Monday, February 28, 2011

A Knitting Deadline

The latest project is on the needles. No painting can happen until I meet this particular deadline, which is coming up soon. I have just days to finish.

The hot pink color of this yarn is amazing and fun to work with. Can you see the little sparkles? Fun! I'm still in the loop, holding Resistance at bay if I keep going. "Finish something" has been playing in my head. There's plenty more where this came from to keep me busy, but right now I have to finish this set of projects. The pink mohair item is in a holding pattern while I work on these. Yes, there are two! Look at the picture, get the idea? Another item is done. Somewhere in my day today I must finish this and go on to the next one.

Have you ever heard of "second sock syndrome"? Think about it. You need two socks, right? You complete one whole sock. Ah, satisfaction with a project that is finished! But wait! You have to do it all over again, same pattern, same yarn, same colors, same needles. Yawn! It's possible Resistance can show up and you never get to make the second sock. What are you going to do with one lousy sock, huh?  But it happens.

I like taking these little projects with me to doctor's appointments to work on in the waiting room. I've been getting allergy shots and the wait time is twenty minutes. That means knitting time. I don't know if the allergy shots are doing anything, but I'm getting knitting in!

The socks I started knitting for myself during our vacation in Greenport, NY during the summer never materialized into socks. I started them on vacation, and ripped them in the doctor's waiting room.  I reknit them, and ripped them again. For some reason I never liked how the knitting looked.

First, I knit them too tight and the colors were pooling. I was seeing zigzags and blotches of colors. Yuck. I ripped. Then I began again with different needles and new number of cast on stitches. Better, stripes were happening, but the stitches looked too open and holed. Rip rip rip. Next reknit I still didn't like the look of the stitches. RIP! Now I have no socks, just a ball of nothing. The girls in the allergists office were asking where the socks are that I was working on. I showed them a ball. They gasped. Oh well.

So anyway, now I'm on a deadline. I can't wait to finish this round of knitting and move on to painting where there are other adventures to tackle.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nothing for Thursday

I decided to put myself on vacation this week, along with the rest of the world here. This being what they call these days "President's" week and schools are closed, there is a nice hush in the neighborhood. Remember when there was George Washington's birthday and Abraham Lincoln's birthday? That's all over. Soon no one will even know who they were. People will just think it's time to go shopping or away.

People must really be on vacation, as in away from home. Not just on vacation, but gone altogether.  It's fine by me, but it's surprising that there are no kids around, very little car traffic, and even the mail man is walking on tiptoe.

Well, good for those people who can go away and really be on vacation. That's nice. So I'm "on vacation" too. Gorgeous is a teacher. She has the week off and is spending time with the Princess while I am free to do other things. It's all good.

Self imposed vacation from anything too thought provoking was my idea. I don't even feel like pulling out the fruit and sea shells for a quick spin in watercolor. Lazy daisy. Taking things slow. Browsing in some stores. Knitting a little here and there. Looking at my books. No screaming neighbors kids running around next door. Nice and quiet. Just how I like things.

What's my thought for Thursday? Nothing. Not a thing. No thoughts. Empty brain. Peace. Yup.

Monday, February 21, 2011

More Snow, Again

The warm, spring weather we had last week was fun while it lasted. Well, whaddaya know? More snow! Yup, I said it, more snow. Take a look at the view from my backyard garden.

It's looks pretty, but it's very annoying. Especially since I was caught off guard and had no idea this was coming. When I heard there would be inches I flipped!

This huge pine tree is in my neighbor's yard, but just on our border. Of course, the huge branches hover over my yard and the azaleas that I love. If one of those big arms snap off the azaleas are in trouble and our electric, cable, phone would all be out. If this was my tree I'd bring it down. It's just too big and dangerous. But, alas, it's the neighbor's responsibility and he's annoying so I'm not saying anything about it. Every winter I imagine this thing landing on my patio room and maybe then I would have to remodel. I dream big, don't I?

In the meanwhile it's still standing. As I'm looking at this photo it seems to me my fence looks like it's leaning over. I better go out there and take a look if it really is leaning or it's my camera angle. Looks scary.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Painting Time

I made it here at the blog today! I didn't sleep well, knowing I had to rise earlier than usual to take Sons #1 and #2 to the airport for a weekend thing the oldest is doing in California. The weather is mild here in New York and I hope it's comfortable there, but I hear it's raining.  Anyway, I'm tired.

After my amazing day with the Princess I had painting time. Oh, and for the record, every day with the Princess is amazing. Back to painting.

With apples in the house I decided to set up two of them with some bits of broken shells from my last time at the beach. I knew I would want to use them so I put them in my travel paint kit. Great light, pleasing subjects, and time. This time I planned to use the whole paper and paint just a little larger than I have lately. And I penciled in my shapes and shadows. Would you believe I need to replace the half pans of color in this travel set? When am I going to get myself together and use the large palette? Sometimes I think I'm lazy, but is it that or is it I'm just so impulsive that way? Either it's readily available or painting doesn't happen. What a whack job.

