Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Coneflower


Coneflower
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

Journal page I finished yesterday.

Cardinal


Cardinal
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

Journal page I finished yesterday.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cambrie Jo


Cambrie Jo
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I made this baby quilt for a really good friend of my daughter-in-law whose baby was born about 3 months ago.

Teddy Bear


Teddy Bear
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

This little guy was fun to sketch, even if I didn't get the texture quite right.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

This was a very quick read.  It is the story of a nine year old boy named Bruno who moves with his family from their home in Berlin to a new home that faces a fence.  All of the people behind the fence wear striped pyjamas, and Bruno doesn't understand why.  the family has moved here because Bruno's father has received a promotion to Commandant by "The Fury."  It is a chilling story that I highly recommend.  I rate this book 5 out of 5.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Orange


Orange
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I've never used hot press watercolor paper before. I like the way my pen (Staedtler pigment liner) writes on it, but not how the watercolor works. I may need to try a different brand (this is Arches) or maybe when I get my Noodler's ink I'll be happier with how it writes on cold press paper. I do like writing with my Zebra Sarasa gel pen, because the ink is wetter than the ink in the pigment liner, but it's not waterproof.

I tipped this page into my journal.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

This book wasn't quite what I expected.  It was almost more of a collection of related short stories than a novel; each chapter could almost stand on its own.  Olive Kitteridge is a domineering school teacher in a small town in Maine whom we get to know through her interactions and relationships with her family and the townspeople.  My favorite chapter was the first one, which was about Olive's husband Henry, a pharmacist in the next town over.  I also loved this line about another couple in the book:  "It was as if marriage had been a long, complicated meal, and now there was this lovely dessert."  I rated this book 3 out of 5.

Monopoly


Monopoly
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

We have played Monopoly every year at Thanksgiving for many years; this year, our son and daughter-in-law decided not to make the 12-hour drive for the short time they had off. So we had to postpone our game to their Christmas visit.

Panera


Panera
Originally uploaded by csgebhart


I purposely arrived a bit early to our lunch meeting so I could sketch, but then I got a bit overwhelmed and couldn't decide what to sketch.  I finally decided on the chair at the table next to me - not too exciting, but I've decided I don't care WHAT I sketch as much as that I sketch.  Funny - I never would have thought that.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas without Lucky


Christmas without Lucky
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

Our first Christmas in many years without our beloved cat Lucky has me sad today. It's been long enough (since June) that I don't think of him every day, but today, when I got out the tree skirt, it was covered in cat hair.

Charlie & Pat


Charlie & Pat
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

My brother and sister-in-law are here for a few days, so I decided I had to try sketching them. He looks more like his sketch than she does, but neither is very accurate. Profiles of people with glasses are hard!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

This was a very strange book.  I didn't really like it very much, but after discussing it in my book club, I appreciate it a bit more.  It is the story of Billy Pilgrim, an unprepared soldier who survived the fire bombing of Dresden near the end of WWII.  He has become unstuck in time and travels through time.  He was also abducted by space aliens and taken to the planet of Tralfamadore.  Several of the characters have appeared in other Vonnegut novels.  Most notable for me was Howard W. Campbell, Jr., who was the main character in Mother Night, the only other Vonnegut novel I've read (and liked much better than this one).  I rate this book 2 out of 5.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stuffed Acorn Squash

When I posted my Acorn Squash journal page to flickr, one of my classmates asked me for my recipe.  It is one that I found here and modified because my DH is allergic to garlic and onions.  So here is my version:

Ingredients:
1 acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
cooking spray
1/2 pound lean ground beef
vegetable oil
2 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
cooked rice (1/4 cup uncooked)

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper, and lightly spray with cooking oil.  Place in a baking dish flesh side down, and cover with plastic wrap.
3.  Microwave on high for 10 to 15 minutes, or until flesh is  fork-tender.
4.  Meanwhile, cook beef in sprayed non-stick pan on medium high heat until well browned, stirring frequently to crumble.  Drain, and set aside.  Combine beef with cheese and rice and spoon mixture into squash halves.
5.  Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and squash is lightly browned.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mocassins


Mocassins
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

Just a daily journal page about a well loved pair of mocassins I'm finally able to wear again.

