My Sketchy Life – inky dinky, dilly Dali

New model – not an ounce of body fat on the boy.  The majority of students are well into their 60’s.  I made note of how many of the women asked him to return to model ! . .  I myself prefer the models with a bit of ballast around their belly.  Gives me more room for error.

This class I ventured out of my comfort zone,  put away eraser and went for it with  permanent ink and no preliminary sketch in pencil.  

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Sharpie Pen, 20 minute pose
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Water-color pencil, 20 minute pose

Notice the box?  I keep trying to draw within the box so the figure doesn’t run off the page.  Here’s my result!

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Ink with splash of water-color, 20 minute pose
Salvador Dali
Dali sez: “She obviously needs a bigger box . . . obviously.”

 

My Sketchy Life – why the nude still shocks

If you are an art buff or interested in the psychology of nudes read this article Why The Nude Still Shocks.  Not only is it interesting it underscores my past reluctance to put up the sketches of men as opposed to women. (see Equal Opportunity Nudes)

The model this week was male but he was wearing this warrior “get-up” that the men in the class seemed to enjoy drawing , . .  must be a testosterone “thing”.  I say “TAKE IT OFF!”

Water-color pencil
Water-color pencil

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A Frankly Freddie Thanksgiving

Dear Human Beings,

Time for my ANNUAL Thanksgiving ‘Ode To Tom’ and tell you what I’m thankful for:

  • I’m thankful that I was not born in a country where they eat dogs.
  • I’m thankful you are all my best friends!
  • I’m thankful for all the treats I get even if I don’t get as many as I deserve
  • I’m thankful I am soft and fluffy so people want to pet me
  • DSCN4217Freddie Parker Westerfield,  Poet Laureate

A Turkey’s Tale

by Freddie Parker Westerfield

A turkey named Tom lived on a farm

His story is such, so they say

Waking at dawn

he’d peck at the lawn,

searching for bugs,

nibbling on slugs

of which he was particularly fond.

Then on Thanksgiving day

Gobbledy gobbledy gone!

So if  YOU took Tom from off his farm

in the middle of the night

please give him due thanks

for gracing your table.  (It’s  fitting and only right).

And for all the bugs and many slugs

which make him an organic delight

P.S.  I was told to tell you that my Human-being wishes you all things to be grateful for in your life, like she’s grateful for me.
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My BEST FRIEND Shari sent me this picture.  I think she might be a Turkeytarian . . .

 

My Sketchy Life – no mo nude

Clothed!  The model was clothed!  I actually found it easier sketching nude people with no distractions . . . like folds of fabric and print patterns and color.  

The model had on an elaborate costume with intricate patterns and gold threads. I tried to eliminate all the “distractions”.  Here’s my first attempts at using water-color pencil.

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Water-color pencil, 20 minute pose
Water-color pencil, 20 minute pose
Water-color pencil, 20 minute pose

Jokingly, I asked the model if she would take her clothes off.  She replied, “Will you?”    tumblr_mdzmtrd5du1qargfho1_500

 

Brand new and nude – Puggles

If this isn’t the cutest, weirdest little critter I don’t know what is!

A Puggles Pome

Puggles are the puggliest

Their little snout the ugliest

Cuddle them quick

for when they’re grown

they’ll claw you

and won’t give a lick

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“Sydney Zoo is celebrating the arrival of the first baby echidnas, known as puggles, in almost 30 years.  The tiny (cute), and incredibly rare Australian mammals, hatched in the summer weighing between 250 and 500 grams.  Echidnas, sometimes known as spiny anteaters, lay eggs – which hatch after 10 days.  They’re then carried in their mother’s pouches for up to two months.”

 

Irreversibly Front & Back

My friend Peggy and I are working on a new project to share our stash of  therapeutic strategies, tips and tricks on the internet.  In my exuberance,  “playing” with  settings for the new web-site, I mistakenly changed the theme setting for this blog  . . . and  can’t figure out how to change it back again .  So Curious to the Max has a new look, in case you didn’t notice.

And in case you didn’t notice we had a new model in class.  All these sketches were 15 minutes done with water-color pencil.

There are two “fronts” and two “backs” (She was sitting on a poofy cushion).

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Water-color pencil 15 minute sketches

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AND in case you don’t see the connection between my blog change and my sketches: Clicking a button on the computer and irreversibly changing the blog template is like drawing with water-color pencil.  I can’t erase or correct either of them.

"Excuses, excuses . . ."
“Excuses, excuses . .”
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My Sketchy Life – from start to finish

Take a peek at the entire class from the beginning 2 minute sketches to the 20 minute poses.  

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Charcoal, 2 minute poses

Tried water-color pencil for the first time.  Discovered it doesn’t ERASE so the first go over needs to be very light. 

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Water-color pencil

This model was great.  She was more voluptuous than most and I didn’t have to draw muscles!  

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Water-color pencil. Ended up with 4 breast because I couldn’t erase!

In the sketch below I used an old piece of cardboard backing.   If you look you can see the water stains from years past.

