11/28/2011 04:25:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 11 Comments »
 My sweetie and I went shopping on Friday (yes, the day after Thanksgiving ... aka Black Friday).  It's an annual tradition for us to go to downtown Ann Arbor, wander through a few of the little shops, buy a few things, and then (the real reason for the trip), have a wonderful, drawn out lunch together.  We usually go to the same restaurant (Grazi) for a fine Italian meal, complete with a wonderful wine.  This year didn't disappoint - we had a great time, although sweetie tired of the shops before I did.  That's OK with me .... it leaves all the more time to have him all to myself! 

Oh yes, about the detour...  For many years I have made Christmas ornaments for my two nieces.  I've made wee stuffed animals, egg ornaments, dolls, and many other kinds.  This year I decided to knit little candy bags for them.  Each bag is about 41/2 by 31/2 inches in size when fully opened.  I plan on putting a bit of candy in each one with a tiny candy cane sticking out of the top.  When they're filled I'll use the ribbon at the top to gather the opening.  The trees are decorated with wee bells, pearls, yarn, and some sort of bead thingy (I forget what they're called) on the top of the tree.  I may make a few more of them, depending on how much time I have.  I have another portrait in mind, and now that the detour has been taken, I hope to be starting it soon!

I hope your Thanksgiving was as much fun as ours was.  We are very blessed.

I just noticed that the color of the "balls" on the tree looks brown for some reason.  They're actually bright red ... go figure!

The Ring

11/19/2011 04:01:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 17 Comments »
I have a gold ring that looks like a wedding band.  The inside is inscribed, "To Mother from Will .. April 26th  1887".   I inherited this treasure from my mother-in-law,  Pinny, whom I loved very much.  The ring used to belong to her great grandmother, who was given it by her son when he got married.  His name was William B. Thompson, and eventually he became the Mayor of Detroit.  Before he became the mayor he was a butcher, and in our kitchen hangs one of his campaign posters framed in its original black wood frame.  It has a photograph of his face with a caricature body holding a butcher knife in one hand and a length of link sausages in the other.   I'm guessing our sons both covet that poster!

Anyhow, besides that photo, we have one more of him, along with a photo of his wife.  That's the photo I used to draw this picture.  It isn't a good likeness, so I will have to draw it again .... and again .... and again, in order to get it right.   I can see several places that aren't quite right, but for now it serves as the third drawing in my mini-series of five portraits.   Oh, by the way, I wear that ring often.  It has become a sort of talisman for me and I'm confident that it brings me good luck ..... I'm a tad strange that way.

Two of Five

11/11/2011 08:38:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 15 Comments »
Yesterday we had our first snow fall of the season.  Our entire lawn was covered with snow .... all the steps to the house were snowy, and there were ice droplets on all the branches.  It was really quite beautiful.  Mercifully, the sidewalk and driveway didn't hold the snow so there was no shoveling to do.  Oh how I wish it would be like that during the winter.   This is supposed to be a snowy winter.  I don't know if it will be more than last year or not (last winter we had 20 inches above the normal snow fall!).  Even though we had a lot last year, the good thing about it was that it was never really a ton of it all at once, so we were able to keep up with the plowing and shoveling.  I'm trusting that the same will be true this year!

I had a busy day today, but after dinner I sat down with my little sketchbook and did another portrait.  I found this face in a catalog.  Once again, I decided to stick with ink.  I doubt I'll do all of them in ink, but for these first 2 it seemed right.  For one thing, ink is a lot tidier than graphite, so it's easier to use while sitting in the living room with the TV on.  I'm not thrilled with her.  Her right eye creeps me out, among other things, but hey, it's progress, not perfection, right?

100 Portraits???

11/09/2011 07:43:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 18 Comments »
I've read about a project involving doing 100 portraits.  I'm so impressed by the very idea, but I have to say, I find the thought of it quite daunting.  I've been pondering the whole thing for quite some time, and this is what I've come up with.  I've decided to commit to doing 5 portraits.   Then I'll try 5 more.   Is it cowardice?  Fear of commitment?  Fear of failure?  Lack of stamina?  ...... I don't know.  Probably a bit of all of that, and depending on the day, more of 1 thing than another.   But right now, that approach feels much more doable.

So, today I started.  I did this one in ink in my 5.5 x 8.5 sketchbook.  That's the book I rely on when I'm feeling less than secure about what I'm doing.  I decided to use ink, even though I dearly love graphite for portraits, because with ink what you put down stays.  For me that inevitably leads to less than perfect images (as though I've ever achieved perfection in anything I've done, regardless of the medium) which is both a challenge and a comfort.  The challenge is obvious, but the comfort for me is that the expectation I have of myself is a tad lower than if I'm using pencil.

Even though the sketchbook is small, the sketch itself is even smaller (about 2.5 x 4).  I expect that as I get more confident the sketches will get larger ... or not.  So, here he is.....

