Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy 50th Anniversary

Gerald and I were married 50 years ago today, August 30, 1959, in Booneville, Arkansas. He was 21 and I was 20 and I never thought we'd live long enough to celebrate 50 years together, not because we weren't commited to staying together but because being 70 and 71 seemed so OLD. Two weeks after our wedding he entered medical school in Oklahoma City and I went back to finish my last semester at OSU in Stillwater. We spent the first 4 1/2 months of our marraige with me commuting on weekends while he was adjusting to med school and the accompanying marathon study sessions. The next year I landed a position teaching home economics in a junior high school and had a wonderful 3 years there before we moved to Portland.

We stayed in Portland and the only thing we regret is leaving family and friends behind, especially raising kids who grew up with their grandparents several thousand miles away.

Friends ask, "How did you do it, stay married so long?". It wasn't easy and there were times when we'd each have been glad to walk away, but we went into marraige having promised God that this was forever and neither of us were willing to turn away, even in some of the rough patches. We respect each other and we've given each other room to grow as individuals while supporting one another and looking to a gracious God for help and thanking him for life's many blessings.

This week we are in Kauai with our son, our daughter, our son-in-law and 4 grandchildren, and we're having the time of our lives. I love waking up to the sound of the ocean and taking a long early morning walk along the beach before joining the others for our morning coffee. Life is slower here and so peaceful. We might not go home.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nature's Paintbrush

We toured the Botanical Garden here on Kauai yesterday and one of the first trees I saw, one who's name I don't remember - just that it was a mid sized palm-ish sort of tree - had some unusual fruit that looks like cotton candy, 3" long cotton candy. When it dries it resembles a handleless paintbrush. It works, too, though it adds dirt and fibers to the paint and won't last long.
I'm taking lots of photos but not doing as much art as I'd hoped, just using bits and pieces of time to work in my journal. My 4 grandkids have been delightful. I was snorkeling with Amy and we both popped up our artistic heads, saying did you see THAT fish? We're both making an effort to remember colors and patterns and then make color notes about them when we get back to the house.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Packing for Travel

I'm sorry to have been so quiet this past week. I haven't made much in the way of art although I've been in my studio every day, reading blogs, keeping up with email, making a mess and straightening it up, painting paper and spraying, but mostly preparing for vacation travel.

For some reason I simply can't toss a few things into my suitcase and be confident that I'll have all I need when I get to my destination. I have to make lists upon lists to be sure I haven't forgotten something important... and this from a woman who used to teach workshops about planning and packing a travel wardrobe. Yesterday I finally called it quits, culled my clothes down to the bare essentials, put most of the more valuable things like art supplies into my carry-on, pared down the contents of my handbag, and I think I'm ready to go except for the last few things I'll need until we hit the road.

Art essentials for my trip:

So what am I taking in the way of art supplies? an Altoid travel box with 10 colors, a waterbrush plus 4 other rather small brushes, a tiny spray bottle, a tiny bottle of Indian red ink and a dip pen for drawing, my collage/watercolor journal and a few extra bits of watercolor paper, 2 gluesticks and a small bottle of ModPodge with a spreader, small scissors, pens and pencils, eraser and pencil sharpener, a tiny sea sponge, several paper and plastic alphabet stencils, my Moleskine journal and tiny watercolor paintbox and waterbrush in my handbag, a film container with paper clips and brads with masking tape wrapped around the outside, a roll of clear packing tape that tears easily to use for magazine transfers. I'm sure there's more but I can't think what. I didn't make a list for those things. I laid out everything I thought I'd need and put only half of it into a small folding cosmetic bag I found at Fred Meyers. Oh yes, I added a small cribiner, an S hook, and a large safety pen. These are so I can hang up my bag from the airplane seatback in front of me while I work on that impossibly small table. I'd show you a picture but I forgot to take one before packing and I'm not about to undo it now. Maybe I'll remember to take pictures as I work so you can see the process later. Remind me.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coil Binding for Journals

Gina asked about how I bind my journals. Several years ago I was teaching some workshops on travel journals and I splurged and bought myself a holepunch for coil binding, (like the plastic coil used in spiral notebooks). This isn’t your everyday holepunch; it punches a jillion holes at once, perfectly spaced, through several sheets of paper. It wasn’t an economical move but I’ve loved being equipped to create my own unique spiral/coil bound journals with my paper of choice. I like the coil binding for my sketchbooks because I can turn the pages back on themselves and have a solid platform for writing or making art. I bought my coil punch from Bonnie’s Best.
Most copy stores will be able to coil bind your books for a small fee, usually around $5. Assemble your pages, clamp them firmly with some bulldog clips on every edge except where the spiral coil goes… and on that edge put a big yellow Post-it with an arrow pointing to the edge you want punched… PUNCH HERE. They may take off the bulldog clips but hopefully the note will stay in place and they’ll do it right.
Sometimes when I have a hardback book that I’ll be using a lot in the studio I’ll take the book to the copy store and have them slice off the spine along with about ¼” of the spine edge of the book, and have holes punched in the book so it will fit into a 3 ring binder or punch it for a big fat coil if they have the large size in stock.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Hawaii Travel Art Journal 2009

I've been working on the journal that I'll take to Hawaii in a couple of weeks. I decided to go with a 6X6" format and started by cutting lots of paper to size. I used some of my stencil paper from class as well as commercial scrapbook paper with designs on both sides, and I added plenty of 90# watercolor paper. Then I sewed narrow pieces together to get a full size page, adding embellishments. I left space for journaling both on plain paper and on top of decorated paper. I'll work on the journal on the plane as well as once we arrive.

Tomorrow my daughter and her 3 oldest will come over to construct their own journals. I have lots of cut-t0-size paper as well as lots of pretty paper to add to their pages. The oldest will be in charge of the sewing machine; the oldest daughter knows how to use my paper cutter; the youngest will be comic relief and creative director; my daughter will supervise, and I'll punch the holes for binding.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Travel Journal - Hawaii 2001

Going through an old sketchbook that I took to Kauai in 2001 I found a few sketches that I want to share with you, not because they are so good but because I want to encourage you to draw, draw everywhere you go, adding practice hours upon practice, just like learning to play an instrument. The more you do the better you get.
These 5 drawings are the best of what's in the book and no, I'm not planning to show you the other 20+ ugly drawings, but I am encouraged that I do more good drawings now than I did then. Practice makes perfect. This one is my favorite since I collaged the flowers on top of a long dark wall that wasn't working.

The lettering is a rubbing of something I spotted on a building.
I wanted to preserve the beautiful seashells we had gathered so I arranged them on the table and carefully drew them to the best of my ability.

This was part of the view from our lanai, severely edited to remove most buildings and plants between me and this house.

Another view from the lanai in early morning.

Hibiscus are difficult to draw but I aim to get lots more practice. We're returning to Kauai later this month with our family to celebrate 50 years of marraige.

I got out this old sketchbook today because my daughter and her 3 oldest are coming over Saturday to make travel journals. They all like to draw and collage and I'm doing all I can to encourage them. We'll choose some colorful papers, some watercolor paper, some plain but sturdy cardstock, and then bind them into journals with plans for keeping us entertained on the 5 hour flight and during daily quiet hours. This older sketchbook of mine has brought back such pleasant memories and I'm hoping that making and using their very own travel art journals will will help them remember when they helped their grandparents celebrate a very special time.
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