Friday, November 28, 2014

Being Thankful

Some of us have been sick, but we still managed to put together a little Thanksgiving Dinner. Doug roasted a chicken like last year (the one that I picked up was a seven-pounder... that's a lot of chicken!) I made my yearly apple pie (sweetened with honey), and a loaf of challa.

I would have enjoyed the meal more without my sore throat making it uncomfortable to swallow, but everything was still pretty tasty, and now I have some nice soothing chicken broth simmering on the stove.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Misionary Montage

I drew this for Dena, whose son is leaving to serve a mission in Mexico.  It's  a composite of three pictures that I found online, all done in mechanical pencil. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Beautiful Mess

I have this drop cloth that I put over the kitchen table when I'm playing with my Gelli Plate. I've started using it to blot stamps and brayers, and got this kind of haphazard collage effect. I'm thinking maybe I should do something like this on the back of my painting shirt.

I recently helped out with an activity for the Young Women at church. One of the girls told her mom that she wants a drop cloth just like mine.

Friday, October 31, 2014


I keep seeing these really cool pumpkins that people carve, where they leave a thin layer and the light shines through.  I tried it, didn't work so well.  The carving part wasn't so bad, but when we put a candle inside it didn't really show.  Perhaps people are using stronger lights?

I ended up using one of my Speedball lino carving tips to take away the rind.  I was trying to get by without it, since I had a set before that rusted after being used on some potatoes, but I cleaned it well afterwards and we'll see if it pulls through.

Doug wore his Ravenclaw robe to classes.  Kate and Andy wore their dragon costumes (again), but we didn't get a picture because Kate wasn't ready when it was time to leave for the church Trunk-or-Treat.

We had a very rainy week, but it fortunately stopped before trick-or-treating time.  We still only had three groups stop by this year, and two of them were neighbors.  I know we had more than that last year. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hostas and Heucheras

The front of our house only gets sunshine in the morning, so I'm putting in a little shade garden.  (I should have gotten a "before" picture--it was so overgrown!)  I do like getting out and digging in the dirt.  Even when it's a bit rainy.  It's therapeutic. 

Everything seems to be doing well so far.  I really like the heucheras.  They come in lots of cool colors!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Gelli Plate Playing

Back in June I was at Michaels looking for a birthday present for a friend of Kate's. I flipped through a book on mixed-media and ran across a mention of the Gelli Plate--a strange and new device that I had not previously heard of. I was intrigued enough to come home and watch some videos about it, and immediately decided that I neeeeeded to get one of these. (The big one, of course). I was expecting some money from the pencil portraits that I had just finished, so I mentally earmarked it for printmaking supplies. (Because who doesn't need more art supplies, right?)

When I got my plate it was a while before I had a chance to play with it.  But the day after the kids went back to school I had a big chunk of time, so I cleared off the table and threw down the drop cloth, and Anne Marie came over and played with me.  (She's my visiting teacher.  Our visits frequently involve a craft project of one kind or another.)  We had a blast, and made a big mess, and Doug made us lunch (which we ate at our little Korean table in the living room).

Not having any idea what we were doing, it was mostly a lot of playing around with color and texture and seeing how it turned out.

I made some stamps ahead of time with craft foam, and we used those a lot.

Draw design on craft foam, cut out, glue to another sheet of foam. The small stamp is made from the negative pieces of the big one.

We got some neat effects with some ferns and weeds that I collected from the yard. If you roll some paint onto the plate, put the leaves down, and then use a scrap sheet of paper to pull off the paint around the leaves, then when you take the leaves off you've got cool leaf prints underneath. (There's also a little dragon stencil that Anne Marie cut out of Tyvek.)

The negative image looks pretty cool too.  (The blue was from an earlier print.)

We tried making some sea creature stencils, too. I'll have to do this again with multiple layers and see how it goes.

Not long after that I got Kate to do some Gelli Printing with me, when we had the day off for Labor Day. I figured she would get a kick out of it. (Mom has fun toys!)

Kate drew the dragon on the plate with a Q-tip.

I made an owl stencil that I wanted to try out, and also some texture pieces with hot glue on non-stick foil. (Non-stick... very important. Tried it with regular foil first and the pieces wouldn't peel off!)

Cat by Kate.

She painted this dragon on the plate and we pulled a print. There was a little bit of dried paint underneath that came off in the green, and gave it some interesting variation.

I tried something a little more complicated for a friend's birthday. I made some stamps and some stencils, and had it all planned out, but getting it to look right turned out to be more tricky than I had anticipated!

I think I went through about a dozen sheets of paper before I got one that I liked.

And of course all the stencils have to be re-positioned every time. (Tyvek is sturdy! And washable.)

Here's the finished product! (I painted the little words on after printing.) It was hard to get the values right in the photo, but that's pretty much what it looked like.

