Monday, April 29, 2013

Evening at the Lake

On Saturday evening we celebrated Kaefer's 15th birthday which had been a few days before that. She had invited her best friend for a sleepover and in the evening we went to the lake for a picnic.

It had been a beautiful, sunny day, and the evening was lovely as well. Not so warm any more but still nice. We chose our usual picnic spot with a great view of the lake. The water was quite still, and the slowly setting sun basked everything in a warm light.

The turkey vultures were quite active. Some of them flew again and again into a tree next to our site, but they never stayed long.

One of them obviously thought that he was tired of roadkill and scavenged the barbecue at the picnic sites. It was rather interesting to watch. I was surprised that he went for the barbecue, especially since we were so close by. Usually, turkey vultures are rather shy and fly away as soon as you get close. Obviously the remains in that barbecue completely outbeat any fear of us (the people who were there before did not clean up the site very well and left quite a lot of trash; this is something I find totally rude and selfish).

This is my Photo of the Week

When we were done eating, the girls did some exploring...

and I left with camera in hand while the Geek preferred to stay at the table to read.

I saw quails (I really like these guys)...

and beautiful spider webs in the trees right at the lake.

The two older couples who were watching the sunset I found rather touching.

When we finally went home again, there - of course - was cake. Orange-chocolate cake with chocolate shavings on top. Kaefer's favorite.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Quirky Birds

Recently I have painted a few quirky birds. The inspiration came from Tam's "Life Book 2013", and I had so much fun creating these funny little birds. Here are my four birds for Life Book, with more to come:

But I didn't stop with the Life Book assignment. I painted some more quirky birds and owls on canvas or wood.

6 x 6 canvas

6 x 6 wood panel

Before I started painting the birds I had sketched a whole bunch of them on small notepaper. When Kaefer saw them she liked a certain one best. I transformed that one in a painting and gave it to her for her birthday - she turned 15 yesterday.

Kaefer's Quirky Bird, 5 x 7 canvas

These birds are so much fun to paint. I love that they're not realistic; instead, my imagination can run wild. How much fun is that!!! I love it!

I'm linking this with Paint Party Friday where you can find the amazing work of so many talented artists.

Oh, in case you've wondered - my painting from last week finally got a name. I received quite some interesting and beautiful ideas on Facebook, and finally decided for Jennifer's suggestion of "Inner Beauty".

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Beauty of Nature

After I haven't taken any pictures for a while I took quite a few last week, and I had some difficulties to decide which one would be the photo of the week. I finally went for this beautiful poppy that I found in the wildflower garden of my favorite bakery in Freestone.

Nature is the best painter, isn't she?

I'm linking this to Mandarin Orange Monday.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Faceless and Nameless

I almost forgot Paint Party Friday and Sneak Peek Friday - how could I!!! So I am late today, but better late than never!

This faceless girl in this painting is a result of Christy Tomlinson's "She Art Workshop #3" - I am still not done with the workshop, but have learned so much. Thankfully it is accessible for an entire year, there is no need to rush. Usually I am not a fan of faceless people, but I have learned how much of a face you can actually paint just by shading. I like how she has turned out.

Unfortunately, this painting still has no name. On my Facebook page I have asked my "fans" to come up with a name and post it in the comments. So far I have received quite some beautiful options. If you can think of a good name/title for this painting, I would love it if you popped over to my Facebook page and left it there in the comments. The person who's name/title "wins" will receive an 8x10 print of this painting. In order to be "eligible" it has to be posted on Facebook. Thank you!

Enjoy visiting all these wonderful artists' blogs and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Egrets in Bodega Bay

After I had bought my bread in the Wildflour Bakery in Freestone I went further on to Bodega Bay. Since it was a very windy day I thought that the waves would be pretty tall and made the drive up to Bodega Head. However, although the sea was rather rough, the waves weren't much taller than usual. But the wind was so strong that I had a hard time holding my camera steady, and I soon left again. Down at the bay it was much calmer, and I discovered some egrets sitting at the edge of the water.

This guy has caught a fish

While I like watching egrets standing in the water and admiring their beautiful reflection, they are even more elegant in flight and spectacular while landing.

Usually egrets are quite shy, at least the ones here at our local lake. They don't like it when you come too close. These egrets, however, didn't mind my presence at all. They stayed where they were (there were quite a lot in the water) despite me approaching them, and some of them kept on circling around.

I love the reflection in this image

They are such beautiful birds - and skillful divers when they discover a fish. I'm glad I saw them! It certainly made the morning less chilly.

Monday, April 15, 2013


We were running out of bread, so I went to Wildflour Bakery in Freestone to buy a few loaves of our favorite bread - four loaves each of the 100% rye with caraway and the whole wheat (you know how bread addicted we are). By now they know me there because I turn up around every three weeks to get my big order.

