Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stalking butterflies

From time to time I have caught sight of many winged things fluttering or flying about in the yard outside my windows. Winged things like butterflies and hummingbirds.    Maybe a moth or two.  Even they dressed in drab colors bring me joy seeing their winged flight.  
I spotted the smallest hummingbird I've ever seen one day last week in the yard.   I was tempted to grab my camera to see if I could get a picture but thought, surely it would be gone by the time I did. 
Yesterday, after lunch while standing at the window wondering what to do next I caught sight of two butterflies with markings I hadn't seen before.  This time  I decided to get my camera and take a few pictures.  Out the door I went to stalk the butterflies.
While I was out and about in the yard from the fence I took a picture of what lies beyond.  The growth is so dense I would not want to wonder into it and not being one for the great outdoors looking into the shadows  made me wonder what was living in there.
Loved these pops of color at the top of these bushes (?) or vines (?) since I can see them clearly from the window that I paint in front of the color more than likely they subconsciously influenced the colors in my latest piece.
This is a  Lilies of the Nile in bloom sadly nearing the end of its season.  They are really pretty, and very showy, in the Spring.  The gardening service the HOA (Home Owners Association) uses planted them on the right hand side of my slider to replace the tall grassy stuff that did not come back this summer.  The bed needs weeding and mulching still, but I am looking forward to them coming in full bloom next year and doubly love that fact, as a condo owner I don't have to  mess around in the dirt.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Didn't get any more painting done on the quilt on Friday, Saturday or Sunday

because Friday was spent doing  housekeeping chores.  Also on Friday Olivia (the grand-daughter) was having one of the girls from her gymnastic camp sleep over.  I had promised her I would take her and her house guest to Carrabba's one of Olivia's favorite restaurants for dinner.
To my surprise when I picked her up from camp, I had two girls instead of one making the trip home with me.  This additional guest necessitated they sleep in my room (king size bed) instead of all three of them trying to sleep in a double bed in Olivia's room as the bedroom at the front of the house has come to be called. 
I must admit, I had a lovely dinner with the three not yet teenage girls.  (Olivia, Harmony, & Alexia)
After a day of camp that included swimming, they ate like stevedores.  They were not picky eaters either. 
Well mannered and addressing the waiter by name, they ordered their drinks, a salad/soup and seasoned olive oil to dip their bread.  One had lobster ravioli, the other shrimp with Alfredo sauce over noodles and Livvie, steak medium well.
On Saturday the girls spent most of the time in the pool after returning from a shopping expedition  and lunch at the Mall.  I was ready for bed when the last girl went home at 6:00PM and Sunday I spent doing nothing but sitting about with my feet up in a state of "duh".  
About a week 10 days ago I decided to have plantation shutters custom made to cover the three  22" square east facing windows in my studio.  The owner of Gator Blinds and Shutters came on Saturday to measure the windows.  The shutters should be back in three weeks I was told and most happy they will cost about 1/2 of what I had estimated.   I will let you see what they look like installed and let you know  if I like being able to control the amount of light that comes through the windows with them. 
Gotta be better than wishing every sunny morning for a pair of sunglasses or placing a piece of foam core over the window until the sun gets above the eaves.
This is where I was when I stopped today for lunch.  This is all the painting I will do until after the quilting and thread painting is complete.  As I look at it on the monitor, there are one or two places that I think the composition would benefit from the addition of one or two more leaves.  But for now I am going to take it off the easel, pin it to the design wall so I can get a full length view of the piece.  I will paint in the leaves if needed, then let it mellow in my head  for a day or so before I sandwich and begin quilting it. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The sun came out and lasted all of fifteen minutes this morning

before the sky opened up and poured.  I guess it seems I am so obsessed with the weather of late, but I have always been attuned to what the sky is doing and prone to SAD.  The degree to which the lack of sunlight  affects me  has been greatly diminished since moving to Florida but there are still touches of it remaining when it is cloudy for several days in a row. 
So today without the sunlight streaming through the windows to entice me into the studio nothing has gotten done on the painting today and the image below is  what I ended the day yesterday having accomplished. 
I took a  break at the end of yesterday painting session and finishing up a light romantic comedy I was reading and did  a search on the Barnes and Nobles Nook site for something a little more toothy to read  and  decided on a new book by J. K Rowlings the author of the  Harry Potter series titled the "Cookoo's Calling".  This is NOT a children's book, but it is in my favorite genre,  (PI's, cops, murder, etc).
 I read all through yesterday evening and into the night and if truth be told I didn't mind the rain too much today because it gave me an excuse (not that I needed one) to continue reading  this morning.  Dreary skies, a cup of tea and a book are great together.  
 It is an easy read.   I like the main  and secondary characters she has populated the book with.  I have  about 100 more pages to go of the 450 plus page book.  I hope this is the beginning of a  new series for her.   I would buy and read them.
I know I will finish this book today so rain or shine tomorrow I am back to painting.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The morning started off sunny and bright

