppa and was fun to sketch :)
Not every artistic effort is a success. This is one of them. Apparently trying to talk to my son and draw at the same time does not work. Especially if I am trying to draw an Advent Basket and he is talking about a Crow called Silverspot. They don't work well together. Never mind!

Friday, November 06, 2009


FARM CITY: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter

This was a fun read, the memoir of an 'urban farm' in downtown Oakland, CA. Novella tells us how she went from beekeeping, to chickens and eventually to pigs, and all the things she learned along the way!
At times funny, other times a little sad, this book fits in on the shelf right next to Michael Pollan's writings :)
It was well written, and will probably give you the best taste of what meat farming in the back yard is really like. Novella doesn't pull her punches when she describes the slaughtering of her animals- whether for food or other reasons.
It was refreshing to read a local food book that was not all about being a hippie- although Ms. Carpenter admits to being the child of hippies ;)
If you like Michael Pollan's books, or enjoyed Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, then this book is one you will certainly enjoy.

I rate it **** 4 stars. Very entertaining :)

Thursday, November 05, 2009


I forgot to upload a photo the other day!! I drew this from a reference photo I took, just before sunset in a local park- I was out capturing the autumnal colours before they faded ;)

Pokeweed is a beautiful plant- the contrast of the magenta stem, with the green leaves (varying in tones of green) and the purplish-black berries is a stunner- especially at this time of year!

I have been busy trying some new things too... messing with Manga :) O.K. maybe not precisely manga. Every so often I just get the inkling to mess around with something new. And then it doesn't help when I get myself hooked onto one of the Manga strips out there ;)

But just so you can see I was not just doing nothing...

I'm not too good at consistency in looks just yet ;)

And the other thing I have been doing is planning. Restructuring schoolwork for the kids, and planning a little self education for myself. You can read more about that on my homeschool blog if you are truly interested ;)
A certain "How to Keep an Artist's Journal" Class is also on my list of 'Things to do" :)

Friday, October 23, 2009


Since I came to Virginia, my impression of October has changed.  In Englad I tended to think of it as cool and wet.  Here, I think of it as bright blue skies and harvest colours!

October's Bright Blue Weather

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather;

The view while I waited for my meal in Aunt Sarah's :)

When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

A so called 'hardy orange'- not a citrus, but edible.  We have oodles of them- which means it will probably appear again since I am not satisfied with this particular effort ;)

When Gentians roll their fringes tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

Decorated with leaf prints- which came out a lot better than the pictures.  Those were watercolour pencils, and the more I tried to correct the flaws, the muddier they got :(

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

Woolly Bears are all over the place- supposedly predicting the weather.  In our case they were posing for pictures ;)

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October's bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October's bright blue weather.

And the latest EDM #246- picked up on our nature walk today :)  I love autumnal colours ;)  My first choice for something October would be my birthday- but it has been and gone so I can't draw it now (the cake was delicious too ;)).  This is my second choice ;)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Look

Yes, if you visit the blog you will probably notice it looks different.  I made a new header (I've been learning to play with Gimp) and made my page much simpler.  I did keep most of my sidebar contents, if something is gone, it is probably over at one of the other blogs ;)  

Thursday, October 08, 2009

EDM #244

Draw the oldest thing in your Refrigerator

EDM #244: Draw the oldest thing in your Refrigerator

Originally uploaded by Spinneretta

And this is mine. Some old horseradish with no use by date and a label 1/2 falling off of it!

I don't remember how long it has been there :-o

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

"Prairie Girl"

"Prairie Girl"
Originally uploaded by Spinneretta

From a photo of my friend's daughter- I just spent all afternoon on this one LOL
My friend named the photo "Prairie Girl" and I liked the title.
Tried a few new techniques with this one- and I am very happy with them :)

I spent the last couple of days reading up about coloured pencil drawings, and then remembered than I really wanted to draw this photo... and here you go :)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME!!!