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Water-color pencil on cardboard

For the last pose the model put clothes on . . . probably because I couldn’t get her breasts symmetrical!  

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Water-color pencil on water-color paper

I may take these drawings and experiment some more with the water-color.

"Food for thought . . . "
“I think she’s experimented enough already . . .”

 

How to cook a turkey FAST and painlessly (for you not the bird)

It’s THAT time of year again for “Cooking with Judy”  Here’s my yearly Thanksgiving post — cuz it’s tooooo good not to be shared!  

img_00131 I have a reputation, among those who know me,  to have an “interesting” sense of humor.  Even though How to Cook A Turkey with 500 degree heat sounds like a joke IT IS NO JOKE.

The turkey comes out brown, beautiful and MOIST.   I’ve done this every year for over three decades and it’s never failed. 
All the people who have tried it do it again and again. . . except for the woman bought a ButterBall Turkey* . . . to see why, keep reading.
 
Ingredients:
10 – 18 pound turkey* and a sense of adventure
 
Directions:
  • Pre Heat oven 500 degrees (this is not a typo)
  • Clean the bird
  • Throw it into a covered container – put on lid or aluminum foil
  • Do not add ANYTHING to the pot and/or the bird.
  • Do NOT baste or look at until time is up  (you will hear burbling, don’t worry, by the time you hear burbling the turkey is dead)
  • Bake (and I do mean BAKE), 7 minutes per pound, unstuffed at 500 degrees FARENHEIT
  • 7 1/2 minutes per pound, stuffed
*WARNING: Do NOT buy any *turkey that has ANYTHING injected under the skin (especially butter!) or the fire department will join you for dinner after you scrub the black soot from your ceiling.
Q & A (I won’t bother you with the Q-part)
  • Yes, it comes out brown and beautiful.
  • No, it is moist and delicious
  • I always put the stuffing in a casserole rather than the turkey – others have stuffed the bird and said it was great.
  • Yes, it will smell like Thanksgiving not like a house-on-fire.
  • No, PETA would not endorse this because it is more humane . . . for the cook
  • Yes! 500 degrees.  It is not a typo
  • Yes, 7 minutes a pound
P.S.  A typical turkey will take a little over 1 hour to bake. The first year I made the turkey this way I had the critter sitting out raw and naked as a J-bird when the guests arrived.
When they found out nothing was in the oven everyone nervously inquired what time we were going to eat.
Made me smile.

 

A Peak into my Sketchy Life – Bigger and Worser

(Well, not actually “worser” but I try to avoid trite phrases like “bigger and better”.)

 In case you’ve not noticed . . .  my drawings all go off the page.  I don’t mind the aesthetics of that but I want to be able to do it “by design”.  I try framing, measuring, planning . . . as the drawing progresses the limbs or head (or both) end up off of the paper.

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17″ x 13″ Charcoal sketch on painters paper from Home Depot.

The life drawing teacher suggested I get a BIG board to work on a BIG piece of paper  to get the entire torso on the page.  So much for bigger . . .

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36″ x 36″ Charcoal sketches (Model was wearing a weird hat with a huge veil that trailed down his back. And he has a beard and mustache . . .)

(Showing my hand on the paper to give you a sense of the scale).

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36″ x 36″ paper
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17″ x 13′ paper
"She'll do almost anything to avoid drawing hands and feet . . ."
“She will do almost anything to avoid drawing feet . . . or beards & mustaches”

Happy Halloween! Duds to Dudes

Since my “vertigo episode” I’ve been in a fibromyalgia flare-up, complete with exhaustion.  Today I peeled myself out of bed, put on my best duds and went to class to draw a dude.  Can you guess which one is me?

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After spending 3 hours drawing a nude dude this is what I looked like . . .

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My Sketchy life – dinosaurs and dames

My Sketchy Life – wonky, wacky & wobbly

Ten days into walking like a drunken sailor without the drink or the sailing.  My husband drove me to art class.  It was nice to get out of the house.  The vertigo is much better but I’m still a bit wobbly.

At first, looking back and forth from the model to the drawing pad was a bit disorienting and I was very tired after class – probably because my brain was working hard to compensate.

The focus for this session was using brown wrapping paper, black and white charcoal.

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"Food for thought . . . "
“Wobbly is the least of her worries . . . She’s always been wonky & wacky . . . “

 

Dizzy blond and I ain’t even blond

Friday: Spent all day and evening in the ER.  I was EXTREMELY light-heading, threw up, missed my art class and spent 24 hours in bed thinking I’d feel fine in the morning . . . WRONG.  

Saturday: In the morning the  room was moving and I wasn’t. Every time I moved I threw up and there was nothing to throw-up since I hadn’t eaten anything (You have probably created a nasty picture in your mind . . .  just make it even nastier).  

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Pencil sketch

The ER was even more fun.  Throwing up,  drawing blood, 2 CT scans (to make sure it wasn’t a stroke . . . it wasn’t) and finally, after 4 different anti-nausea medications and drips, I stopped throwing up. 

