Monday, September 28, 2015

Autumn Welcome-Celtic Style!

There was a Celtic invasion in our town this weekend and it was fabulous!! The weather was perfect, thus bringing in record crowds (some areas even feeling claustrophobic-so we stayed away from those places:) Hubby and I walked into town Fri. eve, Sat., and Sun. to become immersed in the music and culture. Here are some pics:

 These were taken during the Parade of the Tartans on Saturday-bagpipe bands representing Ireland, Scotland and Wales competing for top honors. It was heavenly hearing all those glorious pipes!

 There were so many areas providing FREE entertainment (and this is a FREE festival-you only pay for food and drink!) that we just couldn't get to every band we wanted to has grown SO much in the 28 years since it began and we have been going.

 The group "Poor Man's Gambit" playing at a small venue outdoors along Main Street. Genevieve's violin playing, Irish dance and voice is amazing!

 The "Rogue Diplomats" SO much fun! We ended our festivities at our very favorite Irish shop and pub which I have shared about numerous times (Donegal Square/ the Red Stag Pub) and we truly felt like we were in a pub in Ireland! It was loud, there was lots of drinking, and sing alongs. What a great way to end the weekend!

 One last photo:

 This is my friend Joe who owns Celtic Revival and I got to know him thru the years since we first began going to this fest. He is the first one I look for-a true Irish gem who can weave the blarney  yarns, folklore, spiritual tales, you name it and I love him! We both believe in animal spirits and the spirits of all nature and always have one or more things to share on the subject. He is also the only vendor I buy my Celtic jewelry from :)

 Now, for my T Stands For Tuesday peeps I have this:

 Of course I had to bring out my Scottish thistle mug for the weekend along with a traditional currant scone from the pub for a treat.

 Here is a journal page I managed to complete today:

 A whimsical watercolor page for my last entry this month at Art Journal Journey. The curtain is stitched paper, the chickadee a sticker. The quotes says "Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn."  E. Lawrence.  I think you can click on it for a larger view?

 That's it for now. Most of today (Monday) was doing laundry, cleaning and catching up at home, including making a pot of Italian Wedding soup. And my Mom comes home Saturday after her month in France visiting family so I will spend the end of the week cleaning her house (she had her bathroom remodeled while she was away-and we all know what that means-although the guys have done a great job of cleaning up what they could), getting some groceries, etc. to welcome her back. Can't wait to see the photos and hear all about it! I only got bits and pieces when she called a few times and it was so wonderful to be able to talk with most of my relatives and hear their voices.

 Have a great week everyone!

        " Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."            Albert Camus

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Drawing From The Soul

  I must begin this post to let you know that this past week Giggles (Sherrie) kindly sent me an email letting me know that my email address may have been hacked. I immediately checked recent activities, changed my password, then ran a complete scan. When my son came home I had him check everything out and all is well. If anyone has gotten an email with my full name as part of an email address IT IS SPAM and should have gone into your spam folder or junk folder. This has happened to at least several people I am aware of where the perpetrator uses your name but then attaches their email address along with a link they want recipients to open. DO NOT OPEN it -just delete it! Those of you that have had my email address will know the immediate difference. I have not had to change my email because of this thankfully. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused and thank you dear Sherrie for bringing this to my attention!

 We have continued to have gorgeous warm sunny days and so it has been difficult to get much art done as I am spending as much time as I can outdoors but I managed to get a few things in.

 This is the full page of the above piece:

 I am continuing to enjoy playing with techniques and projects from Danielle Donaldson's book. I like the softness you get using a pencil for details and shadows. It sure is a change from using charcoal, Stabilo pencils or pens and I like it. You can see my other pages along with links here.

 I've also managed to finish some sketches for another lesson from the Draw Your Awesome Life online class offered by Joanne Sharpe (which I started almost two years ago-yikes!).

 Here are some closer pics of each window:

 I sketched these when we were at the beach in August and then finally got around to painting them with watercolors. This sketching is difficult for me but I am determined see it to the end!