Happy Birthday to ME!!!
Originally uploaded by Spinneretta

I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of fellow Librans on my Flickr art groups :) So I shall toot my own horn and declare this my birthday with pride :)
So for my birthday, I decided to do EDM# 243: Draw a pillow
This was an exercise in patience- the patience necessary to do it in coloured pencil... the patience necessary to get over the fact that the kids messed up the model TWICE (:-o) and the patience to get over the fact I don't have access to odourless mineral spirits to help blend. And alcohol and acetone do not work. Luckily I tried those on the first drawing which was the first messed up model ;)
Now if only I was allowed to take advantage of said pillow for my birthday ;)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Monthly Sketch Project pt. 2

Monthly Sketch Project pt. 2
Originally uploaded by Spinneretta

Part 2 of the October 2009 monthly sketch project.
Stop and Go apples, coloured pencil.
Trying again with one of my favourite media- coloured pencil :) I have been reading up a little more on it- so I have a slightly better result- I just need to find some more things to perfect the technique :)
From a photo by Leslie.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Autumn Accordian Fold

So, I wanted to add a few more pieces to Jeanette's Apple Challenge. More because I felt like trying a few things than for any other reason :) These golden delicious apples are locally grown, and the colours just cried out for pastels :)

First try was not so great, but this one came out well- especially when it occurred to me to add a little detail with the pastel PENCILS :)
Then I found my old accordian fold from last year- unfinished. So I added a couple of pages- with a poem from Kate Greenaway :)

The first leaves to turn here are always the pawpaw ones. They turn yellow with highlights of golden brown :)

I picked these up from the garden and painted them :)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Monthly Sketch Project: October 09

Monthly Sketch Project: October 09
Originally uploaded by Spinneretta

My first attempt at this month's Monthly Sketch Project.
I opted for an impressionistic pastel pencil piece- limited palette since I have only 12 pastel pencils. Slightly blurry at the edge since my book cannot quite fit onto the scanner :)
I liked the effect of the way I used the pencils- not so satisfied with the result. Oh well- I have a few weeks still :)

from a photo provided by Ann

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rosa 'New Dawn'

Rosa 'New Dawn'
Originally uploaded by Spinneretta

I know, I know... I've drawn it before. But not from life and not with a bloom AND a rosehip :) In fact it is one of only two roses we have blooming now!
I took the opportunity to draw while outside- 66 degrees is very cold to us right now- I was wearing a hoodie and my daughter got out her 'Hello Kitty' knitted hat!


So my husband is doing the driveway- making cobblestones and laying them. Today we had a 10 ton delivery of stone dust- the kids were in alt! They thought it was their very own playground!
*I* decided to draw them 'helping'.

Plus a couple of things they were supposed to be drawing for nature study ;) The rules: draw three DIFFERENT things that are red, orange or yellow. I drew two of the offerings- you know, just to show a good example ;)

Sometimes the synchronicity in life amazes me :)
While I am outside feeling like I am channeling Susan Branch (mostly because the writing made me think of her), a friend is emailing me to remind me to 'friend' Susan Branch on facebook! Fun :)
As some artist friends pointed out- who doesn't love Susan Branch? Her cookbooks are lovely artistic inspirations, as well as great sources of yummy recipes :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Practise, Practise, Practise...

So I decided to follow the old saying. It pretty much came about after I decided I would REALLY like to draw a picture of the kids- and COLOUR it :) So far, I have NOT done that ;)

So out came the coloured pencils. And the watercolour pencils. And the variety of pencil sets I have. And then I realised - I have a LOT of pencils :) But not always the RIGHT colour ;)
So I decided to start practising- I have never coloured skin colours before. Lucky for me, I own a couple of Lee Hammond books, and following through her directions I did the facial features below.

I admit it- I did not follow her to the letter. Firstly, I was drawing in my favourite coloured pencil notebook- which just so happens to be a Cachet Earthbound. It has tan coloured pages, which means that leaving white highlights is impossible- so I added those in with my white pencil :) Secondly, I didn't have ALL the colours she stated- so I just used what looked good :) Not a bad result ;)

So next I decided to try a landscape. I have been dying to draw this view ever since I took the photo a couple of weeks back. It was a glimpse through the trees of the Blue Ridge Mountains (we were up at Madison, VA) and the view was stunning. I always enjoy colouring the Blue Ridge in various blues :)

Then while out in the yard I went looking for autumn. I didn't really find much evidence of it here- a few leaves are beginning to turn, and a few have fallen, but we really wont see much of the turning of autumn until the middle of October. In the meantime, the garden was FULL of gnats- thousands of them! And I drew a couple of brown leaves (in watercolour pencil), and some of my jalapenos (in coloured pencil). They actually have lines over their skins- I think I let them sit on the plant too long! Oh well, they look prettier when I draw them ;)