Friday, July 31, 2015

Illustration Friday: Grow

These odd and interesting looking mushrooms sprouted overnight in one of my potted plants on my front porch. This wouldn't be very interesting, except that I live in southern California, where we are in a major drought and I never remember to water said plant. I am amazed that they found a way to GROW. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Illustration Friday: Nature

Last class with my intro to drawing students yesterday. I gave them options for after last crits and as we stayed in dry media no color all term, they asked for some gouache/watercolor techniques. We did small 5x7 studies. Washes and botanical illustrations, perfectly fitting for the nature theme this week:)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Illustration Friday: Treasure

The timing of this topic speaking to the content I addressed in it. Yesterday I received 4 stuffed to capacity boxes full of nothing short of treasure. My mother was visiting her parents, my grandparents home in Minnesota. I asked her to send me some of the massive archive of photographs, slides, negatives of my late grandfather. He passed in 2008 at 93 after what was nothing short of an incredibly rich life.

There are many amazing stories in my family history, but today I want to tell you about him. He was born in Podlesie, Belarus in 1915. He grew up, married my grandmother and had my mother in that area. They as a family survived the war, concentration camp, shrapnel from a bombing, and made the move to America in 1949-50. My grandfather had been a doctor in Europe, but upon entering the US had to again earn that status. He worked as a house painter until he was able to do that. 

He helped establish the Monticello-Big Lake (Minnesota) Hospital and Nursing Home, and he served as Medical Director of the nursing home for many years. He was a kind doctor, a rural doctor, trading food and banjo music for his services at times. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota involved in research on the heart. He also did medical transcriptions for other physicians at the U of M as he was fluent in several languages (I think our count was 8?) . He was also an Honorary Staff Physician at the St Cloud Hospital. 

His fluency in many languages allowed him to research and translate bibles and other texts, and he secretly was a published poet under a pen name in Belarus. He served as Chairman of the School board for 13 years, there was also the fact that he nearly accompanied the US hockey team to Russia for the Olympics.. The list of his professional accomplishments is huge. 

There was a whole other side to him as well. He told horribly cheesy jokes, that he would repeat over and over again laughing so infectiously at himself that you could not help but join in. And he had "Hobbies" for lack of a better word.  He sailed, taught us to sail, played chess and earned the title of master chess player. He was a HAM radio operator. He dabbled in electronics, collecting, building, repairing radios, cameras, and phonographs. He built the family's first television set. later in life in his 70's and 80's he dissected and repaired Apple computers to send back to those without in Belarus. 

This leads me back to my treasure, through out his entire life, there was a camera around his neck or in his hand. He photographed nearly every thing, but some of his favorite subjects were Minnesota landscape, flora, my grandmother (who was beautiful) and people in his life which ranged from us his family to those at the nursing home, to vendors at the flea markets he faithfully attended and supported. Had a dark room in the house where he developed almost all of his own photos too. I am including a self portrait he took with my grandmother here when they first settled in Minnesota and another self portrait from later in his life (looking very stern which was not a natural expression as his smile was huge. I am beyond excited to begin to make my way through the thousands of photos I now have, my treasure.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Illustration Friday: Garden

This garden started from the bench and dreams of what I might have my own garden look like. I was cleaning my yard this past weekend, debris that had been there a year from when I had demolished and rebuilt the termite infested deck. The pile of debris was overgrown with vines that had  crawled their way over and under everything.

I like when nature goes a bit untamed in a yard.
After all, much like a cage for animals, and like many Southern California yards it is contained by an old chain link fence.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cards available online!

ok, I know you have seen this image before but I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT!!

FINALLY!!! Many of you who live in various parts of the country have been asking for a way to purchase my handmade archival greeting cards. Well, I have a few of them up (close to 80!) phew! 
Still debating if I want to break them up into categories (and what those might be, opinions welcome:) But for now its official they are ready to go and shipping is free.

So go forth and send art one stamp at a time!

Please help me spread the word!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Illustration Friday: Sharp

traditional watercolor and ink on arches paper
revisiting some Haeckel inspired studies for this prompt.
These gorgeous intricate little ancient creatures had tiny sharp defenses. 
digital manipulation of traditional drawing
digital manipulation of traditional drawing