Archive for October, 2009

With Apologies to Margaret Mitchell

October 30, 2009

When she was finally able to go out again, Scarlett had Lou lace her into her stays as tightly as the strings would pull.  Then she passed the tape measure about her waist. Twenty inches!  She groaned aloud.  That was what having babies did to your figure!   Her waist was as large as Aunt Pitty’s, as large as Mammy’s.

            “Pull them tighter, Lou.  See if you can’t make it eighteen and a half inches or I can’t get into any of my dresses.”

            “It’ll bust de strings,” said Lou.  “Yo’ wais’ jes’ done got bigger, Miss Scarlett, an’ dar ain’ nuthin’ ter do ‘bout it.”

excerpted from Gone With The Wind


Lady-at-ChairIn my world, Scarlett stopped having babies and turned to food and ceased trying to steal Melly’s husband.  She had her stays custom made from the new steel plants located in Atlanta and Birmingham.  It was the only material strong enough to pull her waist in to 37 inches and when she wore it Prissy would swear to her that “yas’m, yo’ sho’ look skinny.” Serves her right for treating Rhett so poorly. 

5″x7″ Watercolor on lanaquarelle 140 lb rough  (I tell you this because this paper is great and you should try it)


Practice makes…. better? I hope.

October 28, 2009

I am practicing my watercolour and drawing.  Here are three I have done the last 2 days.  I am trying to make people not look so static.  Hard to do in my opinion.  Guess I need to take some life drawing classes, I haven’t done any in a long time. 

A  few funny situations regarding life models… (names have been omitted to protect the innocent) –

A friend took a life class and during the break, the young male model came up to her and said “Hi, remember me?  I was in high school with your daughter.” 

While at a party, another artist was asked out by a model she had drawn a year or so prior.  Although flattered, she declined the offer.

I was in the store and went to checkout and recognized the woman working there.   Guessing she looked more familiar to me than I did to her.  I had painted her a few times, with and without clothes. 

You can probably get use to it, but having grown up in a very modest household I am not sure I will live long enough to handle with ease the awkwardness an encounter with a naked person brings.  Really good thing I didn’t decide to be  a doctor.Girl-with-CatTwo-Little-Girls-at-a-TableGirl-with-Bird

What I have discovered…

October 26, 2009

is that a crow, a rook, a raven, and a jackdaw are all basically crows.  Of those four names for a bird that is powerful, beautiful, and tenacious, only raven can be used as a complimentary term.  Remember the Disney show entitled “Raven” or the lead character’s name was Raven?  Maybe you have to have offspring similar in age to mine to even know of what I refer.  Can you imagine a parent naming their child “Crow”?  What’s in a name?  Why did this bird get a bad reputation?

In honor of the week before Halloween, I was going to treat you to the stanzas of Mr. Poe’s classic “Once upon a midnight dreary…” but in looking thru Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, I found some stanzas of a poem called “The Jackdaw of Rheims” by Richard Harris Barham written in 1840 that was tremendous fun to read.  Here is an except…

“The Cardinal rose with a dignified look,

He called for his candle, his bell, and his book!

            In holy anger, and pious grief,

            He solemnly cursed that rascally thief!

            He cursed him at board, he cursed him in bed,

            From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head!

            He cursed him in sleeping, that every night

            He should dream of the devil, and wake in a fright;

            He cursed him in eating, he cursed him in drinking,

            He cursed him in coughing, in sneezing, in winking;

            He cursed him in sitting, in standing, in lying;

            He cursed him in walking, in riding, in flying;

            He cursed him in living, he cursed him in dying! –

Never was heard such a terrible curse!

            But what gave rise to no little surprise,

Nobody seemed one penny the worse!” 

You can visit here to read the rest of this entertaining poem and to find out just to whom all that cursing was directed.  Also of interest to me are the significance of  bell, book and candle (remember that movie with Jimmy Stewart?  I loved that movie and Bewitched which I always assumed was inspired from it)  and Jem Crow (have to read the whole poem).   Guess I need to do more research.


Here is my finished tapestry of the rook.  I resisted the desire to go into photoshop and straighten the skewed edges so I present it to you flaws and all, my first weaving in several months.  I went into the weaving with a needle and floss to mimic the sketch lines of my original watercolor. 

What I have not discovered is how to “return” on WordPress without inserting a line break.  Any help out there?

The Three Legged Race

October 24, 2009

Remember the days of wearing socks that match your shirt  and playing in yards with chain link fences?  When did those kids become adults who write convenances that ban chain link fences in neighborhoods and wouldn’t be caught dead in dark socks with shorts unless they were trying to embarrass their children?  Oh, when did we grow up?


This watercolour was done for Illustration Friday’s topic of Fast.  It was taken from a photograph of boys at my church in the early ’70’s doing a three legged race.  I challenge you to go to the backyard, tie your ankle up with ___’s (perhaps your spouse’s??) ankle and see if you can still run like this.  Don’t worry about the neighbors watching, that is why we have privacy fences now.  But don’t forget your camera, I want a picture!

the Tortoise Vs. the Tapestry

October 22, 2009

If ever a tortoise was in the road when my siblings and I were young, and our father happened upon it, he would stop and we would have a short termed pet.  Short termed because we didn’t keep it, not for other more morbid reasons.   A few days ago, out of the blue, my daughter said she wanted a tortoise.  Wanting to be as good a parent as my father, I saw one today in the office parking lot and took it home to her.  Never mind Suzannah is 23 and not 10.  She researched it, determined it was a red eared slider and held it long enough for me to take some pictures.  She then carried it to the creek and released it back to it’s natural environment.  