Banana & Squash


Banana & Squash
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I painted the banana on Sunday, then painted the squash today. I don't normally make my shadows as dark as the one with the banana - I just picked up the wrong paint color by mistake. I'm not using watercolor paper (this journal has Arches Text Wove in it), so I lightened it as much as I could without ruining the paper. I made sure to use the right color for the shadow of the squash! I had planned on painting more on Sunday, but when I didn't get it done, it worked for Kate's Lesson 5 of grids and combining more than one day on a page.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tea with Friends


Tea with Friends
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

Friday's (almost) daily journal page. Mixed media - added the tag from the teabag in the lower left corner. Watercolor pencils, watercolor, and Staedtler pigment liner pen.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The story of the German occupation of Guernsey during World War II, told in the form of letters.  Writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a resident of Guernsey in January, 1946, and begins corresponding with him.  She asks him for details about the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society so that she can write an article about it.  Other members of the Society write to her, and eventually she goes to Guernsey.  I thought it would be difficult to follow a story told in letters, but it wasn't.  Many people's points of view were presented that way.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and rate it 5 out of 5.

Cactus


Cactus
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

Daily journal entry. I'm really pleased with this because I painted it without any instruction from anyone.

I've just finished up a watercolor class from Laure Ferlita - An Imaginary Trip Through Autumn - and I've learned so much. I'd never really used watercolors before the class, so I relied very heavily on her videos (which were excellent) to paint everything for class.

Now that that class is over, I need to paint on my own - and I did!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Snowy Day


Snowy Day
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

This was my final assignment for Laure Ferlita's Imaginary Trip Through Autumn class. I learned SO MUCH from this class - I'm going to miss it.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Bluebird


Bluebird
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I'm not much of a bird watcher, but who can resist a bright, fat little bluebird like this one.

This was a fun assignment. And I had less trouble with it than I've had since the very first one, so that's encouraging. Not that there aren't things that could be improved, but still . . .

Bowl


Bowl
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I finally sketched with pen only - no pencil first.

Glen


Glen
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

This is the first time I've tried sketching my DH. It really doesn't look much like him. He was searching the web for information on water heaters, because ours started leaking yesterday (on Sunday). We got it replaced today.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Biga Italian Restaurant


Biga Italian Restaurant
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

This is a memory sketch - while I brought my sketching supplies with me, I left them in the car when we got to the restaurant. I'm still new enough at this that I felt a bit self-conscious - not so much about sketching in public, but about doing it with my friend at the table. Even though I know I can listen to conversation while I sketch, I was afraid my friend might not think so. But while my DH and my friend were talking, I studied the fireplace in front of me and wished I'd brought my sketchbook inside.

Reading Challenge for 2010

I participated in my first reading challenge this year and enjoyed it so much that I've just signed up for another one for 2010.  This is another War Through the Generations reading challenge.  This year's challenge was World War II; next year's is the Vietnam War.  I'm going to read (at least) 5 books for the challenge.  I haven't chosen my books yet, but I read primarily fiction and I love historical fiction.  If you'd like to join me in this reading challenge, you can read more about it here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Bowl in Prismacolor Colored Pencil


Bowl in Prismacolor Colored Pencil
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I've decided to try sketching this same bowl in different media for the practice - and for Lesson 3 of Kate's class.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Bowl in Pencil


Bowl in Pencil
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

I don't usually work in just pencil, but I decided to try it for Lesson 3 of Kate's class. This is HB, and it smears more than I'd like. It's good to try new things.

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

When the Sarajevo Haggadah is found in 1995, Hannah Heath, a rare book conservator, is invited by the UN to preserve it.  The book had disappeared in 1992.  The story alternates between Hannah Heath in the present and successively earlier accounts of the book and how it came to be.  I thoroughly enjoyed the historical chapters, which were fictionalized accounts because little is actually known.  the present day part of the story of Hannah Heath was a little too melodramatic for my taste, but the book is still very much worth reading.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

EDM Challenge #16


EDM Challenge #16
Originally uploaded by csgebhart

Draw a favorite tool.

These are some of my favorite tools for journaling.

Making Cranberry Bread


Another daily journal page. It also works for two Everyday Matters Weekly Challenges -

#111 - Draw a bowl
#84 - Draw some bread

Maize


I was also not really happy with my corn from Lesson 5 of my Imaginary Trip Through Autumn, so I had a chance to start over on it as well.  This time I put it in my journal as a tip-in instead of pasting it over my other corn.  If you want to compare this one to my earlier attempt, you can see it here.

Imaginary Trip Through Autumn - Apple Basket


I am learning so much in Laure Ferlita's Imaginary Trip Through Autumn class - not the least of which is how to select and use my water brushes.  The first version of this one was a real struggle - so much so that I started over.  After finishing this, I pasted it over my first attempt.

