Monday, December 20, 2010

Latest Watercolors

I finished another online class, that is two in a row!!!   This is the latest and last assignment from the class I took from Laure Ferlita, Clever Christmas. I posted the moose this morning.  He is  not one of my better paintings, but he is cute.  I reduced him and made a small name tag for a package, looked better that way than the actual size.

I plan on taking some of her other classes, thinking of starting at the beginning.  That would be a novel idea wouldn't it?  Sometimes I wished I had discovered wc's long ago, but then I am not sure I would have had the same interest.  Things come along at the right time and now is the time in my life for watercolors.  

  I have solved a few design problems with a couple of quilts that must be finished by Feb. and taken back to TX for Hollis' class while working on the watercolor assignments.  Who knew it would be so rewarding.  I just get lost when painting.  And to think all of this started because I needed to work on drawing.  One never knows where things will lead if given a chance.  

  Also the packages are wrapped and under the tree, the house needs a few things done here and there, but it is not in total disarray as it usually is this time of the year.  When I took the paints, wc papers and all the other items I have had out for the last 10 days down to the sewing room today, I put them away where they belonged.  I have no idea what is going on, but I'm lovin' it!!!  Of course the Christmas cards haven't been sent out, but that would be over the top.  This wc was from lesson 3 and I had hoped to use it for our cards this year.  I need to redo it as this is only 2.5" x 3.5" and has some issues here and there.  

Wishing all of you who take the time to read my ramblings a very Blessed Christmas and pray that it will be spent with family and friends.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lesson # 2

Today we received our second assignment.  I drew the head of a snow lady.  I wish my mind worked a little faster at times.  I needed to make the hat smaller or her head a little larger.  I will just pretend she has melted a little since she was built.  With the temps we have had of late, that wouldn't be a stretch.  The stretch would be having snow to actually build a snow lady, the reason I have had to resort to painting them.
  I will use this as a gift tag, there  is a "To:" and "From:" stamped on the back of the little painting.  I used crystals for the little holly berries.  Apparently they don't refract scanned light. I think I did a little better today with shadows and making things look like they were a bit dimensional.   Need to practice stamping again, it's only been 10+ years. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Watercolors

I signed up for another watercolor class.  Jane's was over and I have enjoyed this process.  I need to continue working at it so that I can stop making some of the mistakes I continue to make, i.e. going outside the lines on occasion. 
It started today.  It is a quick 10 day class with a lesson every other day.  Laure Ferlita is the instructor.  I drew some hats.  These are done on ATC sized pieces of watercolor paper.  2.5" x 3.5" is not very large.  I have done three of them.  Would like to change things about each of them, but hey, I am learning something each time I do one.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lesson 6

I forgot to post this lesson earlier.  Not exactly what we were suppose to do as I got a little carried away with the paints.  I had hoped to get another one drawn, but didn't finish painting it.  So it is here, I finished all the lessons, second online class that I have actually completed. 
  I received this frog a number of years ago and he sits in the flower bed against the house.  He has a broken foot, but I still like him.  He is flaking here and there, but then I am not as together as I once was either.
 The sketch of the angels needs to be painted or inked and then washed with water.  Haven't decided which way to go on those.  Hope to get to them in a day or two.

I actually dyed some fabric yesterday.  So might have those samples to post tomorrow.  I did a couple of color wheels. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lesson # 5

 We will be receiving our last lesson for the Sketchbook & Watercolor: Journal Style class tomorrow morning.  I cut it a little close this time as this is Wednesday.  I have finished and posted the drawing and painting of this shoe though, so I made it.  I was just glad I could still draw as I haven't picked up a pencil to do that as often as I should since I posted the sunflower. 
Shoes--- the subject we were to draw this week.  Some of them did at least 6 I know.  I have seen them all, but have not had a chance to read the stories behind the drawings yet.  Fortunately the class forum will stay open for a few weeks and I will be able to catch up on them.   
  I have no idea why the scanner cuts off the bottom and the toe.  They are both on there another thing I didn't have any patience for this evening.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lesson 4

