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