Sunday: I’m still dizzy and have to hold on to things to walk (it’s a bit wonky to type) but the good news, the GREAT news, is I’ve not thrown up.  The bad news is I’m still dizzy . . .  and  grey-haired.

"Such drama . ."
“If she thinks walking is hard she should try swinging from trees . .”

To my friends and acquaintances who suffer with Ménière’s disease. . . I have new compassion for you!

P.S.  For those of you I confused . .  I don’t have Menieres just plain Ditzy.

 

 

 

My Sketchy Life – scritch, scratch and stretch

I have little energy and my hip is sore .  Usually, I stand at the easel when drawing but my hip is so sore this week I sat.  I’ve been stretching my hip and back every day but scritching and scratching at the art.

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Charcoal

When the teacher saw this she commented that it looked like someone sitting at a bus stop!  She said it kindly and  I agreed.  So I quickly scribbled, skritched and scratched over the original.  At least now it looks like the bus has just arrived. 

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Charcoal. 

This was an exercise on finding reference points in the room to draw the figure.  I spent so long finding the points that I didn’t have time for the figure!
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I was fading fast and so were my drawings!

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Charcoal

Hopefully, next class, instead of scritch and scratch I’ll stretch with the art.

 

Shower yourself with doodle art

This is one hot shower!  

“Third Man Records is pleased to share the genius surprise gift they received from their friend MICHEL GONDRY. On his own and without anyone’s knowledge, the legendary filmmaker shot a video for “City Lights,” which he sent them the other night. The video is Gondry’s fifth visual collaboration with The White Stripes. “City Lights” was written for The White Stripes’ GET BEHIND ME SATAN but then forgotten until White revisited the 2005 album for Third Man’s Record Store Day 2015 vinyl reissue and finished the recording in 2016. The track is the first new, worldwide commercially released song by The White Stripes since 2008.”

http://jackwhiteiii.com/

Music video by The White Stripes performing “City Lights” (Audio) from Jack White Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016. (C) 2016 Third Face, LLC

Director: Michel Gondry
Producer: Raffi Adlan
Camera/Editor: Brooke Palmieri
Special Thanks: Tilly Pederson, David Gritchen
Production Co: Partizan

 

My Sketchy Life . . . Albee it

Edward Albee died the other day at 88.  He was a Pulitzer prize-winning playwright.  He intensely disliked it when asked what his plays were about but finally explained:

“If anybody wants me to say it, in one sentence, what my plays are about: They’re about the nature of identity. Who we are, how we permit ourselves to be viewed, how we permit ourselves to view ourselves, how we practice identity or lack of identity.”  Edward Albee

Most of the models in the life drawing classes have been posing for a long time.  They come equipped with props and pillows and strike dramatic poses that I defy anyone in “real” life to take . . . unless you’re an exotic dancer.

Graphite pencil sketch
Graphite pencil sketch
"quickies"
“quickies”
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Charcoal sketch

Art teachers explain that drawing isn’t about what the hand is doing it’s about training our eye to see what it actually sees rather than the internal image of what we THINK we see.

Right now my drawings are about trying to learn to view shapes and shadows, lines and limbs . . . and hopefully have my hands follow.  Someday, it would be nice to say the same thing Edward Albee said . . . that my drawings are about the nature of identity.

Laughter is the best medicine

The weather is changing

my body rearranging

Help! I’m in a fibro flare

Everything hurts

including my hair.

Sharon Bonin Pratt is a writer, an artist and a dear friend.  I think she also is psychic.  I’ve been not feeling great and the subject of her last post was just what I needed.  AND it’s dedicated to ME!!!!  What an honor!

Shari inspired me to look for a smile (SEE THE VIDEO).  

Here’s a sample from Sharon Bonin Pratt’s Ink Flare:

“Who can laugh without relaxing? Isn’t that why some of us (not me of course, and certainly not you, but other unnamed folks) pee their pants when laughing raucously? Losing all control is not a bad thing, even if you must change your whitie-dities, because when you’re having that much fun – who cares about all the rest? Oh, and it’s contagious! In a good way, not like the flu, but like having enough cup cakes for everyone in the world. So now I not only feel good inside my own world weary bod – I feel good because everyone around me also feels good. Motto for today: Spread cheer – laugh out loud.”

Read her entire post –  Sharon Bonin Pratt’s Ink Flare

My sketchy life – failing my way to success

Sara Blakely’s embrace of failure has helped make her the youngest self-made female billionaire in America.  She invented Spanx (body-shaping undergarments – the modern version of the corset and girdle).

When she was growing up, her father would often ask her the same question at dinnertime.

“What have you failed at this week?”

I was AGHAST – failure!? What a horrible father.  Everyone knows we are supposed to focus on and revel in success.  She went on to say:

“My dad growing up encouraged me and my brother to fail. The gift he was giving me is that failure is (when you are) not trying versus the outcome. It’s really allowed me to be much freer in trying things and spreading my wings in life.”

