Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fall in Love With Art Journaling Fall Challenge

I never finished the thirty journal pages in the last challenge, but the newest one has started up on Facebook:  Fall in Love With Art Journaling Fall Challenge.  You can sign up by following the link.

The first challenge was to use initials or monograms.  I did a simple watercolor wash, some letters with black marker, and some doodles around the edges with gel pens.  Good type of work for watching college football games.

Here is a little beach scene I did on a 4" x 6" card. 

There was another rocket launch from Cape Canaveral on Friday morning at 6:28.  This time we were still at my brother's house before leaving for Sarasota.  In the picture below you can see the sun rising over Fort Myers, and the white clouds are the vapor trail from the rocket. Very cool!

Our beautiful weather continues here in southwestern Florida, while most of the east coast is swamped with rain from Hurricane Joaquin.  Thank goodness there was no direct hit, but there is a lot of flooding in the Carolinas.  More rain is coming their way.  Hope the sun comes back out soon for them.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Great Blue Heron Painting

Here is a little card I made for my new friends from the Dattoli Cancer Center, Fiona and Howard from the U.K.  They had rented a house on a pond, and Fiona got pleasure from feeding a one-legged great blue heron.  I thought she might like this little memory of her stay here.

Fiona's Friend, Jeanne Turner McBrayer, 2015
We have made some very nice friends at Dattoli.  Everyone there is in the same boat.  It is nice to talk to people who are sharing the same experience.  Howard finished his treatments today, and they are so glad to be heading home.

After treatment today we went to Siesta Key for breakfast at Another Broken Egg.  It has become very well-known thanks to college hoops sportscaster Dick Vitale, who eats there frequently. No Dickie-V sightings today, Baby!

We ate outside.  I love the pottery coffee mugs.

I had a delicious and unusual breakfast of fried brie covered with apple, pecan, and raisins sauteed in Grand Marnier liqueur.  Oh, man!

Charlie had a Belgian Waffle with blueberries.

After breakfast I surprised him with a trip to the Apple Store in Estero, Florida, near Fort Myers.  There is a very nice shopping center there called Coconut Point.

I bought Charlie a motivational gift for being a "good boy" during all his radiation treatment.  He now has an Apple Watch.  He loves gadgets and is very good at figuring them out.  I think this gave him a little lift as his treatment winds down.  We are both homesick and ready to be back in North Carolina, but this will give him something new to play with.

There is a major hurricane brewing off the eastern coast of the US, but it is sucking all the moisture out of the air here in southwestern Florida.  There is no humidity, the temps are lower, and there is a light breeze.  Yesterday we went to the beach at Lido Key and loved the more pleasant temps.  There were actually some waves, which have been kind of rare since we have been in Florida.

Tonight was so pleasant that we sat out on the deck and enjoyed the sunset.

It is raining cats and dogs at home in North Carolina thanks to Joaquin.  We are enjoying being on the right side of this hurricane.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

As Black As Night

Here is another watercolor painting prompted by a challenge in the Fun and Free Journaling Challenge on Facebook:  As Black As Night.

As Black As Night, Jeanne Turner McBrayer, 2015

This is inspired by the sky when we leave my brother's house in the morning to drive to Sarasota, Florida.  It is still very dark, with Orion, the moon, Venus, or other celestial bodies still visible in the sky.  The palms looks like dark shapes with ghostly trunks.

The good news is that this week the treatments will begin about an hour later, and only last for twenty minutes instead of an hour.    He will be finished with them on October 16.

We stopped at a different Amish restaurant in Sarasota on Friday morning...Der Dutchman.  Almost all of the people working there wore Amish dress.  Here are two quilts that were hanging in the sunroom, where we ate our breakfast.

My brother's sons came home from Florida State University for the weekend.  It was great to see them.  We all went to Sanibel Island on Saturday.  

Here is my husband Charlie taking a family photo for them on the beach.

That night we had a great dinner at their home, with Anna's parents attending as well.

We are so lucky to be doing this cancer treatment thing in a beautiful place with a chance to be with family.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Little Handwork

Before I left for Florida, I searched among my many UFOs (UnFinished Objects) for a project needing handwork to keep me busy.  I came across a notebook with a number of flower/nature studies that I began in an online workshop with Pamela Allen in 2010.

I remembered that these were in my project bag a few days ago, but alas, I had not packed a needle.  A trip to Target produced a tapestry needle that will do, so I have been doing some stitching.

This one is supposed to be morning glories climbing on fence posts.  I have stitched down all but the leaves and flower at the bottom center and right, using embroidery floss.

