Barracuda Beta

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 8:01 PM
Javier (my brother) stopped by this afternoon and caught me with ipod buds in my ears (listening to Albert Einstein) and trying to sketch our beta fish "Pepito." I hit pause and he said, "you look intense." I mumbled something about it would be easier to draw the if he was dead! I really didn't expect this fish to live as long it has (6 months now). My brother broke into a sly grin and responded, "I can help you out with that." LOL poor Pepito.....OH, don't worry, I let him live! I notice now that he looks more like a shark or barracuda rather than a cute little beta fish. Oh well! On the other hand, the south pacific idol that inhabits his fish bowl was the most perfect gentleman and sat still for me the whole time :) I did an ATC of Pepito as well but think it somewhat overworked.

Winsor & Newton Travel Paintbox

at 11:45 AM

Originally uploaded by mmvgonzales
Sometimes I believe (erroneously) that if I just had all the right tools, the perfect composition, the right light, etc.... I would be able to just put brush to paper and voila.........masterpieces would spring forth. Oh the fairytale I live in!

EDM no. 104

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 8:40 PM
Draw some salt and pepper shakers

I have been lax in keeping up with the EDM challenges. But today I did some sketching and realized that the objects were on the list. I enjoyed a nice lunch out with my husband Rudy today and while waiting for the food to arrive I did this ink and watercolor sketch. I wasn't sure if I would get the reflections on the dark table but I think I pulled it off.

EDM no. 4

at 8:31 PM
Draw your mug or cup

No, I was not drinking Sangria when I drew La Tasse. I was going 'back' to an exercise in contour drawing....keeping my eye on the mug and not the paper. I love the green I used: Daniel Smith Terre Verte and some ultramarine......I think it's going to be one of my favorite greens!

This and the salt and pepper shakers were done in my new reloaded watercolor sketchbook. I am loving the arches hot press wc paper. The mug is on hot press paper and the salt and pepper shakers on cold press. I put some 140# cold press in my wc sketchbook but think I really didn't need to include anything heavier than 90#.

California Mission in San Diego, California

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 2:13 PM

On Sunday Rudy and I went to Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala - California's First Church. It was nice to attend Mass solely for the purpose of going. The past few years it seems the only time I enter a church is for a funeral...humm..but this visit was nice and I might do it again. I learned it was Pentecost Sunday and they said it was the birthday of the catholic church. So maybe it was the perfect day to wander back in.

I got lots of great photos for sketching, but with my DH who doesn't sit still for too long, I was only able to take photos. I hope to return to the mission soon because it had great sketching potential!

Wired Bistro

at 2:03 PM

Originally uploaded by mmvgonzales
On Saturday May 26, 2007 we spent the afternoon with our daughter Amy in San Diego, California. She took us to one of her favorite lunch spots near her work: Wired Bistro. I salivated at the crepes on the menu and was disappointed when the barista told us "no crepes today."

mARTa's Travel Sketchbook 2006

Sunday, May 27, 2007 at 8:34 PM
I've not had much time to sketch this weekend so thought I'd finish uploading all the sketches from my Winsor & Newton 2006 sketchbook to mARTa's Travel Sketchbook blog. This is the first travel sketchbook I have done and love to go back to it often for the memories it evokes far exceeds my expectations for keeping such a journal.

Annie's Orchid

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 8:02 PM

Annie came over today and painted her first watercolor painting. Go check out our sketch blog : Annie's Adventures with Nina.

Virgin Sketchbook Deflowered

at 3:54 PM
My DH (Rudy) and I spent the morning cleaning house, then fixing a good Mexican "sopita" (soup) for lunch along with refried beans and tortillas. Our next treat was to go out back and lounge by the pool as the day is sunny, warm and beautiful! He snoozed and I began my new rebound sketchbook. The hard part is over. It's so intimidating to be faced with pristine paper and hope you don't totally mess it up. I am happy with my title page and first sketch. Yippee!

Rebound Watercolor Sketchbook

Monday, May 21, 2007 at 7:23 PM

I had the most wonderful and productive day. I arose this morning to a cool day with a light rain falling. I have been toying with the idea of making my own watercolor sketchbook after looking over some of the reloaded books like: Shirley's Paper and Threads, Jan's In my Spare Time, and Martha's Trumpetvine Travels on their blogs.

