Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Potted Plant

<--Just a few cuts.

Loosening up with blind-sketch selfies.          -->

Always a humbling experience.

From my little purse sketchbook, a road not far from home.  -->

<--Tunisia has lots of bugs thanks to its warm climate and severe garbage disposal problems. I was inspired by a child's drawing in my sketchbook.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Trying to Make Sense of it All, 1

Every morning, lately, I get up around 6 a.m., stumble into the kitchen to make my large "café au lait", and then begin exercising while watching the U.S. news. I have had to put exercise first if I don't want to end up like the Tin Man, rusting in place. In an hour and a half I go through a number of interesting programs.

It occurred to me from the beginning that we are looking at a bizarre moment in history. I recently decided to try to document some of the circus in D.C., in order to make sense of it and to maybe leave a record for my grandchildren. 

The notebook format allows me to insert better paper for sketching in between the writing paper. This is a scrappy journal that allows me to play.

People say some of the strangest things these days...

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Final Visit

During Mr. M's final visit to the Charles Nicole Hospital, I sketched his hat in my small purse notebook.                 -->


<--And then there was an empty chair in the waiting area.

When we went to lunch I did a fast sketch with watercolors and a brush pen of a nearby building.

I kept track of time the first half of the month with blobs and cross-hatching in my journal.
Rather fun and entirely bizarre.
And Mr. M. is doing well.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Crossover

At Sketch Club (my weekly meeting with my sketching buddy), my Derwent Inktense pencils delighted me when I drew a potted plant on fabric. I sketched it out first with a Micron fineliner, which is waterproof.
Inktense colors dazzle me when water is added--it's magical to see the depth and brightness of the color. Now, for the fun cut? to dice? to stitch? to add more fabric? All of the above? Oh, the possibilities!

In the meantime, from my purse notebook: I had the chance to do a bit of sketching while waiting to give a talk in Tunis. Some pretty arches.

Another day we went to a restaurant on the Mediterranean with a beautiful view. I managed a quick sketch. Beautiful colors in the sea...

As we sat in the waiting room at the Charles Nicole Hospital for a visit for Mr. M., I worked on a sketch of one part of the hospital. A doctor passed by, stopped to watch for a moment, and said "Where is that?" He was surprised when I told him it was the hospital. 
Sometimes we just don't see what is in front of us.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Another Week Gone By

I have been stitching on "He Went to Work Everyday...Then He Retired..."

The going is very  s-l-o-w-l-y.
I'm just about ready to add the third shirt--just to make things more complicated on the technical level. Similar to climbing Mt. Everest.

<--We went to the Charles Nicole Hospital in Tunis and I found myself with enough time on my hands to work on a more complex drawing. 

This old hospital, built by the French during the colonial period, is always interesting to sketch--fortunately, because we'll have more visits there.

He drives, I draw...his hand. Needed a change in subject from the beat-up junk heaps on the road. Mind you, I shouldn't be knocking anyone's car, we have a 10-yr.-old and a 20-yr.-old...

Friday, April 28, 2017

A Nice Week

Mid-April, we thought Mr. M. was going to have some bad news because of some unexplained symptoms. I sketched in the doctor's waiting room.

At Sketch Club, I drew my sketching buddy's geraniums, now in full bloom. Helped to keep me calm.

Then I celebrated a big birthday. 

<--Oh, my gosh, how did this happen????

Coincidentally, we went to see a hematologist for Mr. M.

The news was good as we finally have a diagnosis that explains all the health issues, and better yet, a treatment to get things under control.

We ate out to celebrate everything.
And then we went home and Mr. M. had severe indigestion--from eating out. Well, it was still a nice day.

But isn't it all so geriatric? 
Now, a good birthday entails good news from the doctor!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

An Anniversary

A year ago, I was sitting in a Parisian hospital, sketching my husband recovering from a serious operation, an endarterectomy.