but the clouds have moved in promising a rainy day, but what else is new for this time of the year in central Florida.  
I had to keep myself at the easel and working yesterday because under painting the flower shapes all the same yellow is not really all that challenging or fun, just something that has to be done to get to the next step.
Will let you see my progress tomorrow.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I am back at the easel

and enjoying it.  What you see in the picture below are leaves and the stems belonging to three stalks of hollyhocks when I am done.  I started on the leaves because I am not sure what color I want to paint the blooms.  The piece as it is now measures about 45 x 58 inches.  Of course quilting will make it somewhat smaller. I am looking forward to quilting it on my HQ mid-arm.

On Saturday past, Olivia had a swim party.  She invited 5 girls from her gymnastic camp over.  One spent the night.  I am really glad I live close to the pool.  The closeness made it easy to carry food and drinks to the sheltered area in the pool enclosure and keep an eye on them without having to sit by the pool for the entire time.    Oh my...  I had forgotten how loud little girls can squeal when having fun. 

Hope your summer is going as swimmingly as Olivia's is. 

I will give you a look see at my painting progress tomorrow. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Not done yet so it seems.

I read Melody Johnson's blog almost everyday.  Hers and my friend Kathy Loomis are the only two that I do read on a regular basis.  So when I found myself wanting to go to Ikea on Sunday afternoon to get something else for my studio I didn't feel so guilty about having had a change of heart about how I wanted to utilize  both my indoor space and out door space, after all Melody has made lots of changes through the months, now years since she has lived in her TN house and it never fails that each of her re-organization projects improve her creative life.  At least from my view point is seems so.
In the garage I have lots of shelves and plenty of old wooden 3 drawer DMC store display boxes that hold my mixed media supplies that are no longer convenient to get to because my garage for all intent and purpose is a "garage" where my grandsons and his friends hangout.  "Better there than in the house." I say and because of that I am spending less and less time out there.  My side of the garage is getting encroached upon and I will use my part of the garage only for dyeing and large scale screen printing.
Slowly my colored pencils and supply of glue sticks and tubes of acrylic paints,inks and markers  have made their way into the house with no where to store them.  After use each time I would take them back to the garage and in a few days some or most of the supplies would be back in the house again.  So now I have a place for them in one of these five drawer cabinets.
I have placed them out of the way, under the table that I use behind my sewing machine table. No more trips to the garage for stuff now once I bring it all in and put it away.  I love Ikea.   Thanks Josh for putting them together for me.

My machine is up and working.  Adjusted the tension for my favorite thread (Isacord 40 wt polyester). This machine makes a great stitch.   At first I thought I was going to need lessons to learn how to change the foot on my HQ Sweet Sixteen from the round closed foot that came on the machine from the factory to a much prefer open toed one because changing feet on this machine is not at all intuitive and just briefly skimming through the direction  as I often do did not make clear how to accomplish this task.  What it took  was me viewing a YouTube clip and reading the instruction booklet one sentence at a time to get it done, Plus more muscle power than I thought was necessary to unloosen the needle screw and the foot washer.  I will not be changing the foot on this machine anytime soon if ever. 
I also had to get my fingers used to putting the bobbin in the machine.  I can't tell you the last time I used a machine with this kind of a bobbin since all the Janome I have owned had drop in ones. 
I have a piece of silk stretch on the design wall waiting for inspiration to come. It has been there for a few days but  I am not sweating over the fact that I haven't started on anything since I shipped off the commission piece. 
I was busy dyeing fabric and assembling kits; getting ready to speak to and teach a class in Brandon, FL last Monday and Tuesday.
And I had house guest.  My son Myke was back for a four day visit  the first of the month with my D-n-L Mel and my granddaughter Joslyn.   Olivia flew back with them to RI for a few days stay.  Now  she is back and off to a summer gymnastic camp again this weeks so I am on call for pick-up at the end of the day duty again.