Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. (Just remember I'm looking through my prism which may or may not be the full story.) Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Blinging on Art Supplies

Do all wanta-be artists and writers beat themselves up? Do we all spend too much money on new supplies thinking if we had just the right paint brush or a new book of inspirational quotes our mojo will come back from the dead? I signed up for a watercolor painting class here at the CCC. 

I hated working with watercolors in the past and I downsized all my watercolor supplies and books out of my life when I moved here. So don’t ask me why I signed up for one of those wine and paint afternoons guaranteed to help you produced a “fine” painting by dinnertime. Then the class got canceled at the last minute because only seven of us here at the CCC signed up and the instructor required ten. I guess she’d rather not work that day than to accept $140 for two and half hours of her life when she places a $200 value on them. I don’t know what to think about that. Yes, I do ---My first boss would had said, "A bird in the hand is worth more than two in bush."

I was a pouting, unhappy camper after the cancellation. I had myself all psyched up about that class, thanks in no small part to the posts of Jeanie at her Marmalade Gypsy blog. She’s been taking part in the Sketchbook Revival, which if I’m understanding it right is a daily prompt kind of thing to get your creative juices going. I tried to sign up for their free workshop but for some reason the sign-up link kept taking me to a 100 day course for $97, so I backed out. 

Then I got a bug up my nose and googled art subscription boxes and obsessed for several days over comparing them. You should see my Facebook page now because google apparently got a few cents  referral fee from every art subscription company on the face of the earth and my feed is filled with colorful art and free demonstrations. For once I don’t care that my online information is being tracked and sold. I’ve tried the DuckDuckGo search engine, by the way, that doesn’t track you but I don’t really like it because there are times I want to go back in my history and find a site I saw earlier.

Back to my art obsession: I ended up on Amazon and bought a medium-to-low priced watercolor set, some paper and a workbook designed to teach you watercolor techniques. I have visions of myself sitting out on my deck teaching myself to like watercolor and I have Jeanie to blame for that. Her work is so colorful and fun and playful that I decided I’ve always taken art too seriously. I’m going to teach myself how to play. I’m also a gadget person and I’m fascinated by the new-to-me water brush pens. The paint set and paper came and by Tuesday I’ll have the workbook so if all goes according to plan I’ll be famous by Saturday. Just kidding of course, but I’d at least like to be good enough not to be embarrassed by my explorations if someone walks by my deck and wants to see what I'm working on.

I did order an art box from a company that does single sales and subscriptions both and they sent me a half off coupon for being such a good searcher on Google, I’m guessing. I ordered a watercolor lesson on doing portraits. I may do an unpacking-the-box post on it like Deb from The Widow Badass does with her subscriptions to treats from around the world. It’s all her fault that I’ve wanted to have a monthly subscription of something. After reading her last post about Universal Yums I’ll admit I spent too much time googling food subscriptions. Funny thing, though, none of those searches resulted in my Facebook page getting filled up with ads for a monthly delivery of chocolates, cheeses or other goodies. Thank goodness, because apparently my willpower against buying stuff I don't need is at an all-time low.

Back in the ‘70s I once subscribed to a perfumes from around the world service. I still had one of the perfume bottles up until I downsized last year. I absolutely loved it but you can no longer buy. The bottle was empty but it still held the scent. I tried to google it and found people selling used bottles with varying amounts still left in the bottle and they wanted a small fortune for it. Evidently I was not the only person who loved that heavenly sweet perfume from India. I did a makeup subscription once as well, but I didn't see any, now, curated for old women. I loved and still do love getting things by snail mail.

After ordering the portrait box I took an inventory of all my art supplies and discovered I have pastels, acrylic paints and pencils sets curated for doing portraits. If I’m anything at least I’ve been consistent over the decades. No matter what I try I keep coming back to my first love---trying to depict people with words or paint. ©

Photo at the top is of a pastel drawing I did of my nephew back in my heyday of doing art --- late '70s, early '80s.

44 comments:

  1. Now I'm curious what was the scent that you and so many others loved?

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    1. I wish I could remember the name of it. I'm fairly sure I threw the bottle out when moved but if I kept it it's still in a box in my storage cage by my parking space. I couldn't find any of the 1/2 dozen perfume bottles I had before the move.