What a novel idea! Embrace failure as a sign of taking risks, learning and growing. Failure is a victory not a defeat.

“The fact that I had never taken a business class, had no training, didn’t know how retail worked,” she said. “I wasn’t as intimidated as I should have been.”

I read her interview just before my life drawing class.  It was liberating!!  I gave myself permission to fail at trying to draw perfect likeness, perfect proportions, perfect shading.  

Graphite Pencil Sketch
Graphite Pencil Sketches

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My new motto:  Fail Away! 

 . . . it’s never too late to become the oldest self-made billionaire in the United States.

I fail to understand her conclusions . . . that must make me a success . . .
She never fails to confound me . . .

 

My sketchy life – equal opportunity nudes

It’s been called to my attention that while I post drawings of female nudes front and rear I don’t post male nude drawings full front.  

I am  so used to seeing women bare it all in the media that I don’t think twice about my female drawings.  I wonder if, deep down, I’m actually a prude?

Charcoal sketches
Charcoal sketches

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Graphite pencil sketch
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Graphite pencil sketch

Here’s to woman’s liberation and male, dare I say, penile picture poses!

 

My Sketchy Life – Back to school

New semester for art classes just started.  Here are my best sketches (you didn’t think I’d post my worst, did you?).  I particularly am pleased with the first as I managed to catch the likeness of the model.

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Charcoal drawing
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Charcoal, scribble drawing
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Charcoal warm-up drawing
"Obviously she hasn't learned to draw hands or feet . . ."
“Obviously she hasn’t learned to draw hands . . .  or feet . . .”

Cuddle Fish

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“The team spotted this Stubby Squid off the coast of California at a depth of 900 meters (2,950 feet). The stubby squid (Rossia pacifica) looks like a cross between an octopus and squid, but is more closely related to cuttlefish. This species spends life on the seafloor, activating a sticky mucus jacket and burrowing into the sediment to camouflage, leaving their eyes poking out to spot prey like shrimp and small fish. Rossia pacifica”

 

RATS! We Inhaled

At Judy Formato’s Painting on the Patio (POP) art group the topic of marijuana came up.  

Several of the woman, who shall remain anonymous, (we are all well over the age of 50 or 60 or 70) admitted to inhaling in their youth.  It was a pertinent topic (for those of us well over the age of 50 or 60 or 70) relating to pain medication for maladies that come with maturity.

Is this a coincidence, or what? . . . I came home to read this new medical marijuana “MIND” study:  

Researcher Staci Gruber is “. . .  trying to determine the long and short-term impact of medical marijuana on cognition, brain structure and function, quality of life, sleep, and other clinical measures. 

“People drive two to three hours sometimes to get [here for] the study,” Gruber said. “They’re really committed. They really want to know what effect this will have on them.”

“As they wait for long-term results, MIND researchers have made a few interim discoveries. They have found, for example, that marijuana could possibly ease symptoms for people with bipolar disorder and that a medication for strokes and Alzheimer’s disease may reverse the cognitive effects of chronic recreational marijuana use.”

Perhaps our POP group could volunteer – we can drive and are VERY committed women.

I think we qualify.

Oh, by the way, here’s what I painted at POP.

Water-color on Yupo paper
Water-color & pencil on Yupo paper

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I wonder why they don’t use rats for this study – they use them for all the others?

 

Stealth Sketching

I knew about people who do travel sketch books – instead of taking photos they sketch.  I knew about plein air painters who set up their easels and paint nature.  I didn’t know about the groups of artists who take to the streets all over the world and sketch.

They call themselves Urban Sketchers.  The supplies need to be portable and compact – small sketchbooks, pencil, pen and watercolor seem to be the main tools of the trade.  People and buildings are the main focus. 

You have to be fast and just capture the essence of what you see.  People move, get up, leave.   Sometimes I draw the arm of one person on the body of the other, furiously freeze a tiny moment in time hoping people don’t get up, come over and demand I stop staring at them.  Then I “clean up” the mini sketches – erase lines, add a splash of color.  

At the POP (Painting on the Patio) gathering yesterday I couldn’t get inspired to paint so I pulled out my mini sketchbook and “cleaned up” some of my sketches:  

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Can’t call myself an Urban Sketcher cuz I don’t sit on street corners or stand by light poles.  I sketch people while I wait for doctors’ appointments, get my computer fixed or tires rotated.  

Since I live in the suburbs it seems a bit pretentious to call my self a suburban sketcher.  Stealth Sketcher is much more like it.

 

Frankly Freddie – Dog Days of Summer

My human has been laying around the house all week.  You’ve probably noticed she’s not been commenting on her blog or responding to e-mails.  She overdid it at her last workshop and has been dog-tired ever since.  

Humans are cute, not very smart and take a lot of patience on our part.  Just when I think she’s trained she gets loose and I have no idea where she goes or what she gets into.  All I know is she comes limping home. 

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Picture by Rona H.

She looks a bit dog-eared.

