Sunday, May 19, 2013

Vina de Lestonnac Retreat Center

Fountain on grounds at Vina de Lestonnac
I'm attending a workshop this weekend with Patt Blair at the Vina de Lestonnac retreat center in the heart of southern California Temecula wine country. It's a beautiful center - so peaceful!! Vina de Lestonnac is a convent for retired nuns (and a couple priests) of the Sisters of the Company of Mary. The Company of Mary was established in 1606 in France by Jeanne de Lestonnac. You can read more about it at The retreat center helps to raise money for the convent. The rooms are quiet and the meals are good. (Although, others that have attended Patt's retreats previously, call them our "forced feedings!")

At the top of the hill below the dining hall,
overlooking the grounds and the dormitory buildings
at Vina de Lestonnac.

Tsukineko Inks (

The classroom is very large and a great place to learn all about whole-cloth painting with Tsukineko inks. I've never used them before, so this has been a new experience for me. The other members of the class are from all walks of life - doctors, TV director, long-arm quilters, just to name a few. They are open, sharing, and terrific artists! It's a very inspiring class!
Other attendees of Patt Blair's fun retreat.
Finding inspiration and much laughter from a You-tube video.

This adult jackrabbit sat
quietly feeding, until several people
 walked by on their way to Mass.
I had to take some time to walk the grounds and enjoy the wildlife. Jackrabbits abound - from tiny babies to the adults. They must be somewhat use to people, as they just come out and feed in the open and don't run unless you try to approach them. Ground squirrels are watchful in the distance. They have a burrow in the field next door where they quickly fled when a hawk flew overhead. Lizards and snails are everywhere. One lizard, bobbing his head at me, was telling me I was in his territory. The snails must find the beautiful roses all over the grounds a delightful feeding ground. They greet us everyone morning on our way to breakfast and the classroom.

The baby jackrabbit was skittish and shy. I
barely got the photo before it hopped
off  into the bushes to hide from me.
The lizard was sunning on top of wall, until
I disturbed him. Then he started bobbing his head,
telling me I was too close and in his territory. 

The roses on the grounds were just beautiful. They had many bushes from one end of the grounds to the other in a variety of colors - red, pink, white, blue, lavender - to name a few. I caught the dew drops still on these pink roses early Sunday morning. Although bushes, included a type of fairy duster. It had bright red dusters growing in the center of a cluster of 4 white petals. (However, you can't see the white petals in this photo.) It was hard to get close enough to get a good close-up of the blossoms.

Roses still with dew drops Sunday morning at Vina de Lestonnac.
Fairy Duster plant.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Painted Dragon for Patt Blair's Retreat

Rita went with me to Alphagraphics to enlarge my dragon head, after finally deciding where to actually crop it. The first enlargement was about 250%, which made it about 24" x 36". This looks good, but maybe not as large as what I want it to be. So enlarged it again at 400% to about 30" x 40".  We hung both up in the shop. The larger one definitely has more impact, so that is the size I'm going with! Thanks, Rita, for all your help!!

I also had them make me 2 original size drawings, so I could work on colors. I transferred the drawing onto 14" x 17" watercolor paper. I wanted to paint it with watercolors, but couldn't find my larger set, just my travel set of half pans. So I decided to just use acrylic paints. After all, this painting is just a guideline for painting my quilt! This is my finished result.
Dragon (drawn and painted by Lynnita Knoch)
I happy with it for the most part. The colors aren't quite true to what I painted. The blue scales are more turquoise in color. The yellow/green is more of a brighter lime green. The red is more orange/red.  

I think I'll make some changes to the actually painting. The red/orange scales will be changed to purple. Then the scales will be more analogous in color, instead of the lime green/red-orange fighting with each other because they are complimentary colors.  I don't like the yellow I used for the triangular spikes on the head at all and I'm not happy with the light blue background. I was thinking of sky when I chose the light blue. Will see what suggestions Patt has once I get to the retreat, as I'm running out of time to prepare. I still need to pack. I also need to help TR pack for his fishing trip, so no more time to paint. 

I'm so excited about this retreat!! I'm can't wait to get started on this dragon!! What fun it will be!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

ZenDoodle Class

Had fun at Craft Fusion today with a basic class on doodling - Zentangles™ or  ZenDoodles.  I enjoy this relaxing form of drawing.  It takes just a few supplies - paper, pencil, pen, and a tortillion (optional) - and a bit of time (10-15 minutes) to create a small masterpiece.

Concentrating on drawing tangles step by step.

Everyone had an enjoyable class, although Charmaine, owner of Craft Fusion, says we are the quietest class she has in the shop. Everyone is concentrating on drawing the new tangles step by step and learning ways to shade them to add dimension to these small pieces of artwork. Everyone completed a ZenDoodle or Zentangle artwork in class. Their drawings are shown below.

A student's finished artwork. Keeko, florz, Hollibaugh, and
printemps tangles were used.
This student's drawing resembles a poodle! She
used cresent moon, florz, and printemps tangles.
Another student's finished drawing.  She also printemps,
florz, Hollibaugh, rain, and crescent moon tangles.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Decided on picture for Patt Blair's retreat

Finally, I found something that just said, "This is it!! Paint me!!" After all the searching through photos, playing in Photoshop Elements to saturate colors of flowers, owls, hummingbirds, etc, I finally found it! I found something that would makes me feel passionate about it!! Dragons!!

I couldn't sleep a couple nights ago, so pulled up images of dragons on my tablet. I found many possibilities, but nothing that really struck a chord, until I came across an image of a lizard's eye and skin. The bright colors and texture of the skin just fascinate me. This is what I want to paint!!

The photo is owned by Animal Planet, so I will not post it here. I have sent them an email to see if I can use the image in a quilt. Will see if I hear back from them. In the meantime, I created my own drawing of a dragon head, which I will then crop to focus on the eye. I can't draw it to scale without drawing the entire head. This is my dragon head. It's drawn in pencil at 19" x 24".
Dragon Head in pencil, 19" x 24"
Now to decide how to crop it, to bring the focus to the eye and the texture of the skin. I think I'll crop it to be something like this, with a size around 12" x 17".
Cropped dragon head. 12" x 17".