Friday, December 30, 2011


First of all, I want to thank the Stevens family for having me over on Christmas Eve.
We enjoyed a lovely meal, played a rowdy game of Farkle, read the Christmas story, sang a couple of carols...
watched the Christmas story on TV (rather than playing it out like we use to) and when I left at 9:30, the Stevens family had started watching a Muppet Movie. Did I mention they had spent the day snowboarding at Echo Lake?
The next day Paul and I got up late, enjoyed a hardy breakfast and then open present while we watched the Yule Log on TV, complete with Christmas carols.
Later we enjoy a meal of filet migon, mashed potatoes and a spinach salad. We also had a slice of pumpkin pie and ice cream for desert. Paul fixed dinner, while I went down to my 'studio' and worked on a couple of new, not yet completed projects. It was a prefect, stress free holiday.
Thank you, Joan for the lovely set of paints, now I can enjoy my two favorite activities (painting and bathing) together.
And thank you, Mom, for the lovely plant. It's nice to have something to remind us how much we loved and cared for Ed.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

White Christmas

Looks like we are going to have a white Christmas. At least the dog is happy. I have bit of a sinus infection, but I plan on loading up in drugs and working on themed holiday projects, that I have not completed. And then, enjoying a Christmas dinner with my sister, Barbara and her family.

I have painted the chickadee at least ten times and I got to tell you I am happy with the bird, but the background is another story, don't understand why I can't do backgrounds.

I like the little mouse, but there is not much back ground there.  Maybe I will do the chickadee with minimum background.  Looks like I have a lot of reading to do, good thing I have 88 cataloged art books.

My new goal is to learn how to paint Brandy in the snow, not just in the snow but  to somehow show how much she enjoys winter, but for now I will have to be happy just adding a little style to holly.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cyber Monday

I kept hearing on the News what great deals Wal-mart, Amazon, Kohls and Best Buy would be having for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and I am sure they did have great deals in electronics, but I was not in the mood. I suppose I am resisting change a bit, but then again change is not always a good thing. But I regress, I just wanted to say the best deal I found was at Costco. I got a Daniel Smith Artist Grade introduction set of water colors for under $60! Woo Hoo!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Spruced up to pine fir decidous trees

I had a painter seminar on Saturday that concentrated on painting trees. There were so many techniques demonstrated, and I only got to try out a couple. needless to say, my head was spinning  by the end of the day!   One thing I remember is that  fir branches grow down and spruce branches grow pointing up.

I am including a picture of the aspen leaves I am working on for my regular class, even though it is not finished. Taking pictures of paintings half done is a good way to remind me what has to done in between the finished product.  I seem to be good a remembering  the first couple of steps, and the last step, but the in between stuff kind of gets muddled. I still have to negative (and positive) paint in the stems and the paint the sky (gouache).

Saturday ,I just started this exercise, when we had to move on to a different technique (painting aspens with a butter knife), but I am including it because I could not  help, but think how much it looked like the Rorshach Inkblots.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blowfish Brandy

Got Brandy ready for her Halloween close up over the weekend.  Who says Halloween is just for kids?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Painted Aspens

I should not post this picture until a mat as been place around it, but it has been six weeks since I posted anything. and it looks like it might be a while before I can get a mat around it picture. So, I am asking you to just 'pretend' the masking tape that is hold the paper on the masonite board is a mat.

Maybe the outside mat might be a middle tone gray leaning towards a soft purple and the inner mat would be a darker gray leaning towards the blue family.

It is suppose to snow on Wednesday 2-7 inches so I doubt I will be trekking to Englewood to have it matted until next week which means I won't have a mat for at least two weeks.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pieces of me

The Aurora branch of the Society of Decorate Painter (DSP) has an annual lunch slash art show. This year the show is held today at the Aurora Summit (Happy Birthday, Mom). I had a one day painting 'seminar' on the 27th of August (we were painting tulips). Most of the participants were members of the (DSP).  Nice group, they make a point to include everyone. I was asked what I was bring to the 'show.' I explained that I was new and while I would not be bringing something this year, I would next year. I wanted to see what the expectations (lay of the land) were before I committed anything to paper. I was told that because are only twenty members everyone needs to bring at least two pieces, otherwise there would not be much of a show.  Back in the 80s there were over 200 members of the Aurora branch (Billings had about 200 members also) but decorative painting is pretty much out of vogue right now.  Maybe, that is why I can't find a painting soul mate. Anyway, here are the two pieces I am submitting.
The picture of the thistle is my own design (simple as it may be). The picture of Crested Butte is not my design, it is one of the choices we could have picked when we were doing batik, I thought it would look too dark as a batik.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sheepish me

We have been learning how to batik all summer, but starting next week my class is suppose to start concentrating on 'drawing.' I am glad we spend a lot of time learning one technique, but I am ready to move on. I like my final project (Delicate Arch) but I don't believe batiking  is my forte. Maybe, drawing will be.

