Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Contentment Like a cat sleeping in a sunny window

Now that I'm into my days off this summer, and I've chosen to do something entirely different (not writing), I'm  happier than I've ever been.

I'm not checking to see how my books are doing--selling, or not selling--every day. I barely check now. It seems no matter how much promotion I did, it just didn't make any difference.  So, I'm not going to beat myself on the head any more. If they sell, fine. My publisher takes the lion's share anyway. And it seemed no mater what I did or he did, they don't sell any more than they've ever sold. In other words, I'm not getting rich enough to retire from my bus driving job.

It's not that I've quit writing. But I'm on a big hiatus from it. Need to be for my own mental and emotional well-being. So, if anyone asks, you can tell them I'm taking a looooong break. I may not do much more than finish the Sabrina Strong series. I just don't want to even look at a manuscript right now.

Instead, I'm gardening, and seeing the fruits of last year's hard, hard work, come to fruition, and I'm glad I did what I did last summer. The lupines I dug up from park (shhhh!), which the resource guy claimed was seeds that were not indigenous to our area, I thought, well, if he doesn't like lupines, I effing do, and so I dug up several plants. This required me to go about a half mile on a trail, with a pail and shovel and I dug up some plants and transplanted them all into my gardens. This year the largest one looks wonderful! Has several flower spikes that came up and is blossoming now. Our spring is very late. I don't think the catalpa trees will even blossom, or if they do, it won't be much. We had 3 snowfalls in April. We are now getting the rain we should have had in April. This weather is very screwed up. Not sure if it has anything to do with the volcano in Hawaii, but it's not helping, I'm sure, even though it's half a world away.

And then there's my newest interest: watercolor painting. The above is one of my most recent pieces I did. I'm getting better every time I work on one. When I began painting in watercolors, I didn't know what I was doing, or how to do it until I found someone on line that gave free lessons. It's still a challenge for me to get it just right. But, with the money I am getting for my paintings, I've invested in better paints and I think, eventually they'll look even better than they do now.

At this point in time, I've now sold 3 paintings (one was commissioned and I really didn't like painting Sponge Bob, but it was money in my hand). I don't have to share it with anyone, and I use it for materials I need.

On getting into a gallery. Tried, but no go. They said they couldn't "show" my paintings "at this time". That's a rejection if I've ever heard one. Oh well, it's not as though my work (writing) has never been rejected before. So, I said, never mind. I'll go my own way. I may take my paintings to a farmer's market. I just don't know how well that will work. I've done craft shows before, and it's boring, but I did make money on my crafts. Once I get a few more things I need in order to show them w/o having them ruined by rain or whatever, I'll look into it.

That's all for now.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

There was no Spring...

This was the view out our door on Thursday morning. 
We're talking APRIL 19th, 
Not March or February.

We should be getting warm temps in the 60's & 70's.
We had temps as low as 26 on the above date.
And then, that day it warmed up...
to 53
Here are my miniature daffodils boldly showing they don't care what happens, damn it!

It was only last Wednesday and Thursday we saw a 60+ and 71 degree day. I remember raking and getting some sun, thinking about getting a hammock (if only I had one), and lying out in the calm, warm air.

Well, yesterday we did see 62 degrees, and I got into my flower beds and pulled out dead stuff, preparing it for the eventual Spring.
But it probably will go from this to  80's in a matter of days, once Mr. Deadbeat (Winter) wakes up and moves along.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Art uses a different part of the brain

Hi, everyone. I hope that those of you who follow me are enjoying my posts about my painting journey. I find that it is a very different type of expression than writing. I feel that art--any sort, no matter if it's a craft or serious art work--uses a different part of the brain. And it's relaaaaaxing!

As I've mentioned, I'm taking a break from writing. It might last a year. I don't know. I'm really into learning watercolor techniques. Watercolor isn't like any other medium (oil, acrylics), but it has it's own limitations, but you can do so much with it, or techniques you can use to make your water color more interesting. 

For instance, using salt in the painting, I'm finding different ways of working with that.

Below is an experiment using salt water as my base. I found that salt water sits on the paper longer, thus I had plenty of time to add my colors to the paper before the wetness dried. 

You may not see the effect salt has on the watercolor ion this sample, but it makes colors feather or seep into the closest colors in fantastic ways I just can't do with regular water. (check out the sky and then below where the yellow seeped into the turquoise.)

Below is another study I did really quickly, you might be able to see more of the odd blending that salt water does with the colors.

