Thursday, May 24, 2018

Trying to get that feeling again...


This is the same Zentangle tile I posted previously only now it is finished.  I just want you to know how it turned out.  





I've been trying to do a tile a day or every other day.  It is very calming and it helps to feel like I am "finishing" something.  

My energy level is low.  I blame it on two surgeries since March 21 both requiring anesthesia which can really knock you for a loop.  I work on something for 45 minutes to an hour and feel exhausted.  But I hope that will be less and less.  There is nothing wrong with a nap after lunch but not too long.  It is frustrating to want things to progress and then they don't.  

I am walking without a cane now.  Encouraging.  Of course not walking too far but trying farther each day.  As I try to get more involved in the last weeks of the FL studio time, I find that doing short organizational things are helping me along.  Example:

I have just re-filled my palette with fresh tube colors this week.  Decided to do a strip of color samples to remind me of the various hues I have chosen over the past year or so.  The black line helps to remind me if they are transparent colors.  Which they are. I keep track of the brand names...Winsor Newton, Daniel Smith, Graham, Holbein and Qor.   



I have a few projects in mind for the last three weeks in the FL studio.  Then (and even now) I am going over inventory recognizing I am not taking so much with me this summer.  

I need to find a nice way to store my favorite drawing pens. 
I will take watercolors, sketching materials, and some colored pencils north.  Zentangle will go with me.  And some of my gelli print things.  That's about it.  Not so many books this time.  Too bulky and heavy.  




Friday, May 18, 2018

Reflecting on Today

3.5 x 3.5 watercolor paper

Dear Sharon…

We all know that every experience, painful or joyful and those in between weave the fabric of our lives.  
The painful ones especially need some time and distance before you can even begin to imagine anything of value coming out of them.  

As distance widens you begin to think again…dream again…love life again.  You know. Get hopeful again.
Your body begins to recoup…and you let go of fear and open up fully to receiving the healing prayers around you.

I’ve rejoiced in such wonderful friends and loving family who have surrounded me with comfort and gentle care during this mystifying ordeal.  My dear husband who I really have not appreciated during this.  He suffered maybe more than I did with worry and fear.

Yes, I wonder about that “golden years” myth too.
It surely is an interpretation that mystifies most of us in that category.

But you must admit there often “golden moments” and these I gather up like fallen flower petals and drop them into my journals to press so that I can smell the perfume again, hear the music again, touch the memory.  I've chosen mostly flowers to remember this event.  

I like this unfinished “zentangle tile” I found this morning.  
Done in a doctor’s waiting room where I spend quite a bit of time.
Unfinished…hopeful…comforting…it indeed reminds me of today…
Love, Ginny


Monday, May 14, 2018

Getting Well...AGAIN


Well, it's time for Autumn's tulips to say fare well.  They are really lasted pretty long for cut tulips!  She wondered what they looked like before I said good bye.  Below are my sister's Calla Lillies in amazing gorgeous pink and yellow.  




Granddaughter Maddy sent gorgeous cut Lillies and we have so enjoyed watching them open daily sending sweet perfume all over the house!  

I got back from the second stay at the hospital on Thursday and am making a very slow recovery...but moving forward.  It's tougher the second time and with far more stomach upsetting meds.  But moving slowly forward.  Starting PT again on Friday.  We'll be heading north way later than ever before.  But there you are.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Kalanchoe Plant


Carrying along with the theme of plants and flowers at my home...
I had a surprise plant left by another friend...it was a mystery plant but now I have discovered it is Kalanchoe Plant...a succulent.
One I have never heard of before!  





Saturday, May 5, 2018

A Walk With Friends and Family

6 x 9 sketch in ink and wc

Sometimes you walk in a valley for awhile.  All seems pretty darn dark and scary. But friends, loved ones, family all find you there and take your hand and your heart and help to turn things around.

Some friends (like Autumn above) remind you of cheer and sunshine and light with some flowers.  Her lovely yellow and red tulips are lighting up my home this week.  Others, like my daughters, call me (Face Time) with loving faces.  Or hop on a plane and leave home to be with us for a few days.

Friends come to visit, email and text, call, come to pray, come to laugh, and come to share.  Thanks everyone.



Friday, May 4, 2018

Quiet May Afternoon in FL



It's so lovely to have a little secluded spot in our back yard near the pond with the fountains where we can curl up on a warm afternoon.  

