Sketchbook – July 2017

Sketchbook 2017 - Beach Huts Watercolour | Whims And Fancies

 

Beach Huts At Sunset

 

After a fairly rough summer, my husband and I were able to take a long holiday to recharge and finally celebrate our 25th anniversary, which was in July.  Considering it is September and I have not shared the sketchbook pages from July yet, it became an easy choice, besting all the finishes and WIP-s I amassed during that time.  I have been experimenting with different watercolours alongside markers and exploring new subject matter as well.

We have been having heatwaves, which might explain why my sketchbook is filled with cold weather paintings.  I started the July sketches with the colourful beach huts of Northumberland basking in the sunset colours by the cool water.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Dance Copic Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

Dance

 

Dance is not a theme that comes easily to me, so I picked it specially to push myself a little.  I started sketching the figures and slowly it became a dream sequence.  I am not much into poetry, but there are a few poets that I like.   The words of W. B. Yeats seemed to befit this piece, so I added them with a silver pen.  I did take the liberty to change the context a little.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Birch Trees In Snow Schmincke Horadam Watercolour | Whims And Fancies

 

Birch Trees In The Snow

 

I love walking in the snow.  Everything gets so quiet that you can almost hear yourself breathe.  The white birch tree grove standing tall invites me to explore a little further into the woods.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Dala Horse Winsor Newton Ink Painting | Whims And Fancies

 

Dala Horse

 

This was another experimental piece.  I was going to paint a folk-art piece, but the painting had a different intention.  My Dala horse decided to take on the grunge colours instead.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Bridge Daniel Smith Perylene Green Watercolour | Whims And Fancies

 

The Bridge

 

My Pride And Prejudice friends will recognise this bridge, I am sure of it. My personal addition was the Willow Tree.  Perylene Green is one of my favourite colours, and the colour was perfect for this scene. 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Windmills Sennelier Watercolour | Whims And Fancies

 

Windmills From Sweden

 

When we travelled across Sweden, we came across an area dotted with windmills, relics from days gone by.  It really pleases me that they are protected and hopefully will continue to stand tall for many a year to come.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Canoe Prismacolour Marker And Copic Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

La Belle Discordia

 

If I had a canoe, I imagine it would have its own mind and take me places where I dare not go.  The idea for the painting came from the canoes I saw in Lake District, England.

 

Previous Sketchbook Pages

June 2017

 

Squares Plus Grid WIP | Whims And Fancies

 

On the sewing side, I am continuing to finish a few WIP-s.  This mini is almost finished, only the binding needs to be stitched on.  I enjoy hand stitching the binding, so hopefully, now that things have settled down here a little, I will be able to work on it while listening to a favourite story.

I am glad to have these distractions given the current situation everywhere.  Hopefully you are able to enjoy a bit of creative time too.

Stay safe,
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them, they are a lot of fun!

 

Chasing The Shadow – Eclipse 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017 Diamond Ring | Whims And Fancies

 

Diamond Ring – heralding Totality

 

Today I want to share something with you that is extremely special to me – our eclipse journey which I started planning two years ago.  It was two years ago that I called the hotel in the tiny little town of John Day, Oregon to reserve a room for the two of us for last weekend.  John Day lay in the path of totality, so we wouldn’t have to drive any further once we got there to see the total solar eclipse.

 

 

Solar Eclipse 2017 Baily's Beads | Whims And Fancies

 

Baily’s Beads – Sunlight rushing in between moon’s craters

 

This was our first total solar eclipse.  I have photographed a couple of partial ones before, but those were nothing compared to the sun being completely obscured by the moon.  I knew I had to capture this event with my camera and telescope. 

So, on Friday afternoon we started our 592-mile / 10-hour journey northbound to chase the moon’s shadow for the first time in our lives.  We both love to drive, and the scenery was fabulous.  At any other time, I would have stopped and taken a LOT of photos along the way, but my mind was focused on one and only one thing this time.

 

Solar Eclipse 2017 Baily's Beads With Prominence | Whims And Fancies

 

Close up of Baily’s Beads – bright sunlight filtering through the rough edges of the craters on the moon

Solar Prominences – Activity on the solar surface shown in red

 

I knew going in that I would be able to either view and enjoy the eclipse or take photos.  I chose photos.  Totality would last only 2 minutes at our location and I had to finish taking a series of photos within that time.  Immediately after, the solar filter would need to be placed back in front of the telescope before the sun would emerge again, so my eyes and my optics would not be left permanently damaged.

