Friday, January 29, 2010

Two Weeks Worth of Art

This was our first attempt, during the days of rain, a pastel colored trio of horses. (I am leaving Kay to post her paintings on her blog at A Patchwork Quilt made by Design

This was my next project.  It started from a photo of a boat posted a few months ago now, by Ken at stouffvilledailyphoto  on May 6, '09He gave me permission to copy it and then I formatted the picture around it.The lady is supposed to be looking round over her shoulder.  I'm not sure I quite got this effect.

This was the original drawing which I later painted.  I just liked the whole figure eight design.

Now I have to be brutally honest.  I have been resisting doing just pen and ink drawings, (with a wash of water color).  I just don't think I have a good enough eye to produce a simple picture without erasing lines along the way.  So I screwed up my courage, threw caution to the winds and these are the results. The first is a small gift bag, the second two robins copied from a coffee mug.

The first one here is my view of our 'entertainment center' and the second is a tabby cat from a water color on a note card. I am definitely not proud of these.

Finally, a tree drawn from my imagination.  Yuck! I'm not pleased with any of these, but I think I may have learned a few things along the way.  I may try to do these utterly casual drawings, (they're done on ATC cards) just for discipline's sake and see if I really learn anything from them.  I doubt I will post them if I do.My problem is that I want to sketch like with a pencil and not just draw one clean line.

 This is more my style.  I penciled this out first, cleaned up the lines and then drew in the clean lines with the pen and then used watercolors.  It is the design from one of my china cups, called 'Greensleeves' done in my favorite colors of soft greens and apricot.

This much I know now, I much prefer painting and shading and mixing with colors.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

B is for Berries

B is for Berries...

... and Barry 

...and Bailey

  ...and Birds
  ...and Boat

 Our 28 foot Newport [Correction:  this is our 25 foot Catalina, the boat before the Newport] which we used fully and completely every summer to take vacations to Catalina and to spend long summer days with the boys down at the harbor. Our main purpose for this boat was to keep our boys within sight and away from the beach culture which sadly in the 80's was a drug culture.  It was of course named FLAMBOROUGH.  I had to think long and hard about us having a boat as I cannot swim and hated being in the water.  But I learned to love being ON the water. It was well worth the investment (bought with sales from my first two books) and fulfilled its purpose as well as Barry's childhood dream of owning a boat.

B IS FOR BELIEVE.  We believe in so many things that are incomprehensible, I wonder why it is so hard for some to believe in God.  I heard a Harvard professor say the other day, "I don't believe in God."  And I would say in response, "I do believe in God"  So where does that leave us?  Neither of us can prove our beliefs.  "People generally believe the more tolerant you are, the more intellectual you are, the more civilized you are." (quoted from Chris Kahn).  But how fair-minded and tolerant is that?  It labels believers as ignorant and simple minded. It ignores the fact that there are many highly educated and intellectual people who are believers.  I don't mind others not believing as I do, but I do mind people who don't know me labeling me, just because I profess to be an evangelical.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Birds at the Harbor

Not the most excirting pictures today. It was the first day after the rains, so we went to the harbor.  The surf was still very high and rough.  There were a few pelican like this one.  They always look so graceful when they fly by.

Then we saw this egret, who was not about to come any closer.


There were quite a few redwing blackbirds but you can only see the red wings when they fly.  So we sat for ages waiting for one to perch nearby and then waited until he took off again.  I quickly snapped this one off, but it is rather blurry.  But at least you can see he is a redwing blackbird.


There were many people around enjoying their first day out in the sunshine.  We visited the little gift shop at the harbor -- it has some really beautiful things.  Kay is already gathering little 'whatnots' for next Christmas.  Not me.  I don't what to think about Christmas until next November.  I mean the gifts and decorations side of Christmas.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Our weather hasn't been this exciting for fifteen years.  50-60 m.p.h. wind gusts.  Heavy, heavy rain.
Really squirrely winds.There have been a couple of tornadoes, little ones, but as Rosy pointed out in her comments, we here in Southern California don't have any basements to go to for shelter. In addition, we have many, many mobile home parks. During a break in the storms Kay and I went down to the beach to see the waves.  It was almost time for sunset, so we really went to town on the sunset pictures.  This first one was taken before I turned the settings on my camera to 'sunset'.


What a difference that made to the photos!  The waves were 10 -15 feet but down in San Diego, they had 25-30 foot waves.

Got him!  Had a number of tries to catch a bird in the sunset  and nearly gave up.  They move too fast, but finally caught this one.  Sometime I will do a post on dramatic skies, because we got some good shots for that category.

 This was a good one of the sun shining on the water, but...


...I like the more subtle colorings of this one.

This is not snow.   Some foolish newsman, while covering this storm asked if this frothy stuff was pollution.  And the one being interviewed said yes!  Obviously neither of them are used to stormy seas.  This is spume!  It blows off the waves and floats around the beach and cliffs.  When we lived at Flamborough Head we often had this blowing all around  the cliffs and lighthouse.  Believe me our beautiful but cold, green waters off Flamborough were not polluted in my day.


