Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I am an aluminum can… (altered book spread)

…  and you should recycle me unless you want to give up TV. 

coke can This is a spread I finished today for the collaborative altered book project I’m working on.  After yesterday’s play & trade date I now have Sheila’s book and recycling/green is the theme.  I read through some quotes that Heidi found and one of them struck me as amazing:

“Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run your TV for three hours”.  Reynolds Metal Company

So, think twice before you toss that can!  According to Alcoa, cans we recycle today will be cans again in less than 60 days.  Here in Alberta we are financially incented to recycle pop/soda cans.  When we buy a can we are charged 10 cents, refundable upon recycle.  There’s a dime tucked into the pocket on the can to represent the refund…  [thanks Sheila].  I thought I’d better include that since I chopped up her pop can for this page.  I made the pocket by folding the can up before attaching it to the page with snaps. 

The green wire runs from the can to the TV and coils up when the book is closed.  The nifty background on the right page looks like spilled coke but it’s actually walnut ink crystals which have bled and run together.  This is the first I’ve tried them and it was fun – thanks Sharon!  Ciao!

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Early Morning Calgary [14x11 watercolor]

This Calgary sunrise is another of my photo references from our deck [different house than the Bearspaw Dam shot earlier this week]. What a city view we had from this deck! This was a particularly memorable sunrise… I have several photos of this bright, bright color. Just a bit of “low-lying fog” hanging over the Bow River and downtown with the lights still twinkling across the city. Enjoy! Retweet this

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Very Unsettled Weather (14x10 watercolor)

very unsettled weatherThis is the view from our balcony looking north towards the Bow River valley.  Bearspaw Dam is surrounded by the river hills in this watercolor but it’s not the focal point – that honor goes to the clouds that often build up in the foothills and blow across Calgary.  Wow, some of these clouds have been dark lately!  Enjoy!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Poppy Pod

poppy seed head2 Here’s a little flower sketch – just a poppy jumble.  I started this way back in May and it’s been sitting around in my pile.  Today I decided to putter a bit more to see if I could make something out of it.  I like the seed head and the top left background and I think I’ll chalk the rest up to experience.  Tomorrow is another painting day.  Cheers!

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rock Isle Lake (20x14, watercolor)

Rock Island Lake Sunshine MeadowsA year ago I attended the Sunshine Meadows Plein Air PaintOut near Banff, Alberta.  The area is spectacular – what a gift our beautiful mountain parks are!  I nearly froze solid up there on a day that couldn’t make up it’s mind whether to snow, sleet, rain, or shine.  The overcast conditions made for the most spectacular photography though.  The purpley mountains set off the new, yellowish green growth perfectly.  My favorite spot is the basis for this watercolor painting – Rock Isle Lake.  Spectacular views and the cleanest, purest air I’ve ever breathed.  This year the PaintOut is August 5th so hopefully the weather will be more cooperative.  Regardless, it will be a day of fun and fellowship with other artists and enough photo reference material to last a lifetime! 

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Own Tulips (3x5 ink and watercolor sketch)

my own tulips

Last fall I bought a few tulip bulbs – a first for me!  Normally, I lack the foresight for tulips but the bright red and white packaging attracted me in the store.  So, I have 16 tulips blooming.  Better late than never they say, and these were VERY late.  When I arrived home from Colorado on June 5th only ONE was blooming.  Today I needed a break from number chores [yawn!] so I collected my supplies and a coffee and headed out to my verandah to sketch.  Enjoy!

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Monday, June 15, 2009

sky sketch

foothills and cloudsJust a quick post with this little sketch I did today in an effort to prime my creative pump.  I’ve been inspired by the afternoon cloud buildup around Calgary lately.  Really spectacular clouds.  Although I definitely didn’t make a masterpiece, I enjoyed puddling in  my watercolors again.  Ciao!

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sew What? Altered book spread

sew what

It seems to me that women are a bit conflicted about HOW to spend our creative energy.  OR, perhaps we are conflicted about whether to spend our limited energy creating or cleaning, lol.  These are choices we have the luxury of contemplating over our morning coffee.  Most folks in previous generations only dreamed of having time to add a ruffle, crochet a lace collar, turn a lovely chair spindle, or plant flowers let alone creating art in books!  We really have so much to be thankful for. 

This is the third 2-page spread in my book and now I can trade!  And not a moment too soon either.  My topic is such a deep subject I feel like I’ve run out of steam.  I’m over-thinking and under creating.  I have a list of ideas for more spreads in this book for later, but right now I’m looking forward to a new challenge! Enjoy…

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Common Threads – Altered Book spread

DSCN3775RSCN3777DSCN3778Now that I’m home I’m ramping up the art again.  Yesterday and today I’ve been working on a 2 [or maybe 3???] page spread in my altered book.  I’m WAY behind and it’s important that I get, and stay, caught up so I can trade books with another artist soon.  I really don’t want to be holding up the group. 

This spread was about looking at creativity in my past and my future.  “Common Threads” seemed like a good name for it.  I have a left hand page representing the creative past with 2 photos:

  1. our girls and cousins in skating & dance costumes [some created by me]  
  2. Candice and her bridesmaids with her mommy-made cathedral length veil. 

On the right hand side of the spread I have 3 more photos representing the future:

  1. Kiera and Kalista – middle daughter Candice’s girls
  2. Hannah, Kristian, Victoria, and Ethan – our son Matthew’s children
  3. A favourite painting of my own.  LOTS more of these to come!

Between the two pages is a two-way window which represents the present…  you can look back at the past OR forward to the future.  The ribbons [the common threads] and the embroidered tulle are both left over from our girls’ weddings.  I think it turned out pretty well.  Enjoy!

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Colorado Rocks (mixed media, 8 1/2” x 11”)

colorado rocks033This is a watercolor rock study that I began a few days ago and finished today with some Caran d’Ache detail.  The light was almost overhead in this landscape and was catching just the tops of most of the rocks.  I wondered how these trees could grow in such inhospitable surroundings.  But, plants are tenacious and those that grow in the Garden of the Gods have to be tough enough to endure extremes in temperature and moisture.  The red rocks are so beautiful…  I miss it already and I’ve only been home one day :o(

Here’s an interesting bird’s eye view of the garden…  enjoy!

Map picture
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Garden of the Gods & Pike’s Peak


The Manitou Springs area is such an amazing place to visit.  Every time we leave the house my fingers itch to paint.  However, it’s been raining and not exactly ideal for plein air painting.  Kiera (5), Kalista (3) and I had an indoor painting session yesterday.  The rule is they can each have 2 Caran d’Ache at a time.  Like a library…  put two away and take two new ones out.  After all the coloring is done we wet the brush, tap tap [to reduce the water] and paint.  Now that the girls are used to the concept I’ve had a chance to paint a tiny bit.  This is a 10 minute sketch from memory of some Garden of the Gods rock and Pike’s Peak [still snow covered in June!!!].  The sketch is not entirely accurate but does capture the feeling of the area.  WOW!  I highly recommend a trip to Colorado – it’s a dream come true for artists.  Ciao!

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