Ohio entry 2 going into color

After a cold, wet, and dangerously stormy week, it looks as though we are going directly into the heat of summer. Today’s high is supposed to be in the 90’s. Thank goodness for air conditioning. I worked enough in the studio to finish up the inking and have started the coloring. So far so good. It has a lot of the same colors as the last, but as you see. the entries are totally different. Both are quite nice in their own way, and I wouldn’t mind either one for my own.

Tudor style entryway

If you notice, also, some of the brick on the right side is canted 45 degrees as well as four rows that are angled at about a sixty-thirty offset.  Many of the houses there had this combination of straight and angled brick and it is quite striking.  One or two went over the top with it, reversing the ratios and the effect was not nearly so appealing.  In fact, in some cases it was actually quite dizzying.  The eye never had a place to rest.

I hope everyone is having a great Memorial weekend.  Let us not forget the reason and celebrate those who serve and who have served.

The sun will come out – maybe

We have strung a few nice days together lately  – or at least parts of days,  We have had some  pleasant mornings into the afternoon before the thunderstorms pop up. I am grateful that we haven’t had the terrible storms and tornados that parts of the rest of the country has seen.  I don’t think there is a building code established that will help a structure withstand a direct hit of a tornado.  I have started on the next work, lining it out and beginning a little of the landscaping.  Not enough to show yet.  I did look at some animals to do but wasn’t drawn to anything in particular, so I just went on with the next Ohio entryway.  This one is definitely a Tudor. 

In the meantime I have been keeping a close lookout for this year’s crop of fawns.  They often start to show up about now and I would love to get some pictures this year.  We did see a herd of deer earlier in the week.  I thought it was all does but when I got out the binoculars to get a closer look at least one was a buck with half-grown antlers in velvet.  I think it was the “big guy”.  The antlers were multi-tined and very fat,  Unfortunately, I was on one floor and the camera was on another.  They were crossing the lake at the shallow end, slopping through the water and then quickly moved into the trees, so no picture.  I will keep a lookout now that I have seen them.  I never realized that the antlers started to grow this early and that is going to be quite a set.

Chinese (?) irises in the yard

I have started to pick flowers from the beds to bring into the house again.  All through the year, my husband gets me a small bunch the first of the month as a year round birthday present.  One year when he asked what I wanted as a gift, I said flowers every month.  He just has to go to the grocery store and spend $5-8 on flowers and I am happy.  In the months that I have blooming flowers like my daffodils, irises and peonies, he gets a break.  Otherwise he finds me some nice carnations or daisies that are long lasting and we are both happy. This is a great gift and not too expensive.  I have told this to a few other women I know and everyone thinks it is a great idea.  No one has done as well as my guy though, from what I hear.  Anyway, right now there is the lovely smell of peonies in the kitchen.  They are from my Grandmother’s or my Great-grandmother’s stock and have to be at least 40-50 years old – maybe up to 80 years if Great-grandma planted them in the twenties.  I just don’t know.  They always make me think of Grandma though and that is nice.

Peonies, an iris, and store carnations

Ohio entryway, updated.

Well, it finally stopped raining for a few days, so there was some indoor and outdoor work accomplished. I have gotten most of the annuals planted and have started the arduous task of weeding.  Only a few things left to do, including deciding if we are going to buy some more fruit trees.  We can’t determine if we want to keep planting them in the same spot or start over in an area that we would fence.  Easier to decide now before more things go in.  Since we have had so much damage from the deer it is a very real decision.  You’d think they’d respect that we don’t hunt but they just treat my gardens like a cafeteria line. 

An elegant Ohio enrtyway

Anyway after letting the picture sit a few days, I went back and put on the color. It was fairly quick this time as the picture was smaller than the recent ones and I knew pretty much what I wanted to do. I like the fact that the slate roof wasn’t the standard blue/green/grey tiles.  It is a rosy grey that distinguished it from many of the other slate roofed homes in the area and I think quite lovely.  It fits well with the dark red bricks and limestone accents.  I love the architectural detailing that was put on residences in the early part of the century but is generally unaffordable now except in the most expensive of homes.  I let the picture sit for another day and a half before returning to make some minor adjustments and filled in the time with making some more mini tags. Last weekend I sold nine to a friend to use on her weavings and she also wanted to give a few away to her weaving compatriots. It was nice to see her go though my stack and pick out ones she liked for herself and for some to give away. It is always fun to see someone enjoy your work.