Actually because I don't like a lot of my finished project, I have been doing drawings with colored pencils. I figured if I didn't like the final project at least I would have so much invested.

I learned that while it may not be as expensive, it takes just as long to draw something out as it does to water color. And the only reason it may be cheaper is because the only colored pencils I had on hand were the cheap children's brand (Karat and Faber-Catstel). I have ordered a Prismacolor 72 set, but I probably won't get them until Tuesday. It's just as well I am taking a seminar this weekend anyway.

My teacher said she was going to start teaching us how to draw because when we use someone else's  drawing, we would be successful because the pattern, colors, etc had already been worked out and we need to learn how to original work. I just want to show that I can be original with someone else's drawing. So, I am posting two paintings I did from the same pattern. One is batiked the other is not batiked. Guess which one is batiked.

I made a drawing of the sheep, because I still want a water coloring of Devin and I though it might be cute with livestock in the foreground.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Paintin' Flowers on the Wall

Paul was feeling guilty for not going to the KP celebration with me, so on Tuesday he brought my flowers (above). Which would have been Ok, except that he then expected me to paint them. So, I did.

The painting on the right (2nd picture) is the one I painted Tuesday. I was tired and had a headache so  I really didn't even look at the flowers. The picture on the left (1st picture) is the picture I painted today.  I did study the flowers a bit, and made a thumbnail sketch before painting. I don't know why, but it was hard for me to actually 'study' daisies, but I forced myself too.

I know the study is better painting, but I don't dislike the 1st painting as much as I should, and I don't like the one I did today a much as I should. How am I ever going to get to be better painter if I don't feel what would make be me better?

25 Years with KP

On Monday I went downtown to celebrate 25 with KP. Paul was under the weather so I went alone.  I and made arrangements to met up with one of  the gals I work with.  I would like to say it ws nice see  folks I had not seen in the last five years, but every year there are fewer and fewer of us.  I knew the gal in my department I met up with (her husband was able to come) and the gal I sat with at my 20th union dinner (her husband was not able to come so she brought a co-worker).  For those of you who remember Bill, Veronica (the lady who brought the co-worker) is married to Bill's brother, Dean.  I did recognize a few other faces, and the ballroom was lovely, the program entertaining and the food ok.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Snugging Bugs

Paul keeps harping on me to save money and in the mean time he seems to be a major shipping spree! He has gotten us four new carpets. He says the carpets make the house feel more like a home. So, we have 'em everywhere. Here is the one we put in the office. Now we can feel snug a bug in every room.

then he got us a used fire pit. Now we don't have to go to the woods to go camping.

and finally he got a new (2000) Honda Civic.
He seems to think we need the stuff he gets (you need vacation, why else live?). While the stuff I buy is not so necessary.

On the other hand, I did get kind of carry away with the art supplies. The creative process is not cheap. Artist starve because they have to feed their addiction, art supplies.
 Anyway as promised I am posting some of the stuff I have been working.
My first project, The Aspens. I got a frame at Goodwill ($2.50) last weekend, but I still haven't located a mat. I might have to take it to my class and ask them to make me one. Anyone know a resource for cheap mats?
Devin castle. I hate this picture, but I am posting because I want see if I get better.This is the first piece I did where I did everything myself. I designed, and executed with no outside influence. Of course, I wish I would have asked for help. One the other hand it is true reflection of my skill level.

The painted desert. I was experimenting with colors so when I get the nerve to paint delicate arch.

Notice the Honda has a CO license.

We went to the DMV together today, Paul telling me to let him do the talking and if it is over $300 we are going to register in Oregon, Thank goodness the license were $250.

I was thinking I didn't do much this weekend, but I did pull about six bushels of weeds. First, the rain and then the heat, all the barometric change made me extremely sleepy.
In the mean time, Paul worked on cars and re-stacked our wood chip pile. The winds were so strong last week that we had wood chips everywhere.

