30 March 2013

No. 17: Draw every day for a month.

No. 17: Draw every day for a month.
Getting close to the end!

On Wednesday, Day 27, I drew the Easter decorations.  Well, one of them.
And not very well.


Bad Bunny.

I've got to say this bunny is pretty uninspired.  But everyone is entitled to a bad day, right? 

Day 28 was Carlos...in color.

Carlos in real colors.

Carlos in green.

This dog just entertains me to no end.  And for some reason I love this drawing of him. He has such a  huge nose.   Shar Peis traditionally have large, hippo shaped heads. Carlos certainly delivers on that trait.  When he was a puppy and he would run, his head would get too heavy and he would trip over it.
He's special.

Day 29 finds Carlos in blue:

I also love the way the dog color coordinates with the rug. 

Such a sweet boy.

Two more days of drawing. Yay!

I will keep up the drawing but not feel quite so pressured to do every day.   Normally March seems to be the longest month to me, but this one has flown by. Busy, busy, busy.  Back to other concerns once April starts. 

Looking forward to welcoming a new great niece and great nephew in the next few weeks. Twins! How fun will that be!???

Happy Easter to all....hope the bunny comes to your house and leaves lots of chocolate.

27 March 2013

Monday and Tuesday, No. 17

Monday and Tuesday of No. 17: Draw every day for a month
(Wandering brain...)

O! I know we are all getting tired of these little drawings.
But, sorry, I committed to them and they leave me little time for anything else.


Monday I'm bonding with the produce again.
And using one of my favorite toys:  Water Color Pencils.

Reeves Water Colour Pencils 
(Why! They must be English!)

You can draw with these babies, then put a little wash of water over them and the pencil turns to water color paint. Aren't the colors wonderful??

Cutie and a grapefruit- Texas Ruby Red!

O yes! This was done with my left hand, also.
Don't you love those colors

And speaking of colors-
I'm loving all the vibrant colors that go along with the Indian Holi festival which is being celebrated now. My boss, Sonya,  is Indian and I have a friend, Dee, who is living in India right now. Dee is posting about the Holi festival so I had to get a clarification of exactly what Holi is all about. Sonya to the rescue.

Apparently it's my favorite kind of celebration.
It's about Spring and new beginnings and getting rid of the negative. It starts with a bonfire (apparently good for burning pictures of exes and maybe those bad grades that the stupid teacher gave you) and then there is a festival of colors.
(This is definitely the short version explanation- longer version here.)

And I do mean COLOR!!!

First a bonfire to get rid of the bad.

Pots and pots of powdered color!

Doesn't this look like FUN???

Even the elephants get in on the color.

Isn't this beautiful? 
Bunny wants a "teacup" elephant and is trying to convince Dee to send her one.
Except there is no such thing and I don't think FedEx would allow it anyway.
Nor would her mother.

So- my grapefruit is not THAT colorful but I love the brightness of the watercolor pencils. And I am ALL for welcoming new beginnings and getting rid of the old bad stuff.

(Yes, I know. That was a HUGE leap from grapefruit to an Indian festival but that's the way my mind works sometimes. Sorry.)

Tuesday night I was back to Miss Mina.

Who would have thought this little runt of a kitten would turn into such a beautiful fluff ball?

Mina who obviously thought she was bigger than she really was. 

And here she is grown up and gorgeous.

And sitting just a bit too close for me to get a good photo.
But she was being still so I wasn't going to push my luck.

And here she is in pencil on paper:

Again, lousy photo, because I didn't want to move and make her mad.
She sat so quietly while I was doing her face,
almost as if she knew she was posing.

So Happy Holi!  
And Happy Grapefruit! 
And Happy Fluff Ball Kittens that grow up to be beautiful, beautiful Fluff Ball Cats.

24 March 2013

Friday, Saturday, Sunday of No. 17

Friday, Saturday and Sunday of No. 17: Draw every day for a month

Friday's picture was drawn with my left hand.
I am normally right handed.
This is a common art class technique used to literally and figuratively slow you down and make you think as the pencil hits the paper. By using a non-dominant hand, there is a tendency to also use the non-dominant right side of your brain which is better at seeing, not assuming it sees, what is in front of you. Using the non-dominant hand to draw also presents the challenge of staying on task- it takes a LOT of concentration to control that wonky hand.
It's also really fun to see the results which sometimes are much better than the dominant hand. Imagine that!

