Samstag, 30. April 2016

Drawing Class

All four of the young people in my household are in drawing classes at art school.

Peter has never cared much about art and actually would become quite frustrated in the little art classes we had occasionally at home. It just wasn't one of his strengths or interests. But since all the others were going to attend art school every Friday he agreed, with some trepidation, to try it out. He has done very well and is enjoying himself. For the animal drawing class he chose this photo to copy because the dog looks very much like his dog, Jake.

He has a little more work he wants to do on his drawing but he is very pleased with it and has had fun. His mama thinks it's a great first work.

Samuel took a semester of art classes at the school three years ago when he was twelve so he is in the drawing 102 class and can work on slightly more complicated subjects. This is what he chose-


You can see that the students are working with a grid to guide them. Samuel has quite a bit more to do on his in the next three weeks before the final exhibit.


Leah is also in the required drawing 101 class but since she is older and has more drawing practice she is working on a more complicated subject also and doing an excellent job. (Leah says that no smudging is allowed for shadows in this class, only pencil lines.)

This is Sarah's finished work from the animal drawing class. A fun image executed beautifully.

Freitag, 29. April 2016

Flowers for Mama

I was given the most gorgeous bouquet today.
And the sun shone.
And I did a watercolor sketch.

All good for the soul.

Donnerstag, 28. April 2016


After a hard frost last night, and after the sun came out to melt the frost, and after the dandelions and buttercups - so tightly closed yesterday in the snow - opened their bright faces again, and after the temperature gave promise of rising tomorrow, it seems like SPRING IS RETURNING.

That needs a bit of painting, surely.

Today's piece: Watercolor

Detail of center

Mittwoch, 27. April 2016

Wonderful Wednesday and Confused April

Wednesday, From Mary

Mary has sent some pictures of her latest cakes in her decorating class at her work.

Sunflower cake for sunny places.

Mary said this was for Cinco de Mayo. I guess Mexican-heritage people celebrate something on this day, which was originally about the temporary victory of the Mexican army over the French, in the 1860's, in a war that started when Mexico said, "We are not going to pay our debt right now." It probably has "evolved" since then. Anyone with inside information?


These colors are definitely more suited to her tropical climate than what I have now.

April Confusion

After all the pretty blooming flowers I showed you some days ago, the temperatures dropped, and we got this.

This morning was like this.
See the white hills in the back?

Snow in April.

The snow was icy and heavy. It flattened the hay fields.

Elevation differences.
Fortunately the sun came out and by midday the snow was gone. But the temperatures are still dropping. The front hall is full of my porch geraniums, now inside after being out for a couple of sunny weeks after a long winter hibernation in the dark.

I had started some seeds and hardened them for outside, but...This is what the middle landing looks like now.

Then - what comes in the mail today? A summer craft catalogue.....

..... and my young plants. This how the the top landing looks.

We really need some warm spring weather and sunshine.

But the flowers are still alive..

.. and the young Przewalski horses were frolicking this morning, enjoying a short turn-out in the field.

These are last year's colts, more interested in running than in food.

They noticed intruders in their territory and came over to check the threat.

"All together we are brave and mighty..."

... or maybe not.
 And the first foal of the year has joined the herd.

That sounds like spring.

Dienstag, 26. April 2016

Jug and Surfer

Leah --

    This is the project I'm working on in Friday's painting class. I've never actually used this technique of doing darks first. It's pretty interesting and it looks kind of funny right now, but judging from the fact that my jug satisfies me, I think this will look pretty cool in the end.

Sarah --

    In Figure Drawing, I'm drawing professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, who had her left arm bitten off by a shark when she was thirteen years old. It's fun, but I'm also nervous about getting it right. I haven't tried to draw real people much, just things off the top of my head.

    On another note, I finished crocheting this little owl last week. I got the pattern from, via Pinterest.

Sonntag, 24. April 2016

Update from Oregon

So many things to catch up on....where to begin?

Shall I first tell you about what's happening on the homestead?

Spring seemed to leap quickly into early summer with very warm temperatures that brought out a succession of flowers. My lilacs, which for many years would bloom for Mother's Day in mid May, are blooming now!

These are my three varieties. (Every year I say I will transplant some white ones. This year I am going to do it!) The first one has a double blossom, the second one looks red in the photo but actually is a deep red purple, and the bottom variety is very blue in color.

I'm actually sad that so many things are already blooming in April because by June all my best flowers will be finished. I'll have to plant a lot of annuals for color this year.

This is my lovely little dogwood, a Mother's Day gift (several years ago) from my son. Now that he is a husband I am no longer the most important woman in his life, but that's a good thing!