This small sketch faces neighbor Pete's home with his palm tree and our little grill with the black cover scrunched on it sits waiting to do up a chicken or a burger.  

Temps run mid 80s this time of year and into the 90s some days.  
Just a rumple of a breeze and very few bugs!  

Nice to have AC for cool sleeping at nights.
Missing those sketch crawls with Sketching gang right now but hope to jump back in next fall when this knee decides to finish healing up.  Am so missing my art these days.  But hopefully soon.








Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A Few Wild Acrylic Cards to send off


I admit it.  I posted these paintings before (I am pretty sure) in September probably.  At least that is when I did them.  They are little acrylic paintings in the manner of Bob Burridge.  The two on the right are my conception of Hurricane Irma which was happening at that moment although I was safe in WI at the time.  Still my house was suffering through it and I remember quite a bit of anxiety!

The top left called "Summer in the City" came from somewhere in my head. Where do those things reside?  

So coming upon them the other day I trimmed them to fit on 4 x 6 greeting cards and glued them down with PVA glue under weight.  All are done on wc paper.  

It is time to send grandson, Ben, his birthday card.  20 years old.  Ben is completing his sophomore year at UW Superior in WI.   
And then I have two graduations that need cards.  Eric from high school and Missy from college.  When you have 12 grandkids you have to have a special fund for cards and gifts!  

I hear that the midwest is getting some really nice warm weather now.  All those spring flowers will just burst out!  Won't that be wonderful.  Peony are my favorite...so showy and beautiful.  And when my daughter bought her home in Madison, WI she inherited a  peony tree.  Who ever heard of that??? Sounds like something from Alice in Wonderland.

Wishing blog friends a good week.
Am thinking of trying out a new tangle this week for the Back to Square One Facebook group.  Here is the step out.  







Saturday, April 28, 2018

Making Simpler Plans


One of the perks of being in my beginning sketching class was to have received a teensy sketchbook. Something very small to toss into your purse (this one barely 3" square).  

But alas, due to the slow healing and recuperation after my knee surgery I have had to postpone both classes here in FL in April and in WI in June.  I am SO disappointed.

If you were thinking of either class, don't give up hope.  But it's going to be in the late summer or fall now.  

But there are innumerable set backs, an infection, medication complications and slow Physical Therapy.  I am not giving up, of course,  but I am at the moment just worn down.  I need to simplify the next few months so that I have no big commitments.  

My major issue will be finding the energy to pack up some of my art supplies for the trip north in less than 3 weeks.  Right now that seems so out of the question.  

Send me good healing thoughts.  

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Using Inktense Color Blocks


The last blog post had a bit of information about Derwent Ink-tense color blocks.  These are a new purchase that has been sitting in the studio for a month untouched while I try to deal with all the effects of a full knee replacement.  

So the fact that I even got out the materials and spent an hour or so playing with them is a good sign.  

I admit I've been having a pity-party here lately.  Some of it is understandable.  There has been quite a bit of physical discomfort involved in this AND then I had a set back with an infection AND then an allergic reaction to the antibiotics!   

Okay but now it's time to move forward and get serious about the Physical Therapy in the last 4 weeks before we head north.  
It is EXACTLY one month to the day now before our planned leaving date.  More on this another time.



I wanted to mention that the original colors for this 4 x 6" greeting card were extremely light.  See above.  Inktense is VERY intense and just explodes on the page.  You can color in too much before you add water and there is no way of scaling back.    



So do it lightly first and after the first wash of water..I did go back with a paint brush and add a little more color to most of the blocks to get it as bright as I wanted it.  When dry the color is permanent on the wc paper.  So I could put whatever I want on top of the color.  

Happy 12th Birthday to my grandson, Pat, in Illinois.  
I told him to hang on to the card and in the years ahead he can take it to Antiques Roadshow and they will say, "A card by the famous Ginny Stiles?".  $1,500.  😉

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Something New to tweak the creative buttons



Inktense is solid ink.  That is, it is ink that has been compressed into pencil form or block form.   See blocks above.  The ink is water soluble after you first apply it to paper or fabric.  Then when it dries it is permanent.  It has watercolor qualities because it has a transparent quality to it.  While it is wet it behaves a little like watercolor depending on the surface.  

