Monthly Archives: December 2013

More Sketching

The sketch-a-day challenge continues. Of course, there were a few other things going on this past week, too. More baking, more shopping, more wrapping, followed by unwrapping, feasting, resting, and a Doctor Who Christmas special. Then there was more shopping, because I love the after-Christmas sales. I did manage to do a drawing every day. Some of them are very small and some of them are very lame, but I kept going anyway, because that was the challenge.
I started last Saturday with a drawing of a frog toy. It may appear to be waving, but it actually has magnets in its hands and feet and it’s attached to something metal.

Frog toy

Frog toy


The next day, I drew another toy, a small Crayola bear that lives with my Christmas things. It looks a bit cranky; maybe it doesn’t like being put away with the Christmas things every year.
Crayola bear

Crayola bear


This next one is a small leaf. My brother-in-law dropped by on Christmas Eve Eve and my husband picked the leaf off his truck. We exchanged cookies with my brother-in-law and my husband gave me the leaf to draw. It’s sweet of him to look out for me that way.
Small leaf

Small leaf


As you can imagine, Christmas Eve was rather busy. I drew another leaf. This one came from the maple tree in my front yard. It’s a bit spotty.
Spotty leaf

Spotty leaf


On Christmas Day, I was even busier and I spent a lot of time in my kitchen, where my eyes fell upon the cookie jar I inherited from my mother. The proportions are a bit off, but I think my sisters will recognize it when (if?) they read my blog.
The Grandma cookie jar

The Grandma cookie jar


On the twenty-sixth, I was tired again from shopping, so I drew another leaf from my maple tree.
Dry leaf

Dry leaf


Today I chose a potted plant that lives in my dining room. I’m pretty good at leaves but I’m not good at pots. Maybe I just need some more practice.
Plant

Plant

Or some more pencils. Santa let me down, but I’ll still be watching those clearance sales.

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Still Sketching

Yes! I have kept up with the “Sketch a Day” challenge I mentioned in my last blog post. It seems to fit into my day pretty well, even with all the added activities of the Christmas season. Every day, in the midst of all the crazy shopping, decorating and baking, I get a half-hour or so of calm, quiet drawing time. Who knew that squeezing an extra activity into my already full schedule could be such a gift?
We started the week with a family trip to the Jacksonville Landing to enjoy Tuba Christmas. On the walk back to our car, we passed a dogwood tree covered in red leaves. I picked one and tucked it into my purse so I could draw it later.

Dogwood leaf

Dogwood leaf


The next day I looked around my kitchen and found a frog-shaped toothpick holder. That was fun!
Toothpick holder

Toothpick holder


Next came an orange from my refrigerator. It was an ingredient in one of my twelve kinds of Christmas cookies, but before I used it, I drew it.
Orange

Orange


After that, I looked around the kitchen again and found another frog. This one is a dish scrubber.
Dish scrubber

Dish scrubber


I got ambitious the next day and put several golden grape tomatoes into a tiny bowl. That’s practically a still life, there.
Grape tomatoes

Grape tomatoes


The next day, I was in a rush, so I chose a round fruit – an apple from the refrigerator.
Apple

Apple


Today was also a very busy day, so I chose something round again – a bright red tomato.
Tomato

Tomato


I’m really hoping Santa brings me some more watercolor pencils. Some day, I hope to draw something purple.

Sketching Again

I’ve been sketching. My niece, Grace, finished the November challenge of writing fifty thousand words for NaNoWriMo and then decided she wanted a new challenge for December. She’s doing a sketch every day and she invited others to join her. I didn’t immediately jump on that bandwagon because I didn’t even hear about it until the second or third of the month, so I figured it was too late. Then she published a blog post where she suggested that others who wanted to join the challenge could just start with the day they saw that post and continue through December thirty-first. I still didn’t officially say, “I’m in,” but I did draw that day. That was the day I drew the leaf I showed in my last blog post.
The next day, I had an evening Chorale concert with a four o’clock rehearsal. I knew there would be some time in between when I would be sitting around and waiting, so I threw my sketchbook and my watercolor pencils into my Chorale bag with my music. When the time came, I was in a dressing room which had absolutely nothing in it that looked as if it would be fun to draw. I ended up drawing a red top and black skirt that were hanging in an open closet. You can see that I was not really enjoying that drawing, but I did draw.

