Tag Archives: sketching

Willfest

We have returned from a successful Will McLean Festival. We will have a lot of dyeing to do to get ready for the Florida Folk Festival in May, but now we can afford to order blanks. This was our third Willfest and the other two had cold weather. We sold a lot of long-sleeved T-shirts and socks. This time, we checked the forecast and left the long-sleeved T-shirts at home. We took tank tops instead and that turned out to be a wise decision. It was a good weekend for tank tops.

One thing we love about this festival is that we get to camp right behind our tie-dye booth, which is very close to the main stage. We get to listen to music all day while we’re selling tie-dye and when it gets dark, we just zip up the booth and retire to our campsite, where we can listen to music as we eat supper. If we have any energy left, we can move our chairs closer to the stage to enjoy the music. If we’re exhausted, we can crawl into our tent and continue to enjoy the music as we fall asleep. I can’t imagine a more convenient arrangement.

Our booth and our tent

Our booth and our tent


This year it was particularly convenient because our space was right next to the funnel cake booth. These weren’t just regular funnel cakes, either. You could get a regular funnel cake, sure, but you could also get toppings. The one that tempted me was Boston Cream Pie. I went to get a funnel cake that I thought I would share with my daughter. As I was ordering it, she informed me that she didn’t want toppings, she wanted a plain funnel cake with powdered sugar. I wasn’t giving up my Boston Cream Pie funnel cake, so I ordered two funnel cakes. They were gorgeous.
Funnel cakes!

Funnel cakes!


The Boston Cream Pie funnel cake was the best funnel cake in the history of funnel cakes, but it was huge. I learned something new this weekend. A half-eaten funnel cake that has been stored in a cooler for two days is an abomination, but if it has Bavarian Cream on it, I will still eat it. Oh, yeah.

The Will McLean Festival is held at the Sertoma Youth Ranch, which is a beautiful place full of huge trees, a lake that attracts sandhill cranes and a meadow that fills up with mist every morning. It’s so pretty, I ached to find time to paint some of that scenery while I was there, but I just couldn’t manage it. I took a lot of photos with my iPad and I may try to use them as references for a painting now that I’m home, but I know the photos don’t capture the magic of the place.

I couldn’t pull off all the messy set-up and clean-up of a painting, but I did take out my watercolor pencils and sketch something I could see from the tie-dye booth.

Willfest sketch

Willfest sketch


I’m happy that I didn’t take art supplies all that way for nothing.

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Challenges

I was so busy last week making pies and posting about making pies that I forgot to mention a couple of other things that happened between that post and the one before it. The first was that I won NaNoWriMo. I wrote fifty thousand words. They’re not very coherent words, but there are fifty thousand of them and I wrote them all myself, so they count.
Winner-2014-Web-Banner
The other was that I painted. If you were looking closely at the “before” picture of my table in last week’s post, you saw my painting. I still want to share it in close-up here so I can count it.

Gourd and Turban Squash

Gourd and Turban Squash


My friend, Sarah, of Full-Time Writer Mom, gave me the gourd and I picked up the turban squash on clearance because I thought the gourd needed a friend for support. Literally. The squash was a whole lot easier to paint than the gourd. I let all the little bumps intimidate me, so the basic shape is a bit off, but I still had a good time painting it and that’s what matters.

I’ve joined a new challenge for December. This one comes from my niece, Grace, and it’s a “sketch-a-day” challenge. I don’t think I’ll be sharing all of my daily sketches in my blog, but here are the first three so you can see how it’s going.

Turban Squash

Turban Squash


Goofy Gourd

Goofy Gourd


Apple

Apple


I made use of the turban squash for my first sketch and the gourd for my second. My third is of an apple from my refrigerator. So far, my theme appears to be “Fruits and Vegetables Floating in Space.” For me, the sketch-a-day challenge is not about creating great art, it’s about presence and commitment. Drawing something – anything – is a way to bring myself into the here and now. It improves my mood and makes my whole day a better day.

I’m looking forward to lots of good days in December. They will be crazy busy, of course, but if I manage a sketch every day, there will be a small oasis of peace in each one of those crazy busy days. I’m ready to show up for that.

Sketching and Beyond

I have finished the December drawing challenge. Leaves were working for me and December is the time when the leaves turn and fall in Florida, so I figured I would finish out the month with leaf drawings. Last Saturday, my husband and I went on an afternoon walk around our neighborhood and I watched for pretty leaves on the ground as we walked. That’s how I found the red, green and yellow one I drew on December twenty-eighth.

Leaf 12 28 13

Leaf 12 28 13


The bright red one I drew on the twenty-ninth was also found on that walk.
Leaf 12 29 13

Leaf 12 29 13


On the thirtieth, I pulled a green one from a plant in my back yard.
Leaf 12 30 13

Leaf 12 30 13


The next day was the last day of the challenge and I thought I would find another leaf to draw, but then I realized I was tired of drawing leaves and I looked around for an alternative. My eye fell on our Christmas tree, a fat and fluffy white pine that was probably the most perfectly shaped tree we have ever had. The perfection was broken only by a single branch, which stuck straight up while the branches all around it bent gracefully towards the floor in a smooth, symmetrical cone. I had put a single red ball on that branch. When I saw it on New Year’s Eve, it reminded me of the adorable little tree in the Charlie Brown Christmas special and I decided to draw that instead of a leaf.
12 31 13

12 31 13


Now the December challenge has been met and I’m closing in on another challenge. My List of Fifty Things is up to forty-nine. My sixtieth birthday is still a month away and, thanks to my niece and her drawing challenge, all I need to think about now are the Big Three. I said when I started this blog that I wanted to do fifty creative things before my sixtieth birthday and they had to include an art quilt, an art doll and a 16” x 20” painting. The idea was that I would be working on those three things throughout the year, while I also did other, smaller creative things.
Of course that was the idea, but I’m not at all surprised that I’m down to just a few weeks and I haven’t done a single one of the Big Three. It’s more surprising to me that I actually have forty-nine things on my List of Fifty Things. I was completely stuck and I was doing mostly nothing when I started this blog and challenged myself to do fifty creative things in my sixtieth year. I’m pleased with where I am at this point and still absolutely determined to finish the challenge before February eighth.
Thank you, Grace Makley, for setting up the sketch-a-day challenge that brought my list to forty-nine. Now that my milestone birthday is breathing down my neck, I will be putting my attention into the Big Three. I do love a deadline.

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.

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!