Sunday, May 19, 2019

Steven Curtis Chapman in Concert


Last evening we met Janene and David (my sister married to Russell’s brother) in Columbia, Missouri, for the Steven Curtis Chapman Solo Concert. 


Steven Curtis has been an inspiration to our large family since the early 1990’s. My brother, through his friend who works with SCC in Nashville, arranged for us to meet SCC backstage. We were ushered back during the intermission and spent a few moments taking the opportunity to express to SCC how much he had meant to us through the years. 





Steven is the most-awarded artist in Christian music history. And yet, he was just as humble and genuine backstage as he appears onstage! What a blessing! What a legacy! #SCCSOLO #ShowHope

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Yellow in the Spring

I have several “favorite” colors—among them, purple and teal are at the top. But especially in the springtime I love other colors as well—such as spring green and bright yellow. Specifically, I enjoy painting with yellow watercolor (my favorite is Winsor & Newton pro grade Winsor Lemon).

It took me a little bit of time to paint the Goldfinch that I love seeing in our Wonder Forest at the bird feeders. As a reference photo, I used this beautiful photo from the Merlin Bird ID app.


Here is my rendition, again not trying to paint with realism that would make my work be confused with a photograph, and yet, not so loose as to make it difficult to identify it as a goldfinch!



While in the yellow mode, I used a 4x6 watercolor paper “card” to quickly paint this loose watercolor lemon (to use for scrapbook embellishment). It took me about five minutes.



On another note, we have been making some minor changes around the place—put down a couple of area rugs, for example—little things that give me a “lift” (much like changing the furniture in my classroom used to do)...more work/cleaning around the house—got LOTS of Fitbit steps yesterday, at least! 

I’ve enjoyed the Bible study I’ve done the last 7 days...Hurt but not Held Back (on the Bible app). May share some things from it soon.

Beautiful spring (feels like summer) day here in Wonder Forest near Troy, Missouri!

#watercolorpractice #Winsor&NewtonPro #Americangoldfinch #wonderforest

Saturday, May 11, 2019

My Painting Style, a Pea Pod, and a Blue Fairywren

So much to learn about watercolor art...

The first thing I realized a few weeks ago when I started to delve into the nuances of this art form is that there are different “styles,” and each “artist” eventually settles into a personal style. Right away, after a few attempts, I concluded that the style called “loose” is not really for me. So many of the folks in my Facebook art groups use this style, and they just seem to have a knack of putting down a bunch of watercolor and it ends up looking like the essence of a flower bouquet (for example). It just does not come naturally, nor is it fun, for me.

On the other hand, the opposite extreme from “loose” is detailed realism. An example of this type of art is the pear I did a few weeks ago, following a tutorial from Anna Mason.


It was about the first thing I did when I started playing with watercolors, and though I successfully completed the tutorial, at that time, being so new at everything about painting, it was difficult and made me think that detailed realism really wasn’t for me either.

So, within the weeks that I have spent pretty much immersed in the learning process, my conclusion right now is that my style, for now, is sort of in-between the two extremes. Now I do not ever try the extreme loose style. But I do sometimes enjoy the attempts at detailed realism. So, I enrolled in Anna Mason’s Online School, where I am completing tutorials ranked by difficulty level (there should be something lower than “beginner,” for me, honestly). 

After the Williams Pear, the next tutorial in my “school” is a pea pod. Now, this is not something I would be drawn to paint just because I want a painting of a pea pod. But because I am in a “school” and am learning techniques, I am willing to work on something not necessarily “cute” or something I would want to frame! 

I have now completed the second beginner tutorial:



(Copyright information: Pear and Pea Pod are paintings produced using an online video tutorial at Anna Mason’s Online School.


But, as I do the detailed tutorial pieces, I give myself permission to break and do just fun pieces where I do something like paint from a reference photo. So, yesterday when I finished the pea pod (reminds me of the feeling of turning in a research paper), I watched a tutorial from a lady in Australia who was painting a little wren-like bird from her property. I was drawn to the gorgeous colors, and I have always thought wrens are so cute. We do not have this bird in America, but I wanted to paint it because of the beautiful colors. I started with her tutorial, but then I mainly used a reference photo (a real-life picture that is used as a reference for a painting). 

Along with the photo, I found this information about this beautiful bird:


“The Australasian wrens are a family, Maluridae, of small, insectivorous passerine birds endemic to Australia and New Guinea. While commonly known as wrens, they are unrelated to the true wrens of the Northern Hemisphere.” Wikipedia


So, remembering that most of the time I’m not aiming for a painting that could be mistaken for a photograph, here is my painting from the reference photo:


#watercolorpractice #AnnaMasonsOnlineSchool #superbfairywren #AnnaMasonPear #AnnaMasonPeapod #alwaysastudent


Friday, May 10, 2019

Journaling




It’s no secret among those who know me that I am a huge fan of journaling. Today I came across a quote that I had copied into one of my journals, from my study of the book Draw a Circle by Mark Batterson. He makes the case that journaling is actually a spiritual discipline. I agree. I do have one caveat to add to his quote (see below).

