To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.

My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Journal ~ Costa Rica Feb.'08

Maybe I misjudged. Only a couple of my Costa Rica journals have been downloaded so far, and I put them online a week ago. Of course, I sent out quite a few complimentary copies, but I thought others might be interested too. Hmmmm....

Well, I am not going to quit on the idea yet. In fact, I decided to rearrange my studio so that I could journal and paint in journals while looking out the window, which means that I've been pushing and tugging and hoisting boxes, sawing and installing boards for shelves, hauling filing cabinets here and there, etc. Actually, I probably wanted an excuse to try out my new tools.

Mostly when artists talk about "new tools," they're referring to a rainbow of colored pencils or soft new brushes and such. Me, I was talking about my new rechargeable circular hand saw and drill, complete with 2 batteries and a charger, which I bought at Home Depot this week for $89. Oh yeah, and my two new saw horses for $21. That pretty much used up my proceeds from the yard sale I did with my friend Darby last weekend (it didn't rain!). I've been wanting these for years so I wouldn't be dependent upon extension cords and trying not to saw through the saw cord, untangling cords, etc.

I LOVE the new tools, and used the saw to cut first a shelf, then a piece of molding to put on the front edge of the slanted desktop so things wouldn't roll off. (The new sawhorses worked admirably.)
And the drill to drill holes then act as a screwdriver to attach the top edge of the desktop to the sill. My brother David gave me an electric brad-driver when I was in Idaho, and I fastened the molding on with that. Cool!

Below right is a picture of my studio now. On the left is my computer desk (with the computer monitor down UNDER the desktop so I can sit comfortably without craning my neck upward toward the screen).

The new drawing/writing/journaling desk is just to its right, with a high chair Daniel loaned me sitting in front of it. The chair is "guy-sized," but it works. The desk top is a piece of plywood with a skunk drawn on it, then stained and varnished. I did that many years ago, and the desktop has been languishing in the storage shed for a long time. It's nice to see it again. I love skunks ~ I used to be a licensed baby skunk rehabber.

In the foreground is my shipping table where I fill orders. It juts out into the center, with its scale to weigh the packages on (so I can apply postage from my computer and not have to stand in line at the post office), and an order of books being processed. Invisible around the corner to the left of the computer are my b/w and color printers.

You can see why I'd want to sit in front of the lovely view of the hillside, with its ponderosa pines, Douglas firs, manzanita bushes, oak and madrone trees and miscellaneous little forbs and grass, and other forest floor stuff.

Of course, in order to see the scenery out the window, the next step is to wash the windows. I've let them get pretty dirty to ensure that no birds will hit them, but I'll put very narrow strips of sticky-back shelf liner six inches apart on them as soon as they're clean. The birds see the (1/16") strips and notice the window, but the strips are barely noticeable from inside ~ and it's worth it to have clean windows!

In fact, in the photo at right, two strips of shelf paper, applied to the outside of the studio door glass lengthwise, have been there for four years now (can you see 'em?). So obviously they're weather proof, I can see out into the yard from inside, but I seldom notice the strips. Since I put it up, I haven't had a single bird hit that glass! Yay!!!

So, as soon as I get this all squared away (I'm still carrying out junk), I'll work on the next journal to put online (traveling across Oregon's High Desert). If anyone is interested, that is.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My New Costa Rica Sketch Journal is available!

What a spring this has been! Rain, rain, and more rain, a Jack-in-the-Beanstalk garden, yet more rain, a trip across central Oregon, and then a bit more rain.....
To visit my brother and his family in Idaho, I spent four days traveling nearly 1091 miles back and forth across the high desert of Oregon, and I sketched and journaled at every opportunity (what a marvelous sketch crawl!).

Actually, opportunities were sparse at times, because even though I had waited until late May for the trip, it rained and snowed for much of the time. But when the clouds parted, and it wasn't raining, I had some great sketching experiences: wild elk along the Rogue River, a colorful young rattlesnake and long-eared owls in the Owyhee Mountains, gadwall ducks diving in a desert lake, a mama pronghorn defending her newborn fawns against circling ravens, and a BUNCH of other adventures. And after a wonderful trip and visit, I came home to another two weeks of rain, which made me gloomy and grumpy..... so I sat down at my computer and went to Costa Rica in my mind.

The outcome of that portable vacation is that I have now a new ebook to offer you! It is called Costa Rica Feb.'08, my travel journal from that sojourn, full of sketches and observations, which you can download for a paltry $5.95.

Also during that rainy/gloomy time, I reviewed what has been happening with my my Workshop Workbook sales since I raised the price from $9.95 to $15.95 in April. I realized that I had inadvertently put the workbooks financially out of reach for many of you in these hard times.

So trusting my heart, I have lowered the price of all my Workshop Workbooks (except for the Observing Nature set) back down to $9.95. Stop by and let me know if I did the right thing!

However, when one lowers a price like that, one has to think about all those wonderful people who bit the bullet and bought the workbooks at the higher price. They would be rightfully miffed.

After some pondering and deep thought I concluded that the only solution would be to offer a bonus download. So... a whole bunch of great people are, as I write, opening their email boxes to discover free download links to Costa Rica Feb.'08. I hope that softens the blow some!

If you write and sketch in a journal on your travels; if you like to travel; if you like to armchair travel; if you are planning a trip to Costa Rica, if you think you might like to try your hand at sketch journaling; ANY of those things ~ and if you can afford $5.95 (I've kept this REALLY low because I'm not sure how great the interest is such a thing), let me suggest you download my sketch journal and get some inspiration for your next trip.

I have a number of other sketch journals you might enjoy, too, including Costa Rica in April and July, ten days in the wilds of Hawaii, the trip across Oregon's High Desert, and maybe even my month-long trek from end to end of New Zealand with Daniel. They aren't cleaned up and uploaded yet, but I plan to do it soon.

I'm starting to pull out of my rain-induced gloom now. It's still often cloudy/rainy, but spring has finally come with 80 degree afternoons and no need to light a fire in the evenings. My garden is producing enough snow peas for daily use and the spinach leaves are 8" across! Fee fie fo FUM!

And remember my woodshed with the roof crushed last winter by the fallen tree? I finally got the rafters hoisted back up and repaired ALL BY MYSELF ~ after a lot of Puzzling Things Out, a big hammer, 2x4s, ropes, electric drill, hand saw, honky galvanized nails, two ladders and a concrete block I hung from the ends of each rafter as I went along to pull the outer end down while I pushed up on the center broken part (the fulcrum technique). Only then could I "scab" it with a long 2x4 securely nailed to each side of the break. I still have to nail the corrugated panel on, but that's EASY compared to mending those rafters! Here are pictures showing the tree on the roof, the repairs partway through, and as it stands now, ready for its roof panel. Click on an image to see a larger version.

So that's the news from the madrone forest in southern Oregon. I hope your spring is progressing in a satisfying way and that you enjoy every minute of it!

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