Pollinators, Tammie’s drawing challenge

I was really excited when I got Tammie’s email saying she’s called a drawing challenge. And, how perfect for spring! :D Thank you so much sweetie, I love the DCs.

It’s been a while since I mucked about with my oils, and, since the tulips are blooming in the garden, I decided to paint one.


But the tulips blooming right now are early, single hybrids, and my favourite, and the most fun to paint, are parrot tulips…you know, the ones with the frilly, multicoloured petals which twist and turn in impossible ways. And, since my parrots are still in tight bud, I got out my photos of last year’s garden parrots and used those as reference.

Painting with oils, at least the way I do it, takes a couple/three/four days per painting, (there’s sort of a fine line of drying time that you get to know when you paint with oils for a while), because the oils end up being too wet and slippery after the first layer, and need a day or two to dry a little so a second layer blends in without taking off the first layer or blending everything into mud.

So I chose a canvas, and painted a first layer of oils on Tuesday.

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And then Wednesday, my painting was still too wet and so I painted a second canvas…oh yes!

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Yesterday and today I overpainted a second layer, blended it into both the paintings and refined them to where I like them.

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And there we are, two parrot tulips in full open glory, spreading out their stamens and black pollen, inviting all the pollinators in. (They look rather tarty up there with Frida, don’t they? Like wild girls in flamenco skirts…the big flirts)

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Come fly over to Tammie’s for some more lovely pollen action. :D

As the sun sets on our holiday…

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…and I have to say goodbye to Puerta Vallarta, I will take another Mexican late March holiday and keep it safe in my heart. We have been spoiled to the max with the warmest ocean, the yummiest foods, the sweetest piña coladas and C’s new discovery: Miami Vice: 1/2 strawberry daiquiri, 1/2 piña colada! :D

We’ve enjoyed our fellow holidayers and had some lovely conversations with what we hope will turn out to be new friends.

We’ve shopped till we dropped and bought a little something for everyone.

I’ve drawn in my travel sketchbook, made beaded bracelets, walked all over the little, hilly streets and peeked into the courtyards. I’ve loved seeing a golden tan and freckles develop across my child’s nose, and dragged her into the ocean laughing and screaming with joy. (Evidence in her latest video up soon…I’ll link as soon as it’s ready.)

Here it is!

Goodbye Mexico and thank you once again for the frigatebirds and pelicans, the bougainvillea and plumeria, for the salty ocean, the fresh sea air, the warm days and the fragrant humid nights. X

Puerto Vallarta, above the tourist centre

This afternoon, we walked along the Malacon; the mile long boardwalk, the tourist centre of shop keepers calling out to us, “hey pretty lady, tequila time, your boyfriend won’t mind, hey, where you from, come here, almost free…” ad infinitum. (groan)

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Small wonder then that we decided to turn to our left, up the small streets, up the stairs, up to the top of Puerto Vallarta, away form the sellers and tourists, to the very top till we couldn’t climb any more. We came to see what we could see.

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We were on the same level as the crown of the Our Lady of Guadalupe church.

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The top of the hill and the only things above us were the roofs, the tulip trees and the blue sky.

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Around us are ancient doors…

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Tiny streets…


And backyard papaya trees.

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Doorstep house cats,

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And seed throwing squirrels.

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That’s the seed pod he chucked at us…lol…he missed :D

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We took a good hour mooching around the little streets.

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We admired the beautiful doors.

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We were sorely tempted to trespass and run across the little bridges.

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But, in the end, we took in the sights…

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…and walked back down to the river…

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…and followed it down to the sea.

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I’ll link Chloe’s brilliant video of today as soon as she’s uploaded it to YouTube. Writing blog posts is a lot faster than editing videos. :D

Here it is!

Viva La Vida, sandias


Overcast day, so a little trip into town. A little walk down the El Malacon boardwalk.

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With Chloe’s new GoPro Hero 4 Black! Oh she’s so excited to the max.

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Me, I’m into the magnificent frigatebirds. I love how they hang out on the statues and roof tops here.

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C’s into her GoPro, but just wait, she’s editing a wonderful little movie right now. Hopefully she’ll upload it and I’ll link it for you. :D

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Oh, I’m also into the pelicans.

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And picking plumeria blossoms for my hair. And feeling very Frida Kahlo-esque
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And the bright, beautiful colours of Mexico.

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It’s easy to be happy here and enjoy life. Viva la vida!


And viva la never ending supply of limes for the Coronas.

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And the watermelons? The sandias? Oh yeah, love those too! :D

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Here we go: Chloe’s post

Plus her youtube for her charming video:

Viva la vida Kahlo

Spring Break, a drawing challenge

Within every heart is a wild thing which needs to find fellow wild things to sing with in harmony.

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Art: Wolf Pack on Chopin, in watercolour, ink, watercoulor pencils. Page chosen because of the tempo of this nocturne. Instructions = sempre, acceler, agitao, riten, Dopio movimento; always, faster, restlessly, dramatically, faster still.

Spring Breaking news: Come visit this fabulous pack:
Nadine, Tammie, Susan, Amanda, Melodye, Renee, Renee, Melanie, JoAnn, Joke, Sharmon, Renilde, Lucia, Patrice, Silke, Annton, Ariene, Carole, Marian Eric,   Stefanie, and Norma! Oh Yes! :D What a wonderful pack we have. 

Giveaway over at a Butterfly in my Hair

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About two months ago, my friend Vibeke asked me to be part of her landmark birthday giveaway. One new item from one new artist/craftsperson per day for 30 days.

How fantastic is that?

My turn came today and so I proudly offer these three silver stacking rings for you to win, thru Vibeke.

Pop over to her blog and leave her a comment. She will pick the winner in five days.

Go and get in on something wonderful. :D Go on, you know you want to! :D


Drawing Challenge: Spring Break

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I must admit that I miss it when there isn’t a drawing challenge called for the week, so, the hell with it! I’m calling one.

Is it a North American thing, or is it “spring break” in other parts of the world? Either way, pick up something of the “Mad As A March Hare” thing and your pencil, brush, pen, (fill in your idea of self expression) , and join us.

I’m off to Mexico for the second week of spring break so that’s why the sudden impulse to paint one of my most favourite flowers this evening: the plumeria.

Even if you can only muster a recipe for the perfect margarita … Hey, I’m in! :D

So calling all my creative friends. Mix me up a margarita spring break special. :D You tell me here, or on my FB and, as usual, I’ll link to you on next Friday the (OGM) 13th, and then we have a party visting each other over the weekend.

In, so far, are: Nadine, Tammie, Susan, Amanda, Melodye, Renee, Renee, Melanie, and JoAnn.

A bespoke pencil case

Here’s some terrific fun!

Recently, I booked us a week away in Mexico, and, having C’s children’s art class self portraits and Frida Kahlo on our minds, we thought we’d make a couple pencils cases to take with us. After all, how hard can it be?

So we got a little bit of raw canvas, cut four identical rectangles, and got to work.

We drew our designs in pencil, traced over with a sharpie, and filled in with acrylics.


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front and back

It took a couple of days, but by this afternoon, when the sewing machine was transferred from the craft room into the studio, it looks like a bomb went off in here! :D

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I’m not a very good seamstress, and so had to look at a couple of videos about fitting a zipper, but, in the end, it wasn’t too difficult.

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Bless the person who invented sergers!

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A few final snips and…

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Ta-da! A bespoke pencil case!

I love it. Now to finish C’s. :D


Birthday cake, Katrin’s drawing challenge, and a little tutorial

I have three children and they were all born as very special presents to me. Jonathan, my oldest, was born in July, and I took him home from the hospital on my birthday. Kerstin, my middle child, is a February baby, and I took her home on Valentine’s Day, Chloe, my baby, was born on Easter Sunday. All three had their favourite birthday cake which I always handmade for them. For Jonathan it was usually tiramisu, for Kerstie, it was fruit flan, and Clover wanted black forest cake.

But it’s still February, so we will focus on Kerstie’s birthday and and I’ll tell you what I used to always do for her.

