Let’s Finish This!

I’ve been consistently active since January 2016. We’re all tired from all the hard work of GOTV but there’s more work to do in Georgia to take a Senate majority. I decided to do a piece to motivate myself and my fellow citizens.

With apologies to Neil Leifer and in homage to Muhammad Ali.

Yosemite during the Pandemic

November 1, 2020. We gained an hour last night.

We’re here for our 18th Anniversary. Got here Thursday at dinner time. It’s beautiful and it’s different. We usually come to camp in late May or mid-September. Since it’s late in the season, we’re staying at the Lodge, right across from Yosemite Falls, which is completely dry. It’s only a teeny bit smoky. Many of the concessions are closed and those that are open require masks and are only doing takeout meals, to be eaten inside or out.

The mornings are really chilly (40’s). Friday, we ride our bikes to Mirror lake in the hand-freezing morning. I’m wearing gloves but Mitch has to suffer through it, so we switch to ride on the sunny side of the valley, which makes a big difference. Mirror Lake is a bed of dry sand. Many years ago, they used that to sand the roads in the Winter.

After Mirror Lake, we ride to our favorite spot, the stone bridge with the deep swimming hole. Mitch goes in for a dip, polar bear that he is.

It’s Halloween and we see several people wearing costumes. I wonder if there was a party somewhere but am told that people just want to dress up for the holiday—there isn’t anything “going on.”

Sunday, we leave the lodge at 9:30 and park at Curry Village to hike up Vernal Falls. I forgot that it’s the same loop we did eight years ago. I think it’s the most popular trail in Yosemite and is usually wet from the intense waterfall. This time of year, it’s not wet nor crowded.

It’s still a groaner getting up that steep flight of stairs. For the hike down, we opt to take the John Muir Trail, which is sublime in its own way. Some time, I’d like to go all the way to the top of Nevada Falls and check out Little Yosemite Valley which leads to the backside of Half Dome, where the final climb up that incredible rock begins. We meet some backpackers who came down from there. It sounds lovely and there’s a campsite. I am probably kidding myself that I’ll go but it’s nice to dream. 🙂

And being here in Yosemite has been overshadowed by the anxiety of the election. I put my phone on DND because I’ve been receiving a multitude of texts, emails and calls exhorting me to make calls and give more money. It’s a messed up time out there in the World. We are all nervous about the election and Covid seems to be here for the foreseeable future.

So we try to stay present and be with the serenity of the park. It is enough.

Trip to Gualala on the Mendocino Coast

Through the fires of this year, we’ve occasionally considered moving from the Golden State. However, our trip to the coast reminded me how incredibly beautiful it is here in California.

Fish Rock Watch Tower at the Mendocino Stone Zone, Gualala, CA.

The weather was glorious and clear. We saw whale spouts out in the water, shooting stars in the clear night sky and ate fabulous food.

Pencil drawing of the Fish Rock Watch Tower

We were treated to a tour of the Mendocino Stone Zone, a place where host Peter Mullins brings in stonemasons from Scotland, Ireland, France and New England to create art within his property in the hills. Peter is a font of knowledge about stone and informed us of a seam of basalt in Windsor, not far from where we live.

Who knew that there were basalt columns in Windsor?

We stayed at Roseman Creek Ranch, which provided a fantastic, huge kitchen. We paid a little extra for the big wood oven to be fired up so we could make pizza and other yummies. What a treat it all was!

We stayed at the beautiful Roseman Creek Ranch.
Lee and Judy made a delicious dinner in the wood fired oven
So many implements in the kitchen. Fresh flowers from the greenhouse as well.

Flowers and Pods: finals

More drawings/paintings of imaginary flowers and seed pods. I really got into these!

This one was the final assignment, a mid-century inspired design. I used watercolor and dip pen. Also used a little masking fluid but it dries up so fast, I didn’t love using it.

Flowers A – Z

I loved my class with the incredible Este MacLeod and decided to take another one. I’m so inspired by the new techniques she introduced me to. This time, it was acrylic inks with the dip pen. I love the line that it makes and the bright colors.

In this exercise, I took my lower case letters and turned them into imaginary flowers. I tried to push myself to use new shapes.

More Watercolor stamping and details

Here are some more pieces that I created during April of Covid time—May 2020. I was obsessed with watercolor stamping with cut potato pieces and carrots which I was taught in the #explorecolour class. So much fun!

I posted other pieces that were either assignments from the course here or inspired by them here. Thank you, Este Macleod!

Bouquet1WeirdOneSailboats

CleanedUp
This was a sheet of elements that I could use for the other pieces.

King Protea in the ‘hood

I’ve been captivated by a neighbor’s garden where king protea are blooming. Whenever I pass by, I am drawn to the flowers like a bee to honey and I just gape at them. This has brought me to paint them, of course. Here’s the series I completed.

KingProtea

Most of these were created with potato and carrots to stamp shapes in watercolor, with brush embellishments. I got really into the stamping technique.

KingProtea2

Protea
I was trying to get to the basic elements of the flower here. Thin line details were completed with watercolors in a dip pen.

KingProtea3

SketchbookProtea
This was the first one I did. Pent up desire to draw/paint these flowers just came out in one go.

 

Playing with colors and shapes

When I can’t go out, I go in. And usually, that means making art.

I discovered the fabulous Esté MacLeod on Instagram and she quickly became my favorite artist on the platform. She starts with letters or numbers and turns them into beautiful paintings. When I saw that she was offering a free course on playing with shape and color, I was all over it.

The first part was to draw numbers 1 – 9 and turn those digits into leaves, real or imagined.

When I tried to think of ways to do this, I got stuck. But when I just let my pen move and got my head out of it, I ended up with some interesting patterns and shapes.

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The next step was to put them into more plant-like formations and paint them with watercolor. She encouraged the class to use a dip pen with the watercolor applied by using a brush as well as brush painting. I’d never used this method before and was delighted by the effect.

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The next step was to employ potato, carrot, toilet paper roll and other items found in the house, to create flower shapes and then embellish them. Once again, I had trouble because at first they all turned out looking the same and I kept thinking about how I could do it. But when I tried not to think and just moved my hand to draw and paint lines, curves and shapes, the results surprised and delighted me.

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HappyMothersDay
I made this one for my mom since she LOVES flowers and today is Mother’s Day.

Composite
These were all my favorites. I will use them elsewhere, I’m sure.

Studio

IMG_20200509_154416178
My workspace