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  2. P.S. I think the portrait of your nephew is very good.

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    1. Thank you. Sometimes when I look at stuff I've done in the past I can't believe I let it slip art through my hands. But life has away of getting in the way of our childish dreams, doesn't it.

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  3. Your last sentence says so much, "...No matter what I try I keep coming back to my first love..." That really has me thinking. My husband loves to tinker out in the garage. He was born to maintain stuff. I can't imagine getting up early just to go out in the garage, but hey, he has saved us and the kids a ton of money because he fixes stuff better than when it was new, and the fact it makes him happy is added benefit. When I think about my son, his love is wood and building....my daughter loves baking and cooking. Most folks need to pursue those things they love in order to feel good about life. Often, those activities result in making others happy, too, which is just icing on the cake.

    I have always admired artists--maybe because I have no ability in that realm. I think the drawing of your nephew is wonderful. If I had that talent, I'd be shopping online for art supplies and taking classes, too. Heck, you could probably teach the watercolor class. I don't understand why that instructor didn't just go ahead and teach the seven who signed up, unless they needed the $200 to cover supplies or something...people are mysteries.

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    1. My dad was like your husband...he could fix anything, my husband was good with fixing machinery or any kind. Finding what we're good at and what gives us pleasure in the doing is some thing I (and maybe most people) take for granted.

      I've tried watercolor in the past and always found it to be so frustrating and hard to control but some of the stuff people are making now days is so free-spirited I want to try it again. One of the exercises I saw online was making blobs of paint into animals, exercise in letting the paint control the artist instead of the other way around.

      Ya, I'm probably being too hard on the person who will only teach a minimum of ten. $20 for a group class is cheap and profit margin would suffer with less than ten. Private lessons are $35 around here.

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  4. How frustrating that your art class was cancelled. But thanks to YouTube, you can find instruction and by any number of teachers online in an instant. And, if you truly want to "play" in watercolours, then self-teaching is a great way to go about it.

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    1. I'm planing to spend the entire afternoon playing with my new watercolor set. I've always enjoyed college level classes the most but leisure time classes like this one are fun. I like being around other would-be artists.

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  5. The free Sketchbook Revival is over, I’m afraid. If you get on the mailing list, it should be offered next year.

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    1. Ah, that explains why I kept getting directed to a fee class. I love opening up my Facebook pages these days and seeing all the stuff being posted from their Sketchbook Revival exercises. I'm on the mailing list for SketchBox and I'll be sure to sign up for Sketchbook as well. There are a ton of these kinds of subscriptions out there and I don't want to sign up for too many of them.

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  6. So sorry the class at the CCC fizzled. Seeing that picture you did of your nephew makes me feel you really do have the talent. Has he or his parents seen it? I hope you can work out all the steps to get back into the groove.

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    1. I did this drawing years ago and no one but Don has seen it before posting it here on my blog. It looks just like he used to when my nephew was a boy. I took a photo of it on my phone and may show it to him this weekend at a family party.

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  7. If you are interested in on-line courses have a look at www.domestika.org - they have loads of courses in all types of medium and the prices are quite good. Great picture of your nephew.

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    1. I am getting tons of ads from them on Facebook and it's good to get a personal recognition because really do want to get a monthly subscription art related. Thank you.

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  8. I hope you decide to do an unpacking post. I'd enjoy seeing what you get and learn how you're going to use the supplies. I like DuckDuckGo because I get fewer annoying unwanted ads, but I take your point. I almost feel like I need to keep a pad of paper and pen beside me to make fast notes about what I researched should I want to go back.

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    1. An 'unpacking' post looks fun to do and use for blog fodder. And we all need those kinds of posts from time to time.

      I used a combination of DuckDuckGo and Google, depending what I'm researching and I never, ever click on an ad in my Facebook feed. If I want to learn more about something that pops up there, I'll copy the link into Duck.... I also have a program that cleans all the trackers put on my computer every night so I don't get a lot of annoying spam. Except for art! I must have forgot to use Duck when searching for art subscription boxes.

