Monday, June 29, 2009

I now have 4 birds finished for the Drawspace ATC exchange. All different types of birds. I finished one today from a photo that I took at CALM when hubby and I visited. A little Bluejay. it is the second drawing I have done of the Bluejay. I got several really nice photos of him, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

I have been working on my sister-in-laws genealogy for a couple years now. As I've talked about before on here, her dad died in WWII. He joined the RAF before the US got in the war. His plane was shot down while on a mission in France and he is buried there. I haven't been able to get a death certificate or much information from the RAF. A little difficult doing long distance.

I have spent many hours trying to find information. We know much more than we did but still don't have any information about his childhood or any of his family or life before he met and married my sister-in-law's mom.

I finally got the paperwork together and had her sign all to send for a birth certificate. He was born in Maryland and I found that all birth certificates for Maryland are in one place. I printed off the application and sent all documentation. We don't know his mother's name but do have his dad's first name. Hopefully that and his name and birth date will be enough. He has a pretty unusual middle name so that should make it easier.

Since I took over searching for information, we connected with the English historian for the squadron he was in. He was very kind and sent us a dossier with printouts of the missions and other information including the blueprint of the inside of the plane he was in. He and his wife made a trip to Bakersfield to visit the local airplane museum. We were able to meet them and spend the day with them and another couple and even have lunch.

The other man's uncle was in the same squadron and died two weeks after "our" soldier. He had written a book and brought one for my sister-in-law which included comments and picture of her dad. And the historian had several photos of her dad that she had never seen. She had only a tiny photo of him from a distance squatted down petting an animal. The ones we received showed him standing up and we were able to see how much she looks like him.

Another thing we learned was that he was the only one of the men on his plane to be buried in a single grave. There are two other graves with the other men's names (about 5 men). The historian said that means her dad was the only body they could absolutely identify.

I was online looking for information on his squadron once and happened on someone from Germany looking for information on the one survivor of the plane. He had bailed out and was captured and in a concentration camp. I contacted the man from Germany and gave him what information I had and asked if he had any information on "our" soldier. Well he had a photo of the grave marker for my sister-in-law's dad. What are the chances? He emailed me a copy. So now she has seen his grave, more photos of him, and has the dossier and the book.

Every so often I go back and try to do further research. Each time I seem to find a little more. It's about time for me to go at it again. I hope when we get his birth certificate that it will have information on both his parents so that I can do some more research. I would like to know if he had siblings, cousins, etc. I'm sure his parents are no longer living but who knows who else might be alive. I would also like to find out about how he became a pilot. He had to have been in the service in the US but I haven't been able to get any information about that. And I can't find a marriage license for her parents. There isn't one in this county but they went to Washington DC before he left for England and did some training here and other areas of California.

I was never one to be interested in history. I think I was put off by it at school because we were always having to memorize dates. I also didn't know much about WWII. After the research I have done, it has given me an interest that wasn't there before. I have really enjoyed getting to know more about that war.

A couple things I have found very mother-in-law's (sister-in-law is hubby's sister) birthday is Dec 7th, Pearl Harbor Day. And my sister-in-law's birthday is July 4th. Very patriotic little family.

And now we wait to see if we receive a birth certificate.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Birds, Birds, Birds

Well being a glutton for punishment, I joined the newest Drawspace ATC trade titled "Birds, Birds, Birds". The last time I looked there were about 17 people signed up already and still a few days to sign up. I'm afraid they are going to keep building. It's nice but a little scary. Do I eventually want to have to do 25 or 30 ATCs in a month?

We found that it is better to have the group all in one trade. Everyone seems to like it that included. And I like them for just a month as people tend to follow thru and finish. When the trades are longer in time length, people forget or put it off so long they never finish.

I finished one of my bird cards tonight. One down and who knows how many to go. But it is so much fun to get the little cards in the mail. And so nice to be able to share my artwork with others.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Down time is over

I finally did some artwork tonight. I needed an ATC for a trade for a forum. It is my first trade for this forum. I like how the card turned out. I can't show it yet as I don't mail it until the first of July and don't want to spoil the surprise for the receiver. We don't know who has our name for the trade.

I had a few days there when I didn't do any artwork. Hopefully now I can get on with it. These little mini slumps are a pain. I sit and think of art, look at art and art blogs online but don't do anything about making any art.

Hopefully tomorrow I will start another dog picture.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I'm stumped for a title. I keep trying to figure one out and decided to see if one pops up while I am typing. It did after the second word. Now how easy is that?

I guess I am in another slow art period. I haven't done anything since the picture of Lucy. I did find a frame for Lucy's picture so that I can get it mailed. I need to get busy on something soon. I hate having slow periods.

I have another boxer picture to do. An older one named Morgan. I also have a photo of my two dogs sitting together that I want to do. And then I have an ATC to do for the Pencil Painting forum. It can be anything. No theme. Maybe I needed a theme to get me going.

I finally signed up for the new Moley project at Art House Coop. I won't be getting this one back so will have to keep my animals out of it. It is very hard to let go of drawings of my babies. These Moleys have a theme. They have something like 38 themes and randomly assign them. My theme is "A Postcard".