There are lots of other things water colorists use, like rubbing alcohol, or adding salt onto the painting itself (I've an example, below at the end, but I don't think it came out as well as I wanted)

Using a sponge to add some sort of texture is also a way to make your painting more interesting. For this painting below I used a Q Tip for the inside (brown/black, gray etc) of the flower and for the sky, I used a sponge. I sort of had problems making the clouds, and had to cheat and use white paint. For some water colorists, using white is a big no-no. But, if you don't know me, I tend to break rules. Who cares if I use white? They make white watercolor, so what the heck is it for? (:
Original watercolor by Lorelei: "Glorious Sun" 9"x12"

In fact they also tell you there's no such thing as black in watercolor.
Well, same applies. I use it in my silhouettes paintings. 

And below, this painting would not come out so stark and interesting if I'd used a blend of greens and reds and such. Don't you agree?

Original watercolor by Lorelei "Phantom" 9"x12"

actual photograph: close up shot of
an orchid taken from Pinterest.
As you can see I didn't make the above painting up. Orchids tend to have interesting parts. This particular orchid caught my eye, the way photographer put a black background behind the flower, then took a super close-up. I find most of these sort of pictures on Pinterest, and don't claim any ownership of them. But the paintings I do!

Hope you enjoyed this. Today, I'm not sure what I'll work on, but I'll find something to paint!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Watch it buddy, or you'll get the business end of my brush!

Watercolors by Lorelei...
rose with water droplets

sun pillar over ocean

loose painting of butterfly

great blue heron on shore

Wyoming horse
I've rebooted/renamed one of my blogs. Check it out at Lorelei's Art Gallery. I hope to put up more blogs on my art there.
 Just click on the picture when you get there, and story will pop up. Thank you!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Excuse me, but I Arted!

I found this T-shirt on Pinterest...I'm addicted (to Pinterest), what can I say?

Last week I shared a few of my watercolors with you (and I will today), but I just wanted to give you a little background on myself. Art, drawing and painting, has always been who I was. I could draw as soon as I could hold a Crayola in my hands, and I drew on everything--including the walls. I must have drove my poor mother nuts!

I was known as "the artist", even though my older sister was also an artist, but I can't recall if she had any influence on me, but I still remember the painting of a deer she'd painted in school. There was argument as to which side of the family I got the gift. Mom's side or my father's. Doesn't matter. Maybe I got a double dose, that's why I dabble in writing, art and everything else. I'm no good at math, and such. I had D's & F's in school for the basics. I couldn't follow the teacher, I learned so much later I'm ADD, and dyslexic. No one understood those things back then. They would have put me into special ed classes.

As I said, I didn't get good grades, unless it was in art. I couldn't wait to go to college, thinking I could learn how to become a better artist. I went to a small, community college, which was fine. However, when I proudly showed my art and what I could do, I was discouraged to draw realistically. I was told by one art teacher "You might as well take a picture of it" - meaning realism was dead. Or so they said. When I went to college, I was using acrylic paints. I was encouraged to use oil paint. Which is more expensive, but it is an easy medium to work with. The teacher I had wasn't really knowledgeable in all areas. I seem to recall I'd wanted to work in watercolors then, but he talked me into oils, because that's what he worked in. 

My favorite medium, actually was pencil or ink. I went into details more than I care to now. My eyes were much better then. I don't have anything to show you from then, but I do have something from a 1992 vacation out west. This is the Grand Tetons. 

colored pencil sketch/Tetons Nat'l Park/June 11, 1992

It's done in colored pencils. I remembered taking my sketch book with me. Had a number of sketches I did from that vacation, but this was more finished, I think.

Well, that's my story. Now you know that my first love was always art. Writing came later, and it was an up-hill battle with learning that, since I had to work on spelling and so forth.

Here are some paintings I did over last weekend. I call it my "Flowers, Frogs & Butterfly" series. As stated above, nearly all of my paintings are done from pictures I find on Pinterest.

Blue Morpho butterfly/watercolor 7x10"

red-eyed rain forest frog
watercolor 7"x10"

purple flower/watercolor 7"x10"

I may have to start selling my paintings. What do you think?

Have a good weekend. I'm going to do another series.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Strange Orchids

Hey, I've been busy, and I'm going to show you what's been keeping me sane.
I've been working on my art. Watercolors, to be exact. Watercolor is a difficult medium to master, and I'm here to tell you, I've been dabbling in it for months. I've finally found on-line artists that I watch, and one is more of an instructor, and it has helped me to listen to what he says about working with the medium.