Lazy feet. Day 22.

Lazy feet become scary feet. 

Saturday was also going to be left handed because I THOUGHT Carlos was tired enough to sleep while I sketched. Wrong! Instead I ended up drawing half from the photo and half from real life and totally with my right hand.

Sleepy puppy.
 Just not sleepy enough to stay still.

Day 23. Love that face.

Sunday's pic is another left handed one.
Of a right hand.
The hardest part of this was taking the photo of my right hand with my left hand.
And I am somewhat ambidextrous.  
I once had an acquaintance (who shall remain un-named) that told me my mom must have dropped me on my head when I was a baby, thus resulting in some slight left-brain damage. Seriously.  
There are some things that I can't do on my right side so maybe they were right- but really??
A little harsh, don't you think?
I can't wink my right eye or snap my right fingers but it seems like a stretch to get to brain damaged.....  Or maybe we are all brain damaged.  
O well. Me and my damaged brain have managed just fine so far.

Day 24 which is also March 24.

Hmmm. Scary. 
Obviously the work of a brain damaged person. 
The second hardest part of this was keeping my right hand 
still because it wanted to "help" the left hand with the drawing.

Only one more week of my lovely drawings.   
I've been working on another project which is a surprise. Hopefully I will finish it this week (or next) and can share some pics then.

Also going to dinner on Friday in Houston to someplace new - thereby working on No. 60: Hit five restaurants in Houston that I have never been to before. 

21 March 2013

No. 17: Uggs, Tomatoes and Ruby

No. 17: Draw every day for a month
Uggs, Tomatoes and Ruby.

Ok, three more days of drawing for No. 17: Draw every day for a month.

I have to admit, some days it is the end of the day and I haven't drawn anything and I think "Really? Do I have to?"
And then I realize, no, I don't have to.
But I want to because I gave myself a challenge and I would hate to wuss out now.

So here we are at the ultimate of laziness: drawing my feet which are in my cozy, comfy Uggs
on Day 19.

Why yes! It IS March in Texas. 
Why am I wearing fur lined boots?

Because I have just come from a soccer game. 
No matter what the temperature in the High School parking lot,
it is ALWAYS 38 degrees with hurricane force winds in the bleachers. 

Day 20 had me bonding with the produce. 
I came home from Bunko late last night and nothing had been drawn. The tomatoes were the first thing I saw. 

Yum! I love these little yellow ones.

It was late, I wasn't that inspired, best I could do. 
Possibly a couple of beers had been consumed during the evening.
I still tried.

And today's drawing, Day 21, was done early because tonight we are having 18 soccer players over for spaghetti dinner. I have a few other things to take care of besides drawing.  Like dinner for 18. 

Yesterday's post mentioned the chinchilla. Here she is.  
This is Ruby.

It may look like Ruby is giving me the "stink-eye" because she is.
Carlos is standing right behind me.
Those two don't always get along.

Here is Ruby without the bars.

When Bunny was 12 she decided she needed a chinchilla.  
Her dad and I fought her on this for an entire year. 
Meanwhile, Bunny saved her money and finally announced she was getting a chinchilla no matter what.  The dad and I had pretty much resigned ourselves to there being a chinchilla in the house. 
The weekend before Bunny's 13th birthday she played Bingo at a local country club. 
She won $132.00.
Know how much a chinchilla costs?  
Yep.  $132.00 including tax.
We were screwed.
The next morning, Ruby came to live with us.  Ruby is now two.

Here are some things you probably don't know about chinchillas.

The big one: Chinchillas live from 12 to TWENTY years. Which means that Bunny can take Ruby to college, grad school and on her honeymoon. I hope her future husband and children all like Ruby. 

They can't tolerate heat above 80 degrees. That is inconvenient in Texas and has had a direct influence on our electric bill in the summer. The upstairs stays a lovely 76 degrees or below whether anyone else is up there or not.