We also drove all the way to Greeley to buy the Honda, it was a pain, yet beautiful drive.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pristine and unspoiled

I was half listening to the news last night when I heard Brian Williams referred an oil spill in one on the country's most pristine areas. Image my surprise when it became clear he was talking about was an oil refinery in Laurel MT.Pristine? Isn't this where we use to picnic when Dad had to go to Belfry? It's not like I don't recognize this as a catastrophe and I don't think the area is pretty, but pristine? What's with the hyperbole?

In case you have not heard I found a Reuters article concerning the spill.

Environmental officials scrambled on Tuesday to assess the extent of contamination from a weekend oil spill that has fouled water supplies and ranch lands along a scenic and otherwise pristine stretch of the Yellowstone River in Montana.

An Exxon Mobil pipeline ruptured on Friday night about 150 miles downstream from Yellowstone National Park near the town of Laurel, Montana, just southwest of Billings, dumping up to 1,000 barrels, or 42,000 gallons, of crude oil into the flood-swollen river.

Toxic fumes from the oil overcame a number of people who reported breathing problems and dizziness and were taken to local hospitals. But state and federal officials on Tuesday said they lacked a tally of health problems or the number of riverside homes that were evacuated after the accident.

The spill also has wreaked havoc on ranching and farming operations along the Yellowstone, the longest river without a dam in the United States, which provides irrigation and drinking water for communities along its banks.
Cathy Williams, who raises livestock, wheat, alfalfa and hay with her husband Jerry on some 800 acres of land around Laurel, said high water from the river has washed oil across much of his property. "It was the night the river peaked, so the river water was flooded all over the place, and that brought oil all over both ranches," she told Reuters. "All of our grasslands ... have just thick, black crude stuck to all the grass, trees, low lands." Williams said their spring wheat crop and alfalfa are both in need of irrigation, but farmers in the area were advised not to take water from the river for the time being. Drinking supplies also are in limbo, she said. "We get all our drinking water from our wells and for our animals," Williams said. "We don't know if we'll be able to use them since the river was high. All the groundwater, I assume, is probably contaminated. We just don't know."

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer said on Tuesday he has told Exxon and federal agencies overseeing the spill response that the state alone will decide when the cleanup is done. "The state of Montana is going to stay on this like the smell on a skunk," he told Reuters by telephone as he toured areas hit by the spill.

State and federal authorities had few answers to questions about the extent of oil pollution or the potential impacts on human health. Environmental experts said it will likely take months, even years, for the ecosystem to rebound from the influx of crude. "It will be unclear even next spring as to what kind of recovery has taken place," said Ronald Kendall, chairman of the department of environmental toxicology at Texas Tech University and head of its Institute of Environmental and Human Health.

"It's a very significant amount of oil moving downstream right now, and oil is a toxic substance in itself," he said. "A whole suite of organisms, from mink to herons to sturgeon to dragonflies, are going to be affected as waves of oil come through." Concerns about petroleum contamination prompted downstream communities that rely on the river for drinking water to shut off their intake valves, but it was unclear whether residents who depend on well water had been urged to avoid drinking it.

Many state health and emergency workers had been told to direct inquiries about environmental contamination and health concerns to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA officials said on Tuesday that readings were not yet available from air and water monitors mostly downstream of the spill.

Some Montana residents have reported symptoms ranging from shortness of breath to fainting spells linked to exposure to petroleum-based chemicals. Stacy Anderson said on Tuesday her parents, Bob and Patty Castleberry, are still living in a hotel after their home was evacuated Saturday along the Yellowstone less than a mile from the site of the ruptured pipeline. She said her mother, who suffers from a respiratory condition, passed out several times even after the couple left the house. "All their clothes, the suitcase -- everything smelled like solid crude oil; when my mom got away from it, her symptoms disappeared," Anderson said.
She said Exxon is paying her parents' hotel bill as well as covering the cost of feed for the couple's 10 goats that have been steered away from oil-soaked grasslands.

The cause of the rupture was under investigation, but possible damage from erosion caused by unusually heavy river flows following a spring of heavy rains and runoff from record mountain snows are likely to be examined as a factor.
Exxon shut down the pipeline in May after the city of Laurel raised safety concerns due to rising river levels, but the company said it restarted the line after conducting an inspection.

Shares of Exxon Mobil fell slightly on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange as investors worried about the bad publicity from the oil spill. Exxon said its Billings, Montana oil refinery cut back production over the weekend as a result of the spill but other refineries in the area were operating normally.