It is going to be a busy week of cleaning.  I would rather be painting, dyeing, sewing, just about anything other than cleaning.  I am thankful I have a house to clean, just enjoy other things a little bit more.  I have completed lesson 4.  Didn't know if I would get one posted this week.  I did get a sunflower drawn and painted late this evening.  I did leave some white spots, more would probably be better. 
Centers are difficult to do and one can lose their place quite easily when there are a number of petals.  I am still trying to make sure I managed to draw all of them.  I decided one fell out during the process. 
 I hope I have time to draw a couple more in the next few days as a friend gave me a beautiful rose this afternoon and lily.  They will have to reside in the garage though until I am ready for them as I am allergic to flowers.  Definitely need more practice in this area.  Over thinking and over painting once again.   The scanner is giving me grief and is not picking up the entire framed area of the drawing.  Always something with computers.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wow, it is November!!

  I can't believe it is the 3rd of November already.  Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, then Christmas and we will be starting another new year. 

 This year has had more than its share of emotional highs and lows, but then one never knows what is around the corner, which is a good thing in my opinion.  I have learned that taking one day at a time is a good habit to get into as well.

  I have been trying to do more sketching each day, right now continuous line drawing for the sketchbook class I am taking thru Joggles taught by Jane LaFazio.   This is the latest watercolor.  Lots of mistakes on this one, but hey I am learning and know much more than I did three weeks ago.  I can even make the scanner work properly now.  I think it has something to do with remembering what I did from one time to the next. 

Check out the online classes if you haven't as there are a number of excellent places and instructors offering them these days. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lesson # 3

Amazingly it is the third week in the Sketchbook & Watercolor Class I am taking and I have completed the third lesson!!!   I will try to do some more this week, but the important thing is I am still on track.  Not sure how this has happened!!!

Our lesson this week is continuous line drawing with our permanent marking pens, no pencils, other than to sketch the frame around our painting when it has been completed.  
For those not familiar with this technique, once I start drawing I cannot lift the pen from the surface of the paper until the drawing is completed.  It is okay to draw the rivets in after the main drawing has been completed.  I can trace back over a line if necessary as well. 

Once the drawing was completed, I painted the drawing with watercolors.  I am happy with this little piece, which has been painted on a 5" x 7" piece of hot press watercolor paper.  I still didn't leave enough white areas in my piece, that is one of the things I am having problems doing.

The grain bin is located a mile from our home and has seen better days. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lesson # 2

I have completed another watercolor.  We received our second lesson today and I decided to get busy and paint the leaves.  I gathered numerous leaves from the yard and settled on three. 
After I drew the entire group of bugleweed leaves, I thought, what did I do that for??? I could have drawn another 3 leaves in the time it took me to draw and paint that group.  I like it, but I could have made it a little easier on myself. 
  I scanned this one before remembering what the bottom plant is.  It is parrot's beak.  I knew it was parrot's something, but it took awhile.  And I did get this one scanned.  I usually take a photo, but for some reason the photo was washing out at the top of the bugleweed.  The scan looks better. 
 I am enjoying this class.

Counting my blessings

Sometimes I know without a doubt that God is looking out for me. 
  This morning we were within a few feet of being involved in a serious collision when a semi driver came into our lane of traffic.  Joedy slammed on the brakes as we watched the guy swerve to the left to get out of our lane and go into another lane of oncoming traffic. 

 Makes me appreciate the photos I took after returning home even more.  They are of simple things in our yard, but beautiful to me as they are here but a short time.  
The Irish Eyes are hanging in there even though the flowers look a little worse for wear, not as perfect as they were earlier this summer.  They have character now.

The Washington Hawthorne is starting to turn.  These are the only leaves on the entire tree that have made the transformation.  I am in hopes the entire tree will turn before it freezes hard.  They seem to be a little more red than usual.