Fortunately I have done some bookbinding and already have all the supplies in my studio. I just needed a book to re-love. So I headed downtown Riverside to the only used book store I know and found 2 great books. One of Degas (which I couldn't bear to take apart) and the other 'Art Centers of the World: New York' I came home and quickly got to work.

I kept all the color plates in the book and incorporated them into the 11 signatures. I used arches 90# hot and cold press and 140# cold press for my signatures. I loved he end papers in the book which is a map of New York and location of all it's museums. I found the sewing to be relaxing as I listened to a new audio book "Albert Einstein."

After the photos for this blog entry the book is resting under several heavy nursing and art books to dry for a few days. I can't wait to start using it. If I love it I will have to make another for my trip to Europe next fall.

Oh, as a side note: While downtown I treated myself to a nice authentic Mexican meal at my favorite: The Tamale Factory and then went out in the light drizzle to sketch one of my favorite boutiques with my new mechanical pencil !

Good day, just plain good!

Moving On

at 9:24 AM
I gave this a good try. This is the last try of this scene. In many ways I feel like I need to go to the back of the line and start this whole (art) process over again. Re-learn to draw, to do value studies, to review color theory, etc..... Nothing I do lately seems to work and I am left frustrated and disappointed. So, I'm moving on.

Sangria Before Life Drawing

Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 9:56 PM

Dianne and I decided to just ditch the studio painting session since we really don't care for the teacher and go to a Tapas Bar instead and load up on Sangria to loosen us up before heading to the museum for the Life Drawing Session. I really need a figure drawing class as I have a hard time with proportions, always making my figures too compact and shortened. But it was fun to be around other artist and practice, practice, practice!

Kiwano Melon

at 11:17 AM

I have never seen this fruit before and have no idea what it looks like on the inside or what it will taste like. But isn't it interesting? Anyone know how to eat it?

I have been tagged...

at 8:12 AM

I have been tagged by: Kerstin of Snowflakes and BlackVampires.

Go loose yourself there for a while as I like to do! She's a young woman in Germany and her post always enthrall me.

I've listed the rules below but as those who know me, I rarely follow rules so I'm going to do my own thing here. Like some of the other "tagged" artist have stated: If you haven't been tagged consider yourself tagged by me and let us know when you post so we can all get to know each other better.
My list:

1. I live everyday passionately. Be it by wrapping myself around my man to tell him I love him. Always eating ice cream from a cone because there is something sensual in it dripping down your arm. Eating pommagrantes while naked in the bathtub or jacuzzi; ripping the rough skin off to get to the little gems. Never wearing pajamas...which was a problem once when we had an earthquake in the wee hours of morning. I now keep a robe nearby. Reminding myself daily that I am beautiful even though I've added an extra 12#s this past year. Having music (via my ipod) aound me all the time even while working on the pediatric oncology unit: I dance for myself, the kids and my fellow nurses and doctors.....most join me to indulge the "crazy nurse". I am passionate about my life, my work, my love for family and friends and my creativity. I better move on to the next:

2. I love the outdoors. I grew up near the beach in southern california and grew up spending weekends on the shore with my family. I don't think I could live anywhere that was more than a 4 hour drive to the ocean. I have backpacked the desolation wilderness in the Lake Tahoe, Ca. area with a group of women I had only met online. We packed for 6 days and all got along and had a great time. I have skinny dipped everywhere from the ocean, my swimming pool to cold mountain lakes....nothing like the feel of water against every part of your body. I have hiked to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park and made my husband hysterical when I crawled out to the "diving board" to peer over the edge to the valley over 8,000 ft below! I felt like I was looking out an airplane window except for the breeze blowing in my face! I have climed the pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico and hiked the Virgin River in Utah's Zion National Park. I love to kayak and have my own beautiful boat that I put up on my car roof rack and head out to Newport Harbor to commune with the wildlife. I must remember to take a sketch pad next time!

3. Getting bored yet? I go on......I was born with congenital glaucoma and lost the vision in my left eye when I was 6 months old. My vision (right eye) began to detriorate when I turned 30 and now at 51 I am blind as a bat without my glasses. This fustrates me to no end. Even with glasses I wear a magnifying glass necklace so I can read fine print on medication bottles at work. I can no longer read a novel or magazine articles or newspaper late in the day. So I love to listen to books on my ipod and consider myself a voracious book listener! These eye problems got worse last summer when the glaucoma came back after 50 years and I had to have surgery again. Right around that time I began to pick up my art again. I can't see details but am learning that for my watercolors maybe this is a good thing.

