August 30, 2011

Can you hear me now?

During a delicious chat with a friend recently I said something along these lines:
We now have all these ways to connect to other people, but have nothing to say.

You know what I'm talking about. How many people (are you one?) dive to get their cellphone so they can call someone and say these profound words: I just landed.
What did we do before cell phones? I guess people simply assumed that you landed unless there was a breaking news story about your plane on fire.

In many ways it reminds me of the old computer pings. You know the one I mean:
Are you there?
I am here. Are you there?

Now don't get me wrong, I am no Luddite. Technology has many wonderful uses and can certainly make certain things much more pleasant. But is there really a need for this constant pinging? Why not wait until one actually has something to say?

What do you think?

August 29, 2011

The joy of reading

How does a kid handle a non-reading parent? Read this comic strip for ideas.

Bye bye Irene

Am grateful that we got through Irene's visit with no mishaps. We did not even lose power which was a surprise. Others were not so lucky. There are millions without power, some in our neighborhood. Thousands of homes and boats were damaged. Huge trees came crashing down. Not to mention flooding and storm surges. I hope that you made it through unscathed.

Last week we had a nickel-sized hailstorm - I had no concept of how loud that is. Then there were thunderstorms with wind gusts high enough to damage docks at the marina. And now Irene. Am delighted that we have beautiful calm weather on the forecast this week.

August 27, 2011

Here come Irene

Hurricane Irene is headed our way and should be here tomorrow.

In preparation, stripped the boat of all stuff that would create more windage - sails, canvas, etc. and added extra storm lines. Now all we can do is wait and see what Irene brings. The forecast calls for tropical storm winds with hurricane gusts. And if that was not enough to make one concerned, the tidal surge is expected to hit at high tide - an astronomical high tide already. The marina has warned about mandatory evacuations - that is a first.

Okay, the boat is as ready as it can be. The prep on the house is underway. All batts (laptop, nook. phone, etc) are charged. Now we keep our fingers crossed and wait.

August 25, 2011

Home Libraries

Whenever I visit someone's home, I love browsing through their book shelves. It tells me much about the person. I have books in every room in the house except for the bathroom - just don't spend time in there I guess. There are books in my bag. Books on the boat. Books when I go camping or on vacation. Books make a home for me. They transport me back to the exact place and time when I read them. So now that I've started building an ebook library, my shelves are not as stuffed and overflowing as they used to be. Wonder how that will change things.

To look and drool over some fab libraries, click here.

Recent Reads

85. Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses
The thing with memoirs is that you either must be interested in the person, or they must have led an interesting life. As my pal M says - most people who think they lead interesting lives really do not. I wanted to like this book and decided to try it as an audio book on my morning walks. Could not get past the first several chapters - simply too much navel gazing in a boring way for me to continue to the end.

86. A Conspiracy of Paper
I've been running across this author at every turn recently, so decided to start with his first book and really enjoyed it. I love historical fiction, and this one got me thinking about the time England first moved away from silver and gold to paper money. Remember picking up baskets of cowrie shells in Mombasa and being fascinated that they were once used as money. Paper is only worth what the issuer says it is - no wonder it caused such a ruckus. This book wonderfully explores London in 1719, a time of stock jobbers, greed, power plays and the chaos that ensues that quite aptly reflects some of the shenanigans that took place on Wall Street recently.

87. Prince of Fire
This is No.5 in the Gabriel Allon series and explores some of the history behind the tensions in the Middle East. A good read that gives one lots to ponder. Everyone has a story. Everyone is right. So how to fix the cycle of violence?

August 22, 2011

Journal Page

The third and final page from the sail to Scituate. I decided to use pencil and pan watercolors for this page. I usually draw directly in ink, and am pleased with the less stark lines that a pencil makes on the page.

August 21, 2011

Journal Page

Another page from Scituate harbor done with pen and pan watercolors.

I realized that I hardly ever sketched boats, so last year started to try and capture what I saw around me all summer long. This cat boat had such graceful lines and I realized after I started drawing that the perspective was off - the mast is quite a bit taller.

But the sketch captures a moment in time that I spent really looking at this boat, and I am reminded of a quote that I read somewhere about how the goal of sketching is not an accurate capture (we do have cameras after all), but to really see what we are looking at. That I did.

August 20, 2011

Journal Page

Here is a sketch of a boat next to us in Scituate harbor done in pen and pan watercolors.

I love being in the mooring field in this scenic harbor. I love the gentle rocking, the slap of waves on the boat, the music of flapping halyards, the colors on the water, the lovely boats, the light. Beautiful.

August 16, 2011

Recent Reads

I've decided to update the count on my reading list to reflect the actual numbers for a given year.

80. Surface Treatment Workshop
This is a great reference book for creating backgrounds, and I've often found that starting from a page that is not blank is easier than staring at all that white space.

81. What I Wish For You
Delightful gem of a book. So many nuggets to ponder and marinate on. For example, think about the conversation around your dinner table. Do you talk about people, events or ideas? Move the talk more towards ideas.

82. Scared Squirrel has a Birthday Party
My nephews love this series and on a recent trip to the library, 6 year old Jonah was excited to discover that there are new books that we have yet to read. Not only did the boys read the book themselves, they asked me to read aloud to them. Love that.

