Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Seeing Spots

This is one of my favorite times of year. The skies are (mostly) clear, the trees have leafed out creating dense shade and/or are working hard on creating next year's harvest of fruit. The pool is almost ready for the first swim of the season.
Pollen is flying everywhere. Everything is some shade of yellow.
And just when I started working on my most creative project of the whole calendar, I caught the flu bug. I thought I was in the clear, but noooooo! So, I sent off the appropriate forms to get extensions on filing all those tax papers. Yes, I waited until the last possible moment, as always.
[Dear Mr. IRS, Please note: I take it as my responsibility to pay my fair share of the tax burden and as such, do not get "creative," if that's what you're thinking. But do tell, what, exactly, does the Paperwork Reduction Act actually "do?" because I'm not seeing it!].
Thus, I'm glad I started working on some of these challenges--am I alone in disliking the word "challenges" to describe the art prompts? There must be a better word--last week or maybe two ago.
Over at EIM, the word is ladybug. I like seeing ladybugs as they are known to consume aphids, which attack my roses and some other plants. I can count how many I see each year; I'm up to "one."
My take on the theme:


I didn't follow the Diva to the letter of the law, but rather loosely painted watercolours with some splatter and splotches. Done with Sakura Koi paints and after that dried, my trusty Sharpie:


Then we get to the TwobyTwo. The keyword is..."key." I didn't take it too literally. If you've stopped by over the past couple months, you may have read about my son and his autism. He is a very fortunate and high functioning young man. What we're trying to do is help him negotiate this new part of his identity (his reaction to the official diagnosis was, "But I don't FEEL different!") as well as put together the pieces of his puzzle that will help him achieve his definition of success in this world.
It's also happens to be Autism Awareness Month and the logo for the biggest organization working on autism is a blue puzzle piece.
What that means to me is that I'm doing a LOT of reading, everything from biographies of autistics, scientific and medical treatises (is that the plural of the word?) and cookbooks.
And playing with puzzle pieces.



So there you have my contributions this week. Only fair, the IRS has theirs.
Thanks for visiting, have a brilliant day! Be sure to check out the creativity to be found at the other artist blogs and how they interpret these "challenges."

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Proud as a Peacock


Continuing through the phyla of avian creatures, the EIM word last week was "peacock." I found a box of Derwent Inktense I bought and stored away a few years ago. I knew I had them and I was amused to find the metal box is decorated with a peacock illustration. (I was also amused that Freebird took a similar approach, but with beads! Coincidence? I think not.)

It was fun to finally crack open and use those pencils! I'll be trying them out again, soon.

Mostly, I've been getting up to speed on Autism Spectrum Disorder. My son officially received a diagnosis of HFA, or high-functioning, at 26. It also happens to be World Autism Awareness month and April second was the official day to Light it up Blue to promote awareness. (Depending on who is looking at the numbers, one person in 68 is autistic. We ALL know someone.).

White House lit up for April 2nd, 2017
Photo copyright: Lincoln Photography
From autismspeaks.org
I am grateful for the people at SARRC in Phoenix who helped us find out what's going on with TJ and have offered a variety of resources to help us help him. He's highly intelligent, especially in matters of mechanical objects (planes, trains and automobiles!) He's working full-time for Walmart and has a temporary assignment at a new location, so meeting new people. I couldn't be happier for him, or more proud.

One of TJ's favorite games is SIMON. And I chose this for this EIM, parrot, as the game requires you to repeat back, or parrot, a sequence of colored lights. Made with my trusty Photoshop program:


The TwobyTwo this week is "coin." I went by way of "coin a phrase", one attributed to Horace (Odes 1.11, 23BC) and the other to Clint Eastwood (Sudden Impact, 1983AD). These are photos I took of brittlebush, a terribly toxic plant that just looks so pretty in bloom.



I've been following the Diva for the last few weeks and put them all together this week. The challenge this week was to use circles and squares for strings. Well, they're in there, really they are. The other things going on are "Frunky," and "Noom." At first I couldn't find the step-outs for that thing and found a weight management app, instead (huh?). So, I call this, "What's in a Name?"



That's what I have to offer this week. Thanks for stopping by, have a brilliant (and BLUE!) day!

Monday, March 20, 2017

For the Birds

The EIM for the week is "woodpecker." I tried to get a photograph of one that was poking around in a mesquite tree, but even though he's quite colorful, he was very hard to get a good picture of. So I kind of borrowed an image from someone else and made a watercolor out of it.
I recall our home on Cape Cod where we had a very industrious woodpecker. He'd knock out knots in the cedar shakes and leave gooey sweet goodness for ants to find there. The ants would find the sweets, then the woodpecker would have lunch of sap and sugar-coated ants. The bird knew enough to set up shop right under the second-story eaves where we couldn't bother him because we couldn't get close!

