To travel and paint ….. to paint and travel.  To pass along the various methods I’ve learned or discovered to express the life I awaken to each morning …. To make connections, on a daily basis, with new people from all walks of life  and to add, in a positive way, to the rhythm of the Universe …. Those have always been my goals.

On the Road to Asheville, NC

On the Road to Asheville, NC

As those goals become reality, other aspects of daily life require adjusting.  There are only twenty four hours in each day.  I had filled those hours completely before needing to upgrade my online presence, before needing to plan for days lost to airports and cars, travel logistics, packing everything into manageable suitcases.  It’s challenging and totally worth every frustration that crosses my path.

Developing new approaches to teaching the basics drives me along paths I might not have explored.  I discover techniques I had forgotten and I stumble across techniques I haven’t tried before.  My own work grows when I share my painting experiences with others.

Sketchbook travel drawing:  Drawn first with ink using a fountain pen, followed by watercolor using a waterbrush. Drawn from the passenger seat, en route to Asheville, NC where my friend, Pete, filmed the first of a series of online painting demos.

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The rubber cement has turned the paper brown and released its hold on many of the ruined drawings.  I created this book and the assignments in this book, believing that anyone can learn to draw if the desire to learn the skill is strong enough.  The smiles on my students’ faces, as well as their sketchbook drawings at the end of the semester, proved me right.

Two stroke Compositions

Two stroke Compositions

 

Positive reinforcement and encouragement goes a long way.  Homework assignments spilled out upon desks at each class.  Long after I had stopped teaching, my students phoned to tell me of the latest awards they won and exhibits they were juried into.  Many of these students were not born with the talent to draw.  They worked hard, drew constantly and reaped the rewards.  Over the years, I loaned this book to friends and private students.  It’s age  and use are showing. I regret using rubber cement to hold it all together.

While cleaning my studio to make room for a new body of work, the lesson plan book ended up on the pile of items to discard.  Before turning the lights out I grabbed the book from the pile and decided to present the lessons one last time.  Over the next couple of months I’ll post the exercises on my new Website Blog, a blog focused on tools and techniques of drawing and painting.  The more information I can post online, the less I have to carry with me when I travel to teach workshops.

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I make much nicer sketchbook covers these days…….

How do they do it?  Every Royal Riviera pear shipped from Harry and David is perfect in every way.

Harry and David Royal Riviera Pear

Harry and David Royal Riviera Pear

They arrive at my door once a year with instructions to guide me through their final ripening stage.  I am also instructed to devour them within ten days.  Nicole and I have no problem following the directions.  They are the perfect gift.  They come in a box, they fill us with pleasure and then they are gone, never to collect dust or take up space.  What lingers is another wonderful memory of yumminess, smiles, moans and groans of culinary pleasure.

Sketchbook Drawings:  Royal Riviera Christmas Pears – Drawn first with inkbrush filled with Noodler’s Black Ink, followed by watercolor.

I’ve avoided embracing the excitement over Artist Trading Cards ….. until now.

Black Bush Sage

Black Bush Sage

I awoke late.  The sky was the color of cantaloupe.  As I sipped my coffee I created my first ACEO.  When I taught the workshop in Santa Rosa last month, Joanie nudged me to try creating a few trading cards.  After several weeks, my resistance faded.  I resolved the problem of working on such a small piece of paper (2.5″ x 3.5″) by stitching a sketchbook just for the ACEOs.  The sketchbook pages measure 4″ x 5.5″, a slightly more comfortable size to work on.
Now that I have my new website with my own little store, I can offer these little gems without a hassle, either cut to standard ATC size or full-page size for framing.

Full Page - Black Bush Sage

Full Page – Black Bush Sage

The sketchbook was created with a boring cover.  My intention is to cut the pages out as they sell.  If I liked the cover, I wouldn’t cut the pages out.  I always have to trick myself.  The little drawings I do in my sketchbook I like far better than the drawings I do on separate pieces of paper with the intention of selling.  I end up with boxes full of drawings that I eventually throw away.  The problem was that I won’t cut pages out of my personal sketchbooks.  The solution is to make specific sketchbooks that are intended to be cut apart.

