With a Muffin and a Marker

The online sketch group I’ve joined is full of the most talented people! It has been exciting to see how people fill a page and the possibilities of paper, marker, and a little paint. I’ve seen beautiful letters and exquisite drawings. I’m trying to learn how to design pages in my sketchbook to include words. Letters aren’t easy. A mountain or a tree can have an extra line and it isn’t noticed, but letters aren’t as forgiving. And I’m not going to show you those pages in my sketchbook.

Last night I was hungry for a muffin. Not just any muffin. I wanted the muffin I had in Auckland, New Zealand on our vacation last year. It was full of cheese, spinach and fresh tomatoes. Oh, it was so good with that latte! This muffin is close, and it is only missing the vacation ingredient. I’m going to post the recipe below in case you can’t read the letters from my sketch.

Savory Muffins

Mix one egg, 3/4 cup milk, 1/3 cup oil in small bowl.In larger bowl mix: 2 cups unbleached flour, 1/2 tsp dry mustard, 3 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt. To dry ingredients add: 1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese, 1 cup chopped, uncooked spinach, 1/3 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds. Mix all together and bake in greased muffin cups @ 375 for about 20 minutes or til golden. Makes 12. (I didn’t include this in the sketch because I ran out of room, but I sprinkled the tops with grated Parmesan cheese)

Sketching in Alaska

Today the sun shone on the mountains and on the flowers my husband bought for me. It was a gorgeous day.  I hopped in the car and sketched these within seven miles of our house.

Would like to see a watercolor demo? Please give me your opinion. Well, tell me if you can. Apparently, posting comments isn’t as easy as it might be.

Here are the rest of the sketches for today.  I painted the tulips with a watercolor wash first, then I drew the ink lines.

Spring…and the Non-existent Dogwood

Spring is a long way off in Alaska. The days are longer, but it will be several weeks until there is enough heat in the sun rays to melt the mountains of snow outside.  My rhubarb plant has about five feet of snow over it. I’m trying so very hard not to whine, but the posts of glorious spring weather I read about on Facebook cause me to sigh. Denial is working pretty well for me. I bought a sprig of fake dogwood and I chose to paint spring. Dogwood trees don’t grow in Alaska, but we have a pretty little dogwood flower that grows about six inches high…also under mountains of snow. I don’t want to think about it. I’m going to plant seeds and paint.

An Artist’s Journal

Over the past several months I’ve been noticing “artist journals”. The difference between my sketchbooks and these journals is the addition of writing and page design. In my sketchbook, I just fill up the rectangle with a landscape or small study of a building, plants, or animals.  An artist’s journal is a sketch most often including observations, thoughts or quotes. They might become travel or nature journals or just small sketches of an object with some notes or even poetry. Some journals are objective and fact-finding while others might follow a time of internal searching. I just finished reading this one by Danny Gregory. He had never sketched in his life, but his artistic journal through a confusing and painful time in his life creates a very poignant read.

I started taking an online artist journal class because I really had no idea where to start. The class is still open for registration. Go here if you would like to take it. It is Workshop Two. I’d love to know if you sign up.

Posting these sketches makes me feel a bit vulnerable. I know there is much room for improvement in the drawings, but Cathy Johnson, who is leading the workshop said, “It’s a learning tool, a place to play and respond and observe.”

I sketched our grandkids’ wagon because it went with a quote I had just read so I put them together on a page. I’m going to post some of these journal entries for the next couple of weeks. This is an artistic recess.

Painting Facebook Photos 10

"Together" watercolor 9" x 9"

I don’t know if these boys inherited the songbird gene that runs in this family, but their mom, aunt, uncle and grandmother sing like robins in the spring. Years ago, my husband was their bus driver and every one of them serenaded him on the long ride from school to home.  Because of Facebook, we’ve been able to stay connected. This is a photo posted by Evelyn, the grandmother songbird. Sometimes one of them will post a video of a sibling singing and they post the nicest comments to each other. It’s a thing of beauty to hear them sing and “listen in” to their comments.

This is the final painting in the “Painting Facebook Photos” series. I’ve enjoyed it so very much. Your comments were so encouraging. Thank you!  I’d love to have you tell me which one was your favorite.

I’m going to start another series and I’ll post the first one in the next couple of days. This is a light-hearted and fun series to welcome spring.

Painting Facebook Photos 9

"The Shalom of Grace" watercolor

Her name is Grace. She is an orphan living in Kenya with Kate and Johnny who host an orphan home. There are also fourteen other children. Kate told me some of her story:

“We rescued her from an orphanage that made her work as a ‘maid’ for the home. She didn’t go to school and spent her days washing and cleaning for the other kids in the home. She was often beaten and just wanted out. Before going to that orphanage, her mother would leave her outside, not feed her, and beat her. So when she was six, a good Samaritan took her away from her crazy mother and put her in that orphanage.”

“Shalom” is a Hebrew word and although I don’t know many words in that language, this word is very special. In English we have words with many meanings, but this word has depth of meaning. From what I’ve learned, it means peace, but also restoration, wholeness, completeness, quietness, to be safe. But the incredible thing is that it also means the process and movement toward restoration, wholeness and completeness.

I called this piece “The Shalom of Grace” because she is at peace and safe in the love of her new family and she is in the process of restoration and wholeness. Here is a photo of Grace with her family, a picture of shalom.

Only one more painting left in this series. I still haven’t decided on which photograph I’ll choose. There were so very many wonderful images of my Facebook friends. Your comments on this blog and in person have been so encouraging. Thank you so very, very much.