Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More figure drawings

Here are some photos from last night's figure drawing session.

I continue to have severe issues with facial features, although I will give myself credit for at least attempting to draw them at all. :) Some are certainly better than others, but it's all part of the journey...

I've said it before, but it seems like the 7-minute drawings are my sweet spot. I think I have just enough time to get the basics in, and not so much time that I muck it all up.

My hands and feet (especially the hands) are getting progressively better week to week (I think). Still having issues with the face/head proportions as well as proportions in general, but it's getting better....

7 minute

7 minute

20 minute
This one was a real challenge given the perspective of the hands and legs/feet. I'm pretty pleased with it overall.

20 minute
The proportions of the lower body seem a bit off, but I'm most happy with her face. The model has shaven/spiky hair, and this actually resembles her a bit.

30 minute
although this isn't bad, I'm afraid I've aged this model at least 30 years or more. This is what happens when I have too much time to muck around.


Congratulations to my hubby, Dick, and his entire team on the launch of the new Outlook.com! They've been working hard on this for a while, and today was a BIG day!!

More info here.

Congrats to the whole Hotmail/Outlook.com team! Great job!!

my new outlook.com screen

Monday, July 30, 2012

A lovely visit with my friend, Bear

My friend, Bear

I had an fantastic visit with my friend, Sherilyn, today! She was in town unexpectedly, and had some free time this afternoon for a visit! Yay!

We had a lovely lunch at the Cliff House - home of the best Bloody Marys, and sinfully delish popovers!! Yum!!

Sheri and I met way back in the 6th grade at our mutual friend's slumber party. :) We attended the same junior high and high school after that, although, sadly, she moved to Southern CA after our Sophomore year. We stayed in touch, and have remained great friends ever since!

We saw each other earlier this year, and before that, it had been a couple of years. I am woefully behind in paying her a visit in Southern CA. Soon!

Oh, why "Bear"? It's funny, the things you come up with when you're 12 years old that stick with you through adulthood. Our nicknames for each other were "Bear" for her (Sher-Bear) and "Tunie" for me. I had a sweatshirt with my name written across the front. The first time she saw it, she thought it said "Tunie" instead of "Trina". It stuck. :)

Great visiting with you, Bear! Looking forward to seeing you again in a couple of weeks!! xo

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday's 15-mile training walk

Today's route

Sunday's 15-mile training walk was on the Sawyer Camp Trail in San Mateo County. The Warming Hut Hotties do training walks along this trail at least twice a year, but somehow, this was my first time!

The trail itself is a paved, multi-use trail that stretches 6 miles from the shores of Crystal Springs Reservoir to San Andreas Lake, through the protected San Francisco Watershed lands. It was especially beautiful early on in our walk, as we met at 6:30am when the trail was very quiet and a lot of wildlife was out.

We had the option of walking 7.5, 12, or 15 miles. As I mentioned the path itself is 6 miles long, making it a 12-mile round trip. However, we continued outside the trail out into a neighborhood of Millbrae, down to the Peet's coffee shop in downtown Millbrae to add an extra 1.5 miles. Some people stuck to the trail, and did 12-miles, a couple of others went down to Peet's, then caught a ride (7.5 miles) and a few of us did the full round trip (15 miles).

It was a gorgeous day with perfect weather - slightly overcast when we started off, probably in the high 50s. By the end of the 15-miles, it was probably in the mid to high 60s.

It was a very picturesque walk. Here are a few of my favorites:

Crystal Springs Reservoir

Mama Deer with her baby fawn

Marcia's Olympic toe nails!

Michele picking up the world's largest banana slug who was in the center of the trail. She moved him safely to the other side

San Andreas Lake

San Andreas Fault!

the highlight of the day: Heidi brought her tape measurer - I had (mistakenly told her the (incorrect) width of my huge calves the day before. She didn't believe me, so she brought her tape measurer the next day! ha! I came in around 16-1/2", but Marcia was the reigning champ at 17"!

A Charlie Brown lemon tree in San Mateo

Hills and curves ahead!

Today's Stats - for once, my GPS App was right on the money!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday's 18-mile training walk

the first 9-mile loop

Saturday's 18-mile training walk was divided into two 9-mile loops. This allowed an option for people to walk one or two loops, depending how they felt that day.

The walks were both moderate and nice - not too many hills, which helped ease us into the longer mileage. We had our "lunch" break at the Warming Hut, where we started each loop.

a fog-covered Golden Gate Bridge

Rebecca, enjoying her mid-walk donut!

Linda E.'s adorable grapes at lunch

the second 9-mile loop

the fog is slowly beginning to lift

Heidi, feeling "re-charged" on the second loop!

The conservatory of Flowers in full bloom!

pretty dahlias at the conservatory of flowers

really? who knew?

Stats for the second 9-mile loop. I forgot to grab a photo for the first loop

Happy Birthday, Dad!!

We celebrating my Dad's Birthday Saturday night (his actual birthday!) at the House of Prime Rib! My Dad made the decision way back in January or February that he wanted to have dinner at the House of Prime Rib, and I got around to making the reservation at my birthday at the end of April.

It was well worth the wait, and didn't disappoint!

It had been a while since we'd all been to HoPR together, and it was a wonderful evening! Needless to say, the Prime Rib was fantastic - just as good as we all remember it!

