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…. ChrisCarterArt.com/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!

Chris

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

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The events of the last six months has transformed my life in an incredibly positive way.

Mouse, Tail of a Parrot, Coffee Mug, Fountain Pen Cap and Key to my FIT

Mouse, Tail of a Parrot, Coffee Mug, Fountain Pen Cap and Key to my FIT

Thanks to a kindred spirit, Joanie Springer, an amazing artist I met through Daily Paintworks and my Creative Color Blog, I taught a couple of workshops in Santa Rosa in November when I visited my son in Mountain View.  That visit realigned my brain and my heart.  The amazing Weedy Seadragon ( Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) I discovered at the Academy of Science in San Francisco sealed my fate.

Jumping ahead six months….. I replaced my 1988 K-car (that I loved, but needed a new catalytic converter to get through NJ inspection this month) with my first New Car!, a standard transmission (hooray!) Blue Raspberry (turquoise) Honda, FIT.  I got 44.5 mpg on a recent trip to Maine.  In addition to the amazing new set of wheels, I added an ipad to my collection of amazing devices.  I can now make my own art videos to post online for my workshop students.

Skipping the rest of the wonderful moves forward…… my father’s dementia is taking it’s toll.   When my father received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Rotary last Saturday evening, I captured a video of the presentation with my ipad.  While waiting for it to upload to video for my family to see, I drew and painted the above image.  ( I didn’t know not to film it in Portrait……. it has taken me all day to upload the video!) It is now 5:11 pm.  I realize that today’s sketchbook drawing is a self-portrait of where I am at this moment …. a really great place to be ….. and a great place to move on from.  I remember the moment of hesitation, standing at the end of the diving board.  Taking a deep breath before beginning my steps forward … leading to the end of the board and the leap forward into the air above the water ….. reaching me arms out into a swan dive or folding my body in half into a Jack-Knife Dive…… then entering the water and gliding through the liquid space beneath the surface.

Image:  Drawn first in ink with fountain pen (Noodler’s Whalerman’s Sepia) followed by watercolor using a limited palette of Raw sienna, cadmium red deep and ultramarine blue.

A quick reminder…. I am teaching workshops in Santa Rosa again at the end of April!

April 25th & 26th …. Village Art Supply – Color Scheme Game and Color Value Workshop

April 27th & 28th …. Riley Street Art Supply – Extraordinary and Fun Watercolor Techniques playing with Abstract Design.

Email me for details … Chris@ChrisCarterArt.com

I’m staying with Joanie Springer in Santa Rosa.  We stay up late sharing ideas about simplifying our lives online and offline.

Joanie Springer's Corner Bookshelf

Joanie Springer’s Corner Bookshelf

Spending less time on my computer is the bottom line for me.  At the moment, I’m posting on five blogs.  Now that my new website is up and running fairly smoothly, I will cut back significantly on the number of  Creative Color Blog posts.  I thought I might eliminate it completely, but I can’t, I enjoy it too much.  What I worry about is sending out far too many emails to my subscribers. As with the Creative Color blog, I’ll post less frequently on Third Time Around.

My intention is to post no more than two times a week on the new blog and once every other week on Third Time Around and Creative Color.  A weekly exercise and current paintings will be posted on the new blog. If you wish to receive these new posts, please visit ChrisCarterArt.com/blog and subscribe.

Another change … I am sending out a monthly newsletter, Chris Carter’s Notes with an art tip and a summary of the previous month’s exercises as well as the workshop and events schedule.  There is a separate mailing list for the newsletter.  You will find the subscribe to box on the sidebar of my website beneath the Blog Subscribe box.

Link to the new website blog:  ChrisCarterArt.com/blog.

Thanks for your patience and your support!

Sketchbook painting:  drawn first in ink with fountain pen, followed by watercolor.

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.

Tomorrow I take another step forward with today’s technology.

Pete's Measuring Spoons

Pete’s Measuring Spoons

I’m in Asheville, NC with my friend Pete.  He will create my first painting demos to post online.  I’m excited to add this additional reference for my students.  I’ll spend the day today preparing drawings for tomorrow’s shoot.

Sketchbook drawing:  drawn first in ink with fountain pen followed by watercolor.  I was testing how pushing the puddle works on the surface of a recycled file folder.  It is smooth and not as absorbent as the Rives BFK paper.  However, it behaves well and I like it.

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.

cookie-tins-aluminum-foil-cookies-ink-watercolor-sketchbook-drawings-chris-carter-artist-121112-webs

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)