Monday, September 29, 2008

Morning light



One thing about having a dog to get you out every morning is that you have the opportunity to enjoy the morning light. It is so beautiful! I have never been a morning person, really. Not until I got this dog was I ever up before 8 am. I used to stay up late at night and sleep most of the day. Pono has reformed me. If I stay in bed too long, the paw comes after me. He bats at the edge of the bed, and whines. If my head is too close to the edge of the bed, the paw may contact my head, which is not a pleasant way to be awakened. So, I drag my lethargic self out of bed, put on the workout clothes, and put shoes on. Pono doesn't get excited until he sees the shoes. That is how he knows it is almost time to go outside. He has even been known to lay down right next to my foot, and put his paw on my foot, or lick the foot, until the shoe is on. It is really cute. Pono loves shoes.

So here are a couple of photos of the desert where we run, with that divine morning light. It still looks somewhat green (for the desert, I mean) since we have gotten a bit of rain recently.

Today will be a day of running errands, but hopefully I can spend a little time, in my constant preparation for Studio Tours!!! I leave you with one of the new monotypes. This one was also inspired by those cactus wrens, since I love them so much.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Art Tours are approaching

I have been working hard, hanging art, mounting art, framing art, printing cards, etc. I am getting ready for the Studio Tours. I think I have talked about it before, but since this is my first year to participate, I am feeling a bit of anxiousness and excitement. I am hoping to make a good impression! For more information about the tours, I would have you click on the link, but I am not sure they have all the information updated yet. So I will tell you what I know. My studio will be open on October 11th and 12th, from 9 to 5 pm. I will have original paintings, monotypes, giclee reproductions, note cards and gifts available for sale. I will be talking about my processes, my inspiration, and whatever else people want to know about my art. I may even have some munchies! There will be other artist's studios open for touring, and a map will be available. (At least that's what I have been told.) For questions about the tour, there is a website with a phone number, or you can email me (karine@karineswenson.com).

There have been many coyote sightings lately. Pono woke us up repeatedly last night, barking at coyotes that got too close to the house. I am tired today, and hoping he decides to sleep tonite. I have also come across a few king snakes during the morning runs with Mr. Pono. (I am quite glad they were king snakes, which are the non-poisonous variety! Especially since I very nearly stepped on one.) It was cooling off for a couple of days, but now we are back up to the nineties during the day, and the 70's at night.

That's about all the desert news for today. I will leave you with another lizard monotype. This one was "re-touched" slightly with pastel after it was dry. I love the colors in this one. It measures 7 x 5 inches for the art.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A watercolor painting

I don't have much to tell you, except that the weather has finally turned. It has been cooler at night, and only gets into the mid- 80's during the day. That probably sounds hot to many of you, but it is at least 10 degrees (F) cooler than it has been. It feels wonderful. I find that I am spending way too much time outdoors. Just enjoying the sunshine. Sunshine that finally feels warm, without being scorching. I have work to do, but I have to enjoy this just a little bit, okay?

Here is a watercolor from earlier this summer. It was one that didn't get lost like the other ones, but somehow it never got posted. It is pretty small, measuring only 7 x 5 inches.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

An award

I have been given an award by my blogger friend, Priya. She actually awarded it to me a while ago, and I keep forgetting to mention it. Not because I am not thrilled or delighted. My only excuse is that I am a space-case!!! Thank you, Priya! A belated thank you! I can't seem to figure out how to put the "Brilliant Blog Award" logo here. Okay, I am too retarded right now. Patience gone. You have to pretend it's here. Here's the link if you want to look at it. That seems to be all I am capable of! Yikes!
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_s1aEyb1bHTo/SMazM57c4tI/AAAAAAAABdQ/Rp36FQXXCu0/s1600-h/blog_award%5B1%5D.jpg


I would like to pass this award along to some of my favorite bloggers:

Carla Sonheim - Snowball journals

Linda - Abbey Creek Art

Robyn - Art Propelled

Nancy - Outside the Lines

Really, when I think about it, all the blogs I read and comment on are my favorite blogs, which is why I read them. So if you get comments from me, you are also a recipient of this award. I just wanted to mention a few for today...

