Friday, October 31, 2014

WINTER'S APPROACH, FLOWERS, AND A BOOK

 I went out in the garden today to salvage the last bouquet of hydrangeas.  I was just in time - the garden is covered with a coat of ice and snow!


So, one last bouquet to treasure . . .


and then to enjoy one of the best things about the cold weather.  The comfort of working at home on the things I love.  Today, coffee with a friend by the fire, followed by an afternoon in my art room!


Grateful!!!

-Nan

Thursday, October 30, 2014

THE LITTLE BOOK OF TREES

This post may seem like a duplicate from one a few days ago, but read on.  THAT post was actually what spurred on THIS post.  My first, "Little Book of Trees", is a one of a kind, accordion book that will belong to my little grandson when his hands get a little bit bigger!  



The new book will be professionally printed, bound, and for sale in my Etsy shop. 


*********

So, to explain.  After a recent and miserable attempt at putting trees into a landscape watercolor, I decided to work on my drawings of trees.  

One thing led to another.  

As I was practicing my drawings, I found myself thinking about the trees of my childhood and realized the huge part they played in my day to day life as a little girl.  There was the enormous elm in the middle of my mother's flower garden that gave me shade as I looked at a new stack of library books.  And the tree in a friend's yard that I coveted because of the long swing it held. 

All this led to a new little book I'm working on, all about children playing outdoors, and the character trees played in so many of our pastimes.   This was before the era of hand held devices and color television.  A time when we looked at the outdoors in a different way than many children do today.  No one shuffled us off to soccer games and lessons.  We were often on our own to get creative, nurture our friendships ("play date" was not yet in the dictionary), and use our imaginations to explore our neighborhoods.  Most mothers were at home, most families only had one car, and neighborhoods were a safer place for children to be on their own.  The shopping mall was not invented yet, and our feet took us where we wanted to go.

So, here is the beginning of a new little book, for little hands.


 And the story begins . . .



This may seem more like a book for adults to reminisce about the way things used to be, but reading it to a little person will also facilitate conversations about the never changing need for children to play . . . and imagine.

I'm loving the memories that surface as I draw each picture and write each poem.  I hope you'll enjoy remembering too!


Thanks for looking!
-Nan



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

BOTANICAL CALENDAR IN THE SHOP

A YEAR OF BOTANICALS

Now in my Etsy shop, a colorful wall calendar featuring a year's worth of my original watercolor botanical illustrations.  From the blue Icelandic Poppies to the Sun Cherry Zinnia, this calendar will bring you flowers every day of the year.  These calendars are professionally printed on high quality card stock paper.   Now available in my Etsy shop in time for the new year.  






 Click the calendar below to order your 2015 calendar.

Thanks for looking!
-Nan


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

VINTAGE LOOK FRONT DOOR PORTRAITS

I have been stuck on trees the past few days, experimenting with different types and trying to get better at drawing them.  Then I tried an illustration of our own front door, framed it in, and surrounded it with trees - which led to a new listing in my Etsy shop!

My new listing is called:
VINTAGE-LOOK FRONT DOOR PORTRAITS 

Because of the framed-in approach, it has a kind of vintage look about it.  As with my other listings, I use all archival materials for durability over time.  Approximately 5 x 5".


I will work directly from a head-on view of your front door photo.  (I have shown a drawing from my sketchbook, and also a photo with mat and frame for example purposes.)  Your front door pen and ink will arrive with sturdy backing, creatively packaged, and ready for your mat and frame.


You will also receive a PDF of your pen and ink via email for you to print for your own use.  (Stationery, Christmas cards, or "We've Moved" cards can be ordered from Vistaprint.com, a great place to get quality items using your PDF.)

International shipping costs will be an additional charge through the United States Postal Service, to be determined after purchase.

Thanks for looking!
-Nan

Monday, October 27, 2014

TREE PRACTICE

After my day in the ditch, I realized I really needed to work on my trees.  For this, I referred to a great book, Rendering in Pen and Ink, by Arthur Guptill.  This is a wonderful book that covers everything from trees to architecture.


So, today is just a practice day . . .




"Going Home" 
5 x 7" watercolor and ink

Available on in my Etsy shop, Gillyflower Cottage.

Thanks for looking!
-Nan

Sunday, October 26, 2014

PAINTING IN THE DITCH

Yesterday was a day to roam the country roads outside of Milwaukee.  We found our way out to 10 Chimneys (the historic home of Broadway actors Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt) and the area around Genesee Depot.  The hills were still holding onto their golds and oranges, but not for long I'm afraid.  

Finding a pretty little spot off the main road, we pulled into the ditch to do a little reading (Bob) and painting (me).  I set up my balancing act of water jar, sketchbook, and watercolors and got to work while Bob regaled me with the latest information in the news.