“The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory. Journaling is one of the most overlooked and undervalued spiritual disciplines. In my estimation, it is on a par with praying, fasting, and meditating. It's the way we document what God is doing in our lives. We have a natural tendency to remember what we should forget and forget what we should remember. Journaling is the best antidote, maybe the only antidote, to spiritual amnesia.” (Mark Batterson) 

*Note: I am not a theologian, but I’m not sure I would put journaling “on a par” with praying and fasting. I would liken it to meditating, actually.

The watercolor art that I am posting today isn’t directly related to journaling, but I’ll just insert it to give the reader a break from my words!

These two pieces represent what I do as a quick break from the more serious and detailed art classes I am currently doing online (Anna Mason School). One of the works from Anna’s classes is about a 4-6 hour process. These two pieces here took about 15 minutes each. 

The little birdies are pen and ink with watercolor (sketch with pencil, then paint, then outline with pen).

The peach was done with no sketching, using the wet on wet technique, just putting down the paintbrush and painting the peach and leaves, and then dropping in more color.

#journaling #MarkBatterson #DrawaCircle #watercolorpractice #penandinkwatercolor


Monday, May 6, 2019

Beautiful Spring in MO

Such beautiful spring days we are having here in Missouri! Most days lately have been sunny and warm, but not hot—perfect for me! The trees on our five acres (mostly maples and oaks) have been totally leaved out for a few days now.

I have been doing a few pieces of watercolor art, nothing structured, just following my whims. 


This pen/ink and watercolor fuchsia flower I completed following a You Tube tutorial. These beautiful flowers are interesting, as they appear to be upside down.


This little fawn was copied from a book I have used a lot lately, called Watercolor With Me in the Forest by Dana Fox. 




This is one of the birds that always can be found at our bird feeders at the edge of our Wonder Forest, which we look down on, out our bedroom windows. It is a Tufted Titmouse, very pretty. For this piece, I found a photo on Pixabay (an app with copyright free photos) as a reference. It is my first attempt (I think) to paint something from a real-life photo, as opposed to a picture of a painting, which is my typical process (and will continue to be for awhile, as I think I will be a beginner for a long time!).

#watercolor #WonderForest #tuftedtitmouse #fawn #fuchsiaflower #springtimeinMO






Friday, May 3, 2019

Notebook Entry: Project Status

For years I have kept a notebook. Who knew, at the time, that keeping a Planner would become all the rage. For me, the habit began in the mid-1980’s, after reading Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund. One of the many things I record in my notebook is a fairly frequent “inventory” of the status of all my projects.

Yes, I say all my projects, because they are legion. So, it helps to keep a record of where I am, as regards the projects. At different points in time, I am more or less obsessed with certain of the projects. So, it’s not that I do all of them every day. My projects include (but are not limited to) family history, scrapbooking, Bible art journaling, life journaling (I have my life story, hundreds of pages in Word documents, more recently updated with the Day One app), organizing and maintaining two homes, cooking, baking, piano, and art (for awhile it was mixed media but now almost exclusively watercolor, as I am just learning).

So I have always found it helpful to make lists in my notebooks, because writing it down somehow makes it feel less overwhelming. I suppose I feel that if I can write down what all I need to do, it then becomes doable. 

Current status:
Scrapbooking - I had gotten quite behind with my annual scrapbook for 2019, as I had taken on a project of doing a separate scrapbook of our great grandson’s first year. I finished that while we were still in Washington (he turned one in March), but after we returned to Missouri, I had all the many pictures from January through April to organize, edit, print (some) and put in the scrapbook. I would like not to get that far behind again, because it was quite a chore to get those four months finished. I am up to date now, as of a couple of days ago.

Art/craft supply and studio organization - This was a biggie, as I reorganized the studio with my watercolor art supplies, cleaning out mixed media supplies (a much messier hobby) and making my work area much more pleasant. I also filled several boxes with craft supplies I no longer use from my hobby room storage closet, to give away. Whew!

So now, in terms of art, I am free to enjoy watercolor. I admit to a bit of an obsession with wildlife right now, and especially birds, as we so enjoy watching them at our feeders, out our bedroom bay windows (looking down on the feeders and the woods). A couple of days ago we saw our first Indigo Bunting of the season. Today, the Grosbeaks returned. We are enjoying using a new (to us) app, Merlin Bird ID, that our son told us about.


This little Carolina wren took my eye, in a painting by watercoloursbyrachel. We have these wrens in our Wonder Forest. One of them has built a nest in a little house we have nailed to a tree, right under our bedroom windows that look out over the woods. My rendition of this wren is a poor copy of Rachel’s work, but I am learning, and with this attempt I did learn that the quality of the watercolor paper does make a huge difference (my first time to use Arches cold press paper).