It can be applied with a brush, poured, grated, and layered.  There are tons of videos on ways to use it on YouTube.  This is someone painting a poppy with the blocks.  Note how little color needs to be initially laid down!  

I have used the pencils for years but have decided to try out some of the blocks now.  The colors do not match "standard" wc hues.  
They match each other..that is pencils and blocks match up.  But the company (Derwent) has developed it's own colors.  

Rather yummy colors including Fuchsia, Teal Green, Baked Earth, Sun yellow, etc.  
More on this another time.

I am busy with Physical Therapy for my knee...I am 11 days past surgery now and moving along pretty well.  Thanks to all my family and friends support!  

Monday, March 26, 2018

Hospital Sketches

The View from my chair...
Behind my TV and the Announcement Board is a little mural.  That's my closet under the clock.  

My view out the window

Yup, it's me.  Finally in a place where I can pop in and say hi again.  Whew...that "knee replacement surgery thing" is really a show-stopper.  Like all stories there is the good and the tough.
  
I had my knee replaced last Wednesday around noonish at Florida Waterman Hospital in Tavares, FL.  What a wonderful hospital.  Super nice room with huge picture windows.  Great nurses and helpful PT and my doctor (Donald Perry) gets a big thumbs up.  

For those of you who have gone this route already you know that they give you a "pain block" that makes you feel pretty darn good for the first 48 hours.  But as that wears off...reality sets in! I've decided against posting the photo of the surgery scar at this time.  
  
These sketches were done while the pain block was still working.  I became pretty famous on the floor as "artist-patient" in residence for awhile!  So I waved the staff good bye around 2 on Friday.  And I am writing this on Monday morning.  The home-health nurse dropped in on Saturday.  

The weekend home went okay..my daughter is here from Madison, WI answering my every beck and call.  I am icing the knee as much as possible and trying to wean myself off pain meds as much as possible.  I expect a call from PT anytime today setting up the home PT schedule for the first couple of weeks. I am forewarned that this is going to be tough going.  Grrr.

My daughter flies home this afternoon (boo hoo).  
My other daughter has been "coaching" me from Illinois by text.
And my neighbors here have been so delightful!  Can't say enough about the friends.  

Hoping to at least keep up some sketching during the PT and rehab.  I think the real "grit" part of this is ahead.  





Thursday, March 15, 2018

The mural is completed



Keeping myself busy in the week before knee surgery turned out not to be a problem.  Although I would have preferred to have more say in the way my time is being used...like enjoying Zentangle® or doing outdoor sketching.  

Instead, out-of-routine problems like having my glass cooktop decide to "give up the ghost" and having to shop for a new one and planning to have it installed has taken up some inordinate time.  ☹️
But it's a small thing.  I remember reading somewhere when you stamp your feet in impatience you should be rather asking for grace.  Indeed we need to be gentle with ourselves sometimes. 

One joyful thing this week was the completion of the pool-side  mural that ten of us in the Fine Arts Club took on as our challenge this year.  (I am the tallest one in the middle.). I think we actually look at this now and marvel that we even tackled the project!  I know none of us really realized last year at this time the amount of time this would take.  Next season we'll host an actual grand opening and invite the whole park to the celebration.  But for now we are taking a well deserved bow.

I am so looking forward to the arrival of my daughter, Julie, from Madison, WI.  She comes on Monday to do care taking and be supportive through my surgery and the first few days home.  
I am anxious to get on with this now as I am sure you can tell.

Weather cool in central FL this week but looking marvelous next week in the mid 80s.  I am going to check out the Diva's challenge now as I think Zentangle is the very best calming thing now during the stress of this week ahead.  

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Finishing up the Pen and Ink


Just reposting this as I finished the lower section.  I decided on some grasses and some leaves.  I looked up birch leaves to make sure I had them right...oaks I know!  I decided on no color for now...I could always change my mind another day.  

But it is framed and in the Hawthorne Art show for this afternoon!
Hoping to do another pen and ink soon as I found this fun and even relaxing to do.

The time for my knee replacement surgery is drawing near...a week from Wednesday so we are trying to get things in order here allowing for me to relax and rest and do my therapy.  My daughter, Julie, will arrive a week from Monday and stay a week with us...holding down the fort.  

