Monday, May 4, 2015

EDiM - 4 Bottle(s) of Herbs or Spices

Years ago, I met a chef who gave me his recipe for bouillabaisse. It included a crucial ingredient, he told me; saffron. Since it was so expensive, I tried planting my own Saffron crocus. Fail. The flowers come up every year but I never get any threads* from them.
Square bottle of Saffron, Bay Leaves, Cordon Bleu Mixed Herbs for Pasta, Italian Herbs, Rosemary, Garlic & Sea  Salt, Vial of Saffron

*Saffron crocus grows to 20–30 cm (8–12 in) and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are the distal end of a carpel. The styles and stigmas, called threads, are collected by hand and dried to be used mainly as a seasoning and coloring agent in food.

Camano Island Annual Mother's Day Studio Tour May 8, 9, 10

I am honored to announce that I have been invited to show at A Guilded Gallery in Stanwood during the Camano Island Annual Mother's Day Studio Tour. We are #32 on the interactive map.

So if you Sunday Painters have been wondering where I am, I am in the studio packing things up to deliver to the gallery today. I have been thinking of you, though. I think you should join me and a few others who are answering the challenge to paint, sketch or draw something every day in May.You don't even have to think up something to draw because there is a prompt for each day of the month. Today's prompt is draw or paint bottle(s) of herbs or spices.

It's not too late! You can catch up. More info here.

Then come to Camano Island May 8-10 for the fabulous Annual Studio Tour. Start at A Guilded Gallery, where a bit of my work is displayed along with other great artists. While you're there, pick up a studio map and tour to your heart's content!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

EDiM 3 - Curtains

I'm doing the Every Day in May sketch challenge and the prompt for day 3 is curtains.

I was browsing online and my heart was caught by a photo of the naughty cat nestling in her window, shredded curtains and all. It brought back memories of my grandmothers.

I come from a long line of farmers in Kansas and Alberta, though I have never lived on a farm. My great grandmother said it wasn't a home unless there were lace curtains in the window. Same attitude about cats; not allowed inside!
I wrote to say how lovely Barbara's photos are and how much her words resonate.

Barbara has generously given me permission to use her photo as the source for my sketch today. Please see why I love reading her words and am inspired by her beautiful pictures.
Visit her blog at Farm Girl Studios

Curtains - Transparent watercolor and graphite, Pentalic Aqua Sketchbook

Saturday, May 2, 2015

EDIM 2 - A Nearby Tree

Day 2 of the Every Day in May sketch challenge. How are you doing so far? Remember, it's meant to inspire and encourage, so don't worry, you can catch up or skip a day or two. Not too late to get started!

The prompt today is to sketch a nearby tree. The house is filled with the scent of lilacs, cut from my row of 9 in the back yard. But I am in love with the two white birches at the end of our front driveway next to the mailboxes. The light is illuminating them this morning as I stand across the street with my Pentalic Premier pen and Pentalic Aqua Sketchbook. I am tempted to get my little mini Altoids kit and dash in the shadows, but I resist. I am happy with the line says how connected everything is.

Once before, I made a proper watercolor painting of the sunlight and shadows on the bark.
You can zoom a high resolution image of the line drawing here on my Flickr photostream.

Friday, May 1, 2015

EDIM 1-Draw a Favorite Food

Started in 2006, by French Toast Girl, EDIM is a world wide sketch challenge to be creative every day. Follow the link here for more about this year's challenge.
I am looking forward to sketching along with everyone around the globe, using each day's prompts in our own way. Are you in?

Today's prompt is Draw a Favorite Food. I'll update this later today after dinner. :) Update: 10:00 pm

Spicy Herb Fish at Maephim Thai Restaurant---Pentalic Aqua Sketchbook, pen, watercolor
Whole rainbow trout pan fried to perfection, then topped with spicy lime juice, rice powder, cilantro, onion, cherry tomatoes, lemongrass, and mint leaves. This is my half...I sketched while my husband enjoyed his portion. They have many other recipes that we like, too.
Sketching and eating are mutually exclusive !
What was your sketch for the first day of the challenge?
Tomorrow: a nearby tree

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Every Day in May

Tomorrow is May 1, 2015 and I have a challenge for you: Join sketchers, artists and people just like you in making a commitment to drawing something every day for a month. Here's more: (zoom to read larger)

I plan to do this and post the day's sketch on my blog each day. I may also join the Flickr group and put mine on Instagram as well. If you like, come back to this post to find out the prompt for the day you're working on. Don't worry if you miss a day, just catch up when you can.
This is going to be fun!

PS. I can't wait to see what your favorite food is! If it was Homer Simpson, I would already know. :)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

White Lilacs

Our white lilacs are in full bloom and the whole house smells like spring!
Decades ago, I planted a row of ten white lilacs to protect the embankment of a natural swale in our back yard. We have a few days before it rains again and turns them all into "burnt popcorn". Good opportunity to do some drastically needed pruning and cut come bouquets for friends. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Finishing Touches

Since our usual Anacortes Sketchers Monday outing was cancelled today for fair weather, (only in the PNW!) I will post the two finished pages from yesterday.
Just a few accents here and there were added, but I definitely needed to add the clear blue sky!
I stood on the sidewalk on the way out to write the Chinese Calligraphy. I don't write or speak Chinese, so was a bit worried that my attempt would read incorrectly. I am relieved to read comments on my Flickr page that it turned out fine. 
On this page, I decided to explore the Yin Yang aspect of the garden.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Seattle Chinese Garden

"Welcome, Guests of the Garden" - This stone with beautiful Chinese calligraphy greeted visitors today at the Seattle Chinese Garden and was translated for me by three young women from China. I was in West Seattle to sketch with Seattle Urban Sketchers at the monthly outing for April. Our balmy spring weather was back (67° F!), but with a bit of a nip in the breeze.

I didn't get very far down the sidewalk to the garden, since the view of the south facing wall was dappled with springtime light and shadow. It was a dramatic introduction which stopped me in my tracks.
My friend and fellow sketcher, Kate found the perfect rock to start her first sketch.

"The humble gate" decorates the entrance on the sunny south wall of the garden. Sketch by M. Cooper
Pat, Jane and Kate find the rocks, courtyard, and sculpture completely in harmony with nature.
My DYI Altoids mini-palette makes it easy to sketch while standing
More than two dozen varieties of tree peonies and several herbaceous peonies donated from Luoyang, China, were planted by volunteers in 2012. It is hoped that these 400 peony rootstock will create the largest public peony garden on the West Coast. Although the early spring weather has caused many to bloom already, Dewey (a volunteer and tour guide) says that there are still some that haven't bloomed yet. They will be ready to view next weekend at the Peony and Bamboo Festival. There will be a lion dance at 11 am on Saturday.

I put a few finishing touches to my two sketches. To see them, please visit my Flickr Photostream.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Topping the tulips--Monday Sketching with ASk--Tulips Second time

Sketching in the cold shelter of a tree line with Tina.
As we settled on a spot to sketch, a group of workers walked by and moved across the rows, snapping off the flower heads of the bulb crop. They left some for visitors to enjoy, but the weather was cold and breezy this time. I KNEW I should have brought my gloves!
We managed to finish our sketches, greet new arrivals from ASk,
then shiver our way to the other side, looking for a warmer spot. 
Fingers frozen, next we sketched in the car with our front row parking spots! Mt. Vernon weather is unpredictable this time of year.
You can just barely make out the workers in the upper right edge of the field.
This was April 6, the second Monday in a row for the Anacortes Sketchers, making sure we didn't miss the extremely early bloom this year.