Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Test Driving QOR Watercolors

It should not have taken me more than a month to give my new QOR High Chroma watercolors a test drive. My forty-seventh birthday was mid last month and I was spoiled with cool art supplies (hey, what are you gonna give the rabid artist in your life?). I've been so lazy busy lately that it's taken me this amount of time to get to swatching the colors and seeing what they'll do on paper. But I finally got a wiggle on this week and worked on my long, long, LONG painterly to-do list.

The QOR High Chroma six tube set includes Cobalt Teal, Green Gold, Quin Gold, Transparent Pyrrole Orange, Quin Magenta, and Dioxazine Purple. I found them wonderfully bright, clear and highly pigmented, just maybe not as pigmented as QOR implies. I'd say they are on par with Daniel Smith and Schmincke. If they are more pigmented than other premium brands I didn't particularly notice. I found they sunk into the paper a little faster than I was used to so it felt like they were more difficult to move around but I'm sure that's just a learning curve with the new binder they use in them. I had a learning curve with every upgrade in paint I ever tried so it would be nothing new to need a bit of practice with QOR to get the best out of them. 
I will definitely be using each color until it's gone and since everything but the green gold was already in my palette in another brand, when I refill a half pan I'll be able to try that color out in it's entirety. I'm not  specifically brand loyal, as long as a paint is professional quality and tends to be transparent I'm on board to using it. If I like any QOR color more than another brand I'd certainly switch. I can see myself particularly switching to the transparent pyrrole orange which was really wonderful, I love that color.

I'll be connecting to Paint Party Friday so why don't you come on over and check out the other art. I'd love to hear anyone's opinion in the comments section on the QOR watercolors and have they switched over as they got stuck into them? 


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Letter Mail

I absolutely love getting stuff in the mail. I used to have piles and heaps of stuff to write cool, fun and interesting letters but now that letter writing is a dying art, the main thing I send in the mail is, well, Art. In the past I've done cool trades with other artists and I'm always thrilled with what I get. 

Linda Kunsman of heARTfullyinspired and I decided to do a postcard art trade just for the fun of it. I was thrilled when she contacted me after I had admired one of her cool assemblage postcards and wanted to send it to me. I suggested doing a mail art exchange, it's always such fun making up the package you're sending.

I told Linda it would take me a little while to make something so hers would probably get to me before I could send and that's what happened. I'll be sending out Linda's letter mail art on Monday but hers arrived yesterday and it was such fun to open my exquisite letter art. She absolutely spoiled me, I hadn't expected anything but a cute little note and the assemblage postcard in my letter from her but instead there were a plethora of cool little things.

She included four coffee cup stamps that she made, a postcard from Pennsylvania, her business card, the awesome coffee inspired art piece and test strips of Peerless Watercolors. Yes, you heard me, I not only got a fantastic piece of assemblage art about one of my favorite things, CoFFee, arrive but I also get to try Peerless watercolors! I have wanted to try them for AGES. Thank you Linda for your generous gift. I will be framing your art to hang in my art room that I hope to have in the upcoming year. 

I also got my laminator out and made the adorable coffee cups into magnets for my fridge. I love them so thank you, they look fantastic and now my boring white fridge has reminders of my favorite hazelnut coffee. How do I know there's hazelnut coffee in my fridge magnets, you ask? Because duh, that's my favorite coffee!

I'm off to finish Linda's little package, I've got to find actual honest to god stamps somewhere in this house, lol. I have a letter opener and letterbox gathering dust as an ornament on my shelf, I wonder if there are some old stamps in there? Hehehe. ahhh how life has changed in twenty years. Go check out Linda's blog, she's really good with balance and color, I love her stuff, stuff I'm not great at. I can paint but assemblage befuddles me, we all do what we're good at. I'm just so grateful to have friends who do different kinds of art than me so I can collect awesomeness. Thanks again Linda, I'll have your package in the mail by Monday even if I have to hunt down a postmaster and kill him for his stamps. Ok, not really, I'd just molest him a little. You know, pocket picking and stuff. ;o)

Later gator.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review: "Every Last Lie" by Mary Kubica

"Every Last Lie" is the latest book by Mary Kubica. It will be released on June 27,2017. I have previously devoured and loved "The Good Girl" and also "Don't You Cry" so I had high hopes for "Every Last Lie". I must admit, I was somewhat let down. Unfortunately even though it was eminently readable and the characters were well written, fleshed out and even likable, I just didn't get stuck in like I did with Kubica's previous books.

The mystery had a great premise, here's a synopsis. Just days after giving birth to their second child, Clara Solberg's husband Nick is killed in a car crash. Although the police insist it was an accident, Clara is becoming convinced that something bad happened on that fateful day. For one thing, her four year old daughter is rabidly afraid of something, she is having night terrors, screams "The bad man, Daddy. The bad man is after us." and is terrified of black cars. As Clara endeavors to continue functioning, her world falls apart around her. Everything is made worse when she discovers secrets Nick kept and these discoveries fuel Clara's racing mind. Her obsession with the crash will either bring her to the truth or destroy her.