Imaginary Trip Through Autumn - Seeds


I really had fun painting this assortment of seeds.

Imaginary Trip Through Autumn - Great Smokey Mountains


I'm behind in posting my pages from my Imaginary Trip Through Autumn.  This is a view of the Great Smokey Mountains in the fall.  Such a lovely view - I hope I've been able to capture it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Walk at Teal Ridge Wetlands



This is my memory sketch for Lesson 2 of Kate Johnson's class, Keeping an Artist's Journal. We walked at Teal Ridge Wetlands on Friday morning (the day after Thanksgiving) and saw the geese getting ready to land in the field to our north.  I sketched it today from memory.  I also used a new (to me) technique of using a bamboo skewer to paint the smallest twigs on the trees.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chocolate Truffle



Another daily journal page for lesson 2 of Kate Johnson's Keeping An Artist's Journal class. I don't think there's anything better than chocolate truffles, and we've just had a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory open up in town. I'm in trouble! The name at the top of the page is cut from the sack and glued on.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Scarlet Maple



This is my first daily journal page for lesson 2 of Kate Johnson's Keeping An Artist's Journal class, and it represents several things for me. I am trying to be more attentive to my surroundings, to notice the beauty around me, and to record it in my journal. I'm also trying to capture the essence of a thing without all the detail, at least some of the time. I think I accomplished my goals with this page, so I'm quite pleased. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Journal Map


One of the first assignments in Keeping an Artists Journal was to make a map. I wasn't even sure I was going to do a map. But then I got to thinking that a map could also be considered a plan or a pattern. Since I'm a quilter, I started looking for a quilt pattern with an appropriate name - Trip Around the World seemed perfect.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Keeping an Artist's Journal


This is the title page for the very simple journal I made for the class I'm taking from Kate Johnson.  I used a full sheet (22" X 30") of Strathmore 500 140 lb. watercolor paper and followed these instructions to fold a simple sketchbook.

I used Ranger Distress Inks (Dusty Concord, Shabby Shutters, Spiced Marmalade, and Broken China, then Vintage Photo on the edges) applied with an ink blending tool.

I did the lettering with a Zig Brushable brush marker in Hyacinth.  I outlined the letters with a Marvy 005 Medallion pen in Violet, and did the other lines with a Zig Writer in Pure Violet (0.5 mm tip).

This is my page of goals for one of my first assignments.

Imaginary Trip Through Autumn - Lessons 4 and 5


I probably need to wait for feedback from Laure before I post my assignments here!  Here is Lesson 4, using her suggestions.

I'm not very satisfied with this one - Lesson 5 - but I've already done what I could with it and decided to move on.  It's odd - it actually looks a bit better on the screen than it does in person (the opposite of how things normally work out).  But I have some ideas of what I did wrong and how to do better next time.  I'm going to try to paint a new ear of Indian Corn at some point - when I have time - but I'm already behind in my Autumn class (since Lesson 7 will be out tomorrow and I haven't even watched all of the video for Lesson 6).

That may be partly because I'm also taking another class at the same time - not a good idea, I know, but I couldn't resist.  This one is taught by Cathy (Kate) Johnson, and it's called Keeping an Artist's Journal.  Her flickr site is here and her website is here.  I've admired her art for a LONG time, and this class sounded perfect for me.  I'm really enjoying it so far.  I'll post my first few pages for that class in my next post.

Two New Journal Pages

I bake all of our bread - never buy it.  And not only that, I mill the flour from wheat.  But before you start thinking how labor intensive that is, let me share my process with you.  I have an electric grain mill made by Nutrimill, and I have a heavy duty Bosch Universal mixer.  I use a fast rising yeast that only requires the bread to rise once.  So I end up with 5 loaves in about 2 hours.  And I only bake about once a month.  And that is exactly what I did today.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Two Art Journal Pages


The text on these two journal pages pretty much explains it all - click on the pictures to see them larger (or to read the text).


Autumn Lesson 4


Here is my latest assignment for my Imaginary Trip Through Autumn online class.  I didn't save any room on the page for writing, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I can't believe how much I'm learning in the class.  Laure Ferlita is a great teacher, and I love seeing everyone's paintings in the class.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Imaginary Trip Through Autumn - Leaves

Based on Laure's feedback, I worked on my original leaf a bit.  I couldn't do a lot with it, but I think I made it a little bit better.  I'm not sure why we don't see these things in our own work, but as soon as I read Laure's comments, I knew she was right.  That is one of the values of getting honest feedback from someone who knows what they're doing.

