Saturday, February 13, 2010

Clarification for Lucy

Clarification for Lucy, originally uploaded by nora_gardner.

My daughter Lucy is entering fully into the spirit of Valentines day this year, complete with heart shaped pieces of red and pink paper, crayons, and glue... she is thrilled to be making things and the fruits of her labors are scattered over the table and the floor around her. "See my clementines!" she shouts with glee! And Ella corrects her for about the thousandth time, "Silly, Lucy, you mean 'valentines'." What's a mom to do but laugh and paint the picture that pops into her head? And, then it dawned on me... clementines do have one important thing in common with valentines besides a rhyming ending.... they are both at their best when they are proffered after dinner with some nice chocolate :)

Friday, February 12, 2010


Lunch, originally uploaded by nora_gardner.

My sense of smell is beginning to return. The sniffles are a little less. It's more like a golf ball up my nose now, not a baseball. With my sense of smell back I can taste things for the first time in days, and I was desperate for good bread. Man may not be able to live on bread alone, but I would make a case that man could live on bread, milk, and fruit alone... at least, I could quite happily....

I finally took a picture of this door that I really like. I wanted to sit and paint it, but in the shade on the other side of the street it was about 25 degrees and windy, so only a photo. When the weather is better I want to paint it though.... right now I think sitting in the wind and the cold would probably bring back the disgusting drippy nose and make the cough more ear (and throat) splitting.... my daughter is complaining about how my cough woke her up this morning.... well, tough luck little one, mum's got a cough and is very tired.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

sick and snow

journal page, originally uploaded by nora_gardner.

it snowed down sludge and it's cold and windy today.... and I am sick. I have been for a couple days now and it's a nasty snotty disgusting cold. I feel like someone stuffed a baseball up my nose.... it's both totally stuffed up and dribbling... gross.

On the bright side, I got to do this little sick self portrait with a nice new W&N series 7 kolinsky brush.... I have been slowly replacing all my lousy old worn out brushes (synthetics and blends mostly) with good brushes and I must say, I do love a good brush.... especially in teeny tiny sizes like size 2 and down, it's nice to have brushes that will actually carry a bit of paint even in a very small size.

I made a few valentine postcards for my daughters today too... I will drop them in the mail later today... they are always so thrilled to get mail of their very own :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

cool videos and what have you

I am sick with a snotty and disgusting head cold and I spent the day being a total sloth and sniffling and watching youtube videos and reading blogs and stuff like that... and I spent way too long watching the videos at Peter Woolley's website... if you register there you can watch a whole heap of demo videos in watercolor... cool stuff... he makes it look pretty effortless and his art has pretty cool light effects... worth checking out if you are into watercolor.

I also checked out Tommy Kane's blog for a while... it's good fun and he does some pretty great line and wash and he is a pretty funny guy into the bargain :)

Ella's all better and wishing for vacation

Ella had her follow-up appointment at Children's Hospital with the pulmonologist. They said her lungs are completely back to normal from the pneumonia and pleural effusion and all back in October. I heaved a huge sign of relief to know that! Not that I thought there would be anything wrong still, but it's good to know it's well and truly behind us.

The landscape here is an imaginary coastline in Prince Edward Island... We go there for our family vacation in the summer, but this year we can't go until August and planning our reservations right now seems so silly when it seems so far off! Alan will be away for most of the summer on a research vessel in the Pacific though, so August was the earliest we could go! I am so wishing for summer though... and tomorrow it's going to snow :(

lagoon nebula sketch

lagoon nebula, originally uploaded by nora_gardner.

I made this sketch last week in about 15 minutes before going and teaching a painting lesson to the 7th graders at the Waldorf School. The kids really struggled with this painting, but I found it a lot of fun and pretty easy... just goes to show the different perspective I am coming from than them I guess. This painting was a real walk in the park compared to some paintings I did in 7th grade though, so maybe they just like to complain.

parking lot drawing and chinese food

The Jeep was a 5 minute drawing while waiting in a parking lot while Alan ran into CVS. The color tests in the upper right are Stabilo fine tip markers. The chinese food container was from our chinese food leftovers from the weekend.

a gnome went for coffee

Drew this a few days ago while sitting in the Dyer's dock parking lot in Woods Hole in the car.... it was cold but sunny and I had an hour to kill before meeting Alan for Coffee at Pie in the Sky... the building is prettier at Coffee O, but the coffee and pastry are better at Pie in the Sky :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Paintastic conversion

So, a while back I figured out how to take apart an Elmer's Paintastic paint brush and turn it into a waterbrush much like the far more expensive brushes like Niji and other companies make for doing watercolor painting while traveling. My kids wanted waterbrushes like my Nijis and I didn't really want to spend a lot of money... so I put it off and put it off and then one day my mother gave them some Paintastic paintbrush pens and I took one apart figuring that it must be basically a waterbrush... and it is, basically, with a little modification. So, here is what I do to convert a Paintastic into a waterbrush. (this happens to be a mini Paintastic that I am demoing here, but they come in a larger version too, which can be handy as well)
Find yourself some Elmer's Paintastics like this:

Unscrew the top and you will have the two halves of the pen like this:

Then you need to pull out the blue end on the paint reservoir piece like this:

Now pull the tube off of the blue end, like this:

Pull the second, smaller tube out of the blue piece now and you should have all these pieces:

Now, throw away these pieces. You don't need them... I have tried using the brush with and without them and they don't seem to make it any better particularly, so I just take them out and throw them away. So, get rid of these:

Now, take the paint reservoir piece and pour out the paint... don't worry too much about getting it all over your sink, it's kids paint, it washes off things really easily!

Now, rinse out the paint reservoir really well until the water you dump out of it runs clear. When it's clean you can fill it with water and then put the blue end back onto the filled water reservoir like this:

Now, if your Paintastic brush has been used by your kids already then you will need to clean the brush end by running lots of water through it. If it's new and unused the brush will be clean and you can skip this step. If your brush is full of the paint though, it's best to run a bunch of warm water through it until the brush looks clean and the water runs clear

Now you can put the brush all back together again. If the brush has been used in the past I usually squeeze a full reservoir full of water through the brush before using it to paint to be sure that any paint has cleared the whole system.

Now, simply refill your waterbrush reservoir with water and you are good to go! :)

Ok, now as far as I'm concerned this is the best part about the mini Paintastic brushes. They can't do as fine painting as some waterbrushes, but for quick sketches they are fine and they fit PERFECTLY into a twelve 1/2 pan paint box! (ok, I know my twelve 1/2 pan box has 14 half pans.... but, hey, they fit, so why not!)

Hope you all find this useful... if nothing else, for those with kids who have these anyway it's a good way to re-use them and not just throw them away when the paint is used up, which I like. I also refilled one for me with black ink and it makes a nice little ink brush pen for doing quick brush sketches.

Have fun!