Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sick Days

Sick days are exactly what I have been taking. Sick enough that there is no new are work to post. Part of having CFS is not dealing with stress. In fact one doctor called Chronic Fatigue an allergic reaction to stress. I am still recovering from Sue Ann being sick and then I had tests that required me being put under which was accompanied by the no eating or drinking BS that goes with nearly every test. I should have known better than to promise myself I would post every day when I started a blog. Oh Well ! I will just do what I can do and that is not a lot right now.

I have decided to try to learn to draw the human figure better and find that I need to work on simple shading first. There are a lot of techniques I have gotten around or away with when I draw buildings that I need drawing people. In other words I have been putting off a lot of learning. My first couple of attempts to draw the female form are bad enough they will not be showing up here. I do intend to get good enough to at least make sure you know you ware looking at a human though.

That is all I have energy for today.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Here is a bit os sidewalk art I did for my grand daughter today. No matter what I did to the photo it posts it sideways so you will just have to look at it the best you can. ashley enjoyed it which is all that matters,

Flag Quilt

Here is a photo of the quilt I am working on. I spent several months finding the cloth I wanted and I designed the quilt by scanning each pattern into the computer and creating square images that I could

copy and paste to build the quilt. Both ends match and both sides match like 2 sets of triangles. The small stripped corner on the top left is the back side pattern. I have not chosen the binding for the edge yet and if I wait too long Sue Ann might choose for me

I made sure I posted early today so I can watch the debate tonight. I am not very happy with either choice this time, But what is new? This is about what we have grown to expect from the political parties in this country. You try to pick the lesser of 2 evils. I don't know if I will even bother writing my opinion after the debate. I firmly believe that every American should vote, but I also believe the system is so broken that we do not really get a choice.

I will try to have some more done on my old house drawing tomorrow to post. I am going to post a drawing I did today right after this one. It will not add the 2nd photo to this post for some reason.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Taking a turn

For a while I am going to be working on a couple of quilts as well as drawing. Sue Ann does most of the work, but I do the hand tying and also all of the hand stitching. I designed my own pattern using various American flag pattern cloth. I don't have a photo of the pattern of the quilt, but I will get one in a day or so. This is an art form that we do together. As we can afford to we are making small quilts for all of the grand children and even the children if we can. We even made the quilt for our bedroom so we could match the colors of the paint. It was the very first quilt we made together and we chose an advanced pattern. Did not know it at the time which probably was a good thing. It looks great. I have attached a photo of the bedroom showing the paint, quilt and curtains. I did not make the head board, but I did make all of the woodwork myself. With the help of our kids and other family members we totally remodeled the two upstairs rooms. It took over a year with my health and limited income, but we are both very pleased. There is a sewing room next to the bedroom that is Sue Ann's private space. She has a computer desk, Sewing machine table and folding cutting table. The colors and woodwork match. In the next few days I will be posting some of the quilts we have done as well as any progress I make on my drawing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Precious

That is what I call my wife and who and what she is to me. She is feeling better and things went better than we expected them to. The doctor was even pleased. She still hurts, but she is already getting stir crazy, cabin fever or what ever you want to call it. At the same time she still does not have energy to do much.

I am still recovering from the stress and my be for another day or so. I have strated drawing again on my old house project. I have to do it is very short sessions so I am not getting a lot done, but I am back to drawing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Treasure

Today was the day my wife had her kidney stone broken up and the doctor said it went better than he could have hoped.  I know there were people praying (probably more than I know) and I am sure that had a lot to do with it.  If you were one of those thank you from the bottom of my heart.  The stress on me has dropped tremendously also making me feel much better as stress is something I do not deal with having CFS. It will be a few days before things are back to normal, but they are headed that way in a hurry.  Hopefully tomorrow I can get back to some sort of routine again and post something pertaining to art.  

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pain Wins

Tonight pain wins and there will not be a blog entry or at least much of one. I can not even type with my right hand. I need to save what I have for helping my wife after hr kidney stones are broken up anyway.