The Amur Maple is about half way there.  The fall leaves do not stay around very long, a week if we are lucky.  Once there is a bit of wind, they are on the ground.  It is one I have to watch closely or I might miss it.  It has been an unusually warm fall, September was very warm.  Probably what hastened the corn in drying down. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NO. # 2 Pear & Pomegranate

I have completed
another watercolor.  We are to do 2 or 3 and I have accomplished 2 and it is only Tuesday.  That is exceptionally good for me.  There are 5 more classes to go, will see how my record is by the end of 6 weeks. 
  It was easier this time, I think I achieved better shading, left white areas on the paper, you wouldn't believe what a challenge that is, did manage a few spots on the pomegranate, shading will have to do on the pear.  The shadow is grey this time instead of bordering on brown.  Overall I am happy with this and I should only get better if I continue, right?!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


A couple of months ago I was checking the fall classes on Joggles and came across one taught by Jane LaFazio.  It is Sketchbook and Watercolor: Journal Style.  I am always trying to keep up with my journal, which isn't any better taken care of than this blog.  BUT I have wanted to sketch and use watercolors in my journal for a long time. 
  I must say there is a learning curve when the water part of this watercolor painting becomes involved with the paint.  And a dab of paint goes a very long way.  And there are suppose to be some white areas left after the watercolors have been applied and light areas.  That is a problem too and contours.
 I have completed my first sketch and painted it with watercolors.  I have a ways to go and I must remember to keep telling myself that if I knew how to do this, I wouldn't be in the class.  
  It is fun most of the time and I will not let those watercolors defeat me.  I have learned a little about those as well and not all are created equal.  I had a little set of watercolors I thought would work for the class until I started checking them out and ordered some others.  So I have the first lesson completed, but should work on some other things throughout the week.  

Friday, September 24, 2010


 It has taken a few days to get these photos up because the camera and Photoshop were not getting along, at all.  Then I couldn't access Photoshop.  I had to uninstall and reinstall the program before things were back to normal. 

The Monarch Butterflies were migrating on Wednesday as they make their way back south for the winter.  There were not a great number of them as we have seen other times,  approximately 30-40.  It was windy, not a surprise, and they seemed to be seeking shelter from the wind in the trees.  It is amazing to me that these delicate creatures travel as far as they do. 

 I watched them for awhile, took some photos and tired to keep the dogs back away from the trees as the butterflies were disturbed by their presence.  They didn't mind the camera flash though.  They were interesting to watch and the trick was to catch them as they opened and closed their wings.    They were not doing it when I was able to get a little closer.  I did find an interesting site that records the migration of butterflies and birds.

 Last fall we had an interesting fungus growing.  I liked the shape of last year's better, but nonetheless they are interesting.  They grow out of a crack in the railroad tie on the back side of the pond. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wild Things

Yesterday I decided it was time to use up the dye in the fridge from the Retreat, it has been 4 1/2 weeks since it was mixed up.  I poured the dye on the fabric and these are the results.  I would say they are a little on the wild side of things.  Might have tempered them a bit with a little brown, but these are the colors that were mixed and used in some form so that is how I have decided to use them. 

I laid one piece on top of the other for these two.  There are some beautiful places in these pieces, just hard to see far away and clumped all together. 
  I have another piece that was folded and dyed to the side of these two and one that I hung on the line and dyed in the wind!!!  Also there are 7 pieces from two parfaits shown below.  I think they will work into whatever I decide to do.  Maybe a courthouse steps this time. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Treasures among the junk
Yesterday we were out by the junk iron pile.  Wow, did I find some wonderful things!!!!!  So I cautiously dug through the pile, it is September and rattlesnakes are not pleasant when one runs across them this time of year.  I stayed along the edge and made a lot of noise before attempting to look through an area.  There were also some black blister beetles on a pig weed that I had to keep an eye on as well.  The only injury I experienced was being stuck in the finger by a goat head sticker.  It was worth it.  I need to unload the loot and put it away. 

The metal with holes is one of the finds I am the most excited about.  It can be used to rust fabric, might be able to discharge with it, use it on a gelatin plate, endless possibilities with this piece.  Some of the items will have to be forced where the rust is concerned.  Some are stainless steel so they will have to be used for stamps or photo images will be used for patterns.  Very rewarding afternoon. 