So, these days, I keep myself busy with projects, but we also spend time keeping up with our families in Missouri and Washington, our church involvement, watching Cardinals baseball, and going out and about in our woods and our community.

#CarolinaWren #ArchesWatercolorPaper #notebook #journaling #projects


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Today’s Bible Study


Today I want to share a devotional thought from the five-day Bible study I just completed through the Bible app. These are not my words, but they are for me.

The Safety of God's Presence

If you’re a parent, your arms were (or are) the place of safety for your children. When they got hurt, or when they felt sick or afraid or anxious, they would raise their arms for you to pick them up. Your presence could make monsters disappear and boo-boos feel all better, and little wounded spirits would be healed.

Take a moment to remember how it felt when your toddler (or any child) would grab you around the neck and hold on for dear life.

That’s what God’s presence can do for you.

All the spiritual disciplines and religious activity won’t change you or heal your fear and anxiety if they don’t help you enter God’s presence.

And worship is the way you get there.

In true worship you lose sight of what’s around you and see only Him. Whether alone or with other believers; in nature, church, or your own home; in silence or with music; your heart is stilled, cleansed, healed, transformed.

In the presence of God, evil leaves the way darkness leaves when you turn on the light.

When you are troubled, run into His arms through worship. Grab on to Him and hold on as if your life depended on it.

Because it does.

 “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.””

‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭CSB‬‬

And here is a picture of the little one who always brings a smile to my face and makes me feel all better (our great grandson):



#BibleApp #BibleStudy #OvercomingAnxiety #DevotionalThought


Friday, April 26, 2019

Our Wonder Forest

We have recently returned to our Missouri home, from our home in Washington. This is a beautiful time of year in the Missouri woods. We spend each morning here with our coffee, sitting in the bay window of our bedroom that overlooks our five wooded acres that we have come to call our Wonder Forest.

There are so many forest creatures to watch, including our birds (cardinals, titmice, black-capped chickadees, purple finch, yellow finch, hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, redheaded woodpeckers, wrens, robins, doves, nuthatch, bluejays, cowbirds, hummingbirds), squirrels and an occasional groundhog, and of course the beautiful whitetail deer.

This morning we watched for 30 or 40 minutes while three deer played on the floor of the forest just below us. They were drawn by the salt lick we have there. I don’t think I have ever seen deer stay in one place for such a long time, nor have I seen them playing—chasing each other and obviously enjoying the early spring morning. I took some pictures out our window. The screen wire prevented great photographic outcomes, but here are a few of the pictures I took.

So I have created a Facebook location for when I “check in” at our location here in Missouri: Wonderforest.

Wildlife has always been one of my favorite things. So naturally as I develop my watercolor hobby with more practice, I am drawn to that subject.

Red fox (we have one that occasionally visits Our Wonderforest)

Field mouse (I’m sorry, but they’re just cute)

Titmouse

#watercolorpractice #wonderforest #MOhome #whitetaildeer #titmouse #fieldmouse #redfox

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Himalayan Bluetail Flycatcher {Watercolor Practice}

Packing up the art supplies for the cross-country trip WA to MO.

Followed a tutorial by Let’s Make Art to attempt this one. It was challenging (but aren’t they all, for me!).

#watercolorpractice #LetsMakeArt #HimalayanBluetail #DrPhMartinsLiquidWatercolor

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Citrus Watercolor Practice

It’s a rainy, dreary day here in the PNW. Bright sunshiny citrus fruits cheer me up!
Soon we will return to spring in Missouri. Bittersweet.
#watercolorpractice #citruswatercolor

Monday, April 8, 2019

More Spring Art




Articles have been written about how it is to feel like you’re getting worse instead of better…the nature of the “game,” I suppose.

Lots of cooking/baking and lots of scrapbooking also taking up my time these days. Fun stuff, really!

#LetsMakeArt #watercolor #sketchandpaint

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Spring Fun

Sunday dinner at our house: a picnic in the back yard. Our great grandson LOVES to be outdoors! (It’s in his genes!)


I am in the process of completing the scrapbook album of Leeland’s first year. Since I’ve been practically obsessed with watercolor art, I decided to do a couple of tiny pieces to coordinate with some scrapbook paper for the last couple of pages in his album.


Daily practice with watercolor has resulted in a bit more confidence as I try a little more difficult tutorials, including this bunny. I love bunnies, especially in the spring.

This one was really fun, as two sweet friends joined me for coffee at my house as we each completed this project. I think we were all pleased with our finished products!

#watercolor #bunny #letsmakeart #watercolorbunny #greatgrandson #scrapbook

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Spring Watercolor


Painted one of my favorite watercolor pieces on the page of one of my favorite verses: Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”



Followed a Let’s Make Art tutorial to paint this peacock. This one was difficult!




Tulip Magnolia

#watercolorpractice