I think I must have made those fence posts when I first got my needle-felting machine.  I detect some wool roving and strips of fabric felted onto a cotton base.  The wool makes it look a little hairy, I now think!

When it is all stitched down, I will machine-quilt the piece, adding more wood grain and some veins in the leaves.  Looks like it could use some wire between the fence posts, as well.

Here are the other pieces I brought from this series.  They all were missing bits here and there.  I compared them to the photos in the original post and tried to fix them up.  I may have to add some more fabric when I get home to Raleigh.


 Perhaps a hydrangea?  It is missing about a hundred of those x-shaped petals!

Some tall blue flowers on stems.  Looks like I need a bigger piece of background fabric!

 I think this one is an abstract  version of aspen trees.  The purpose of the exercise was to observe shapes in nature, and not always make the stereotypical daisy shaped flower or symmetrical pointed leaf.

A tree...Not sure what's going on here, except maybe I was trying to utilize the botanical patterns on some commercial fabrics to make the leaves and branches.

I sat outside on Jeff and Anna's deck to work on my stitching today.  While I was stitching, there were three iguanas criss-crossing the lake.  I think the big brown one is getting amorous, and the two smaller green ones are trying to swim away from him.  Here is one of the green ones climbing out of the lake onto the grass.

We did visit a fabulous place on the way home this morning.  It is right here in Fort Myers, and my sister-in-law told us about it yesterday.

Norman Love's Chocolate Salon...oh, my goodness, Heaven on Earth!

The pastries and candies look like jewels or pieces of art.

Here is a chocolate cake with several tiers.

 We each had a pastry and coffee, and then we brought home a box of assorted truffles for our hosts, a dark chocolate bar for a fellow patient we have befriended at the Dattoli Center, and a sugar-free chocolate bar for us.  I predict more trips to visit Norman Love before we leave!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Iguana Make Art!

Here is a fun journal page that I just finished.  I am still working on the Fabulous and Free Art Challenge on Facebook.  Challenge 24 was the prompt "Sublime Stencils."

I had already made a cool background by putting either gesso or gel medium through a stencil for a dimensional effect.  Then I painted a watercolor wash over that in rainbow shades.

I loved the look, but was stumped on what to do with it until I got my inspiration here in Florida.  As I mentioned in a previous post, there are lizards everywhere here...including iguanas.  

I painted a piece of paper in dark colors with watercolor, drew an iguana shape on the back, and cut out the shape.  Then I just glued it over the background to create a negative shape.  I did not try to use specific parts of the stencil design, but am pleased with how the stencil designs help form the iguana.

Today after Charlie's radiation, I surprised him with breakfast at a French Cafe and Bakery in Sarasota called C'est La Vie.  His appetite is off, and he does not eat much except in the morning.  We enjoyed crepes and potatoes and baguette.  It is a nice place with a warm atmosphere, nice art, and great waitresses.

And here is today's sunrise.  The day started out just beautiful, but rained this afternoon.  That's okay...we're still getting over the visit with our kids and granddaughter last weekend! A good afternoon to stay inside and veg.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Journaling in Florida

I did a couple of quick journal pages last week using ephemera from a few of the Florida restaurants we have visited.

The first one utilizes the place mat from Yoder's Amish Restaurant and a brochure from Cha-Cha Coconuts in Sarasota, and a napkin from The Mucky Duck on Captiva.  I painted the background with watercolors to match the bright pastels of the artwork.

On the next page, I had already painted the sky and water and was stuck on what to do next.  The napkin from The Green Flash restaurant on Captiva Island solved the problem.  I added some green paint to the horizon and then some text with gel pens.

I have never personally seen the green flash phenomena, but it is on my bucket list to experience it one day.  

According to Wikipedia:

Green flashes and green rays are optical phenomena that sometimes occur right after sunset or right before sunrise. When the conditions are right, a green spot is visible above the upper rim of the disk of the sun. The green appearance usually lasts for no more than a second or two. Rarely, the green flash can resemble a green ray shooting up from the sunset (or sunrise) point. Green flashes occur because the atmosphere can cause the light from the sun to separate out into different colors. 

It was a great weekend for us, because our kids came down for a visit from North and South Carolina!  What a shot in the arm for Charlie and me.  More than halfway through cancer treatment and we were feeling in a bit of a slump.  Nothing like your loved ones showing up to improve the old attitude!

We went to Sanibel Island on Saturday and had a beautiful day.  

Little Charlie loved the warm, gentle, shallow Gulf ocean waters and all the seashells.

We rented a car for them that was supposed to be a Hundai Sonata, but instead became a Camaro convertible.  I got to ride to Sanibel in it with son Dave.  Wheee!

Feeling blessed and loved.