Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Walk In The Woods & "Tree Poses"

On the day after Thanksgiving my family took a walk in the woods close to my in-laws' home in north-central Iowa.  The weather was cool, but not wet, so we struck out for a long walk.

See the flood line?

some sort of mushroom and moss

Getting a few shots

We embellished the mushroom with a few walnuts

hollow trunks make good drums

used walnut

We meet some riders along the trail 
Tree Pose #1

Tree Pose #2

Tree Pose #3

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Please stop by the Sketchbook Challenge blog to see how I created this imaginary animal: my sweet little

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Viewing A Painting: Sketching in A Museum

Viewing A Painting: Sketching in A Museum

Leslie here.  Last month I traveled to the Netherlands with my husband, who had business in the area.
One of our favorite things to do is visit the amazing art museums.  Among the treasures in the Mauritshuis Museum in Den Haag is a small painting by Carel Fabritius called "The Goldfinch".  I'm captivated by this small painting, which the artist painted shortly before his death in 1654.  I can't explain what it is about this painting that draws me in.  I just know that it haunts me long after I view it.
This year, I took my sketchbook into the museum and spent a bit of time doing a quick drawing.  I think that, while viewing the painting as I draw, I go deeper into it.  I'm looking at the nuances of the painting in a different way because I am drawn into the shapes and I look more carefully at the cast-shadows.

Later, in my room, I took my small box of gouache paints and continued to work.  I began the drawing on a gessoed page that had splatters from the adjoining page.  I like the imperfections they create under the painting.

Since I had some letter & number stencils in my little travel kit I decided to paint the artist's name and the date the painting was created.  There are a few things wrong with the size of the perch, as compared to the original, but I'm not concerned about that.  For me, the joy was in the seeing, the drawing, the painting.  
Have you ever taken your sketchbook into an art gallery to draw from a painting or sculpture?  I'm interested to read about your experiences.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Here we are, at the beginning of another holiday season.  For those of us who have lost loved ones, it is often bittersweet.  I want to tell you how thankful I am to have been given the opportunity to meet to many of you, to share in workshops and meet at festivals, to work with you at events for the Alliance for American Quilts, to laugh and be silly with you.
My cherished memories of family carry me through the sadness of missing those that are gone.
I am so grateful for my own family.  I'm pretty sure I married the coolest guy on the planet.
And, it goes without saying that I have the most awesome daughters.  What's a mother to say?!
My family-in-law is the best a woman could wish for.
My friends.  There are no words.
I'm thankful for my health.
I'm thankful that I have the gift of time.
Everything else that I have been able to do flows from these things.

My late parents


my beloved late sister
My grandmother, the seamstress and quilt maker

My uncle Ralph, whom I lost this year.
He walked me down the aisle in 1982.
Who ARE these kids?!
Thankfully, I've been married to this guy for 29 years as of 11/27.

A father-in-law with a sense of humor that never disappoints!
 THE most loving mother-in-law a woman could ask for...

and three daughters that mean everything to me.

Same girls, a few years later.....

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Scenes from the last (ever) MIU "Surviving The Runway"

I didn't realize it until we approached the end, but the era of "Surviving The Runway" is over.  Over the years we have watched and judged as people were given some very odd assortments of materials and asked to make a prom outfit, revisit the 80s, design millinery for a royal wedding, and more.
Here are a few shots from the Houston event:
Hard at work creating a fabulous hat fit for
a royal wedding!

It's just a shame that the judge/assistants don't have any fun...

Melly has a lot to dance about!

Now, if only she could figure out how to keep her glow bracelet
stylin over her face....
Here are a couple of contestants 
"strutting their stuff" on the runway

Twice around the perimeter of the classroom,
and the fearless judges are watching closely

Here are the judges L-R:  Jamie Fingal, Cheryl Sleboda, Jane LaFazio,
Melly Testa, Pokey Bolton, Judy Coates Perez, and myself

Monday, November 14, 2011

Rocks and Coffee "cracks"

By now you know how weird I am about looking at the effects of pressure on things.  I can study rocks endlessly for the effects of the power of water on them.  And then, I can be amused by the imagined "cracks" in my lovely cup of Cappuccino!
 these were taken near San Antonio on the edge of a river.
Limestone is everywhere in this part of the world.
I love the bore-holes the water makes.

...and then there is my delicious cuppa!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Announcing the Sketchbook Challenge Book!

Most of you know that, since January 2011, I have been a contributing artist in The Sketchbook Challenge. The project was developed by Sue Bleiweiss, and the idea was to inspire artists to work in their sketchbooks, and to share their work with others through an online photo site. Major retailers of art supplies have donated some amazing prizes for those who participated. 
Every month one of the contributing artists announces a new theme and the blog is used to provide a variety of art pieces and tutorials to inspire the participants.  
Sue approached a number of artists, including myself, to contribute artwork for her newest book, "The Sketchbook Challenge".  I was thrilled to create a number of pieces, one of which is on the cover (on the lower right portion, it has schnauzer stamps on the right edge).
Although the book will not ship until next summer it is available for pre-order it on Amazon.com

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge at Make-It-University!

If you were in Houston, you might have seen some of us today in the Make-It-University area doing the  Sketchbook Challenge Round Robin workshop!  We taught from 1:15 to 2:15 this afternoon in Make-It-University in the exhibitor's area of the International Quilt Festival.  If you signed up to participate in the workshop, you were one busy person!  We gave each participant a goodie bag filled with wonderful mixed-media items.
After this workshop, Jamie and I worked in Open Studios.  I love having people stop by and visit.  I demonstrated more gelatin plate monoprinting and had a lot of fun talking to all that stopped by.
Woo Hoo!
Here are two shots of the fast-paced MIU event:

I wish I had been able to take more photos during this wild event!  I know others did (hello Sue Bleiweiss) and when I am able, I will add more shots.  Four instructors demoed a different technique.  Students had about 12 minutes at each station.  Crazy fun!  We did gelatin plate monoprinting on 2 types of paper and 2 types of cloth.  The students got some amazing prints using a variety of unconventional tools.  You know me:  what did you expect?  Something "normal"?!

Musical Chairs class (Thursday)

Our students were so much fun!  Here are a few shots of the progression of their two canvases: