Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Catching Up Before I'm off Again

It's been pretty quiet around the Everyday Artist blog lately, hasn't it? With three trips to Europe in three months, I've been a tad busy. I'm leaving on trip #3 tomorrow (3 1/2 weeks of teaching in Florence, Tuscany, Athens and the Greek Isles), but I've missed talking with you all and thought it would be fun to show you a little bit of what I've been up to in August and September.

European trip #1 was to Provence in June, and I'm still working on finishing up my sketchbook from our incredible week there with French Escapade. I'll be posting more sketches as I finish them, but here's a preview of one that I completed last month...


Late July and early August were taken up with our family beach vacation (see Family Fun in the Sun), then I hosted a two-day "Sketch It Now" workshop here at my home.


We had a great time playing in our sketchbooks all weekend, and the ladies created some really nice sketches, like this one...


Our sweet pup, Buckley, always enjoys my workshop events, especially when I bring down the afternoon snacks to help keep everyone's energy up...


Then it was time to pack for my trip to Sweden. My friend Riley, an American who lives in Sweden, had invited me to come over and scout out locations for a possible future workshop, so my mother, my friend Jan, and I decided to take her up on her offer. We flew to Copenhagen and spent two days sightseeing there, then moved on to the Skåne region of Sweden. We had a wonderful week filled with beautiful scenery, great food, sparkling water, amazing flowers, and lots of walking through historic towns and churches. When I got home I decided to try my hand at learning how to use the iMovie app on my new iPad, and I managed to make a movie of our trip to share with you. Here are some of the highlights of our trip....


I took a small accordion-fold travel journal along,


and penciled in a daily diary every day. I did several sketches on location, but most of it remains unfinished.



I'll have fun working on it after workshop season is over.


I hardly had a chance to catch my breath after our Sweden adventure before it was time for the August Summerhill Sketching workshop. This time my lesson was "41 Ways to Sketch a Garden". The students were presented with forty-one different sketchbook page design ideas to choose from for their plein air sketches that day. It was a lot of fun, and we all enjoyed seeing the variety of paintings that were produced.

Sketches from the August Summerhill Sketching workshop

I tried to spend as much time as I could with my grandchildren during the times I was home this summer. They love coming to grandma and grandpa's house where we take long walks...


swing on the hammock...


and fly high on our new super swing!


We have picnics and play games in a shady spot on the lawn.

That's Chloe, my grand-dog. She's related to Buckley and they almost look like twins!

And last week there was even a brand-new first-time two-wheeler for a certain birthday girl...


But life can't be all fun and games. I've had a lot of preparation to do over the summer for my upcoming trip. I bought a guidebook for Athens...


and printed out the handouts for my Tuscany workshop.


I'll be returning to Fattoria Bacio again this year and have a full class of eager students ready to sketch their little hearts out.


Then I got to work on finalizing everything for my Greece workshop.


I wanted to do a few extra lessons about how to paint the subjects we would be encountering there: blue church domes, sparkling water, bright white buildings, and rocky cliffs.


I'm really excited to share them with my students - I hope they're a help to them when we're out sketching in the gorgeous Greek Isles.

I've been a busy little bee on the home front, too. My daughter's birthday was last weekend, and I baked her, as requested, this AMAZING Chocolate Oreo Cream Cake. We all ate WAY too much of it!


I also made lemon curd and orange marmalade last month to replenish my stock in the freezer. They're my favorite toppings for toast in the morning.

We've been harvesting produce from the garden, mostly tomatoes, eggplant, basil, and pumpkins. The zinnias at the front of the garden are cleverly placed to disguise the weedy mess behind them, so the view from the house looks nice. :)


The sunflowers are blooming, a sure sign that summer is waning.


I've managed to keep up with the weeding around the house much better than I have the garden, so things still look presentable. The hydrangeas are still going strong. We're seeing new blue and lavender blossoms mixed in with older reddish ones on the bushes on the north side of the house.


The new hardy white hydrangeas that we planted on the south side of the house did well this year, and now they're all changing to shades of pink and burgundy.


The autumn sedum is a beautiful alizarin crimson color.


The marigolds have gone crazy this summer and are still covered with blooms.


The lavender that I cut back after it bloomed in July has sent out a second crop of new shoots.


Seventeen years ago, when we built this house, I dreamed of it looking like this someday, with cottage gardens overflowing with colorful perennials. I think my dream has come true! 


I've been so engrossed in my activities here at home the past few weeks that Fred wisely thought I needed a break, and he whisked me away for an afternoon of kayaking on Big Sandy Creek in Bruceton Mills, WV, last weekend.


I think the peace and quiet did me a lot of good. As we paddled along, I wasn't worrying about packing for my trip, or getting my lessons done, or weeding the garden, or any of the other hundreds of things that require my attention at home. I was completely absorbed in looking at the mirror-like reflections of trees and sky in the water. Sharing those slow, quiet hours with my husband was good for my soul.


When I return from Europe, it will be the middle of October and autumn will be well underway, so I've been savoring these last few weeks of summer. Time with family, kayaking, cooking, walking Buckley, sitting on the patio with a cup of coffee in the morning - I chose to do these things when I could have been writing a blog post. I hope you agree that I made the better choice.

I'll be posting updates on Facebook during my trip, so if you're not already a follower, please send me a friend request so you can share in the fun of my sketching adventures in Tuscany and Greece. And I promise I'll have lots of sketches to share with you this fall when I get home.
Arrivederci!


3 comments:

  1. Leslie, I was wondering if you have any extra handouts of your workshops for sale. They look like they would be really informative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I'm sorry but I don't sell them separate from the classes. I should write a book, right? Maybe some day!

      Delete
  2. Thanks for the uplifting post and so glad you took timeout kayaking amidst all the whirlwind of other activities, so good for the soul. Enjoy the travel and upcoming workshops, i hope to join in one day.

    ReplyDelete

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