Usually she can pick up the scent and find her way back but if you see her loose on the street don’t call human-control, just bring her home in time for my dinner.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT, RET

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author
Freddie Parker Westerfield, Certified Canine Therapist, RET

“Befores” and “afters”

Judy Formato collects people – from bus rides, parties, meetings and invites them to her “POP” gatherings – Painting on the Patio. Yesterday I met her collection of very talented and welcoming women who have been meeting for 3 years to paint, chat and share resources.

Most of the women were doing water-color.  I experimented with my newly purchased pastels to color two of my quickie life drawing sketches I had done in class. 

The afternoon was topped off with wine and snacks.  Judy served a verrrrry tasty egg plant dip that had zing from some delicious pepper sauce imported by the family fine Italian food company Formato Brothers.

Here are my “befores” and “afters”:

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“After” – pastel
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“Before”, Charcoal – 1 minute sketch
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“Before”, Charcoal,  1 minute sketch
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“After”, pastel
Hmmmm . . . looks like they are all "afters" . . . after drinking
Hmmmm . . . looks like all the drawings are “afters” . . . afters drinking wine . . .

The HeART of Spirituality – Journey from Dark to Light

The theme for July is “Journey”.  Held a special 4 hour – yes, count ’em FOUR hours of creative energy – workshop yesterday.  The participants focused on a painful experience, what strengths they developed as a result of the pain and how God’s love or “the universe’s grace” touched them.  

People could share as much or as little as they chose.  It was a wonderful group of women.  (All you men, where are you?!!!!)

Take a look at a sample of wonderful paintings and mini-journals the participants created yesterday!

To see all the paintings and journal pages click HERE!

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Process painting, Journey from Dark to Light

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“Everything in life ministers to our development. Our lesson is to study and learn… Tests are either stumbling blocks or stepping stones, just as we make them.” Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith

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Mini journal – 2- page spread

Sneek a peek into my sketchy life – peanut butter and landscapes

The last life drawing class for this semester.  Everyone brought food for a potluck – dips & chips, chocolate, cookies, cake, fruit – it was quite a spread.  We’ve had this model before.  

After staring at her flat abs for 3 hours I disciplined myself and only ate the fruit.  

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One of the students saw the above drawing laying on the floor on its side and said it looked like a landscape.

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I came home feeling out of shape and deprived.  So I ate 3 peanut butter and honey sandwiches (needed protein after all that fruit).

Can you tell what this is?

poin·til·lism
ˈpwaNtēˌyizəm,ˈpointlˌizəm/
noun
  1. A technique of neo-impressionist painting using tiny dots of various pure colors, which become blended in the viewer’s eye. It was developed by Georges Seurat with the aim of producing a greater degree of luminosity and brilliance of color.
    cmass.0

    Click HERE to see if you were right!

Sneek a Peek – back to back basics

The general consensus among my women art classmates is they prefer drawing female curves rather than male muscles.  Next week I’ll ask the men.   One of the women said her husband was VERY upset she would take a class where the focus was staring at nude men.

For these sketches I threw muscles to the wind and just drew.  I took a few liberties (like cutting off the models head because he was wearing a ridiculous helmet which I refused to draw and beefing him up a bit to match my own fantasies . . .)

I’m only sharing the back views I drew . . . don’t want to upset any of YOU that I’ve been staring at full frontal nude men . . .

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15 minute pose, charcoal sketch
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5 minute pose, charcoal sketch
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20 minute pose, charcoal sketch

The HeART of Spiritual POWER

Want to see more collaged Contemplation Cards?  The theme was Power. Click here The HeART of Spirituality

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Sneek a peek into my sketchy life – jugs and jugs and . . .

Been doing and redoing drawings to amuse myself.  These were originally quick sketches from life drawing.  I “colorized” them trying to teach myself how to use pastel.  It’s easier to practice on sketches I was going to throw away because there’s nothing to lose!!

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The pinnacle is the climb, not the mountain peak

A lovely reminder of what our souls know but our minds forget.

WORTH WATCHING

Gabrielle Garcia Marquez

Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century and one of the best in theSpanish language, he was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Frankly Freddie

Dear Linda B.,

Thank you for sending me a video of Jumpy the dog.  All us canines can do all this, we just don’t want to.   We prefer to conserve our energy for healing rather than performing. 

Sincerely yours,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT, RET.

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET

Sneek a Peek into my sketchy life – nudes and buts

Sorry, I’ve been blogged-out for so long.  I know, I know, yet another sorry-I’ve-been-gone-for-so-long-post.  

BUT I decided today is a brand new beginning.  “BUT” literally and figuratively.  (For those of you who are squeamish scroll down to the nude part because I begin with the BUTT . . .  mine to be exact.)  

Just had a colonoscopy. The bad news – I didn’t have a very good day yesterday.  The good news – I lost 4 pounds.  The bad news – I have wasted today sleeping.  The good news – I don’t remember a thing.  

Now that I’m squeaky clean it’s time for a new start – Going to go back to cutting out (maybe down) on refined sugar & carbs and cutting up on the internet.