To get caught up, I've included the last few birds--a rooster, who happens to be the mascot for a local egg company (huh?!), a green heron and a bunch of rubber duckies.


Which means the only thing missing for the inchies is a horse, of course. Just HAD to go in this direction:


I have to thank my lucky stars that the Diva this week chose a simple theme for Zentangle, to stick with tried-and-true tangles rather than fancy or complicated drawing. Headquarters calls it going with the MacnCheese, Ms. Diva Kraft Dinner; we call it, Blue Box, Please! (It might be just the thing for dinner tonight! Every once in a while, it is just right).

Simple:


And simpler:


If you've been wondering what we've been up to, the previous post spells it out pretty well. Other than that, it's been a LOT of yardwork! After all the rain (15 inches so far this year!), the sun came out and warmed things up considerably (90s, 32+ Celsius). Everything is growing green and fast; faster than I can weed or trim. At one point, the grass was three feet high! I read in a desert gardening book that March is supposed to be a month of leisure and enjoying the fruits of my labours.
Ha. Ha. Hahahaha!
Thanks for stopping by! Have a brilliant day!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Life...Happens

I'm sorry I haven't been very communicative lately. It's been very...interesting in our sphere lately.
I really don't wish "interesting" on anybody. 

The year started off with Gil's mom passing and without much further ado, his father quickly followed. They had lived to be 90, but sickness and frailty had become their common visitors. We didn't see them often as they were 2300 miles away, but we were able to see his dad before he died. 
I think they had been married for almost 70 years. 
The task now is to clear out not one, but two homes stocked to the rafters with the accumulation of all that togetherness. Be still my hoarder heart!

There will be fewer "work" days and more travel in our future. 

Closer to home, my son is being examined for being autistic, or more correctly where on the spectrum of Autistic Spectrum Disorder does he place? He's highly-functioning; he's articulate, he's friendly, he holds a job, he's 26 years-old. We're working with individuals to see if there are state-funded programs that can help TJ. We'll find out later today if he's eligible. (Even if he isn't, there has been the offer to steer us toward other resources, so it's all good). It's been hours of interviews, evaluations and enough paperwork to fell a forest, not to mention the literature I've been consuming on the matter. 

It's been hard to focus. 

But, perhaps, just maybe...

This little bitty came about from the TwobyTwo prompt of "peppermint." Just the word conjures little candies with red stripes (my favorites are pink with cinnamon, too) or refreshing mojitos (it's been perfect weather for frosty recreational beverages, or FRBs in our house). 

This is not what I call refreshing nor perfect, but you know how the sub-conscience sneaks in and around, right? It's supposed to be swirly with red stripes. And why is the only word that can be read say, "purple?" Made with an encyclopedia entry for peppermint and torn paper painted with nail polish:



Even though it's nothing like I expected, I like it. I liked the process and the result even if it's nothing like "peppermint!"







Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Moo!

On our first trip West with the kiddos (age 3 and 6, they're now 23 and 26), the youngest saw cattle grazing alongside the road and yelled, "Look! COWS!".
It goes down as one of those crazy road trip tales as the driver took that to mean, "Look out!" and proceeded to do some crazy road trip driving.
We can laugh about that now.

Now our homestead is nestled in the foothills of the Bradshaw Mountains and our little hamlet is entirely "open range."
THAT is FUNNY!
That means ranchers can let their animals roam anywhere. That means we can wake to the sound of cows mooing as they graze on the prickly pear cactus just the other side of our fence. It means we often get dangerously close to very large hamburgers with feet while night driving.


I don't know if you can see that; I tried to approximate what it might look like driving head first into a steer on a country road.

What does any of this have to do with art? It's the EIM this week, "cow."


That's from a child's search and find puzzle book that I found in my stash of piles of magazines. (Yeah, yeah, I need to do the dishes!).

Elsewhere, the objective is a lot of hearts for Saint Valentine's Day. For IAST 182:


For the Diva 303, my Valentine to you (I followed Laura's lead and went with the Hefty Hack method:


And I revisited 302 as I realized that I didn't have the hang of that tangle. At. All.


(The central tangle reminds me of Mummenschanz, which I saw at the Wang Theater, once upon a time. Have you ever been? They're still performing!)