The only hang up was a near disaster with the new picture. I always try to spray the fixative outside and then let it dry out there, leaning face in against the wall for about 15 minutes if I can, because the odor is incredibly noxious. My husband had been working on the lawn outside and then started started spraying some bug spray at the various door lintels.  I saw him out of the corner of my eye and ran to my door yelling STOP.  Fortunately I caught him before he got to my inward facing artboard and no damage was done.  He was contrite, but my heart stopped beating there for a second.

Another rainy Wednesday

It’s been another wet, misty day. Not much actual rain mind you, but just enough moisture in the air to get you cold and wet and uncomfortable. I think that this spring has been just a continuation of the very long winter we just had.  All I can say is that at least it is not snow.  I’ve had enough for quite a long time, thank you.  A good day to stay inside, so of course I didn’t. I went out to play with my horse for a little while (out of the wet though) and then a little birthday party preparation for my husband.

I have been working on the latest entryway and have finished the inking for now.  I think I managed to find the black and white balance that was missing before.  I have found that if I like the positive/negative space in a drawing, I have a much better chance of being pleased with it after coloration.  I then tend to just redarken some areas that didn’t pop through the pastels and pencils and then make minor adjustments until it looks good to my eyes.  After I finished yesterday afternoon there was plenty of studio time left, so I worked on more of the artist label tags.  I sold some to my weaving friend last weekend and was in the mood to replace the stock.  I cut some of the aceo sized watercolor blanks in half (her prefered size) and proceeded to spend a few hours making some more.  I quit when my eyes finally started to cross.


Since the inking hasn’t changed that much from the last time, here is a picture in honor of the weather – fit for ducks only.  I know you’ve seen them before, but I’ve seen this rain before too.  Not much else seems to be moving around lately.

Classic Architecture in Ohio

It’s been one of those mornings already. I try to get online but our DSL service is down for a while.  When I finally am able to get on, I space my blog password and the one I had written down in the super secret location was the original one – not what I had changed to more recently. Fortunately I did have the aha moment where it came to me. These “senior moments” can be quite annoying sometimes. It doesn’t help either that I am trying to juggle about 20 passwords among all of the computer sites.
Anyway, problems solved for now. And it was a good week in the studio once I got caught up from the weekend away. I managed to stretch and paint a sheet of watercolor paper and also cut it up into various tag sizes.  They look pretty nice and I may just leave some of them as abstract art tags.  I’ll let them sit for a few days and then decide. 

Classic architecture

I went to the big box store and had the photos from Ohio printed out.  I am pleased with the pictures and have selected a lineup of about six to do.  I only have 2 or 3 of each house, but since I am doing this on my own and not as commissioned work, I have a little more freedom to do what I want. I don’t have a picture of this whole house and it looks a little more neo-gothic than Tudor, but it might have had some Tudor details to it on other parts of the house.  I really like the decorative cap over the windows and the limestone detailing around the door and windows.  Some of these homes were built back in the day when real stone carving was used. This particular house also has real slate tile roofing.  The tiles are quite large and beautifully colored.  The roof support that their weight requires must be enormous.  Anyway, here is a peek at the early stages of inking.  It will have red brick siding and blueish slate tiles with limestone accents when it is finished.  I’m not quite happy with the landscaping to the left of the door yet, but I’ll see what I can do.

While I was gone…

Not a great deal of artwork was accomplished over the last week or so because I was away for the weekend attending our son’s MBA graduation and for Mother’s Day. We had a lot of fun in a family affair and I was able to take lots of architectural photos. He lives in an historic district which is made up of many lovely homes in a vast array of styles. Because there were so many in a relatively small area, I concentrated on the Tudor ones. I really love the steeply angled roof lines and the combinations of wood and stucco, and brick and stonework. You will undoubtedly see them appear in the entryway series and maybe some sets of windows. The mixes in the neighborhoods were quite eclectic, from Spanish influence to contemporary, but I really like the Tudors. Some were very large and spread out and some were more compact cottage style.  The weather was quite beautiful so we walked for an hour and I took pictures until the camera battery died.

