February 25, 2011


I see a lot of blogs. I love reading them. Whether it's about art, craft, techniques, photography, dogs, cooking, you name it, I love it. Then at times, you start wondering why you visit certain ones more often than others. I am speaking solely for myself when I say 'people'. It's the person behind the blog that captures you, not the knitted mittens, but what they say about those mittens.

If you blog about one particular subject, then you are going to attract the demographic that is interested in that topic. This doesn't make it easier on bloggers, like me, who like so many things and I always go back to why I started to blog in the first place when I wonder why I do it at all.
I live far away from my family and many of my friends. In a way I thought they would enjoy seeing what I was up to. You know, the way you show a visiting friend your latest sketch or mittens, for that matter. Some visit regularly but some have never seen it. I forget that there are people who haven't been pounding away at a computer for years, the way I have. They are perfectly happy that they are able to email and have no further interest, and that is fine.

So, in short, I write the blog for myself, and if I can share with someone, then that is an extra perk. (It's like keeping a photo album, that you only show to visitors).

My brother once said to me, when I indicated that I wasn't interested in computers all too much, that I would be smart if I did a couple of courses, because computers were not going to go away.

They didn't, and they guided me to the BLOG, and to the pleasure of blogging.

These are the things (I think) I have learned along the way:

1. Blogging is a lonely business, therefore comments and reactions are fun and you make new friends by commenting.

2. Be yourself in your blog and post your own work, or link back if it is by someone else.

3. There is a blog etiquette. People appreciate your comments; they often email you, and if you become a follower of their blog, they often follow yours. 

4. Blog frequently but not too frequently. Three blogs a week is what I go for, besides you need time to think and come up with something original.

5. Make it clear in a post what it's about. Don't upload a mixed bag of things. The reader soon moves on if it gets confusing. Rambling doesn't work well either. Don't make your blogs too long (like this one is sure to be).

6. Join a group of like-minded souls. Place a button on your blog, so others can find it. My hits went up from around 50 to around 100 a day in the last months since I joined two groups.

7. Never be afraid to comment. I have received lovely chatty emails from some of my Blog-Idols, making it even more fun to follow their blog.

8. A no-brainer is to always be polite on a blog, not to discuss anyone else, unless it's in glowing colors and do not whine.

9. I get the most hits on my blog from Google Images, 'Paper cuts', so I just head paper cut posts headers as 'Paper Cut'. 30% of my hits come from Paper Cuts Images. I don't know where people find my stories but 'Poppies, Poppies will put them to sleep', has a little reader base all of its own as do some of my other little essays, which lately, I having been keeping as short as I can - less is more, sort of thing.

10. The more active you are as a blogger, blog reader and commenter the more your reader-base will grow. 

....and know when to stop.

The above image was made with a black and white photo I made at a Pow Wow and using 'brushes' in Photoshop. I am on a learning curve.

Listening to: "Belgrave Square" by Anne Perry.  
The 12th mystery in the beloved Inspector and Charlotte Pitt Victorian mystery series. When a moneylender named William Weems is murdered, there is discreet rejoicing among those whose meager earnings he devoured. But the plot thickens when Inspector Pitt finds a list of London's distinguished gentlemen in Weems' office.

Not quite into it.

February 22, 2011

The Okavango

The Okavango Delta is a place of beauty. Tucked away in the heart of Botswana, it is a sanctuary for birds and wildlife. We traveled to the island, where we would set up camp, in mokoros; hollowed out tree trunks which are punted through the shallow waters of the delta, keeping a leery eye out for hippopotamus. If we were thirsty we would dip a cup over the side of the canoe, and drank deeply, having been told that the water was pure.

Cape buffalo looked up as we passed by, water dripping from their mouths and elephants cautiously watched us, sniffing the air with their trunks.  It was exciting as well as very idyllic.

After we had set up camp under a Sausage tree that would occasionally drop an enormous torpedo-like pod to the ground, the men in the group went down to the water to fill the jerrycans, while we, women, watched.

A fisherman stood thigh-deep in the shallows, while he fanned out his hand-made net and threw it into the darkening waters. All was well with the world. But wait, what is that I see? What do the weights of his net resemble? Batteries, large flashlight batteries! I waded out to take a closer look and saw that the batteries had holes drilled right through to attach them to the net. In my mind's eye I could see the cadmium oozing out into the pure waters of the Okavango, that I had drunk so deeply and without a care.

That night, as I made my last stop behind a bush, I watched closely to see if my pee didn't glow in the dark, but was distracted by another enormous sausage whizzing past my ear to drop to the ground with a thud and hastily made my way back to my tent by the light beaming from my eyes.

I am cleaning out memorabilia, and found some wonderful old postcards that my family had sent each other while they lived in Africa. I used a card by C. Barry to draw this wonderful wise woman. I drew with pen and nib and Indian Ink without setting up a sketch first. Wanted to see if I could sketch without an eraser.

February 20, 2011


My early morning Sunday ritual is going through my favorite blogs with tea or hot cocoa (or Diet Coke, depending on the weather) and if at all possible, a pain au chocolat or something similar. How About Orange mentioned Odosketch and I went to look. I just drew something really quickly, but for the true sketchers of this world, this might be quite enjoyable. Your sketch will come out better than mine, because I uploaded mine, as I couldn't find where it was embedded.

This well-preserved woman sat at a table in the restaurant where I had dinner last night, eating almost nothing.

