I think I have gotten carried away and neglected my posting as of late. Shame on me! So what exactly have I been so busy doing that I can not get a post out?
I decided to take up a couple of FREE (Oh you know I love that!) on-line courses. One being painting, the other fashion. Oh, and I’m loving it. The great part about FREE courses, besides the fact that they are free, is that there are no worries about grades (even though there are graded quizes) or even how well I do in the course. The courses are just for me. I am doing them for self-improvement and I am enjoying them very much.
With Covid, I think more museums and craft stores are offering free on-line opportunities to brush-up on or learn new skills. It seems a great time to learn something new and to be creative. I am enjoying learning about artists and replicating their styles. I am also loving the stories behind how some garments are created and how they have evolved over time. Fascinating! So, creating and learning is what I’ve been up to lately.
I saw these cute little “bell” people and decided I had to get crafty. Some were made of ceramics and some I think paper mache. I decided to make my little bell person from paper mache. But I needed company, so I asked the kids if they wanted to make one as well. Everyone was on board.
We started by making a form to paper mache around. Ours were wadded up paper and fruit stuffed into a ziplock bag. Next, I poured glue into a yogurt container and added water to thin the glue and gave it a stir. Then we all tore newspaper into strips, dipped into the glue mixture, and squeeged the glue from the paper with our fingers and arranged the strips around our forms to create a bell shape. A few coats of this is recommended.
I then used magazines and paper mached the colored pieces onto the bell as if I were painting the piece. In this way I did not have to paint the piece in the end. I did paint my little guy’s facial features when he dried with black acrylic paint.
The kids decided to paint their guys with acrylic paint instead of using magazines. After they dried overnight, we put on a coat of clear varnish. Then it was time to string them up. I strung my little guy but his feet kept hitting each other and turning around. My son, on the other hand, had a perfectly aligned little man. So I asked him to string mine for me. He also finished his sister’s guy as well.
These bell people did take a while to make. However, we were having such a good time that we really did not notice just how long we were at it until we had finished.
I really liked how my little man turned out. He makes me laugh. He is so cute. I have hung him above my desk so I can look at him. As I am writing this, I am amused that he is such a good dancer. With my fan blowing on him he has quite the moves.
We had fun using our imaginations to create unique guys with interesting personalities. Let us know what you think. As always, Happy Crafting!
I have been off and on sketching for a while now. Trying to make it more of a regular occurrence. My goal being once a day. No more excuses! After all, I do enjoy my time sketching. In fact, I get lost in my art and wonder where all the time has gone. Was I really at it for three hours!
The media of choice right now is pencil sketching, then watercolor, and finally ink. I really do like the ‘field watercolor journal’ that I picked up so time ago. It is small in size ( 7″ x 10″) so it is easy to manage. It contains cold press 140 lb/ 300 gsm watercolor paper. I also just love my new little watercolor pocket field sketch box by Koi. So small and easy to manage with a handy little pallet that attaches. I keep my pencil sharpener, kneaded erasers, pencils, and pens in an ArtBin pencil case. I have both Berol Turquoise and Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils. My pencil of choice is, and has been since college, the Staedtler brand. The pens I use are Pigma Micron and Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens (waterproof ink). I prefer the fine tips for the pens. I did by a fancy Lamy fountain pen. But oh no! I did not realize that the ink in the Lamy pen was not waterproof. I learned the hard way by ruining a drawing I had spent a lot of time on. Now I only use this pen after my watercolor is applied or when I do not intend to use watercolor. I still like the pen. It is very nice. The watercolor brush that I recently purchased (that I love) is a Winsor & Newton Cotman 222 Designers #6. It is round with a nice point. It works well for fine work.
I have been taking my supplies outside and sketching in my yard lately. I have been using my fold-up chair that has a cup holder. The cup holder works perfectly for holding my water cup so I can have water on hand when using my watercolors.
Now for a little show and tell. Here are some suburban sketches that I have done over the last few months…
I hope you have enjoyed my little show and tell. Let me know what you think… Happy Creating!
The Timken Museum of Art located in San Diego California’s Balboa Park is an often overlooked gem. While the museum is small, it has much to offer. Perhaps best of all, it is free!
The museum houses a permanent collection and has one gallery dedicated to traveling exhibits. Right now, for instance, the fall exhibition is Masterpieces of Italian Drawings from The British Museum. This exhibition will be up through December 15, 2019. The museum does a wonderful job in creating new exhibits for the space. Often music will accompany an exhibit in the special exhibit. I must also say that the museum staff is always friendly and the guards are some of the most professional I have seen. They truly keep an eye on the guests making sure the art is safe.