Here’s my latest sketches.  I start with my favorite:

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10 minute charcoal sketch
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20 minute charcoal sketch
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10 minute charcoal sketch

Sneek Peek at my sketchy life – 2 bares and a nude . . .

 . . . or 2 nudes and a bare . . .  or 3 nudes . . . or 2 bares and a bear . . .

at any rate, none of them wore clothes.

Bare 1
Bare 1, charcoal 10 min sketch
Bare 2
Bare 2, charcoal 15 min sketch

Ink Flare Pome By Shari Bonin-Pratt

You bared your soul.
The woman bared her bottom.
The monkey bared his soles.
Your sketches really got ’em

Bare 3
Bare 3, charcoal 3 hours & 15 min sketch . . . (he wouldn’t sit still)
Charcoal sketch, 20 minute pose

A Sneek Peek into my sketchy life – drawing

 You’ve not heard from me for a while.  It’s not that I’ve forgotten YOU it’s just that I’ve had nothing inspiring me and for those of you who have followed my blog for a long time know it’s ultimately ALL ABOUT ME.

Yesterday I started a summer art class – life drawing. Drawing still-lifes and such (you know the kind where the instructor wants you to draw a block of wood, a vase with an artificial flower and a porcelain doll who stares straight ahead with malice in her eye) just isn’t my “thing”.  I’ve got nothing against still-lifes mind you (my life has been still on more than one occasion) but I prefer real flesh.

Here’s my first foray into real flesh since my one life drawing class in 1966.  I was pleased . . . with the drawings, of course.

Charcoal, 10 minute pose
Charcoal sketch, 10 minute pose
Charcoal sketch, 10 minute pose
Charcoal sketch, 10 minute pose
Charcoal sketch, 20 minute pose
Charcoal sketch, 20 minute pose
Charcoal sketch, 20 minute pose
Charcoal sketch, 20 minute pose                    THE END

Baltimore, the Snowy Owl

No energy to write my usual pithy posts . . . but here’s a Snowy Owl worth the visit:


“We followed a young owl named Baltimore’s PRECISE route from a beach in Maryland to an island in Canada.”

Adding insult to injury

I woke this morning feeling like a truck hit me, threw me onto the train tracks where I was run over by a locomotive.

AND lo and behold . . .

. . .  today is National Fibromyalgia Day.  I’m in no mood to celebrate but the Fibro-Fiends that dwell inside me are having a ball!

I’m too tired to write an entirely new post to post on this post so I’ll just post part of a post of a post that I posted sometime ago.  . . . .

Judy's Journal, Mixed Media, Collage
judy’s journal, collage

“I look normalI act normal (relatively normal).  However, I feel exhausted much of the time, my body aches from head to toe and my brain sometimes has trouble remembering or concentrating.  Please don’t tell me to exercise more, eat better, try acupuncture or go to a new doctor.  After 20 years I’ve tried just about everything there is to try that I can afford, swallow or legally do.”

“I don’t even care anymore what you call itFibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, malingering . . . it’s just tiring being tired much of the time.  I push through it otherwise I’d have no life.  But the price for pushing can be days of crashing so I pick and choose my commitments.”

There’s a free on-line Fibromyalgia Summit.  If you’re interested in hearing the presentations click here: http://www.healthrising.org/blog/2016/05/11/three-days-may-fibromyalgia-summit-almost/

________________________________

Confidential:  Send me your prayers because tomorrow I’m leaving for an Unitarian Woman’s Retreat where I’m facilitating 2 workshops.  (I am not planning on taking my Fibro-Fiends with me.  Please don’t tell anyone because if the Fiends get wind I want to leave them home they will be angry . . . very angrrrrrrrrry . . .)

Everyday is Mother’s Day and Everyone, each in their own way, mothers

On Mother’s Day Reverend Kent Doss at the Tapestry Unitarian Church began his sermon with a poem.  I found myself tearing up.  After the service I shared my response with other women who all said they, too, had to fight back tears.  

Reverend Doss’ heartfelt delivery can’t be duplicated but I encourage you to read it out loud.   

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If you have carried a child or children, whether or not they came to be born, we see you.

If you have fervently wished to do so, and circumstances of fate made it impossible, we see you.

If you love children we cannot see, whether because of death or estrangement, we see you.

If you never wanted to be a mother, we see you.

If you are happy to mother other people’s children, as an educator, an auntie, or a foster parent, we see you.

If your mother hurt you, physically or emotionally, we see you.

If you had no mother at all, we see you.

If your mother is or was your best friend, we see you.

If your gender says you are not a mother, and yet you take on the role of nurturer, we see you.

If you wonder whether your mothering has been enough, we see you.

And if yours is a different truth altogether, we honor your unspoken story.

There is room for all in this circle. May it be so, today and always.