I think that's about it, for now. Thanks for dropping by. Be sure to check out all the other artists' blogs, there is so much creativity in the weird wide web.
Hope you have a brilliant day! And watch out for cows!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Proof Positive

I just finished reading a book by Dana White titled, "How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind." It's a hilarious take on real-world cleaning strategies. (Spoiler alert: Do the dishes).
I'm sure you're thinking why would anyone as organized as I need to read about home management?
HA!
In reality I'm just a crazy old cat lady hoarder-in-training. I mean, I don't even have one cat yet! I'm not so old! But if there were need of any proof that I have the hoarder thing going on, here is my entry to the Every Inchie Monday this week:


This is a clipping of a child's sweater from the Fall 1999 issue of Family Circle Easy Knitting magazine. I'm not sure why I still have the periodical, my knitting skills are not very, well, skillful. One of these days I'll actually knit a sweater. Maybe. It won't be that one.

For the Diva challenge this week:


The objective, to use Hamadox in a sentence (Ah ha!). Here, I put a few tried and true tangles to work. I'm really enjoying drawing with Prismacolor colored pencils and I'm trying to keep notes of which colors I'm using for future reference. (Yeah, like keeping a knitting magazine that is soooo last century. But, you have to admit, it came in handy this week!).

My last entry is for the TwobyTwo, where the word is "news." I like reading and am grateful that I can access whatever it is I need to know on the Internet. Otherwise, the papers might pile up ad infinitum. It could get out of hand.


Thanks for stopping by. Have a brilliant day.
I have to go do the dishes now.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Grand State of Mind

Everyday brings news. Some of it good, some of it not so much and a lot of it just needs to....be ignored. The last several holiday seasons has brought big, massive and decidedly in the not-so-much category sort of news.
Still, we carry on, don't we?
I, of the optimistic, glass half-full mentality, persevere.
When life hands you a bar coaster, you know just what you're going to do with it. First, you're going to squeeze fresh citrus and blenderize a margarita. Then, you're going to draw. This is what happened when I tackled the Diva's weekly challenge, number 301, a Diva Dance/Paradox duotangle:


This is an improved version, a tackle-it-after-coffee-infusion. An I'm not too worried about what I accomplish today version. It wanted to be a butterfly and butterflies are free.


At the EIM, the word is donkey. Doing some research on donkey made my head hurt and I'm not quite sure why I got too carried away with that as I knew right off what I was going to do. South of here, surrounding Lake Pleasant is a very strong population of wild burros (small grey Mexican donkeys). They are cute, but they are a hearty bunch that is overwhelming the environment and native species. You can adopt one through the BLM.
And hopefully NOT meet one by accident on the freeway. These signs were installed last year to try to prevent such incidents. (I tilted the sign 45 degrees to make it square instead of diamond-shaped).


Other than that, there's the TwobyTwo for next week. The word is "news." Hopefully, it's of the good news variety. I'm working on that, won't you join the fun? Anything can happen there, as long as it fits into a two-inch square.

Thank you all for visiting and your words of kindness and encouragement. It all makes my heart sing. I can't carry a tune, but my heart seems to know the words.
Have a brilliant day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Out of Practice

It's not really that I haven't been creating, just not as actively as I'd like. Feeling guilty about that isn't going to help or change the world, but it did lead to not chatting about it. I have a stack of little artworks laying around, mostly tossed into a corner or three when guests came to visit through the holidays.
Then the calendar flipped and things really got out of hand. Let's just say that there is a little order that has come of the chaos. Life can be....interesting, and it helps to embrace that instead of trying to fight it, right?
I was going to start a botanical drawing class, but the instructor wanted a list of art supplies of which I have NONE. Hard to believe that's even possible! But I have the book and am digesting the ideas before I commit to a totally new set of (Faber-Castell) colored pencils. I'm already invested in Prismacolor and Spectrum Noir, isn't that good enough??
I say all that as an introduction to Diva 299 with the latest official Zentangle tangle, Drawings (think: draw wings). Working on light direction, foliage coloration and subtle shading.


Then there's the EIM that I'm working on. Here we go with the first four of 2017. Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself, but I didn't want to lose that fabric swatch, as I'm bound to do.


The first one is rabbit (and you never have just one!), the hampster dance, a cat who looks as happy about the weather as I do (the cold, the rain! just stay inside!) and the dog (which, for whatever reason, one repeat along the selvage had all green shading. weird).

The objective at last week's TwobyTwo was happy. Too many ideas were trying to work their way through to the cerebral surface. One of my other goals this year is to tackle Illustrator. Again.
While this was created in Photoshop, some of the methods to make it were borrowed from what I know about Illustrator (slim-to-none). This simple thing took me an hour! UGH.

With many an apology to all of the artists who have gone before me in this, along with a special nod to Robert Herrick, who may have been the first to use the smiley in text as :) in 1648!
And we think we're so clever!


If the hamster dance music is driving you as crazy as I: Don't worry, be happy!
I bid you a happy and brilliant day! Thanks for dropping by!