Friday, May 30, 2014

Week 12: Half-Way!!

Oof.  I can't believe my residency is half over!!  Yikes.  It's been a real self-check week!!  Have I done all I'd hoped in the first three months of my residency?  Hmm... I've done a lot, but maybe not everything!  Will I be done in three months with all I have to do??  No, but I'm going to try!!  Since I have no idea what I'll be doing when the next three months are over, I suppose I'd better get on that, as well...

Anyway, this week was busy and a little odd, but mostly because I had no time in the studio.  This was through no fault of my own, but due to leaking pipes in the ceiling above the studio - boo!!  They're fixed now, the wall is repainted, and I can move back in on Monday, and hopefully not faint from paint fumes (that place has really bad air circulation...!).  

Here's some of what I did this week:

My week started out in the most GLORIOUS place on the planet (IMHO): Ludington, Michigan.  My family's been vacationing there since I was a kid, and I love it there more than I can say.  (Seriously, I could go on about it for hours!)  I was able to start of the holiday weekend at a Scottish festival in Alma, Michigan, then headed northwest and spent the rest of the weekend reading in a hammock, hiking, eating, hiking, sleeping, hiking, kayaking, and playing games.  It was exhausting, relaxing, and wonderful!! 

Massed Bagpipe Bands at the Scottish Festival

Ludington Lighthouse and SS Badger

Reading this book for the third time
and loving every minute of it!

View from some of the hiking trails

Ludington State Park has the pretties trails!

View from the hammock...!

Kayaking on Hamlin Lake

Walking along the beach to the
Big Sable Lighthouse

Possible my best game of Yahtzee! ever!!
TWO Yahtzees!! 

Skyline Trail at the State Park

Burger, fries, and lemonade at
our favorite little dive

Eskimo Kisses ice cream at House of Flavors!

The rest of the week I stayed busy!  I did an art lesson at the school where I used to teach (more on that another time), taught two private lessons, worked at Two Twelve a couple of afternoons, got sunburnt doing yard work (yay spring!), and spent some WONDERFUL time drawing outdoors!!  Since I didn't have my studio and the weather was so wonderful, I thought I'd take advantage!!  There was a bee dive-bombing me one evening, so I started a little campfire and smoked it out!  It worked pretty well - the bee got all sleepy-looking and sort of floated away! 

And I couldn't let a perfectly good fire go to waste without making any s'mores, of course!!

Aside from sketching animals for the book, I painted this thumbprint tree for my nephew's Baptism.  It will be full of thumbprint leaves from family and friends!

Next week I'm excited to be back in the studio and back on track!!  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Week 11: Hodge Podge

This week has been very diverse, creatively speaking. It's also felt strangely backwards. Earlier in the week it felt like Thursday or Friday, and yet today doesn't feel like Friday at all for some reason. Plus the whole week has felt like two! I'm so confused... 

Lots of good things have happened this week, though. Monday I went back to Mill Pond Park, this time to do some plein air drawing. It was too gorgeous a day to spend in the studio! My dream is to one day have a studio that has a nice porch or balcony or easily accessible outdoor space for lots of plein air art! I love working outside. Tough when it's windy, but otherwise so nice. I'm not really a landscape painter, I just like being outdoors!! (Though right now I'm in the studio listening to the pitter patter of ...a leak from one of the apartments upstairs. Lovely.) 

Tuesday one of my private students and I were working on drawing portraits (we've graduating from drawing Skully), and I have a bunch of photos from magazines, so we drooled, drew...Benedict Cumberbatch. It made me realize how out of practice I am with portrait drawing! I'll need to get back into the sketch book!! I'll share what I drew, even though it's very flawed. At least it looks something like him!? 

Tuesday evening Skully and I took a drive up to Lansing (the Capitol of the great state of Michigan!) to meet up with some friends of mine who live on the west side of the state. It was great to see them and spend an evening talking and catching up! Skully stayed in the car, naturally, but we snapped a photo in front after. Some of my friends on Instagram are worried about me, I think. I assured them Skully was plastic, but that didn't seem to help. Philistines. ;)

Wednesday morning I took a Steampunk jewelry class at 212, and it was SO FUN!! Kelsey, the teacher, has the coolest stuff, and knows how to make anything work. Here's my creation - the clock hands, propellor, and gear all move!! I love it so much. You should all come take her next class! 

The last two days I've been in the studio drawing the main character of our book, Tom, over and over and over. I'm having fun playing around with facial expressions... 

I have a really hard time with the idea of drawing the same thing over and over. It's not in my nature! But I'm learning to adapt to it and make it a part of what I do. It's excellent practice. I want to be comfortable with these characters before I dive into the nitty gritty. Better to change something now than when I'm halfway through the illustrations!! 

Ok, back to work. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend! I'm very excited for some bagpipes, men in kilts, and beach time!! 

