Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Way To Go Diahn!

Did I forget to mention that our very own Diahn has written a great article for Wet Canvas about sketchbooks and journals? Nah, I didn't forget -- I just didn't want it to get lost in the earlier shuffle! Yay, Diahn!

Get That Sketchbook Out and Use It!!!!

Road Trips

So, we just got back from another Gulf Coast Run. We started in Panama City Beach, visiting the dear daughter, then moved westward along the Gulf until we arrived at Gulfport, to visit D's brother's family, then up through Alabama to visit his sister's family. Great trip -- and I feel wonderful from the break!

This is the front cover of my book I carry with me now whenever I travel. It is a regular Moleskine (NOT a sketchbook, but still the plain paper) that I use for directions, trip notes, etc. Most of the pages are numbered, and I use them as we go along to make notes about our routes, including interesting exits, best stops, places best avoided... If a restaurant is really excellent, I jot it down, so I can recommend it and come back myself. And if a restaurant is really, well, not quite up to par, it gets a "YUK" beside it. I set up the back pages with the alphabet, where I file phone numbers and addresses, etc. This lets me also cross reference directions and trip notes with the person (or place) we may be visiting. The more I use it, the more I LOVE it!

And, based on my notes from the book, THE BEST RESTAURANT ALONG THE GULF COAST -- and I mean the best, bar none -- is a little place in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi called Rickey's Bar and Grill. The shrimp tasted like what my grandmother used to make in Miami, and that's definitely worth writing about!

I did more photographing than drawing, and more just quiet looking than anything else. Still, here's just a little ink sketch of some of the houses along Florida's Highway 30A, between Panama City Beach and Sandestin. Absolutely gorgeous -- every town has it's own distinct personality.

I took a LOT of reference photos for possible future watercolor play (I DO love to paint those beach-y colors!), but...

... some photos are just meant to be, well, photos.
(Seaside, Florida -- so perfectly idyllic that this was the place chosen to film the movie "The Truman Show". If you get the chance to go there, do. Wear your favorite play clothes, and your most comfy flip flops -- plan on renting a bicycle and riding around through town. Go visit the art galleries. Sit around at a table on the sidewalk in front of the grocery store (really!) or in the little square. Stop. Breathe. Sigh...)

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Visiting Family

...and meeting new friends! Taking loads of photos and doing some sketching, but mostly enjoying a little break. Thankfully, the mothball smell had dissipated by the time we left, so I don't dread coming back home, either. Whew!

Internet connection has been iffy ... I'm playing catch-up and keep-up as best as I can.

P.S. Dolphins really DO smile when you look them right in the face ... even the wild ones!
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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pastels, Possums, and Other Perils

Pond with Waterlilies -- Rugby, Tennessee. Work in progress ... perhaps perpetually so ...

Saturday afternoon: We came home from having lunch out on Market Square today to find that the left front leg of my pastel easel (in the living room) had collapsed. The whole easel was on it's side, the drawer spilled, the painting on end ... worst of all, a box full of my best pastels had been on the open drawer. The box was upside down, with those gorgeous huge super-soft hand made pastels crushed and scattered in a pile on the floor. I gathered up what pieces I could, then divided the dust into two piles, one of warm-ish tones and one of cool-ish tones, and put them into jars. I guess I'll use the as my neutrals for a while! Fortunately the floor is hardwood, and I'd recently bought a couple of yards of canvas to spread under the easel to catch the dust ... which meant that only a three or four square feet of the actual floor got "dusted." But, boy, did that dust ever get down deep into the spaces between the wood on the floor! And the bright blue is really bright! I just don't have the heart tonight to finish this piece. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday night: I get the bright idea that maybe we had a small earthquake, which caused the easel to slip. Checked the earthquake center's web site -- 2 little quakes this week, but none today. Maybe something else? D and I talk about checking under the house tomorrow.

Sunday afternoon: I was just getting ready to work on this piece some, when D comes in from outside saying he needs me to see something under the house. I crawl under with him (glad I'm not afraid of spiders and other DRY type bugs and creatures) to see that a portion of our duct work has fallen. Bad memories of possums from the past ... oh dear. And sure enough, it looked as though some sweet little wild animal had been doing a little something or another in that short piece of duct work. (Grrrr! That section looks like it was pieced together with leftovers and then wrapped with insulation and tape. THAT's a topic for another post, I suppose...) Anyway, the rest of it looked as clean as it could be for as far as we could see, so we put the duct work back together, taped everything up nice and tight, hung it a little more securely, and checked the rest of the crawl space. No problem. D said he'd heard that moth balls under the house really work to discourage possums and raccoons and other wildlife, and I agreed that it might not be a bad idea. He goes off on a moth ball search, while I clean up and start cooking a chicken.

Later Sunday afternoon: D is back from the store, working away. I'm just getting ready to start on this painting AGAIN, but first I go into the kitchen to check on the chicken in the oven, which should be about done. What a funny smell. Come to think about it, what a funny smell all over the downstairs of the house. It smells kind of like ... well ...

D walks in and says, "What's that smell? You cooking something?"

"Chicken," I answer. I know I have a puzzled look.

"No, something else. Smells like something my grandmother used to make."

Of course we figure it out. Moth balls. They are under our house and now our downstairs (but strangely, mostly the kitchen) smells like moth balls. The possums will leave. The raccoons will leave. Undoubtedly any mice, rats, chipmunks, shrews, skunks, moles, snakes, and, oh yeah, moths, will leave. That smell better go away soon, or I'll be leaving, too!

And for tonight, I don't feel at all like painting anymore.