The entrance already promises of a rustic environment.

Inside it's just one huge room that is only divided by the counter. There is one big table in the customer area where you can sit and eat their sticky buns and scones and drink their excellent coffee (very strong). Behind the counter you can see all the bread and have a good view of the bakery itself, including the beautiful wood fired brick oven, the heart of the bakery.

One of the most important ingredients - the flour.

They also have beautiful gardens that invite for a stroll...

...and where you can sit in peace and enjoy your food and coffee.

But the best is, was and always will be - the bread!

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Painting on a Painting

Last year I started and almost finished a painting that went somewhere completely different than I wanted. This is not a bad thing; however, it took a direction that I didn't like very much. I tried to change it several times, but it only got worse, so I put it away and forgot about it.

Recently I found it again, and I was embarrassed about how bad it was - so embarrassed that I won't show it here. I decided to paint over it, to get rid of it for good. There were a very few areas that I liked and left those unpainted, hoping that I could do something with it.

You can still see a bit what was underneath it - a girl with a lot of punched flowers in her hair, you can see the outline of her shirt and the shape of a bird. I wanted to paint another girl and thought it would be a good idea to turn the canvas.

The flowers make a really nice texture. However, I didn't really like the spots I left from the old painting except for the heart. I covered them as well.

This is the finished painting, and I am much happier with it than with the original painting. It's a completely different girl, the mood is not dark but more pensive.

The flowers beneath the girl turned out really nice - I like it that way.

I am linking again with Paint Party Friday and Studio JRU. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Until the Cows Come Home

One cow, that is. One beautiful Holstein-Friesian metal cow that came home – my home – two weeks ago. She has two long horns, a typical cow tail, beautiful big ears and a red bell hanging around her neck. She looks rather sassy. She’s pretty big, too – a small child could easily sit on her.

It was love at first sight. I discovered her....

Want to read more of this? Please head over to Vision and Verb where it is my turn to write today. 
Enjoy the story!

Friday, April 5, 2013


Perhaps you remember my post from a few weeks ago when I told you about my humble start with Christy Tomlinson's online course "She Art 3". She had asked us to find images of women and girls that we like and sketch them. Of course there was a further assignment to that. Paint it. (well, what else?)

This was my inspiration from the Gudrun Sjöden catalog of early summer 2011:

Isn't she a gorgeous girl? I was fascinated by the partial white painting of her face and the abundance of flowers in her hair. I also like her full lips and the way she looks - confident, a bit mysterious.

This was the sketch, already quite different from the "original":

She looks more like a young girl, and by far not as confident as in the photo of the catalog. A completely different personality actually.

The painting part was difficult. It took me forever to even start on it! I opted for a background that I created a few months ago and had almost forgotten about.

It's wood painted with acrylic paints and then covered with tissue paper that I had stamped before.

Although the painting of the girl took me a long time, I enjoyed the process very much. I changed the color of her skin repeatedly, I painted over the eyes and started anew, the hair has so many layers, and the flowers were cut from different papers and further worked on with PITT pens. All in all, the girl is completely different from the original inspiration, but I can still see the look of confidence in her eyes and facial expression.

I also found that the background was too "strong" for the woman, she kind of disappeared. With the toned down colors in the background she stands out more and the focus is on her. She is available in my store now.

Writing this I feel how it is still difficult for me to talk about my paintings. I wonder why is that?

Finally, I am linking this to Paint Party Friday and JRU Studio - if you follow the links you can visit other blogs chock full with amazing art.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Life Book 2013

I've just realized that I haven't posted any more of my Life Book 2013 class except for the "warm-up" Fairy Art Mother. Of course I am already hopelessly behind since I am also working on other online classes, but it's okay. I have enough time to catch up, and I don't think that I am doing every week's "assignment". Some don't speak to me as much as others, and I'd rather have fun with the ones I feel tempted to do. I also don't want to show all of them since some are very personal and for my eyes only. But - today there are two assignments I'd like to share with you.

The first is the black and white image on top, "Scales of Light". I worked with white pastels on black cardstock, a first for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I used Schmincke pastels which are incredibly soft and just wonderful to work with.

One week the topic was "Celebration and courage" - I painted myself with the "shadow" of a mountain lion behind me. Unfortunately I couldn't create this in the way it was supposed to be - the woman should have been covered with masking fluid while we would spray over her, then remove the masking fluid and paint the clothes and hair etc. in. Well, when I opened my small bottle of masking fluid it had all dried up (the same thing happened to Tam in the video!), so I drew the woman on cardstock, cut her out and attached her.

This week's lesson as well as from two weeks ago are really tempting and I hope to do them real soon. Hopefully, I can post them here.