A few months ago, there was a Facebook challenge to make a handmade gift for five of your friends who asked for it. My step-daughter Elizabeth, who is always very creative, met the challenge and said she would make a handmade gift for the first five who responded to her (and then agreed to do it for five of their friends, by the way). Knowing that something from Elizabeth would be very special, I said "Yes!" to her and was one of the first five who asked for a handmade gift from her.
What Elizabeth made is pictured above, though I didn't do it justice. She made a pillow with the outlines of the hands of the people in my immediate family---my beloved Jenifer, Louisa, Peter, Sophia and Griffin. She portrayed it with my pair of hands kind of holding them. It is very meaningful and also fun at the same time. Elizabeth really knows how to hit those heartstrings--I'm grateful for these special people and also grateful for Elizabeth recognizing what means the most to me.
I did make a little card, but this one is done in marking pen. I couldn't make watercolor work for it. I had to use my"artistic license" on the edge. The print of the words "faith, hope, love" is smaller and far more intricate, but I had to do what worked for doing the card. Also, I ended up elongating things a little. The pillow is actually square. I love it all, but I find it especially endearing that my "girly girl" 4-year old granddaughter Sophia showed her fingernails painted! Elizabeth used drawings that were sent to her, so they are originals of those people. Griffin is "all business" and made his hand as a complete image....closed at the wrist. I also love how Elizabeth showed me as an anchor and Peter as a central figure. Our immediate family is small, but our love is big. I really appreciate Elizabeth's being able to know that...and then to give me something that shows it.
Now, I have to do a handmade gift for those who responded to me on the Facebook challenge. One of those is Elizabeth. She set the bar pretty high....hope I can reach it!
A couple of weeks ago, I went to a potluck dinner at my friend Patty's house. We have a group of four and we get together once a month. It was great fun and we always try to find dragonfly gifts--small things....just for fun. Patty gave me a metallic dragonfly sculpture. My painting doesn't do justice to the metallic dragonfly sculpture Patty gave me, but I still like both of them--the little sculpture and my little painting. There are some metallic gold highlights, but they don't show up in the photo. Thanks, Patty.
Today, I sketched with friends Carrie and Eunice in my little neighborhood haunt, Multnomah Village. We went to a couple of galleries where artists we know were showing and then decided to do some sketches. We set up at the Lucky Labrador Pizza and Pub, which is a nice spot with outside tables and umbrellas. I wanted to sketch a dog but, even though the restaurant is "dog-friendly," we didn't see a single dog. There wasn't even one walking by. The sketch above needs a dog. The guy was pretty good, and I love the umbrellas...but wanted a dog in the foreground. Oh, well, we also sketched dumpsters. Here's my version:
And I also sketched Carrie's beer. Beer is something I needed to do for the Urban Sketcher's Scavenger Hunt. She may have gotten it so that I could do the sketch. She is that kind of friend. Her sketch kit and book are in the background. The ashtray is unfortunate. We unwittingly sat at the smoking table.
As readers of this blog know, I recently completed a series of labyrinth paintings. Actually, it's an exaggeration to say they're completed as a new one is "on the easel" now and I have ideas for a few more. But the first 10 were really done as a set and I think they stand as a series.
I decided to make them into a little book, and here is a picture of couple of the pages. It is all pictures of labyrinth paintings. The only words in this book are the titles of the paintings. The color is great and it was really fun to do. The picture above doesn't really do it justice. It an edition of one. I'll be packing it around with me,so my Portland friends can see it. In fact, they will have to beg me not to show it to them!
Carrie, Celeste and I went on an urban sketch outing at Jamison Square in the Pearl District yesterday. We are doing a "scavenger hunt" sketching project. There's a list of things that need to be sketched to complete the hunt. One of the things was someone in stripes. I had so much fun sketching the young woman above. She had two kids running around and a big spouse who sometimes stood between me and her. She was always busy with her family and she also had her own things going on. She changed from hair hanging down to a ponytail, put on a hat, rolled up her pants so she could wade, and all sorts of things. I just loved how vibrant and confident she was, and she "rocked" those stripes.
I also sketched a bicycle, which just happened to have a baby trailer attached:
It was fun to be out in the sunshine...sketching with friends.
Yes, Louisa and Peter celebrated Peter's 50th birthday with a trip to Scotland. I was intimately involved in the trip because I stayed with Griffin and Sophia while their parents were gone and made sure they kept up with their daily routines. What fun for me to drop in on my grandchildren's lives...and also to be able to visit some of my favorite galleries while they were in school.
The gifts brought back were exquisite. There are some sterling silver earrings in a celtic design---I portrayed one, but didn't do it justice. They are really beautifully crafted, and very nice. Louisa also brought back a big silk flower that can be either a pin or a hair ornament and I have been having a lot of fun with it! There's more--a book that I didn't even try to capture that shows various artist's responses to the Parliament Building in Edinboroguh. The Parliament was built in the years 1999-2004, so it is actually very modern. The artists did a great job of portraying the various aspects of the building....historical, contemporary and futuristic.
Recently, when I saw Nancy at a potluck dinner with a few of our friends, she surprised us by giving us a little plant for the garden. The choices were marigolds or this cosmos. I chose the cosmos because I have been growing some marigolds from seed, which are doing very well. I love it and it is in a beautiful little planter that kind of matches the color of the blooms.
Thanks, Nancy, for this little reminder about Spring and growth.
A few weeks ago, my artist friend Eileen surprised me with a beautiful necklace and treated me to breakfast. It is made from a special yarn that has squares (which looks like facets) of thread colors and then they are woven into strands. The colors are the full spectrum. I just so happened to be wearing a frog jacket when she gave it to me and they looked great together. Since I mentioned it, here's a picture of the frog jacket:
Every frog is different, and the back has some, too:
The colors of the jacket matched the colors of the necklace Eileen gave me. Actually, since then I have learned that lots of things match that necklace. It is a pretty fun thing to have.
Eileen is a special sort of person--very thoughtful. She said she gave me the necklace to thank me for putting her paintings into our shows at O'Connor's while she was on a trip. I would have just done it for her as a friend, but it was very nice to actually be thanked. So now, thank you, Eileen, for the necklace and breakfast and also the chance to talk about my unique jacket, too!
This is something very different, requiring a little explanation. Eight of us in the Portland Plein Air and Studio Painters had a special project. We each brought one object and then put them all in a box. Each one of us got a turn at taking the box home and making a still life. The box itself was my inspiration. It is from Zimmerman's Deli. Here's what the box looks like:
I decided to use the style of the box and then interpret our objects: an African bust, a straw hat with a flower, a blue bottle, a copper colander, a straw-covered wine bottle, a thermometer, and a scarf. You don't see the scarf because I didn't actually paint it...I just interpreted the flowers on it. I did omit one of the objects, a canning jar. The "rules" were that we had to use at least six. The box was just an extra bonus. So, that's my "take" on the project.
My "take" and the seven others are currently on display in O'Connor's, which is the restaurant where we have our weekly meetings. They are all very different. That is what made the project fun. The show is up until the first week of June.