Pen and Ink...and maybe some paint

Saturday, May 27, 2017

We have a winner!

Just a quick note, since most of you are busy with holiday weekend stuff. Someone correctly identified my little plant as ASTILBE. Yes, I do believe this is what it is, after looking at photos. I don't know the identity of the winner since she signed in anonymously. If you would like to claim that free ATC I offered as a prize please look me up on Facebook under Lisa Foreman Richards and leave me a PM with your name, address and what you would like me to draw on the card. :) I was going to put my email address here, but that might not be a good idea.

I took my customary 2 mile walk yesterday, heading west on the Heartland Trail which runs through our small town.

 Our lilacs are very late this year.
 I took lots of photos of foliage and tree trunks to use as reference photos for painting. I won't bore you with all of them!

 Lake Belletaine-and you can see a little bit of the county road that follows the trail.
An interesting bit of fungus.
 A lot of the chokecherries have this blight on them.
These were taken on Friday, but there were already quite a few people using the trail. Some friendly, some just ignored me. That's humanity for you! I heard a few "on your left"s as bikers came up behind me.
 This is the old Catholic cemetery, which is to my right as I'm walking. It's also my turn around point, so I decided to walk in and pay a visit.
 As I walk toward the cross, I glance to my right. This is part of the horse trail that runs parallel to the walking trail. It's a nice green place to walk, and I have taken that route a lot over the years.
 There are only a few headstones behind that little fence. It looks like the cemetery hasn't been used since the '50's. There is another Catholic cemetery closer to town, but I think it's about reached its capacity.

I believe they moved the cemetery after the  '50's because they purchased some lakeside property and moved it there. The Lakeview Cemetery is a very pretty spot, but now I see they have some stakes with flags around the open part of this older property, and I think that means they are going to begin using this old cemetery again.
 This is a nice, cool spot to read on a hot day.
 Yesterday my four little grands and three of their cousins had a fun evening at the park in Walker, which is a lakeside town about 15 miles from home. This was to celebrate the last day of school! Their auntie treated them to ice cream at the local DQ. :) Front to back is Audrey, Cali, Hazel, Damien, Della, Max and Sully. (And Aunt Ashley.)
That was a little longer note than I intended! Everyone have a pleasant Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Plant talk and a graduation...

Well, after taking a walk on the trail yesterday and inspecting some of the plants along the way I'm beginning to think that this plant could be a hazelnut bush. We have lots of them around here, and most likely a bird deposited a seed or something of that sort.
 Jody suggested that the plant below might be poison sumac, but after Googling for info I'm thinking the leaves are not right for that. Also, the information on Google said that poison sumac is usually found in the eastern U.S. in swampy areas. They probably don't grow here in our northern climes with sandy soil. That's good to hear since I've made "lemonade" from the seed heads of the local sumacs and have waded through large patches of them for years! I'm getting more and more curious about this little plant, so I'll continue the hunt for it's identification.
My little granddaughter, Audrey, graduated from kindergarten yesterday!

 Here she is, second from the right, getting into the choreographed version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight. They did a mini-concert and had the whole pomp and circumstance thing when they walked in and out.
 Shaking Mr. Durham's hand and receiving her certificate.
 The names of all of her classmates. Some are quite unusual. Their cute little caps are made of felt. A fun little memento of their graduation.
 Audrey and Mr. Durham, her teacher. He's been a kindergarten teacher here for many years. He's also a fishing guide during the summer. His truck and fishing boat are parked outside the school, so I guess he goes fishing right after school is out! :) She was so blessed to have him for her first teacher. He made it a really fun year for her and the whole class.
 Adele is admiring Audrey's bouquet. There's a little wooden bumblebee in there. :)

Today is Field Day at school. Micah and Sully will go and watch Audrey do that while I watch Adele and Hazel at home. They made things a little too exciting at graduation yesterday, so I thought Micah might enjoy Field Day more if we didn't have to chase those two all over creation. Ha!

My little resort is filling up with RV's! Someone else moved in last evening. So far they haven't taken my parking space, but it could happen. Below I've taken pictures out my front door to give you an idea of how close the RVs are to me.

These first two have been here a couple of weeks. They are owned by two older gentlemen who seem to show up during the week with their fishing boat. I think they prefer to avoid the weekend crowds on the lake. They fish all day and come home as it's getting dark. They are very quiet neighbors and I'm thankful for that! (I'm taking a 180* view of my yard. Keep an eye on the propane tank as a point of reference, lol.)

