Sunday, November 23, 2014

Giving Thanks, and coffee

A few weeks ago, my friend Loretta (aka Mrs. Pom of Pomegranates and Paper) and I launched a new project that we call Drawing Together Coast to Coast.  We've been talking about how to spur ourselves to paint more regularly, and we decided that if we were doing it together, and publicly, we'd be motivated.  We're taking turns choosing themes and posting our sketches every Sunday.

This past week's theme, chosen by Loretta, was "giving thanks."  And as I seem to have become obsessed with Starbucks' Thanksgiving Blend coffee (I've been on the hunt for another box or two of the K-cups before they are gone), that's what popped into my mind.  And although it may seem like a strange representation of "giving thanks," it makes sense to me.  Because it's not really about the coffee.  It's about the pleasure I take, and the gratitude I feel, for the little rituals of every day that make me happy.

It's coming downstairs in the morning and having the coffee maker on and ready, thanks to the handy timer.  It's popping a little pod in and having good coffee with the push of a single button.  It's the insulated mug that I've used every morning for years now, because I love how it keeps coffee hot for so long and I can linger and sip without the coffee going tepid. It's sitting in the living room and reading email and blogs while I wake up.  It's my sweet dog Gemma at my feet, gnawing on her morning chewy.  It's how good it feels to connect with friends (even if it's via email or blogs or facebook) and see what everyone is up to.

I could go on and on.  But you get the idea.  I'm sure you have your own morning rituals that help you start the day with pops of pleasure.  Wanna share what yours are?  Do tell in a comment!

And if you want to follow my bicoastal sketching adventure with Loretta (she's in New York, I'm in California) pop on over to the page.  You can "like" it and even follow so you are notified when new posts are added.  

Friday, November 21, 2014


It's been raining!   After our long drought here in Northern California, the rain is so welcome!  Yesterday I was waiting in the car before C finished her class, and I was enjoying the patter of rain on the car so much. I had the perfect cozy time, reading and watching the rain.  Here's hoping we get more today!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

An Autumn Mood

I can't remember where I came across the concept of "mood boards."  I'm not sure where the name comes from, but the concept of collages of images to portray a feeling or a look or a color palette isn't new.  Professional artists, designers, and decorators have been using them forever.

But a few years back I came across the Moodboard app for the Ipad, and I've had fun creating digital mood boards.  I create them for various reasons -- to get myself psyched for something, to try to hone down on a look or a feeling I want from something I'm working on -- or for no reason at all, just because it's fun to put images together.  It's like putting things up on a digital bulletin board to get a look that makes me happy.

(My sister just emailed to tell me that she likes an app called Moldiv better than Moodboard.  I've not tried it yet but I'm going to.)

But only recently did I think about using Photoshop to make them.  I can see it's another one of those addictive things.  Like Pinterest, making mood boards allows you to assemble images that just make you happy.  I love that.

Here's my latest, celebrating things I like in autumn.

If you're interested in playing with making digital mood boards yourself, here are a few resources:

And you can see all different ones by searching "mood board" (or "moodboard", people seem to spell it both ways) on Pinterest.

Are you in the mood to try one now?  Har har.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

An Occidental Saturday

This morning I headed out to the small town of Occidental, which is a little funky Sonoma County town.  Its main street is about 2 blocks long, and densely forested hills rise up on either side so the town feels like it's nestled into a cozy little valley. It's famous for two old Italian restaurants, which sprang up to feed the many Italian immigrants from SF and the bay area who came up to fish in the Russian River and hunt. I was there to meet up with the North Bay Urban Sketchers, and we had a perfect day for sketching outside -- it was warm and sunny with a bit of fall in the air.

You can see that I settled down to sketch a beautiful old church, up against the hillside.  But before I selected my sketching subject, I walked around for a bit with my camera, so here are some other scenes from my Occidental day: