Tuesday, October 29, 2013

P IS FOR .....

The features of a person's face.
On and off over the past year or so I have been telling myself I need to  start practicing drawing faces.  Just drawing faces is difficult enough but to actually make the drawing have any kind of a likeness to the subject is very, very difficult for me, but I know I will improve if I practice.

I have been working on the PHYSIOGNOMIES of these two faces for over a week.

The first one, my first attempt in well over a year, was completely made up out of my head:
Well, it was a start, but I could list all the things wrong with it.  I seem to be able to draw eyes, but not as a pair or suitably placed in a face -- yet!

This has quite a pleasing effect, until you know that it is supposed to be from a photo of Margaret Thatcher.  There is a very slight resemblance in it somewhere, but again the eyes are too overpowering. I have to admit that I did a little editing with the contrast and highlights through Picasa on both pictures.

I know I am very critical of my work, but I have to know where to improve and how.

I bought some pencils tonight after doing these -- an HB, a 2B, a 2H and an ebony.  I can see that if I am to do more faces I will need different pencils for the PHYSIOGNOMIES of the faces.  I think too that I must practice different physical features without the rest of the face.  It is amazing to me how just a very little change in the direction or strength of a line as well as exactly where the shadows come can totally change the look of a face.

This is going to be quite a project, and one I will not be able to do for long lengths of time because of the close work and concentration, but something I can put down and pick up again later.

Now here's a true story about the effect the word 'physiognomy' had one year in my life as a teacher. 

This word lost me the good will of one of my students about 25 years ago.  I was teaching 11th Grade English.  Part of the course meant the students had to read "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. We were a private Christian School and this student discovered that the 11th grade in the public school only had to watch the movie (a really poor production anyway) and not read the book.  Since our students were later expected to take the SAT exams the book was required reading and introduced the students to a whole host of difficult vocabulary.  

I won't bore you with the way I attempted to make the book more palatable to them as well as useful, but when we bumped up against the word 'physiognomy', this particular student had a melt-down!  Sad, because she was a really nice girl, but was simply strong-willed.  All year long she never let me forget how much she resented having to read the book.  Ours was a small school and a small class so the strain on our relationship suffered and now all I remember when I come across "The Scarlet Letter" or the word physiognomy is the student's tantrum -- 25 years later.

This is my contribution to ABC Wednesday which is in its  13th round of the alphabet and at the letter P.  Our many thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt , the founder, and Roger Owen Green the next in line and to a whole host of others who help to keep this highly successful meme functioning.  To see the contributions of other participants, please click HERE

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Here are the trees that are showing  signs of fall that wouldn't post on ABC Wednesday.  

The leaves close to the lens and slightly out of focus are actually falling as I took the shot.  

There are a couple of others that are just across the creek that are actually prettier and getting prettier every day. I took this next shot for the sunshine and shadows.
It is by the small golf course that borders the park.

Look at this scruffy old eucalyptus tree (no offense to my Scruffy ! )  I just think it has fascinating texture and the small palm tree shows just how large this old tree is.

I went for a walk by myself today.  I have been walking almost every day since Kay was here in early August.  She gently nudged me to get started.  At first I just went to the first bench by the creek and then gradually extended my walks.  I always go with Barry (since Kay left) because of the vertigo which has reappeared, though it is not quite as bad as it was.  Today I went on my own, down to the bench, across the bridge over the creek, over to the lake, then back to the far side of the creek where there is another bench and home again. A good accomplishment for me. 

The Lake

The temps were in the sixties and it was warm enough to be without a jacket. At the lake the ducks and coots came zooming over thinking I was going to feed them.  The water was kind of scummy there because of the ducks,  The park gardeners have cleaned up all the grass and road from where the ducks make it so messy.  I don't usually go there because some park residents love to feed the ducks and it just gets messy.  I was really surprised to find it all cleaned up.  Our gardeners are SO conscientious.

As I left the lake I saw a turtle sunning itself on a flat rock.  He soon plopped in the water when he saw me. Then I crossed back to the creek again and sat on the bench that marks the furthest point of my usual excursions.  There I saw several phoebes flitting out over the creek and back again. (They are flycatchers).  A lady came by with her dog, a rescued spaniel named Andy. We talked for a while and  I discovered she attends Barry's Bible Study in the park.  I don't go because I use that time to prepare for my Bible Study which is the next day. 

So after my rest on the bench I walked back home, having picked up a couple of light branches (or large twigs) to add to the the tall vase on the deck.  Got home just in time for a cup of tea. 

Next time I must take my camera so you can see where I go.  It's supposed to rain tomorrow and Tuesday, which is fine because we need it.  I suppose Scruffy will retreat to the back of the closet where his kitty litter is.  He jumps up to a shelf at the back and then sits looking very miffed.  He doesn't like the sound of the rain on the roof of this house.  Well winter is coming so he'll have to get used to it. 

Oh, and here's some good news:  I have discovered the name of the yellow flowering shrub/tree that I showed on my last blog.  It is the cassia fistula or Golden Rain Tree  -- or a variety thereof.

 My, what a long blog I have written today!

See you again soon.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


O is for October Opulence.

