Saturday, July 25, 2015

Fort Jackson

     I'm going to show you something I rarely show anyone.  A partially finished drawing!
WHY?  I hate doing this because an unfinished drawing is UGLY, and people think, "what kind of artist are you?" They can't see the finished product the way I can envision it.
     But, I want you to understand the process, and it IS a process that can be quite messy in the middle.  So, I'll walk you through what I've worked out to date.  I'll show you more in a follow up posting.

     This is the entrance to Ft. Jackson in Bootheville, LA.  The Plaquemine's Parish Orange Festival is held there in December.  We, and especially our kids and dog, spent many a fun time there.

     Here, I've traced the picture onto Bristol Board from the printout upper right.  I use it and the photo on glossy paper for color reference.
     Then I used the Derwent Inktensive Blocks to color in my background colors.  Brushing with a wet brush brings out the intensity of the color and fills in all the little white spots that regular color pencils leave behind.

     Now I've come back with the Prismacolors and started blocking in my darker areas to help me with value balance.  From here on out it will be up to the Prismacolor color pencils.  I'll keep you posted.

Have a creative weekend,

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

From Glory to Gloom and Back

     I meant to post this Sunday, but the blog got too lengthy.  It has been so hot here in Oklahoma, and Honey and I have been struggling with the heat.  Not being able to walk as much is a real bummer for both of us.  Fortunately, Hannah at Paved By Pawprints came to the rescue with these homemade dog toys.  I made some for Honey to help her with the boredom of being cooped up inside so long.
     That said, Sunday early morning proved to be a real treat.  Cooler with a bit of breeze.  So, we went the half block to the park.

The walking trail is a mile around the perimeter.  What a glorious morning.  It was a lovely time alone to soak in all God's grandeur - a time of refreshment after a busy, hot week.

Just thought this was a fun pic!

Midway on our walks is Honey's favorite part  of the park - the cement picnic table - a cool place to watch the other dogs and their humans.

     So much for the glory!  Today it rained.  Rainy days are so depressing for me and Honey too.  We can't walk.  Rats!  
     But, when I sat down to do this post and saw these pictures, it reminded me that this is only temporary ( I'm so impatient). God still loves us.  I don't have to go to the garden and eat worms.
There will be more beautiful mornings and lovely, long walks in the park.

So I hope you all have a glorious week despite the weather,

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Weeping and Itching

     It started out quite simply this morning.  Honey and I left the house to begin our morning walk at early light to beat the impending heat.  It is 99 degrees in Tulsa right now.  We got as far as the middle of the driveway when she balked, turned around, and headed back.
     She was hungry.  Normally, we walk first.  But, since she had the cortisone shot two days ago for allergies, she has been ravenous.

This is Honey when we first moved to the neighborhood.  There are six pecan trees on our lot.  The whole neighborhood is in a two hundred year old pecan orchard.

And this is Honey (on a good day) with stains from allergy tearing.

     She's been pretty stable with Benadryl.  But, lately, she's had a rough time - hence the cortisone.
HELP!  Do any of you have this much problem with dog allergies?  Are there any good home remedies that work?  I wipe her down after our walks with a wet cloth - sometimes with a mix of apple cider vinegar thanks to the Good Flea.  It helps a little. 
     I hate her having to have steroids.  That can't be good long term.  The vet recommended Selenium, vitamin E, and Omega 3 & 6.  I started her on them.  But, I guess that is long term maintenance. Are any of you using these for your fur babies?  Any good results?

     Sorry to be whiny, but, I think you doggy mommies understand the angst when our fur babies are hurting.

Give your fuzzies an extra hug today,

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Kareen's Artwork: When Nancy Came Down

Kareen's Artwork: When Nancy Came Down:      Nancy came down the road from New Orleans (70 miles) in the winter  of the early 2000s. Nancy Newfield  works with LSU and travelled a...

When Nancy Came Down

     Nancy came down the road from New Orleans (70 miles) in the winter  of the early 2000s.
Nancy Newfield works with LSU and travelled around South Louisiana during hummingbird migration season.  She stayed quite busy banding hummingbirds.  I honestly don't know if she is still so active, as I have lost touch with so many people from the area over the last 10 years.  But, when Nancy came down it was a fantastic experience I'll always treasure.
     We had a feeder just outside our office window and loved watching them. Those bad little rascals could be quite vicious with each other and even larger birds who came near their "territory".  We had met an ornithology student who was staying in the area.  Jeff Stratford contacted Nancy on our and another neighbors behalf.  He is the one who originally found the Great Horned Owl nest and taught us so much about birds and the local migrations.

Nancy and Jeff collecting hummingbirds from her homemade trap.  Quite ingenious with a remote control trap door that she shut whenever one flew in to the feeder.

Hummingbirds are in the bags and complaining noisily.

Nancy's mobile office.  The amazing thing about it all is how the bird goes into a state of torpor when held.  Sure looked like they were dead - but only zoned out.

They are so tiny and so lightweight.  In your hand they almost feel like they're NOT there.

Here she's blowing the feathers to see if the bird had gained enough weight to make the long journey over the Gulf of Mexico.  She also banded it after weighing and recording all it's vitals.  Then she added a bit of color on its forehead for easy tracking by other bird enthusiasts who reported its siting.

These kids had the thrill of a lifetime letting them go after Nancy did her magic.

This little fella hung around the feeder for a few days before the big flight.

     We go about our busy days hardly ever noticing the marvels all around us.  Thanks Nancy and Jeff for making us aware of all the beauty of God's creation that surrounds us every day.  I've become more attentive to the little things in life and become more grateful for God's majesty. 