The circle in the center is a new piece that I have not come across before.  I am not sure if these will rust, but here again, lots of other possibilities.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Finally, I was able to put the black kona around the trash barrel yesterday.  And just as I started, the wind came up, at least that is the excuse I am using as to why part of it doesn't have much rust on it or it might be that it dried out too much by the time I had the trash bag around it. 
  The photo to the right is one side of the piece.  It seems to me that this piece has two distinct sides.
In the lower left hand corner I can see two masks facing one another.  It is always interesting to see what develops on pieces of fabric.  Sometimes there are interesting images that show up.  Below is a closeup of the "mask" area and a closeup of one section. 
My reason for doing black instead of white fabric was to see if rust on black kona would resemble discharge.  I think it does, much less control than using a discharge paste or bleach, but that is part of the fun.  I would find it difficult to achieve the same texture with discharge paste, it seems to have more depth to it.  It also reminds me of the charred and blackened canyons near Boulder.   

I might try this process again one of these days, once the wind settles down. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back in the Studio

Screen Print

I finally made it back over to the studio today.  The first time since the Retreat, other than to clean one day.  I am currently taking a screen printing class on QU.  I did do two things today that was in the 2 lessons we have received, the rest was playing around.  Oh well.  I did attempt discharge using the screens, not very successful on that count.  They were all done using Speedball silk screening ink.  It is very similar to paint, the hand is not as nice as fabric paint however.  I do like the results and the clean up though. 
  I tried a couple with some Golden Acrylics.  Came close to ruining the screen using the Golden paint so no more of those.  I did have success with the iridescent Golden paint though.  I was surprised it didn't cause problems. 

One of the things we are suppose to do is cut out a stencil from contact paper and attach it to the back of the screen.  That would be the photo with the blue fabric and the pink fabric. The first attempt was rather pathetic, but the second one is a clean print.  I will try fabric paint next time and see how it works.  I need to read the lessons too.  I even dug one of the numerous bottles of dye out of the fridge, Retreat leftovers, and dumped it on one of the waxed encrusted cloths left from the soy batik projects.  I put the rest of the blue dye on a t-shrit, tossed both in a sack and well wash them out tomorrow. 

Doesn't that look fun!!??  One of these days the wind won't be blowing and I can use some of these for backgrounds.   And one other thing I did accomplish today was to wrap fabric around the trash barrel.  Will see how that looks tomorrow morning.  Shelia and Ricky, you would have loved the rust I scraped off the side of it! 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Road Trip--part 2

Windmill of the past
I have a great deal of trouble posting photos on the blog now days so I decided it was easier to do the road trip in two parts.

  After we left the area around the River and Dam, we continued west.  We came across a windmill that had seen better days and there was a concrete pump house or well house beside it.  One seldom sees the pump houses by the windmills anymore.  Sometimes there would be a tank located inside the pump house where items would be stored down in the water to keep them cool.  The only refrigeration around for many years.
  On our way home we went by the wind farm that is located northwest of Burlington.  The "new" windmills on the eastern plains of Colorado these days.     

 The wind turbines have been built this past summer and are to go on line sometime this fall.  We can see them from our driveway, which would be 9 or 10 miles away.  The things are huge for those of you who have not seen them up close. 
Another controversial happening out here.  There is suppose to be another wind farm built 6 or 8 miles straight north of our place.  I have to laugh when people think this is a "new concept" of producing electrical energy.  There were wind chargers used in this area before REA came into being and and electrical lines were built to carry power to farms and ranches. 

And believe it or not, there is a vineyard in our area.  The Wordens have been growing grapes 5 or 6 years.  They have 5 varieties now.  The grapes are nice this year and are getting close to harvest.  I told Vanessa to give me a call when they start harvesting.  I would like to see what a grape harvest is like.  I am also glad she is the one who has to take care of them.  If I were 20 years younger I would consider putting in a small vineyard, but not at this point in my life. 

The grapes hang in beautiful clusters.  Some of the grapes have to have netting over them to protect them from the Robins. 
The wine is not for sale yet.  That takes time to set that part up as well.  We wish them well when they do start selling it.  It beats that stuff from NE though!!!! 

