Monday, December 30, 2013

Brush Rest for Small Change

I saw this cute little porcelain dish in a store and immediately knew it would make a perfect paint brush rest, something I did not have before. The price tag said $0.79, but at the cash register, I paid $0.21. Not bad.

EDM 166 - A Fish

I studied Koine Greek for two years in college. I loved it! My favorite part was that you had to learn a completely different alphabet first, and from there, it all seemed like decoding messages from another world. 

That's sort of what the ichthus (ιχθυς) was originally. It was code. More precisely, it was a symbol of a word, which was a symbol for a group (Christians) that needed a way to communicate secretly in plain sight of the hostile, Roman Empire. It was brilliant. "Ichthus" is the Greek word for "fish," and the letters in the word form an acrostic for the names: Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior.

I find it intriguing that the earliest Christians set the precedent for abbreviating "Christ" with "X," which is not an English "x," as some assume today, but rather the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter in Christos (Χριστος).

There ya go. Lesson over. If I messed up with any of that, please keep in mind that I studied Greek over 30 years ago, and I forget στθφ (stuph, because there's no "f" in Greek). Oh, and I also love Roman numerals, so I included them in this piece. It looks like another ancient code. Such fun!
EDM 166 - A Fish; 3x3" watercolor

Sunday, December 29, 2013

EDM 165 - Front of My House

Ye Olde Brick House; 3x3" watercolor
Our House, circa 1950 (way before my time!)
Our 80-year-old brick house has tons of character, which is more than I can say for my painting of it. I've never been interested in drawing or painting buildings, which means I'll never be a proper urban sketcher. Oh, and I'm kind of indoorsy, so there's that. My disinterest in mastering multi-dimensional perspective is pretty obvious here. My paintings of buildings always come across as fairly flat and sort of folk-art-like, as if they are merely renderings of architectural concepts. Or, perhaps they are just the street side of a gingerbread house. Did someone say "gingerbread"? Yes, please!

I made my painting of the house from memory, since it was too cold to be outside. Painting from memory allows you to idealize a bit. In reality, we have two gnarly, old weeping cherry trees (seen as young saplings in the old photo above) that obscure the front view of our house. They bloom beautifully for a couple weeks in May, and then they are just old and gnarly the rest of the year. Our porch steps are not nearly as grand looking as in my painting. In fact, they are non-descript, drab-gray concrete. But, I do LOVE our porch, especially now!

In anticipation of our daughter's wedding in June, we spruced up the front of the house quite a bit in the spring. My wonderful son-in-law-to-be helped me paint the porch. It was a huge project, made bigger by several days of blustery, rainy weather. We were forced to wrap the front of the house in plastic, just to give the paint a chance to dry between coats. There were times, when the wind kicked up, that I feared the house would sail away. One day the temperature was in the 80s, and we were boiling hot. The next day, it was damp and 45 degrees. It seems funny now, but at the time it was just frustrating.

I stripped half a dozen layers of decades-old paint off the front door and door frame before repainting it. We considered buying a new door, but I could not bear to part with the original beveled glass window. I'm so glad I persevered, because it looks as good as new now.

My painting above includes the new boxwood bushes we planted this year. I've wanted them for years. I hope they survive the winter. I also included the flower baskets we had hanging from the porch all spring and summer. They became enormous and bloomed so beautifully. One of the baskets seemed homey enough to one mother bird that she built a nest in it and hatched her eggs there. It was such a treat to see them every morning as they went from eggs to chicks. One day, they just disappeared. Sniff. Sniff.

It's all just a memory all the rest of 2013 is soon to be. I love this old house, and as the painting says, it is definitely NOT for sale by owner! I'll be in the picture below as soon as the weather is warm enough again. Can't wait!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

EDM 1-164

EDM 1-164
Does this look like anything important? How about HALF of something? I have reached the halfway point on the EDM list. There are 164 little paintings in this picture. NOW does it look like something important?!

I'm taking off for a week or so of vacation. I'll be back later this month with the beginning of EDM Volume Two. Thanks to all of you for your tremendous encouragement of my quirky little project over the past five months. You're the best!

EDM 164 - A Camera

Seth Godin says that those who do creative work get into it because they have good taste. In other words, they have an eye that others do not have or do not choose to develop. I agree. The eye is THE THING. Just as a camera is essentially a sophisticated mechanical eye controlled by a few programmed buttons, an artist is a complicated, discriminating eye served by an obedient hand.