I thought I would show you the pictures.  Look at the markings on this creature.  Wonder why God didn’t give us such wonderful natural tattoos, too.  I am thinking this little one may turn up somehow in a piece of art.


I have been working this week but I have managed to get some play time in.  I took Tommye Scanlin’s advice and started a small tapestry of my watercolour of the rook.  Here it is in progress.  Tapestry moves along at about the same rate as a tortoise.


Suzannah found out that a turtle was given by Captain Cook to the royal family of Tonga in 1777.  That particular turtle lived until 1965.  Imagine.

October Freeze

October 17, 2009

Saturday has been cold in Georgia.  My feet and hands are frozen.  Already have gloves on my hands for the winter. Recommendation for the day –  Target has little fingerless gloves for $2 per pair.  Cheap enough to paint in.

This is the second entry I have had for Illustration Friday.  Topic – Frozen.  frozen

acrylic on Masonite  12″x12″

The Importance of Being…..

October 16, 2009

If you have time, visit BBC7 digital radio and listen to  The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde.  This is a great presentation and leaves your eyes and hands free to paint or draw or weave or…  but hurry, it is only available for 2 more days.  I listened to it yesterday and enjoyed it greatly.

And, in being ernest, thanks for the comments of encouragement on the last post.  It is wonderful that artists from all over the world are able to view other’s work and even “speak” to them about it without leaving home.   

The perching bird below has been on and off my easel several times over the last two weeks, the butterflies were done over the last two nights.  I was playing with the backgrounds on each;  the bird by using subtle variations of red and the butterflies by using isopropyl alcohol to repel the paint.  This worked well with a green I had originally painted over the gessoed panel board.  It created little white donuts in the paint.  But I went a little further and painted it the blue thinking I would get layer over layer.   Blue apparently is not as repelled by alcohol as is green.  Wonder if green is Baptist….


12″x12″  acrylic on canvas


6″x12″ acrylic on Masonite

A little Baptist/drinking humor never hurt anyone, especially if you are Baptist!

Nest’s Eggs

October 13, 2009

Nothing clever, intelligent, funny or wise is surfacing as I ponder this painting I am posting.  I wonder of its relevance, of a  single thread to connect it to some event or element happening in my life and I cannot.  And this is the reason I find it hard to call myself an artist.  Seems like art should have meaning.  Doesn’t it?  I am more aptly described as some ancient form of camera, someone who can portray what she sees.  Is this enough to be an artist?

My inner artist child is being stifled as I speak.



Acrylic  on Masonite    12″x12″

The photograph of the painting makes the paint look metallic, which it is not.  Technical problems in my life today keep me from caring too little to fix it. 

View my faux batik post to see how I created the background.

New Techniques – Faux Batiks

October 10, 2009

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the artist group who meet once of month to create.  (Remember the Jacob’s Ladder from a previous post?)  Mary Ann Clayton, an extremely talented artist and owner of the most wonderful studio, showed us how to “batik” paper using rubber cement (love the smell of rubber cement!) as the resist.  Add a layer of paint, a layer of rubber cement, another layer of paint, etc. until you have decided it is enough, and after drying, rub off the rubber cement and you have (maybe) a wonderful little work of art.  Some of mine were pleasing, most were not.

I could see potential in this technique as a background for painting (what else) birds and butterflies.  So I tried it out on gessoed masonite board.  It worked great.

Here is the first I did.  I drizzled the rubber cement on this one (over the yellow background), covered it with the darker red,then brushed the rubber cement on and added a lighter, warmer red. 

Red and Yellow

This one started with a blue background then I added the leaf shapes in rubber cement and painted over the entire thing with a olive green color.  I didn’t realize how the colors would vibrate off each other.

Green and Blue


This panel I tried using watercolor masking fluid rather than rubber cement.  It was much easier to remove than the rubber cement.  I masked off the white algae shape and then painted the panel green.  The reddish tinge is from a watery wash I applied after the mask was removed.

Olive and White

The real batik process uses melted wax as the resist and dyes to color fabric, usually cotton or silk.  I have never tried that process, I don’t know that my disarranged studio can handle the scope of space and material required for it!

On another note, I am worried that my last post made light of the cut paper technique.  Truly it is a wonderful and unique art form that I know takes more effort than perhaps I led you to believe.  You only have to google cut paper to know that.

Paper Cuts

October 6, 2009


Because I have had some architectural work to do the last couple of days, no artistic work is being done.  (There is good argument that architecture is art, but these days there is good argument against it too.) And as funny Ogden Nash states

O money, money, money, I’m not necessarily one of those who think thee holy,

But I often stop to wonder how thou canst go out so fast when thou comest in so slowly

Here is some cut paper done within the last year (or maybe two, time goes as quickly as money!).  If you are awed by all the cut paper art you are seeing these days, it is easier then it looks.  Draw your pattern on paper first, staple it (in the negative spaces) to the finished paper and cut with tiny scissors and an exacto knife.  Avoid cutting away the stapled pattern until the very end.   Use copyright free images and cut around them for great silhouettes.  It isn’t always easy and it is frequently tedious, but  most people could do it  if they so desired.  And cut paper is so tres chic!





I would hope you would find my architectural work art were you to see it.  We  try hard but usually don’t have control over the final product.