As you can read, the beginning of the book is both heart stopping and achingly real. What happens if you discover that your husband wasn't who you thought he was and how do you get over blaming him for his own death. Or did someone else end him? The immediate problem presented itself in overly written scenes. I didn't need every single paranoid thought that Clara thinks to be on the page. I thought the book could have used some editing as I did finally get tired of the angst with which Clara faced the world. 
The second problem I found was that I second guessed the actions of Clara. Too many times I thought "do this" or "go here" or "do something about how you FEEL". I found myself rolling my eyes at Clara's actions one to many times. Kubica truly captured how absolutely frustrated and bone tired Clara must have felt dealing with a young obstinate child and a new born all on her own, but that excellent writing did not cover the parts where I thought Clara was overtly and annoyingly wimpy and indecisive. It just became too much and it overwhelmed the enjoyment of the story.

I wanted to like "Every Last Lie" but in the end it only reached a three out of 5 stars. I will keep reading Mary Kubica books in the future as her previous ones were hits.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Book Review: "The Child" by Fiona Barton

"The Child" by Fiona Barton will be released on June 27, 2017. I had heard of Ms. Barton's phenomenal success with "The Widow" so I was happy to try her next stand alone mystery, "The Child". The two books are not a series but two separate stories that are unrelated to one another.

Journalist Kate Waters picks up on a small story about a newborn's bones being found at a construction site in a newly developing part of London and she wants to know more. After learning that the bones are old, Kate goes on a hunt for who would have buried a baby in the backyard of an old crumbling house. She believes the baby's story deserves to be told. When a forty year old crime involving the disappearance of a newborn from a hospital crops up Kate knows there's something to tell here. The parents are still devastated and wonder what happened to baby Alice.

Through dogged research and door to door interviews, Kate Waters discovers more buried secrets than just a baby. The trick is to connect all the lies to get at the truth.

This was one of those slow burn books for me. When I started it I certainly found Kate's investigative techniques interesting to learn about and it was easy to follow along with her thinking on how to discover what happened to baby Alice. But for at least half of the book, probably almost three quarters of it, I wasn't sure if it would get to a satisfying end. I should have had more faith in the author because by the end not only was I cheering but it was one of those rare, edge of your seat, OH MY GOD moments when everything finally clicks into place. You know those moments, we avid readers crave it like candy or drugs, lol. To come across one of those unique moments in a book seems to make your heart stop and your blood race in the same breath. I found myself leaning forward, begging my eyes to read faster and my brain to process better. I think I may have even squeaked and mumbled a few unintelligible things as the pace quickened. 

This journey was so totally worth the somewhat sluggish middle of the book. In fact, without the slogging I wouldn't have appreciated the spectacular Ahh Haa moment in the end. Much like you need a little broccoli in your life to make the ice cream taste that much better. Don't miss this book and since "The Child" was a five out of five, I suspect her previous book "the Widow" is in fact a five out of five too. The reviews certainly indicate that. I'm guessing I just discovered a  new author for my growing list.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Can I Quote You?

The title above actually pertains in several ways to my post today. A few years ago I worked for Marit Barentsen and the team as the Canadian Editor for Featuring Magazine. It was a wonderful time and I absolutely loved writing for an art magazine. Working for Featuring actually taught me I could write. One of the Christmas' Marit sent each editor a beautiful hand made book full of twenty-four watercolor pages to do with what we would. I was so touched when I got it but really didn't know what to put into it. I didn't want to ruin my gorgeous gift with just anything so I painted up the pages with color and put it lovingly away until I had inspiration. When inspiration came I had forgotten just exactly where I had put it but I started an (inexpensive) little book to keep quotes in knowing I'd come across the handmade book when the time was right.

That happened last week. I was searching for something else and lo and behold, there was my beautiful little book from Marit! I had been saving quotes for several years now and I knew I'd have enough to fill it. So, last week I sat down and decorated each page with frames then added my very favorite quotes. There ended up being just enough of them that were really important to me, the ones that struck me as things to remember. So, finally, after years of waiting to be seen, here is my little book of quotes. Thank you Marit for inspiring this, I love how it all turned out and the book looks so beautiful in it's teal cover.
(Click on a Picture to Enlarge)
Quote from Edward DegasQuote is anonymous
Quote from "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth GilbertQuote from Arnold Lowrey
Quote from MichelangeloQuote from Oscar Wilde
I loved writing for Featuring. As the title of this blogpost implies, I loved using other artist's words to illuminate their art and to create a story around a subject. I wish there hadn't been a European monetary slowdown that caused Featuring to close. I know that if the magazine hadn't been so new it would have survived as I think (although I'm biased) it was the best art magazine out there. I hope some day to write for a magazine again. It was one the best experiences in my art life. I'll be joining Paint Party Friday. If you want to see more lovely art just head on over and join us.

P.S. If you want to see all of the quotes in the book you'll find them under my "LINKED PAGES" ------>(on the left) as "Quoted Art".


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