Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Remember When You Were A Kid...?

Remember when you were a kid ... and you tried to fit your whole fist into your mouth?

...you didn't have to wear a bathing suit if you didn't want to?

...and you got to wear really cute bathing suits?!

...you didn't come out of the water until your parent said enough was enough, and when you finally did, they wrapped you in a big, warm towel?

...your uncles would help you dig holes in the sand?

...you thought a lot of deep thoughts

...and you didn't have to comb your hair for the family photo?

...your moods could switch from happy to sad in an instant?

...you played with Frisbees

...somebody always wanted to play peek-a-boo

...and you could take a nap whenever you wanted?

It's still the same today!

(Photos of my youngest second and third cousins from the Smith/Fawcett/Yates Family Picnic 2012 held this past weekend)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sketchbook No. 1

I started sketching on a daily basis last week.  I discovered Danny Gregory and I've been reading his books, "Everyday Matters" and "An Illustrated Life" and they inspire me to draw.  I had already caught the sketching/painting bug from Diana Trout, having travelled around Fabriano, Italy last month and watched her create beautiful pictures in her sketchbook.  I just needed to get a little braver to actually do it myself!

I bought myself a little sketchbook and decorated the already green cover with scrapbook paper, Distress Ink, sari silk and a number one from a box of numbers I got last week at an antique store (that I think had been used in a church on one of those signs that list the numbers of the hymns for the day).

I had already sketched a quick picture of my sister while we were waiting last week in the Emergency room.

The next day, I drew a couple of the charms on a John Hardy bracelet I have.

Then I drew a Dennison label box that I was bidding on on eBay (and didn't win).  That was for the Everyday Matters challenge #21 - "draw something old, antique or vintage".

When I rode the subway downtown the following day, I did a quick sketch of a man sitting across from me.  I really wished I had been brave enough to take my camera out and get a photo of him so I could take more time and draw him more carefully.  I will try to do it from memory at some point, not sure how that will go.

Next up was a drawing of Yonhee as she slept on my couch while I watched TV. I drew it in pencil and then coloured it in with watercolours.

Followed the next day by a drawing of the armoire in which my TV resides.

Before I knew it, I had a week's worth of drawings (with the Olympic rings I posted yesterday being sketch #7)!  Looking forward to doing more.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Let the Games Begin!

Did you watch the Opening Ceremonies last night?  I really enjoyed them.  Here are two of my favourite parts:
Mr. Bond:

and Mr. Bean:

(Hopefully the IOC doesn't block these videos over a little thing like copyright issues! When I went on YouTube last night, they were already clamping down.)

I was sketching while I watched.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Watching, Waiting, Packing and Posting

I'm busy watching the opening ceremonies for the Olympics and packing for a weekend away at the beach at my cousin's cottage (annual family picnic tomorrow - yay!). Oh yes, and I've got to bake some lemon squares to take along tomorrow but I'm waiting for the butter I need to soften.  So for now, here are some more photos from Assisi.
Medieval crests

I liked how our shadows looked as we stood talking.

Houses built on the hillside

The grounds in front of the Basilica

A pretty fresco on one of the buildings

Weathered wood on an old, very old, door
Geraniums have never looked so good!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


On this Saturday morning in Italy, Giorgio drove us to Assisi.  What a beautiful town it is!  It is located high on a hill and the views are quite breathtaking:

Non-residents have to leave their cars in a parking lot on the outskirts of the walled city and walk along this cypress-lined road

before entering the town through this medieval gateway:

The town was the birthplace of St. Francis and there is a large church there which is named after him, the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi. His remains are buried in the crypt underneath.  It is a World Heritage site.  I couldn't stop taking pictures of it, from various angles. 

We weren't allowed to take photos while inside the church but you can see some here. It was even more spectacular inside. 

We strolled up and down some of the narrow, picturesque streets, filled with old buildings, souvenir shops and art galleries. 

This woman was offering free samples of her skills, she would write your name using her hand-cranked sewing machine.

Because it was Saturday, it was market day.  I was expecting fruit and vegetables but it turned out to be more things like t-shirts, pottery, purses and shoes.  I wasn't tempted.

As we were leaving, I noticed what appeared to be fires burning off in the distance.  We never did find out what was going on over there.

Then again, I was quickly distracted by this view:

Fire? What fire?  Why yes, now that you mention it, I am feeling a bit warm all of a sudden...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Friday in Fabriano

This particular Friday, a month or so ago in Italy, was one of our "studio" days.  We left the hotel at 9:30 in the morning and had a walk through the town, on our way to the local art store by somewhat round about route.  No matter, it gave us a chance to see some more of the interesting buildings and door knockers. 

The art store itself was very well stocked and we each found a few items we just had to have.  For me, it was grid paper, a couple of rolls of electrical and bookbinding tape in different colours and some inexpensive double-sided tape. 
The art store didn't look that special from the outside

but it sure was pretty on the inside!
Afterwards, we walked back to the hotel in the heat of the morning (35 degrees C before noon!) and Diana gave us a watercolour lesson on the terrace there. 

We had lunch and headed to the Museo just after 3 pm and stayed until 7. It was a bit of challenge because the room that we were using wasn't air-conditioned and although it had several windows which we kept wide open, there wasn't much of a breeze that day.  However, we persevered and carved some rubber stamps and played around with various things.  At the end of the day, we were all a little weary, especially when we didn't get into the blue team's hospitality area for dinner...for the second time...something about not having reservations, what?...
Susan, Jane, Denise, Diana and Holly
and after some discussion, we split up for dinner.  A few of us ended up in a little pizzeria just off the main square where we sampled some of the best pizza I have ever had.  We decided it was so tasty because it was baked on large iron baking sheets but who knows exactly what the chef's secret was, all I know for sure is that is was goood. 

We then went for some gelato and stayed in the square until it was time for the flag throwing.  Yes, I said flag throwing. Did you ever see the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun", where the young Polish boy learns to throw flags to impress his Italian sweetheart? It was just like that, except thankfully, no one got injured.  The colours, the flags, the costumes, the pagentry - it was all absolutely amazing to watch.  And somewhat difficult to photograph, as you can see from my sometimes blurry and/or not properly exposed pictures!  But still, I like the way the moving flags look like a wash of colour in the air.

These 2 were the emcees for the evening
- they spoke only in Italian, we have no idea
what they said!!
As well as the four guys twirling flags,
check out the fresco on the roof of the archway!
You can see it a little better here.

Although this photo of 4 tossed flags turned out perfectly, in my humble opinion!

Somewhere on my computer, I have a video of the spectacle of the flag throwing and I'll post it when I find it. :)  You will be amazed...