I worked over the twenty minute mark this time around, but tried to keep the colors, lights, and darks, true. Didn't want to over work this one, again. Oh and just so you know, I decided to move on from the last piece. I was over it. New day, new work. Done.

Wet paint needed some drying time so I left it alone to do some other things and look at it as I passed by. I knew I needed to clear up some areas and when I could, I did.

Apples with Shell Bits (c)2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
Watercolor on Arches paper

This is it. I am finished with it. I have a question for you more experienced watercolorists out there though. Does watercolor paper need to be sized before using? As in wetting the paper thoroughly and leaving it to dry for use later? I've been using a block of Arches 140lb cold press paper and have not been going over it with water first. When I want to paint a fine line of color it seems to resist. It's not beading up, just not flowing over the paper smoothly, sort of like skipping. Large blotches of color gets absorbed easy and it seems I don't have much control. Is it me? Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this.

I'm finished with this one too. I signed it and I'm done. Let's see where I go next session.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thought for Thursday

     “A line is a dot that went for a walk. ”  ~Paul Klee,(Swiss Artist 1879-1940)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Awaiting the Princess

I'm waiting for The Princess to arrive this morning. Tuesday is my day to play! I am ready. I could get the chance to paint at some point, but not counting on it. The Princess takes ten minute naps for the most part. As you know, I could make a short time limit work, but maybe not just ten minutes. The equipment is ready just in case the nap is a little longer than I expect.

Everything The Princess needs is ready too: formula, bottle, bowl, spoon, and toys! She is now five months old and learning to eat cereal. So, okay, most of it comes out when I try putting it in, but I can get   it to go right back in! No problem, but if she eyeballs the spoon we're in trouble. She's smart. She knows what's coming with that spoon and she's not sure if she likes it.

Things are done differently these days. When my kids were babies we started solid food with a ripe, mushed up banana. Now, due to dietary ideas on obesity and the like, the doctors recommend cereal first, not to begin with the sweet stuff. But the sweet stuff gives them the idea that what's coming on the spoon might be something they may want to taste.

Whatever the routine is today, I am happy to oblige. Tell me what to do and I'll just do it. No issues here, just happy to see that squishy baby girl! Baby beats out painting any day. Yup.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I "Heart" Knitting For Now

I spent my Sunday indoors. A quiet house is heaven for me. Anything I might have done outside of the house could be put off to today. Why not enjoy my space? I really like my space, too. Was talking about this same thing with my sister the other day. Some people can't wait to go out and spend the day off doing whatever, and that's fine. For some it's a necessity because they're working and they get their stuff done. I look for excuses to stay home.

If the weather is good I can be out, but if I don't have to leave my house why go out? And if I can avoid the mobs on a Sunday, all the better. The Mr. went out and Son#2 followed him. I had my house to myself, with all sorts of possibilities.

I have been put off with that watercolor painting of the apple. You know, the bad highlights and too much paint? So I was laying low with it. Perfect time to segue to the knitting front. Except, I have to undo the skeins of yarn and make knitting-ready, center-pull balls. No easy feat. Mohair and rayon mixed together, although deliciously beautiful, and twisted into a skein, is sometimes very uncooperative. The yarn was sticking to itself as I untied and unraveled it causing me to pull it apart in spots, as I clenched my teeth. But beautiful nonetheless. Yummy colors.

Remember when they used to show knitting and someone had to hold their hands open and apart with the yarn skein wrapped around them while another person wound that yarn into a ball? That was me, except no one was around to hold the skein open. Just as well, because if anyone was around they'd hide if I asked for any help. The dining room chair came in handy as I wrapped the skein around the back and wound up the ball myself. I could make things happen when I want!

However tangled it wanted to be, I untangled it. It looks worse than it was. Mission accomplished. Once I was finished winding the balls I went on to the other knitting project on the list. The colors of these yarns are delicious and fun to watch as they pass over my fingers and needles. I like seeing the fabric that results from knitting with this yarn. I was at home and loving it.

Today will be an errand and outside the house kind of day. And it's Valentine's Day. Nothing special going on here except making dinner, as usual, and maybe I'll bake something chocolate in a heart shaped pan. What's with all the fuss? Some see love in diamonds and chocolates. Didn't they just say I love you on Christmas with the same things? Is it the heart shapes? Is it because it's the dead of winter and people have nothing else to do except have winter depression? It's another over commercialized day.

I think knitting says I love you, to me!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Free Thursday on Friday

Being free to do other things this Thursday doesn't mean I got much done. It just means I'm kind of free. Kind of. There's always things to do. How do regular people do it all? There's just no way to have everything done the way it should be. Houses always need some kind of cleaning, picking up, straightening. If you want to eat healthy you have to cook food at home, every day, couple of times a day. What's with all the eating? And how about the food shopping? My refrigerator is always missing something someone here wants. I can't keep up!

So a free day means cleaning, food shopping and the other errands that are my job here. My day with the Princess is exactly that: my day with my granddaughter. There's no stuffing her in a car and running here and there. Not yet. I'll wait to drag her around with me for when she gets a little bit older. Right now I'm enjoying my days watching her grow, smile, laugh, and try to stand. It's fun and I'm not missing a thing! A few days on and a couple days off. It's great.

