Alaska has no snow and warmer temps. Coffee, Snow & Owls

Really! What a crazy winter.


My son Joe, rolling in snow!

We are finally in the low 30’s. 12 inches heavy snow, now cold icy rain to make the roads fun….
You guys are sunny and 40’s, whats up!
You can have you your polar vortex back.
I do like the snowy owls you sent.
Our hearts are all a flutter over these beautiful owls with the yellow eyes. They have been spotted everywhere. On office buildings in Baltimore and DC, in the bay nature centers and on the beaches in MD and Delaware.

Fresh Hot Coffee

Today, instead of doing taxes, I filled 35 plastic cups with fresh coffe for my coffee maker. I found these in the grocery store.

Fill your Own K-Cup

They worked great and the coffee is lovely. Nice fresh brewed flavor. I took about 1/2 to 3/4 hour to fill 35 little cups.


Set up with sample hot coffee

$7.00 for cup kit plus my xmas gift of coffee from neighbor. Yummy!
Word of caution snap lids tight! I would have had 36

The process to fill your own K-cups

Enjoy your day…back to taxes!!!! Uncle Sam is knocking at my door.

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Keep safe friends

Keep safe up in Valdez area. Carol and I have been keeping up with the news of the avalanche on the Richardson Highway. It really looks scary. Seems this year you guys got the warm weather and we got your cold air and snowy owls.
The nature folks down here are going crazy with the SNOWY OWL INVASION! That is what they are calling it. Owls all over east coast. The are roosting in downtown Baltimore and Washington DC.
On the beaches from Maine to Floridia.
This very Majestic bird is causing quite a fuss. Lol.
Happy New Year!

Categories: alaska, Art Educations, art expedition, Art Supplies and Equipment, Art Workshops, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fashion !!!

Carol did some fashion drawings and colored them with watercolor. The pictures were too cute not to post. Enjoy!


First Communion Dress


Close up



I just love these sketches by Carol Morris

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One Step at a Time

This weekend was an oil painting marathon. Six hours in two days. I really enjoy oil, the painting seems to emerge from the painting panel. When the color and shape are right, it looks “real”.


Carol's moccasin left painted

So this is what happened, Carol and I are still put the “first sitting” on. That is the first layer of color.

Margaret's right moccasin painted

Using fine bristle brushes, since they don’t come to a point like sable, use a smaller size. I like filberts, has a point and a slightly flat side of tip, making the brush more versital.
Now the hard part, look closely at moccasin(your object may be different). There are cool and warm tones on everything. Warm tones are the tones that are in the Direct light, Cool tones are in Indirect light. Wow! That really made sense.(just kidding) Here’s how I sort it out, top of moc is mostly warm tones.

Direct light- where the light hits object

the sole/bottom of moc is cool tones(cool tones-reflected light from table, deeper, darker, larger shadows)

Indirect light- No direct light- shadows and reflected lights

The side of moc are a mix depending where the light come from.

Depending on where light is coming from

Now back to looking for where the shapes of shadows are and paint on your board. I am laughing, because this little task is the hardest thing to figure out. How to tune your eye, brain and intuition about painting to make this happen. 3 years in and I still very much feel like a novice.

Carol's moccasin

Now to color!  Then mix the color as close as you can to the mid-range local color. The tan color of the suede moc. Not the highlights or shadow colors. Here’s where it gets tricky. Color mixing is practice and color chemistry.  It is about knowing what happens when you mix paint colors, there is no formula.
Back to suede color, it looks kind of yellowish, so mostly yellow ochre, with a little titanium yellow, add a touch of “red” and burnt sienna.
I work in two spots of paint, warm suede and cool suede piles.
So the warm suede adds the cad red light, burnt umber (to darken) and titanium yellow +touch of titanium white (to lighten)
On the cooler suede I add crimson (this is a super strong color, go lightly), raw umber (to darken) and titanium yellow (to lighten). The add a touch of medium to make it flow nice. Now you can see why it takes six hours and I only have half of one moc done.
Add in the drawing mistakes that were corrected. Most frustration comes back to incorrect drawing, at least I can see it earlier this time.

Margaret's moccasin

We work very hard this weekend.
Have a Blessed Sunday! Wednesday! One week later! Argh!

Have a blessed week.

Categories: alaska, Art Educations, art expedition, art supplies, Art Supplies and Equipment, Art Techniques, Art Workshops, Food and Restaurants, Oil Painting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pliene Air Travel Sketching: A Watercolor Workshop in Annapolis Md. Jean Brinton Jaecks.

Well to say the least, Carol and I have been art busy since last month.
Pliene Air Travel Sketching: A Watercolor Workshop in Annapolis Md.
Our instructor was Jean Brinton Jaecks.
Jean did a great job explaing how the light reflects off things light building and trees. She also explained how light looks when soming through a tree, it makes the tree glow. I enjoyed the workshop very much.