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  9. I've always been kind of in awe of artists who've mastered using watercolor. I tried a few times many years ago, but I'm much too compulsive I guess. The paints bleeding into each other was more than I could handle. Watercolor always seemed to be a living thing with a mind of it's own.

    Can't wait to see what you do with your paints, and I hope you post everything (unboxing, attempts etc). I love the picture of your nephew, such talent. If you can accomplish something like this with pastels, which are also difficult to use), can't wait to see what you do with watercolor.

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    1. What you said about watercolor...me too. In addition you can't rework something if you don't like it like with oils or acrylics. But it's a challenge and we have to keep challenging ourselves as we age. That's my excuse for not learning from my mistakes. LOL

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  10. Oh, I'm so excited you are doing this! Makes me smile big if I helped at all! But I take no responsibility for if you hate it. You won't though. You already know art. I love the book "Watercolor for Beginners" by Emma Witte because she deals first with the basics (which I never did and sorely need to know) and she's a delightful writer, the illustrations very good. There are lots of subscription boxes (Let's Make Art) is one I know a lot of people like. But from where I sit, with your background, all you really need are some free yt online videos that will help you adjust to the tricks of the medium. I don't have an email address for you since you left Charter but if you send it to me, I'll send you some of my favorite links. You can decide if they work for you. Meanwhile, I saw you commenting on the Sketchbook Revival FB page so that's good. The videos are only up a few more days anyway. Touch base! I love the pastel of your nephew by the way -- it has such depth of expression!

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    1. I'll leave my email in a blog comment over at your blog. Please don't publish it. I lost all my contacts when I had to change wi-fi and internet services.

      Thanks for the book title suggestion. I'm adding to my Amazon wish list. Learning the basics of watercolor is something I sorely need too. I tried to use start at the wrong place in the past. So wish me luck this time. I need a home run soon with art or I may end up closing that door forever.

      Let's Make Art is one company that hasn't shown up on my Facebook page. I'll track it down. Some of the mixed media boxes haven't appealed to me. Yet. I need to take it slow or I'll end up spending a fortune and not doing anything with it. I'm forcing myself to start with the workbook I bought first, before starting the watercolor portrait box.

      My nephew and nieces were always such good subjects to photograph and attempt to paint. I used to snap photos of kids all over the place. If I tried that now someone would call the police. I wonder if I could get away with it with older people here. LOL

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  11. Once again, I had to sign out of Blogger and sign in again to comment here. It's a measure of my appreciation of your interesting posts that I go through that rigamarole so often. (Hmm...I thought I knew how to spell that word, but it seems I didn't. Thank goodness for spell checker.) Now to what I originally wanted to say - you've introduced me to the concept of art subscription services. Can't write a longer comment because I'm off to Google that concept. Ah, isn't the internet fun?

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    1. I have to do the same exact thing and it doesn't seem to matter if I use Firefox or Brave. I keep hoping that Bloggers will fix that bug soon because I've made no changes in my settings to account for the inconvenience.

      Subscription boxes are expensive but I think if we wait long enough the discount coupons and specials pop up.

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  12. Yes! Please do an unboxing, Jean!!!! I had no idea of these subscription things or that readers would find the unboxings popular until I was gifted one and decided to blog about it. (Silly me: thought it would be a one-off post šŸ˜‚) Now I look forward to not only receiving my box every month, but coming up with creative and crazy ways to blog about it. A couple of my friends are doing Sketchbook Revival for the 2nd time and I am intrigued. Maybe next year...

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    1. I've really enjoyed your unboxings. Part of the reason I like blogging is because it drives me to do things just to get the blog fodder...like you started doing with your subscription boxes. It becomes fun and adds color to our lives. I need something to drive me out of the house from time to time because otherwise I become a turnip.

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  13. I am in awe of your artistic abilities. Especially if you can do humans! So glad you indulged yourself with art supplies!

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    1. My past abilities. Not sure they are still there, but it's too soon to tell. But thank you.

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  14. How annoying is it when we can't remember the name of something, you can unbox anything as long as the box isn't a coffin don't want to unbox the dead

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    1. Funny you should say that. My old senior does these tours of the back room of funeral homes and I just got a notice they are doing one again. I took one once and it was really interesting and I gained a lot of respect for the industry after seeing what goes on.