I have no idea what I am supposed to do with that. It's not a very accurate theme. I was hoping something like animals, florals, etc. Now I have to think. And that may hurt. And there are 33 pages to fill as well as the front and back cover. Can't remember if they were counted in the 33 pages. I do know that I learned from the first project that I will be working on two pages at a time. That filing one page at a time was hard. Now I just need to figure how to do "my thing" with "their theme". Anyone have any ideas?

Here are a couple more ATCs from the Alphabet Trade. I have posted all of them in the project even tho I haven't heard from some people. They have had time to get them. SH for Sharpei, R for Rays, and A for Awwww.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Anniversary to My Blog

Today is my blog's 3rd anniversary. I don't post every day but usually manage every 2-3 days. I am on my blogsite every day, but sometimes I get so engrossed looking at other people's blogs, I forget to post to mine.

I am so happy to have made it 3 years. I have quite a few followers and visitors and I have met so many wonderful people. I am thankful for each and every visitor and have really enjoyed hearing all the comments. I have enjoyed sharing my life and art with you and hearing about your own lives in return.

I look forward to continuing my blog for many years to come, hearing from my loyal visitors, and meeting some new ones.

I am off to a town about 45 minutes away to have a visit with my brother and his family. Have a wonderful day.


This is Lucy. She is 6 months old and a live wire. She is full of love, energy, curiosity, and just waiting for someone to let her off the lead to romp. I met Lucy at a barbecue. Her "mom" is a close friend of mine. She is a little more dog than they counted on and they and Lucy are still finding their way. I did this picture for her "mom" Vickie. I still have to spray it as I'm mailing it like it is and don't know how they will frame it. I will suggest a frame with glass and a mat if they can find the right size. The picture is on Bristol Smooth 6x6 inches with colored pencil and pen and ink.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Moley Project

There is a new Moleskine project starting at the online site of Art House Coop. I participated in the last one. This one is a little different. You purchase the Moley from them, they assign you a theme (out of 30 themes), you fill it, send back, and it tours. This time however you won't have the choice of getting your book back. It will go into a permanent library to be viewed and checked out by people.

I think it sounds like a great idea and loads of fun. This time I plan to start on mine early. Not put it off till the last minute and have to rush. The only problem I found last time is that the Moley is one that has thin pages. And the pages are the "tear out" pages. I had trouble with them at first. I was afraid I would tear the pages if I were too "rough" with my art. But I soon got comfortable with it.

You can check out the project here:


I met a young lady from Alabama online. She has become my instant message pen pal. She likes Basset Hounds and has one named Bud who is 2 yrs old. This is a picture I did of Bud from a photo she emailed to me. On Bristol Smooth 6x6 inches in colored pencil.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wetcanvas Dog Breed Thread

In the Animal and Wildlife forum of Wetcanvas, there is a thread for a new dog breed every couple of weeks. I think I have only done one of them so far. But this morning while watching my soap and waiting for it to finish so I could run errands, I did this little chihuahua puppy. It is on Bristol Smooth 6x6 inches in graphite. Took less than an hour but was lots of fun.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Brown Bear from CALM

I did a new ATC today from another of my California Living Museum photos. This time the Brown Bear. It was hot and he kept moving around trying to get comfortable. The black bear slept thru most of our visit but the brown one was at least awake. He was wedged in behind a rock and eventually put his head chest and paws down on the rock and slept. He didn't look at all comfortable but it was a cute photo op.

Friday, June 12, 2009

California Living Museum

Hubby and I went to CALM this week. He has never been there and I wanted him to see it. My art group goes there fairly often for our plein air outings. Nice and quiet usually with a lot of shade, animals, and lots of landscapes.

We took lunch with us and sat and ate first. Then started our way around. I was a little disappointed with my little roadrunner friend as he wouldn't come near me. But we did get really close up views of the deer. Hubby even got to touch the nose of one. The real young ones were not so skittish about people.

All the animals at CALM for one reason or another are not able to be reintroduced back into the wild. So they are taken care of for life by the museum. Many children's classes take field trips there and there was even an art camp of about 50 students who were there yesterday. Learning, drawing, eating lunch, and seeing the animals. It took some of the quiet away but I actualy enjoyed listening to and watching the children. I think they were about 10-11 and rowdy enough that they kept the teachers hopping to keep track of them.

I took many photos again. A bluejay kept landing near to eat crumbs from the cement walkway. I had a wonderful time getting some nice close photos of him. Here is one that I drew.

I have no idea why but the scan looks a little distorted. The size is 6 inches x 6 inches and I used Derwent Studio, Faber Castell Polychromos, and Prismacolor Verithin colored pencils.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dog Toys

I have a collection of odds and ends that I use for drawing. Some of those are toys I have gotten in the dog toy department. I have been trying to get a style that I like for doing these stuffed animals. Kind of like my "signature" look. I think I have finally found the direction I want to take for them.