Here is a self-portrait (with a camera this time!) with a t-shirt I ironed one of my transfers onto. (you can just see the fish, barely. I guess if you have short arms, it is hard to get a photo like this!) This transfer is available as a patch, or applique in my etsy shop.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The desert is fun


We had another rainstorm the next day after the last one I told you about. It is so exciting!! Two days of rain, IN A ROW. We now have .85 inches of rain for the year. One inch, we are almost there! The road outside our house looks like a washout, but I am not complaining. I have enjoyed every minute of our 15 minutes of rain. ha ha ha. I took another photo of it, this view is out our back patio door.

Since I have already posted about the coyote melon, I will not go into too much detail about this plant. If you want to read about it, click here. I have one a bit further down the street from our house that is in an earlier stage than the one right out the front driveway. I took some photos of the blooms this time. The blooms obviously come first, and then the little melons are after that. Aren't they a lovely color? I think in person they appear a bit more orange, but it will be hard for you to tell, since I know every one's screen is calibrated differently. This vine is an unexpected plant for the desert, I think.

I also passed a coyote, laying in the shade of a Mohave yucca on my way home from the grocery store this afternoon. I stopped the car to take a photo, but the minute I rolled down the window, He (she?) got up and trotted to a safer distance. I did get this photo, but you can see my camera can't really handle the distance. Still, I think these are beautiful creatures.

The other exciting news I have is that I finally found the missing watercolor paintings!!! I cannot tell you what a relief that is. Of course, they were in the drawer, right where they were supposed to be, buried under a bunch of other paintings. Go figure. May you all enjoy the upcoming weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rain

It is so rare to get rain here, that when it does rain, I find that I can't focus on my work at all. I just have to stop what I am doing, and go outside with my camera and my eyes open wide. That is what happened yesterday. I watched the clouds build with hope, but tried very hard not to get too excited, since often the rain seems to be all around us. Not ON us. It can be disappointing. The wind began to pick up, but still I told myself not to get excited yet. Even as the sky darkened, I reminded myself that it was just a cloud, and there was nothing to be distracted by. Too many times have I stood out on the patio, waiting and wishing for rain that never came. I didn't allow myself to really believe it was raining until I looked out the window and saw this:


Then, I decided I could drop my project and stand under the eaves and watch the rain. We had .39 inches of rain (for the year, that is) and now, after yesterday, we have had .63 inches of rain. We are over halfway to having ONE WHOLE INCH of rain for the year!!!! How exciting is that?? Welcome to the desert.

The rain seemed to bring out all of the wildlife, which of course I love. I saw an extremely wet roadrunner, cruising past the house. It had its head tucked tightly against its body. Maybe its neck was cold??? I tried to get a photo, but darn! those roadrunners are fast! Pono and I then saw two coyotes at sunset. They really are beautiful creatures. Once again, I wish not only that I had my camera with me, but also that I had a good zoom lens. It would have been fun to share that with you.

I made a few more journals yesterday. These new ones have some of the images from my monotypes on them. I am not sure if I like them as much as the earlier ones. What do you think? I bought some really inexpensive t-shirts on sale at Target Monday, and I am going to put a transfer on each one of them. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully, they will turn out, and I can show them to you tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Vegas Marvels


Here is more from our Las Vegas getaway. We only drove through a little bit of the strip, and I took most of the photos from the car, with the window down. It was enough for me. I am not much of a fan of the bustle of the strip. I did enjoy seeing the buildings. Where else can you go to see a miniature version of New York and Paris within a block or two of each other?

Another thing that boggles the mind is the constant construction of new casinos.




We spent the rest of our time lounging by the pool with a book. I must say, it felt great.