 The winds blew over our patio chairs and the rains flooded the path to the bird feeder.


So I spread handfuls of seed on the picnic table, (which remained upright) and whoosh!  The birds came with a rush.

From what I can gather not too much damage was done in our area and I must say I like the break in routine.  Needless to say, Kay was not as appreciative as I.  She was hoping for more warm and sunny days.  But she has another week, so may be we can squeeze out a day or two of sunshine.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


A is for Aggravation!!!
 Here it is 11: 30 at night.  My blog all completed and Words for Wednesdays finished and blogspot would neither save nor post!!  So I decided to wait a while and then I go back only to find half the post is missing and unsaved.  So I start again.  And that's aggravation!  So I guess I will join Mrs. Nesbitt's alphabet posting, with A is for aggravation.

Denise, will you please let me know how I link up to your other players? I don't know what "Mr. Linky"  is, but I do know how to link from my post. But where do I link to?

Look at that rain!    I think, this is only the second rainstorm since last April.
The rain is gushing out of the downspout (center of photo) outside the patio window which is designed to keep the water away from the house.  It certainly came down hard.  That was yesterday, we had a similar downpour today and we were out in it going for doctor and dentist appointments.  We even had tornado warnings.  Not much traffic on the roads thank goodness.  The weather man has been warning us all weekend. As I sat in my doctor's office I could see the trees being swirled around and I thought, (having lived in Minnesota for five years), "that looks like tornado winds." A worse rainstorm  is supposed to come tomorrow and Thursday.  Fortunately we don't have to go out in it.  I realize that you who live elsewhere think we Southern Californians make a big fuss about a little bit of weather.  Problem is, we have a lot of oil on the roads from so many dry months, and that makes for conditions like icy roads.  In addition, we have many hills, river valleys, gullies and washes that soon fill up and sweep their way down to the ocean.

Meanwhile, here we are all safe and warm trying our hand at water color painting.  This is Kay's first time at painting, never mind water colors.  I haven't had much experience in proper water-color style either.
We found a picture of three horses heads that we liked and tried to copy it.  Not sure if we will show you the results yet! We will leave the table all set up for painting so that we can do some more tomorrow evening and Thursday.
"The sun shines on the good and on the evil and the rain falls on the just and the unjust"   Matthew 5:45
     If good things happened only to Christians, then everyone would want to be a Christian.  But for the wrong reason. If your children only love you to get things from you, you would not think much of their love.  But we have One who loves us  -- the One who is the Great Creator and who is the Perfect Sacrifice.  We were born with sin in our souls, but God will forgive us for that sin if we ask Him, and eventually it will be removed forever.
    That's why bad things happen to good people and conversely, good things happen to bad people.  Never mind what we deserve, if we sincerely ask for our sins to be forgiven we will be forgiven. In the mean time we live in a mixed up world where evil is called good and good is called evil. Yet
there is the same opportunity for putting things right for all of us.  No-one is better than any one else. We only have to ask Him sincerely.  He hears us!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Left Overs

As we are bracing for the heavy rains  and wind which they are forecasting to begin tonight, we are thankful for the lovely days we have had for the past week.

 Here I sat and chatted to another beach-gazer, while I waited for Kay to come up from the beach.  She arrived and snapped this.  The new friend is an artist, so we enjoyed our chat.

 When people travel Highway 101 that snakes its way all down the coast from Canada to San Diego, the beach towns all begin to look the same.  Sadly, Carlsbad is remembered because of this power plant, which needed the water from the ocean to function.  So it is right on the coast road, a blight on our beautiful scenery, but a monument to our burgeoning needs.  They are talking about pulling this one down and building another, hopefully less unsightly, further away from the beautiful coast.  But where?  The City Fathers wrestle with this and to be sure there is no easy answer and no pleasing everyone.

Kay took this lovely photo, which I have borrowed. It wasn't quite sunset, but she took it in the 'scenery' mode of her camera and we liked the effect.  I like the runner who looked as if he were running home before it got dark.

So now we hunker down for the week of rain to come.  Some good 'art days ' ahead of us, we hope.  I will have to feed the birds on the picnic table for a while as their tray fills with water -- needs some holes in it.  They are busily feeding right now.  They know bad weather is coming.

 Bailey's all set to face the weather.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Stairs down to the beach walk at Tamarack Beach, Carlsbad.  We decided we would take another day at the beach today because of all the bad weather forecast for next week.  We have a mile long walk just above the beach level and another one at street level just above that.  These are stairs from the street level to the walk just above the beach level.

 My sister Kay, strides along the beach -- two days in a row!  I kind of wander back and forth up above trying to exercise a little.

Sunshine, sea and shadows along the top level.

Benches for Rune -- Visual Norway

Sunshine, seagull, sea, and sand.

Ground squirrel joining me by the benches.  We're not supposed to feed them as they dig holes in the clay cliffs and cause erosion, so there aren't nearly as many of them as there used to be.

We finished the day off with fish and chips at the Surf Shop -- actually called Harbor Fish and Chips.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010


My sister has come down from Toronto to visit for a couple of weeks.  She is a retired missionary and is now a writer.  She is deep into a lengthy research assignment, so for her, this is a working holiday.  But working conditions are and added bonus.