My beautiful bearded irises

And while I was gone, the bearded irises decided to bloom.  I put them in a few years ago so they are finally filling out the space allotted.  They come in such beautiful colors that I may have to dedicate another area in order to  get some new ones.  The daffodils are long gone, so I planted the wave petunias to take over the space after they die back.  A few of the lilac bushes bloomed for the first time and the other spring flowers are coming along nicely.  The rhubarb has lived so far.  I don’t think I will touch any of it until next year.  Next up will be planting a few tomatoes and peppers.

I also managed  to get to another hobby store and replace the little hole punch for the mini labels that I had just bought.  Its punch rod managed to misalign itself after only a few uses in the heavy watercolor stock and I have to return it.  Its replacement seems to be fine though and I think I may try to use it for real today.  I am going to take the tags to my weaving friend and let her choose a few before I list any more.  I will be finishing the latest entryway very soon.  It has had an overlong “rest” with all of the other activity.

Working inside, when the outside is too wet

I’ve been working some on my latest entryway picture. The weather only cleared up today so I have been stuck in the house, unable to plant what I had bought last Friday. This is posted late today because I could finally get out and put the wave petunias in the ground before the rabbits got to them.. Don’t know why, but last year they were eaten in the flats.  I didn’t have a problem once they were planted. Crazy rabbits to go along with the crazy robins, I guess.

Indiana Entryway

In the down time, I have been working on the mini tags.  I punched a few holes and tied a few ribbons today before I took some pictures in the fading light.  There was just enough to give at least the flavor of what they will be like.  They are half the size of the aceo cards and I hope will work well as straight gift tags or artist labels – which someone  had requested of me.  They are just as much fun as making the aceos.  Unfortunately, they take almost as much time.


Mini tags/artist labels I


Mini tags/artist labels II

First butterfly of the season

Guess what?  It is raining.  Again.  Thunderstorms overnight and now a misty haze.  Just enough to make outside unpleasantly damp.  We did get a few days of nice weather.  The trees are all coming out and the undergrowth is flourishing.  I was none the less surprised when I looked out of the kitchen window last week and saw a zebra swallowtail.  Then yesterday I saw another.  I have heard that the zebras are rarer than the tiger swallowtails.  I can say that I normally see a lot fewer of them.  Several times last summer I saw a dozen of the tigers at one time on my butterfly bush. Truth in advertising, I guess.  Unfortunately, the bush died because of the cold weather and I will have to replace it.  I really liked the iridescent quality of the one I had and I hope I can find one to match.

And with all of the rain, weeds that I pulled and threw aside have lived and tried to regrow. Darn dandelions are hard to get rid of. I had a pile and they all just continued to bloom and grow.  I now have mounds of growing weeds.  I picked most of them up and threw them farther into the woods.   It is supposed to dry out on Tuesday.  Perhaps then I can plant the flowers I succumbed to buying yesterday when the sun was out.

Mallard pair

The wildlife is flourishing, too.  The lushness of the spring growth is matched by the numbers of animals we have seen.  There have been mallards on the pond in addition to a few species that I can’t identify.  Last year we had a pair 0f grebes (I think).  Unfortunately the babies were eaten by the snapping turtles.  We hope for better this year.  And you won’t believe it but early one morning last week, I saw a coyote walking next to the lake.  I went to get my camera, and in that time a doe walked into the picture.  She trailed the coyote for a while and then eventually caught up with him.  Each knew that the other was there, but no difficulty ensued while I watched.  I actually got the two into one picture frame, but the shutter speed was so low due to the light that they were both blurry.  I am trying to get the photo cleaned up, just like in the crime shows, but don’t know if it is possible.  If it can, I will post it.  I never knows what will be out there when I look.  I am still waiting to catch the tom turkeys displaying.  The spring fawns should be out soon too.

I have almost finished the inking on my latest drawing.  It is a little smaller entryway from house in an historic Indiana town.  Much less imposing but inviting none the less.