Monday, November 30, 2009

Redheaded model

A little experimenting with the PastelMat (from a few weeks ago). I at first did this sharper and clearer, but wasn't satisfied with it. So I took a tissue to the whole thing, intending to obliterate it, but I liked the out-of-focus soft look that resulted.

Squished and happy.

I'll be taking Rumi this week to an animal ophthalmologist (I hadn't known there was such a thing) to get an expert (and expensive) opinion on his continuing eye problems. (But don't worry, he's a ridiculously happy and thriving kitten in spite of it.)

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

The hotel


I'm really enjoying exploring this semi-abstract and abstract Morocco theme. I had to order some more blue Unisons, because I was using them up...and while I was waiting for them to arrive, I used up even more (different) blues, which I am now out of. Ah, well. If only that were the worst problem people have...!

Someone got to my glasses case... Who was it?

Ah, yes, it was the baby chupacabra.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Red door

Back home and still catching up on things like laundry and cleaning...but I don't have to work until Tuesday, so there's some time to paint again. I had decided at the last minute not to take any pastels or pastel pencils to Costa Rica, as it was only a week, but for India (nearly a month) I will definitely have to take something. It somehow feels like far more than a week that I haven't done any painting.

He who sleeps with folded ear...

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Costa Rica part 3

Writing this from our hotel room the night before our flight home. This week went really fast...

We had some quality viewing time of the nine or ten hummingbird species today. I love these little jeweled creatures. It's amazing to be able to stand just an arm's length from those buzzing wings. The mosquito bites were worth it. (Photo credits: The Husband.)

We went horseback riding yesterday for our first time ever. Wow! It was really cool...that is, after an hour or two had passed and I was no longer quite so terrified. The experience seemed to me like a cross between walking a dog and learning to drive a stick shift. I thought it was quite hilarious (and also terrifying) when, right off the bat, my horse "stalled" and wouldn't move. He (the horse) did this quite often for about the first half hour or so. Eventually we came to a sort of understanding. (This all amused our young guide greatly.) The horse's personality reminded me a bit of our old dog Jazz, who sometimes, during a leash walk, just suddenly plants himself solidly and refuses to move. What I didn't realize was that my whole body would seriously hurt today. Oh my god, where did all those (sore) muscles come from?!

Our last three nights were spent at the Ecolodge San Luis in Monteverde, a very interesting place to stay/project center which happens to be an extension station of the University of Georgia. Rustic but recommended.

We spent waaaay too many hours in the car this week. It takes such a long time to get from one place to another here, because the roads are narrow and few and sometimes in bad condition, and you tend to get stuck behind slow trucks constantly. Add to that the somewhat suicidal drivers, general lack of signage and streetlights, and fog and rain, and it can take hours to get from one city to another, even though they're quite close to one another as the crow (hummingbird) flies.

I'm not looking forward to the cold and snow back home in Colorado, but I am looking forward to having hair again (no, Sam, I will not post a photo of the Jewfro, nice try), and to seeing my fur babies.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sketches and Costa Rica part 2

Today I did the Monteverde zipline and Tarzan swing. Wow--talk about an adrenaline surge! While I was flying through the air, er, I mean, fog and rain, The Husband was viewing (captive) frogs and snakes.

We got plenty wet again all day today, and are looking forward to getting rained on tomorrow too, while on horseback. My hair is one big hopeless Brillo pad.

A few things from the sketchbook from the past couple of weeks...and then a couple of photos of tonight's sunset (photo credit: The Husband).

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blogging interruption: Costa Rica

No regular art in this post.

We've been battling a lot of rain, too many hours in the car, and some lack of internet. And I personally have been battling two of my nemeses: spiders, and the impenetrable birds'-nest-Jewfro I get when it's humid.

In a zoo, not in the wild, these two. Nevertheless, it's one of the "good" zoos (or I would refuse to go). It's La Garita, and parrots and macaws are used for breeding and reintroduction programs.

Also at La Garita: a little turtle acrobatics.

Don't know what kind of plant this was, but it looked pretty freaky.

I love these guys, coatis (pizotes). They're the size of a raccoon, walk like a cat, have a mobile anteater nose, and big claws. One (who unfortunately had obviously been fed by humans, judging by his behavior) came up and nuzzled my hand. It felt just like a very wet and cold little dog nose.

The Husband (right) making sugarcane juice on an 1891 machine.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009


I like the PastelMat for this style, I've decided. Of course, when I went to order some more, it was all sold out, seeing as how everyone and their brother is trying it out...

We're leaving on Wednesday for a week in Costa Rica and I was hoping to bring some more PastelMat, but now, instead, maybe I will experiment with just pastel pencils and Sennelier LaCarte while in Costa Rica. Not to mention catch up on some always-needed drawing practice.

Do not wake the sleeping baby chupacabra...

Do not wake him...

Or you may be sorry.

Rumi, aka The Infant Chupacabra, aka Jaws.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Sheltering sky

Named after the Bertolucci film set in Morocco, this is loosely based on a photo we took somewhere there.

What is this furry, stripey lump?

We had cleaners in the house today, and when I came in from walking the dogs, I saw this on the couch:

Yes, it's Lynx (that's his back end with his tail tucked under, in case you were wondering), who has of late adopted a very endearing habit/faulty logic of assuming (like a human child) that if he can't see, then people must not be able to see him. He remained in this ridiculously vulnerable pose, quaking in terror, even as the vacuum cleaner made its horrific approach...

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tree on the corner

Very loosely based on a photo we took in Ajijic, Mexico. The pastel is more vibrant in person.

Collection of the artist.

Rumi thinks The Husband's beard needs a bit of grooming...

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chefchaouen 5

The next in the Chefchaouen series... I'm having a great time but rapidly using up all my blue pastels. :)

In today's Yoga With Rumi class, we'll be starting with some twists...

Then we'll move into backbends...

And of course, we'll finish up with Savasana, Corpse Pose.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Chefchaouen 4

Here's the other pastel from the other night, when I was thrilled to create something that actually felt like my memories of Chefchaouen.

Another use for the extra-long tail: Pretend it's a moustache.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chefchaouen 3

After a lot of frustration trying to represent images and memories from the "blue town" of Chefchaouen, Morocco, I finally made a breakthrough. This one and another one (which I'll post soon) were done after a long night of pasteling where I wasted a lot of pigment and a lot of expensive paper, but remained unsatisfied with everything I'd done.

I was shutting down the studio and getting ready to go to bed, but I couldn't stand the unsatisfied feeling. I grabbed a small sheet of the new PastelMat that I'd ordered, went back to the ever-dusty pastel table, grabbed some colors that felt right, and instantly whipped out something I am totally happy with. Go figure.

I think it's a case in point of how sometimes what appears to be the simplest, most naive artwork is in fact a distillation of many previous and more detailed/complicated works, where one shaves away and refines until finally something very elemental emerges. Oh, the struggle to get to that place, that elemental place where I want to stay!

Oh, Miss Lemon. How you love to sit on kittens.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

In the countryside

A little pastel...

Yawn and stretch: a little skinny white ghost passing on the stairs...

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Berry cluster

These fall off a tree in the park near our house. Not sure what they are, but they looked like a good painting subject.

Those long skinny white frog legs belong, of course, to Rumi. (They're still attached, don't worry.)

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