 And finally, this is a sneak peek of a portion of one of the cold wax and oil paintings on wood I am currently working on:

 I am LOVING this 'new to me' medium thanks to Serena Barton and her new book! (see my last post) I have already been surprised by the turn this piece has taken after a few layers and can't wait to share it when I feel it's complete. A must though is lots of patience as each wax layer can take days to dry before you're able to build up subsequent layers. Good to have more than one going at a time:)

 Wishing everyone a wonderful end of week and weekend. I'll be popping in to visit you here and there as we will be spending LOTS of time Fri., Sat. and Sun. enjoying the Celtic Classic in town!! We've been going each year for many years now to become immersed in Celtic food, drink, music, culture and craic (Gaelic for "FUN") and it's supposed to be perfect weather-wise-yay! So hopefully I'll have some pics to share for next week. Slainte! (Gaelic for "cheers")

 Linking to Art Journal Every Day; Art Journal Journey; Art It Friday-Show Your Face; and Paint Party Friday.

" Sustained enthusiasm brings into existence a wave of creative energy, and all you have to do is ride the wave."        Eckhart Tolle

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Arty Adventures

This is fast becoming an incredibly busy week and so I'm combining my favorite linking haunts all in this one post.

 In my last post I mentioned some exciting news and now I can share:)

 This arrived in the mail on Saturday!

 Serena Barton's newest book-one I have been dying to get-and guess what?? She graciously sent me a complimentary copy!!! And not only that but she left me this wonderful message inside:

 Well, I have been doing the happy dance every day since!! I cannot wait to get started on my latest adventure using cold wax and oils which is new to me. I  imagine that many of you who know me know that I can go in many different directions with my art and I don't think it's a bad thing because I can explore so many avenues, techniques, and mediums and learn from all of them. And who doesn't LOVE an art book?? That said, Serena's first book changed my approach to art in a way no other compares! And I will also say that if I could only choose one style of art to make forever-it would be wabi-sabi style mixed media. It gives me everything I could want because it embraces nature, imperfection, and mostly, it comes from feeling and from the heart. I know it won't be long before I will have projects to share using inspiration from this book:)

 And what about you? Is there a book or someone who has forever changed your approach to art? Is there one medium/style you could use and create with forever if you had to?? Please share!

 In the meantime I am still working with my watercolors and journal using techniques from the book I mentioned here.

 This is my table and the page I was working on just yesterday:

                         For my T Stands For Tuesday gang (sharing my trusty large water bottle!)

Here's the first part of the page with only the watercolor "blotches":

And this is the completed flower page:

  Just a fun exercise page with doodles in graphite and white pen-sorry it's difficult to see all the little doodle marks-it looks so much better in person. I had such a hard time getting the true colors and essence of this pg.

 Remember this sketch? Well, she transformed into this face and page:

 She's from the "Tutu Girl" lesson but it appears I was still channeling the ocean/beach theme:) So perhaps she's a "water girl" instead, and I love her wild hair!

 Linking to Art Journal Every Day, Art It Friday-Show Your Face, Mixed Media Monthly, and Paint Party Friday! As always I so appreciate your comments but can't always respond, especially if it comes to my email as a "no reply".

"The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes! to your adventures."  
                                                                                                              Joseph Campbell         

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Blooming Friendships

Hello everyone! Hope everyone's had a good week and have some fun plans for the coming weekend!

 This is a page in my watercolor journal. I played a lot with watercolors and sketching while at the beach a few weeks ago and have been sharing my pages in recent posts. This one was inspired by two things- the girlfriends I went shopping with a few times (we had SO much fun!) and a whimsical style inspired by the new book I picked up to read while away. The book is called Creative Girl-Mixed Media Techniques For An Artful Life by Danielle Donaldson. Thanks so much for the recommendation Susan!)
                                       Do any of you have it? What do you think of it?
 I was immediately enchanted by the cover and that delight continued all the way through the book!! And then I saw that coincidentally she was featured in Somerset Studio July/August (which I had also taken to the beach to read) in the Artist Profile section! I love the projects and lessons and have been following them to learn to be freer with the drawing part and using  randomly painted pages to form a theme or story.

 My page began like this:

The flower girls in the completed pg. are part of a notecard I cut and glued to this page Then I looked for imagery like flowers and hearts in the paint and with a black pen and a white pen I doodled away. I wrote in pencil at the top "friendship in full bloom". I have several more pages in the works and almost complete so be on the lookout! As a matter of fact-I'll show you a loose pencil sketch that began my second page for another of Danielle's projects:

 Now for something completely different (well, variety IS the spice of life isn't it?)