Today, Mr. M. is doing well, for which I am thankful. And so, I have been able to turn toward my own work with a lighter heart. I've been quilting the sky of the Pomegranate Tree.

The binding comes next and then I will hang it on the wall and stare at it for a few weeks to make sure it is finished.

In the meantime, I did a half-selfie and am wondering how to translate this onto fabric...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Repairing Old Quilts

My sketching buddy inherited a quilt made by her grandmother, a lovely double wedding ring quilt, thin and soft, much used and much loved.


However, apparently a mouse liked it, too, as it had a rather large, ragged hole close to the middle. Having great respect for old quilts, I offered to repair it. I replaced several patches, then added a bit of quilting. Now it's almost as good as new.

I'm thinking that I should get back to repairing my own quilts made by my grandmother. A number of years ago, I replaced a lot of the outline stitching on this Peter Pan quilt to restore the designs. 

Repairing is an activity that allows for reflexion and brings peace--a sort of meditation that connects one to past generations. It provides grounding in a world that seems topsy-turvy.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Out Occasionally

Over the last few months I've only managed small artwork. Whenever we go out grocery shopping, I sketch in my small purse notebook.

We've managed to eat out with friends several times.

They have been good sports about posing for me.

One evening, a violinist entertained us while we dined--very enjoyable.

Sometimes, I can only manage to catch a tree when out on an "expedition."

Even though we don't get out much, there's always plenty of entertainment at home. One day, we found Blanche, our intrepid Turkish Angora, high on the netting that forms a "roof" over our patio, taking in the breeze. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Coming up for Air...

...after being submerged by orchard work. Gasp, gasp...I did get help from Blanche. She is apparently a Turkish Angora (so soft and silky) who showed up one day at my doorstep, a starving and confused kitten, which was aggravated by the fact that she seems mostly deaf. Now that the other cats have adopted her, she's content. I still wonder how such a lovely cat got into my dusty corner of the's a mystery...

Now, I'm getting back into my artistic practice.
<--I stitched on my textile "book"... 
and enjoyed Spring's blossoms. The apple tree went wild...

<--and the apricot tree looked lovely.

New leaves on the pomegranate trees are looking pinky red just before the red blooms come out. (Background done first with ballpoint pen. Drawing done with Prismacolor pencils)
I drew my sketching buddy's doll at Sketch Club. 
Yup, I'm just an ol' Spring Chicken!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sketch Club 2017, 1

It's still citrus season (lots of picking and crating), but, my sketching buddy and I manage to get together once a week.

Lately, we've been drawing from her extensive mug collection. 
This is my recycled sketchbook with cheap paper--anything goes...
My favorite is Oscar the Grouch.
But, then again Mickey Mouse brings back fond memories.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Spring has sprung!

Yes, the weather has turned warm in Tunisia and Spring has arrived. It's the high season for citrus fruit so I'm picking and crating oranges, mandarines, and lemons everyday. Not much time for stitching or sketching. Prismacolor pencils on a ball-point pen doodle that I did while doing homework with my grandkids on Skype.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"A-Drawing-A-Day," Week 3

Week 3 of Veronica Lawlor's class was about drawing with color. I used crayons and colored pencils while doodling on paper.   -->

Then I tried out crayons and Derwent Inktense pencils on white cotton fabric. No idea what I'll do with it...


The next assignment was drawing a subject with crayons using its "real" colors (left, I picked a rather colorful succulent) and then drawing it using everything but the colors in the first sketch.

More crayons and colored pencils: the clouds in a storm and at sunrise. Given the cold weather, I had to work from photos.

A "coloring book" lesson was fun: draw a bowl of fruit (mandarine oranges) in black felt pen, then use as many colors as possible.

To finish the week, sketches of a colorful area. Once again the cold weather kept me inside, so I used my photos of Tunis: the main street (top left), the Medina (lower left), and the Cathedral. I enjoyed using crayons, and will try out the possibilities on fabric later.