Dick and Graham impressively managed to save room for seconds (if you finish your entire meal, they will give you a fresh, piping-hot small portion).

Happy Birthday, Dad! What a fun and delicious way to celebrate!!

Mom and Dad - now 64!
"When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out 'til quarter to three, would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm sixty-four?"

Dick and Graham, enjoying their "seconds"

Birthday Boy!

Celebrating Dad's Bday at the House of Prime Rib!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Live Jazz in the House

Dick, Graham, Shan and Ayumi are playing some jazz together in our house tonight. :)

Somehow, it has been about a year since they last played together. You would never know, though - they sounded fantastic from the first song on!

Ayumi is moving back to London soon, so they are trying record a few tracks before she leaves. So far, the recordings sound fantastic. I'm trying to figure out how to upload a video that I took with my phone here to share.

I think they recorded four songs so far. They are hoping to get together at least once more to record a few more tracks.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Completed Hat Painting

"Dick's Hat"
oil on canvas
12 x 12 inches

My painting instructor, Dean returned from vacation this week, and we had our first painting session in 3 weeks today! I was so happy to be painting with him again. I had all intentions to paint at my house while he was away, but alas, *things* kept getting in the way. This was one of the main reasons why I was so excited to take lessons from Dean - it enabled me to put our sessions in my calendar to ensure that I would make the time to paint. :)

I had two paintings that I had started on, and was hoping to work on today.

The first was the hat painting that I had started last month. I had worked on it a couple of times, and was pretty pleased with it, but it wasn't quite finished. When I brought it in to Dean to show him, he had some great suggestions on how it could be improved.

The main thing was that my light source was not obvious - which it wasn't. I was painting this in a room in my house that gets a lot of natural light (which is good) but the light comes from all around. I'm not able to control the light as much as I would like for still-life paintings. (which i've never had to think about before!)

So today, I brought the painting, along with Dick's hat, and with some more helpful tips from Dean, completed it today!

I'm very pleased with how it turned out. The shadows really add a lot of depth and interest to the painting that weren't there before.

here's a review (which is very helpful for me to review the process) of the different stages of the hat painting:

Day One

Day Two

Day Three - The completed Hat Painting!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Figure Drawing Session

I had my weekly Monday evening figure drawing session last night.

I made a promise to myself (and some of my friends on Facebook) that I would post photos after each session. I promised to post photos of the good, the bad, and the ugly - recognizing that there would be times where I would have "off" sessions, but knowing that there's always room for improvement and growth.

So, this is one of those times. I'm not terribly happy with many of my drawings from last night. For some reason, I have a difficult time with this model - and trust me, it's all on me, nothing at all to do with her. She's a gorgeous, expressive model, with a slender, yet muscular, build. I have a hard time trying to define her muscles without making her look bulkier then she is in person. She also has such an expressive face, that I can't help but *try* to capture it a little, but as we know, I'm not good at faces, and it is discouraging when I attempt to draw one and it looks so completely wrong.

I'm listening to the advice of my friend, Ilene, who suggested that I try to put some features into the face, rather than leaving it a "blank mask". The drawings from this week are probably the most that I have tried to include parts of the face/head. I should tell you that the model is not bald (although it certainly appears that way in my drawings). She is African-American, and has very, very short hair (which I tried to show in the last drawing).

I'm trying not to get too frustrated with myself. I saw some work that other artists were doing last night, and the ones that I saw were amazing. Some were done in watercolor, and really captured her expressiveness. Mine, not-so-much. :)

I do recognize some improvements, though, so I'm going to try to focus on those: I think my hands are finally getting better and more defined.

I also found a 20-minute drawing from the end of last week's session which I forgot to photograph, so I'm putting that in this batch, just to make me feel better. :)

20 minute pose from last week





Monday, July 23, 2012


You may recall "Plumpocalypse" Thursday, in which my parents, Dick and I harvested 70 lbs of cherry plums from one of our plum trees in our backyard.

I sent my parents home with a 20lbs bag, and gave another 5 lbs of plums to my friend, Buffie, on Friday.

That left us with 45 pounds of fresh plums.

Which brings us to "Jammapalooza Sunday"!

The lovely Linda came over again yesterday afternoon, and we spent the rest of the day/night making more Plum Jam!

Here are the stats:

45 lbs of fresh cherry plums
which equals about 46 cups of fruit (once it is boiled down, and the pits taken out)
12 lbs of sugar (which is about 1/2 the amount called for by the recipe)
3.5 packages of Pectin (we were a little low on Pectin, so the final jam is not quite as gelatinous as our last batch)

all of these ingredients resulted in:

32 12oz jars
14 8oz jars

Oh, my!!

Thank you, Linda, for coming over again and helping me make all this jam!! Your expertise turned an otherwise intimidating situation into a very fun and productive evening!

Also, thank you to my Hubby for making drinks, and to our Gay Boyfriend for cooking a delicious dinner for us!

here's some photos of the process:

45 lbs of plums in the pot

the fruit is being cooked down

the fruit have been boiled down and strained

12 POUNDS of sugar!! Oh, my!

Adding the sugar and pectin

the jars have been filled and ready to seal

46 jars of jam in the dishwasher to be sealed! (there were more on the bottom rack, not pictured