---FOR THIS ---

 But you see she really is working!  We have had four weeks of outstanding weather and I was so afraid it wouldn't last until she got here.  But it did!  And we have about another week for sure. I am so sorry for all you people who are having such awful weather, and I don't mean to rub it in.  But this is my life -- my web-log today.

I am sorry too for not getting round to as many comments as I usually do.  I have the usual excuses of many things happening right now, but I've also been on some antibiotics - something with sulfur in it and it is making me more ill than before I started.  It's been hard to concentrate.Only one more day's dose left thank goodness!

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you"  James 4:8
My cat, Bailey, races through the house or scratches energetically on the carpet when he wants my attention. But if I ignore him, unlike most other cats who will climb all over you, Bailey will go and sit by the window or under the table and ignore me.
God does not push Himself upon anyone, but if we show an interest in Him, He will interest Himself in us. I know that God wants a warm relationship with me.  That's what I want too, but so often I get bogged down with 'stuff' that I ignore Him.  How can He have a relationship with me if I ignore Him?

Many years ago we used to sing a chorus:

Standing somewhere in the shadows you'll find Jesus.
He's the only one who cares and understands.
Standing somewhere in the shadows you will find Him

And you'll know Him by the nail prints in His hands.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Time For Art

I see a lot of blogs have been suggesting those who draw or paint try a self portrait to start out the year.  I thought I'd give it a try and with a couple of tips from Wanda this is my first effort.  Make no mistake about it, THIS was what I looked like in 1957

I based it on the photo below


A couple of weeks ago I started on this abstract.  Really I just wanted to do something with my hands while watching TV and I was longing for something really colorful.  I really have no idea of what an abstract should incorporate, so I just went with the flow of colors.  It probably isn't anything you would put on your wall but I do like all the colors.

At Wanda's recommendation, I picked up the book, "Keys to Drawing by Bert Dobson". I plan to try out drawing with pen and ink one day soon .  So this afternoon, I was watching Bailey watching the birds through the open patio window --(I won't even start to mention the weather since everyone seems to be suffering so miserably!) I had a sketch pad and pencil nearby so I decided to try out a little of what the author recommends.  I've only really read the first few pages of the book, but have found it very helpful.  The results below took about half an hour.  Soon I'll get up the courage to try pen and ink-- no erasing with that medium!!

I called this "Bailey on Guard". And yes, he does have rather large hips!  Remember he is a 17 lbs cat. These sketches are notable for me since this is the first time I've drawn anything from real life.This is what he does most of the day, if he isn't eating or sleeping. He guards the house from birds, possums, rabbits and other cats.  Mostly he is on the lookout for other cats.  He is an indoor cat. A black cat came by the other afternoon.  The patio window was open, but the screen door was closed and it has a metal mesh guard on it for just such times as this.  The black cat was very friendly and walked up to the window.  In a flash Bailey was up at the screen and hissing.  Very territorial.  But he's never like that with anyone in the house.  I think he knows he's on to a good thing and isn't going to share it with any other cats.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Old Mill

This is the sum total of my art work in the last three weeks.  There is an old windmill near to where we stay when we visit Flamborough, but it doesn't have any of its sails.  Now I hear they have a wind farm out on the moors. The kind of turbo wings -- not too attractive I'm afraid.  This is another of my ATC's -- watercolor, 3 1/2 X 2 1/2 inches.

"As long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper." 2Chron:26:5
I've been studying up on the history of some of the kings of Israel, in readiness for my Bible Study on Isaiah, which begins tomorrow.  It seems like such a simple thing to do, "to seek the Lord" or to "do His will," or "to obey Him", but most of us are just like the kings of old -- sometimes we do and sometimes we don't.  But God has said so many times, in so many different ways, "if you obey me, I will bless you."  Like most good fathers, God loves to bless us.  I wonder why it is such a struggle to obey Him?  Of course, we know it is sin in us that pulls us away from Him, but most of us don't like to think of ourselves as sinners. Yet we must, if we want to be blessed.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's Day


It was time to take down the Christmas decorations while I had the energy.  When we lived in England we always left them up until January 6th, but these days I have to go with what's best for me.

 This was what was left of a very pretty center piece we had been given, so I put it outside on the patio table, so we could still see how pretty it still was, even though the flowers were gone.  I had also put out some bird seed on the table and the result was this...
Yes, that is a real bird next to the golden bowl.  I should have focused more on him, but still it's quite a nice picture and the two different reds are quite distinctive.

Living across the circle from us are several young men.  Don't know them very well but they are good neighbors.  This pillar of rocks in their front yard has been puzzling us for weeks.  They happened to be outside kicking a football around when I left to go to the store that day, so I rolled down my window and asked, "Are those rocks balanced or do you have a rod through the middle?"  Well, apparently they are balanced and they intend to keep adding one more for every holiday.  So there they balance still, even though we had three earthquakes between 3.0 and 4.0 just over the border in Mexico in the last two days.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!