It’s true that the Universe responds to all requests.  I am busier than ever with travel, workshops, exhibits and painting!  My plants are suffering from the time crunch.  Five months passed before I added a new drawing to my Family Treasures Series.

Plastic, light-up, musical curch

Plastic, light-up, musical church, Family Treasure No. 50

Maintaining three art blogs is a bit overwhelming and unnecessary.  As of late, I’m getting far more spam comments on both my Third Time Around blog and my Creative Color blog.   I’ve decided to stop posting on both of these blogs for at least three months.  I will be posting only on my website blog….

In addition to the website blog, I send out a monthly newsletter with painting travel tips, updates on workshops and events as well as updates on both plein air and studio paintings.  On the website blog sidebar, you can easily subscribe to either or both the blog and the newsletter.

Thanks for your readership!


Family Treasures No. 50 – drawn first in ink with fountain pen, followed by watercolor in coptic bound sketchbook

At an early age, I became my brother’s barber to save him from my mother attacking him with this Craftsman Electric Hair Clipper.

Family Treasures No. 47, Craftsman Electric Hair Clipper

Instead of using the hair clippers to mow his hair, I pruned his hair with the Edward Scissorhands technique.  He was my only customer.  About thirty years later, using a new model of the electric hair clipper, my daughters convinced a good friend of mine to allow them to mow her hair down to a height of about three-quarters of an inch.  She loved it for all of about an hour and a half.  It took half a year for her hair to regain any sort of form or shape.

Family Treasures No. 47 – Craftsman Electric Hair Clipper: Drawn first with dip pen using Scribal Work Shop “Nessie” ink followed by watercolor washes and a few white lines using a Pentel White Gel Pen.  Limited palette of Aureolin (Winsor Newton), French Ultramarine Blue (Winsor Newton) and Permanent Alizarin (Winsor Newton).  This is an example of painting by color value rather than hue or color scheme.  I posted another example yesterday on the Creative Color Blog.  I’ll be teaching a Color Value Workshop at Village Art Supply in Santa Rosa, CA (along with four other workshops) at the end of January 2013.  To learn more about the method used to paint the image above, visit today’s post on the Creative Color Blog.

Four small boxes were among the items I decided not to throw in the dumpster as we cleaned out the family home.  Each box stores twelve empty glass vials.  Scraps of wallpaper and colored photos of flowers cut from magazines decorate the outside of the boxes.  I thought them odd.

Four Decorated Boxes of Zonitors

What was the reason my mother had saved them?  Clearly, they were from the 50’s.  The wallpaper had come loose at the corners and I was able to pull it back a bit to see the label on the box… “Zonitors ….. Vaginal Suppositories”.  Hmmmmmm.

The wallpaper was not familiar.  It had never been adhered to any of the walls in the house in Martinsville.  Had my mother attended a women’s craft session where they brought their boxes of Zonitors and disguised them by gluing decorative papers over the label that announced their purpose to everyone who might visit the bathroom?  And why did my mother keep these little decorated boxes and the glass vials?  She didn’t keep the rubber stoppers that kept the moisture from dissolving the little pellets inside the white suppository packaged within the glass vial.

The purpose of the glass vials would still be a mystery to me if it weren’t for the internet and the power of search engines.  Zonitor suppositories are a product developed in the late 40’s and sold extensively throughout the 50’s.  The advertising was directed, I believe, at newlyweds.  Without a supply of Zonitor, one’s marriage might fail.

Six people lived together in the house in Martinsville.  It was a small house, yet large enough to hide so many secrets.

sketchbook drawing: Family Treasures, No 39 – Zonitors – drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor

Since Elementary School when they were first introduced to me, I have been a fan of Venn Diagrams. It is not unusual for me to see my surroundings fall into the overlapping intersections of Venn Diagram circles.  On the occasion when I can’t help but share my observation, the response is often a blank stare. Oh well ….

Kokeshi Geisha Dolls and Glass Inkwell

The wooden dolls, Kokeshi dolls made in Japan, were given to me by a childhood friend, Melvin Jameson.  He moved to the mid-west with his family when I was in the third or fourth grade.  My parents and I visited them while on a road trip.  It was during that visit that Melvin gave me these dolls.

I wanted a third object to break the background into a more interesting shape.  One of my glass inkwells served the purpose.  When the sketchbook drawing was complete I was faced with the problem of labeling it as part of the Family treasures Series or as part of the Glass Inkwell Series.  I find the labeling of anything to be a problem.

As the intersecting circles of Venn diagrams took form in my head I realized that the drawing could be part of both series.

Sketchbook Drawing:  Family Treasures No. 37 and Glass Inwells No. 7, Japanese Kokeshi Dolls and Glass Inkwell. Drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink followed by watrcolor washes.  Color Scheme: Split Complements (Yellow-Orange, Blue, Violet) Dominant Color is Yellow-Orange.

