My blog about motorcycle rides, photography etc.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Moving has improved my painting skills!

Last October, Charlie got a big opportunity for advancement in his career.  We moved from Medford, Oregon (about 15 miles north of California) to Salem, Oregon (closer to Portland).  It rains A LOT more and finding myself stuck inside gave me more opportunity to paint. 
A few months ago I started experimenting with shading, or as I learned it was called gradation. I started with this olive.  After this painting, I decided to purchase Ginger Cook's "Back to Basics" and watched the beginner videos several times. 
I loved her videos on making the masters backgrounds and had lots of fun doing those.  I painted several backgrounds and set up a still life in front of one.  So I guess it's my reference photo.
I battled with the color of the radishes and learned how hard it is to get a lighter red without going pink!  I added the bell pepper from memory (because I didn't have one in the refrigerator!)  I love the way the bottle turned out.
Another masters background inspired a painting for a friend's daughter who loves penguins.

Sometimes I figure out new techniques by accident, but it sure is fun to learn!  It has been a long wet winter and I do love to paint - but I long for sunshine as I have a motorcycle in the garage that is calling me to ride, louder and louder as the days go on.

I guess when the sun comes out, the motorcycle will win, and when the clouds come back, the paint will win again.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Battles of the Yard

"The Battles of the Yard"  Written September 2018
   a sprinkler and drip system story (and beginner tutorial)

When warm weather starts and the rain subsides, it is time to check the sprinkler systems!  Since my husband and I decided to divvy up the yard work, I decided to learn all the important stuff for myself.  I am in charge of the front yard and he is in charge of the back yard.  And the battle begins.  So, I figured out how to turn on the sprinklers and this is what I got:

Holey Mackerel!!   Is anything getting wet besides the fence?  Under further investigation there are loads of bare black pipes, missing drippers and sprinklers and chewed up pieces on the ground.  I wonder how that happened??

Cute little puppies get bigger and so does the chewing! 
My sweet black lab "George" ripped up all the irrigation in the back yard and getting a new puppy didn't help things much!

I went to Home Depot and picked up some tubing and some drippers and some sprinklers.  Easy!  I got home and tried fixing the leaks, reburied the hoses and realized the problems were bigger than I thought.  The ground was soaked where I had just fixed the hoses.  Bad fitting hoses!  Old tubing and cracked fittings!  By my third trip to Home Depot I just stood there in the plumbing aisle and decided to just start over.  I talked to a guy staring at the equipment with the same blank look I had and told him "I have no idea what I'm doing - I'm learning by failure!"  He laughed and said he was doing the same thing!

I bought large black tubing, small black tubing, little black bubblers, spikes to attach the big hose to the little hose and a few sprinklers.  I recently learned to light the BBQ grill and can start the leaf blower now - I can do this.

I ripped up all the old tubing and foot by foot, put in new big tubing, new small tubing, and new bubblers for each plant.  I got to a place in the yard where the tubing went behind a bunch of bushes and not conducive to me crawling on my knees to bury new pipe.  I decided to connect my new pipe to the old pipe for that 30 foot stretch.  The old pipe was too small to fit right into the new pipe.

That's when I figured out that there were at least two sizes of big black pipe......I had bought 3/4 inch and the old pipe was 1/2 inch.  OMG, no wonder there were so many people wandering around in the plumbing isle at Home Depot!

Directions of painting

Does anyone who starts painting know their directions?

I don't mean North or South, Left or Right.  What I'm talking about is the STYLE of your painting.  Do you start out wanting to paint like Monet, Salvador Dali or Bob Ross?  

Rivers, countryside, buildings, ocean waves, clouds.  What subjects haunt your soul?  What demands you to put paint to canvas?

I started painting a little over a year ago and I still have not found my favorite direction.  Each new piece has gone a new direction from the last.  My latest works in progress are an 8 X 10 still life of my own creation and a picture of a Kong ball that I did for my dog! 

Maybe I'll never find my direction, and maybe direction doesn't matter.  

Maybe it's just the feel of a loaded paintbrush against canvas which fills your soul!

Sunday, September 16, 2018



Well, I do have a lot of excellent crap, but it's official, I'm moving! 

I have been in my current house since 2007.  Besides all the stuff I moved from Waddell, Arizona to Medford, Oregon, I also have accumulated a bunch more stuff to fill cabinets, boxes, closets, under beds and in the garage.  As I start packing I realize that a significant amount of this mass has just been lying around, taking up space, acquiring dust and requiring dusting. 

Some things like CD's and DVD's didn't originally take up much space, old jackets that I had to have at the time, some stuff other people got rid of  like power tools and even more stuff with emotional attachments.  The stuff with emotional attachments are the hardest ones to get rid of. 

Moving is a GREAT opportunity to get rid of things that aren't used, not needed and don't matter.  I am taking pictures of things to get rid of and taking them to work.  Kind of like a virtual garage sale.
I've been doing a little research on minimalism.  I've been called a minimalist in my decorating skills but trying to be a minimalist in life sounds a bit daunting.  I'm not moving into a mini-home, but I do want to be able to park my car in the new garage.  I do want to spend less time cleaning and organizing, dusting and washing.  I do want to spend more time socializing with my new neighbors and friends.  I want to spend more time riding and less time cleaning. 

One of the great things about minimalism is that you have less stuff.  Less to wash, less to dust, less to store, less to worry about.  More time to relax, more time to ride my motorcycle. 

My new house is by a lake with a community park only a block away.  I imagine sitting in a chair by the lake reading or sitting by the fireplace and watching a movie.  But most of all - more RELAXING.

In my case, I'm getting a little bigger house than I have now.  The property size was my first priority to downsize.  I currently have a half acre of lawn and gardens and a ton of trees.  Last year I bagged 28 bags of leaves pretty much by myself - something I never want to do again.  I learned to use a leaf blower, start a gas lawn mower, use an edger and put in a new dripline. It was a great learning experience.  And a great space if you like to garden but I'm personally over that part now.  I have always had two large green cans for yard waste and they are always full about 9 months a year.  My new house has a yard that can be done by a Barbie lawnmower.  Yea! 

The house is ready to sell, just need to finish a few projects and off we go.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Ground Hog Intelligence

When the ground hog predicted six more weeks of winter, I laughed.  It was a pretty nice day and I was convinced that spring was imminent.  After several back to back storms, unpredictable blocks of rain, sleet, grapple, hail, snow and ice, I have to admit the little fur ball was right.  With one last big shove, Mother Nature decorated all the surrounding mountains with a blanket of snow, put on some amazing color displays and reminded us what a beautiful place we live in.
Purple and pink sunset.

Jet condensation trails on a cold morning.
                                                Pink clouds at sunrise while at the dog park.

                                    Yellow and orange sunset while waiting for Mexican Food.

Brilliant blue skies!
In the next week the temperature will go from the 40's to the 70's and winter will have to release it's icy grip and give way to spring.  The flowers and trees have already started to bloom and I'm ready to be back on the road, riding my motorcycle to destinations unknown.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

My first canvas!

I still have to practice on my clouds but I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.