             This fluffy bridal spirea grows tall enough to peek into my dining room window. I love that.

      The blueberry row is all in bloom and the bees are busy there and in the two apple trees.

The seeds I planted a few weeks ago have sprouted. It will be quite a while until we see fruit. (The second bed is herbs, onions and narcissus, the third bed has strawberries).

Spring brings more than bursts of blooms, there are also additions to the farm fellows.
Our boys always get pigs for their 4-H projects in March. They had to search in two states to find pigs that were born early enough to mature in time for the county fair at the end of July. We also always get an extra pig to raise for our own table. This year I requested that we get a pig born later that won't mature until September so that we could feed it out of the garden for awhile before it went to slaughter. So, this last week we acquired a young little pig that we'll raise for ourselves. We didn't expect that he would be SO small, but he is adorable. He was especially cute when rooting around the barrows for milk. 

We were initially concerned about how the older, bigger pigs would treat such a little guy. It was quite a pleasant surprise to see them immediately accept him without any conflict at all.

And this morning Sam found this scene-
                                                   The little guy found the sweet spot.

How about some arts and crafts?....

Besides the drawing classes, the young people in our house are taking a photography class at the art school. Samuel is especially enjoying it and learning technical details very quickly. Here are some of his shots that he was willing to share-

The forward focus of this photo is a technique called "bokeh" and I love the effect. I use it often when taking photos of cakes.
Here is another-

                    Samuel has a vintage truck restoration project and he loves to take photos of it.

Last week in photography class the students worked on portrait shooting. I think this is a fabulous shot Sam took of his little brother. The light and shadow effects are wonderful.


            He has also been experimenting with shutter speeds with the camera on a tripod-


In a future post I want to share the work in Photoshop class if I can get the guys to show me their work!

The weather turned cooler this week so I wasn't drawn so strongly to the outdoors. Staying in enabled me to get back to my neglected sewing project. This has already been a too long post so I won't give details except to say......because of my lack of proper planning and measuring, I ran out of fabric.

So....I won't be able to proceed until I make a trip to the big city. But here is a progress shot-


                                                    More about this one in another post....

Freitag, 22. April 2016

Slow Spring, and Where My Muse Was Hiding.

by Katie

I've been in a funk.  Our winter has been long and dreary and persistent.  Spring is slowly arriving, but it's long overdue in my opinion.  We're in the April Showers phase, which is fine, but it was very recently snowing.  I have been feasting my eyes on the green grass-- I almost forgot how wonderful that color is.

But still, I have felt completely uninspired.  Everything is Ugly.  The inside of my house looks like a bomb-disposal site and the outside looks like  a junkyard.  I clean the same mess every day. I can't do anything about The Ugly because my attention span is about as long as that of a gnat due to the distractions swirling around me. I want to make a few gifts and participate in the contests, but I have  had ZERO ideas and my creative juices have not been flowing.  I couldn't even think what to make for meals, I was so out of ideas.

This morning, I thought, okay, I'm just gonna get out some stuff and start making.  No cleaning, no laundry, just Make Something.  So I googled around for a few ideas, got out this pile of fabric, and got started. I was sure it would make me feel better.

So I did, and it was good, but it wasn't quite going the way I wanted, and the kids were touching things and asking things, and cutting things I didn't really want cut.  The baby fussed to be held but tried to eat pins when he was up with me. Then they needed lunch.

I left everything on the table and Outside we went

Outside, there are a few things starting to bloom, I found.  My little peach tree has some pink blossoms.  I don't see any bee action in this rain, but the flowers are there.

A few daffodils are finally showing some sunshiny color.  Grape hyacinth peeking around here and there.

And I started to pull weeds, and I dug, got my hands in that moist, soft spring dirt. I pruned a few things I had missed, I planted a few more lettuce and spinach seeds (after the chickens dug up the new sprouts that came up before).  I laughed at the baby all covered in mud.  He tried to eat a jerusalem artichoke tuber and I teased him that he would get a belly ache from the "fartichokes."  And possibly best of all, we shared the very first fat, juicy spear of asparagus, straight out of the dirt.

We stayed out, puttering in the garden, the other kids were running around and playing.

And when I went back in, I knew what to make for supper!  I craved that wonderful cilantro sprouting up everywhere, so I made up a black bean and corn salad with things from the freezer and that cilantro and some onion greens and chipotle mayo.  I made some soft, fresh tortillas to put it on with spicy taco meat.  Then I put the baby in bed and sat back at the table where my project waited, and it all started to come together and the ideas flowed freely.

My Muse was hiding in the garden, waiting for me to come looking.