Friday, July 31, 2009

When Sophie is happy she can dance

...and I will sit and come when I'm supposed to...most of the time.

Well, it seems I'm in luck because of Section 2.2 of the Bylaws of the Condominium Association which states that only the Board of Directors can manage and enforce condo rules. It just so happens, that mom and I live in the largest unit on the top floor with my good friend Jerry, who is a member of the board and happens to be the majority owner in the building. So for now, I am safe—whew! But lately, I have been reprimanded when barking at the mean neighbor. Mom even swatted my behind this morning—OUCH!

When I heard the news, I stood on my hind legs and flapped my front paws up and down. You see, I am part Bichon Frise and we can do that. It works especially well when I do it in a store because they will usually give me a treat.

I'm off to take a nap...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


We live in downtown Portland on the top floor of a building with nine condos. Our neighbor across the hall has written to the condo association citing Sophie as being a "vicious menace". When he lectured me on the street in front of the building about the condo rules and vicious dogs, all 13 lbs of Sophie was standing on her hind legs smiling at him and trying to get him to notice her. He didn't, so now she barks at him...a little.

She just got a haircut the other day. I dropped off a cute white shaggy dog and I picked up a dog that looks like a she is in her underwear. I think she may be taking her bad hair days out on our neighbor...a little.

Of course, if she goes, I go!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

DSFDF challenge—Man resting on metal chair

I started working on the recent Different Strokes from Different Folks challenge from Karin Jurick, in between an apartment renovation and an illustration job. Jumping from one task to another, there were times when I would totally ignore "The Man" as I began to call him. I would come back and find the paint would be dry on both the painting and the palette. I would then have to start over and rework and it was getting frustrating. I finally had to stop the madness and say "I'm done" because it was taking too much time and I was running out of time! He looks younger than the man in the photograph, but who doesn't like that!

CSN in concert

At the last minute we decided to go to the Crosby, Stills and Nash a few blocks up from where we live. I had not seen them since 1997 and it was as wonderful as it was 12 years ago. Not surprising, the audience (and the performers) had gray hair and clearly have been fans since Woodstock, like me. We were in the second section back from the stage and the lights were dim, so I was sketching by stage-lights.

"I almost cut my hair"

"I've been around the world"

"It appears to be a long time"

Stephan stills on the electric guitar.

"Stop, hey what's that sound, everyone look what going down"

Thank you and "Carry On" Crosby, Stills and Nash

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A weekend in Northeast Harbor

Friday—drive to Northeast—Sunny.
Sunday—drive back to Portland—Sunny.

We stayed at a friend's summer home on top of a hill overlooking Northeast Harbor on the left and Southwest Harbor on the right on beautiful Mt Desert Island. The fog rolled in on Friday night as I started to sketch while we grilled fish and sipped Prosecco.

Having breakfast in their wonderful country kitchen before starting out to enjoy a day in the fog.

Back home resting from a busy weekend.

Friday, July 17, 2009

For Sale—"Virtual Open House"—Dining room

Suzanne Cabrera launched a "virtual open house" challenge to draw our living space or favorite moment in our home. Like her, I have a love of mid-century modern homes and furniture design. A few years ago, I renovated my first ranch style home complete with George Nelson Bubble lamp over the dining room table. When the house sold, the light went with the new owners. Some crazy rule about things that are attached...

I then bought a 1958 beat up old ranch (what a dump) and renovated it using Joseph Eichler and Cliff May as my inspiration for the open-floor plan redesign which included triangular and trapezoid shaped windows and an addition that wrapped around an inclosed courtyard. I bought a Nelson Bench and clock, an Eames chair and a Nogucchi lamp. I even found an old beat-up Eames plywood coffee table from a yard sale that I refinished.

Today, my beautiful renovated ranch is rented and will be for sale, because I live in Indonesia so much of the time. Unfortunately, the wonderful furniture is all in storage except for that 5' Nogucchi lamp that I have managed to wedge into the corner of my tiny studio room.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Going out...again

This seems to be what one does when one lives in the heart of a city. I usually manage to find a small space at a table for my sketchbook and paints, though like last night it can be a little crowded. It was hard to find space with four of us at a small table, wine and water glasses, focaccia bread and tapas. So amongst the chaos, I did this small sketch while holding my sketch book while I ate, drank and chatted. Serious multitasking!

Getting to know my garden

I own an old Victorian house that was built in 1890. It sits along a street of old victorians with panoramic views of Portland, Maine. It is a two unit house and we are renovating the downstairs. This renovation is taking time away from any drawing or painting because I am at either at Lowes looking at lighting and paint colors or online investigating cabinets. I did this quick sketch of the sweet little garden at the end of the driveway, while waiting for the plumber.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hang on

Last night, we attended a wedding on a Casco Bay ferry. As the perfectly beautiful day wore on, the wind kicked up and by the time we were getting ready to leave clouds were forming, the barometer was dropping and we could see white caps out on the bay. This was clearly going to be a bad hair night. We settled on coats but still wore flip-flips. As the ferry started down the ship channel, the horizon was going up and down as we all took a slightly wider stance to steady ourselves and our drinks. The skipper ended up taking us in amongst the islands where it was less choppy, but as I sketched Pumpkin Knob island that horizon was still going up and down. It was a unique and wonderful wedding despite the slightly inclement weather.
Congratulations Steve and Holly.

daily • dog • draw

More than half of most of my sketch books are filled with drawings of my dog, Sophie. I have used just about every possible paper, pens, pencils and paints to capture her "cuteness". Although, I by no means hold a candle to Roz Stendahl's 43 volumes of sketches of her dog Dottie which she calls the Daily Dots, I find the same satisfaction in this daily habit of drawing my sweet dog. Both Sophie and drawing are such an important part of my life that is such a gift to be able to combine them. It doesn't get much better than that. Thanks Roz for your inspiration.

fast food/fast paint

I can honestly say I have never eaten McDonald's food. I have occasionally faked like I was going to eat there to use the restroom on a road trip or I would buy a water so I wouldn't feel guilty, but it's the Big Mac's...ever. Doing the "dreaded errands around town", I happened to drive past the local McDonald's and liked the design and colors of the yellow arches and the wires against the blue sky so I did a quick oil sketch on a piece of masonite.
Another painting for the dumb painting box.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Full moon fever

We went to visit friends at their cottage on the beach a few days ago. It was a wonderful sunny day, which we haven't seen much of since returning to Maine, so we were able to take a long walk along the wide stretch of Old Orchard Beach. After dinner, a beautiful pink full moon rose over the ocean in a cobalt blue sky. Of course, I got up from the table and ran down to the beach for a closer look at this beautiful sight. And then the next day, it started raining again...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

DSFDF challenge—Rower on Lake Michigan

Yesterday, I dragged out my oils after almost a year. I had to go into the "way back machine" to get the oil painting process going again as I spent the afternoon muddling through the latest Different Strokes from Different Folks challenge from Karin Jurick. I kept thinking this is going to be way too hard as I stared at the reflections in the water and the figure in the boat in the photograph she posted. My next thought was to maybe wait for the next challenge and go take a run". The fog and drizzle we have been experiencing here in Maine deterred me from that distraction, so I squeezed out the paint and gave it a try. Though it seems a bit stiff, I am pleased to have finished and got up the nerve to send it to Karin to post with the others.