February 16, 2011

Painted Yupo background

This is what happened to the Yupo background I made earlier. The colors were so hot that it begged for something cold, so I added a steely eyed geisha, who, looking at her now, has Stephen Fry's chin. Not that this bothers me, because SF is one of my favorite people. I also used a stamp that I made sometime ago out of Mastercarve.

February 14, 2011

Yupo Experiment 1

For some time I have been trying to tame the beast called Yupo, a synthetic water resistant paper; an alternative for traditional art papers. With only whip and chair to protect me, Yupo still keeps snarling and will not do what I want. 

This weekend I started on a series of experiments to enable me to understand this 100% polypropylene paper, with which some people make such beautiful work. 
You either love Yupo, or hate it, and I think that this depends on how you have worked in the past. Watercolor paper absorbs water, Yupo resists it, and the pigment lies on top of the Yupo after the water has evaporated. This to most, is a new way of working.

All I did with Yupo this weekend, was experiment with backgrounds and different textures.

* I used regular table salt, and I haven't brushed it off yet.
* This is Winsor & Newton Designer's Goache in yellow and pink.
* I added a couple of drops of rubbing alcohol on the paper before letting it dry.
* Somehow I am reminded of my Sunday breakfast.
* Overall: the colors remained vibrant. I think that once I remove the salt, it may affect the colors, dulling them somewhat.

I wet the Yupo before applying any pigments, then used Dr Martin, and let them run. I might have used too much ink, and in this case I moved the paper about until I got a pleasing mix and applied plastic wrap. It took a long time to dry, and even though I had 'molded' interesting lines in the plastic wrap, I still find this a little flat.
* The most interesting part in this, is the line from top to bottom because I couldn't curb my impatience and took a peek.
* All in all, a little too dark for my taste and a bit muddy due to the inks mixing a lot or too much even.
* I see an 'eye looking back at me.

Back to the gouache. Lighter on the touch. Water first on the Yupo; mixed paint to a liquid creamy consistency, and a drop or two of rubbing alcohol.
* Some areas still too dark, to my liking, with nothing very interesting going on. Used some brown ink in this, which in some areas had a nice effect.

Monochrome, on wet Yupo using the tipping and dripping technique with gouache. This 'complex' technique brings out your inner child. I used two pieces of plastic wrap, just because I fumbled with the tearing of it, and ended up with 2 small pieces. One on the top and one on the bottom, leaving a strip uncovered, where I added a few small drops of rubbing alcohol which created a little stream of planets.

One last experiment, which I think worked well. This is a messy little painting, that I used to try out several things, but the one that worked well was using wax crayons to outline your drawing, instead of pencil. All the white on the cups was done with a white wax crayon. I liked the effect. Yevgenia Watts mentions this in her Youtube tutorial.

I looked at the work of several artists who use Yupo very successfully and produce wonderful paintings on it.

Here is a short list of some names:

Ursula Rodrigues - shown on ArtCafe.net (sorry, didn't copy the links. Too busy Yupo-ing) ursularodrigues.com.
D.D. Gadjanski at ddgadjanski.ca
Yevgenia Watts at watercoloredhands.wordpress.com
Judy (can't find a last name) at dedraad.blogspot.com
and others.

I am by no means finished with Yupo, in spite of the snarls.

February 11, 2011


I started out drawing a bird with my brown Micron 01 pen. I had intended to keep work in my little 'art' book in sepia and earthy tones. Just seemed to be the thing, but once again color won. While working on the bird I started finding it very boring, although I did try to move away from drawing a bird from the side. Then, you know how it goes, I pasted in some postage stamps because the pages are 5" by 8", and don't allow for anything very large, and from there I grabbed a magazine and color started seeping into the work and it turned out into a little collage. I cut out half of the bird, so that its wing came free from the paper, which in my eyes, gives the impression that it is breaking free from the collage.

EDM Challenge 125 - draw a bird.

Listened to a nice little historic mystery while doing this:  
Gaius Petrius Ruso is a divorced and down-on-his-luck army doctor who has made the rash decision to seek his fortune in an inclement outpost of the Roman Empire, namely Britannia. His arrival in Deva (more commonly known today as Chester, England) does little to improve his mood, and after a 36-hour shift at the army hospital, he succumbs to a moment of weakness and rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner. Now he has a new problem: a slave who won't talk and can't cook, and drags trouble in her wake. Before he knows it, Ruso is caught in the middle of an investigation into the deaths of prostitutes working out of the local bar. A few years earlier, after he rescued Emperor Trajan from an earthquake in Antioch, Ruso seemed headed for glory: now he's living among heathens in a vermin-infested bachelor pad and must summon all his forensic knowledge to find a killer who may be after him next. Who are the true barbarians, the conquered or the conquerors? It's up to Ruso (certainly the most likeable sleuth to come out of the Roman Empire) to discover the truth. With a gift for comic timing and historic detail, Ruth Downie has conjured an ancient world as raucous and real as our own. 

.....and Audible.com is letting you download an Elizabeth Peters' book for FREE. If you like mysteries  then you will like this easy to listen to and humorous mystery book set in Egypt in Victorian times.

Just in case the picture I posted made you cross-eyed, I am posting one that was taken a little further away. 

February 8, 2011

My photo came in first.

My picture of Athena came in first in Yevgenia Watts' "Blirthday Contest". 
How cool is that?

......and the cactus flowers came in third. 

I will be receiving the originals of the paintings. 

Have a look at the artist's blog to see her work.  



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