Monday, May 24, 2021

Plein Air Workshop

Who is this you ask?  It's me.  Still hanging around.  I'm usually on Instagram @imkarensb if you're curious.  I had a wonderful week attending a painting workshop and thought I'd share some photos here with you.  Let's see if I can remember how to post on here.  Things have changed a lot and I also don't remember how they work.  

The workshop was by Kim Casebeer in Manhattan, Kansas.  Kim is a well known oil painter and has multiple awards and professional associations.  Since the workshop was reasonably close to me, I decided to take the leap and join in.  

This area of Kansas is home to the Tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas.  We were able to enjoy beautiful vistas like this of the Konza Prairie which is owned by The Nature Conservancy. It is located within the largest remaining area of unplowed tall grass prairie in North America.    

We spent 3 days painting plein air (outside) in the wind, sun and rain showers.  For this rookie painter, that was a challenge.  

Kim demonstrates at our first location.  Her subject is a big, gorgeous tree that is sweeping over the trail.  This was one of the few days that the sun was out and the sky was beautiful.  

Packed up and ready to find my spot.
This is the spot I chose.  I loved how the trees arched over the creek.  Of course, I would choose a complicated scene.  Finished painting to be revealed at a later date.  

Scenes from the drive back to the hotel.
In the evening Ken and I went to the overlook and waited for the sun to set.  This photo was taken just an hour after the first one in this post.  I really will try to continue posting over the next week about this wonderful experience.  

Take care and try something new!


Saturday, May 4, 2019

What's Been Going On?

Hello everyone!  Is anyone out there?  Would you like an update on life with us?  We are still in the Dallas area.  However, last year we bought a home in the Kansas City suburbs with plans to eventually retire there.  That's is originally home to us, although we haven't lived there in 34 years.  Wow.  It still seems like home since we visit family there multiple times a year.  Our youngest daughter has been living in it to keep an eye on things and to save for her own house.  Which she just bought yesterday!!!  Woo Hoo!

Last Fall we began a remodeling process to get it ready before we moved in.  I thought you might like to see some before and after pictures.  My main goal was to lighten up the rooms.

We mostly remodeled the kitchen and master bathroom, but we added additional wood floors and painted the entire main floor.  So, I'll just show you some glimpses.

This is the living room. We painted the walls Creamy (SW7012) and trim white Snowbound (SW7004) and the fireplace Sherwin Williams Anchor Aweigh (SW9179). We removed the carpet and added wood floors stained a Dark Walnut matte finish.  Removed the ceiling fan and replaced it with a brass chandelier.  I really wish I'd painted the walls a "whiter" white.  Picking paint colors is extremely difficult.  In the end, the goal of lightening the rooms was achieved.  

The original kitchen.

We removed the appliance garage in the corner and extended the cabinet above the ovens.  We extended the top of the island and obviously, painted the cabinets (Zurich White 7626) and added new countertops and backsplash, sink and faucets.  I haven't taken final photos yet because there is still a punch list to finish and it needs to get cleaned up.

Here's the repainted dining room and new chandelier. 

Just small changes in the Family Room.  We painted the cabinet Navy (SW9179), painted the walls Light French Gray (SW0055) and refinished the floors. 

Well, I think I'll show you the rest of the house in another post.  There were a lot of changes in the master bathroom.  We also updated the laundry room, powder room and piano room.  

Thanks for stopping by.  

Monday, October 29, 2018

Twenty-two Gifts

In my last post I told you all about the art retreat I went to in Vermont earlier this month.  What I didn't show you were the gifts I made everyone.  We could bring a simple gift or just give "calling cards", whatever we chose. Typically several women make some pretty fun and creative gifts.  I labored over this decision for too long and wanted to make something that reflected my skills and interests.  The decision was made, I had a plan and bought linen napkins to embellish.  I'd make a set of two for everyone.  My plan was to dye them using the Cyanotype method (sun prints) you may have seen me do previously.  Something like this idea.
The more I thought about it I realized that the process would take too long for the amount of time I had left.  So I had to come up with Plan B.  I already had purchased 44 napkins.  I decided to embroider Fall designs on each set using this fun embroidery book I bought in Japan.  
You may remember that I used it to make some pretty coasters for a friend's birthday while I lived in Japan.  This is how they turned out.
So, I got to work! Now, so you don't think I'm TOTALLY nuts, the second napkins had a simple word stitched on it: Blessed, Grateful, Gather, Thankful.  They are perfect for Fall dinners for two.  