You can't get chinchillas wet. They bathe in dust baths which is the most adorable thing to watch. It also makes an enormous mess. But it's adorable. If they get wet, they can rot. Or get fungus. Or turn into a Gremlin.

It takes about 150 chinchillas to make one fur coat.   Unfortunately if you have ever held a chinchilla, you know why they make coats out of them. Ruby is the softest thing EVER.  

If you grab a chinchilla that doesn't want to be caught, their hair will slip out, leaving you with a handful of fur and them with their lives. 

They are adorable. 

Have a lovely weekend...I'm off to make pots of spaghetti.

20 March 2013

Happy First Day of Spring!

Feliz First Day of Spring!

It is a beautiful day here and I am celebrating the first day of Spring 2013 by doing- what else?- some Spring Cleaning!

This is part of an ongoing attempt to restore some order to my life.

I gathered up a linen closet full of sheets and blankets and bagged them up.  Since we no longer own twin beds, I  am pretty sure we do not need twin sheets.

Bye, bye twin sheets!

I also gathered a zillion other sets of sheets, some clothes,  a Bratz CD player and tossed them all into the back of my car.

Whew! I feel six bags lighter already.

Then off to Goodwill:

I love that Goodwill has a drive through!

Home again, I decided to clean the doors to the kids' rooms. Fingerprints and stickers galore and all need to go,

And does anybody else have BROKEN doors because their children have tempers?  
I was afraid of that. 
I have TWO broken doors because someone slammed one too hard and the other one got kicked because one sister wouldn't let the other one into the bathroom. Or something like that. I am not naming any names here, though.


Here is your Spring Cleaning tip:
Lighter fluid will take stickers and tape off of any surface. Even painted surfaces. Without harming those surfaces. The fumes on the other hand can be pretty lethal.*

I practically bathed these doors in lighter fluid. I may still be a little bit high and the chinchilla was definitely feeling woozy until I turned the fan on for her.

Boy's door. 
I stopped removing stickers once I realized this door is also cracked.
But even this is a huge improvement. There was a 21 year old poster of Barney here, too.
Yes, the Purple Dinosaur. His sisters put it there. 

I was using a little of my favorite Method all purpose cleaner and some paper towels to clean.

Then I turned around and there was only cleaner.

Hmm? Where did I carry those paper towels off to?

I foolishly wasted about ten minutes looking for that roll of paper towels in the house before it dawned on me who might be able to enlighten me.

 What is Carlos tearing up?

O!! There's my roll of paper towels.

Hope everyone has a wonderful first day of Spring and your Spring cleaning goes smoother than mine.

* Disclaimer:  Check the lighter fluid on an inconspicuous spot before spreading it willy-nilly. Be careful of the fumes. Not responsible for high chinchillas, ruined paint on doors or anything else. Use at your own risk. That said- I've never had any problems, only success, using lighter fluid as a cleaning product.

18 March 2013

No. 17: Some of my favorite things

No. 17: Draw every day...and draw some favorite things.

Today I left Mr. Carlos outside all day while I worked.  Carlos is mostly an inside dog and today was very warm...he definitely was not acclimated to this upward change in temperature. On the bright side, it made him very tired this evening which meant he snoozed while I drew!

Sweet sleepy puppy:3D

Sweet sleepy puppy:2D

When this puppy isn't sleeping, he is bringing me things.  Since he chews up 
everything I tend to reward him if he brings me some item unchewed.  He has learned that bringing me objects results in treats. He's a pretty smart dog. 
Yesterday I was cleaning out closets in a feeble attempt at feeling in control. I put a bag of stuffed animals into Boy's room and thought I closed the door. 
A few minutes later Carlos brought me a package of gum. I took the gum, thanked him and gave him a treat. 
Then I got a box of contact lens cleaner.  Hmmm... this is stuff from Boy's room but isn't the door closed? 
Next was a pair of sunglasses. Another treat and I'm thinking I need to go close a door. 
Then I got Molly.  Molly is/was my middle child's Lovey when she was a baby. She had been in that bag of stuffed animals. 
Molly has been to Cozumel more than most people I know. She's been to Paris and London, also. She's done the whole pre-school nap time thing and had about a zillion and three books read to her. She even got lost for a few days but managed to find her way home.  
Fortunately Carlos did not eat Molly first.  I would have cried.  I'm pretty sure Belle wouldn't have cared but it would have killed me. 
But since Molly was out visiting with me, I decided to draw her, too.