I did a little dog with a huge toothy smile for one of the alphabet trade cards. I really liked the way it turned out. The fabric is kind of like chenille fabric and the dog is so cute. I decided to play around today with the style I used for the ATC. I did the same type "fur" for different animals.

I did about 2-3 pages of animals but these are the only two I put some color to. And I love them in purple.

Scavenger Hunt

I worked on some scavenger hunt items tonight. I have 24 finished. A rare occurrence for me these days. I still have until the 14th and I have only 2 more to go. I think I just might finish this one. I am the host for this one which is #134. The last one I finished was the last one I hosted.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

First Flight Finished - I think

I worked some more on my little bird. I think I am finished. I left the background simple. Didn't want it to detract from the bird but on the other hand, I wanted the bird to kind of blend into his surroundings. He was very well blended when I saw him sitting there.

No update today

I didn't work on my bird today. I did some browsing on art blogs. It was nice. I found one blog that had a music player and it had some really nice tunes. I listened to some of them. Now that i have broadband, it is so nice to listen to music and watch videos on U-tube. Before it was like watching with a hiccup every few seconds. Takes a lot of the joy out of the experience.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

First Flight Update 2

I have done a little more on this. I wanted to see it posted. It is now sitting while I wait for a fresh eye.

First Flight update

I started to put color on the bird last night and this morning decided to go a different way with my colored pencils. I wanted to do him in more dry pencils. So I fixed the image on a new piece of Bristol paper and started again. I am happier with it this time. I really don't like waxy pencils. I prefer dry ones. I like the way they lay down better. My only problem is I don't have as much variety in the dryer ones. So the colors will be a lot different than the reference photo. So far I'm ok. I don't really like the spot where the gray breast meets the yellow.

I miss my prismas with the different shades of gray. And I would have used a different color yellow. use what you have. I have used some FB Polychromos but I only have a set of 24 plus a couple of open stock ones in flesh. But mostly I am using Prismacolor Verithins and Derwent Studios.

Now I have to figure out how to get the look of the dead wood and the peeling paint.

First Flight

Today my art group went to a training horse stable. Lots of horses, several dogs, barn and other out buildings, nice big trees, and thousands of flies. We even had some rain drops for a bit.

By accident I happened on two baby birds who were having their first flights. One was perched on a fence post and the other was on a stump. One of the workers said all three were lined up on the stump for awhile. The third didn't make an appearance while I was there. I got within 2 ft of both birds so was able to get some nice photos.

One lady in the group happened to be at the exercise pen just as one of the horses got onto the dirt and rolled in the dirt. She got a perfect photo of him rolling in the dirt and kicking up dust. He had a very nice dirt bath. Then would get up and kick his back legs in the air, run like crazy, then rear up on his back legs. He was like a kid out of school. All wild and feisty. As soon as the groomsman came back and picked up his training whip, the horse got back into it's exercise of running around the ring. It was fun to watch. His dirt bath didn't last long because as soon as his exercise session was over, he was hosed down. I bet that felt good after all the flies.

I met one horse named Holly. She was my favorite. She had her face covered to keep the flies out. I was scratching her nose to help with the flies' irritation. I saw her over against the pen rubbing her backside to scratch. When she came back to the front of the stall and I started scratching and rubbing again, I told her if she was turned around and didn't kick me, I would scratch the backside. Well no sooner said than done. She turned her backside to me and backed her rear up to the gate and stood there. So true to my promise, I had to scratch. She stood there while I did it. So so funny.

One of the dogs gave me a perfect photo shot too. He sat down at my feet when I got the camera pointed and looked up for a photo. The other dogs kept showing me their backsides. I wonder why it is that when you get a perfect shot lined up and a dog turns away. I really thing they are playing with your mind. I know two of my dogs don't like photos taken. The schnauzer would turn her head and look back at me with the whites of her eyes showing. And she would turn every time I turned the camera on her.

I will be doing a picture of the one little bird. I don't know what kind of bird it was but it had a yellow breast. I did see the mama causing a ruckus a little farther away letting us know she wasn't happy we were watching her babies. Well I am guessing it was the mama. It also had a yellow breast.

Here are the copies of the photo and of my drawing. I now have to transfer the drawing to some good paper.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Day's End

I am not too unhappy to have this day end. I didn't really enjoy it. I was just a little out of sorts and hubby seemed to get on my nerves. I guess having him home 24/7 is starting to show. lol

Tomorrow he is going on a ride-along with a buddy. The buddy has to make a delivery and my hubby will go along for company. I am happy he will do that. It will give me some breathing space and hopefully recharge his good humor.

I have nothing planned for tomorrow, but one Wednesday is the art group outing, and Thursday is my monthly hair appt. Hopefully next week we can make a drive to see my brother and sister-in-law. We put that off until the wife is off work for the summer and we can visit with her too. It's just a short trip of about 45 minutes, but we hardly ever make it.

I worked hard this weekend and the last part of last week getting all my cards done for the Drawspace trade. I needed 17 cards for that. I also finished up the last of my Alphabet trade. I mailed 7 cards for that today and one will go tomorrow. It feels good to once again be finished with everything I was committed to. Now to just sit back and wait for the mail to arrive.