Sketchbook Skool Week 2

I had a great deal of fun drawing these big head sketches this week. My teacher has been Lapin, a French artist living in Barcelona. I sketched my husband holding the iPad, Endeavor of Masterpiece Mystery, and Debbie Wanner of the current Survivor season.


Homework for Sketchbook Skool

Hi there! I feel like I should reintroduce myself. I’ve spent the last few months moving across town and am finally getting to play a little again. It feels very good. I am taking a class from called Stretching. Each week is taught by a different artist with a different style. This week was Jonathan Twingley. It’s been fun. This compilation of sketches is my homework. You know I have to include some magazine words.


A Little Stone Faced

This week I messed about with painting on rocks. It all started with a doodle, which seemed like it would look good on a rock. I doodle these faces all the time and just had an exceptionally oval one that day. I have no access to smooth rocks so I picked up a bag in the floral section of Michael’s.


First I painted a few coats of acrylic on the rock. But it peeled right off almost in a sheet. I tried a coat of gesso and that seemed to help. I used acrylics and Sakura Gelly Roll pens. It’s coated with glossy acrylic sealer too. That’s why there is so much glare in the photo.

The back has this quote: “He loved her of course. But better than that he chose her day after day. Choice, that was the thing.” (Sherman Alexie).


She will end up in a wire basket on my coffee table and maybe one day move to the garden or a potted plant.

Branching out a Bit

The calendar is whipping by and I find I haven’t posted in almost a month! I am continuing to enjoy my little sketch book and finding (as with everything) the more I sketch the better I get at it. Proportions are coming easier these days. This is a sketch of a favorite little teapot I have.

The biggest thing I have learned over the time I have been sketching is the first principal in The Urban Sketcher by Marc Taro Holmes–“Draw from the outside in.” And another lesson I have learned is to never be afraid to do something because you might do it badly. Of course you will do it badly…for awhile, but then you’ll get better at it and it will be fun. It’s all about the process.


This weekend I got to introduce my granddaughter (4 years old) to collage. We made some fun characters. Kids don’t always like to get glue on their fingers, but she was down with it. She also had strong ideas of what elements she wanted. She loves doing art and didn’t even say hi at the door before she said “Lets do art.” She also painted and drew with markers.


So now I am branching out into cooking. I’ve never really enjoyed cooking but I am a fan of slow cookers and brothers. My younger brother (49) is living in my town now. He has developmental delays so we decided to make a cookbook and learn to cook with a Crock-Pot to increase his independent living skills. He purchased the 3 quart manual model for its simplicity of operation. We’ll also do raw recipes and simple mix style recipes.

We started with Apple Spice Dump Cake. He was able to do much of it himself with coaching. I think he’ll be able to create this yummy dessert on his own after we practice for awhile. Our goal is to make a photo cookbook with the recipes we like by taking a picture of every step. This only took 2 hours to cook in the slow cooker on high and was ready and waiting for a great warm snack after we went to a chilly football game.

It had a crisp top layer, thin layer of cake texture underneath and warm apples below. the cake texture may only occur when this is done i n a 3 qt. round slow cooker. I think in the larger oval ones, it would be all the more crisp style layer. Of course we added whipped cream.


I got this set of color coded measuring spoons and cups, which I think will help a great deal as we get into more complex recipes.


I’ll be including things we do together on this blog because I have been disappointed in the lack of resources and activity ideas online for families of adults with disabilities, though I find plenty for children. If you would like to follow the recipes we are trying from Pinterest, follow this board. 

What a Cut Up

The last week or so I’ve enjoyed just cutting up paper. These patterns are from Papercuttings by Alison. I would love to hear of more suppliers of patterns if you know any.