Day One: We started sketching at St. John’s College. Then everyone did two sketches around campus. Lovely lunch provided at the boathouse on campus.

Day Two: We hoofed into town (a few blocks) and sketches houses. Carol and I sat together so we have similar subjects. While we were sketching houses the owners came across the street for a peek and a chat.

Everyone was crazy friendly on this perfect October weekend. The sun/light kept coming and going behind clouds.

Carol painting

So when they say paint the “LIGHT FIRST”, they mean it. I finally figured out what the teachers have been saying. Duh!
After a sketch in town we wandered back to the boat house dock to paint the College Creek. A water painting. Hmmm. I find watercolor very difficult. I am not painting fast or confident enough….practice! Practice!practice! Ugg…it always comes down to hard work…lol.
After a very nice lunch of soup and salad.

Jean Brinton Jaecks critiqued our days work. Her critiques were spott on. I was able to see where I did nicely and where improvement was needed. (No, I did not rip up and start over, how tempting is that)
Few hints: bring paper in different sizes, no larger than 9×12 inches. Larger paper means longer time. Practice drawing BEFORE you go! Practice trees, buildings. Bring camera, charged phone, gloves for cold mornings and money for coffee. A little snack would have helped. Our lifesavers were are art carts.

They carry art “STUFF” and have an attached seat. For the old and weary it was a welcome spot.
The class write up:
Watercolor sketching is an optimum way to see and experience travel and understand the world around us.
This workshop will focus on the study of atmosphere in the landscape, architectural details and expressing light in its ever changing moods. Artists will explore and sketch on the St. John’s campus, College Creek, and the historic houses and gardens in Annapolis surrounding the campus. Travel sketching can be very portable, and choosing the correct materials is essential. Lunch will be provided by St. John’s College, and a critique will complete each day. Participants should dress for the outdoors.

Categories: Art Educations, art expedition, art supplies, Art Supplies and Equipment, Art Techniques, Art Workshops, Food and Restaurants, Oil Painting, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alaska oil painting

Carol has a different Alaskan  still life setup.


Carol's basket and mocs

Carol’s will have a glow coming from behind basket area, very classic look.


Carol's first color sitting

Now for the oil painters out there. Our colors are mostly Robert Doak Colors. Some Windsor Newton.
This is our standard palette plus blues. The amber blob near the thumb hole is Maroger Medium it makes the colors more transparent and keeps the flexibility and intensity of color. Ohhhh so nice! Our painting are smooth in texture.


Robert Doak Colors

NOTE:::: Right to left
Titanium White, titanium yellow, cadium yellow light, cadium yellow medium, cadium yellow dark, yellow ochre, burnt sienna,burnt umber, raw umber, black, pyrol crimson( does not fade, so they say), Cadium red light, cerulean blue, ultramarine blue.

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Happy Fall and watercolor classes

This week has been cloudy, misty and downright wet. It has rained for three days straight.


St Stephen's church in morning fog

The morning fog is thick. We have had the most wonderful sunsets, when it clears.
With all the rain, Carol and I have been busy watercoloring. We are working on the Val Webb watercolor lettering.


Negative Space lettering by Margaret

First try… next is the letter bubbles.




These bubbles are so much harder than they look. I am almost finished mine.
Carol finished her’s and is now on to the next couple lessons.

Carol's lettering with floral border


Carol's blue bird with banner

I think these two paintings by Carol are just beautiful.
The Val Webb class is wonderful, the videos are clear and concise. Very easy to follow along with Val. Only negative is that it seems like she shuts off access to videos after 3 months or so. I am not sure I can finish the class in time.

Pear from Weds. Night Classes

On Wednesday night, I am taking a watercolor basics at the Perry Hall high school thru the county adult ed. Wow! What luck a friend Nancy Van Meter is teaching the class and is doing a great. I am learning so much. Watercolor is so tricky.


Mini pumkin by Margaret

I am almost finished. I am working toward trying to get in 6+ hours of art work per week. Right now I am running about 4. The more time working the better I will become….thats the theory at least….lol. ( I don’t count painting and varnishing floors as art time 😦 I am finishing up my sons room floor)
I am looking forward to more painting.

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Alaskan Still Life Oil Painting


Margaret's set up ,in shadow box

What a whirlwind this summer and fall. Carol and I are settleing back into monthly oil painting lessons. Our lessons are 3 hours Friday and Saturday evenings.


Toning the panel with burnt umber

We are moving along on our painting.
Our still life is Fur cuffed Alaskan moccasins, alaskan birch bark berry basket and wild blueberries for a natural touch.


Carol's first sketch

Carol and I loved the texture of the suede and the fur.  The subtle shades and craftsmanship of the birch bark basket is lovely to see and touch. We wanted to paint these qualities into a painting.


