Posts made in July, 2012

my week of sketching in bloomfield

My friend Anne and I just completed a wonderful week in Bloomfield at the Cranston Gallery taking a sketching course with Sharon Fox Cranston. Our mornings were spent in the studio learning new techniques and the afternoons ‘en plein air’ in various locations about  Prince Edward County. What we loved about Sharon was how accessible she was as a teacher, how she both anticipated our needs and responded to our requests. The days were filled with demos of her sketching and painting techniques, based on both her well-organized plan and our spontaneous and sometimes loopy requests. Sharon is a talented artist — but she is also an inspired teacher. Here she is mid-sketch at Macaulay House in Picton.

The studio, on Main Street in Bloomfield, is upstairs in a sunny sky-lit room and downstairs is the gallery where you can see Sharon’s paintings and also those of her equally talented husband, Guy.

My biggest learning for the week was to loosen up my grip on the pen, hold it back further and just let the sketch happen. It is, of course, a lot like rug hooking. The serendipitous, the accidental and the intuitive happenings are the best. The top drawing of the paint brushes is one of my 5-minute sketches. No time to think. Here are my versions of the Macaulay house, not yet finished, and a part of a water-soluble ink sketch. The best parts of the week were learning amid the moments of laughter — and access to another important part of the creative process. I will keep sketching and learning –thanks Sharon!

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wedding rug to date

I am taking a Travel Sketch Journal workshop all this week and I am having an amazing time. I have been sketching in my journal for a few years now — first fueled by Danny Gregory’s wonderful book. But this course  is giving me a chance to learn some of the basics like perspective and proportion–and how to say it all in a few strokes of the pen and paint brush. I will post more about it soon, and maybe, if I am brave, include a couple of my sketches. Let me just say that my best sketches are done in the five-minute stopwatch time at the end of the day. At that point, I am tired enough and rushed enough to finally quiet my left brain. Whew–I love it when that left brain finally stops chatting.

In the meantime, I had a chance to take some photos of the wedding rug today. The major characters have appeared on the roof. This was not really in my plan but I am very happy with them — so I am now thinking that the border of birds may become a border of hearts. I will hook some more on the background and see what feels right. 

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hooked thoughts for today from Diane Phillips

From when I first saw it, I was impressed with  both the style and the content of the hooked blog by Diane Phillips featured at the Hooked in the Mountains show in Vermont. Her admonishments and reminders to herself really resonated with me. This morning I was going through hooking pictures on my computer and I came upon them again. The show was in 2009–Diane as usual is ahead with her blog thinking. But her notes to herself are timeless. This morning I particularly need to listen to these — both in hooking and in life. Thank you, Diane.

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family favourite pie and my favourite books

I know that this is not a food blog. But, all the same,  I decided to post this recipe. Because it is easy. Because you can vary it to use each fruit as it becomes available, from strawberries to raspberries and blueberries, to plums and peaches and even apples. Because it is delicious. Because people always ask for the recipe. I have been making this for 30 years and it has become a family and particularly cottage staple. And even in the blistering heat—you can make it early and let it wait for you in the fridge.

I have been hooking, quite a bit actually, and am just about to start the birds. I am going to wait before posting to see how things go. Stay tuned. And the recipe? Just below the next picture of the verandah, my favourite place with a book (there is a big wicker couch just out of this photo). I have finished all five Maggie O’Farrell books–and my top recommendation? The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. Wow! Read the book. Listen to the short video on her web site to give you an idea of her subjects and style. You will not be disappointed.

Fruit Kuchen

 1 cup all purpose flour

2 cups fruit–raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, sliced plums, peaches or apples

2 tbsp white sugar

3 large eggs

pinch of salt

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 tbsp melted butter

Combine flour, salt, and 2 tbsp sugar. Work in butter and vinegar. Spread mixture on bottom and up the sides of a pie plate or layer cake pan. Arrange fruit in pan. Beat eggs lightly and add sugar and and melted butter and pour of the fruit. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Reduce to 350 and bake until golden brown.

This serves six. To use a 10 inch pie plate use 1 1/2 times the recipe

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a day in Toronto

I love the graphics in Toronto. These two heartening messages are right near my favourite leather stores. I couldn’t resist sharing them with you. 

 

And then there is the leather. Yesterday was a good day. I buy small ends of leather and make one or, at most, two items. The exceptions are the flocked magenta pieces which I purchased to make a luna bag as featured to the right in the photo bar. I also stocked up on good quality coloured zippers–as  you can see the choice is endless. Now I just have to get back to the studio!

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I am a retired educator and recovered administrator. I have always been interested in fibre, first as a weaver, now as a rug hooker and screen printer. Over the last few years I have become passionate about giving a new life to cast-off wool and leather. This is my journal where I muse about my creative life.

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