Upon arrival guests are greeted by staff and walk past huge tapestries on the walls by Antoine Caron. There is a wonderful open space with comfortable seating. During the holidays, this space is transformed into a Holiday Installation displaying the Jewels of the Season, the ornate ornaments designed by San Diego artists Florence Hord and Elizabeth Schlappi. To the right and left are galleries with the museum collection. To the right is the traveling exhibition. A small gift shop is located at the entry/exit.
The museum offers tours and lectures. The lectures are held in a gallery space with chairs set up, a speaker, and screen. I have attended a couple of the lectures and they have been popular. Come early for a good seat. Sometimes tickets must be purchased for special lectures or music events but many lectures are free. The museum also offers trips to other museums such as the J. Paul Getty. All information can be found on the museum website.
The Timken Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 4:30 pm and Sunday 12 pm – 4:30 pm (Closed Monday). Can’t make it to the Timken in person? Take a virtual tour or view the collection on-line at http://www.timkenmuseum.org .
The Spanish Village Art Center is located in Balboa Park in San Diego, California. It is an art collective where members can create and sell their work. Artists can become members in the collective and share studios at the center. The studios are like a little village, each having a welcoming colorful door. It is a good place to catch artists at work and also be able to purchase original art from local artists. Woodworking, painting, collage, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, glass, tile, greeting cards, enamel, gourds, etc… can be found at the Spanish Village Art Center. The different art guilds also hold sales in the center at different times throughout the year. This is a super place to go for original art and gifts for family and friends. They are open seven days a week from 11 am to 4 pm.
I recently spotted an Orville Redenbacher utility box. Why I love this box so much is that it is near a movie theater and of course Orville was famous for his popcorn, which I grew up eating, and of course movie theaters serve popcorn. The box not only has Orville’s portrait on it, but is printed on a classic red and white stripped popcorn box with popcorn spilling out the top. What an absolutely fun box! Love it!
We’ve all driven around and seen the green utility boxes by the side of the road. Some cities have programs for artists to paint the boxes. They do this to beautify the city but also to help prevent graffiti. Some of these boxes look better than others. But I was awestruck at the latest form of art I spotted on the utility boxes. Photography!
Lee Sie Photography creates photographic designs that are used as wraps for utility boxes. The photos used in the wraps are of nature, or outdoor scenes that would blend in with the surroundings. They can be found throughout San Diego in such places as Solana Beach. I like the look of them compared to that of some of the painted boxes because they have a clean, professional look. The first one I saw, I was like, “wow” that looks like a photograph, which is exactly what it was. Take a look…
The small town of Borrego Springs, California is located in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. This makes a nice day trip for So Cal residents. There is plenty to see and do in the park.
While driving down into the desert valley below, be sure to be on the lookout for big-horn sheep. I was told there were big-horn sheep in the Anza-Borrego Desert, however, I was beginning to question this as I had never seen any in all my years of visiting the park. Then, on my latest trip, I decided to really look as we drove down the steep grade and into the desert below. To my delight, I spotted not one but two big-horn sheep blending in with the rocks on the side of the mountain. I shouted “sheep” and my husband pulled over and we all got out and watched the sheep and took pictures. Then we were even more surprised to see that there were actually four sheep grazing on the mountainside. This indeed was our coolest trip ever to Borrego Springs.
In Borrego, there is a visitor center with trails and a small town with some shops and restaurants. There is also The Art Institute that exhibits artwork that you can purchase. The Art Institute always puts on a nice exhibit. If you are an artist, you can have your work exhibited there if selected in one of their artist calls. We like to bring a lunch and eat at the picnic tables at the round-a-bout in the center of the town. On occasion, there are craft festivals and such at the round-a-bout park.
A trip to the desert wouldn’t be complete without a hike. There are many places to hike in the dessert. Check out the park’s website to find one that suits your needs. I also, recommend visiting the Borregeo Badlands. This section of the desert will make you feel tiny and is amazing to see. The formations were created by water of which they were submerged a long time ago.
Spring is a wonderful time of year to visit the desert, especially if it has been a rainy season. Rain brings wildflowers to the desert. This year the wildflowers were at their best. Yellow and purple carpets of flowers sprinkled over the desert for all to enjoy. Even if the flowers are not in bloom, the desert is amazing and beautiful at any season.
Tips for a pleasant trip to Borrego Springs…Pack plenty of water. Remember it is a desert and while the town itself is small, the desert is quite large, so you don’t want to be caught without enough water. Pack a lunch or snacks. Don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. If you plan to hike, wear hiking boots. Binoculars could come in handy if you are a bird watcher or want to see animals such as the big-horn sheep. Remember, animals blend in with their surroundings. A big-horn sheep could be out there, you just have to find it. Borrego Springs is close to The Salton Sea. (See my previous blog.) Start early and see a bit of both or make a weekend of it.