The Queen

11/06/2011 08:57:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 14 Comments »
 Well, I'm still trying to draw something everyday, but I'm finding that it's so far Most days at best..  I have spent this weekend shredding.  No, not Shedding, Shredding ... as in papers.   About 12 years ago we were involved in a lawsuit dealing with insurance fraud.  In the capacity of Powers of Attorney for my parents, my sweetie and I bought a home here in Michigan for them while they made all the arrangements to move back here from Nevada.  The broker offered credit life insurance as part of the deal - my parents wanted it, so we went ahead and bought it.  To make a long story short, it was a scam.  The broker took the money in a lump sum for the insurance, never filed the paperwork with the insurance company, and when my stepfather died a few months later, they wanted to refund the premium money rather than honor the policy (no surprise, since there wasn't a policy).  A lawsuit ensued which the "enemy" lost, ending in a much larger payout than if they had just paid the face value of the policy in the first place.

Fast forward to this weekend.  As a result of having to have a new furnace installed, I had to clean out the furnace room.  There are many boxes filled with who knows what, but a prominent one contained all the paperwork from the lawsuit.  I shredded that paper all day Friday while the furnace guys were here.  I shredded most of the day yesterday.  I shredded a good part of the day today.  I filled 13 large trash bags with the shredded paper!  My sweetie walked by me yesterday while I was shredding (using a terrible shredder that kept jamming in the process) and remarked that it was like a prison sentence.  That made me feel a lot better about it.

Anyhow, a moment ago I took up my ballpoint pen, looked down and there was Abby - she's an old, faithful Springer Spaniel who only wants to be loved on and petted.  Well, she also wants cookies, but other than that, she makes no demands. And yes, she sees herself as the Queen of the Domain ... which she is.   I took a wee bit of paper (2 x 2) and did this quick sketch of her face.  It's not much, but it's what I have today.  I figure at least it's something.

Another Waiting Room

11/03/2011 08:26:00 PM Posted In Edit This 15 Comments »
Today my sweetie had an appointment with his doctor, so we went to Ann Arbor.  While he was in with the doc, I sat in the waiting room and did a couple of quick sketches of others who were waiting.  I also had a book with me (an anniversary present from my sweetie, and I've been savoring it - it's called Clare and Mr. Tiffany  [yes, of Tiffany glass]) so I also spent some of my waiting time reading.  Then, after we got home, because tomorrow is the day our new furnace is going to be installed, I went right to work on clearing space in the furnace/storage room in the basement.

Now, I don't know about your storage area, but ours tends to get a tad cluttered over the years.  Since our younger son and his wife and our grandchildren live in Tennessee, I find myself hoarding boxes that I can use to mail things.  I think I had enough boxes down there to pack the children's things when they go off to college (1 of them is an infant, and the other one is 3).   In addition, there were/are all sorts of things that seemed necessary to keep once, but in light of actually having to move them for work to be done, their importance quickly diminished greatly.  That said, I couldn't exactly bring myself to toss them since many of them are perfectly good, so I ended up moving them into the "library" in order to pack them up and take them to the Salvation Army.   In writing this, I also realized that the boxes I could use to transport the things to the S. Army are now neatly collapsed and in the trunk of my car so that I can take them to the recycle center. ...... Sigh.... 

So, without further adieu, here are the modest sketches I did today. 

Walking out of the cave

11/02/2011 05:15:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 11 Comments »
Well, it's been way too long since I've posted to my blog, but I've been totally in the midst of artistic doldrums.   No whining ... no complaining .... no explaining .... we've all heard it (and some have experienced it) countless times before.  Suffice it to say that even though what is here isn't a drawing, I did manage to get something down on paper (it took me a long time - not because of degree of difficulty, but because of ... well, You know).  Then, after I got finished with the ink doodles, I decided to put color in it.  That was fun, but another way to procrastinate, if truth be told.

In the meantime, during my angst, we had a bunch of work done on the house, all of which started with a crack in the caulk around the bathtub that I became worried about - I just kept having visions of the dreaded black mold.  Since we've caulked it before, I thought we should maybe hire someone to do put some ceramic tile around the tub to take care of the problem once and for all (assuming there wasn't any mold).  Well, to make a long story short, $4000 later we got that crack in the caulk taken care of, along with a number of other things involving a plumber, tile men, painters, a drywall man, and a wonderful carpenter!!!  And, thankfully, there wasn't a speck of  mold to be found.  God help us if I notice a burned out lightbulb!  Then, a couple of weeks ago we had our annual well-baby check on our furnace.  Baby isn't so well after all.  We have to get a new one ... goodby $5400 more!!!!  ouch!  (Is it any wonder I've been a tad out of sorts?  lol)

So, now I'm back.  Yes, please note the declarative tone of that last sentence.  I've done my time in the Cave of Uncertainty, so now I think it's Abby's turn.  Abby is our dog, and she's not uncertain about anything, so I think she'll do just fine, thank you!