 

Solar Eclipse 2017 Earthshine | Whims And Fancies

 

Couldn’t pass up a chance of capturing the lunar surface covering the sun

 

We spent Sunday at the hotel.  We were lucky enough to be able to park our car right in front of our room.  The car powered my telescope’s motorized mount so it could continue to track the sun once I had everything set up and aligned correctly.  We spent the morning making sure the setup worked from that location.  The afternoon was spent rehearsing the set of exposures I would be taking.

 

Solar Eclipse 2017 Totality | Whims And Fancies

 

Totality

 

One last rehearsal Monday morning and I was set.  I started watching and recording the partial eclipse from the very beginning.  As the moon proceeded to cover the majority of the sun, the light started dimming quite significantly and the temperature dropped noticeably as well.  I felt a chill in the air and we experienced late twilight in the middle of an otherwise very sunny morning.  

Right then, the alarm went off on the phone to tell us to remove the solar filter and start clicking.  The race against time had begun!  It felt like the two minutes were over even before the countdown started.  I didn’t get a chance to look up at the sky, but I also knew I would be very sad if I didn’t take the photos.

 

Art Supply Zipper Bag | Whims And Fancies

 

Needless to say, I didn’t get to paint or sew much.  Before the trip, I did manage to make a small bag using the yellow newspaper fabric that my dear friend Kris sent me.  I made it to carry my tiny little paint palette and my sketchbook.  Remember the round pencil cases I made in this Sketchbook 2017 post?  Now I have a matching art supply bag.  I took them with me, but unfortunately they stayed in my backpack.  I know one of the August sketchbook entries will be of the eclipse.

 

Solar Eclipse 2017 | Whims And Fancies

 

Total Solar Eclipse – Beginning To End

 

My husband helped me rehearse the photography sequence more than a dozen times, and talked to curious strangers while I was setting up my telescope so I could keep my concentration.  Most importantly, he sacrificed his viewing experience to remove and replace the solar filter on time, to call the photo settings out loud and to shine a red light on the camera so I could shoot uninterrupted. 

This was my first try at taking photos of totality and I really could not have done this without him.  I wish we had a few more seconds so he could have enjoyed it a bit longer. I owe him another eclipse journey.

 

I anticipated this for so long, now I am a bit sad that it’s over.  As happy as I am with the photos, I also wish that I spent time experiencing the totality with my own eyes.  Shakespeare said it best –  “For man is a giddy thing and this is my conclusion“.

Thank You for listening!
-Soma

 

I am also linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.   They are fun to visit and great source for new inspirations.

 

Tale Of Two Shires

 

Summer is definitely here, but it feels like Spring in our garden.   Despite the heatwaves we have been having, all the plants in our garden are bursting with flowers.  The pink and purple flowers reminded me of the field of wildflowers we saw during our trips to the UK.  Inspired by a couple of photos that I had taken during our travels in England, I finished an acrylic painting and a quilted mini wall hanging.

 

Heather In Yorkshire Moors Painting In Acrylic | Whims And Fancies

 

Seeing all the flowers growing in the garden gave me an urge to start painting this Yorkshire Moor scene.  Acrylic as a medium is very new to me.  Before this I had only done one small tree painting in acrylic.  Not to be overwhelmed by the size of the painting, I worked on it in little sections.  I made innumerable mistakes, covered them up with a neutral base paint and repainted until I was happy with it.  I learned too.  Overall, I think I spent well over 12 hours on this painting. 

 

 

Pinwheel Flower pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

 

In June, I  wrote this one-block WIP-s post in anticipation of finishing a few small projects.  This Pinwheel Flower block was one of them.  I designed this flower through the window a long time ago and finally created the block in April.

 

 

The idea for this block came from a combination of seeing a flower through my atelier window and, of course, a pinwheel block.

 

 

Originally I wanted to quilt circles, but I ditched the idea because it reminded me too much of a circular wave motion.  Then the V-shape of the corners gave me the quilting idea.  I used an acid green thread to make the quilting stand out a bit more and finished the quilt with a green leaf binding.

 

 

When it came to naming this mini, that was easy.  The purple flower made me think of Regency Purple.  I love Jane Austen.   I also fell in love with Derbyshire while visiting earlier this year.  This photo I took while standing on Stanage Edge made me think of Pride And Prejudice.  So my mini is called A Flower For Jane Austen.