This is the last graphite drawing I finished. It is the final product from the start I showed everyone on the 12th. I didn't think about the mood or emotions people whould have when they saw this. I was concentrating on doing some experimenting. I was trying to the drawing with just 4 pencils and therfore just 4 values, So far everyone has told me that it is spooky or reminds them of Halloween. I know the trees are poorly formed. I was not really interestd so much in how they looked for realism as I was how the picture tyrned out using just 4 pencils. Sory of like using a limited pallette when painting. Of course there is a 5th value which is the paper it's self.
I have not forgotten about the old house I am drawing. It just take the right mood and more it take my hands not hurting so much to draw such fine detail. More about that later today.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Google Chrome Browser Warning

I few days ago I wrote that i was testing Google Chrome and thinking about making it my default browser. I did something that none of the software companies expect you to do. I read the EULA ( end user license agreement) for Chrome. It says in simpler words that Google has full rights to use any information that passes through your browser no matter what it is. The way it is written they could take your bank or credit card information from your log on and share of sell it and be above a law suit. They could take my drawings and use or sell them no matter that I have them copyrighted. I think this is an very dangerous path Google is trying to lead us down. Use it is you must, but realize that you are giving up all of your intellectual rights to your information by doing so. We really need to start reading the fine print. All of it even though it may be 100 pages if we intend to use a software program. If I took a poll I would be willing to bet that no one would say they always read the EULA. Start doing it please.

At the moment I will continue to use either Firefox 3 (my favorite) or Opera because both are safer than Internet Explorer from Microsoft.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More Important than Art

My wife has kidney stones and Monday she goes to get them broken up. I am not really in much of a mood to write about art at the moment and I may not write anything for a day or two. It all depends on if something comes to mind that gets through the worry and concern. I know in my heart that she will be fine, but if you have a loved one in a position like this and are not worried and upset then you really don't have a loved one. I have a few very good friends. Even some who I could tell absolutely anything if I needed to and they would never think worse of me no matter what it was. Friends who would do anything for me, but, I only have one best friend and that is my wife. We don't agree about everything. We don't talk about everything and at times we disagree a lot, but in the end my life revolves around her. To all of my friends who have offered their comfort and prayers I thank you from the bottom of my heart. For everyone else who reads this I pray that you have a best friend like I do in my wife. If not you have an empty life even if you don't know it. It does not have to be a spouse of significant other, but every one needs that one person who is always there for them. Never judges them. Never shuts them out and is always offering encouragement and help in times that are good and times that are bad.

I am sure others can write better, but no one can feel what I feel for my wife and best friend any stronger than I do. I knew I loved her the second I saw her and nothing has ever made me even think I may have been wrong.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Toys

I find it hard to believe but I bought a set of 72 Prismacolor colored pencils yesterday and have barely gotten them sharpened. I am still working on my negative drawing of the moon lit night. I don't think it will be a master piece, but the concept is interesting and is making me think more about what I am doing. I am trying to decided if the ground in the fore front should be black as the sky or light as the trees or maybe in between. Of course no one is willing to offer an opinion in case I take it and it looks bad. I guess it starts light because I can always go darker.How is that for taking the easy way out?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For jory

jory, I started answering you and it got so large I decided to post it so everyone would catch it.


When I start an old building I create a B&W photo the size I want to draw. I cover the back with graphite pencil. Then I use that to do a very light and basic tracing of the very outline rather than doing a bunch of measuring. Some might consider that cheating, but if you can't see my tracing in the finished drawing is it really? The hard part is getting the building to pose for you. You have to find the right angle and the right light. It is a bit like posing a person. I feel so close to the buildings I want to draw. If I don't feel close it is a waste of my time to try to draw them. An old building holds tons of memories and history. Sometimes they want to share some of it and sometimes they don't. I know it all sounds very mystical, but it is how I feel and everyone knows artists are a bit crazy anyway. Right?


Working with Colored Pencils

Part of yesterday was a bit dark. Maybe I should not post them here and should start a second blog, but my thoughts still stand.

