DAY # 361 – WHO LET LUCY LOOSEY IN THE CITY?

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Say hello to my little friend Lucy!

Shame on me for not meeting her sooner, but I finally made it to Forest Hills/Queens to meet her!

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You see, I call Heather one of my college roommates, but technically, Caryn and I were roommates and Heather just happened to always be sitting on our couch.  So, Heather was our by-proxy roommate. I also knew her husband in college.  He lived in a dorm of mine at UCONN.  It is said that I introduced the two of them, but that was so long ago…who knows.  What I do know is I did think they should date in college and they both said “ICK NO!”.  We graduated, got jobs, moved all over the globe and somehow, the two of them reconnected. Ten years later, they weren’t so icky to one another…and then they fell in love :)

Don’t you just love happy endings?

It’s pretty cool because I’ve known them a long time and now they are both in my life.

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and now Lucy is in our lives too!

So Lucy is set to be a little City kid. We saw her library, school, playground and neighborhood today.  She is going to have some wonderful adventures!

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I gave Lucy the poster I made for her, but since there weren’t any lights, rattles or movement, she sort of lost interest.  Mom and Dad liked it though!  It’s red and yellow which tied in with Lucy’s bedroom perfectly!

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Heather and I got manicures from my daughter today.  Each of my nails had a different design and heather got ladybugs.  My daughter thinks Heather is the coolest person she ever met.  I wonder if that was because she had a bowl of Doritos and Oreos waiting for the kids when they got there.  That is the best!

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Lucy summed it up.  It had been a long weekend and it was time to go home.

We gave our new little friend hugs and kisses and said goodbye to our dear old friends too.  I sure love spending time with them.  Next time I see Lucy she’ll be running and hopefully it will be in a bathing suit at my house!

Thank you for a wonderful visit and congratulations Heather and Jay.

LOVE YOU!

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DAY #208 – NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL

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Thanks to a friend, I was able to score Newport Folk Festival tickets last-minute.

I had never been.  It was pretty darn cool.

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We did arts & crafts.

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We bopped to the music.

I have to say, the smaller bands in the smaller tents were the best part of the day for me. My favorite was a band called Spirit Family Reunion.  If you click on their name right here in my post, you can hear what they sound like.  I’m telling you, I thought their feet were going to go through the stage, they were stomping so hard.  Awesome energy.  I’m going to try to catch them in NYC at some point. Oh, and one of the musicians played a wash board.  My son was amazed!  He’d seen it in cartons but couldn’t believe how great it sounded in a band. It was awesome to expose the kids to so many instruments and to so much talent.

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They also had state of the art headphones so you could hear bands that were playing inside the caverns of Fort Adams.  That was different.

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Somehow we were there seven hours and I still had enough in me to come home and create a little painting.  It’s folk music so of course I had to include a banjo.  It’s in Newport overlooking the Newport bridge, so I added that.  And some might tell you the Rhode Island Red (chicken) is our state bird, but I’d like to argue that in reality, it really should be the seagull.  They are everywhere!  So I made the musician a seagull as a little nod to our locale. I also thought it important to add a little patriotic nod, mainly because folk music is so very uniquely American.

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No complaints here.  We had gorgeous weather.  Spectacular views.  Terrific music.

A perfect day.

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A ride back over the Newport Bridge and we’re home again.

Cool Beans.  Thank you universe.  I’m sure diggin’ this life!

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Day #207 – The Block Island Ferry at Sunset

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This ferry painting is the third in a series on Block Island, Rhode Island.

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I plan on painting most of the buildings in Old Harbor.

Here is the progression of the ferry over the last three days:

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I wrote quite a bit on the ferry, so if you are interested, check the last three days of posts.

I was wondering if any of you wondered about the background I chose?

Were some of you thinking, why would somebody paint such an over-the-top sky?  It’s almost ridiculous!

Well yeah, it probably does look ridiculous to some, but if you’ve been to Block Island, then you know what dusk looks like on the island.  Here are some of my sunset photos spanning the last decade.  All of them have the same thing in common,

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Pink, blue, & purple.

