Friday, July 31, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: More from the Art Table

Back at the art table and happily playing with my palette and brushes.

That starter above (you can see the photo I was working with on the left) ended up looking like this.

I redid a Cotswold cottage I painted quite awhile ago to see if I was any better. This is the old version...

  ...this is the new. I don't know if one is better or worse than the other -- just different, although I do need to work a bit on the window which looks a little crooked!

I'd recently done a very ugly Notre Dame. I tried to fix it and I don't think it can be done, although I'll give another pass to the wall and water and maybe try some pen and ink detailing to see if I can help it out a bit. Then I'll move on. This may well be cut into salvageable sections for bookmarks.

The fact is, not everything "works." Sometimes they can be fixed, sometimes not. For example, in the iris below I'm not sure I like how the background paint looks when it nears the actual image. And I'm not quite sure what to do about that than just keep practicing.

I have been trying to work on sky and water. Here's another from a quick sketch in my book. I'm liking the sky, the water -- not so much.

My fun project has been working on a Christmas card commission. This was the prototype she chose for a tree. The finished ones will have a star at the top. They've been loads of fun to do and I will share some of the finished ones, along with another group of cards she ordered soon!

Meanwhile, just keep practicing!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: On My Walk

I have minimal gardening skills. That's one reason why when I take my up-north walks, I enjoy seeing what people have done to their yards and the wildflowers and blooms along the way.  So, walk with me. We'll start near the cottage where a lovely birch helps frame some bright orange lilies.

And of course, there is that favorite of mine, Queen Anne's Lace. Their heads are big and beautiful!

And never forget to look down! These bright blooms are pretty much flat to the ground.

This home has gorgeous hydrangeas.

Rounding the bend, another grove of birch trees. They are truly my favorites.

A branch has fallen from one of them.

A closer look reveals interesting details.

This person has done a wonderful job with a tidy hosta garden.

I'll spend the most time with Ean's garden. He lives two doors down from my cousin's cottage.

Ean loves trees, which is yet another reason to love Ean. He's put in these beautiful arbor vitae and they make the area cool and protected.

He also has a whimsical twist and I love his garden ornamentation. Just enough. Not too much.

I love these. I don't know what they are but they're so bright and beautiful -- and grow well in shade.

A closer look. Any ideas, gardening friends?

On occasion, the perfect sunny face greets me!

And back to the beach where we find the knapweed! Thanks, Jenny Woolf, for the ID!

I leave you with another look at the lilies.

They make me smile.

Sharing with:     Pink Saturday      /     Tuesday Turn About     /         Let's Keep in Touch    

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Paris in July: Notre Dame -- Good News

None of us who love Paris will forget the tragic fire that took down much of the famed church, including its elegant spire.

When that fell, live on television, people standing, watching the television in the restaurant we were eating collectively gasped.

And even more wondered -- what happens next?

After the fall, there was much discussion. Could the church be saved? (Quite possibly, with much work and expense.)

Were most of the treasures removed? (Yes, including the remarkable Rose Window.)

Would the spire be rebuilt as it was or would a new, more contemporary design take its place?

That question was up for grabs until just recently.

 There is good reason to rejoice. Restoration work is underway and the spire will be replaced.

It will take a long while. But it will be done.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: Butterflies and Birds!

I have to admit, it's lovely to wake up each morning and nature is right outside the front door. Start with a beautiful view...

...then add a duck (or two of more!)

The Quackles (family of seven) are getting quite big. I have noticed a second family, the Duckles (family of eight), but they are less frequent visitors.

The Quackles, meanwhile, seem very content to swim in front of the house and settle on the beach.

Mrs. Q is continually vigilant. She knows there is a bald eagle on the lake and she's going to be quite sure nothing happens to her brood.

And when she says "March," off they go.

We've had some major storms and on this day the ducks sat peacefully on the beach as the dark clouds and thunder rolled in, along with the heavy winds (see the whitecaps on our small lake?).

There seem to be fewer seagulls this year (even in the grocery store parking lot).

But when they fly, they look so very elegant!

The beautiful beach butterfly is back. 

These two flickers seem to hang out quite a bit together.

And this is the juvenile -- almost as big as mom and dad!

When evening comes, the curtain comes down with the sunset a grand finale.

Life is wonderful at the lake.

Even if you're a cat! (One of nature's greatest creations!)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

A Week at Home

We headed home for a week to take care of things like the lawn and a few other things. Meanwhile, It's time to party!

The big event of the return home was Rick's birthday! It started the night before when Greg came by with a beautiful birthday gift -- some fabulous red wine glasses and a pepper mix for his mill.  Ah, birthdays in the time of Covid! It was so good to see him!

 And beautifully wrapped!

The next night was birthday proper!

We had a nice dinner on his patio -- steak and potato salad, after enjoying some of his wonderful bread with olive oil and Brie.

One of my presents was from my friend and potter, Jim Fineman. You grate garlic on the sharp points in the bottom of this dipping tray and add any oil, vinegar or herbs your want. It worked like a charm and the mixture we came up with was delicious! The trees above the patio are reflected in the oil!

Here's my birthday card for him. The Wolverine referred to is the Wolverine Cycling Club (and yes, he IS a Wolverine!)

His main present is a new helmet but he needs to pick that out himself. But I made him a "story of his life" video which was about 40 minutes long and had photos from the time he was a baby, our friends, family, grands, music, cycling and traveling.

While we were eating and watching the video we enjoyed the baby hawks that are now out of the nest in his yard. There are three or four of them.

They talk constantly -- a rather high pitched squeal as they chase each other around the trees in the yard and neighborhood. They're beautiful and fun to watch.

Then it was time for cake! I left all my baking ingredients at the lake so this is a Trader Joe lemon cake which I split and put a layer of Bonne Maman cherry between the layers before icing. It's a delicious cake and in the time of Covid, a good substitute for home made!

That was followed by a call from the kids. All in all, a glorious day.

Coming home after a couple of weeks away is always a little nerve wracking. You always wonder what till go wring. This time it is the hot water heater, which is badly leaking on the basement floor. (What is it with water and my basement? If it isn't one thing, it's another!) This presents a bit of a dilemma before going up again. I'm inclined to let it leak -- it's not like the floor hasn't been wet before and I don't want to knee-jerk and get the wrong thing. That and weeds knee-high growing through the cracks in the driveway. All gone now, but they'll grow again!  Now, I should clean up my house, which is a total mess. Back to real life!

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