Anyway, my current dabblings are below. First I'll show you my paintings, and then the photos (which I've gotten all from Pinterest), to use for the picture.

My paintings usually take me a couple of hours in two afternoons, during the week. On the weekends, I might get one done in a day, depending upon its difficulty.

Below is a close-up of a strange looking flower.
It took me an hour to find something similar on line to figure out what it was exactly.
Do you know what this flower is?

Give up? Well, it's a water lily. Below is a picture of one. 
Beautiful flower, and I had no idea water lilies came in different colors!

Below is a picture of the next offering as I was getting the colors in. There's a strategy to paintings. You need to know how to go about something as complicated as this one.

The finished painting came out really well, I think, considering the difficulty.
What is it? No. Not a spaceship, or something captured from a weird dream. . .

It's actually an orchid. I didn't exactly find out what sort it was, but if you ever see one in your local florist, you'll probably remember it.
Below is a photo of the orchid and the close up of the waterlily.
Hope you enjoyed these.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Spell of Dark Castle, sequel

Finally, after so many years of waiting to get this one out, it's here. Sequel to Spell of the Black Unicorn

It's a romping fantasy that takes place on Zofia's planet, where anything goes, since my imagination knows no bounds. Where Zofia meets an alchemist from 18th century (really much older), Earth, named Saint Germain.

Here is description as it is on Amazon:
After Zofia and her family return to their world, everything should be fine... but is not.

Zofia's first assignment as a Knight is to go to Dark Castle under cover as an Ugwump - mortal - to spy on the owner, Saint Germain, who is believed to be a vampire.

On her trip to Dark Castle, Zofia meets Myron; a vampire with many secrets. After they encounter the handsome Saint Germain, Zofia uncovers truths about his past... and about their attraction for each other.

It's hardly enough description for a book that's over 600 pages long. Here is what I sent them to put into description, and reads almost like a book itself, but here is a more detailed description which does it justice.

Zofia and family return to their world. All should be happy, but is not. Although son, Eltony, is thrilled about going to a school where he can practice his sorcery, his sister, Blanch, is moody and depressed, mostly about missing her 16th birthday, but finds that such a party is set up in her honor in a castle, and she suddenly has many suitors.

In the meantime, jealousy drives a wedge between Zofia and husband, Dorian, when Stephen has made sure of Zofia's nomination as a Knight (First woman Knight in ages). Her first assignment is to go to Dark Castle under cover as an Ugwump (mortal), librarian in order to spy on the owner, Saint Germain, who is believed to be a vampire. (But he is really an 18th century Earth alchemist who has successfully made the Elixir of Life, which has kept him alive for centuries.)

During her travel to Dark Castle, Zofia meets Myron, who she realizes right away is a vampire. But she has a secret too, so they agree to keep one another's secrets. Myron helps with her trunks up the long stairs to Dark Castle. Although Myron was retained by St. Germain to help get her there safely, it's obvious Myron has different ideas. Fortunately, Zofia is above his vampire tricks.

The next day she meets Saint Germain. While he is practicing a dueling match with his servant Jacques, his is wounded, but the wound heals quickly, so suspicion grows for Zofia. But, no one is as they seem, and Jacques, in turn, becomes suspicious of Zofia. She learns his big secret in due time. What Zofia uncovers about the handsome Saint Germain is unexpected. So is their attraction for each other.

Zofia, who is pregnant, tries to keep this a secret for as long as she can, but St. Germain figures this out soon enough.

Dorian, meanwhile, is on the trail of a cult that is at work in the village. They have a fiendish plot to bring forth monsters who once ruled their planet. Zofia's and Dorian's paths cross as they make attempts to stop them, but these rogue wizards are using Dark Castle's powerful ley lines, and St. Germain's time-travel invention, to bring forth an alchemist from the past. It is later learned he and St. Germain were once mortal enemies.

Attempts on Zofia's life come from all directions—from cunning vampires, to a contriving waitress, to wicked wizards—and yet she manages to out maneuver them one way or another until they finally capture her for the wizards' final spell to bring back the monstrous (half-man and half-crocodile) Helsingas.

Will Saint Germain's use of the Philosopher's Stone help him save both Zofia and Dorian in the end, and can they stop the wizards' powerful spell before their world is taken over by these ten-foot beasts? Will Zofia and Dorian reconcile, or is it too late for them?

Contentment Like a cat sleeping in a sunny window

Now that I'm into my days off this summer, and I've chosen to do something entirely different (not writing), I'm  happier than...