Will I be able to trick my brain?  Time will tell.

Image: Black Bush Sage Against a Melon Sky – drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor.

Here it is, the recipe for the cookies I have made every December for the last twenty five years.

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Cookie Tins and Cookies (before dipping)

Festive Cookie Dough

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter or margarine softened (I use half butter, half margarine)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon almond extract

add about ¾ cup chocolate chips (or more) to batter.  Roll into crescents.

Use shortening (Crisco) to melt into chocolate chips for dipping (not too much or the chocolate will get drippy)  I think about a tablespoon or two per small saucepan of melted chips.

Stir together flour and baking powder.  Set aside.  Beat butter and cream cheese with electric mixer for 30 seconds.  Add sugar.  Beat until fluffy.  Add egg, vanilla and almond extract.  Beat well.  Gradually add flour mixture.  Cover and chill overnight or freeze up to 3 months.

If mixing without electric beaters or food processor, make sure to beat butter and cream cheese until extremely smooth and well mixed.

Roll into crescent shaped cookies and place on ungreased baking pans or pans lined with aluminum foil.  Bake 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes, just until slightly golden. (Depending on how fat your cookies are, it may take up to 15 minutes.)  They should still be soft when taken out of oven or they will be too hard when cooled.  Bake long enough that they don’t fall apart when dipped into melted chocolate.

To decorate, dip into melted Toll House chips with a bit of shortening added.  roll in jimmies or colored sugar or nuts.  Viola ! ! ! ! !

Double batch yields 210 cookies.  An 8” tin holds 46 cookies (for gift giving)

Enjoy!

Image: Cookie Tins and Festive Cookies before dipping – Drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor. An examaple of Exercise One Part Three (to be posted on the Tools and Techniques Blog on Friday … Part two posts at 9 am today)

Holiday housecleaning is long overdue.  I had planned to remedy that as soon as I awoke this morning.

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Whisk Broom and Dustpan

Instead, I spent the last seven hours continuing to fine-tune and fix glitches on the new website.  Finally, I get ready to clean ….. What do I do instead?  I do a sketchbook drawing of my whisk broom and dust pan.  At least I got so far as to carry them out of the cleaning closet.  And then…… rather than use them, I take the time to snap a photo of the sketch and post it on this blog.  Is there any hope for me ever keeping the house in order?

Sketchbook Drawing: Whisk Broom and Dustpan – drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor over a recycled painting page in my sketchbook.  Notice the wooden fence at the bottom of the page.  This was one of Betty’s unfinished paintings.  Thanks, Betty!  Your priority was painting, too.  You were, however, a better housekeeper than I am.

Turkey Buzzard Feather

Turkey Buzzard Feather

A month ago today Joanie suggested I create a new website with the capabilities I need.  I need a site where I can offer demos to remind my students how to push puddles of watercolor, draw with a dip pen and paint wet into wet….. among other fabulous techniques.  I need a website that presents simple, limitless galleries of paintings and drawings illustrating the diverse media, styles and techniques I use to express myself and the world around me.  I need a site where I can offer Color Scheme Game Template Kits, small paintings, online tutorials, online workshops, used art books and assorted used art supplies.  I need a site that is fun to visit, fun to explore and one that will be revisited over and over again.

I knew she was right…… I just didn’t want to start over again.  She convinced me.  That’s what good friends are for.  The new website is up and running as of late last night.  I will start filming my tutorials and demos in early January.  There are kinks to work out, but I love it.  Thank you, Joanie!

Please visit ChrisCarterArt.com at its new home and let me know what you think of it.  Visit the new blog on the site and subscribe if you wish.  The focus of the new blog is Tools and Techniques of Drawing and Painting.  I will post three times a week and suggest a drawing or painting exercise on a weekly basis.  I hope you like it!

Pen and Ink drawing of a Turkey Buzzard feather: An old favorite of mine