Very soon after, we were approached by 3 different cars, about 20 minutes apart, stopping to ask how they could help us.  Long story short, after an exchange of information with one couple, one of my watercolor sketches from the day is now on its way to the owners of the beautiful property we were perched on.  


This little painting is no longer mine but we are left with memories of some lovely people, and a great day spent roaming the country roads in search of the perfect ditch!


 "Nothing Gold Can Stay"
watercolor on 140# cold press paper

I named this one after Robert Frost's poem.  Seemed a fitting title considering this was painted on a sunny and golden late October day.  I know this poem has multiple meanings, but one meaning is literal when it comes to the seasons.  It won't be long and a new painting will need a new title, possibly, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" . . .

************

Nothing Gold Can Stay
by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.


Thanks for looking!
-Nan




Saturday, October 25, 2014

BLUE MEADOW - 5 x 9 inches

The sun is brilliant this morning and we're expecting temperatures close to 70!  What a late October treat!  

So, I got my morning watercolor fix and now it's time to take sketchbook and watercolor kit in hand and comb SE Wisconsin to see the last of the colors.  We're looking forward to a wonderful day with our sole mission being a pretty little out-of-the-way lunch spot and a place to paint, read, and soak up the sun.  It doesn't get much better than this!


"Blue Meadow"
5 x 9 inch watercolor on Arches 300# paper
SOLD!

Thanks for looking!
-Nan

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"RED-ORANGE ANEMONE", AUCTIONED "BLUE POPPIES AND BUDS No. 4", AND AN UPCOMING TUTORIAL

Today, I finished a petite, 5 x 5 inch watercolor of a red-orange Anemone.  I love to learn the history of flowers, and legend says that this little beauty was created when Venus sprinkled nectar on the blood of her dead lover, Adonis.   

Interesting. 

  I love one of its other known names, Thimbleweed.  These flowers are slightly cupped, the petals are delicate and sheer, and the stems are thin and straight, much like poppies.  Best of all, the Wood Anemone is a native wildflower of Wisconsin and gets its start from a nubby, brown bulb.  How can such a beautiful flower come from such a homely little nugget?  I'm going to have to order some of these for next summer's garden.


You can find this original watercolor in my Etsy shop by clicking below:

"Red-Orange Anemone"
5 x 5 inch watercolor

And one other bit of news!

Last night, the school where I used to teach held their annual dinner auction.  I donated one of my framed botanical watercolors to the auction and now . . . .



"Blue Poppies and Buds No. 4" 
18 x 24 framed

 . . .  is off to a new home!  It was an honor to be included in this great fundraiser for our awesome school - Our Redeemer Lutheran in Wauwatosa, WI - a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School!

Last of all, as the title of this post suggests, there is a tutorial coming.  A friend suggested that I change the name of my blog,"YOU COULD MAKE THAT", since I have gotten away from craft projects.

So, I changed it to, "YOU COULD PAINT THAT".

Well, then she informed me that, no, she couldn't paint that - so with a name like that, I would have to include tutorials now and then.

So, coming soon, a quick little tutorial on making your own little pen/ink/watercolor flower that could be added to a gift tag or piece of stationery.

Thanks for looking!
-Nan





Friday, October 17, 2014

THE DOORS OF CEDARBURG EXHIBITION

THE DOORS OF CEDARBURG EXHIBITION 
will be held at the Cedarburg Art Museum from November 19, 2014 - February 22, 2015. 

The entries were to be based on the following idea:
"Artists working in a variety of media are invited to explore and interpret the diverse architectural heritage of our community with artworks that have, as their predominant subject, a doorway found in the city or town of Cedarburg." 

I love this little community that we visit several times a year for a day of lunch, shopping, and just looking around.  So, the last time we were there I took some photos.  This is a little watercolor sketch I did from an old stone building on Washington Avenue - and it was accepted into the exhibition! 

Accepted artists are invited to be at the museum to demonstrate and/or talk with the visitors during one of Cedarburg's Festive Friday Eves, and are also able to bring along 4 additional pieces of work to display and sell during their time at the Cedarburg Art Museum.

All in all . . . pretty exciting!

"Windows on Washington"
12 x 12 inch watercolor (framed)

Thanks for looking!
-Nan


Thursday, October 16, 2014

HEIRLOOM ORANGE POPPIES - 8 x 10 (sold with mat)

I guess my participation in the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge took a lot out of me.  I was surprised to see that my last post was on October 3rd - almost 2 weeks ago.  I have been painting during that time, just not blogging about it.  My main project was a portrait of a beautiful home, which was shipped to the buyer a few days ago.

Now it's back to botanical illustrations - my favorite kind of painting!  Today I worked on some poppies that are the color of an orange popsicle.  These heirloom poppies are warm and sunny. They are done in brilliant oranges, with a color block of yellow set behind.  Loads of detail right down to their hairy stems!  After 4 days of heavy gray clouds, and nearly 3 inches of rain, I felt the need to paint something bright and cheerful.  These really did the trick and by the time I was done, the sun was finally coming out!  It's amazing what surrounding yourself with the right colors can do to change your mood.