 

 

 

A Flower For Jane Austen Mini Quilt

 

I love making small quilts for my kitties.  I am going make a multicoloured flower quilt for them using this pattern . It is such an easy pattern, very quick to make.  The 12″ size also makes for a nice size quilt with fewer blocks.  Now that I have figured out the quilting, I can’t wait to get started on the quilt itself.  This little flower is going to reside in our kitchen as a reminder of the lovely Derbyshire.  The Pinwheel  Flower quilt pattern is on my Etsy and Craftsy shops.

I am very happy to have brought back wonderful memories with me and that a bit of both Yorkshire and Derbyshire are now part of our home.

-Soma

 

Linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  They are great source for new inspirations.

 

Sketchbook 2017

Sketchbook 2017 - Lost Pages Bookstore Watercolour | Whims And Fancies

 

Lost Pages Book Store

 

Every year I get this notion of doing a long-term project to improve a certain skill.  Last year I did the Wandering Camera daily photo project to explore new photography ideas.  This year, I wanted to keep a sketchbook, but with one thing or another, time passed on.  I finally got tired of waiting and decided that June was going to be THE month to embark upon my Sketchbook 2017 project.

Lost Pages is the very first painting in my little sketchbook.  Although it is a make-believe book store born in my head, I would love to own a real one by that name.

 

 

I am very fond of Stillman and Birn sketchbooks.  The pages of this 5.5″ x 3.5″ sketchbook are the perfect size for playing with ideas.  The Beta sketchbook is also great for pretty much all painting media.  I started filling this book when I was sick earlier in the month.

 

Orange Maine Coon | Whims And Fancies

 

My orange kitty Taffy is my constant companion.  I missed him while he was having a surgery yesterday, it was the ninth surgery for this little fellow.  He is back home now, in pain and a bit battered, but otherwise safe and sound.  I will be busy taking care of him over the next few days.  I love this photo I took of him a few days ago.  He is really as soft as he looks here, and as sweet as his name.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Cat On The Wall Prismacolor Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

Charlie – trying to climb a wall

 

We have another kitty called Charlie who is equally sweet and also very clumsy.   He can’t climb anything to save his life, so it’s a good thing he is an indoor-only kitty.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Sirens Prismacolor Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

Sirens

 

The morbid side of me is fascinated by the idea of Sirens.  I am thinking of expanding this scene into a larger painting.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Dawn Prismacolor Marker & Copic Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

Dawn

 

Once, when we were camping in the Inyo Mountains, I was up early to see a lunar eclipse.  Shortly after that, dawn broke just as the moon was setting.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Vintage Tiles Winsor & Newton Watercolour Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

Rusted Tiles

 

Rusted tiles are quite beautiful.  I was having too much fun painting this one, making random rust spots on these tiles.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Silocon And Gold Prismacolor Marker & Copic Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

Silicon And Gold

 

I wanted to see if I could paint sand with marker, then came up with the idea of sand to circuit boards.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Bristlecone Pine Prismacolor Marker & Copic Marker | Whims And Fancies

 

Looking Up At A Bristlecone Pine

 

California is home to Bristlecone pines.  During the same camping trip in the Inyo Mountains, we hiked the Methuselah trail to see these oldest living beings on Earth.  The colour of the bark on these trees is created by fungus and polishing through ice and wind storms.

 

Round Pencil Case | Whims And Fancies

 

On Sunday, my 14-year-old pencil case bit the dust.  I had become so fond of the round pencil case, I had to make a new one.  I came up with an idea of making it in a certain way.  I made a few prototypes; these two are the final finished ones.  Both pencil cases are lined and the zipper ends are covered. 

The dark green one used to be my husband’s pyjama pants.  I love green tartan, so when he discarded the pair, I saved the leg fabric which was in very good condition.  I used the same fabric both for the outside and the lining. 

The yellow one is a newsprint fabric that Kris sent me in a surprise package last week.  When your friend sends you fabric, you have to make something fun with it!   I used a pinstripe grey fabric for the lining as well as for the sides on this one. 

I got another couple of sweet packages from another friend, Mary as well.  That however, is a story for another day.

Hope you enjoyed my little show and tell!

Until next time,
-Soma

 

Linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.