I lost interest in this painting shortly after I started it, but I've determined that I will not simply display the pieces I like. It's a sketch "book," so everything stays in!
EDM 164 - A Camera; 3x3" watercolor

Sunday, December 8, 2013

EDM 163 - Cards

My personal art blog passed 10,000 page views today. That's 10K or, in this case, the 10 of Clubs and the King of Hearts.

Since I'm usually very comfortable with pen, I thought this all-ink drawing would be relatively simple. I was wrong. This was hard!!

Thanks to all of you who have visited my blog over the last year! Onward to the next 10K visits!
EDM 163 - Cards; 3x3" pen & ink

Friday, December 6, 2013

EDM 162 - My Breakfast

I've been grabbing Nature Valley Granola Bars for a quick breakfast since I was a teenager (1970s). I don't think the packaging has changed much in all those years. I just noticed, though, that they are the official natural granola of both the PGA Tour and the U.S. Ski Team. Just think, if sports didn't have goofy official sponsors (Who votes on their official natural granola? Is there an official contest for this? Is there a different official artificial granola?), Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn might never have ended up together!
EDM 162 - My Breakfast; 3x3" watercolor

Thursday, December 5, 2013

EDM 161 - Something that Smells Wonderful

If I were ever to open my own coffee shop, I would specialize in coffee foam art, so customers could drink in art everyday. That would be the name of the shop: Drink in Art Everyday. I would encourage customers to enjoy their coffee while they sit and sketch. My shop would not keep typical coffee shop hours, because I am not a morning person.

But, alas, I'm not really all that interested in running a coffee shop. Too much business; not enough creativity.
EDM 161 - Smells Wonderful; 3x3" watercolor

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

EDM 160 - An Award

A genuine award, being something hard-won and therefore deserved, is something we should not feel guilty about. Pride should be measured and diluted with gratitude--gratitude for all those who helped us in winning the award. There are always plenty who help. My college diploma is that kind of award for me. I worked hard for it, but I did not get there alone. I am very grateful to my parents for making my education possible.
EDM 160 - An Award; 3x3" watercolor

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

EDM 159 - A Favorite Cooking Tool

I love to make fruit salad, so my bamboo cutting board soaks up a lot of juice. The board doesn't complain, so I assume it loves fruit, too.
EDM 159 - Favorite Cooking Tool; 3x3" watercolor

Monday, December 2, 2013

EDM 158 - A Kernel of Popped Popcorn

Each kernel of microwave popcorn has approximately four minutes to be either a super yummy star or a useless, discarded dud at the bottom of the bag.

 If you don't see a raw, whole chicken, doing a funky break dance here, then you should look again. Look harder. Tap into your inner funky chicken.
EDM 158 - Popcorn; 3x3" watercolor

Monday, November 25, 2013

EDM 157 - Towels

I love painting stripes and long as I don't have to WEAR them. I also love woven fabric, especially homespun.

This is one of very few paintings I've done that has no ink lines. I don't know why I don't do more unlined pieces.
EDM 157 - Towels; 3x3" watercolor

The Basin and the Towel

More from the category, "Drawing in Church; Painting at Home." The sermon wasn't actually about this passage. I just wanted to draw some pottery and a towel to see if I could do it from my imagination.
Basin and Towel; Moleskine watercolor journal

Saturday, November 23, 2013

EDM 156 - A Sandwich

If I were ever to open my own restaurant, it would be a vegetarian sandwich shop. All the sandwiches would be served on awesome, homemade bread. I would also serve simple homemade soups and, for dessert, I'd sell cookies, coffee cake, and lemon bars. The menu would be hand-drawn and fun. I'd serve my favorite sandwich and call it "Just-a-T. Sandwich"--a BLT minus the B and the L, with extra mayo and lots of salt. BUT, I'm not at all interested in running a restaurant. I would love to HAVE this restaurant nearby, though!
EDM 156 - A Sandwich; 3x3" watercolor

