Monday, April 24, 2006


I've discovered that there's a Utrecht Art Supplies store about 10 minutes walk from my work. Oh, boy. They have supplies that my local A.C. Moore doesn't carry, and I can forsee lots of trips there on lunch hour.

On my first trip, I bought two sketch pads (one kraft paper, one pastel colored paper), a sepia-toned Pitt pen, and a Moleskine sketchbook (small) and address book. The small sketchbook will actually be a notebook, not used (much) for sketching, I suspect. I still need to fill up my existing sketchbooks, then I may buy the larger Moleskine sketchbook.

Next trip I intend to buy a bamboo pen, some oil paints, and goodness knows what else. I've warned my coworkers that if I don't return from lunch some day, I can be found standing in an aisle at Utrecht, babbling incoherently because I can't make up my mind what I want to buy next.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

S.'s dress

So my sis and I have been working on her wedding dress for the past few months (on available weekends), and it's almost done -- which is good, because the wedding's right around the corner. She put the zipper in earlier this month (did a wonderful job), and this past weekend we hemmed the bottom two layers of the skirt, which is made up of two layers of silk satin and one layer of silk gauze.

What still needs to be done:
- sash added to waist
- shoulders sewn on overlayer
- top (silk gauze) layer of skirt hemmed

It's going to look smashing.

Class study #2 - apples and peaches

Here's the second class study from the painting class Sarah and I are taking. Much better than the sunflowers, IMO. I think the teacher was a lot more engaged with the class. We asked more questions -- and also, it was a smaller class, with four of the nine students AWOL. Not sure why they didn't show up; could have been the good weather, frustration with their efforts, who knows. But I think those of us who were there had a good time and felt we were making progress. I feel slightly guilty -- the apples were very hard to paint, and if they were feeling intimidated or frustrated by that, it's partly my fault, since I'm the one who brought them in. But I had my own problems painting them, and didn't expect them to be as difficult as they were (Gala apples, mottled yellow and red). Maybe I should've picked a more solid-color apple. And they could have brought in their own objects to paint, as per the teacher's request, so it's not entirely on my shoulders; I'm the only one who did bring in stuff to paint.

The next class we'll be doing abstract art, which should be interesting since that's the teacher's forte.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Paints and poppies

A week or so ago I had a 50% off coupon at A. C. Moore, and decided to use it to buy the Windsor & Newton sketching set I'd been drooling over. I have watercolor paints already, and couldn't quite justify spending the money earlier but the coupon tipped the balance.

I also bought some artificial poppies while I was at the store. I have mixed feelings about painting from fake flowers (I think that if you're painting from fakes, the painting will look fake too, I guess), but these didn't look too bad, so... Anyway. I'm a bit out of practice with watercolors, obviously (see first pic), and tend to overwork the painting.

Sewing problems, and solution

I've struck out twice on making a dress to wear at my sister's wedding. The first pattern was a Vintage Vogue; the second is this one from Decades of Style, also from the 30s. The problem isn't the patterns -- both actually went together rather well, and would look lovely on someone more willowy than me. I, alas, am not willowy. I have a farm-girl body, with big shoulders and upper arms, and I think I look like a stuffed sausage in these gowns.

So this morning I decided to try one more pattern from Decades of Style, and think I've hit on a good solution. I used some celadon dupioni for the first draft, and it works pretty well; but I do need to extend the waistline a bit (I'm longwaisted). So I'll use the silk I ordered for Gown #2 to make a blouse from the amended pattern, and an A-line skirt to match, and be done. Much better.

Catching up... dancing bones

Here's a pic of an ink painting I found a while ago while antiquing. It's hanging in my sister's entry way. I'm still tickled every time I see it -- it's so opposite the usual cute flowers, birds, etc.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Why crows?

I've always been attracted to crows. No, I don't have "raven tresses" or anything like that; I just like them. They're smart, inquisitive, and interesting to watch. They like shiny things.

For more on corvids, see Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich. He's a great writer.

Unfortunately, I have seen fewer crows around here since West Nile arrived. They're supposedly making a comeback, but I used to see them everywhere -- and now I hardly see them at all.