83. The Plains of Passage
This 800 page tome is book 4 of the Earth's Children series that I'm reading this summer, and I was delighted yet again to be reading it on my nook and giving my wrists a break. This has to be my least fave book of the series so far. The so-called traveling book, there is much repetition and lots and lots of pages on the flora that could have used some editing. On the plus side, I did learn more about Mammoth sex! I have 2 more books in the series and will get to them after I've had a bit of a breather.

84. The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story
My book club is reading a selection of the stories in this book. I am not a big short story fan. I find that most are simply not good enough to stand on their own, and I am usually disappointed when I settle in for a read and the story suddenly ends. Give me a good, thick book any day. So imagine my surprise when I read the introduction by Anne Enright and changed how I look at a short story. I read the stories at bedtime. One a day. And actually quite enjoyed the experience - though not all the stories I read are ones I would recommend, there are some real gems in this collection. The biggest gift for me is that I learned something new. Love that.

August 14, 2011

Still rocking

Back home after a fun cruise to Scituate harbor to kick of my birthday weekend. Babes arranged for beautiful weather and an incredible full moon - what more can a girl ask for?

Got in some reading, and exploring, and sketching, and napping, and hanging out watching the boats. After several days on the boat, my body is still rocking in time to gentle waves. Even though I am back on land. Love that.

This journal page was created using pen and watercolors. I drew a woman across from me in the coffee shop, and gave her something more interesting than a computer to look at.

August 9, 2011

Everyday Objects - Eggplant

My goddaughter turns 9 today. Happy birthday Chickadee.

Am often amused how kids really want to talk about how old they are, while most adults shy away from that question - at least until they get to an age they feel is an accomplishment. Always make me smile.

The sketchbook theme this month is everyday objects. I love eggplants. Used to hate them - and then learned that they were simply cooked incorrectly - too slimy. They are now a staple in our home.

This page was created while on an art date with my 6 year old nephew - you can see our "studio" in this earlier post. The page haa a background of acrylics already on. Used pen, watercolor pencils and a black crayon for the rest.

August 8, 2011

Journal Page

I had plans that included cleaning today - something my home could use at the moment. Keep getting distracted by other fun things, and today was no different. Did do some, but not as much as I had planned. Keep reminding myself that the graveyard is full of good housekeepers and move on.

This is a building at my local park that I sketched while on a play date with my nephews last week. I clearly need to work on my trees.

August 7, 2011

Journal Page

I don't usually carry collage material with me when I leave the house, so looked through a found magazine for images that captured my attention in some way. Slim pickings. But was able to find enough to create this page.

The background was pre-painted with leftover acrylics from a previous art session. This is a great way to start a page - there is no blank white page staring back at you.

August 6, 2011

Journal Page

We've been having crazy weather in the Boston area - it is chilly enough for a sweatshirt one day and too hot for even a tank top the next. The sea breeze tends to keep us cooler, but also fools people into not covering up, so have seen quite a few sun burned people about.

Decided to capture Opus, who moves to the boat for the sailing season, and give him a "sunburnt" look. Used my usual travel kit - pen, watercolors, water brush.

August 5, 2011

Recent Reads

1. The Uncommon Reader
First time I have read work by the author and I loved this novella. An ode to books and readers, and worlds opened.

2. Minding Frankie
I have read several books by the author and enjoyed them. This is not as good as the others, though many of the characters are familiar. A little too light a read. The fact that the "bad guy" is a social worker looking out for the best interests of a child gives you an idea of the story. I do like the interconnectedness of the lives in the story, but it was a little too vanilla for my tastes.

3. Drawing Lab
A fab book if you are looking for creative ways to play.

4. Elemental Journaling
Interesting ideas and fun pictures but not my cup of tea. A little too contrived for my tastes.

5. Unfurling
A good primer for mixed media play.

August 4, 2011

Journal Page

I have a weakness for bananas and often think about how little I have to pay to buy them in this part of the world. Their cost certainly does not reflect the farming labor, let alone the cost of shipping them to my local market.

My basic travel kit includes a journal, watercolor box, pen and water brush. Here are pics of my painting nook on the boat and the final page.

August 3, 2011

Art by Luke

These is the art that 8 year old Luke created during our art in the park session this week. Love the loose lines - just the thing I try to capture as an adult.

August 2, 2011

Celebrating Birthday Month (3)

And the celebrations continued with an artist date. Jonah was captivated by this fab book that I was reading and wanted to "learn to draw like that".

So got him started with tracing paper, markers and crayons.

Verdict? "That is the best picture I have ever drawn. I can't believe it!", he said proudly. Love that.

Celebrating Birthday Month (2)

If there is something that warms my heart more than seeing children read, I certainly can not think of it at the moment.

There was reading done in various spots during the day. Love that.

Celebrating Birthday Month (1)

As you might know, I celebrate my birthday month - a day is just not enough time to pack in all the fun.

Could not think of a better way to kick of this month than to spend it with some of my fave people doing some of my fave stuff.

The day included art in the park, long conversations, reading, and playing with my nephews and Babes. Oh, and did I mention Bear Claw? My fave ice-cream ever. Could not ask for a better start to the celebration.