More photos of new monotypes coming soon. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sin City


Matthias and I have returned from our mini getaway. I'm sure by now you have guessed - we went to Vegas. Vegas, baby, Vegas. Matthias had to get his Aprilia (this is a motorcycle, for those of you who don't know that) worked on. There isn't much in the way of Aprilia dealers here in the desert, so he found a place in Vegas that had a good reputation. We used it as an excuse to take a little break. Las Vegas is about 3 1/2 hours by car from Joshua Tree. So really, it is a pretty easy drive.

Now, I know what you are thinking. "Is Karine really into gambling or something?" No, in fact, we hardly gambled at all. I think we may have put two dollars into a poker machine. If that. We have found a hotel in the south part of the city that is inexpensive and has a huge king size bed. And a pool! Believe it or not, you can find things to do in this city that have nothing to do with gambling or prostitutes. Seriously! The whole casino thing is a bit like a car crash for me. It's repulsive and yet you can't turn away. The people watching is fascinating. If you are into people watching, which I am.

Then, there is the Bellagio. As much as I love nature, and find infinite inspiration there, I also have a great appreciation for the creations of human beings. This is something that was reinforced for me by a collector friend of mine in Hawaii. The marvels we are capable of!!! Take, for instance, the Chihuly sculpture in the lobby of the Bellagio. If you have never seen Chihuly's work in person, I highly recommend it. It is possible that I have never seen anything so tantalizing for my eyes than Chihuly's glass. This ceiling piece (is it considered a chandelier? I'm not sure) was magnificent. You see me standing in front of it, but here are a few more shots. Wonderful. The way the light delicately passes through the colors of the glass is intoxicating.


There was also this chocolate shop in the Bellagio, with the world's largest chocolate fountain. A chocolate fountain!!!! It is behind glass, in a carefully controlled environment, of course, but still. I found that I had a strong desire to break the glass and immerse myself in the cascading chocolate. And I have stopped eating chocolate. (or at least, I have cut way back.) Incredible stuff. I guess decadence comes in many forms, and we each pick our own poison.




I have more to show you from the Las Vegas trip, but I will save it for another day. This will pale in comparison to the other wonders in this blog, but here in a monotype of mine, from last week. This one is called "Altar", and measures 10 x 8 inches.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rattlesnakes and desert things


Hello dear blog readers! We are getting ready to leave town for a couple of days, but I wanted to give you a little something to tide you over, since I won't be posting again until we get back. (Either Wednesday or Thursday). The day before yesterday, on our run with the dog, we had a close encounter of the rattlesnake variety. Mr. Slither was sunning himself in the middle of the dirt road where we run, and Matthias nearly stepped right on him! I, of course, panicked and stopped dead. (I am not a huge fan of rattlesnakes.) I began yelling "snake! SNAKE! SNAAAAKE!" Matthias finally got the message. So of course I had to have my photograph. I made Matthias take the photos, though. I couldn't seem to get myself close enough. Here they are! If you feel like a close up, click on the photo.

I also made monotypes on Saturday, and had an okay day. Not quite as good as I had hoped, but still, it is so fun! (Yes, Priya, I am the luckiest girl! If you ever come for a visit, I will make sure you can make monotypes with me.) Here is one of my favorite ones. This is a bigger one, measuring 14 x 11 inches. I called it "Flower in Violet". You will see more when we return!

I am getting prepared for the Studio Tours in October. I will be participating the Weekend of the 11th and 12th, if any of you fancy a visit to the desert!!! Here is the link.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Even more monotypes


I am excited, because I get to go back to my friend Shant's house and use the press again tomorrow! I had fun Wednesday. I am exploring the desert dwellers in full, at the moment. I am sure it won't last, since nothing (besides the figure) really lasts with me. I guess I just like variety. Lots of variety.