 Behind those trees is a third RV that just moved in last night.
 Behind the trees you can see the car that goes with that RV, and then that's my car on the right. That open space where I'm parked is actually another RV spot, or maybe even two. If those fill up I'll have to park elsewhere. I'm hoping the one closest to me stays open, but if they fill it, they fill it. I'll then be looking right at an RV out my kitchen window! Fortunately, my little "living room" couch is situated in such a way that I feel like I have privacy when I'm tucked in there with a book or my laptop. I guess they won't have any more privacy than I will. That's resort life for ya!

 My flowerbed. It's hard to tell there's anything there. It will take a few days of sun and heat to get things going. Come on summer! Way at the other end are two tomato plants and my summer squash is around the corner at the end of the trailer. See the little red reflectors by my car? That's the water hookup for an RV. Yup...that close.

Anyway, I plan to happily coexist with whatever neighbors show up. If I really feel the need for some private outside time I'll go over to Micah's with my lawn chair. :)

Here's step two of this little painting (6"x6"). There will be many more layers added before it's done, but I thought I would keep a photo record of each layer. If it turns out okay I may want to replicate it in the future. I'm thinking about an Etsy shop or something of that sort if I get a collection of paintings to sell. That's way in the future! Right now I'm not even sure how to proceed on this first painting. Ha ha! My idea is to make a series of wildlife paintings which would look cute on the walls of a lake/resort cabin.

Chasin' the dream! Hope you are, too!
Everyone have a great day full of the shalom of Jesus!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Plant identification anyone?

I don't mean to be a pest, but I'm really curious about these plants that I found growing in my flower bed. I'm trying to decide whether they are tree seedlings which I might want to uproot or something interesting.

Now this one, I'm pretty sure is a raspberry plant. The stems have been chewed almost to the ground, but the leaves do look like the wild raspberries around here.

 This is the one I'm most interested to find out about. This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago.(If you click on the pictures you will get a much larger version.)
 This photo shows the leaf arrangement a lot better. There are three plants and some have more red than others.

Any big ideas? I'd sure appreciate even guesses to give me ideas about what to Google.

Here are my teapots with paint. These are inchies. (1"x1") I've since cut them out and mailed them off.
 A gal on the ATC site asked for a painting of an owl.
 Another lady wanted a mermaid. Hands and faces are not my forte folks...
That's it for now. Micah called and asked if I wanted to ride along to town with her, so I'd better get ready.

If someone guesses the identity of the mystery plant there might be a prize in it for you. Maybe a custom ATC? ("Oh, wow!" they said, rolling their eyes...)

I hope you're all having lots of sunshine. I saw the sun for a few minutes this morning. I stuck my head out the door to admire it, but it was raining at the same time, so I didn't go out. :)

Shalom to all!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spinning my wheels?

Do you ever feel like you keep starting new things, but never finish the old ones? Yep, that's me!

Elizabeth, you mentioned looking forward to seeing what I would put on that big canvas. Well, guess what! I quietly put it away and started yet another one. Smaller this time. (6"x6") Like that will make it easier to come up with a subject, lol. Actually, I do have an idea. We'll see if it gets done any time soon.
I have done some line drawings for an inchie swap. The theme is "Teapots". One reason I continue doing ATC swaps is that I feel like I'm committed, so I actually get something done! I love little cottage-shaped teapots!

I've been having online challenges. My rent supposedly includes wifi, which floats through the air from my landlord's house next door. The problem is it's kind of intermittent. Sometimes I get a fairly strong signal and other times it fades out so my pages won't load. Is there some type of booster I can get? I hope so, because I think I'm paying a lot of rent and reliable internet should be included.

Another challenge is my Microsoft Word Starter program. I decided to try my  hand at doing some online proofreading through Well, my little word processing program isn't going to cut it. I haven't actually used a word processor to do proofreading since college seven years ago. I'll have to learn how to do it all over again. There are tons of "free downloads" available, but who can you trust?

Speaking of college. One of my favorite texts was "Blue Zones" which we read for sociology. This video/article mentions some of the research for the book, and it makes me want to live on this heavenly island. Have any of you seen this already?
The Island Where People Forget to Die

We've been having quite a string of cold, rainy days. I hope my little plants don't give up and think winter is back! So far they're hanging in there, but I'm hoping it won't be too long before we get some more sunshine and warmth.

It's knittin' weather! Nope. I'd better stick with painting.
Shalom, all!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

This and that... (Thanks for the title, GM!)

Well, lots of little things have happened since my last post.

My tree nursery job wrapped up last Thursday. Just in time for me to spend Friday babysitting my three older grands. Micah and baby Sully headed to Minneapolis in the early morning Friday and returned late Saturday. This was for the annual MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) leadership conference. Micah looks forward to this each year as a mini-vacation.