  This is a mosaic collage done in another journal inspired by the theme at ArtJournalJourney "through my window" along with  inspiration from a You Tube video by Serena Barton. You can see my other mosaic collage projects along with the links here and here. And I'll have more exciting news to share with regards to Serena very soon!!

 The images are from Paper Whimsy and I typed the words "par la fenêtre, elle rêve",  French for "by/through the window she dreams".

 Linking this post to Art Journal Every Day; Art Journal Journey; Art it Friday-Show Your Face, Mix It Monthly (theme is mixed media flowers) and Paint Party Friday. Tout a l'heure!

" I cannot imagine where I would be today if it were not for the friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun."    Chuck Swindoll

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Spinning Our Threads

 Well, happy Tuesday my lovelies! Hope you had a nice weekend along with cooperative weather where you live. Still very hot and humid here and that's OK with me:)

 I heard briefly from my Mom who left for France Thursday and all is well. Her flights were on time and my aunt was at the airport in Marseille with a friend to drive to my aunt's home in the nearby town of La Seyne Sur Mer. The only glitch was a big tear/hole put in my Mom's new suitcase :(  My aunt is so very happy to have her sister for a whole month and my Mom says this area is sooo beautiful. I have been to the south of France but believe it or not , although my Mom was born and raised in France she never got to the south so I am so happy she is there.

 And speaking of France, it coincidentally ties in to this:

 Here is another view on my coffee mug-the front:

 and the back:

 The lid is an airtight silicone lid I bought at a shop while at the beach. I had never seen these flower lids before so I bought a set of two. Yes, they are airtight! Apparently these are more popular than I was aware of. They are made by Charles Viancin inspired by nature-AND based in -you guessed it-France! They make all kinds of flower tops in different sizes and they make other products too-very cool stuff. The mug is one I received from our breeder when we got our Annie-who by the way is the spitting image of the one on the mug.

 For the art part- here are two more collage and watercolor pages I did about my beach vacation. Again, these were inspired by Dianne's tutorial some weeks ago.

This is how my page started. And this is the finished page:

Another page begun:
and finished:

 Such a fun way to combine water color paint, doodles and collage papers! 

 And one last mention regarding art. Big news!!! Life Book 2016 will soon be opening for sign ups but in the meantime Tamara LaPorte is offering 10 spots in this year long class(all of which you can download for forever access)!!! Visit her blog , along with the rest of the teachers in the blog hop, follow the directions, and you can win one of these spots! I looked at the teacher line up and it is amazing!

 That's it for today. Linking to my friends at T Stands For Tuesday. Can't wait to see what everyone else has to share!

" We are each spinning our individual threads, lending texture, color, pattern to the 'big design' that is serving us all."         Karen Casey

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Nature Is a Painting

  How's the weather in your neck of the woods? Here in PA it certainly still feels like summer with continued high temps feeling like the 90's F along with high humidity. So of course my thoughts are still on summer and our recent vacation in Fenwick Island , DE.

                                             Nature's Treasures ( 8" x 6" canvas board)

 The base was first painted in several bright colors then mostly gone over with several blue colors. I adhered feathers and Jingle shells I crushed (to resemble mica flakes).

 This is what they look like:
  A few days ago I received a new stash of pens in the mail!

 Some I needed to replace and some are new to me and I wanted to try them out. These come from JetPens online. I think the prices are really good, they ship free $25 and up, and their service is fast and excellent!

 Here's a detail of the gold pen-very hard to capture but it is GORGEOUS and flows perfectly smooth:

 I haven't had much time to play with the new to me ones yet. But the uniball signo pens are my very favorite and I have them in several colors although it is the white one that I use the most-it is THE best by far although I think I am going to like the Posca pen too.

Do you have any of these pens/markers? What are your favorites? How do you use them?
 Please do share!

 Besides the beach my thoughts have also been about France - especially since I just sent Mom off to spend a whole month visiting her family. And so I will share with you a journal spread I had done some years ago in a book I dedicated to times spent there with my French family.