What’s awesome, is this is a daily occurrence!   A daily phenomena!   A daily miracle!

It’s one of the first things I think of when I think of the island and that’s why I painted it that way.

So, call my backgrounds over-the-top, maybe even strange, but for those of us who have been there, who have seen the sunsets with our own eyes, it makes perfect sense.

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DAY #205 – SAIL AWAY ON THE BLOCK ISLAND FERRY

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Today I decided to return to the Block Island Old Harbor series I am creating.

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So far I’ve done the Old harbor Inn

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and The Star Department Store…

Next, the Block Island Ferry.

After that, I will do the National Hotel and The Surf Hotel.  The whole harbor is a gem of Victorian buildings from the turn of the century.  It’s also where I vacation every year with my best friends which makes it quite sentimental.

Today was sketch day.

You start with nothing and hopefully an image begins to emerge.  My first sketch wound up flowing off the sides of my paper in two directions.  I taped some paper together and kept going.  I then had a preliminary drawing but it was on three pieces of paper!   I took a piece of over-sized tracing paper and traced my ferry-boat onto it.

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But now my ferry-boat was heading in the wrong direction. I flipped the piece of paper over again and traced it one last time.

I now had a tracing of my ferry-boat on both sides of my tracing paper.

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Next came the scribbling.

If you rub your pencil over your existing pencil lines, you can transfer a graphite image to a new piece of paper.

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Now I have a pencil drawing of my ferry-boat, in the correct direction and eraser free.

tomorrow I can finish adding more details in pencil before I transition over to pen.

This way takes quite a few steps, but you are able to edit and make corrections on scrap paper before moving to good paper.  I thought I was going to be using a 16 x 16″ piece of cold press watercolor paper, but it wound up, I needed a 16 x 20″ piece.  You may not have much to show for day one, but there is quite a bit of math, proportion, and calculation that goes into a drawing.

OK.  Off to bed.

It’s nice to know what I’ll be working on tomorrow. Takes a little stress off!

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#188- BLOCK ISLAND STAR DEPARTMENT STORE

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Mission complete.  I finished #2 in a series of paintings of the Victorian buildings in Old Harbor Block Island.  I still have quite a few paintings to go!

The Star Department Store has been the official “tourist” shop for over 50 years.  It’s where you find your baseball cap, hoodie and sandals for the summer.  Let’s face it, humans crave tradition, so Star would be part of the Block Island tradition.  To the right, is my kids favorite destination, Building Block Toy Store.  We let them window shop all week and then at the end of the week they get to buy their “souvenir”.  Which it never is, it’s generally a stuffed animal they just had to have. Which is now part of our BI tradition as well. I added Del’s Lemonade because it is SO Rhode Island.  Del’s frozen Lemonade, coffee milk and cheese-less pizza are truly RI phenomena.  Seaside Marketplace stores turn over too quickly, so I didn’t want to add them to my painting, but I did slip in B-Eye, which is a sunglass store.  Mainly because I love their clever name.  B-Eye instead of BI.  Building “Block” as in Block Island but also kid wooden blocks….They get props for clever names in my book!

Next I will paint the Harborside Inn, The New Shoreham House, Mohegan Café, The National Hotel, The Surf Hotel and I have to do a full size Block Island Ferry at some point too.  These paintings are going to make for a beautiful bathroom I tell you!

Here is the progression of this painting:

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I am teaching kid art classes this week, so you will get a break from Block Island. I also want to finish my Newport Bridge painting as well.  Pretty much, so I can get it out of my dining room!

It’s another scorcher here in RI.  Time to get back into our bathing suits.

Have a good one!

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#183 – A BLOCK ISLAND VIEW

#183- A Block Island View

This painting is beginning to take shape.

It’s a drawing of Three of the Victorian storefronts on Block Island, RI.

Yesterday I sketched it out in pencil and today I outlined everything I wanted in pen and began to paint it with watercolors.  Also, yesterday there were a few people in the drawing, but mamacormier, a fellow artist and blogger, agreed I should probably take them out.  It’s a tough call, there’s nothing worse than figuring out you didn’t like something after it’s too late.  That’s many hours wasted.  I think I made the right decision.  I like the idea of projecting yourself into all the little areas of the painting, not filling it with figures you may like or dislike.

