Sunday, March 31, 2013

Photo of the Week

I saw these turtles sunbathing some day this past week when I was walking with the Geek around my favorite lake. I bet they were working on a tan!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Crow Central

Our neighborhood has a whole lot of crows. You can hear them everyday, their screams and sometimes really funny noises that always crack me up. We have many big old trees close to our house, and this is where the crows like to gather in the early evening. It's crow central big time.

They sit in the bare trees, enjoying the last rays of the sun...

... and in the pine trees across the street.

They love to sit on the wire right next to our house, chatting and busy hopping around.

I love to watch them individually. Each of them seems to be a character, and I do think that crows are full of good humor, but also quite sassy. I know that many people don't like them, but I have to admit that I love crows. They entertain me every day.

I've found a blog of a kindred spirit who loves to paint crows - MagicLoveCrow - and her paintings are beautiful and so much fun. They show the side of crows that I really love - and so does she.

Now - on which side are you? Do you like crows or not so much?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Break (Photo of the Week)

We had spring break last week, and although we spent the time at home, it was very relaxing. The Geek took the week off as well and we had some really good time together. None of us sat at the computer very much which was a wonderful change.

The Geek and I took a lovely walk at our laguna where there are old trees in the vineyards on the way to the water.

The hawks were circling over this area, but they were quite far off to capture them on camera.

Kaefer had one project to do for school, and for this we had to go to the beach at sunset. The first time we went the sun was pretty absent... it was very windy and cold, and we didn't stay long.

The problem is that we can never tell what the weather is like at the ocean when we're still home. Only a few miles closer to the coast everything can change and you go from sunny and warm to foggy and cold.

We spent a day in San Francisco to see the famous Terracotta warriors of China's first emperor. I had seen them years ago in Hildesheim, Germany, but it was just as  fascinating as back then. If you ever have the chance to see them, go. You won't regret it.

Photo of the Week

The exhibition displays eight of the warriors and two horses - out of a complete army. It's unbelievable to imagine this work at 200 BC! It was more than inspiring.

We actually looked at all the exhibitions at the Asian Art Museum - it really makes you tired after a certain time. So we thought it would be nice to have a good meal and went to Suppenk├╝che, a German restaurant in the city, and had a wonderful cooling glass of beer (Hefeweizen).

Gosh, that was good. The food was fabulous as well and very authentic. We sure weren't there for the last time. The restaurant is relatively small and reminds me of a German Bierstube. You sit at big wooden tables, and if all the tables are occupied you will share it with strangers, just scoop together and leave more space for other people (NOT for a romantic dinner!). This is the way we do it in Germany in many places, and you can actually make wonderful friends this way. If you have ever been to a German Biergarten you know what I'm talking about!

After a day of rain we tried the beach again for Kaefer's project. We first had a bowl of clam chowder at our favorite restaurant in Bodega Bay, the Sandpiper, and found out that they are under new management, and I'm not quite sure that this change did the restaurant any good. We will see. At the beach it was windy and cold again, but there was the sun and we could actually enjoy a beautiful sunset.

While Kaefer was working on her project and the Geek was helping her, I took pictures - what else?

Since the weather was so nice (except for the one day of rain, but I actually liked that since we still need quite some more rain) I worked in the garden - I laid a new path in the flower beds in front of the house, planted some more flowers and got my olive tree, that had lived in a pot, into the ground. It is often hard physical work, but envisioning my garden kept me doing it - a good thing.

waiting to get into the ground

And yes, there was also some resting, reading and just relaxing - it was time to get out the hammock!

It was a wonderful week, spent with my family and sometimes a few friends. I am quite surprised how relaxing it was and how good I feel right now.

I hope all of you are doing well and can enjoy some spring if you're in the Northern hemisphere.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hawks And Herons (Photo of the Week)

No problem to decide which is the photo of this week - when I saw this hawk during a morning walk through my neighborhood yesterday and took several pictures of him/her I already knew that this one would be it. I am not quite sure what kind of hawk this is; I suspect a red-shouldered one since I can hear them all the time around here. If you recognize this kind, please let me know.

I had seen some red-shouldered hawks at my favorite lake recently and was lucky to capture some of them with my camera.

This one looks pretty young

Down at the Golden Gate a few weeks ago we saw a red-tailed hawk circling above us. I thought he was gorgeous - and you can clearly see his red tail feathers.

When I look at this one, I think he looks more like the hawk in the first photo. So perhaps that one is a red-tailed hawk after all? Isn't he an amazing beauty? These birds fascinate me every time I see them.

At the lake I also saw a beautiful green heron very close to the trail I was walking along. I took pictures of him - he only looked back at us once, just to check us out, I assume, and then thought that we are not dangerous to him at all. Rightly so!

In the wooded area across from our house I could hear great horned owls in some nights - I hope to see them one day, and I also have to look for the nest of "our" great horned owl pair at the lake. It is that time again!

Friday, March 15, 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons...

This year I am also participating in Kim Klassen's yearlong "Beyond Beyond" class. As usual, I am way behind and I pick the "lessons" I want to and work on them on my own pace.