Here is another one of the creatures who inspired me. The desert tortoise. If you remember, they briefly come out from underground to trudge around in late spring. (when they can feast on all of the flowers and green things.) Then, when the weather begins to really heat up, they burrow back down into the cool ground. I had taken a few photos of them when they were out, if you recall. This little monotype is from one of those photos. I cut the tortoise shape out of some cardboard (I drew it out first - I am not so good at free hand scissors.) The cardboard tortoise then gets placed on top of the plate after inking. I think this one might be my favorite.

I hope you all have a lovely, lovely weekend! I think I have the best blog readers!!! I DO have the best blog readers!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Monotypes with "critters"


Today I got another chance to use my friend Shant's printing press!!!! It was so much fun. I love monotype making SO MUCH!!! I feel like I just had a day with ice cream at the beach. A great day. Even if I didn't feel like I had as successful a day as the last day with the press, it was still enjoyable.

I am trying some new images with these new monotypes. I decided to incorporate some more recognizable shapes with this series. Yesterday, after my frustrating and unsuccessful search for my beloved watercolors, I sat down and drew some desert creatures on cardboard, and cut them out. Today, they were used to create monotypes. This one is cut from a coffee cup insulator (from Starbucks - thanks Kristi!). That is how this little lizard got such cool striped pajamas. I almost didn't print this lizard, but now I am so glad I did. Sometimes, you don't know how something is going to look, and you just have to ignore your inner critic (as J. Cameron calls it) and keep going.

I hope you all have a lovely evening. I am tired! More critters coming soon!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The case of the missing watercolors


Today I continued my search for the missing watercolors. Since they weren't in the "drawer", I thought maybe they were in between some heavy books. Sometimes, if watercolors get a little too curly, I will flatten them out with heavy books. I had already combed through my bookcase the other day when I was looking, but today, I decided to pull every single book out of the bookcase and flip through the pages and MAKE SURE the watercolors weren't there. So that is what I did. Still, no watercolors. I have no idea where they could be, at this point. They become more precious to me with every day I cannot find them. Where ARE THEY???!!! I did scan them, so I have digital files of each one, but it's just not the same as the actual painting. I am supposed to be working on the oil paintings, but this search for those little paintings is becoming a roadblock. It is consuming me!!! help. please.

When I get too desperate about this search, the best remedy seems to be distraction. So first, I gave the dog a bath. Pono hates baths, and he makes sure I know it every moment I am scrubbing him down with dog shampoo. The sad, long - suffering eyes bore into me. The ears perk up with any sign that the ordeal may finally be over. If I take too long, he will begin to utter tiny little whines. It's as though I am skinning him, rather than rubbing him with shampoo. Despite his hatred of the actual bath, the post bath is something he loves! He gets extremely happy and loves it when I rub him all over with the towel. Usually, he has to skid around on the tile floor with his wet paws, crashing into the walls, until he gets a toy to play with during the rub down. It's pretty funny. Next time he gets a bath, I should try to get a video of it.

The best part (for Matthias and I) about Pono's bath is how soft he is afterwards. His fur is a pleasure to touch, and you simply want to sit down on the floor and rub your fingers in it. I always lean down to Pono and say "Gee, your hair smells terrific!" Wasn't that an advertisement for some shampoo ages ago on TV??? Amazing how those jingles stick in a person's head. A little frightening, too.

I leave you with some photos of the coyote melon, or cucurbita palmata. This native desert vine produces round gourds, a bit bigger than tennis balls in the fall. This one is growing outside in front of our house. I tried to find information about it, but there isn't much. Some websites say coyotes eat it, others say they do not. The websites all seem to agree that the gourds are bitter. One of the more interesting things I found out about it is that native people used to cut the gourds into slices and rub it into clothes until it began to foam, and used it to bleach and clean clothes. Here is the link, if you want to read more: http://www.heydaybooks.com/news/issues/articles/14.3.acjachemen.html As you can see, the ripe gourd is green with white stripes, but as it lays there in the hot sun, it turns a golden yellow. Eventually, it will turn a buff color, and when you shake it, you will hear the seeds rattle inside.