The previous owners of our 'new-to-us' home planned their yard (garden) very thoughtfully.  Every six weeks or so we wait to see what new shrubs or plants will bloom.  Neither of us are much experienced in gardening, so each new appearance is a challenge for us to find out what it is called and how best to care for it.


This is the latest bush to come into full bloom this month of October:

We haven't done the research on this one yet.  Life must interfere with the computer once in a while !  :)
At first we were a little disappointed, but like the computer, we just needed a little patience.  Then to our surprise it really took off.  It is situated just a few feet away from the Royal Robe (potato vine) which is blooming its little heart out and producing many deep purple star-like flowers. Behind it is a little red bouganvillea and below are spreading red geraniums.

This is cheating , but what is October without chrysanthemums?  These are actually also a beautiful bright yellow, though my camera couldn't deal with the color at this hour of the day .  Barry bought  them (such good taste!) to set off our latest addition to the yard -- a park bench that catches the last hour or two of the sunshine and has a closer overlook of the creek. That's a purple lantana  behind the bench I think. It has been blooming since the beginning of July and shows no sign of quitting. It grows along the back of the house beside the path.

Our 'mystery' bush that caused all the excitement earlier in the summer, actually a tulip tree, is still popping out a couple of blooms.  We had a small amount of rain about 10 days ago, with some wind, and that took its toll on these blooms.  This is going to need some care in the months to come as temperatures dip into the 40's some nights, (thankfully, not many).

The lantana bush doesn't look like it is ever going to quit blooming.  In fact we are going to get some advice on how to prune it and when.  Remember, we are rank amateurs in the gardening department.

Now in case you think we don't get any fall here, I took a couple of shots to prove we do -- but not nearly as much as in the northern states.
Don't laugh, it's the best we can do !

I had two other tree photos I wanted to include but blogger is not cooperating, so perhaps I'd better quit while I'm ahead.

This is my entry for ABC Wednesday  letter O.  Many thanks to our Own Mrs. Nesbitt and Roger 
Owen Green for their leadership. To see more of  the fascinating entries please click 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

N IS FOR....


Slight delay in my entry for ABC Wednesday because THURSDAY is the right day for us, rather than Wednesday.

Our 54th Wedding Anniversary.
Poor man!  He has had to put up with my eccentric ways for 54 years -- but then he doesn't look too bad for it, does he?  The lei is one presented to him by our Micronesian friends.

We will celebrate by going out for a special dinner on Friday with our California family at a very special buffet.  But today, since the weather is continuing to be gorgeous, we will celebrate by having tea by the creek as we do most afternoons. 
We are so blessed ! 

The Lancashire Lad and the Yorkshire Lass who laid to rest the War of the Roses.

Here we are at the letter N in Mrs. Nesbitt's and Roger Owen Green's  ABC WEDNESDAY.
Please click HERE to see more entries.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

M is FOR...

Even though I have been painting and drawing since the eighties, I have never put my paintings in an Art Show before.  It was a MAJOR  MOMENT when I first presented them on my blog.  But this past weekend the Park had an Art Show and I took my courage in both hands and exhibited some of my paintings.  

The venue was not great for photographs and the light reflections were all wrong but I had taken some photos before I submitted them. The five on the right are mine.


This is "Reynard", a Prisma Color drawing.

This is my personal favorite called, "GOING HOME" (Watercolor)

"NORTH WALES", I take little credit for this, because tho' it is so beautiful, it is an almost perfect reproduction of a card I bought a good number of years ago. (Watercolor)


"THEY SHALL RISE UP WITH WINGS AS EAGLES", (watercolor). I painted this for the occasion of relocating our school from its place in Carlsbad to Oceanside in 1991.

"PEACE" (Watercolor). This is not a dove as many seemed to think, but a seagull sheltering in a hole in the cliffs while the storm rages without.

Our ABC Wednesday continues this week with the letter M.  Many thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt and Roger Owen Green and the others on the team who have navigated us thirteen times through the alphabet.   

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"L" IS FOR......


We were driving out to dinner the other night when we came up behind them -- Carlsbad's finest!

There they were, all spruced up to take part in the high school's Homecoming Parade.  In the 40 years we have lived here I have nothing but the greatest admiration  and pride in our Carlsbad Law Enforcement officers.

L is  for LAKE
Here in our park we actually have two lakes, complete with waterfall and fountain.  The HOA generally refer to them as ponds -- but how could they?!!  A pond is something the cows drink out of.  Our lakes are frequented by wildlife , blue water and...


Above are Mallards.  There must be at least 100 if you count the ones in the creek also.  Every evening some park resident comes to feed them and they gather together in a great mass  beside the lake.
This is a Cormorant I believe, (sorry a little out of focus) but he must have lost his way as they are sea birds and the sea  is about a half mile west.  Or maybe he was waiting for his free dinner with the ducks!

We also have a resident blue heron.  There were two this summer but I haven't seen the second one lately.  I managed nicely to capture his reflection.

We are so blessed to have all this wild life, including, skunks, coyotes and rabbits, not to mention a variety of birds, along with our LAKES and creek.

This is my entry for ABC Wednesday, now in its 13th round.  Thanks to Mrs. our founder and Roger Owen Green, The next LEADER, and many other helpers.  To see more creative entries to this project please click HERE