Other attendees made some sweet gifts too. Several gave out packs of ephemera to use in our art for the week. One woman picked flowers out of her garden and brought a large bouquet for EACH of us. It was full of dahlias, zinnias, cosmos and forget me nots. Here is a sweet paper clay doll that was made for everyone.  
I didn't get a photo of every gift, but when you get creative women together, it's bound to be good!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Vermont Art Retreat

For years I've been wanting to attend "Meleen and Charlotte's Vermont Getaway" in Arlington, Vermont.  It's an art retreat that happens twice a year with several attendees from all over the country. Many have attended several times so sweet relationships have been built over the years.  I had a few of these ladies as Instagram friends, but we had never met in person.  I managed to make it happen this year and during October seemed the ideal time to visit Vermont.  It was a rainy week, which gave it a subtle, moody feel all it's own.  We managed to have one afternoon of sunshine, so any photos you see were during Friday afternoon.
 I flew in on Wednesday, because you can't get to Vermont by noon from Texas, just so you know.  A sweet friend picked two of us up at the airport in Albany, New York, and drove us into Vermont.  They were much obliged to stop and let me get out in the rain to take pictures of the covered bridges.
Warm Brook Barn is a lovely spot where the retreat is held. There are two houses and a new event barn. It is filled with beautiful antiques and warm hospitality. Meleen is the most generous and gracious hostess who served us delicious meals three times a day. She uses her vintage china, silver and antique serving pieces.  
We all bring a gift for each other.  Some are simple, others are extravagant. Robin brings a bouquet of flowers for EVERY participant from her abundant garden in Massachusetts. I'd love to see the garden in person. They included Dahlias, zinnias, forget me nots and cosmos.  

Delicious soup and salad for lunch.  
Breakfast was steel cut oats, fresh fruit, yogurt and cinnamon rolls.  
 Swag bags met us in the barn workroom.
I only took a picture of Becca's embroidery at it's beginning stages.  
The variety and creativity that everyone used on theirs was fun to see. 

Our Friday morning session with Rebecca Sower was acrylic painting using the flower bouquets as inspiration. Everyone struggled as almost all of us were new to painting. With Rebecca's patient help, many of us actually liked the final products. As with anything, practice makes perfect. You can see how different everyone's turned out.  I definitely have my favorites.  
 Friday afternoon we headed out for a field trip to Studio Hill Farm. 
This little building at the top of the hill was the owner's grandfather's studio. 
It still held old drawing tables and a rustic stone fireplace.

As you can tell, the sheep were highly entertaining.  
 Studio Hill has an Airbnb that is very popular in case you're interested in heading to Vermont.

I met Lauri who lives in the Kansas City area.  She and I have an unbelievable number of things in common.  It was so fun to discover the similarities. We will definitely be connecting again when I move back in the area.  

Saturday morning we went to town to visit area tag sales. We went to the Dorset Church sale which was very fun and crowded. I bought two small copper skillets for $15, and this pretty little pin for .25.

Later in the afternoon we dyed a bunch of things in the indigo dye pot.  
The sun came out and gave us quite a show with this gorgeous rainbow. It was actually a double rainbow, but you can't see it in these photos.  

We had another session Saturday where we drew landscapes with pastels. You'll notice that there is no picture of my piece. For good reason. We finished up on Sunday morning. There were lots of hugs and goodbyes. On the way back to Albany we stopped by Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center. Which is huge and fabulous, by the way. This is getting too long, so I'll show you next time what I made for everyone.  They loved them.  


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