The words mean "by the window". I used a photo of shutters I took in France then printed them out on cardstock and cut them to go over photos inside.

 And to reveal how old this is-that is my dear aunt top left- who is now 81 yrs. old-my Mom's oldest sister. I was always closest to her so it was especially difficult knowing I wasn't able to go and see her again with my Mom this time. Top right is hubby. There was always a clean table cloth put on the table at my grandmother's and afterwards we'd shake the crumbs off  by waving it out the kitchen window. She lived in a  3rd floor apt. - and as you can guess- I did lose a cloth that went on a line below one time:):) Bottom left is my MéMé , my mother's mother who is no longer with us. Everytime we went out she'd stand by her front window to wave us off and watch us leave, and then she'd be there again when we returned. She was a ton of fun and we all miss her so. Bottom right is my son-who was 7 then and he is now 27!!
 Thanks for indulging me a bit with my nostalgia. I am truly grateful to have so many remembrances of the happy times spent there.
 Hope you all have a wonderful weekend coming up. Here in the US it will be an extended weekend as Monday is our Labor Day holiday and most will have the day off. Enjoy!
 Linking to Art Journal Every Day, Art Journal Journey (theme for this month is "Through My Window"), and Paint Party Friday.
 " Nature is a painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them."                                                           John Ruskin


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It May Be September...

... but I am still holding on to summer! And it appears the weather is too with a whole week of heat and humidity into the 90's F. No complaints here despite what my body may be saying:)

 Another photo from our beach vaycay. Strawberry margharitas! Of course I snagged the umbrellas and napkins:):)

 We've been enjoying the prolific fruits of the garden at home and I have a French recipe to share to use those tomatoes and zucchinis:

                                                 Tian Provençal (recipe at end of post)

 Speaking of garden, I have a visitor who made a grand home at the corner of our house and fence out back:

  It is a common Garden Orb Weaver spider. Sorry for the bad pics-neither my camera nor the photographer are up to getting great shots. It was the huge and magnificent web that caught my attention first. It spans about 3 ft. high by 2 ft. wide and oh how I wish I could have captured the intricacy of it! The spider itself is just over the size of a quarter. I love watching for it each day-it somehow feels sacred because my first thought of the marking on it was of a cross. It's not deadly so no worries.


 OK, I know not everyone appreciates spiders so how about some art?

 My journal page began with a watercolor wash. See my previous post for the links to a fun and easy tutorial from Dianne! There will be a few more of these type of pages to share soon.

 Remember the umbrellas from our beach drinks? This page also was a perfect thank you card for our friends:

 I resized and printed the page, attaching it to a white card with foam tape and stamped coordinating envelopes.

 Linking to T Stands For Tuesday at Altered Book Lover. Will be around to visit in between rheumatologist appts. for myself and my Mom this morning and then I am helping her pack for her month long trip to France (she leaves on Thursday) to spend time with family (yes, I wish I was going too).

 Hope you are staying cool, or staying warm, whatever the case may be! I am leaving you with a special quote. Dr. Wayne Dyer, self help author, motivational speaker and spiritual leader died Aug. 29th at the age of 75. He was a very wise and kind man and will be missed by many. He has helped me and then hubby in SO many ways. I am ever so grateful for the gifts he has given.

      " I believe if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
                                                                                                                        Dr. Wayne Dyer
                                                   Tian   Provençal
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling      1 onion, sliced     1 garlic clove, chopped
1 lb. tomatoes        1 lb. zucchini       2 tsp. dried herbes de Provence    salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh grated Parmesan cheese
 Preheat oven to 350 F.  Heat oil in heavy saucepan over low heat and cook onion and garlic for about 20 min. til soft and golden. Spread over the base of a shallow baking dish (about 12"). Cut tomatoes crosswise into 1/4 " thick slices. Cut zucchini into slices. Arrange tomatoes along sides and add zucchini in center over the onion mixture. Sprinkle with herbes, salt, pepper and cheese. Drizzle with olive oil then bake for 30 min or more until vegetables are tender. Serve hot or room temp. Serves 4.
Tips: This is most flavorful when tomatoes are at the height of their season. Mix some of this into eggs and sauté in an omelette type pan on stovetop for a nice , light frittata. Bon appetit!