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The first painting was 16×16″ and this one is 16 x 20″. This is going to be a series of my favorite buildings in Old Harbor, BI. There are quite a few to come.

On another note, I have to say, I am having a difficult time with figuring out when to do my “artsy stuff” and when to be a mom.  The kids are home from school for the summer and there are many hours in a day that need filling.

I’ve started off with trying to wake up before them, but they wake up at 6:30 lately….I don’t know how much earlier I can wake up!

I feel like I have to circle my kids like a sheep dog just trying to keep them off the couch & from watching way too much TV.  We’ve always done better leaving the house for a good portion of the day.  Otherwise I get lost in what I’m doing and they are still in there pajamas at 4pm.

So until camp starts, I will be balancing a thin line between finding time for myself and keeping my kids physically active.

That means I’ll be up quite late for another week.

So pardon the incoherent talk and lousy photos taken at night. I’m running out of options!

No biggy. It’s all part of the ebb and flow.

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#182 – EXACTLY ONE HALF YEAR!

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WOO HOO!!! Today I hit the half-way mark!!!

I thought there’d be some special ceremony or that my art would reflect the significance of following through on my creative challenge for exactly one half-year, but no.  I had laundry to wash, dry and fold from vacation.  Library books to return and meals to make.  No fireworks, no champagne and no magical piece of art.

Instead, today, I hunkered down and started sketching another three buildings from Block Island’s Old harbor.  Here is a photo of the whole harbor:

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Here is the first three buildings on 16″x16″ 140lb. cold press paper. It’s a watercolor and pen drawing.

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Now I am attempting the next three buildings on 16″x20″ 140lb. cold press paper.

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Next I will trace it in pen and watercolor the image.  Hopefully, if it works out, they will all tie into each other.  I’d imagine if you’ve never been there, this is a big “so what”, but for us Block-Heads.  It will be a wonderful way to reminisce.

The sketch took way longer than I would have expected.  Hours actually.  I guess it’s because I had to keep referring back, even researching on-line to find small details that seemed relevant. What does that sign say? Should I draw this or omit it?  What does Del’s lemonade’s cart actually look like?

I am also debating erasing people.  They are not my favorite.  If they turn out cheesy they could ruin the whole painting…Fellow artists, any feedback advice on that one?  I can still erase them!

So tomorrow I ‘ll keep plugging away.  I think I’ll add some personal touches like I did in the first painting.  Things that remind me of our vacations.

OK.  Time to feed the kids dinner.

The romanticism of being an “artist”  is definitely lost on me.

One hundred and eighty-two days.

I’m proud of myself.  I have felt like ditching many an occasion, but I’ve kept with it and it really feels good.

I can’t imagine what will manifest in the second half of this year.  I look forward to the challenge.

Thanks for joining me for the ride!

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178 – VIEW FROM OLD HARBOR BLOCK ISLAND

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Painting complete!

This is a 16″x 16″ pen & watercolor drawing of the old harbor on Block Island, RI.  There are so many beautiful Victorian buildings on this Island.  I’d love to do a whole series of paintings of the buildings.  I better take some more photos!!!

Here is the progression of this painting:

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If you look at the middle photo, you can see I initially had the sky blue.  I felt like the sky was too close to the colors of the buildings, so today I painted a wash of pinks and oranges into the sky.  I feel like now there is enough contrast between the two.  The buildings get to pop.

I also added in a bunch of shadows today.  I always think that is the most fun part of painting.  The smallest things make the biggest difference. They help create depth.

It’s taken most of my vacation to realize I really needed to scale down the scope of my daily projects.  We are never at our cottage. I’ve been coming back around 9pm every night and working until midnight…which doesn’t feel very vacation-like! 

This afternoon I pulled out a postcard sized Cotman watercolor pad.  The paper is 5×8″ inches. Now this is something I might be able to tackle in between beach combing, hiking and ice cream eating!  I did two small sketches today and I will begin painting them in the morning.