I have lots of other things that I want to try!   The Gelli Plate does take a little getting used to, and figuring out the quirks, but I've seen some really gorgeous things that people have done with it.  And messing around with paint is always fun!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

18 years

It's our eighteenth anniversary! I grabbed our next door neighbor Steve to get a picture for us. Our first family picture in our own back yard. (I wanted to go for the evening light, but we got home a little later than I was planning.  We take what we can get!)

Apparently we can't get both kids looking at the camera at the same time.

We had a good day--Doug got to go fencing, and I spent a few hours playing with the gelli plate.  In the evening we took the kids to El Sabor and Menchie's (frozen yogurt). Kate has recently discovered that she likes burritos.  (Yay!)

We love our goofy family!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kindergarten and Fourth Grade

Can you believe we now have two school kids? How did that happen?

Getting both of them ready at the same time is going to be a bit crazy. We managed to grab a minute for a First Day of School picture before it was time to go!

Andy looks absolutely thrilled.

There's a smile... almost!

Andy at his desk and ready to go.

Kate was excited to see her friends again!

School is starting a week early this year.   This is so they can get out a week early because of the U.S. Open (golf tournament) being held at Chambers Bay next June.  (It's going to be a madhouse!)

We've been wondering how Andy would take the whole school thing. It's all-day Kindergarten, which is a big adjustment. He's in the spectrum support class. He's managed to charm his teachers and impress everyone with his beautiful handwriting, but we'll see how it goes once the novelty wears off.  So far so good!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sound of Music sets

I've been painting for The Sound of Music--this year's production of the Tacoma Multi-Stake Cultural Arts Committee.  We've been excited about this since it was announced last year.  The powers that be agreed to roll in the budget from two other productions (A Christmas Carol did not happen this last December) so they could pay for the rights, and they really pulled out all the stops.

All the planning and preparation takes quite a while, of course, but they only get two weeks before opening night to lock up the gym and keep everybody else out. During those two weeks the place is a madhouse.

Patrick came and talked to me about sets a few weeks ahead of time, so I was able to start putting together some ideas.  This is the sketch I came up with for the rear of the house. 

I took a couple of days to draft the design onto the panels (lots of measuring and marking), and then started painting. Patrick came up with this really cool system where he had some tracks on the stage and then panels that slid into the tracks. The panels were wood frames with canvas drop cloths stretched over them, which was not an ideal surface for painting, but we made it work.

I had a lot of help with filling in areas of color, so I could focus on details and shading. And Anne Marie painted a lot of the window bars for me, which was a huge help. (So nice to have a friend with a steady hand... I don't think I would have trusted anyone else to do those!)

Anne Marie touching up abbey windows. (The windows were based on this photo, simplified a bit). The abbey walls and the house background color were both mistints that Patrick got for free. Can't beat that!

I was thinking of how I got a glowy effect on some of the windows in the Hogwarts mural, so I tried going for a similar look. I think it worked--it did look pretty cool from the audience!

Anne Marie on stage (she was painting the top track to blend in with the black curtains).   You can see one of the house panels in the background.

Patrick built this mountain over the orchestra. (This was one of the first things he told me about--"I'm going to make a mountain!"--but he didn't get to actually put it together until a few days before the play.)

Mixing up mountain color (we use what we have!)

Patrick put on the base coat.

I painted the mountain in less than two hours, the morning of opening night. It was a rush job. Not what I would have liked, but I got it done!

Kate and I went to the Saturday matinee. I gave her a little bit of background while we were waiting for it to start--"Okay, do you know what a nazi is, and do you know what a nun is?"  She said she enjoyed it.  I'd never seen the stage version before--it is a bit different from the movie.  (The orchestra was a little rocky, but everyone did a really great job.)

The nuns' music was really gorgeous! The whole thing was just lovely.  It's so cool to put in all those hours and then see it all come together.

I was a little bummed about not getting picked for the Tacoma Murals Project (I made the initial selection process and got onto their artist roster, but wasn't chosen for one of the six mural sites)--but honestly, I don't think there's any way I could have done both at the same time. And a few days before opening night I got an email from the Tacoma Opera, asking me to come back and paint for their February and April productions this next year. I was walking around with a big grin all evening. It's just so fun.

There's still time to catch the show! Two more weekends!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Wildwood Picnic

We met up with some friends for a picnic at Wildwood Park in Puyallup. Myron and Sandi were in our ward at BYU (lo these many moons ago). They have four kids now!

Kate finds some friends.

This little guy was checking us out.

Sandi and baby Amelia (super cute!)

Kate, on big tree. The kids like to walk the whole length.

The stream is fun to play in! (A little messy.)  We had a fun time, and came home and got the kids cleaned up.  Wheee!