4. I grew into my career when my second child, Sarah was born with Down Syndrome. We were young and so scared. She had inherited my glaucoma and severe heart defects. For the 2 short years of her life I matured beyond anyone's expectations. I look back now and wonder who that young woman was...ME?...I went to put her to bed one night and somehow couldn't lay her down, so instead I laid her on a quilt near my bed and sat and watched her all night long. She slept peacefully and around 3am I thought myself silly for doing this. I thought I should just go to bed but as I thought this she gasped and stopped breathing. I tried to get her heart going again till help arrived. She was pronounced "gone to heaven" at the local hospital. Before long I was back in school with the encouragement of Sarah's pediatrician, my husband and mother who cared for my other little ones while I studied. I graduated with high honors from nursing school and here I am now. I said I never wanted to do pediatric oncology because of the death factor, but now, I can't imagine any other kind of nursing.

5. I am a rebel and in my old age I just say what I think and do what I want. I think I have earned that right although I suspect most don't see it that way. I have always put myself first because I believe if I am at my best then I can do my best for others. So with this comes my self pampering: monthly spa visits, pedicures, fine dining, a sexy fast car (I have taken it to 140 mph on quiet Sunday mornings on my way to work) and lots of good sex.......I'm latina so it comes with my ethnicity.

6. One day about 3 years ago I woke up and announced to my husband that I had to go to Paris. He didn't believe me that I HAD TO GO. But being the gem that he is he took me that very day to get my passport photo and apply for a passport. He had no desire to go and couldn't understand my "passion" but went along with it. I asked an aquaintence of mine whom I knew had a desire to see Paris to come along. 3 months later we were in Paris for a week! I taught myself French and found it not difficult to communicate. I decided then that traveling would be my new passion. I mostly work now to save $$$ to travel. Last summer one of my former cancer patients, Stephanie who is 19 years old invited me to go to Europe with her. I jumped at the opportunity and we spent 3 weeks in July touring. We had so much fun together with our best day being when we took a local bus to a marina near Sorrento, Italy and I hired a young man, Guiseppi to take us out for the day on his boat. We swam in the mediterranean sea, ate lunch on the shore in Positano and explored a grotto. It helped that I had learned Italian for this trip! In October I am returning to Europe to London, Rome, Florence, Barcelona and Paris for a month long visit with my husband and daughter Amy. I am excited about showing them my favorite places and hoping to meet up with Casey, Ronell and Robyn and anyone else on EDM where I might be visiting!

7. OK, so I'm long winded. I love story telling and when I was little and my cousins and siblings were out playing I was at my grandma's knees listening to family stories. This is a good thing since now I tell the stories to my nieces and nephews. I keep family scrapbooks and have done some geneology research. I connected with a distant relative and now we stay in touch....we shared the same great-great grandmother. As for my immediate family: I have been married for 31 years to my cute firefighter who works for the city of Long Beach, CA. on a fire boat. I have 3 living children: Adam (29) who is graduating from UCLA with high honors to pursue law school next year. Amy (25) who graduated from UCSantaBarbara and has been working in the bio-tech field for 3 years now as a research associate. She lives in San Diego, Ca. and my Aaron (23) who is still figuring out life and what it will hold for him. He comes by often to hug his mom and do laundry!
So, this is me.

The rules:
List 7 random facts/habits about yourself.
Choose another 7 bloggers to tag and list their names in your blog.
Leave your 7 tagged bloggers comments to notify them of their tagging and to direct them to your blog for tag instructions.

Mother's Day Picnic

Sunday, May 13, 2007 at 5:49 PM

With grown children away or working, I spent the day with my DH at the Citrus Park here in town. I'd been wanting to go for some time and today seemed the perfect day to go. The day was neither too hot nor too cold. We parked ourselves under some shady trees and instead of painting the palm trees or the orange groves I grabbed my sketches of the Farmer's Market and tried once again! LOL, am I crazy? tenacious? a perfectionist? maybe a bit too anal? do I enjoy torturing myself? is this a form of self flagellation? I don't know....only that I think I'm getting closer to what I was hoping for. But alas a long way to go before I am happy with how I paint.