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I will leave you the same way I’ve departed every day this week, with some of my favorite photos of the day. Any chance I get, you’ll find me snapping away at the majestic beauty of this island.  Some time in January when the ground is frozen, I’ll have all of these photos to  inspire and keep me energized.

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We started off the day with donuts fried right off Payne’s Dock and finished off the day with ice cream cones.

Truly, another perfect day!

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#177 – OLD HARBOR VIEW Block Island

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Greetings!  Yet another beautiful day on the Block!

I got to sneak in an hour or two in this morning to work on this watercolor and ink drawing of some of my favorite buildings in Old Harbor. I still have windows to fill and shadows to cast; I also think I am going to do a pink colored wash over the sky to make it more of a dusky color. There are so many buildings I’d love to draw.  For some reason, in the fantasy within my head, I thought I was going to have more time on vacation to “Be Creative”, not less.  As I have mentioned, my kids could care a flying fig that mommy decided to pull a 365 Day creativity challenge, they just want their mom there when they want her and they expect her to play very hard and her attention MUST be on them at all times…. Yeah, as usual, I’m having quite the challenge to do both, be a mom and anything else!

But I’m squeezing it in the best I can.  I’m trying!

So while I was out and about “not painting”, I continued to take in more of the island’s natural beauty.  I have to say, I am LOVING my Canon Rebel EOS camera.  It was a present from my husband and it is so addicting!  Taking pretty photos with a mediocre camera is fun and all, but taking photos with a higher quality camera is amazing!  You sort of get giddy when you see things and are able to capture them.  Your power of observation multiplies ten fold.   Going back to an old-school viewfinder trains and strengthens your eye for composition and fine detail.  I find photography so gosh darn fun.

Here are a few more favorite photos of the day.  I find myself naturally gravitating towards houses and buildings as my muse.  I love the juxtaposition of the wild farm fields and a little place of refuge.  I also adore the Victorian lines of many of the buildings.  So here are some building photos:

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Oh and one more thing.  Every year, my husband and I (mostly my husband the cook!) host a Pizza on the Grill Dinner.

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My husband grilled around 15 mini pizzas tonight, and then we load them with all different toppings.  We had fresh tomatoes, basil, peppers, onions, sausage, pepperoni, bacon, chicken and of course cheese.  Each pizza is different.  Then we cut all the pies into small pieces so we can taste them all.

Oh yeah baby, one of my favorite nights of vacation.  Thank you husband! Sure hope I can squeeze back into my bathing suit tomorrow!

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#176 – BLOCK ISLAND, OLD HARBOR VIEW

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Another Perfect 10 on the Block!

This is a regatta week, so on top of your typical amazing views, add in one hundred sail boats circling the island, just for good measure.

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This morning I started sketching out some of my favorite Victorian buildings down in Old Harbor.  There is something about old architecture and vacations.  They harken us all back to a simpler time.  A time when things were built with the utmost integrity and designed to beautify one’s local.  There was such an amazing attention to detail and quite frankly, things then were built to last.

Most of us would like to escape to a place like that right?

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Block Island’s Old Harbor is loaded with Victorian gems.

It took me quite a bit of time to draw in all the little details in this 16″x16″ Sakura Pigment drawing.  Tomorrow I’m going to paint it.  I get to add color and bring this work to life. My favorite part!

I’m going to spend the rest of this post sharing some of my favorite photos from the day:

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Here were two cool rusty iron objects my daughter found beach combing.  She is always on the hunt for strange man-made artifacts.  No shells for my little one. You should have seen her lugging that crank shaft up the cliff.  It was way too heavy for her, but she was determined she was bringing this art sculpture home! God Bless her soul.

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OMG. I totally stopped to smell these roses!!!

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I’m a sucker for a lone tree.

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I have no idea what these are.  They were growing wild in the field.  Their color was very faded as if the sun had been beating down on them for centuries.  I just loved their texture juxtaposed against the wheat.

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We finished up the day with a hike out to watch the sun set.  The clouds were moving in.  It was not looking promising, but man am I glad we saw it through.  At just the right moment, the bright red sun pierced through the clouds and gave us a knock-out sunset.

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It was truly, the end of a perfect day!

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