Weather here in FL is lovely now...will be in mid 80s the whole time my daughter is visiting.  My two favorite months in Florida are November and April.  But March isn't bad.  Coping with the time change today.  

It is full spring here.  The Jacaranda trees are purple and the Tabebuia trees are bright yellow.  Azaleas are almost done now.
No hibiscus this spring since the hard freeze in January did them in. But they are re-greening now so there is hope.  Hawthorne bushes are in bloom and orange trees send amazing sweet smells.  The oaks here lose leaves and grow new ones in the spring...bright green and shiny.  We have a pair of sweet ducks on the pond now probably nesting.  (also a few small alligators!).  The song birds are nesting now.  Lots of sweet sounds in the yard!   

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Carrying On in Black and White


Obviously anyone who loves Zentangle® would love black and white too.  It just follows. I posted the beginning of this drawing already and I've been spending some relaxing time playing with this a little more.  I know it's not done yet, but I am to the point where I have to think it through a little now.  One problem in the lower third of the drawing where I need to make some decisions about grounding the trees.  Lots of choices here.  Grasses/leaves, or even color.

One idea is to make some copies on the printer and then add color or details to kind of get a feel for how that would look.  I'd sort of like to finish it up next week.  

Testing and lab work and etc prior to my up coming knee surgery is almost over now.  I still have a lot of follow up appointments but that should wind up soon.  The surgery date has been pushed back to March 21 which may in the end be a good thing.  

After I do some of the "idea" work I may post so you can the options.  All depends on how much time I figure out for this.
Hawthorne is getting ready for the big art show and I'm doing the program and it needs to get to the printer this week.  So first things first.  Would you believe that the theme of the show is "Black and White"?  

(did I tell you I am going to be a great grandmother come July 19?)
How exciting is THAT!  

Monday, February 19, 2018

Painting a Mural for the Pool



My friend, Todd, took a preliminary photo of the mural that our Art Club in Hawthorne Community (Leesburg, Fl) has been working on all winter.  The project was more than we imagined actually.  And when the holidays appeared we took a break.  Then in January the weather turned "nippy" and we took another break.  

The park employees painted the background a lovely turquoise blue over last summer.  Then we did preliminary sketches and layouts in November...and in late January and Feb we began some serious painting.  We used a lot of just house paints to mix much of the larger areas...clouds, water and waves, sand and palms.  Some of the smaller items were acrylic paint (which is just house paint too actually).  

We have to finish the central bar area now and tweak some of the details. There are about 10 of us painting.  A pool party is planned for the end of March.  So we have incentive now to finish up.
More photos to come. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Keeping Sane With Art


Last week I signed up for my friend, Jackie's pen and ink class.  Her subject matter was some old mailboxes along a road.  But I immediately thought of OUR old chipped mailbox up north in Wisconsin standing forlornly or maybe resolutely in front of our cabin sign.  The cabin name of "Rip's Place", by the way, is a reference to Rip Van Winkle who's ability to sleep was legendary.
The cabin is a great napping place.  (Note, we once had someone come to the cabin door asking for Rip.  How we laughed.)

So instead of Jackie's idea...I adapted it.  So much more fun to have it portray something that has personal meaning, right?  This is a quarter sheet of Arches 140# watercolor paper and Sakura Micron Pens, 01, 03 and PN.  

Above is just about an hour and half worth of beginning work.  I am enjoying the pen and ink.  Of course I work with pen and ink often in Zentangle and sketch in my sketchbooks in pen and ink all the time.  But this is an "extension" of that. 

It's a relaxing medium to work in...detailed but gentle and soothing to create. Just the beginning of the pine tree in the right upper corner is what I'll work on next.  I decided I wanted a good photograph of pine needles before I went further.  There are so many kinds of pines!  We have a number on our property.  

I do intend a little color on this when I am done.  Jackie says you can "rouge" it in oil, you can use pastel, colored pencil, or watercolor.  It'll be watercolor for me.  But just exactly what colors or which things will get color?  I'd like to keep it subtle.  I want it to be about ink...not about color.  So we'll see.  Keep watching.

Meanwhile I am getting ready for total knee replacement of my left knee on March 12.  The amount of preparation for this is amazing...tons of testing and MRIs etc.  I even have to go to "Knee School" one afternoon.  In between these stressful things will be a very nice project to work on.  

