Covered in Paint

A workshop all day Saturday, playing with Yupo (a plastic paper) and masking fluid.  What did I accomplish?  A familiarity with two unknown – unfamiliar – items.  I produced not a thing worth talking about, and truth to tell, if a friend at the workshop hadn’t shown up, I would have been down in the dumps – I FORGOT TO BRING MY PALETTE OF PAINTS!

Oh, well.  But, it did get me rolling, and this has been a weekend spent immersed in watercolors and studying techniques by watching videos on YouTube, specifically, those by Rick Surowicz.  I followed two of his, one called “Creek’s Edge” and the other called “The Inn at Brandywine.”  His stuff is great.  The question is, will I carry his lessons into my own paintings, not copies?

So, here is what I did this weekend – the first is the “Creek’s Edge” and the second is my rendition of the “Inn at Brandywine.”


On the Way Out the Door

I am heading out this morning at 8 a.m. to a watercolor workshop down toward L.A.  With so many things in boxes, waiting to be placed somewhere in the studio, I’m lucky to have anything to take with me.  It’s amazing how simple the flood was (we had a pipe break, FYI), how long it took to repair all the damage and do the upgrades (why not since the whole house was torn up), and how much longer it seems it will take to put our lives back together.  Like finding a specific brush or some paper or whatever.  I did some unpacking yesterday, and today, no . . . watercolor instead.  We were joking that it will probably take longer to unpack than any other part of this home repair adventure!

It’s been a nutty week.  Crazy end-of-the-school-year stuff.  Testing.  Stressed out kids.  I can hardly wait to be done with it all, and even more so, done with working and having a life during retirement.  To make life productive on a personal level, I’ve tried to draw or paint every morning before heading out to work.  Simple sketches, no lines, using watercolors as the way to do things.  Nothing really exciting is being produced, but what is good is the daily practice.  It does make things work better and it adds to a store of knowledge that comes only with practice.  Here are some of the things I did this week.

As well as putting my art supplies and books back together, my photography stuff is slowly getting straightened out.  I picked up some film I had processed.  I took both my Nikon Df and my Oly OM4-T with me to the botanical gardens down the road.  Film always has a quality to it which digital lacks.  I was excited to see how the auto exposure feature worked on the Oly as I only recently acquired the camera and had a test batch of Kodak Ultramax 400 in it.  I used a 35-70mm zoom, and was really pleased with a number of the photos.  Everything was in bloom – or ready to bloom – so I tried to catch as many colors as possible, from deep reds to pink to yellow and white.   I am really glad to have space now to keep my Pakon 135 set up, and the laptop I use exclusively with it, in its own space, plugged in and ready to roll.

Now, look at my check list and get on with the day!  While I am gone, J is gonna be brewing.  What happy little campers we will be at the end of the day!



Painted Flowers

The bathrooms are nearly done.  All that remains to do is hang the mirrors, towel racks, toilet paper holder, and place the drawer pulls.  The baseboards can wait!  At noon, we will officially be able to use the sinks, the faucets, and the second toilet.  Who thought that could be so exciting?

And in between the chaos of repairs and work, I have tried to do some painting.  I pulled out my watercolor pencils and started a picture that will be mixed media in the end.  It’s complicated.  I have been scanning every step.

To kick back, I have been looking at the flower pictures I took last weekend at the botanical garden – so many!  I have painted a few of them, with ink and pen, with watercolor pencil and pen, with watercolor.  I really like flowers and wish I had a better yard for a garden . . . that will come, though; meanwhile, I wander in one I don’t have to maintain.

Aftermath of a Broken Wrist

I suppose I should also include the finger . . .

Hobbling around on a broken lower limb makes sense if activity levels are lowered, but a broken wrist?  Yep.  I didn’t go out scrambling on the trails nearby for the simple fact that I am right-handed, and if I started to take a tumble, the right hand is the dominant one.  Four weeks, five weeks later, a rather sedentary lifestyle, and I am sore as hell after going out to the local botanical garden, looking for the flowers I have been missing on my usual weekly jaunts.

Gardens change every day, and certainly after 5 weeks, a lot.  Spring is now in bloom and I was so happy to see so many flowers, wild and domestic, native and foreign.  A lot of work has been done, too, in the garden itself.  A new gate on one side.  Cleared brush and hillsides.  New plants, new labels.  Sheer heaven!

Yesterday I felt like a drunk all day, tottering around on extremely sore legs.  Oh, well!  A bit better today.  And, a few flower photos, too.  

Floors, Hidden Vanities, Studio, Office, Wrist & Finger

Okay, the shower is tiled, but now is covered in plastic sheeting, protected by the painter from the paint. Hidden but not forgotten as its door arrives Friday!

But what else has been happening? We now have floors. Not rugs. Not hardwood. Vinyl, 20mm thick, looks like wood and designed for dogs. You read that right: dogs. The flooring has textures so that dogs have traction and don’t go flying down the hallway. It’s actually quite nice. It feels good underfoot.

And, the vanities have arrived, but until the painter is done, they remain covered and mysterious. They need to be installed before the template for the countertops can be made, and then installed.

My studio and J’s office are beginning to become usable again. Funny how daily habits, when upset, are so nice to take up again. I like reading the news and drinking my coffee in the morning, and perusing other blogs. My cameras are back on the shelves – not all of them, but a lot of them – and I used my Nikon Df here, with the 85mm f1.8, to take some photos. I also used some film cameras outdoors … the drafting table is in place, and paints and paper and brushes are reappearing.

And, my wrist and finger are mending very well, and I am out of the finger splint altogether, but wear the wrist splint at night or when my wrist feels tires or sore. Hard to believe I went flying over Smudge (dog) 4 weeks ago.

Home, Sweet Home!