Carlos brought me Molly and a trip down
 Memory Lane.

Can you have a doll bronzed? 
 Embalmed? Framed? 

Days 17 and 18 done.  

17 March 2013

First World Problems!?

Really? I'm whining?  
What do I have to whine about?

No challenges today. Just a little reflection.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? The day to day stuff gets to me because I seem to be responsible for so much.

Plenty of times I just ignore things that need doing because I am so tired of being the one responsible. I am under the mistaken belief that if I don't handle x,y or z then someone else will.

That never happens.

(I think this is called magical thinking. I wish I had some stronger magic!)


But really, most of my problems-and probably yours- are First World problems.
I mean, really.

Bunny yelled down to me that her ceiling has a crack in it. I'm figuring the roof is leaking- we know that the roof's days are numbered. But no, I go up and look and it appears someone put a large knife through her ceiling.  Just a slit cut up there. It's the weirdest thing. But teenagers... you never know.

And Boy, in his infinite wisdom, removed some shelves from his walls. Unfortunately they were attached with those plastic wall anchors. Unable to figure out how to remove them, he just yanked them out. Need a little taping and floating done in that room now.   (For those of you that, like Boy, don't know how to get those plastic anchors out- here is the handy dandy educational video.)

And Belle and another girl backed into each other in the school parking lot. Her car has a broken tail light, the other car needs the back and side panel replaced. A little negotiating with the other parent and we are each out $800 and the insurance company doesn't have to be involved. Belle's tail light was only  $200 of that $1600. total amount. Ugh.

And appointments need to be made and people called, Passports renewed, dentists seen and things done and it is just. too.  much.

So what did I do this morning after waking up early because so much was running through my head?

I grabbed my mat and went to yoga.

Silly yoga mat. 
Hiding behind the horse supplements, next to the reusable grocery bags
and on top of the "sitting at a freezing soccer game" blanket.
Think my trunk needs some editing?

Then I came home and made a zillion phone calls, wrote a check for the car repairs,  turned it over to the other daddy and returned some things that needed returning. Made a HUGE dent in the "things to be done" category.
And then I took a magazine and sat by the pool, absorbing a little healthy Vitamin D.


Sometimes you just have to tackle things to get them off your mind.   And then take a break.

And yes, First World Problems.

Because we have a roof over our heads to go bad, walls protecting us to be damaged, cars for the kids to drive and sometimes wreck, many phones to make phone calls with and a pool to lounge around.

And we also have pretty basic solutions.

Stretch. Sun. Read.


How do you cope when you feel overwhelmed? 

No. 17-Draw every day: Friday and Saturday

Friday and Saturday

Drawing the herbs:

 March 15
Fresh basil 

Not so fresh basil.

And the kiddo.
She would not sit still and would not let me take a picture of her but I was allowed to shoot a pic of her hair.  And wouldn't we all kill for that hair??

 March 16
Is there a girl inside all of that hair? 

 It looks a bit like I just forgot her face.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

15 March 2013

Still No. 17

No. 17- Draw every day for a month.
The end of the still life.  

Finished the little Western still life and not a minute too soon. I went into Boy's room this morning where it was set up and this is what was there:

Seems Bunny's friend wanted to borrow her boots for the rodeo.  The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a BIG deal in Houston. Big carnival, big performers, big bull riders all performing for two plus weeks in March. It starts off with trail riders coming from all over Texas and riding right into the middle of Houston. In the middle of the day. Sometimes in the middle of the street.  It's a sight to see.
Anyway, the boots went off to the rodeo to see Blake Shelton.

So here is the final sketch from March 14 which would also be Day 14 of drawing.

And just for fun here are all of the sketches of this still life from start to finish- like a flip book.

March 9, 2013

March 9, 2013

March 10, 2013

March 11, 2013

March 12, 2013

March 13, 2013

March 14, 2013

 Off to find something else to draw.

 Happy weekend!