Saturday, August 28, 2010

Watercolor Class Wrap-Up

This morning we had our "Experimental Watermedia Techniques" wrap-up class at the Arboretum.  We all brought the pieces we've been working on since we created backgrounds a couple of weeks ago in class.  Above is my whimsical piece.  The technique was dipping cheesecloth in watercolors and then placing it on the paper to dry and create a textured background.  But as mine was drying, I kept thinking of a fishnet.  So I glued the cheesecloth to the paper, drew some little fish, and this is the result.

Below are a couple of backgrounds that I decided to try to calligraphy on.  With the rough (coldpress) watercolor paper, I'm not really pleased about my letterforms.  But I like the quotes.
And finally, this was the hardest piece to work on.  We put fresh leaves down on wet presentation board (I think that's what it's called), and then generously dabbed watercolors all over.  We put plastic wrap over the whole thing, smooshed it around a bit for effect, and let it dry.  After peeling off the plastic wrap and leaves and letting the paint dry thoroughly, it was up to us to decide how to finish.  I decided to use opaque white paint to highlight the areas around the three main leaves.  I don't think it's done yet, but this is as far as I got with it so far.
There were lots of other very creative pieces by my classmates as well.  What a fun class!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Words of Wisdom

For some reason, August is usually a difficult month for me.  I don't like saying goodbye to summer with its long, leisurely days and wonderful growing things.  I read this a few days ago, and it helped alot.  It's from Caussade in his Sacrament of the Present Moment:

There is not a moment in which God does not present Godself under the cover of some pain to be endured, of some consolation to be enjoyed, or of some duty to be performed.  All that takes place within us, around us, or through us contains and conceals God's divine action.  It is really and truly there present, but invisbly present, so that we are always surprised and do not recognize God's operation until it has ceased.  If we could lift the veil, and if we were attentive and watchful God would continually reveal Godself to us, and we should see God's divine action in everything that happened to us, and rejoice in it.  At each successive occurence we should exclaim:  "It is the Lord," and we should accept every fresh circumstance as a gift from God.  

And here are a few pictures from a beautiful day at the Chicago Botanic Gardens:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Watercolor class piece 1

We have two weeks to create some pieces from the backgrounds we made at our Watercolor class last week-end.  I started this tiny piece by wetting the paper (140 lb cold press watercolor), setting three small shells on top, adding some sand-colored watercolor, and sprinkling it with table salt, to try to get a sandy effect.  When it was dry, I spritzed the blue on with a toothbrush.  There were white blobs where the shells had been, so I added to shell texture with colored pencils, then added the text around the edges.  I had to really squeeze to get it all to fit!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Catching up

Oh my -- it feels like I've been out of the blog loop forever!  First there was our mini-vacation to Galena, Illinois.  Three days of relaxation, shopping, and doing as little as possible.  Here's a couple of pics from our time.  First, a vineyard where we did some wine tasting.  It overlooked a lovely valley:
This is one of the B&B's we stayed at.  We had a private hot tub -- in the cupula on the top of the house.  Really fun!
This was one wall of the dining room of another of the B&B's.  Most of the clocks kept the correct time!
Following our trip, we hosted several family members who took Amtrak all the way from Sacramento, CA to Chicago.  The kids had never been to Chicago before, and they really had a great time.  They visited Millenium Park and the "Bean":
And the Museum of Science and Industry has a lot of great interactive exhibits.  This is a screen with computer-generated butterflies that will land on you if you hold still:

And then I was at a class playing with watercolors for the past two days.  Here's an unfinished piece that I think I'm going to like.  I didn't get a picture of it with the leaves off, but we peeled them off, and the next step is to manipulate the paint so you get a nice composition.  Mine has really nice colors, but doesn't look like anything yet.  I'll post pics when I get it finished (we have another class in two weeks where we do "show and tell") and I'll tell more about the process.