Thursday, November 21, 2013

EDM 155 - Something with Steps

I grew up in a one-story house with no basement. I always thought it would be so cool to have a second floor and stairs. It was just a case of wanting what we didn't have. Well, I have stairs now! Our house has three floors and a basement. Here's how having a four-story house works: there is always a three-in-four chance that the item you need is on a floor other than the one you're standing on. The result of this phenomenon is that my house is my gym!
EDM 155 - Something with Stairs; 3x3" watercolor

EDM 154 - A Lemon

If life gives you winter, paint lemons...from memory. If I were serious about "Buy Fresh; Buy Local," I would never buy another lemon because I've never lived in citrus country. I can dream, though. Come to think of it, I would love to live in a lemon dream, with warm, sunny light driving away all memory of ever having been cold.
EDM 154 - A Lemon; 3x3" watercolor

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

EDM 153 - Something Wrapped in Plastic

I'm sure it was a fabulous day when chemists first discovered that they could cook up a synthetic, pliable, translucent, cheap, lightweight alternative to glass. But, as with all good things, moderation should govern us. We have been immoderate with plastic. It seems like the world will someday be wrapped in it. We were once enraptured. We're becoming en-wrapped-tured.
EDM 153 - Wrapped in Plastic; 3x3" watercolor

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hope at the Center

I've reached the center of my Moleskine art journal, and I decided to fill the spread with hope...literally.
HOPE; Moleskine watercolor jounral

Sow in Peace - Grow in Peace

I drew this in church and painted it later that day at home. Sunday is my fun day--the day I try to do some artwork just for fun.
Sow in Peace; Moleskine watercolor journal

Friday, November 15, 2013

EDM 152 - A Nut

I drew this last night while sitting at a practice where I was barely needed. Maybe I was feeling a little like a wing nut? It's hard to say. I was tired, and drawing this in a creative way kept me awake. The outline is one continuous line, starting at the lower left and ending in the "wing" of the nut.
EDM 152 - A Nut; 3x3" watercolor

Thursday, November 14, 2013

EDM 151 - Free Choice

I haven't had much time to paint this week, which is why I went with something easy and fast. This is for my dad, who loves this saying. I admire my dad for being a lifelong student and lover of serious books.
EDM 151 - Free Choice; 3x3" watercolor & dip pen

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

EDM 150 - Candles

My son made these hand-dipped candles for me when he was on a field trip in the second grade. There is no way I'm EVER going to burn them! They are what you might call irreplaceable! Oh, and they're delightfully small, just like my son was when he made them. Fast forward to today--he's way taller than I am.
EDM 150 - Candles; 3x3" watercolor

Sunday, November 10, 2013

EDM 149 - A Broom

It's hard to say if I was channeling Beatrix Potter and came up with a scene where naughty birds disobey their mother and venture too near Mr. McGregor's scary straw man, or perhaps it was Maurice Sendak and I couldn't shake the idea that there is a place where the wild (and brave) birds are. Or maybe I just indulged a longing I occasionally get to paint something too cute. Whatever it was, I'm over it now.
EDM 149 - A Broom; 3x3" watercolor

EDM 148 - Something Soothing

First on the list when soothing is required is music. It doesn't make everything all better, but it's a pretty good place to start.

Music has been very close around me my entire life, like a soft warm coat in a sometimes-harsh, often-cold world. Being able to make music has been good medicine more than once when my heart needed gentle healing.

And, one more thing: I love how music can be a bullet train ride to a precise time in my past. How does it do that?!
EDM 148 - Something Soothing; 3x3" watercolor

Saturday, November 9, 2013

EDM 147 - Something Made of Wood

This is the top of a hand-carved wooden display pedestal that I have had since I was a teenager. It was a gift from a friend who traveled a lot as a young girl. I'm guessing this piece is from India. I don't know if my friend remembers where she bought it, but if she does, I'm sure there's a good story involved. She's a wonderful storyteller! I wonder if she even remembers buying it or giving it to me. We've both lived lifetimes since this piece was new.

When I posted this on Facebook, an EDM group member who lives in India confirmed that it is the kind of thing that is very common in handicraft shops in India. I love that there are handicraft traditions in regions of the world. You see something, and know, "That came from ________" (fill in the blank). Regional craft traditions are still very much alive in many places in the world, especially less industrialized countries. I've seen it in Asia, Central America, and Europe. It is harder to find in America.

