Pine Cone

Pine Cones are defined as the “cone-shaped or rounded woody fruit of a pine tree, with scales that open to release seeds.”

Pinecone Sketch

Pine Cone Sketch

This is colored with Derwent Inktense Pencils, which give a bit more control than watercolor. Have you ever tried to sketch one of these?  I found it a bit dizzying because of the spiral patterns and layers but finally got it close to being right on the third try.

 

Toad

I just finished my first official Moleskine sketchbook, and upon flipping through and recalling the memories of the past many months, I came across this toad that I had not shared yet on my blog.  We were in North Carolina for a dear friend’s wedding and stayed in a cabin deep in the woods.  Naturally there was plenty of wildlife, and while most of the critters kept their distance, this large toad sat on the porch for an entire day.  He even let my daughter pick him up and hold him for a bit.

Toad

Toad

We were a little worried because he was so far away from the stream but later learned that toads spend less time in water than frogs do, so I guess he knew what he was doing.  Nevertheless, Toady was a fun mascot for the cabin and a lot of fun to capture in this painting.  I’m excited to start a new Moleskine as the New Year approaches and can’t wait to start splashing color on those pages!

Recent Travels, Dana Point, CA

Last month we spent a beautiful week in Dana Point, California, at a Four Sisters Inn called The Blue Lantern Inn.  The Blue Lantern is on the coast and offers an awesome view of a harbor and the ocean.  With my trusty watercolor sketchbook, Derwent Inktense pencils, and travel watercolor kit in tow, I tried to create a little something each day, kind of like a visual diary of the trip; I think I ended up with about eight paintings in all.  Here are some of the highlights.

Man at the Airport

Man at the Airport

This is a dapper gentleman I saw at the airport.  I know artists do this all the time, but I still feel a little creepy drawing strangers.  Hopefully he would be pleased.

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

Flowers and trees of almost every variety grow easily in California, and it was not unusual to see these beauties growing in gardens, fields, or even along the road.  My favorite place was beautiful Catalina Island where we explored the island in a rented golf cart and ate lunch at Mt. Ada while overlooking the harbor.

Doffo Winery Temecula Valley, CA

Doffo Winery Temecula Valley, CA

We toured a few of the wineries of the Temecula Valley region on a beautiful, sunny day.  Doffo was decked out for autumn and their wines were wonderfully full bodied.  We also visited Hart Winery and Vindemia, a quiet boutique winery tucked on the side of a hill.  Vindemia was our favorite because the wines were good, and there was a cozy sitting area where we enjoyed a leisure picnic lunch and a bottle of red called “More Cowbell.”

The Mission at San Juan Capistrano, California

The Mission at San Juan Capistrano, California

A stop at the Mission at San Juan Capistrano revealed beautiful gardens, chapels, fountains, and other structures built in the late 1700s.  The legendary swallows were gone but some of their mud nests were still there under the eaves.

Overlook at Point Loma, California

Overlook at Point Loma, California

Tours By Locals drove us throughout LA to all the usual highlights of the Hollywood sign, stars’ homes, the TCL Chinese Theater, Walk of Fame, etc.  We also spent a few days in San Diego which offers second-to-none scenery along the coast, gorgeous weather, and fun eateries.

Needless to say, the week flew by and I am now back in my usual routine, but leafing through my sketchbook reminds me how grateful I am to have taken such an awesome trip.

Save

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Nashville, Tennessee

Happy November!

We have been fortunate to do some traveling off and on since September and with each trip, whether short or long, I find myself that much farther behind on many things, including blogging.  However, most nights when I sit down to relax I thankfully have had time to catch up with all the talented, inspiring bloggers I follow (better than a magazine or being subjected to too many political commercials!!).

Luckily, during our travels, I was able to make a lot of paintings in my sketchbook.  One thing about keeping a sketchbook is that although the pictures are not “masterpieces,” they are PRICELESS in making memories and become a fun travel diary which takes me back to the places where I so carefully observed the subjects.

 

Music Row Mansion, Nashville, TN

Music Row Mansion, Nashville, TN

In September, a total of 20 of us spent a long weekend Nashville, Tennessee, and we stayed in a terrific three-story mansion on Music Row.  We enjoyed visiting the honky-tonks on Broadway, the Grand Ole Opry, Studio B, and the Country Music Hall of Fame.  This painting features some things I saw at the CMHF.  Buck Owen’s all-American guitar takes us way back to the Bakersfield Sound, I simply adore Randy Travis and evidently fringe is currently in style again J, and Brad Paisley’s iconic hat has a presence of its own!  The white hat on white paper was a bit of a challenge but I am improving a bit at negative painting.

 

Country Music Hall of Fame Items, Nashville, TN

Country Music Hall of Fame Items, Nashville, TN

I have lots to share this month and also look forward to playing along with the #WorldWatercolorGroup prompts for November.  It feels good to be back!

Popcorn, #WorldWatercolorGroup

Popcorn is a great go-to snack packed with fiber. There have been  many methods of making popcorn over the years.


Jiffy Pop was a fun way to make popcorn, and then along came air poppers and microwave packs. I think the best tasting popcorn comes from the old-fashioned method of cooking it in a pot on top of the stove, drizzled lightly with real butter and a pinch of salt.  I can almost smell it now! 🍿Thanks for popping by 😉

Eggs, #WorldWatercolorGroup

The WWG prompt of the day is eggs, and here are some of my favorites – deviled eggs.  I love eggs in almost any form, but nothing says summer picnic like a good deviled egg.


To me, the most difficult part of making deviled eggs is peeling the shells off, and I seem to have the  best luck if the eggs are not ultra fresh. Do you know of a foolproof method? Also, sorry the lighting is so bad; I painted and photographed these while on a plane ✈️ 

TGIF, and I hope you have a terrific weekend! 

Cake, #WorldWatercolorGroup

We recently attended another wedding, and this is a sketch of the wedding cake.

wedding-cake-with-sunflowers
It was adorned with real sunflowers and sweet baby’s breath with a little bling tucked in here and there. The texture of the tree trunk base really pulled together the rustic, county feeling that the cowboy boot-wearing newlyweds wanted to create. All the best to D&P!