Spring is coming here to central Florida...the azaleas are blooming and many of the flowering trees in wild pinks and yellows.  The grass is bright green due to recent rains and soon the oaks will drop their leaves as the new leaves push out.  Falling leaves and raking is a SPRING chore in Florida.  We expect 80s most of this week.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Happy Groundhog's Day


Time for First Friday in Fine Arts at the Hawthorne Community again.  How can it be?  I was just there!  Here I am plugging the Fine Arts Show which will be March 11..holding up the application for putting art into it.  




The interview involved two really great artists, Jane and Eileen, and they had a lot of wonderful art to share hung on the walls behind us.  It's kind of fun to market the arts in the community.
A nice group of folks.









Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Desperation Sketching



Teeny Sketchbook sketches:  I call these "desperation sketches".  
When it's too cold to sit outside (well, windy and 50 today was not my cup of tea).  BUT you need to sketch cause it keeps you calm and focused.  And you have use what you find in your purse.

Then you are forced to find something in the doctor's waiting room (so sterile and blah) to sketch.  You pick the handle on your husbands walker!  

And later the seat and brake mechanics.  
I know. Not beautiful.  But it's good practice for eye hand coordination and it's quiet ink-to-paper that feels meditative and interesting.  It keep the motor memory going.  And it works on spacial measuring.  Everything done here in ink...no pencil. So you have to make mental on-the-fly measurements.   



These, remember, are only 3 x 4 sketchbooks.  My teensies.
I used my PN Sakura pen.  

Taught my Zentangle class this morning and forgot to take photos as usual.  About 20 gals.  Nice group.  I had fun.  I hope they did.

We are going to have temps around 70 the week in Central Florida.  I don't think that's far from normal in January.  Hope to see a tad warming spell come February which is RIGHT around the corner.

Remember that Ground Hog's day is coming up on Friday...surely you have a gift for your loved one? Oh wait, that's another Feb holiday.  Sorry.

Off to see the State of the Union speech tonight.  No comment.  






Monday, January 29, 2018

So What's a Chop?


This Chinese set of "chops" was given to me by my daughter many years ago.  I have always adored the concept of having one.  The little boxes are adorable.  In China many artist sign their name with their chop.  They are made of stone and feel smooth and cool in your hand. (one for my husband too).  Tiny lions carved on top.  



If you do a little research and google "Chinese chops" you will find lots of interesting info and even website helping you find how your name might look in Chinese so you can make your own.  There are instructions also if you have drawing apps like Illustrator so you can design a chop on line.  

Apparently trying to find characters for a chop in Chinese is fairly random.  Sometimes they will try to pronounce your name in Chinese and find something that sort of sounds like it.  

For instance when shop keepers tried to write Coca Cola for signs in their Chinese shops the actual words they wrote translated to "bite the wax tadpole". Hard to imagine this sold much of the drink! Finally Coca Cola did research and came up with a better symbol which actually translated "to allow the mouth to be able to rejoice."
Okay now that sounds better. 



Chops are traditionally done in red using a kind of wax paste.  My set came with a small pot of the gummy stuff.  But I use red ink stamp pads.  

So below is my Chinese Chop to the left actually carved in China, a hand made larger chop I carved myself after looking it up on line and then below a tiny "chop" just drawn by hand made up of my initials "V and S" for use on my Zentangle tiles.  Maria and Rick both have tiny "chops" of their initials and they encourage folks to do the same.  I always do mine (see two versions) in black when putting on a tile so it blends in.  



Saturday, January 27, 2018

TransZENding and TransluZENce


You can make small books by binding together Zentangle tiles too!
With this one I was trying out the tangle "Surf's Up".  It makes a nice frame.  



I thought I'd experiment with two techniques called "transluZENce" and tranZENding.

It's a little harder than I thought.  But worth trying.  You can find detailed instructions for TransluZENce on "A Tangler's Mind" posted Nov 5, 2017.

Here is the example by Lynn Mead that  I was looking at. She really nails it. I have a lot of work to do!  

The tangle itself above is called "Membranart" (found on blog of Tomas Padros).  The idea is to try to emulate a layer on the top of the work that looks like thin tissue paper (membrane).  

A version of the other technique called TranZENding is shown on Maria and Rick's Kitchen Table Tangles video.

I wasn't too happy with my first try but I plan to hang in there and try again soon.  

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