Thinking I have all of Thursday to myself, I tried to plan what to do once the errands were done. I hadn't really given myself an Artist Date in a long while and I thought I might try to do that.

There are so many things I wanted to do, but once I headed out I couldn't decide. It's cold here after all. That means I have to be indoors if I want to be comfortable. I thought I might go to a garden nursery place, one that has a big greenhouse with indoor plants. Bright and warm with lovely greenery that I could look at and maybe photograph for a painting. Sounded good when I thought of it. Then I thought I could take myself to lunch at a quaint bistro nearby in a cute town. Maybe I would make believe I was in another country on vacation. I also threw around the idea of bundling up and going to the beach to walk on the boardwalk and look at the ocean. Nahhh, I nixed that idea.

What did I do? None of those things. I did my food shopping and went home. Once I was back I decided I had to paint something. It's not an Artist Date, but I was too lazy to go anywhere special. I thought of all the things to do and didn't do them, so back to the dining room table I went.

From the grocery bags I grabbed an apple from the ones I just purchased and set it up with the usual suspects: shell and pebbles. Yay! A new subject! Yes, very exciting. Anyway, I got to painting in my usual fashion of sketching with the watercolors.

Now, remember, I have all day to myself, and I thought I would take my time with this piece. Instead of work for only twenty minutes, as has been my recent habit, I would slow it down. Why not? Take my time, day dream while I paint, do a good job. I don't think it worked out like that. I was not impressed.

I worked on this until I realized I added paint where I didn't want it. Where are the highlights on this apple? Okay, the shell I know, the pebble I've painted before, we're well acquainted. I've painted apples plenty of times, but the striping on this one got me as well as the bright, white highlights. And I was taking too long on it. So I left it alone and waited for the paint to dry. I was well past the twenty minute mark and not at all thrilled. I signed it with the idea that I was done. Finished. Over.

I propped it up to look at it. I thought I could have done better with this apple and went back to rub out some of the color. After going in with a wet brush to lift some paint, I still wasn't happy with this. I love the shell and the rock. The shadow is fine. The apple looks sad. I think I should have left it alone and be done at twenty minutes. Or thirty minutes, tops.

I know. I got all sassy with myself, thinking I had all day free for me. What did I do? I messed with the twenty minute rule. That'll show me!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thought for Thursday

'It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?"'
~Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne

Monday, February 7, 2011

I Will Beat the Crazymaker

Have I mentioned that I have a stalker? What's up with that? People turn into some kind of crazy here and there.

Friendships are strange. It's nice to have friends, but not when they become out of control monster-like. Think of the Hulk. He's such a nice guy, right? Then something clicks inside his head and he turns into this wild, green monstrosity. There's no putting that thing back in his box. Nope.

When I was reading The Artist's Way trying to reign in Mr. Resistance, I read about the Crazymaker. Everyone has one of those people in their life now and then. They make it hard for us to do our own stuff by distracting us with their stuff. The bad thing about it is that sometimes you don't know you have a Crazymaker on your hands until they jump out of the box like the Hulk!

I made my peace with my Crazymaker, in my head. I ignored. It worked, for a while.

Now they're circling in the waters like a shark trying to fool it's prey. I think I'm the prey. I will try to ignore, again. But the thing is this: they know what they're doing. They make it hard to ignore.

People around me tell me things related to the Crazymaker. These managers of mayhem are smart. They know how to worm themselves in my direction, by using others I'm close to or friendly with.

Lately it's been by cyberspying. That's my definition because I can't think of anything else to call it that will convey my meaning. Sly and calculating, they are. But guess what? I catch the drift. I'm not a fool. I'm outside because I identified the Crazymaker for who they are and I slowly stepped back. Anyone remember that skit from the '60's with actors I can't think of right now, "Slowly I turn, step by step..."

That's me, backing out of the driveway! But wait! Who's that shadowy figure trying to get my attention?  Nah, not fooling me. Still I ignore. How long will they lurk?

Anyway, I painted a twenty minute piece the end of last week which helped me drive thoughts of that Crazymaker out of my head. Now that I've committed myself to the 100 Paintings Challenge, twenty minutes of work is going to help me keep going. Quick and done!

Broken Shell (c)2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
8x12 Watercolor on Arches paper
That will show the Crazymaker and Mr. Resistance who's boss! Nyah-ha-ha-ha!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Photo for Friday

It's cold outside, but in my head I am at this beach, sitting in the hot sand and soaking up the sun.  There are only a few beach goers and they're not sitting anywhere near me. The heat is on and things are fine.

Yeah, I can dream up a good one every once in a while. Brrrrrrr!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thought for Thursday

"Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only knew how to begin." ~Alice, Alice in Wonderland

The Latest Work With Permission

©Dora Sislian Themelis, 11x14 Watercolor, Patmos Sunset Available for purchase The latest work is from another person's photograph...