In 1951 my parents hoped they would name their new baby Christopher.  Instead, they named me Christine.  Eight years later, after trying one more time to add a son to their family, David Howard Charles Carter was born.

The Boy, Bisque Kewpie Doll, 1959

To celebrate this momentous event, my mother received not one, but two, bisque Kewpie Dolls!  One sat upon her dresser as long as I can remember.  The other moved about the house back and forth between the fireplace mantel and the knick knack shelf.  Until my brother entered kindergarten we referred to him as “The Boy”.  Sharing a room with my brother until I was sixteen brought us close together.  At one point, I insisted on bamboo curtains to divide our room in half and provide a bit of privacy.  As soon as I could drive I brought him everywhere with me.  As young adults we spent our summers together hiking the Appalachian Trail and rock climbing.  Eventually, after climbing the cliffs across the country, I left him in Boulder, Colorado to begin his freshman year in college.  I headed to Yosemite to climb the north face of Half Dome with the man who became the father of my children.  It all started with a bisque Kewpie Doll.

Sketchbook Drawing: Family Treasures No. 36, The Boy – drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s black ink, followed by watercolor.

This little wire pig sat on my mother’s waist-high metal, file cabinet.  She kept her recently received letters and the unpaid bills neatly organized in the wire ribs of the perky, pink, pig.

Perky Pink Pig

Over the years, the legs became skewed.  I tried to straighten them.  Instead, I caused quite a bit of the pink paint to flake off as well as making them even more out of alignment.  Now the little pig appears to be dancing a jig.

Sketchbook Drawing:  Family Treasure No. 32 – drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink, followed by watercolor.

In spite of our efforts to feed orphaned, baby rabbits using this tiny, glass baby bottle, we failed to keep them alive more than a day or two.

Family Treasures No. 28

The rubber nipple rotted decades ago.  Still, the bottle remained at the house in Martinsville, reminding us of the love and attention we gave the motherless, pink-eared bunnies we found every couple of years in the backyard.

The roll of film, most likely for a Brownie camera, captured moments we will never see.  We can only imagine what my mother was  looking at when she snapped the pictures, now vanished from the celluloid film.

The cotton napkin is one of a set or two, originally four, that lived in the kitchen drawer with the cotton aprons.

Sketchbook drawing:  Drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Rome Burning ink, followed by watercolor. I’m reminded of vaseline glass and the glow from the uranium content when I see the bleed of the Rome Burning ink.

Mike had perfect 20 / 20  vision.  However, his eyes didn’t work together as a team.  First Grade was hell, to put it mildly.

Family Treasures No. 27, Colored Glasses

After watching a late night news broadcast featuring the experiments of Dr. Irlen in England, we purchased sunglasses with yellow, red, purple or green lenses. Wearing the glasses, Mike was able to see the letters lined up in the proper order and track from the end of one line to the beginning of the next … for twenty minutes at a time.  It takes only twenty minutes for the brain to reprogram itself.  this is called the Hawthorne Effect. By taking the glasses off and putting them on every twenty minutes he was able to do his schoolwork and to devour the books that he had been unable to read.  The yellow lenses worked best.  Our next bit of fortune was finding a remarkable woman who had developed a system of reprogramming the brain.  Though challenging, it was successful.  The colored glasses found their way to the bottom of his drawer.  They had turned his life around and given him hope that his dream of being an astronaut might still come true.  He now works for Moon Express, with the goal of winning the Google Lunar X Prize.

Drawing: drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Rome Burning Ink, followed by watercolor.  I decided not to paint the black ear pieces.  I didn’t want to distract from the colored lenses.

My father’s last adventure before dementia made trips too difficult was a trip to South America.  He and Jane were air lifted from Machu Picchu by helicopter after the mudslides in late January of 2010.

Family Treasures No. 26, Coffee Cups from Peru

The peculiar texture of the chartreuse background is, I believe, due to mold in the paper.  It is difficult, if not impossible to see the mold spores.  They make themselves obvious by absorbing the pigment differently from the unaffected fibers of the paper.  Unfortunately, I have a great deal of paper that came from Betty’s basement mixed in with my own paper.  Betty’s basement was flooded about a decade ago after a hurricane.  Somehow, it seems fitting that I used a piece of watercolor paper affected by an overflowing river in North Plainfield, New Jersey to paint souvenirs from a trip that included rescue from a mudslide and flood in South America.

Family Treasures No. 26, Coffee Cups from Peru – drawn first in pencil, followed by ink drawn with fountain pen, followed by watercolor.

Color Scheme:  Analogous with One Complement.  Dominant Color: Yellow-Green

Colors:  Green, Yellow-Green, Yellow and Red-Violet)

Heirloom tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers from Mike’s garden in South Orange.

Heirloom tomatoes and other veggies

The fragrance of fresh basil and sage, also from his garden, filled my head as I painted these precious veggies. Truly, a Family Treasure to be remembered.