Today I used 50% off coupon from Michaels to purchase a set of 72 Prismacolor colored pencils. They are usually considered the Cadillac of colored pencils buy artists. Now I need to create a color wheel and learn how the colors work together. I am a completely self taught artist. I had not drawn or painted from high school to the time I became disabled and needed to find things I could still do well. When I started experimenting I was interested more in things I was physically able to handle than how good I might be. As it turned out actually could draw and paint good enough to at least not be ashamed to share my work. Now that I have gotten to a point where I am doing about as good as I am able I need to start actually learning form others. Thus studying the color wheel.

Not that I have not been learning from other all along. My art really took off when I joined Carol's Drawing Club. The friendliest group of artists on the web as far as I am concerned. They have been gently and lovingly offering suggestions and ideas to help me improve and improve I have. Not only improving, but encouraged enough to keep learning and trying new techniques. Thus the colored pencils and the color wheel.

When I worked I enjoyed computers because there was something new every day ( or every minute) and art is the same way. No matter how much I learn there is more waiting to be learned. It is not a good hobby for lazy people and it take a fair amount of paitence to do well at all. In other words it is challenging and that is fine with me. I will keep you posted as I learn about color wheels.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Newset graphite works

I am trying something new and also working on what I do most. Another old building full of memories.  The first is going to be trees, a moon, a couple of clouds and dark.  I plan to use just 4 or maybe 4 pencils. I am roughing in the trees, but then it turns in to negative drawing. The old house is the home place of my paternal grandfather's sister and her husband. In it's time it was a very fancy house.  By that I mean in the early 1900's.  It had lots of ginger bread and other fancy trim.  It has not been empty as long as it appears.  I am lucky enough to find another building that has history which is meaningful to me.  It adds a lot to the act of drawing.  You will see more of my progress if you look on Carol's Drawing Club.

Belief Systems

My life is full of so many interests that I really never do know what topic might pop up next.  That means anyone who comes here looking for the same thing all the time will be disappointed.   I promise a second post with some art tonight.

Lately I have been searching my soul about what I believe.  Why am I searching this late in life?  Because I feel I have been let down too many times by people supposedly representing what I do believe.  If the people who are supposed to be the leaders fall so short and wander so far from what the truth is supposed to be is it a simple case of men not being perfect or is it that they are teaching is not strong enough and powerful enough to provide the moral strength and character needed. Do not get me wrong.  I firmly believe in God. I am just questioning the system we use to to teach and worship and why even the leaders do not seem to live what they preach. Yeah not everyone falls short, but way too many do and I believe that when you see a little dirt on the surface there is a lot buried underneath.  I am not even pointing at any one group.  Am I wrong to expect more? If I am tell me so.  Don't cuss and I promise to publish your comments.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why I am upset with NASCAR

Here it is late again and I would rather sleep but I did promise myself to write something daily. I have been upset with NASCAR for several years. Being on disability I do not have satellite or cable tv. Just good old antenna. NASCAR in their infinite wisdom (greed) has chosen to put half of the schedule on channels that are not available via antenna. That alone is enough. On top of that they have configured the rules to the point that all 12 cars in the chase for the championship come from 4 teams. That leaves everyone not a member of those 4 super teams of out of the running. It takes a lot of the excitement out of things in my opinion. On top of all that Danica Patrick won an Indy Car race this last week and NASCAR doesn't even have a woman racing. I think that greed is going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg if they keep up.

I am working on my drawing of the old farm house, but not quite ready to share yet.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday night late

The day got away from me when I started another drawing of an old house that I am doing in graphite. I don't have the time nor energy to write now. I promised myself I would post a new entery every day or I would have skipped it altogether. Sorry to disappoint you today. I promise more tomorrow.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pink Rose

Here is the pink rose with a background. I am enjoying drawing with colored pencil more than I thought I would. The next drawing I am working on is giving me problems matching the colors of the flowers though. I still have a lot to learn about mixing and blending to get the correct color. It appears to me that might be a life time of learning. It will keep it from getting dull. Actually every new subject makes drawing come to life all over again. No matter how many drawing you finish the next one will offer some challenges.