I suspect that the success of cheap and reliable industrialized goods in this country has contributed to the demise of genuine regional handicrafts. So much so, that we tend to see something homemade and judge it by how manufactured it looks. We compare similar items and think they're better if they all look uniform and exact, which store-bought goods do. Machines are good at producing large quantities of identical, soul-less goods. And, why do we call them "goods"? We should call them "sames."

I would love to see a revival of regional (or common) craftsmanship--items that aren't perfect, aren't expensive, aren't fussy. They are REAL souvenirs of a place--not mass-produced in a factory somewhere else and sold as regional. It seems that this would lend to that place an ounce or two of authenticity and uniqueness. It goes beyond "quaint." It is honest production. And, it is hard to find.
EDM 147 - Something Made of Wood; 3x3" watercolor

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

EDM 146 - A Favorite Food

What can I say? Sometimes I just get the urge to overthink a piece. This piece's only salvation is its color palette. Have you ever noticed that you can study Tuscan colors by just looking at a pizza? My advice: stop studying and eat it before it gets cold. And, if you don't like pizza, I don't understand you, and I doubt you can be trusted! :)
EDM 146 - Favorite Food; 3x3" watercolor

Monday, November 4, 2013

EDM 145 - A Tree in Autumn

I don't spend enough time looking at or studying trees. I tend to paint what I call generic trees--a little difficult to pin down the exact kind--because I usually paint them from memory. Here's one I saw in or neighborhood on my way home from church. It's one of the most amazing shade trees I've ever seen, and right now it's brilliant yellow. Soon, all its wonderful shade will be lying on the ground.

This painting is done entirely with two paint colors. They happen to be my favorites on the palette: WN quinacridone gold and WN intense blue. They mix together to make a wonderful green. The quinacridone gold is an amazing color. It does brown, orange, gold, and bright yellow all by itself! And, the blue does all the rest.

This was a fun challenge.
EDM 145 - A Tree in Autumn; 3x3" watercolor

Sunday, November 3, 2013

EDM 144 - Something Square

Said the square candy bar, "Does this chocolate make me look fat...or just chunky? Or perhaps it's the wrapper. They say foil adds 10 pounds!"

I just want to go on the record here: I did NOT actually have a Chunky bar. I have plenty of leftover Halloween candy from all the trick or treaters who did NOT come to our door. We had exactly six little children all night! I over-bought candy.

And, I also want to go on the other record: I have BEEN drawing many square things. This piece makes 144 square somethings to be exact. I think I deserve some candy....
EDM 144 - Something Square

Friday, November 1, 2013

EDM 143 - An Herb (or Four)

Okay, this is a bit of a cheap shot, as in, I didn't spend much thought on it. What can I say? I was born in the 60s and fed my ears too much S&G.
EDM 143 - An Herb (or Four); 3x3" watercolor

EDM 142 - Something Hot

I don't keep black, gray or white on my palette. On the rare occasion that I need black, I enjoy mixing my own. Everyone has their favorite recipe for black. Mine is based on the Winsor Newton colors I always have on my palette. My black comes together with intense blue, purple lake, and burnt sienna. The intense blue is extremely rich and saturated and makes my black almost completely opaque. It's like painting with thick ink, and it's kind of odd for watercolor, which is the transparent paint medium.

So, about how I got to paint with black and orange on Halloween.... Completely unplanned.

EDM 142 - Something Hot; 3x3" watercolor

Thursday, October 31, 2013

EDM 141 - Something with Bristles

This was just fun to do. It helped that I got to talk to my daughter on the phone the entire time I worked on this piece. So, this was REALLY FUN!!
EDM 141 - Bristles; 3x3" watercolor

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

EDM 140 - An Envelope

I'm trying to make short trips outside my comfort zone where the new-to-me art supplies have been living for many decades. My first few attempts with acrylics were frustrating, and I've always been overwhelmed by the vast array of paint additives on the shelf. This piece features metallic acrylic mixed with matte medium and watercolor diluted with granulation medium. This is about as wild as it gets with me.
EDM 140 - An Envelope; 3x3" watercolor & acrylic

EDM 139 - Something with a Handle

I knew when I saw this old water pump that I would want to paint it. I love how the rust is complementary to the sun-faded paint. It reminds me that time is a tireless artist. Whether we see its "art" as beautiful is a matter of opinion.
EDM 139 - Something with a Handle; 3x3" watercolor

Sunday, October 27, 2013

EDM 138 - Something Soft

Lullaby, oh, lullaby!
Flowers are closed and lambs are sleeping;
Lullaby, oh, lullaby!
Stars are up, the moon is peeping;
Lullaby, oh, lullaby!
While the birds are silence keeping,
Lullaby, oh, lullaby!
Sleep, my baby, fall a-sleeping,
Lullaby, oh, lullaby!