I'd been wanting to do some more leaves, so I did a couple more today.


These are on the right side of the page, while my other leaf is on the left.  My comment about the colors of fall being fleeting was inspired in part by the oak leaf I picked up several days ago - it is much browner than leaves I've picked up in previous days and weeks.  So I wanted to capture that on the facing page.

The Bradford Pear leaf isn't quite as bright IRL - but almost.  This is a scan, and I also took a photo outside in natural light - didn't make much difference, so I went with the scan.

Signs of Fall


A new journal page I finished last night.  In addition to the gourds (or whatever they are), I also bought a mini pumpkin and some Indian Corn.  I hope to sketch them soon.  Or maybe I'll sketch them all together in a grouping of some sort.  We'll see . . .

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Photograph by Penelope Lively

I liked this book much more than I thought I would from the description of it.  A man, Glyn, finds a photograph of his late wife, Kath, holding hands with her sister's husband.  Glyn becomes obsessed with trying to find out whether Kath had had other affairs.  The story is told from several different characters' points of view.  It is about relationships and listening and whether it is possible to really know another person.  I rate this book 4 out of 5.

New Art Journal

After my book binding class with Roz Stendahl, I bought some supplies to make another book.  I finally finished it yesterday.  Getting accurate color indoors is difficult, but this is fairly close; the book is a bit more purple in real life.  I used book cloth for the back, spine, and part of the front, and I used watercolor paper for the rest of the front.  The text block is glued in almost straight.  The inside pages are Gutenberg paper in sand color with darker fibers.  I think it will be lovely to work in.  I did manage to put the pages in with the grain direction running the wrong way - but Roz assured me that the paper is pretty resilient and the book will still be usable.  And I probably won't make that mistake again!


This book measures 8 1/4" wide by 5 3/4" tall - just a bit larger than the book I made in Roz's class (due to the sheets of paper being larger).  Based on the grain direction, the book should have been in portrait orientation; but I have more sheets of this paper, so that will be the way the next book will be.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Lesson 3


Here is my lesson 3 from my Imaginary Trip Through Autumn class.  I learned a blending technique that worked well for the leaf.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Reworked Lessons 1 and 2

After some very helpful feedback from Laure, I have worked on my first 2 lessons a bit, and I think made them better.  Plus I've added my journaling to my second page.  So here are my new pages:


I've mainly darkened the seat and back of the chair and added some more leaf color to the ground.  I've also tried (and tried is the key word here) to define the leaves on the seat and arm of the chair a bit better.  I must say, Laure is REALLY good at giving feedback.  I'm here to learn, and I know that I have a LOT to learn, so I appreciate very much her comments.  And she does it in a way that makes you feel good about what you've done.  I highly recommend her class!


I also darkened my pumpkin and the shadow under it.  You can see the differences by looking at my earlier chair post and my pumpkin post.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Imaginary Trip Through Autumn, Lesson 2


Here is my second lesson for my class from Laure Ferlita.  I still need to add my journaling to the page. The orange on the arm of the chair and in the seat next to the pumpkin are supposed to be leaves - not sure how to make that clear.  Other than that, I'm reasonable happy with my results.  I still have LOTS to learn, but I'm enjoying the journey.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

An Echo In the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

Book 7 in the Outlander series, the story of Jamie and Claire has expanded to include several additional stories:  Brianna and Roger, Lord John Grey, William Lord Ellesmere, Ian, and some new characters as well.  With so many stories going on at once, in both the past and the present, it jumps around a lot.  I sometimes wanted the current story to continue longer, but I still really enjoyed the book.  Not exactly great literature, but a really good story.  I rated this book 4 out of 5.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A Walk in the Park

We walked in the park one day last week with our camera, and these are the only good shots I got.


Journal

When we were in Colorado over the summer, we went to an art festival in Crested Butte.  One of the vendors had beautiful handmade journals, made from deerskin.  My DH is a deer hunter, and he has deerskins from some of the deer he has harvested in the past.  He asked me if I could make him a journal like the ones we saw from his deerskin.  Here it is:



He also saves antlers, so the closure is the tip of an antler that he drilled holes in to make a button.  This is the spine:



And here is the inside:



He wanted lined pages, so after tearing the papers down, I ran them through our printer to put lines on the pages.  We're both happy with how it turned out.