I am one of those people who hurts when it storms and the weather sure has been doing a number on me. Bad as it is though I am still better off than the people living in the gulf. We seem to keep getting storms that are unlike anything before. They are going back a long way to find anything the size of Ike. It is hard to believe some people are staying behind.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More colored pencil & politics

I finished my rose in colored pencil. Not the background yet, but just the actual rose. I have been trying for months to draw a real looking rose. I seem to have gone from something that looks nothing like a rose to a pretty good one. I wanted to give everyone a look at it before I do the background because I am not all that sure of myself about how it will turn out. I have started another drawing of a wrought iron metal chair painted red that has a vine with yellow flowers growing up it. It is going to be a challenge, but I am really enjoying it.

I have chosen my next graphite drawing also. It will be of an old falling down house that was the home of my grandfather's sister and her husband. When I found it and took photos I didn't know that. Now that I do know it makes drawing it more interesting.

I had coffee with my best friend today and we agreed that the elections were getting to be so disgusting that they were not fit to talk about. We usually like to solve all the worlds's problems while we have our coffee. We have the answers if only we could get government to listen to us. Hear that Washington! It would not take much to have more common sense than anyone in Washington would it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New art project

I started a new drawing today. My wife has a couple wrought iron chairs in the yard with flower post where the seats were. The flowers grew up and vined around the chair. It will be quite a test of my abilities. As soon as I get enough done to bother showing I will post it. It is going to be colored pencil on sanded paper. Only my second try on sanded paper.

One another note, I thought the elections were going to get interesting, but I think they are going to just keep getting uglier and uglier. It would be nice if they would all quit calling names and talk about things like the economy in detail. Don't think it will happen though.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I have seen that although I have a lot of visitors to my sites many do not stay long enough to have read very much. I am new to blogging and I don't know for sure what people want to read about most. Should I write just about my art or should I share computer tips as I have them. Should I keep my thoughts about the world to myself? Comments are welcome and anonymous unless you want to identify yourself. A nick name would be appreciated though so I can keep people separate.
The painting today is actually one of my very first watercolor paintings. It is actually a combination of watercolor and gauche on a 4" x 6" card. It is probably still one of my best.

Monday, September 8, 2008

What happened to summer?

Isn't it still supposed to be summer? There is talk of frost in northern Iowa and more than talk north of Iowa. Sue Ann brought plants in today. Plants that there never seems to be enough room for. If take them outside for summer something else moves in to it's spot. It never fails. Every spare inch of house space becomes occupied as soon as you turn your back. We remodeled the the two upstairs rooms in to a bedroom and sewing room. It only took a year and a half mind you with my having CFS. If I didn't have boys who love me it still would be half way finished. As it is I only have a bit of trim and some bookcase shelves to do. Anyway, the old bedroom seems to have become populated with stuff I didn't even know we had.

Back to summer. It does seem that global warming means local cooling for some areas. It is actually too soon to tell for sure because the weather fluctuates so much normally that it is really hard to say any one year is unusual. I remember 8 inches of heavy white stuff in October one year and my out with a long pole trying to save trees that still had all of their leaves.

I finished a drawing today. It is the one of the old 2 story school house and Mason's Lodge in Cauthron, Ark. The same one I wrote about a couple days ago. Now I need a new subject. It really feels good when I finish a drawing. Some of the graphite drawings take from 20 to 30 or even more hours and I rarely am able to work more than a couple hours at one time. It is not about how great the drawing is. It has a lot of me in it by the time I am done and there is a lot of the subject in me in return. I do my art for myself. If others happen to like it so much the better, but it isn't necessary at all.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

More about browsers

Not much today worth writing about. I can tell you I like Google's new browser enough that I made it my default. I will be running checks for spyware and viruses for awhile just to make sure. Never trust anything you do not test yourself when it comes to software. Unless of course you are trusting me. Just kidding, but many people can not test software themselves because they do not have the knowledge needed. Everyone should find someone they trust to ask about which software protects your computer the best. I have people I respect myself and then I test some more. I have also found that the program that is number one this year may not make the top ten next year. I don't ant anything out of the top five myself and preferably in the top 3. I figure that much could be subjective. I have said it before, but click the link to gizmo's to find the best free software for your computer.

I have to bring myself to test IE8 next ,but I will be very surprised if it can match up to Chrome. I will do it eventually.