12036717_542127989268258_4578967596974663686_nI am working on the cutting below for the back of my rocking chair.  I was redoing the top of the rocker because I didn’t care for the early American style decal. I decided to collage it. I liked it. It was quirky and fun, but then I thought “no one else will understand this but me and other small children” and I covered it over with something more conventional. I hated it and covered it over with something conventional. I hated it again and… Now there are many layers of hate that I will have to take paint stripper to. That will happen Saturday. Meanwhile…



I would love to learn how to make my own sketches into patterns. But that is for another time. Here are a couple of hot tips:

  • I use these punches in 1/8″ and 1/16″ for small circles in the patterns.
  • If you cut off a piece accidentally don’t worry about it. Hang onto the piece and keep cutting. Once it is in a frame you can reattach it and most people will never notice.
  • If you don’t want to cut out every tiny detail you don’t have to. Once you turn it over the only ones who will know are the pattern designer and you. I can assure you there are more pieces of straw in that bird nest than what you see in the picture.
  • Start with the tiniest cuts closest to the center. That will keep your paper stable longer and make it much easier.
  • There is no need to finish it in one sitting.
  • It’s a great craft to learn f you feel like you can’t afford to craft or try new things. Very few materials/tools are actually needed.
  • Relax.

What I wanted to bring home from Michigan–Vegetables

I can’t believe I let so much time pass without blogging! It’s been a hectic few weeks. We went to Michigan for the first time and enjoyed many new sites. We visited the Detroit area first then went to Holland on Lake Michigan. Holland is a lovely place to visit, but as nice as Lake Michigan is, my favorite thing was the farmer’s market! The top souvenir I wanted was these fabulous fresh and still on the stalk Brussels sprouts. Show this to your kids–most will never know how they grow. 
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Then there were the crazy tomatoes! I wanted to buy one of every kind and have a tomato tasting. The yellow ones that look like peppers are also tomatoes! Everything in the picture is a tomato! Some looked more like pears.



All week I wanted to sketch. I finally took the opportunity while we waited for the Saugatuck Dune Rides to open. This is my husband killing time in the car.


Works in progress: Decoupaged rocking chair, purging craft room.

Happy Now

I took the Maasai lady painting a little further today with a .25 pen. And now I am happy. She needed more texture to do all the lovely bead work they wear some justice. It was fun adding it–very like Zentangle with the multitudes of repeated lines.


Now she is hanging in my living room near my world globes. Pardon the reflections in the photo. She looks great from across the room and really lights up the corner.


When a thing is done, you know it.

It’s kind of funny that I have traveled to many countries yet illustrated a person from one to which I’ve never traveled.

On Leaving Well Enough Alone

This is the first portrait I have done in watercolor. The Maasai woman was done using a photo reference. While I couldn’t capture the personality of the original, this lady has a personality of her own.

wpid-20150827_210636-1.jpgI hung her in my office today and after looking at her all day decided I needed to add some Payne’s Gray. I wanted to give her head wrap more dimension. I also thought her nose had something funny going on. I do think it gave her more dimension but her wrap looks dirty and her beads less discernible. I like the fix above her nose, but I think she looks less regal now.

How about you? When do you leave well enough alone? I’m still just not sure which one I like best.


Here is the original sketch and fabulous masking fluid.


Sketch and Paint

It’s been a busy few weeks, but I definitely want to keep watercolor painting. This was inspired by a Siamese cat we used to have. I like this little sketch book since I can stand it on a shelf and enjoy any page I want in a rotating gallery of sorts.

I’m still loving my little 4″x6″ Pentalic sketchbook and getting more confident in my drawing and sketching. I’ll be ready to capture scenes from our upcoming vacation in Michigan. Here are a few of my most recent sketches.

My lidded hand-made coffee mug from a coffee shop and a chair with crocheted pillow in my parent’s house:wpid-20150811_202633_001-1.jpg

I was running out of inanimate objects so I sketched my favorite news anchor.

Then I participated in my first ever Urban Sketchers Midwest Virtual Sketch Crawl. Since it was virtual and we posted online I had to sketch by myself, but it was still enjoyable. I’m pretty pleased with how accurately this one turned out.


Expirament in Sepia

For the last two evenings I’ve been mixing different ranges of sepia so I could paint a vintage baseball scene I found on Pinterest. It is an old Time magazine photo of Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs shortstop and first baseman between 1954-1971 and inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. Now I admit to not being a Cubbies fan since I am from St. Louis Cardinals (GO CARDS!) territory, but I liked the photo and I liked his story.

Here’s how it turned out. I mixed Payne’s gray and burnt umber and included ochre and yellow gray in some areas. It’s also my first attempt at watercolor people. I think the people in the stands may be my favorite part.