Kerstie’s favourite flowers are violets; so much so that she named her middle child Isla Violet, and, here in the West Coast, they come up around her birthday. As a special treat, and if spring was threatening to be late, I used to cover and force a few buds, pick them, and candy them to add them to her birthday cake.

You all know that loads of flowers are edible, don’t you? And you all know how dead easy it is to do this, don’t you? Of course you do, you’re flower savvy like that. :D

So it’s been years since my girl has been home for her birthday…she’s the mom of my three precious granddaughters and rather busy these days, but because it’s February, and because it’s tradition, I decided to candy some violets anyway for the next time I see the gang.

So here we go, this is all you have to do: Grab some violets from the garden. Equally easy to do this with violas, pansies, rose petals, borage, calendula…the list goes on. Grab a very fresh egg, and some super fine sugar. Grab a small paintbrush and your manicure scissors.

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You only use the egg white, but what’s the point of separating the egg for the infinitesimally tiny amount you use? And, besides which, you’re going to scramble that delicious egg for breakfast tomorrow anyway, aren’t you?
Just get your brush and brush a bit of the egg white on the flower. It doesn’t have to be all Martha complicated….sheesh!

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Now sprinkle some super fine sugar on it. Don’t have/can’t be bothered with super fine sugar? No problem, use ordinary sugar, just not icing sugar or you’ll obliterate the violet.

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Now put it on a dry plate and snip off the stalk.

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It takes almost no time at all, since we’re all a crafty and clever bunch, to get a whole plate full of sugared violets.

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Now they just need to go in the cupboard overnight to dry. Then they can go into an airtight container where they’ll keep for a while. Not sure how long because they just never last round here. They look and taste so great on everything from ice cream to creme brulee.

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But wait! This is a drawing challenge. :D

I’ve been dying to do some more lino cutting. I’m not that good at it, and the more I practice, the better it gets, so, in honour of Kers’ birthday, violets it was and a hand made birthday card to go with the cake.

I drew some little violets on a piece of transparent paper, copied them to the back of the paper, and traced them onto a piece of lino. The pencil mark really transfers easily.

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Then came the hours of cutting and decision of crossed lines and how to handle the edges…etc.

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Then the exciting part: the first inking and pressing to see what I got!!! :D

I’m always so anxious and excited to do this. Like a kid in a candy store!

Aaannd…there it is: mistakes a plenty. (shrug)

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But, after all, this is a handmade birthday card, so out came the inks, my funky plastic tray, requisitioned for an ink mixing surface, and my small roller.

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Please bear in mind that I have very little idea of what I’m doing…and I should really go and bug our Patrice for some advice…either that or learn reduction lino cutting…but I have a very limited amount of patience…and inks, and so I decided to mix a few inks and go for a sort of green.

Then I decided to wipe off the green from the violet blossoms.

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Now what? I don’t have a super small roller, can’t be bothered with figuring out how to make a mask, so I dragged a firm oil brush into some purple ink and applied it to the blossoms.

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AND: Voila!

One ink mess on the tray, one bespoke violet birthday card.


Come help blow the candles out on Katrin’s cake and wish her a happy birthday and then stop by the gang and share a slice!

Happy birthday dearest, thank you for a fun and wonderful challenge. May this next year bring you happiness and joy. :D

Vein, a drawing challenge

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Inside I have weak veins. The thin, blue lines lie shallow under my skin. Each time someone needs to draw some blood I become the human pincushion as one vein after another collapses under the pressure. It’s OK, I’m used to it. I breathe deeply and focus on the moment when it’s all over. It takes ages!

Inside I have strong veins. The rich, crimson of my creativity runs heavy and deep. Each time I pick up the camera, a pencil, my brushes, these veins take over, command my hands and stay strong under pressure. I’m hardly aware that I’m breathing, Time stands still.


Come follow this beautiful vein of creativity to: Ariane, Lisa, Tammie, Renilde, Nadine, Katrin, EricKim, Marian, Roberto, Sharmon, Sabine, and maybe Patrice and Annton.

And Katrin is our host for next weekend, Feb 28th, March 1st with Birthday Cake!

Art: Mixed media painting, collaged paper, acrylics, oils, inks, a few vintage postage stamps