I would be more than happy to hear anyone else's opinions on the best software and why they feel it is. I am not going to turn this in to a computer only blog, but I think security needs to be brought up every so often.

No pictures or drawing to post tonight. My art has been suffering the last few days when I have been so tired.I have a list of important things to draw that is probably longer than I will ever finish though. I do not think I will ever be one who draws a picture in a few minutes.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Old Country School House

I really wanted to write something about my art today so I guess I do 2 entries. I have several drawings that are works in progress (WIP) and I would like to finish some day. You can see my pencil drawings on my web page at hartfield.net. I am working on a drawing of an old country school house a couple miles down the road from the Hargrove Grocery Store. It is more of a challenge than I thought it would be. Besides having a tin roof it is a two story clapboard building and clapboards are supposed to be straight and parallel to each other. That is a lot of straight lines very close together. I have the right side to finish which includes a lot of trees in the background and then the grass and brush in front.

Browser Wars

I am trying out a new browser today. I have used Firefox for several years and have liked it a lot. It has more plugins than any other browser. Many of which I have come to depend on. Since version 3 came out though it has been a memory hog and seems to load slower. Google has just released a new browser. Actually it is the beta release, but from what I read it was a lot faster than other browers. I can't say it loads new pages a lot faster, but loading up at first it is probably 1/10 the time of FireFox. At first it takes less memory, but as you open multiple pages Google's Chrome uses more memory than FireFox. It is faster because it opens each page in it's own memory space which is supposed to also be safer. For now I like the speed, but I miss some of the FireFox features so the jury is still out.

Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 8 which is also supposed to be much better than the previous versions, but I have not been able to bring myself to install it. I do have IE7 installed because you have to have Microsoft's browser installed in order to update Windows, but I have never really liked Internet Explorer. That is a personal choice, but I believe that using FireFox or Opera is safer. Google's Chrome probably is also. It isn't even because Microsoft has a bad browser. It is because hacker like the attacks that give them the most success. If most people use IE then hacker attack IE. Simple logic.

This isn't what I planned to write about today, but I was trying out Chrome so I thought I would share my results so far with you. That is it is much faster.

Friday, September 5, 2008


That really doesn't mean a lot when you are home every day. If you work five days a week and wish you could stay home all the time and not have to work be careful what you wish for. I would give a lot to be able to work again and I have quite a few friends who feel the same way. Having to work may be a PITA but not being able to is a much bigger one.

Don't ask me where my ideas come from when I blog. I just sit down and start writing most days. I would like to write more, but I am not a great story teller so I do not think I have "The Great American Novel" hidden away inside somewhere.

Today was a slow day. I have been doing some drawing. I finished my rose and started trying to put a background in. I took care of the pets and cleaned the aquarium. Thankfully not a daily job. We have a 75 gallon salt water aquarium that we started before I got sick. That means we have had it a long time. We have a few mushroom corals, several fish my wife could name, a starfish, an anemone, a bunch or snails and a few small crabs that help clean house. That aquarium is the most relaxing thing in the house. Both of us can sit and watch it for hours.

Mainly I slept. CFS is still kicking me hard and I have been sleeping more than I have been awake. Nothing new there. Just explaining why my list of things done today is so short.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I tend to be an independent when it comes to politics. This year I have been very disappointed in the primaries and really felt that all of the candidates that offered any thing great were gone shortly after the primaries started. In short neither candidate impressed me in the least. After the last two nights I feel that maybe, just maybe, there might be hope for our country yet. I really liked what I heard compared to what the Democrats said and yes, I did listen to both conventions. My wife, who is the best instant judge of character I have ever seen, picks the Republican ticket. I would like to read the facts about each candidate, but do you have any idea how hard it is to find the fact buried in all the rhetoric and exaggeration? I don't know if it is possible. I am going to try, but if all else fails I will trust my wife's judgment. Not very scientific I know, but it has been pretty accurate in the past.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A rest day

Today has been a day to rest after taking on the Iowa Science Center with a four year old. It has also been a day to find some warmer clothes. Yesterday was nearly 90 F and today the high has been about 62 F. Sue Ann thinks winter is here. It is rather unusual weather, but our weather has been unusual all year. I am not in the panic that some are about global warming. Not that I don't think we contribute, but I have been looking at the history of climate changes and in the time records have been kept we have had mini ice ages and terrible heat and drought. In the 1930's in the US it was so hot and so dry the soil blew around like sand dunes in the Sahara desert. In the Middle Ages there were a few years where it got so cold they said there was no summer for several years in a row. Rivers that never freeze froze over and crops did not even get planted. The climate of our planet goes through cycles and many things including man have effects on it. Our sun varies in the amount of light and therefore heat it gives out. A large volcanic eruption puts enough dust in the air to block sun light and reflect it back out into space causing cold weather for years sometimes.