Road Trip--Days Gone By

Some days we take road trips to places we know about and others we find along the way.
Republican River west of Bonny Reservoir
 Last Sunday we decided to travel to Bonny Reservoir and see how full it is.  It looked much better than last year at this time, but there is still a long way to go before it is full again.  The drought took a toll on it and everything else in this part of eastern Colorado.  The reservoir was built to protect Kansas from floods.  Now Kansas is suing Colorado and making life miserable for those of us who irrigate using deep water wells in the Republican Water District.  While we are paying a $15 an acre tax for a pipeline that should not be built.  Those living along the river in KS continue to dig pits and little playground areas, draining water out of the river as it flows to the point in NE where it is recorded to met our compact compliance.  What a joke!!!  Nothing is done to stop this action.  Some days I wish they would just get rid of the dam and if KS gets flooded so be it.  They seem to want it both ways.  We feel the only thing they are really after is money.   Apparently no one has told them that as far as the state legislators of Colorado are concerned, we don't exist out here.  There will be no help from Denver. 
  Aside from the controversy that surrounds the reservoir it is a special place.  In years gone by we and thousands of others have fished and played on or around the lake.  It is sad to see only a hand full of boats using the lake on a Sunday afternoon now.  In years gone by, one would have to patiently wait ones turn to unload a boat. 
  We enjoyed our sandwiches, looked for birds, went across the dam to the north side, the above photo is of the spillway at the north end of the dam.  The north cove had water in it earlier this spring, but that has since been released down the river.  Odd isn't it that the river flow is measured in NE.  Some more of garbage we have inherited from the idiots who signed the compact and revisited it around 2000.  Oh, yes, Ken Salazar was involved in that.  He loves selling out the residents of Colorado, east slope or west slope, he has qualms about ruining our economies.
Wild turkeys in hay field, north side of dam

Hay field on the east side of the dam

Monday, August 30, 2010

Retreat part 2

For some reason some of the photos refuse to be seen on the blog.  I don't know what the problem is as they were there once upon a time.  Apparently the blogger gremlins are rampaging.  So I will try one more time to put those photos up on the blog. 

This is the sunset photo.
This is one of my favorite photos during the week

Colorado Dyehard Retreat 2010 attendees
I cannot remember what the 3rd photo was that is not showing up, but I had wanted to put this one in as well that day.  I hope in time I figure out how to do the photos again. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Ricky's dry SA piece
  The Colorado Dyehard Retreat has come and gone.  Hard to believe after a year of thinking and talking about it and several months of getting ready for it, it is just a memory.  We had a good time, learned a great deal from one another, shared many good meals together.   I have many wonderful memories of the Retreat. 
  The group's main emphasis is dyeing with MX Procion dyes on cotton fabric, but we branch out on occasion and use other types of dyes or paints and other fabrics.  During this Retreat we dyed with natural dyes, some dyed silk and velvet pieces, along with using paint and paint sticks.   
Betty Ann's silk scarf, t-shirt and thread
  Yards and yards of fabric, socks, t-shirts, onesies and blankets were exposed to dye, rust and paint in one way or another
  Some of the techniques that were studied or used during the week were gelatin plate printing, soy wax batik, discharging with numerous products being used to accomplish this,  painting Tyvek, flower pounding, rust dyeing using several methods, indigo dyeing, dyeing with cochineal bugs, complex cloth pieces were worked on thru out the week using numerous items to make designs, stamping, dyeing thread and perle cotton, snow dyeing, resists, painting with thickened dye, dry soda ash technique, folding fabric and applying dyes, stencils were used with discharge, silk screens,  deconstructed screen printing, and I know there were more, just don't remember all of them. 
Some of us had done a study of how different brands and types of cotton fabrics take up the dye and of course there was a swap of fabric pieces.  Some of those not able to attend the Retreat sent fabric and those attending the Retreat brought fabric already dyed or dyed fabric while here.     

One of my favorite shots thruout the week

Sun setting in the west