Thursday, December 11, 2014

Just A Little Note...

I thought I'd tell all of you about the free introductory class from Sketchbook Skool. Anyone who has thought of signing up but has been reluctant can try it out first and get your feet wet, so to speak. This allows all of you who just don't know what it would be like to take a course to try before you buy. Isn't that great?

Anyway, here's the link to sign up for the free mini class. Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday Season. APR will start up in January 2015. :o)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Book Review: "Saving Paradise" by Mike Bond

"Saving Paradise" by Mike Bond is based in Hawaii, which made it really enjoyable to read. It was informative to learn all about Hawaiian history and the corrupt underbelly that exposes the exploitation of Hawaiian natives. 

Pono Hawkins, our main character, is a special forces veteran, an excellent surfer, a native to Hawaii and a reluctant amateur sleuth. When Hawkins inadvertently bumps into a beautiful, young but dead woman, as he goes to catch the next wave one morning, he is instantly saddened and overcome by her death. The fact that he found her spurs him on to find out what happened. The police called it an accident but Pono discovers that she was murdered. Finding justice for Sylvia Gorden, the beautiful and smart investigative journalist who stepped into something much too sinister for her own good, is Pono's determined goal.

Mike Bond's excellent narrative is both fast paced and convoluted. Although quite logical in his step by step approach to finding the killer of Sylvia, Bond's writing keeps the reader's interest by having many savvy details. Mr. Bond's prose include beautiful descriptions of Hawaii's islands. The reader, as they run headlong into the mystery, is treated to some spectacular scenery along the way.

This is a four star book, I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a slightly different kind of hero and a good who-done-it mystery. Along with a great and complicated mystery, you get terrific information about Hawaii, it's history and the lifestyle of the people who live there. It's an easy read and a good book to curl up with on a cold and snowy day.

If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Last Page

I can't believe I've finished my Moleskine sketchbook. It's a real milestone for me. I had only done about a dozen or so pages in my Watercolor Moleskine in 2012 and 2013. Then I signed up for Sketchbook Skool earlier this year. In doing two courses with them ("Beginnings" and "Seeing"), each course being six weeks, I have filled the entire rest of the Moleskine. The whole book has over seventy pages. So, it took me only twelve or so weeks to fill over fifty pages. Amazing.

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It's been quite a journey in three years. I've learned so much and grown in my art. I love how my paintings are getting looser and I'm not afraid anymore to start any piece. I just jump in with no fear that I'll mess it up or not be able to create what I want to create. I've learned so much about how watercolor paint works and how the water moves the paint around. I've learned how to successfully use water-soluble pens too. It's been so much fun, I can hardly explain how great the learning has been.

I would SO recommend Sketchbook Skool for anyone who wants to learn great techniques and see incredible art from your teachers. You'll also have a terrific group of people to grow and learn with. All of us interact in a private group on Facebook, it's like playing on the playground when you were in grade school. Having fun, learning and sharing is the best way to grow. I couldn't recommend it more.

If you'd like to see my progression in art, go to my Flickr account.

If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review: "Suspicion" by Alexandra Monir

"Suspicion" was a lovely and easy read. I didn't particularly realize that it was written for tweens until I was well into the book. I just thought the author, Alexandra Monir, wrote easily read books. By the midpoint, I had noticed that there weren't as many details in this mystery as I would expect in an adult book. It was, however, enjoyable just as Harry Potter was enjoyable, even though it was written for children. "Suspicion" has qualities that remind me of "The Princess Diaries" but with an interesting mystery and murder plot with a little paranormal thrown in.

Our heroine Imogen Rockford is the granddaughter of The Duke of Rockford. Her heritage makes her status just below royalty. But when her parents, aunt and uncle are killed in a fire started in the garden's maze, Imogen is left alone at ten years old. She is moved to the United States to be raised by her parent's best friends and in the process of moving, she abandons all of her family heritage back at Rockford Manor, including her older cousin Lucia and Sebastian, the boy she loves. Not until she receives an urgent letter from Rockford Manor when she's seventeen, does she confront all that she left behind. Imogen will have to deal with her painful past, learn the history of her family lineage and go back to Rockford Manor to gain the truth about what really happened to her parents and what her future holds.