I don't know what started that,but now you have had your science lesson for the day. I started saying that I was resting today and not doing very much. Listening to talk radio today because the elections suddenly got interesting. They were important before, but now they really are interesting to watch. I have not reached any conclusions yet, but I appreciate the entertainment.

Have you ever compared medical bills that come from a office visit to your doctor when you don't have insurance to one when you do? Worse have you ever compared an office visit procedure to an emergency room visit? The same thing cost 4 times more when my wife had to go to ER than when she had it done during a normal office call. The same equipment was used and maybe even the same people did the procedure. Does this seem right to you. It does not to me. Will the insurance company pay 4 times more because she had to go to ER or will we have to pay the difference. How much cheaper would insurance be if there was only one price for things. Obviously the procedure can be done for the lower cost or it wouldn't have been done at that price. Our medical billing system and insurance really stinks.

If you are a member of Carol's Drawing Club you already know I started drawing a rose in colored pencil because I posted the first of my work there several days ago. If you like to draw and have not been to the site you really should check it out. The link is on the left side of my blog and on the main page of my web site. Here is the drawing I am working on.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A trip to the Science Center

Today was the last Day Ashley (our grand daughter) could stay with us because Mom & Dad were missing her. It was also Grandma's day off so they had the morning together and then we went to the Science Center of Iowa this afternoon. During the morning Grandma took Ashley to the local donut shop. Ashley got to pick her own donuts and then they sat in the window and talked about all the people walking by on the sidewalk. Typical small town entertainment. After that they went to the City Park. A seven block trip. Ashley rode her bike all the way there and back ( with a bit of secretive help from Grandma). Remember she is only 4 and her bike does not come up to my knees.
After all this we went to the Science Center. She loves learning new things as much as her grandpa. (WARNING HERE: I have 22 grand children & 2 great grand children so you WILL hear more about them) There was an exhibit about robots and mechanics this trip. She had seen this exhibit once before so she took on the job of tour guide and did quite well. One of her favorite things was being able to pick up a 569 pound car engine with a chain hoist. She also learned a lot about plumbing. Rather than saying EWW !!! she was fascinated by how it works. There there was the exhibit about the power of air. In this picture she had just placed a ball in a column of air and watched it fly to the top of the column. The look of joy on her face is priceless. Lastly there was just plain fun. I only took one photos of Ashley blowing huge bubbles before I gave Grandma the camera and joined her. There were many other exhibits, but even I have to stop at some point. Most amazingly she was still going strong at 5 PM when we dropped her off with Mom. Even more amazing is the fact that she understand that Grandpa has CFS and can not always do a lot and she finds thing we can do together. She is wise beyond her years and I am so proud of her I can barely stand it. She has a hunger for knowledge that is very rare today and I learn new things when she is here myself. There are no words to describe how I feel about her and the rest of my grand children and great grand children. Some one once said that our grand children are our reward for not killing our own young. I am starting to believe it. The photos below are in the order I mentioned them.


Monday, September 1, 2008


I had to do something I really did not want to do. I set all comments to be moderated before they are published. I did this because a comment was made to my post about "Christian Hypocrisy" accusing a child of being arrested and charged with a crime when they were not. I would not have even mentioned it except my blog shows that a comment has been deleted. I had thought I could let anyone say what they wanted, but this time I could not.

My grand daughter is still here and as I told my wife "my life has been 4 years old all day" Unless you want to know about drawing pictures and watching movies & PBS with a 4 year old I don't have a lot to tell about. To be truthfull about it I am worn out.