The Montana oil spill is far smaller than the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year and the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989. The BP spill spewed 168 million gallons of oil and the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil. By contrast, Exxon estimates the Montana pipeline has leaked only 42,000 gallons of crude into the Yellowstone River.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Obsesive Compulsive or Determined?

I knew I wasn't feeling quite right tonight, but this is the fourth time I have tried to post, only to loose  everything. This time I plan on periodically 'saving.'

I have become rather obsessed with the idea of learning how to watercolor. Key words being 'idea of.' Turns out I am afraid.  I bought I lot of new supplies, made a color chart of all my new paints,

Got Paul to make a painting boards out of masonite. Guirys want $30 for the big broad so, I went to home depot and got two for $5.62.

Put spiral backings on a few books (thanks Judy). I paid $3.40 each a Office Depot.

I even drew a picture of what I would like to be my first project from two old pictures I had when Ron and I climb up to delicate arch in the early 90's.

But alas, I was still not ready to put brush to paper. I ended up signing up for classes from the gal that taught the workshop sponsored by the decorative painters (see half finished aspen trees on boards that Paul made). So, last week was my first class and we batik'd. This is my first experience with batik (unless you count the tie dying we did in Estes, and I don't remember using any wax in tie dying). The only issue I have with the class is it is in Littleton, and I really don't like leaving Aurora.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sticker Shock

I know, I am way over due. But I got nothin' except the fact I seem to be blog blocked. I did ask for a password reset, but I have not used, yet. After exploring blog forums I do not not believe the issue is password related. Seems a lot of folks have been experiencing the same issue starting about 24th of May. Seems there may be a corrupt 'cookie' out there. Windows 7 makes it hard to dump your 'cookies.'

Judy, did you post your comment with your Droid? Seems like folks are having better luck posting with Droid. Seems issue may be with google accounts or internet explorer.

After I take my watercolor class on Saturday I will blog about that experience. I did call one of the Mi High gals for a list of supplies. Seems like the class is a bit loose (bring whatever ya got). I did experience severe sticker shock at Michaels. I compared prices with the stuff I had at home, and prices have not really gone up, its just been a long time since I had to buy supplies.

I spent $100 at Michaels without buying a single tube of paint. I went to Guiry's Monday, but they were closed for the Holiday and I really did not want to go downtown again so I ordered from Amazon (another $200). Thank goodness I am well stock in watercolor paper, or that would have been other $70,

I was going to order from Dick Blick, but I needed the supplies in a hurry and Amazon was offering a special where you could try their 2 day delivery free for a month. I am paying $4.99 for shipping for one tube a $5 tube of paint that I really wanted (Antwerp blue). Amazon did not have in stock so it is coming from a 3rd party. I probably should have ordered from Dick Blick but to get free shipping you had to spend $175 and I didn't think I would going to be anywhere near that figure (heavy denial).

I have also been scouring Craigslist for used painting supplies. Meininger wants $249.00 for one of the paint brushes I would really like to have(Kolinsky red sable #8 round).However, I can get a cheaper version($41.97) on Amazon. Meininger also sells a cheaper brush, but then I would have to go downtown. I am not against driving, just driving downtown. The class I am taking is in Littleton. As you can see I need a watercoloring soul mate. Some one who can feel my pain and possibly going shopping with me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blog Blocked

I seem to be blog blocked. I can not post remarks on other accounts. As soon as I figure it out I will be remarking. Password reset was sent to my work email address. Not sure why.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Have You Ever Seen the Rain?

We are suppose to get rain tomorrow, but I am not holding my breath. It has not rain one single day since we got back from Oregon. Even for Colorado it is extremely dry. I personally think we are in the middle of hundred year drought. Optimistic Paul decided he better finish the shed before it really did rain. He started putting the tar paper on around noon, but it got too hot and he didn't finish until after supper. As you can see, we are ready if it does rain.

Here is a shot of the shed with half of the tar paper on it, and a picture of our beautiful lilac bush. Turns out lilacs don't need a lot of water. Who knew?


I found couple of Seminary pins, Mia Maid pin, and a Brownie pin with my service pins.Guess, I might be a bit of a hoarder.

Service Pins

I did get a pin for my twenty five years of service. I now have quite a collection of service pins. I also got a gift. I choose a hand held GPS system that lets you know the elevation. Still don't have a Droid.