My first sketch.

Carol had a great idea and ordered faux blueberries to paint. As we finish the painting we will place real berries in to bring out the more “real” qualities of the blueberries.
This weekend we started adding our color first sitting. This layer has a color changes by value, light to dark.
The details are few, the challenge is to get the color value and intensity to match.


Carol's first sitting, beautiful


Margaret's first sitting

Whew! Now to wait until next month!

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Categories: alaska, Art Educations, art expedition, art supplies, Art Supplies and Equipment, Art Techniques, Art Workshops, Book Reviews, Botanical Drawing, Food and Restaurants, Oil Painting, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anchorage to Baltimore

Coming back to Anchorage….
Well Carol and I slept late….until 8am ish. Packed luggage, weighed luggage, then unpacked and tried again. Packed a couple care packages to mail home. This went on for a bit. Then breakfast at hotel.
Finished cleaning inside car. A couple times through car wash. Still was’nt as clean as when we borrowed it, but would have to sufice. Alaska silt is like concrete to get off. Then we printed mailing labels and postage. Packed the car, checked out of the hotel.
Spent the day driving around Anchorage area. Seeing sights.
Had a nice lunch by the river, kayakers.


Lunch, yummm


Beautiful day, kayakers on river

After a relaxing lunch, we drove back to the hotel and took the shuttle to the airport for a 6pm flight home.
Once on the plane, I took a benadryl.
Fell asleep sitting up, and slept most of the way, even turblence seemed a bit less bumpy.

Homeward bound

Carol and I arrived noonish our time and were picked up by our families.
Hopefully they were happy to see us…lol.
After a long night sleep, back to work next morning…..then a week of jet lag. Argh!
I loved Alaska….I can see why folks visit and don’t go home..
More on post Alaska later…

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McCarthy to Anchorage

August 26, 2013
We left McCarthy fairly early Saturday morning. Drove back McCarthy road toward Chitna.


The Only Bear We Saw! WHEW!!!

Both Carol and I figured out how to take panoramic shots with our cameras, phones ect.
We stopped a lot, the day was partly sunny. That equals great=pictures of mountains, valleys, rivers and such.

On way to Chitna, Ak

We finally arrive just before Chitna, to see on the rivers edge Fish Wheels. Wow, Carol and I drove down to see the wheel working. The fishermen were delighted by our questions. They walked both Carol and I out onto the wet, slightly bobbing fish wheel. It was catching the last of the fish for the season.
I was crazy scared to go out, but went anyway. (My life insurance was paid up). So did Carol. What a thrill. The men explained how the wheel worked and the seasons of fish and types. Thank you!!!


On way to Glenn Allen, Ak

Off again, past Chitna, Copper Center and on the road north to Glenn Allan. To swing around come back east past Eureka, Ak. (Just a restaurant town). Yes, we ate there. Great food and the best man cave in the world!!!!

Miles and miles of straight road. Near Eureka,Ak

The Man Cave in Eureka, Ak.

Kids Beware! They fine you here.

moose, elk and other horns. Birds, Bears and Cats. Oh, my.

Man cave, one wall


Skins and Cats


Ducks flying in.

This place was amazing. Beautiful mounts were everywhere.
Did I mention the food was good and a gas station too!
No time to sit around. Still 5 hours more or less to Anchorage. In Alaska you loose all sense of time. You wake crazy early and seems like bed time is far far away.

Fall is coming. The trees are fewer and Scruffier here.

Off we went to find Matanuska Glacier. So we could walk on Glacier.
A hour or so past Eureka, we stopped at Mattanuska Glacier. Wow, we walked down onto the glacier and I found a piece of ice. Clear as glass. No impurities. Cold too.

Matamuska Glacier valley

All day Carol and I were grateful we brought winter jackets. It was in the low 50’s and in the 30’s down on the glacier.

Edge of Matanuska Glacier


Carol at Glaciet

I collected a bit of glacier sand for the kids and slipped my precious glacier ice into a small ziploc and pocketed both little bags. Rock collection finds..

Margaret at Matanuska Glacier


The Ice......

As we were driving back to the highway from the glacier trip…the sun was low and blinding me…. I stopped the car and waited 30 minutes for the sun to go behind the mountain ridge. I was driving up hill on a one lane path with no guard rails around the mountain. With cliff drop off to the left, prudent I guess.

Stressfull driving, up and down to the Glacier

We got back on the highway heading east then south towards Palmer.


It was dark when we stopped for dinner in Palmer. This was one of the few times we ate at a chain restaurant. The state fair was in full session, carnival rides and loud speakers. We watched from our window seat, a little worn out.
Dinner was nice. Still over and hour until we would reach Anchorage.
To much light in sky to see northern lights, but it was mighty dark for our ride back.

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