As I said, this was an easy read. Because this book was written for tweens I'll be giving it four stars. The mystery was good but some of the paranormal details just were not fleshed out enough. As an adult it was enjoyable to read and I think parents would have fun reading this book to their children. "Suspicion" had some interesting and unique ideas that would have brought this young adult book into a five star if they had been explored in deeper way. The actual mystery was quite complex and kept me from being bored. I know tween girls will certainly enjoy reading about Imogen just as they enjoyed The Princess Diaries years ago.


If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

AEDM Day Thirty

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The End. Yes, we reached the final day of November and I survived. As you all know, I also did Sketchbook Skool along with AEDM. It's been a ferocious, headlong rush toward December and I'm so glad to be taking a break. I've started buying all the trimmings for a good Christmas and I plan on wrapping presents in the next few days. Now that the stress of all that art is over, I'm finally feeling very festive indeed. I even intend to indulge in some NOG. My friend Tracey discovered her love of NOG last year, I wonder if she'll still love it this year? It's an acquired taste but if you love the NOG, you're addicted for life. This will be the first year in decades that I've allowed myself the fat and calories in even one glass of this ambrosia. I can't wait until Christmas Eve... I mean, Nog Eve. ;o)
Key To My Heart
On top of all that art, I actually finished my very first sketchbook today. I'm so thrilled to have a finished sketchbook under my proverbial belt. I know many artists finish sketchbooks in only a few months but this one took me over two years to complete. I'm thinking I'll be quicker now that I feel much more confident in my art journey.

Anyway, let me be the first one to wish you a Merry Christmas. I hope everyone who reads me has the best holiday season ever and that Santa is extra good to you. Hugs all around. The Artist's Playroom will begin again in January but you can still add your art whenever you want through December. I'll leave the linky open for the rest of the year. I'll be lurking and checking in (kinda like Santa) to see if you've all been doing lovely art. Take care.


If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

AEDM Day Twenty-Nine

Well, this is the second to last day of AEDM. I'm always thrilled to start November Art Everyday months but then when it's over, I'm also glad. It's tiring to do art all the time. I think, eat and sleep art when I do this. I don't do art quickly. I'm a slow painter and sketch artist. The good thing is that with doing art so much, you improve your skills. That's why I intend to do another challenge. I'm going to take December off though. I'm tired and need a break. 

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One more day and I'm finished. See you tomorrow!  

If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

The Artist's Play Room #134

Please scroll down for the newest Artist's Play Room Linky and enter your wonderful, creative artwork throughout this upcoming week.

If you haven't read the rules & guidelines, please go here. If you've landed here after this challenge has been completed but would like to participate in a current or future Artist's Play Room Challenge, just either click on the APR button in the sidebar or click here and you'll be taken to the latest APR Challenge!

Are you having trouble using the Mr. Linky to add your submissions to APR? Well here's some help! Just click on HELP and you'll be taken to my Linky Help Page. Cool, huh? I've got your back!


REMINDER: This will be the last APR until the New Year, so RELAX, take some time off to put your feet up and enjoy the Season. Merry Christmas to everyone!
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Friday, November 28, 2014

AEDM Day Twenty-Eight

Well, Sketchbook Skool is officially over. *Sigh*. It makes me kinda sad, even though doing both Art Everyday Month at the same time I did SBS has been tiring. I've decided, in fact, to wait until January 1st to start the seventy-five day challenge a-la Brenda Swenson. I just want Christmas off. I'm looking forward to a quiet Christmas filled with once again trying to learn how to make recipes gluten free. This year we're also trying to lower all grains and use nut flours instead. I'm still having chocolate though!! I mean it wouldn't be Christmas without chocolate.