The bottom sketch was done in my moleskine wc sketchbook. It has the freshness I was hoping for in the 1/4 sheet paintings from yesterday. The paint palette I used were the W&N half pans that came with my new little travel paintbox. I can see that I will need to order some replacement colors as I don't care for most of the colors in the box.

The top is a finished painting on 1/8 sheet arches 140#cold press. I like the composition better but see that I don't have enough contrast in values. I should have left the awning much lighter and airy, more white in the flower area and a lighter background behind the figures, maybe blue instead of the green foliage that was behind the ladies.

Should I try this again? Perhaps but not in the near future. I think I know when it's time to move on.

It's just paper

Saturday, May 12, 2007 at 9:36 PM

I was thinking grand today and ended up with awful. This morning Dianne and I went downtown for breakfast, some shopping at the farmer's market and lots of picture taking for possible paintings. I came home and got started right away. And when I thought the first one awful (the one with the 3rd figure) I attempted once again leaving out the young man. Well neither one works for me so they both go in the ruined paper pile (that pile is getting bigger and bigger). Why is it that some days the painting paints itself and other days I am fighting through the whole process? Happy Mother's Day to all...

Big Bear Lake, California

Monday, May 7, 2007 at 4:01 PM

This was the view from the conference room we used for our Quilt Camp gathering this past weekend. I did several sketches while there and then this watercolor in my studio this afternoon. Casey and Ronelle's challenge last week was to paint water or something that holds water. I think the lake counts! This is 10x14 on arches cold press 140#. I am not thrilled with it, but it is all in the process of learning.

The No Rules Thursday Night Quilters that Sometimes Meet on Wednesday

at 3:05 PM

In the early 1990's my sisters and I began to quilt. We shared patterns, fabric and new techniques. Before long we were sharing our new skills with others by teaching and learning together. Soon a small group of friends formed and they brought their friends. Since then we have gathered once weekly to quilt and visit. We are not a formal club; no president, no bylaws. Just a close group of friends who have but one rule: When two or more quilters are gathered they can make a rule!
The idea of getting together for a retreat of quilting came about around in the early 1990's. Our first get away was in the mountain community of Big Bear, California. About 10 of us went; some to quilt, some to rubber stamp and some to ride her mountain bike (me). This past weekend about 26 of us gathered in Big Bear once again for our twice a year "quilt camp". Most quilted, some crafted making cards, decorative boxes, scrapbooking, embroidery, knitting and painting. I joined in the fun by making this art pad for my Annie from chalkboard cloth. I can't wait to give it to her! Now she can "sketch" anyplace!

Quilt Camp Series ATCs

Thursday, May 3, 2007 at 8:38 PM

I'm leaving for the weekend to Big Bear, CA for a getaway with 30 of my quilting friends. I've just about finished my ATCs for the ladies, only 2 more to go. Go take a peek at mARTa's ATCs.

Ah.....Chillin' at the spa

at 8:52 AM

I made my monthly sojourn to the spa at the historic Mission Inn in Riverside, CA. It has stood for many years here in town, some of those boarded up in during the 1980's. But it was revived and is a wonderful place to meet friends for lunch or enjoy the day spa. It has seen many distinguished guest over the years. You can still glimpse at the chair that was made especially for one of our presidents who was quite large (can't remember who), the Reagan's were married in the chapel here as well. The Inn also has wonderful spots to sketch and paint. It's almost hard to decide what to draw!

I love the downtown area because it's so inviting. There are nice little eateries, quaint boutiques, a pedestrian mall that host an evening open market once a week where artists are welcome to come set up and paint and sell their work. Just around the corner is the Riverside Art Museum which host wonderful exhibits, gatherings and classes. I am fortunate to live so close to so much fun!

Yesterday my friend Taralyn from work joined me at the spa where we indulged in a nice lunch by the pool, a good soak in the spa (me trying to draw as I sat in hot whirling water), sipping champagne and eating chocolate, a scalp treatment with massage and of course the eucalyptus steam room. Just a few hours of pampering will last me until next month! ah...........

OK, you are wondering what all this cost? not including lunch...$25.00 plus tip.

Updated Trois Tomates

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 7:38 PM
I finally finished my tomato painting Trois Tomatoes and have updated the previous post with the finished painting. It looks awesome matted and can't wait to see it framed and hanging! Oh, and the tomatoes were a delight to eat!

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