These poppies are painted with archival Sennelier French watercolors and 140 lb. cold pressed watercolor paper.  They will arrive on your doorstep, safely and creatively packaged, in a cellophane sleeve.  Included is a white mat that has been cut to fit the painting making "Heirloom Orange" ready to slip into your standard 11 x 14 inch frame - no need for custom framing services.

"HEIRLOOM ORANGE"
8 x 10 inch watercolor


Click below for purchase information:


Thanks for looking!
-Nan


Friday, October 3, 2014

THE OLD EBLE BARN IS NO MORE

A beloved old barn in our town of Brookfield, Wisconsin was torn down this week.  About a year ago right now I spent a beautiful and warm autumn day on the grounds, sketching this stately old barn.   Nothing fancy or frame-worthy - just a simple watercolor sketch.  


From my sketchbook on 11/11/13: 

"The Eble Barn was built in 1936.  The barn and 31 surrounding acres were donated to Waukesha County for the purpose of a park.  Florence Eble, unmarried grand-daughter, had hopes that this green space would remain on Blue Mound Road, for use by children."



"Mrs. Eble made dinners for all during the two days of the barn raising - creamed onions, meats, and bread.  Pitcher after pitcher of lemonade, water, and coffee," said Dorothy, daughter of Della Eble.

Two days of teamwork and fellowship produced this barn in 1936.  

Now, 78 years later, it took one day to bring it down.  

It's been a landmark on Blue Mound Road since long before I was born.  Next to the barn stood the old farmhouse and a huge flower garden surrounded by a white picket fence.  Such a pretty and unexpected sight in the middle of all the big box stores and restaurants that have been creeping up on it for years.  So, one more reminder of days gone by has vanished.  

As the article states, "The Eble Barn is no more."

Now there's nothing left to break the monotony of Best Buy, Chuck E. Cheese, and Babies R Us.

:-(


Brookfield — The Eble Barn is no more.
The historic structure that has been a part of the Bluemound Road corridor for decades was demolished Tuesday, bringing an absolute end to a long debate regarding the future of the barn.
Family members had previously argued against Waukesha County's decision to demolish the landmark, stating that Florence Eble's 1987 donation of the barn to the county was on the condition that it remain standing in Eble Park.
But, county officials said there was no evidence that such a condition existed. Waukesha County Director of Parks and Land Use Dale Shaver noted that rehabilitating the barn and bringing it up to code for event rental would have costed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The county has not settled on a definite plan for the future of Eble Park; however, officials have stated intent to erect a structure, such as a gazebo, made from materials leftover from the barn.



I think I may need to take another look at my photos from that day and take another shot at painting the old Eble Barn.




Thanks for looking!
-Nan


Monday, September 29, 2014

THE PURPLE CLEOME - A FAMILY FAVORITE

Day 29
of
3 0   P A I N T I N G S   I N   3 0   D A Y S

Today's painting is another botanical - this time the Purple Cleome.  I have fond memories of the Cleome, or Spider Plant, from 50 years ago!  When I would visit my grandparent's house, one of my favorite places to hang out was in their backyard where my grandfather kept his garden.  My family has a long string of great gardeners and he was one of them.  Grandpa used to brag about his Cleome plants saying, "They get so big by the end of the summer that I need to chop them down with an axe!"

The Cleome does grow to be quite tall - sometimes as high as 6 feet in my garden.  The seed pods that burst out on long stems, dry out, and crack open in September and October leaving thousands of seeds for next year's growth.  It's quite an amazing and enormous plant with relatively shallow roots,  and all coming from one very itty-bitty seed.  They take no effort at all to grow and faithfully return year after year all on their own.







You can find my watercolor illustration, "Purple Cleome" on Etsy.  Just click the photo below.


Also available:

               


           

Thanks for looking!

-Nan







Saturday, September 27, 2014

PURPLE IRIS and BUD

Day 27
of 
3 0   P A I N T I N G S   I N   3 0   D A Y S

I really enjoyed painting another purple iris with bud and leaf.  We finally got some of these in our garden, but this year's blooms were few.  Now we can look forward to next spring when our bulbs will feel a little more situated and hopefully will produce a large crop of this beauty!  The flower, with all its intricate details, is a challenge to draw and paint.

This painting, a 9 x 12 original watercolor of the purple iris, is one of my absolute favorite flowers.  Done on Strathmore 140 lb. paper with Sennelier watercolors, this watercolor will arrive on your doorstep creatively packaged and then slipped into a cellophane sleeve.  Ready for your mat and frame.







9 x 12 inches and done on 140 lb. cold pressed paper with Sennelier watercolors.

Available on Etsy:

Thanks for looking!
-Nan

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