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I realized that I wanted to do something in my Moleskine about penguins when I was watching some penguin show on TV last week. Then I thought I'd do a whole page spread and celebrate the beautiful but also kinda funny Emperor Penguin. I love the orange/yellow blush around their faces and necks, it's so beautiful. Having that juxtaposed against their waddling is just funny. I especially love the look of the babies. They look like a teddy bear... I guess you'd call them a penguin bear. :o)

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I came up with the idea of doing a "seven dwarfs" type of thing. I went looking for different photos of the Emperor and this is how it ended up. Even cooler, since I used two pages for this piece, I only have three, yes THREE pages left in my watercolor Moleskine!! WOW. 

Oh, and by the way, in the same vein of taking Christmas off, this Saturday will be the last Artist's Play Room until January. I'll still be around this December, I certainly don't want to stop making art, it'll just be nice to breath a little and not have the requirement of making art everyday. See you sometime soon with new art. :o)

(Lazy, Sneezy, Dopey, Doc, Grumpy, Mummy, Baby)

If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

AEDM Day Twenty-Seven

Today I finished my homework for the last class of "Seeing" Sketchbook Skool. I'm a little sad to see it finished. I'll have to wait until January to possibly take another course, they haven't even announced what the next installment will be. I don't think I'm going to take "Storytelling" as I'm not any kind of a cartoonist and at least two of the teachers are spectacular cartoonists. Hey, if I were rolling in money, I'd buy the course just to watch those amazing artists do their work and see their sketchbooks. That's one of the most amazing things about these courses. You get a glimpse into the teacher's personal sketchbooks. They show you their favorites and sometimes even their very first sketchbook. It's such a gift to see all that personal drawing.

Our apartment building
So, I did a building. Our building, Woodgrove Pines Apartments. Obviously, the building is round. You get into the lobby through the door in the inner courtyard on the other side. You can see the tree that grows in the circular walkway in the middle of the in the inner circle courtyard. The circular nature of the building makes for interesting shaped rooms, I must say. My bedroom is pie shaped, lol. So's the kitchen. The eating nook is about three feet wider than the other end of the kitchen. It was a hoot to watch mom try to arrange the furniture in a eye pleasing way. Kind of impossible in a pie shaped house. She's a former interior decorator so this frustrated her to NO end. 

Anyway, this goes into day twenty-six of Art Everyday Month. Only four more days to go! I heard that! All of you saying FINALLY, she'll be done posting everyday. Hmmph. ;o)

If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

AEDM Day Twenty-Six

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I painted my teacup. I have to admit, I wasn't sure I could pull it off. Doing the detailed pattern study yesterday made me realize just how fiddly teacups are and I knew that the pattern on the actual teacup I'd be drawing was much smaller than the larger version I did yesterday. But, I did it. I'm happy with how it turned out. I don't think it has my style to it, i'm not a fiddly teacup kinda girl. You'd have to be a specific kind of detail person to love doing this. I can guarantee Liz Steel, our teacher from SBS is just that sort. She's an architect by trade so she sees beautiful detail in everything. I'm glad I did it though. I learned that I can. that's a good thing to learn. I'm glad I don't own any teacups that I'd want to paint though, lol.

(Both pages with teacup pattern study and actual teacup.)
Talk to you tomorrow, I'm darn sure there'll be more art. November's not over yet. (Entering this into AEDM.)

If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

AEDM Day Twenty-Five

So this week with Liz Steel, we're learning pattern dimensions and repetition in both teacups and buildings. As I mentioned yesterday, I have no teacups. But I went online and looked up the Royal Albert pattern I used to have. It was called Jubilee Rose. That's the actual teacup on the left there. I'll be drawing that up sometime tomorrow, probably. Today, I decided to practice the main pattern that's on the front of the teacup. Strangely, I realized why I probably loved this pattern better than all the rest. It really has very little symmetry or repetitive pattern. On the plate, the three floral patterns are totally different. The colors are even different. The only discernible pattern is the six curlicues around each third of the plate. I probably unconsciously liked that about this pattern. It's kinda random and I tend to like colorful, random stuff. So, here's the pattern I worked out. Now all I have to do is learn how to make it smaller. Sheesh, it's already fiddly enough! Oh well, it's just one drawing and I'll have it done up for posterity. 

