Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My First Illustration Friday (pic)

Acrylic on canvas board. 5" X 7"
I have never participated in Illustration Friday before. This week's illustrationfriday.com subject is "tea". I took the painting I was working on of the little girl and gave her a teapot. I'm not totally done with the painting but I'm afraid they'll have a new subject before I get all the way done so I'm posting it anyway. I'll come back and give it finish details at a later date.

Monday, February 27, 2006

New Arrival

My neice had a little girl last week and she is adorable. My sister did a little photoshop on the picture and emailed it to me. Of course, I'm biased but she is the cutest!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Olympic Inspired Painting (pic)

I'm going to watch the Olympics no matter what so what better thing to do while I'm wasting this time than to learn to paint. The mountains are so pretty in Italy that I decided to do a mountain picture. It took about 3 days to paint with acrlyics but I'm pretty happy with it. Then last night I started on a portrait-type painting of a little girl that I sketched. I'm pretty much just winging it on technique etc. I'll have to stop and learn a bit more about glazes before proceeding. It is really hard to take a good picture of a painting. I wonder how the experts do it.

After I put a wash on the sketch almost all my sketch was gone and I'm having to look at the pictures of I took of the sketch.

A long way to go.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Olympics Observations

Some of my Olympic Observations
  • Do you notice that after someone from another country wins a medal they can talk to the media with pretty good English. How many USA athletes speak good English let alone a second language good enough to do an interview?
  • We truly have some of the "Biggest Losers". So much pressure to live up to their hyped potential makes them fall apart? Some deny it was their fault and blame others.
  • It has been a while since we had such a media circus ie. Shani Davis vs the USA team. The last time was Tonya Harding? Silly Americans.
  • But there are some true sports persons there in Italy. Sasha was one of my least favorite skaters at the last Olympics. I couldn't stand her. She acted like a spoiled arrogant brat. But she has failed and learned and matured and I'm rooting for her this time. Some more heros, Vonetta Flowers in bob sled.
  • If you followed Mercyhurst womans hockey in the past few years you'd hear the familiar names on the TV coverage of woman's hockey at the Olympics. Several of those Olympic players from different countries have played against Mercyhurst here in Erie. They represent other countries but many play for colleges in the US.
  • Then there is the US hockey girl who made the US team at the last Olympics but was cut from the team after her father was killed in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. She made it this time and they won a bronze medal.
  • Thank goodness for the snow boarders and those aerial "hotdoggers". Some may not like the addition of these events to the Olympics but with each generation things change. I thought it was very entertaining. Actually my favorite next to the figure skaters.
  • Can we do with less curling?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Chipmunk Siting-My Hope for an Early Spring

I put more value into a chipmunk siting than I do that groundhog in Punxsutawney. Today our little rascal was scurrying around looking for food and chasing the birds away. It's a good sign, to me anyway, that spring is just around the corner.....right? My sister emailed me (from central California) that their trees are already leafing out and there are flowers on them. She said she was in tank tops already last week from the heat. Well, rub it in. She'll get hers when the summer comes and she is complaining of the 100+ temps.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

My 2nd Attempt at Painting with Acrylics (pic)

I'm planning on decorating my 1/2 bath with an art deco theme. That's why I decided to try and paint a picture that looks like an art deco poster I found on the internet. I don't smoke or advocate it but thought the colors and look was of the era I'm trying to decorate in and I thought the chair looked so comfortable! I made a rookie mistake on the size. If I put the frame on the picture it cuts off her head and part of her shoes. Well, I'll figure out something. I'm finding acrylics pretty hard to work with. I've been reading quite a bit on colors and composition so I'm hoping my next painting will be a landscape. I brought home about 10 books from the library about color theory, composition, brush strokes, etc. I'll keep at it. I'll start practicing on painting the look of fabric. I couldn't get it right. Plus, there seems to be only one leg and foot on the picture but I suppose you just assume there are two, ha.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Egg Whites the Key?

I'm finding substitutions the key to me losing weight. I just can't go hungry, I'm not made that way. I'm trying to find something I like for breakfast other than just 1/2 cup oatmeal with no milk. I tried egg whites to make my omelets but they lack texture and they don't fill me up. (I'm not talking about "Better Than Eggs" which I can't eat they are so bad. But the little carton that you buy that is real egg whites.) So I compromised. I use one whole egg and the rest egg whites in the mixture and it tastes really close to normal. I add a tablespoon of real bacon bits I buy already made into tiny pieces. I sprinkle about a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese on top and fry it with Pam like an omelet. It's good just like that but add sugar free maple syrup (about 6 calories to cover my omelet) and I'm surprised how good it is. It reminds me of a bacon waffle. Better to say it has the "essence" of a waffle. But it is good enough to make me look forward to it in the morning even if I wasn't trying to lose weight.

I have tried using the lettuce leaves instead of bread to make my turkey hamburgers. It tastes really good but it is hard to keep the mustard, pickles and tomato from falling out. So I have this great idea to try and make an egg white thin omelet to act like a tortilla (in shape only as there is no way it will taste like a tortilla). I could use this to hold my hamburger together without adding a bunch of calories.
UPDATE: Fried egg whites didn't work as a bun. Too rubbery, didn't taste good.