 About the author: Lisa Bovee-Kemper

 

 

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The HeART of Spirituality & Wisdom Workshop

My computer crashed the day after our last HeART of Spirituality at Tapestry Unitarian Church. I’ve been cyberless for days.  I tried using my husband’s computer but it drrrrrrrrrove me crrrrrrrrrrrazy.  If I didn’t have the correct attitude it did weird and unexpected things.  I never realized how spoiled I was on an Apple MacBook.  

It also was weird . . . I missed YOU –  bloggers, subscribers, cyber friends – more than I missed the computer.

Now that I’m back on-line I can show you the Contemplation Cards everyone made.  Here’s a sample and if you want to see ALL 9 cards click here:

The HeART of Spirituality & Wisdom:

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Frankly Freddie (parenthetically speaking)

Dear Human Beings,

Do NOT, I repeat do NOT, believe everything you read.   This article is a case in point:

New research shows why dogs don’t like hugs.

Staff writers

“PET owners beware — new research has revealed that dogs don’t like hugs from their owners, which can make them (the owners?) more stressed out.”
“According to new research published in Psychology Today, Stanley Coren from the University of British Columbia, said dogs respond differently to humans who seek comfort from hugging others.”
“Coren, who studies canine behaviour, analysed a random sample of 250 pictures of humans hugging their dogs that he could find online through Flickr and a Google image search.” (skewed data – he left out Pintrest and Instagram where the animal pictures are more photogenic)
“In using photos where the dog’s face was easily seen, he looked whether the dog appeared to be anxious or distressed, relaxed, or showed a neutral response to being hugged.”
“He found that around 82 per cent of the photographs showed “unhappy dogs” receiving hugs from their owners or children.”

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author
Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author

He said that dogs show signs of distress when they bare their teeth (called a smile when humans do it), turn their heads away from something ( just being bored and looking around), or they partially close their eyes (doesn’t everyone close their eyes when ecstatic?).
Another sign of anxiety is when a dog’s ears are lowered or “slicked against the side of his head”. (Stanley, it’s just our coiffure)
He also said that licking lips or licking a person’s face can also be a sign of anxiety, like yawning or raising a paw. (I lick when it’s tasty)
Coren said the fact that dogs don’t like being hugged can be explained by their behavioural nature.

As “cursorial animals”, (cursorial?  I swear I never curse) they are designed for swift running. When stressed, a dog’s first instinct is to run away.
It is believed that when they are restricted from moving with a hug, it can increase a dog’s stress level and potentially cause them to bite their owners. (or bite researchers)

It’s not the hugs that stressed the dogs out it was having their pictures taken WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT to be displayed for all the world to see.

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Pulblished Poet
Freddie Parker Westerfield, Blogger

So hug away you human-beings and always follow-up with a treat for us dogs (you got your treat with the hug)

Frankly yours,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET, CDB

Canine Dog Therapist, Retired and Certified Dog Blogger

 

Pastel Portrait

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life

Here’s my semi-weekly Did you Miss Me!!!!!??????? post.  Lately, it seems like every other week I’m blogged-out.  As my energy (and attention) waxes and wanes so too my posting.

The last art classes produced these projects.  The first was sketching onto a plastic plate and then using water soluble color to print.

Left side - acrylic plate Right side - print
Left side – acrylic plate
Right side – print
Print with watercolor
Print with watercolor

In the portrait class we had 3 hours to create a portrait of a real live man.  And although I’ve been known to take liberties with the models . . . like adding arms where there are none . . . I didn’t make up his hair-do.

Pastel Portrait
Pastel Portrait
Bob Blobfish sez: ". . . I p"
Bob Blobfish sez: “Her artistic range is either versatile or erratic.  To be kind I’ll call it erratically versatile . . .”

versatile

A Leg Up – The Princess & the Pea

I sent my doodle cartoon to Sketchbook Skool & Doodlers Anonymous

and now I’m sending it to you.

The Princess & the Pea- Dispelling the Myth

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The test of a REAL princess is tenacity and ingenuity, not vegetable intolerance.

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Mess’n Around and Cutt’n Up

I know, I KNOW, you’ve missed me this past week (I do NOT want to know if you didn’t).  In my life long effort to be better focused I tried to cut down on my computer time . . . browsing the internet, reading blog posts, watching videos, reading the news . . . AND posting.  It really worked except for browsing the internet, reading blog posts, watching videos and reading the news.

With all the time I’ve gained by not posting I’ve been gardening and messing around with sketching.  I tried (tried being the operant word) to use my new pastels to do a realistic portrait.

The lady I drew (using a famous portrait as a reference) was so ugly I was embarrassed to show her in public.  So I just had fun and gave her a cosmetic make-up.  The background got to be so ugly and muddied I just cut it away.  She’s no beauty either but I had nothing else to post . . .

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 Now that I’ve posted I’m on to browsing the internet, reading blog posts, watching videos and reading the news.

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“More proof she’s losing it . . .”

Sneek a peek at my skechy life

What did I learn today in class?  Drawing is just like life! 

I used to think that great artists, good artists got it right on the first pass.  It’s taken me 7 decades to understand that all artists continually make corrections.  Draw, adjust, erase, draw, redraw, erase . . . 