The dressing room

The dressing room


That was two days in a row. The next day, I found something more fun to draw – a plant growing near our bird feeder. The birds planted it, so we’re not sure what it is, but I did enjoy drawing it.
Strange plant

Strange plant


The next day, I drew the last marigold. Green things go well; yellow things, not so well. I only have one yellow in my box of twelve watercolor pencils, so shading is a problem. I still enjoyed it more than the hanging thing.
The last marigold

The last marigold


Then came the biscuit. I drew it because it was there.
Biscuit

Biscuit


The next day, I looked in the refrigerator. Ah…a carrot! That was fun.
Carrot

Carrot


Another day, another trip to the refrigerator. I found a half of a tomato.
Cut tomato

Cut tomato


Today, I drew an onion.
Onion

Onion


I’ve managed a drawing a day for a week. Maybe I really can keep this up until December thirty-first.
All right, Grace – I’m in!

Zoo Trip

 

I have the Weather Channel on as I’m writing this and the big story is winter storm Cleon. This storm is covering most of the United States in sleet, snow and freezing rain, but here in North Florida, we had near-record heat today. The weather was so pretty, we decided to go to the zoo. If you live in or near Jacksonville and you have never been to the zoo, you are missing out on a delightful family-friendly adventure.

I always buy a membership in the Spring, when we have a little extra money, so we can go to the zoo any time during the year, even when money is tight. If I didn’t do that, there would be no way we could afford to go in December, when there are so many other demands on the budget. The membership pays for itself with just a few visits and our zoo is worthy of multiple visits during the year. This way, we can take our time when we’re there, without feeling as if we have to see every single animal every time we go.

Today, we asked my five-year-old grandson where he wanted to go first and he wanted to see lions. They were looking good.

Lion

Lion


This is Jacksonville and we love our NFL team, so our zoo has a fabulous exhibit called Range of the Jaguar. Right now, there’s a young jaguar. My husband caught a picture of the mother and baby through the window of the Lost Temple.
Jaguars

Jaguars


The Lost Temple has poison dart frogs and lots of huge lizards and snakes, plus my favorite primate, the pygmy marmoset. There is also an adorable sloth. I love the way these guys move in slow motion.
sloth

sloth


You might think that the animals are the coolest things at the zoo, but for children, there’s something even cooler – the playground. It has slides, a climbing wall and a big central tree house, with a giant bird’s nest, a rope bridge and a climbing net. I watched my daughter climb the net with no problem and then I watched my fourteen-year-old grandson give it a try, an attempt that was not successful. This made me curious. It looked easy when my daughter did it and it looked impossible when my grandson tried it, so I wondered just what it was about a climbing net that gave my grandson so much trouble. I made my own attempt. It seems that as soon as I had two hands and two feet on or in the net, I could not figure out how to move one of them. I began to sympathize with my grandson. I clung there for a while (perhaps I should mention that the zoo was not crowded today; I would not have been trying this if there had been a line of six-year-olds behind me) and then I gave up and took the stairs. Then I decided to give the net one more try, from the top. This was so funny, my grandson thinks the video should go up on Youtube. I disagree, but I’ll allow a still shot.
The climbing net.

The climbing net.


The point is, I made it to the bottom without hurting myself. Yay! At the bottom is the coolest thing in the whole zoo – a squishy rubber surface. If you go to the zoo, do not miss walking on this squishy stuff. It’s so amazing, you’ll wish all the zoo walkways were covered in it.

I had a great day at the zoo and I also managed to do a sketch of a leaf.

Leaf sketch

Leaf sketch

Because that list of Fifty Things is not going to fill itself.