I'm making the turkey burgers for lunch today and I'll try it.

I'm down 15.5 pounds now and it wasn't hard, in fact I'm loving what I'm cooking but it does take a long time to prepare. I use lots of mushrooms and sauteed onions with our vegetables to fill us up. When we go out we order salads. We are comparing salads at several restaurants. So far we haven't come across a good salad that can beat the Grilled Chicken Salad at the Texas Roadhouse. We love it. We did go to Applebees and I had their French Onion Soup (150 calories) and their Mesquite Chicken Salad (250 calories). They both were good. I didn't even know they had a Weight Watchers section to their menu or I would have gone there sooner. We aren't on Weight Watchers but I'm sure we are eating similar to it.

As soon as the weather permits we will be back on the peninsula with our inline skates. I hope it is like riding a bike in that you never forget how to do it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

For the Love of Fishing (pic)

Oh, my! I wonder how long they stayed out there? Nothing stops some fishermen, they love to fish! I love to fish but only when I'm comfortable. I give thumbs up to these guys. Picture taken Sunday.

How Many Paint Coats to Cover Red?

I can answer that. It took 4. Up and down the ladder and stairs for 2 days to get 4 coats of white primer on one wall to cover that dark red paint. I let the paint dry completely over the weekend before painting the wall its final color of yellow gold. I had only time to put on one coat of yellow paint today and will have to touch up around all the woodwork tomorrow. It certainly isn't as easy as they show on TV.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Winter-Presque Isle is Beautiful (pics)

When the sun comes we go to Presque Isle regardless of the time of year. Though fleeting, we captured some of the rays in photographs.

Sun sparkles on the icicles.

The sun shines on the large ship.

Someone made a snowman on one of the benches near the Coast Guard Station.

I love lighthouses and birch trees.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Diet Update

Well, tonight the Biggest Loser is on TV and I really get inspired by it. My goal per week isn't nearly as big as theirs but 2 1/2 pounds a week is adding up. I'm down 13 pounds now and the only hard part is working out when I just don't feel like it. It is so much easier to sit in front of the computer. But I know summer is coming and our Maine vacation is the ultimate goal. I want to hike and bike and enjoy every minute of it. Especially the lobster!

I have a mini goal, too, of Florida. We'll be heading down that way in March. I'm going to be very strict about my eating and working out while I'm there.

Yesterday I wasn't really wanting to work out and I got a call from my husband. Did I work out? Not yet, Ok, I will. We support each other and he is doing better than me. We both feel so much better eating lots of vegetables and less meat. It does take a much bigger portion out of the day having to plan and fix the meals but when we sit down, we really enjoy it.

Tonight when I was clearing the dishes I noticed there wasn't one grain of rice or any food left on our plates. I measure our portions and fix just that amount. We laughed that our plates are so clean now after eating that we could almost put them right back into the cupboard. Actually, there was one grain of rice on my plate that had fallen on the floor. What was that about a 2 second rule? It was close, but no, I didn't eat it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Red Walls = Another Redo

I have tried everything to save the red color on the one wall of our living room. It has only been on there for a couple of years and has given me more stress than the house as a whole.

It started with 80+ years of wallpaper that had to be stripped off along the stairway. I don't think there is a worse job. You just can't maneuver and reach on the stairs. In hindsight, I should have bought one of those stair ladders. I painted primer 2 times then I painted the wall red, 3 times. It turned pink. I went out and bought a dark gray color and painted 2 coats of that on the wall. I followed that with the red and it worked. It was a beautiful red color. The rest of the walls was a nice golden yellow color and they looked rich together.

About 6 months after painting, the red started chalking off a bit. It started to oxidize like an old red car. I cleaned the wall off and tried some polyurethane on it to seal it. It just made a mess and brush marks (I tried a roller but it left bubble marks). I don't like the brush marks on my original plaster walls. It loses that "plaster" look of old houses. I sanded as much off as I could and repainted the red about a month ago. It looks blotchy and uneven.

I have given up on the color. This was a red paint we bought at Sears. Benjamin Moore couldn't match the color we were looking for. Sears did. But Benjamin Moore most likely had good reason. Some reds are unstable and not light and colorfast and they don't sell them.

So last weekend I went to Lowes and bought their best primer. I have 2 gallons here waiting for me to crack the lid. I just hate painting while on the stairs. Instead I have been painting my pictures and learning the idiosyncrasies of artist acrylics. But now it is time, time to crack the lid on those gallons of primer. I have stalled long enough. The walls will be painted the same golden yellow as the rest of the room. Hopefully this red stress will be gone.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

My First Attempt at Acrylics (pic)

I painted this 5 x 7 on canvas board as soon as I bought my new artist acrylics, before reading any of my books. I thought it would be a good thing to have a starting point so I could see how I improve in the future. I have now read through part of one of my books and I see several problems with this picture but still, other than some of the colors are muddy in the background and some other things, I like it because it matches my Campbell's art pottery (it matches much better than the picture shows). Those aqua rocks are just from my rock garden and they are holding my painting up. I'll find a frame for it and change the paintings out as I make better paintings, however long that takes.