     If you're wanting to know more about these little jewels, Nancy has some books on Amazon you can check out.  And no, she is not aware I'm plugging her books.  She is just a remarkable woman who needs the recognition she is due.

So, look around this weekend - stop and smell the roses - and enjoy God's beauty,

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Kareen's Artwork: It's Secret!

Kareen's Artwork: It's Secret!:      I wanted to show you what I have been working on for the last few months.  But, it's SECRET! So you will have to settle for snippe...

It's Secret!

     I wanted to show you what I have been working on for the last few months.  But, it's SECRET!
So you will have to settle for snippets.  I don't want my family to know what I'm making for Christmas gifts.

This is from linen I found at an estate sale.  The crochet work is from my Grandmother.

This - I'm not telling!

OK - you got me!
This is flannel pajamas for my granddaughter's doll.  But, it doesn't matter because she's only one and can't read my blog yet.

These two were fun and fairly quick to do.
     Do you like to start Christmas shopping early?  I love to find bargains all year long and hide the goodies in a closet.  Kind of makes me feel like Santa's workshop, especially when the gifts are my homemades.
     Well, I hope I made you think about getting ready for Christmas.  All the Christmas in July sales inspire me to get a move on with being Santa's little helper.
     I'd love to hear what you're making or planning to make. 

Happy sewing and crafting,

Sunday, July 5, 2015

For Another Friend

     While I was busy working on posters the last two weeks, I was also busy on a drawing for a friend.  She had seen my slide show and asked if the squirrel picture was for sale.  In an email I explained that it was for the Good Flea.  Having been friends for the last ....:-)...... years, I drew one for her.  This squirrel is one of my favorites.  This little fella kept following my husband and me around Audubon Park in New Orleans.  He wanted treats.  That day was the first time I had used my new camera.
Color Pencil 2015 by Kareen Ramsey

      We had his cousin and his wife staying with us for a few days.  They were down from Chicago and avid bird watchers.  So we took them out along the river (Mississippi) and down to its mouth to see the migratory birds.  And boy, did we get hooked! I now have well over a hundred birds in my life list that I have personally seen.  It is truly amazing to see the diversity of God's creation.
And the fun part is, most of the pictures I took were right from the car window.  Wildlife is just that close down there. 
     But, birds are for another post.  This one is about critters.  More about them too - so y'all come back.

"Lunch"  photo by Kareen Ramsey 2003
Did the gator get the Black-Crowned Night Heron, or NOT?
This happened in the pass near Venice, LA.

 Baby Great Horned Owl and Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
photos by Kareen Ramsey 2003
Raccoon babies and Green Heron
photos by Kareen Ramsey 2004

       It was such fun driving down to the owl nest (12 miles) every few days to watch the babies progress.  There were two in the nest.  We couldn't get too close because of Momma Owl.  She kept a close eye on us.  Our bird watching friends cautioned us strongly to keep our distance.
      In this post I'm trying to give you a smattering of the abundance of wildlife we encountered shortly before Hurricane Katrina.  The wildlife has come back.  Birds are still migrating through the delta.  But, there is a whole lotta less land now.
      I gave up on bird watching when I moved to Oklahoma because that was "our" pastime.  It was too difficult and saddening to go alone.  After ten years, I am just now getting comfortable talking about it.  So this is somewhat cathartic.  Thanks for listening! 
      But, now when Honey and I walk the neighborhood, I keep an eye on one neighbors hawk nest and watch for the big Barred Owl down the street in the evening.  And Honey has to come back in the house if I spot the hawk in the back yard pecan tree.

So keep your eyes open for any critters near you and have a wonderful week,

Friday, July 3, 2015

For a Friend

     Sometimes I do a bit of freelance graphic work.  This last week, I had fun making two posters for my friend Carleen to advertise her upcoming book signing.  She will be at a craft fair next Friday in Broken Arrow, OK.  So all you locals, please pass by and say "hi" to Carleen and buy a book.
     Carleen started writing for her grandchildren.  They loved it when she told them stories, so a book was a given.  I had the privilege of designing the cover and illustrating the first one.  The characters are her grandchildren.  So you can see this is quite a keepsake for them.  But, it is also a good story about getting everything you want and the consequences.

Sophie finds a ring and it gives her whatever she wishes.
And Carleen's sweet husband gave her this ring when the book was published.
Ask her if she's been "using" it?

This is one of the illustrations of Sophie (blond) and her friend.

     The second book  is more of an adventure story about Henry.  He finds the ring and takes his friends back to the age of dinosaurs.   I really enjoyed his adventure.  Carleen's sister-in-law did the cover and illustrations for this one.   
     She sells her books on  Amazon  and Kindle.  She will be selling them at the Christmas in July Craft Fair and signing for you.  So please come on by and tell Carleen that Kareen sent you.

Southern Magnolia
114 South Main St.
Broken Arrow, OK
(Upstairs Rose Room)

Friday   July 10, 2015
9:00 AM - 1:30 PM

Accepting Cash and Checks with photo ID only

Wood Crafts, Quilts, Baby Blankets, Afghans, and much more  

Oh yeah - the posters!

She has two new books coming soon.  I've read a few chapters of the one about the Kingdom Kids.
It is exciting! I can't wait to read the rest of the story.

     It has been a productive week for me.  I sewed a pair of cargo pants for another friend.  I had to make a newspaper pattern from a pair she had had for ages and wanted duplicated.  Happy to say it was a great fit.  Just wish I'd thought to take a picture to show you.

Please have a safe July 4th weekend and keep your dogs inside during fireworks.