~Christina Georgina Rossetti
EDM 138 - Something Soft; 3x3" watercolor

Saturday, October 26, 2013

EDM 137 - Something That Turns On and Off

I took a picture of this truly elegant old water fountain at an Interstate rest area somewhere in Virginia. It turns on and off with a foot pedal.

At some point in my lifetime, Americans ruined their taste buds for cheap or free water. There was no line at this fountain or even evidence that anyone uses it anymore. I did see people buying bottles of "the good stuff" from a nearby vending machine. I'm not judging. I didn't drink from the fountain either.
EDM 137 - Turns On and Off; 3x3" watercolor

EDM 136 - Something That's Alive

The label says this yogurt is alive. We're conditioned to forget about that before we eat it because we would never voluntarily eat something that's still alive, would we?! Wink. Wink.
EDM 136 - Something Alive; 3x3" watercolor

EDM - Color Therapy

A couple weeks ago, I suspected that I was mired in a "blue period." I think my last four sketches speak for themselves. I'm cured! Talk about bright!
EDM Brights

Friday, October 25, 2013

EDM 135 - A Salad

In my opinion, there is one perfect salad--a fresh fruit salad that contains NO melons or apples--and then there are all the lesser kinds of salad, including green salads. They're all fine, but I'm kind of crazy about fruit salad. It MUST be homemade.

Sorry, melon-lovers, if I offended you, but I am not a fan. And, I love apples, but they don't belong in fruit salad. I'm not opinionated about this at all. I just know what I like. The perfect salad is kiwi, pineapple, mango, grapes, strawberries, mandarin oranges, and bananas. No sugar. No yogurt. Just the fruit. Have I made myself annoyingly clear? :)
EDM 135 - A Salad; 3x3" watercolor

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

EDM 134 - A Familiar Thing from an Unusual Angle

This is the view through the bottom of an empty olive oil bottle. I call this "Through the Cooking Glass." It's a little weird. What can I say?
EDM 134 - A Familiar Thing; 3x3" watercolor

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

EDM 133 - A Peach

Yes, we have no October. I refuse to buy the peach-colored, peach-fuzz-covered rocks that are passed off as peaches in the grocery store all year long. The name "stone fruit" doesn't mean they're supposed to feel and taste like rocks! And, that ends this "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" public service announcement for today.
EDM 133 - Peaches; 3x3" watercolor & markers

EDM 132 - A Chain

It was fun creating my own Charm City. I wasn't going for excessively cute, but I think I ended up there.
EDM 132 - A Chain; 3x3" watercolor

Monday, October 21, 2013

EDM 131 - A Spray Bottle

I wasn't sure how to make this interesting. I went with an unusual view. It's kind of an odd little piece. Put it in the file with all the other odd little pieces I've done, and instruct them to keep it quiet in there! (The art ain't the only odd thing that exists around here at 2:00 in the morning!)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

EDM 130 - School Supplies

I went with ART school supplies. These items were my constant companions during my year of studying commercial art in Chicago back in the mid 1980s. I photographed the finished piece with the actual black plastic gear that appears in the painting. The gear is the mechanical key for twisting the nib off a Koh-i-noor Rapidograph mechanical pen (pictured at the top). I used Rapidograph pens every day in art school. I loved them!

And, for the puzzle portion of this piece: when unscrambled, the brown letters scattered around the piece spell "art school."
EDM 130 - Art School Supplies; 3x3" watercolor

EDM 129 - People Doing Something

I snapped the reference picture for this in June. The lovely Asian woman with gorgeous black hair seemed fine with getting the bottom of her beautiful, tiered dress wet in the Crown Fountain. It seemed like the epitome of stop-motion, carefree-ness to me. I loved this place and wanted to stay forever. Wish I were back there right now.
EDM 129 - People Doing Something; 3x3" watercolor