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Watercolor watch

Watercolor watch!

Altoids Paint BoxNow, this is a cool idea for portable art – taking a little mint tin and hot gluing it to an old watchband. Combine it with a water pen and there you have it! I’ll be making one of these…

One set of directions for using little Altoids metal boxes for a palette is here, you could adapt it to a smaller box easily.

I‘ve also seen them done with a 3D printer insert –
t our San Diego library, we have a 3D printer that can be used for FREE. Check your local library!



Notes & Tips

Finding Others to be Creative With
First of all, if you live in a city or town of any size – check on, and see if they have any groups forming or meeting in your area. If you keyword search paint, or sketch, or art – you should get something. Also, I’d look or post a message on Look for the Craigslist in your state or city – there is a forum listing on the left side of the page. Another idea – see if there is a SketchCrawl group in your area. They usually meet monthly as a group and descend on a place for a group sketchathon! Also, if you have any art stores – check their bulletin boards! Most artists offering workshops put a flier up occasionally.

It’s all about…PRACTICE
Well, I’d like to say I sketch daily – but I don’t. Sometimes there are weeks when I just don’t make the time for the practice – but I’ve tried to schedule mini-art retreats or creativity days when I can! Reading the book “Mastery” by George Leonard is always a good kick in the pants, as is The Creative License by Danny Gregory. Look on my Resources page for these books and others.
Also, I have a list of local (within a few hours) galleries and workshops that I periodically check for classes that I’m interested in to fuel my creativity. At least when I commit to attend a workshop, I come away with something creative, and often a few new friends and connections out of the deal, too. One good place to start looking for workshops is Shaw Guides. They have classes all over, and their search page is pretty good.

Protecting Your work
I carry my sketchbooks in my backpack, in a large Ziploc bag to protect them from dirt and moisture. While sketching, I’ll often put the bag around the back pages of my sketchbook, which keeps it cleaner. If you seal it when traveling in humid or potentially wet situations, it’ll often be enough to keep your work safe. I’ve not dropped my books in the ocean or the canals of Venice yet, but I sure hope I have the Ziploc sealed if that happens!

Composing Your Pages
Just because you’re drawing an old building or a house, you don’t have to do it all! I often just sketch portions of buildings – perhaps the cupola or trimwork around a section of a home. Details of particularly cool elements can be added to the page. Sometimes signs or lettering attracts my eye, and I’ll find ways to make it a part of the page, as well. When traveling in our National Parks, the Visitor’s Centers usually have a stamp for the date & park for people’s passports. I stamped a page in the top corner, and added elements from my park visit to the page later.

Plein Air Sketching vs. Using Photos
I usually sketch in pencil onsite, however – there are times when I have insufficient time to do more than catch a quick digital photo and sketch and paint it later. Even if you do have the luxury of time to sketch, ink or paint onsite, it’s a good idea to catch a photo anyway. The photo can be used to refresh your memory for colors, perspective, etc. Photos are also fun to use in presentations, to “morph” a photo into a sketch, or visa versa.

The Train

The Skunk Train runs from Fort Bragg east an hour or two through the Redwood forest, a classic steam train that is a familiar sound and sight in this sleepy little town.

At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.  As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love(s) of your life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize that they vacated their seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey.

Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.


Beach Toes in oil pastel

One of my first attempts at oil pastels – I had great fun playing with the big, gooey chunks of pastels. Feet are one of those taken-for-granted sort of body bits, but if I could have a penny for every mile my feet have walked on this planet,
I´d be one wealthy gal!

Cat´s Afire!

Penny, the Wonder Cat!

My third attempt in oil pastels – a rousing success! I thought, why do just a cat portrait? Penny´s a circus performer at heart – so through the hoop she goes!

Oil pastels are fun, like big gooey crayons – big slashes of color, easily correctable and fun to smear and mix colors – I´m like a big kid again!

Sketching All Over Spain

Click on the first image to see full screen in a gallery format – enjoy!


The Great Northwest Adventure Sketchbook

Click on the first image for full screen gallery viewing – enjoy!

My Italian Travel Sketchbook Journal

Village Italy Travel Journal

In 2003, I enjoyed a three week trip to Italy – a week alone in Venice and Verona, and two weeks on a tour with a small group of travelers, including Rick and Ann Steves and their two teenagers, Jackie & Andy. The “tour” was really great – just the right amount of “alone time” to putz, and organized activities and sightseeing. With a skilled driver at the wheel (yeah, Mario!) we went all over Italy. Each day, I rose early with the sun, and spent an hour or two exploring each town and sketching – a great way to connect with a place and the local townsfolk! The early morning hours are magical. I created this mini-website for my trip, so sit back with a nice cappuccino and travel to Italy with me! Ciao!

Alaska Adventure Travel Sketchbook

Click on the first image for full page gallery viewing – enjoy!

Barcelona Sketches

Click on the first image to view in full screen gallery mode – enjoy!

Buy your copy today! Cuba for Mama: A Daughter’s Journey 2016

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