Micah had purchased a couple of goats about a week before she went on this trip and since Adam has never milked anything before, I volunteered to come over and milk Friday evening and twice on Saturday. I kind of enjoy it. It brings back pleasant memories of the farm and many years of having goats. :)

Friday went smoothly except one incident in the evening, after I had gone home, when Adele pulled a heavy object off of a shelf and onto her head. This required a trip to the ER. Adam called me Friday evening and asked if I could come over early (I had planned to go over at 8:30 to milk) because Adele was hurt and was bleeding a lot.  I ran over and, by then, he had the bleeding stopped, and she was pretty calm. The ER doctor said she seemed to be okay, but to watch for symptoms like screaming, vomiting or unconsciousness. Yikes! Anyway, she was fine other than a cut and a bump on her forehead. She's a very active two year old and routinely runs into things, falls off of things and generally bashes herself about. She keeps her guardian angels busy!

Here are some photos Micah took in the past week. 
Micah and Sully picking Audrey up from school.

Grocery shopping is always an adventure!

Micah and Sully at the MOPS conference. She goes with a group of moms and they always fit in some pool time. Sully loved it!

My future daughter in law, Brooke. She was planning the flowers for her wedding.

We had planned to take the whole family out for Mother's Day dinner, but Adam decided at the last minute that it might be more fun for Micah and me (along with nursing baby Sully) to have dinner together and have some quiet time to visit. He said they would take the kids out later in the week. We took him up on his offer and went to a favorite Mexican restaurant. His mom and step-dad had come over on Saturday for lunch and a visit. So, kind of untraditional, but you do what works. ;)

This is my 5x7 acrylic canvas for this month's canvas board swap. I tried to copy a painting by Heni Sandoval called "A Murder of Crows". She had just discovered that a flock of crows is called a murder and thought she'd like to capture that in a painting. 

 As I painted I was watching a YouTube video of these three youngsters; also painting. They actually made some videos with the intention of people watching them while they paint. So you feel like you're painting with a group of fellow art enthusiasts. Weird, huh? Ha ha! Actually, it was kind of nice having some conversation going on while I worked. I guess I'M weird. Do you like my fruity tablecloth?

Do you remember my friend who asked me (and some others) to make ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) for her to hand out to people in nursing homes?  Well, now she's asked us to make ATCs of creole words so she can put together an ABC book for some Haitian kids to use to learn their sounds. I'm not sure how well this will work, but I've made nine so far.

I just received this gorgeous little jewel of a book in the mail. 
It contains lots of beautiful examples of lettering...
...and lots of nature paintings.

Of course, like everything these days, it's infused with new age thinking, but...
I'll look past that and use it as an art lesson in a book. I love the colors and want to learn how to do the acrylic/gouache techniques of painting color on top of color. I'm just loving these beautiful paintings!
On the subject of gardening, I put in two tomato plants and six little summer squash plants. I hope we don't get any more freezing weather!

The summer squash are hard to see here, but I reckon they'll take up the whole space when they bush out!
 The next two photos show a couple of plants that were in the flowerbed and I wasn't sure what they were. This almost looks like raspberries?
 And I have no idea about this one. Anyone? I didn't want to dig these up until I knew what they were.
 The rest of this part got petunias. There are some day lilies in the distance and just to my left as I was shooting this photo.
I'm not sure why I didn't take photos after I planted the petunias. It's cloudy and dreary out right now, but I'll have to do an update when the sun comes out. 

My sitting spot, and what I can see from my sitting spot. 

You know you live in a resort if...
I covered this 8x10 canvas with one of my favorite colors. This brand of acrylics calls it Key West. I think of it as turquoise. Now I'm a little stumped. What will I paint on it? Maybe I'll steal some ideas out of the book I showed you. :)
I'm going through a period of adjustment with this retirement thing. I find myself feeling guilty for having so much time off. Pom, did you experience this? I know I'm ONLY 60, and I ONLY worked for 13 years outside of the home. That's what a little voice keeps telling me. But those 13 years were hard, physical labor AND I spent 24 years before that being a stay-at-home mom and homeschooled my kids for 19 of those years. We also lived a very rustic, physically demanding life during those years. So, if I'm able to retire (or mostly retire with some seasonal work) on my widow's benefits, I think I should be able to enjoy my retirement. I think this phase will pass. I have all kinds of time to do my creative stuff. I just need to have the courage to go out and find some volunteer work so I can be helping people and so I don't get too self-involved. Micah is my main source of volunteerism right now (babysitting), but I'd like to branch out. Anyway, it is an adjustment!

With the skies threatening rain I may not get out for my walk today. I did 2 miles day before yesterday and I'm still tired from that. If it clears up I may go for a shorter walk.

Let it rain! This is where I'll be curled up! :)

I hope you're all enjoying the coming of summer. I sure am!
Shalom to all!