One of the first assignments was to chose an object and then photograph it from different angles, with different aperture etc. and then make a collage out of it (at least this is the way I remember it).

I chose this object:

Then I took my camera and walked around that little stool with the bowl of lemons and took quite some shots. The ones I liked best I assembled into this collage.

The picture in the top right corner was taken with the sun behind it - not very good, but I like the atmosphere the different light is creating. I also favorite those picture with the smaller aperture - 7 instead of 11 - when the field of depth got smaller and thus the background is more blurry. The colors turn out warmer as well. Here's an example:

Av 7 - the background is quite detailed and the lemons' color is rather cool and "white"

Av 11 - the background is blurry and the color of the lemons is warmer

Of course I love the close-ups - who wouldn't like a beautiful lemon like this one?

So, when life gives you lemons... take pictures!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Photo of the Week

Yesterday I completely forgot to post my photo of the week! It would have been so easy because I didn't take many pictures last week. I actually only once took my camera, on the way to the grocery store - I had seen this fence so many times and it was on my "take a photo of this"-list and finally I did it.

I love how the late afternoon sun illuminates just one part of the fence. I like its beautiful wavy shape. So peaceful. No surprise that this ended up as my favorite image.

I am linking this to Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday for the Anything Goes eDition.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Building a Trellis

Roses are not my favorite flowers. I like a few in my garden, but not too many. However, I do love climbing roses. So a couple weeks ago I bought a climbing rose which I envisioned climbing up our house right beside the door to my studio. I already have a raised bed there, and last year I grew some of my tomatoes here.

Now in the last weeks of winter it looked pretty plain - but that was going to change very soon.

I needed a trellis for my rose. We looked at Home Depot, but only found rather flimsy ones that we didn't like at all. This rose - "Westerland" in peach colors - is supposed to climb up several feet, and we wanted a sturdy trellis that wouldn't fall over in a storm.

So the Geek offered to build one. He hadn't done something like that before, he is not a wood worker. He watched videos and learned a lot about building a trellis and then he went out and set to work.

Living in Northern California we of course opted for redwood - this we did get at Home Depot, and the Geek cut it to the size we needed. There was a lot of noise and he produced quite an amount of sawdust - and some perfect long stakes for the trellis.

We laid it out on the ground to see how it would work and how much space we wanted in between.

Then the Geek screwed all the parts together and it was ready to put up where I was going to plant the rose. The Geek fastened it to the house - and it was done.

Doesn't it look fabulous? I can't wait for the rose to grow up along the beautiful redwood and hopefully give us many pretty flowers.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hot chocolate

After some wonderful warm and sunny days it has become quite cold again in Northern California. Winter is definitely not over yet - after all, it's only the beginning of March. I am waiting for the rain to start, and rain is what we need here!

With these much cooler temperatures, it's time for some hot chocolate again!

(texture: kk_nested)

Not just hot chocolate of course - with cream on top (and marshmallows for the Geek and Kaefer) and a little cocoa powder sprinkled over it.

(textures: kk_carol and kk_1301)

We usually have our hot chocolate in the late afternoon, when everybody is at home. Some days we have it in the evening, sometime after dinner. However, it always has this cozy feeling about it.

(texture: kk_nested)

I honestly can't think of anything with more comfort on a winter day than a mug of hot chocolate.

(texture: kk_reentry)

What about you? Do you like hot chocolate? And how do you drink it? With whipped cream, marshmallows, some spices, cinnamon? Please tell me.

(Linking up with Texture Tuesday for the free & easy eDition)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Photo of the week

This week I didn't have any problems selecting my favorite photo - it's of my daughter and her way to mow the lawn - barefoot and high speed!

Have a wonderful week!!

Friday, March 1, 2013


In my last blog post I showed you the sketches I did for Christy Tomlinson's She Art 3 Workshop. Today I'm going to show you the backgrounds I created, another assignment. I only created three backgrounds, but I hope to find the time to create a few more.

This one is a 8 x 10 canvas that I covered in paint using a brush after I had glued down some papers. I'm not super happy with it and think I will still change something. I like the white accents though.

Another canvas, this one is 6 x 6. Before covering it with paint I glued down some tissue paper that I had stamped some time ago. I used a paper towel to get the paint on the canvas, and then used a stencil and bubble wrap as well as some stamps for the accents.

This is a 11 x 14 canvas board and by far my favorite. I like the color scheme, the little dots that I sprayed on, also the torn book pages and the running ink on the right side. I used an old credit card to distribute the paint.

I love to create backgrounds, but sometimes I find myself at a loss, when I think I'm always repeating my favorite techniques or color combinations etc. Christy used a color combination of yellow, blue and green in one of her videos, and I want to try that.

Friday - I'm linking to Paint Party Friday and also JRU studio. If you want to see the work of so many wonderfully talented artists, hop on over and enjoy the ride!

And tonight - I'm going to unplug for National Unplug Day. I'll be either back tomorrow evening or Sunday. Enjoy the weekend, everybody!