Luckily, it only took me 5 decades to figure out that life was about continually making corrections.  That reminds me . . .  I need a new eraser.

Here’s my sketches for today – One is loose and the other uptight

#CreativeSprint

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Graphite pencil, I shaved his head so he’d be more “hip”.
Vine charcoal
Vine charcoal, Dilly Dolly

Neuroscience – 4 easy & fast things to do to boost happiness

Brain research is both shifting and validating common knowledge. This article by Jon Spayde in the United Health Care bulletin is worth posting AND READING in it’s entirety.

How to get happy in a hurry, according to neuroscience

By Jon Spayde

“. . . Time.com blogger Eric Barker lists four rapid, in-the-moment ways to feel happy – he calls them “rituals” – based on recent neuroscience, and featured in a new book by UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb: “The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time.”‘

“1. Ask yourself what you’re grateful for. A warm house, a pet you love, your success at Minecraft? Whatever. Gratitude, says Korb, boosts both dopamine and serotonin, the two most powerful neurotransmitter chemicals involved in giving you a feeling of calm and well-being. “Know what Prozac does?” asks Barker. “Boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin. So does gratitude.” And don’t worry if you can’t immediately find things to be grateful for, Korb says. The mental search for gratitude alone will begin to elevate the level of those pleasure chemicals”.

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One-liner doodle – WE ARE ALL CONNECTED

“2. Label negative feelings. Simply saying to yourself “I’m sad” or “I’m anxious” seems like a pretty paltry happiness strategy. But here’s what Korb writes: “…in one fMRI study, appropriately titled ‘Putting Feelings into Words,’ participants viewed pictures of people with emotional facial expressions. Predictably, each participant’s amygdala [the brain’s fight-or-flight alarm bell] activated to the emotions in the picture. But when they were asked to name the emotion, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activated and reduced the emotional amygdala reactivity. In other words, consciously recognizing the emotions reduced their impact.”‘

“3. Make a decision. Just deciding to do something can reduce worry and anxiety right away. Korb: “Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals – all three are part of the same neural circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety. Making decisions also helps overcome striatum activity, which usually pulls you toward negative impulses and routines. Finally, making decisions changes your perception of the world – finding solutions to your problems and calming the limbic system.”‘

“But what about making the “right” decision? Isn’t that stressful? Korb counsels letting go of perfectionism. The “good enough” decision is…well, good enough to make our brains go into at-ease mode. “We don’t just choose the things we like,” says Korb. “We also like the things we choose.”‘

“4. Touch people (appropriately).One of the primary ways to release oxytocin [the pleasure-inducing ‘cuddle chemical’] is through touching,” Korb writes. “Obviously, it’s not always appropriate to touch most people, but small touches like handshakes and pats on the back are usually okay. For people you’re close with, make more of an effort to touch more often.”‘

“A hug is particularly effective, he says, mobilizing oxytocin against that alarm-bell amygdala. And if you don’t have anybody to hug, go get a massage: “The results are fairly clear that massage boosts your serotonin by as much as 30 percent. Massage also decreases stress hormones and raises dopamine levels.”‘

United Health Care

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Sneek Peek – sketchy sketches & monkeying around

In my drawing class we’re suppose to rapid sketch every day.  I’ve been rather lax so decided to participate (sorta) in the on-line #CreativeSprint to do something creative every day.   I figure if I do 3 sketches at one time it counts as 3 days for both the class and the sprint.  I’m ahead of the game!  Here’s 14 days worth:

These are not shitty FIRST drafts, they are the only drafts. 

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AND TA DA the piece de resistance!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Any resemblance to the “artist” is coincidental)

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"She has too much time on her hands . . ."
“The only difference I see is the “artist” has 4 more toes”.

 

9 x 12 Acrylic, Painting Hope

Art & Creativity for Healing – Painting Hope

Attended a painting workshop today at Art & Creativity for Healing a wonderful non-profit for which I helped facilitate workshops many years ago.  

Laurie Zagon the founder and creator of the Art4Healing® method has created a wonderful vehicle to express feelings using color.  It’s not about making “art” but about processing thoughts, feelings and experiences using paint.  Today’s workshop was “Painting Hope”.

The paintings are done very rapidly so that intuition rather than artistic skill is the focus.  And it’s hard to be skillful when make-up sponges and q-tips are used instead of brushes!

Here’s mine:#CreativeSprint

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14 x 18 acrylic, Prayer of Hope

Please check out Art 4 Healing.orgTheir mission is to support emotional healing through art & creative expression for those living in pain, grief, fear or stress.

There are on-line video workshops available to everyone, anywhere.  Proceeds go towards providing free workshops to organizations such as wounded veterans, Children’s Hospital and woman’s shelters.

9 x 12 Acrylic, Painting Hope
9 x 12 Acrylic, Painting Hope

If you want to see my explanation of Prayer of Hope click here The HeART of Spirituality!