I'm entering this into AEDM
One last thing, my friend Dion Dior has just launched a new business selling her art printed on objects that you can purchase (like for Christmas gifts!) at her Society 6 shop. She's also doing a very lovely giveaway of a tote with one of her art patterns printed on it. Go here to enter! Congratulations Dion, I wish you incredible success.


If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

AEDM Day Twenty-Four

I've had this piece half done for months now. I had done a background using both watercolors and Montana Acrylic Markers an then penciled in both the binoculars and the smart phone. But then I kinda chickened out. I mean, the pieces are black and I thought getting it all done would be daunting. I was right. When I put watercolors overtop of the markers, the paint didn't like to stick. I persevered and "forced" it to do what I wanted it to do.

I'm happy that I'm learning that even if a painting isn't working at all, that if I preservere I'll get something I'll find acceptable. I'll admit, I really had to have faith. It didn't work and kept not working for hours. Yes, hours. It was only at the last minute, when I was adding the highlights using my Sharpie white water-based paint pen that the whole thing finally came together. I actually like it now, which is good. The binoculars and smart phone I drew were given to me from my Uncle. I actually treasure them even though I don't have a use for small binoculars at the moment and the cell phone plan from Rogers is a little expensive so it's not being used. I'm still glad to have these things from him. Thanks Bob. :o)

This is being entered into AEDM. Tomorrow I'll be back to my last class in SBS, trying to watch the rest of Liz Steel's videos. Then I have to start her homework. I think it involves a teacup. What am I gonna do with that? I don't have a teacup. Not a-one. Not even a half of one, or a saucer. Nope. I have tea, both loose and bags. I have tea infusers and I have mugs. No teacups. Oh, I have a teapot. I wonder if that'll count? I think she wants us to study the detail on a teacup. The flowers, ya know? Ya. I used to have a whole, entire set of Royal Albert fine china. In fact, my set called, Jubilee Rose, was really really rare. It was a new pattern when I started collecting in 1980 and the company always promised to keep any pattern going for at least a minimum of seven years from it's inception. Well, about five years in my mom heard that the pattern had been cancelled over a year ago and and there were very few pieces left. I think mom ordered from England. She competed my twelve piece dinner set in about six weeks. 

The thing was, it was never me. The pattern was beautiful and colorful but the delicacy just wasn't me. I had even picked the pattern but delicate teacups and dishes that cannot go through a dishwasher just aren't gonna cut it for me. I finally sold the set several years ago. Funny, I probably got the same price when I sold it as mom put out for it. Maybe I'll look up a teacup and draw it for posterity. Hey, it won't be "live" but at least I can document the pretty pattern.

Anyway, I'm babbling at... eleven-thirty at night. Talk to you all tomorrow, K? Super!

If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

AEDM Day Twenty-Three

Art of
Tracey Fletcher King
Tracey Fletcher King is doing a very cool sale of her original art pieces over on her Official Facebook page for her art. She's selling pieces at really reasonable prices and those prices include shipping too. Here's the link.

Today, I decided to finally draw up my new slippers. My mom and my aunt Mic were out shopping and came home with the most gorgeous and soft, fluffy slippers. I had desperately needed a new pair. My old ones were literally worn through and getting a little dirty. These new slippers have a thick, foamy bottom with rubber on the sole. I absolutely love the little pom-poms on the sides. So cute! Now my tootsies are warm and insulated from the cold Canadian polar vortex that we seem to be in at the moment. 

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Have you SEEN the inundation of snow in Buffalo, USA?? Ya, that's our fault. The Canadian vortex has dipped down into the USA and dumped something like eight FEET of snow onto Buffalo. They say it's the largest snow squall that's ever been recorded in the USA. Geez, sowwies. People down there are up on their roofs, shoveling off all the snow before their roof fall in. Even worse, the temp. is about to go back to normal for this time of year and rain is expected. That'll make the snow even heavier before it melts and floods the city. Sowwies again. :o(

Anyway, I'm gonna go make a cuppa so I can get in and swim around a little. I'm kinda cold. Tomorrow is another day of art. We're almost done Art Everyday Month though. Whew!

If you're looking for this week's APR just click here.
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