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  15. You have the talent and you will figure out the best ways to express your creativity! Looking forward to seeing what you do!

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    1. I hope I find a way. I had a lot more finger dexterity back in my heydays of doing art.

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  16. I have ads for Dick Blick art supplies pop up wherever I go online and I don't mind at all. They generally have the best prices and it's a top notch, easy to use website with extraordinary customer service. I've spent hours and hours there looking at paint colors and reading reviews. Supplies are addictive for sure, but what you have will be plenty to find out if watercolor is enjoyable for you.

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    1. I used to buy a lot of stuff at Dick Blick's and Daniel Smith. I'll have search for their Facebook pages so I'll see them pop up. Much better than seeing old people produces. Thanks for the reminder about Blick.

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  17. ooh getting snail mail is such fun and if it's not a bill even better. But now I only seem to get bills via snail mail and junk sadly. I do get a makeup subscription but it's not quite the same. Your talents are impressive. I can't wait to see what you do. In my next life I will be given talents, since this life I received none! Hell, I can't even spell. šŸ˜

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    1. Make up subscriptions were fun back in the days when I wore it. You get to experience with different products you might not buy otherwise. What you are doing sounds more like pre-ordering things you use all the time for delivery at set intervals. You do have a talent---for humor.

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  18. I'm looking forward to a lot more posts about your adventure. Thank you for sharing!

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  19. This really is a great example of serendipity or coincidence or something -- me writing about Monet at the same time that you're posting about art. I'm looking forward to seeing how you develop all this. Art (in the sense of drawing, painting, etc.) isn't my thing, but I certainly do admire people who have the talent and skills, as you clearly do.

    I laughed at your aside about the hope that a new brush, new paints, or some new inspirational materials would prime the creative pump. I know a lot of people who say they want to be writers, but they spend very little time writing. Instead, they focus on moleskin notebooks, MontBlanc pens, and the latest how-to book. There's nothing wrong with those things, but they're not necessary. I wrote the poem that gave me the title for The Task at Hand on the back of a piece of used sandpaper. I think I might post that story again.

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    1. I loved your post of photos with the monet quotes. I recent read a book that had a liberal amount of his words quoted...so meaningful. You are an artist with a different media.

      A woman from my past used to talk about writing all the time but she never did it. I've always got a notebook with me to write something I just saw or thought of and I envision you always with a camera in your hand.

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  20. The following comment was from Jeanie over at the Marmalade Gypsy blog. She had included her email address in the reply comment and I wasn't sure if she'd want that published for the internet crawlers to find. She wrote: "I also have The Watercolor Book by David Dewey which is supposedly the bible of watercolor. I haven't fully dug into that yet -- seemed more than I can handle, but maybe now I could. You need a good small digital purse-sized camera with a good zoom lens so you can take pictures of people without them knowing. Same within your complex, though there you could probably ask people and they might even be flattered! Order yourself a decent quality watercolor sketchbook that is nice enough but doesn't break your bank. You can practice color mixing and techniques in that instead of on your good paper and not feel guilty or wasteful about it if you make a total mess on the page. But keep the mess! There might be a sparkle of good there you can learn from later!"

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    1. I used to love photography and did use it for inspiration for painting back in my heydays. But my camera is big and hand shakes with it and phone cameras. I need a trip to the camera store where I might find one with a super fast lens. I used a tripod with many of my photos for e-Bay last year.

      Adding the book suggest to my Amazon Wish List.

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  21. What a lovely painting. You are so talented. Now just have fun with it!

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    1. That's the thing...I'm not sure I still have what it takes and I'm competing against myself. I need to relax and just have fun which is why I'm trying watercolor.

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  22. "The paint set and paper came and by Tuesday I’ll have the workbook so if all goes according to plan I’ll be famous by Saturday." LMAO, I'm glad I'm not the only person who has a Plan like that! *Winks*

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    1. Oh, yes, I have bee plagued with that kind of thinking most of my life. LOL The problem is that the minute I master something I lose interest in doing it. A professor in a college class I was taking said that's because its the process of learning that I get my high from, not the finished produce. Changed my whole way of thinking of myself as failure to hear that!

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