Also, a BIG thank you to our women and men in uniform. I am so grateful for the freedoms we have here in the US, and for those who have fought so we can keep them, including my grandfathers and other family members!! The photo below is of my Grandpa Downie & Grandpa Johnson. My Scottish Grandpa Downie, who served with the Queen's Cameron Highlanders in WWI, is in his dress uniform, which included a kilt! My Grandpa Johnson was a Marine and fought in WWII. He also had a sweet ride. ;)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Week 10: Plein Air Painting

Last week the weather was ALL OVER the place.  On Monday afternoon, my phone made a sound I had no idea it could make and this alert showed up on the screen:

I knew the drill!  I grabbed my laptop, my ukulele (for entertainment during the wait), some flashlights, and headed to the basement.  I went back up a little while later to grab something, and where do I see my neighbors?  Outside, chatting about the oncoming storm.  From what the DJs were saying on the radio, the storm was north and south of us, but it still cracked me up to see that sight:

Thankfully the storm passed us by unscathed, and we had some really beautiful weather parts of the week.  

On Wednesday, I headed to one of my favorite places: Mill Pond Park.  It's a really beautiful park, with two small rivers coming together into a larger one.  Two years ago they built a new bridge across one of the smaller rivers to the "island" (a peninsula, but looks like an island), and put nice stones along the edge of the river near the bridge.  It's the perfect place to sit, stick your feet in the water, and paint "en plein air!"  

I spent a couple of hours there, did a couple of quick, sketchy paintings (see above), soaked in some sun, and did some planning for the upcoming Saline Celtic Festival in July.  I'm one of the organizers, in charge of the "Wee Folks Island," and like to do some new things each year.  I'm excited about my new plans!  (No spoilers...yet!)

Here are a few more pictures from my afternoon at the park:

A panoramic view of the other side of the bridge/river

Beautiful skies!!

Stormy skies moved in, sending me home! Just as I got in the car,
the rain started! After Monday's weather, I took no chances!

Right by the park is my old elementary school, which
they just started to tear down.  Very sad!!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Week 9: The Show Is Up and Bagpipes are Piping!

This week has been...odd!  But good.  I got my show at the cafe hung on Monday with the help of 212's Meghan Canavan, and I think it looks good!  Keith McGuire, our graphic designer, made this awesome, old-timey-looking poster for the show, and I love it!

Once the show was up, it was back to business as usual...ish.  My studio-mate had lots of photo shoots this week in the studio, so I vacated a few times (thankfully she's awesome and tries to schedule shoots when it's convenient for me - so nice!); I had lots of things to do outside the studio (dentist, catching up on things I'd left undone while prepping for the show, etc), and I got sick (a cold), so the week was a little jumbled and I felt like not much studio-type work got done.  But lots of other stuff did!!  

On a rather unrelated note, it was a beautiful morning here in Saline, and we had all of the windows and doors open at Two Twelve to let the fresh air in.  We're right across from a beautiful cemetery, and there was a funeral there later in the morning, up on the hill, complete with a bagpiper.  I can't tell you what bagpipe music, especially in person, does to me!  It's like some sort of magic flute that lulls me into a state of peaceful contemplation.  I love it!  My grandfather came from Scotland, and I grew up going to the Alma, Michigan Scottish Festival each spring, and having my dad play tapes and CDs of bagpipe music around the house, so it's in my blood.  Plus, Saline's Sister City is Brecon, Wales, and each year we hold a Celtic Festival, for which I am one of the organizers.  I get a full dose of bagpipes every summer, and I love every minute of it!  

Since I know some people aren't big bagpipe fans, I'll just include two very short videos I took at the Scottish Festival last year - it doesn't compare to the 200+ member massed pipe bands that take the field there each year, but it's still music to my soul!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Week 8: Exhibit Preparation

This week I spent a lot of time working on finishing up paintings and getting everything ready for an exhibit I have going up next week.  (I also went to see a play that 212's theater company put on, but more about that in a post to come.)  

In March, I posted about a painting of a rusty hinge that I was working on, and the process I went through to get there.  That was the first in a series of paintings that I've been working on for a show I have going up next week, all based on photos I took at Greenfield Village.  I was able to finish seven paintings for the show, and have ten photographs going in it as well, all square-shaped.  I also have two paintings in the works that I might add to the show later, if I can fix them... 

The show will be at a cafe in Saline, unfortunately called, "My Favorite Cafe."  I have a problem with places putting words in my mouth...  It's actually not my favorite cafe, though it is really nice, and works regularly with 212 to exhibit the work of local artists.  Anyway, MFC will be exhibiting my series, called "Greenfield Village Up Close" for a couple of months, and we'll have a reception the first weekend of June (more info to come).  

I feel like the tone of this post is very monotonous...I apologize for that!  I'm feeling a little sleepy this evening!  I'll wrap it up by putting photos of the three paintings I finished this week.  I'm mostly pleased with how they turned out, but wish I could fix a few things here and there!  Sometimes I just have to walk away and call them done!