Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Catching up with 2014!

©illustration by Cheryl Kirk Noll
Book Dummy 2014

2014 is gone! How did that happen?
It was a great year, and here are just a few of the highlights since my last post.

My Book Dummy class was small this past fall, but the creative energy from the stellar students lit up the room.

As the holiday season neared, I was honored to receive printed books from students I've had in other book dummy classes.  What a thrill!

My Mom, Uncle Bud (the birthday boy @ 90) and Aunt Dot

I missed my Uncle Bud's 90th birthday party celebration, but I celebrated with him from afar. Here he is flanked by his two sisters, my mom on the left and Aunt Dot on the right.
Dave and I began the holiday season with a rousing concert at Beneficent Congregational Church with RPM Concert.

Judith Moffatt adding a festive air to the RISD party
Lori, Cheryl and Judith
Among many holiday festivities, I especially enjoyed a party for RISD folks at Wood-Gerry in Providence, where I met fellow instructors Judith Moffatt, Lori Surdat Weinberg and Sandy Valpey Cordts.

Story Spinners and friends (and Willow)
Another holiday highlight was a dinner party with my writer's group, Story Spinners, and an extended group of talented writers that have connections to the group. This year's get-together, complete with goal-setting for the coming year, was particularly meaningful.

I took the train to spend a week visiting my mom for Christmas. (a loooooong ride) Unfortunately, she came down with pneumonia! We celebrated anyway, and the family was very understanding about me preparing Christmas dinner... the first one I've ever done!!!

I got to visit with old friends Lydia and Merrie, went shopping with my sister-in-law, Steph, and tried to take care of my mom with a fraction of the TLC she's shown me over the years. I'm happy to report that the doctor declared her lungs to be clear, and she is feeling much better.

Family gathering at my Mom's with brother, hubby, sister-in-law and nieces.
I feel very blessed that 2014 was filled with loving family, caring friends, talented and hard-working students, gratifying work and much more.

Warm wishes to each of you for a happy, healthy, creative and satisfying year in 2015. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Catching Up With Summer

Dave and me
How can it be the last day of summer already??? What a wonderful summer it was, too.
The weather was incredible. Only a few of those hot, humid "dog days," and literally weeks of perfection... 70's and low 80's, breezy, sunny and dry. This was MY kind of summer, for sure!

I didn't blog for months, so here's a "once over lightly" of summer 2014. 

I've been working on a few freelance illustration jobs. Sadly, I can't show them until they're published, so no pictures yet... but they've been fun to work on.

In the meantime, four wonderful students graduated from the RISD children's book certificate program this June. I'm such a proud mama hen. (Our fourth graduate, Clare, was on a plane to England, and couldn't attend.)
Bob with his family.

Sarita with her husband and mom-in-law
Marcela and Sarita bookended by two of our very fine instructors, Emilie Boon and Judith Moffatt.
I taught a summer class at RISD, with 10 talented students. It was 6 weeks, 2 days a week... a whirlwind class that I always enjoy.

Dave built a patio for our tiny back yard, and we ate dinners outside in the garden all summer. Our pear tree, which was old when we moved in 24 years ago, had it's best year ever. We estimated that it had about 300 pears, and they were delicious. Dave made his famous pear pies, and cooked them in our NEW oven!!!

One of Dave's pear pies!

Dave enjoying the view on the other side of Beavertail Point.
We took a few day trips, one to the island of Jamestown. Always a beautiful place to visit, we especially enjoy Beavertail, with the lighthouse, and a little cove over in Fort Weatherhill.

An idyllic view of Castle Hill from Fort Weatherhill
The spectacular rocks of Beavertail, on the island of Jamestown in RI.

My friend Judy celebrated her birthday in style, as Queen Judith with her court of ladies-in-waiting.  Tea, talk, great food and great weather... a wonderful day for a special friend.

The library in downtown Westerly

Dave and I took another day trip to Westerly, a town in the southwestern corner of RI, right before you cross into Stonington, CT.  Westerly's border on the north and west is the winding Pawcatuck River. The town is historic, and stately homes grace tree-lined State Street. To the south are beaches... East beach, Misquamiquit, Westerly town beach, and some shore-type food and shopping. There is also Watch Hill, filled with gorgeous shingled homes with manicured gardens.

Just one of the spectacular seaside  homes in Watch Hill, Westerly RI.
My ageless mom, and my brothers, John and Andy.

We also had a great family get-together in August. My niece, Cassie, had a party to celebrate graduating from high school. (wasn't she a baby just last year???)

We had several outings with Phil and his girlfriend Jess, and her 5-year old son Conner.

We celebrated my mother's birthday... last I heard she was 65.
;  )

Of course, there was much more... pool parties at Dot's and Linda's, dinners with Jeff and Mel, many repairs to the house done by Dave... FAN meetings...

It was a great summer. Have a great fall!

My lovely niece.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Parade of Roses

Once again it's the glorious month of June, and the roses in my garden are out in full force. Here are a few photos.

The roses here grow up into my styrax obassia.
The tree's common name is fragrant snowbell, because of it heavenly scented hanging flowers. They were in bloom a month ago, when there were also peeping chickadee babies in the birdhouse. See the chickadee bottom right?
A new bush… the ubiquitous red knock-outs

Golden showers with a clematis "Etoille Violette" in the background.

a close-up of of the clematis "Etoile Violette."

The garage is covered with New Dawn roses for one glorious week in June.

They cascade over the front of the garage too.
One New Dawn with roses that came with the yard 20+ years ago.

A few New Dawns with Allium, spires of speedwell and self-seeding white feverfew, with a touch of catmint up front 
One more of the roses on the garage… such a fleeting pleasure. 

Please… don't forget to stop and smell the roses!!! Happy June.

Friday, June 20, 2014

RISD Weekend Watercolor Intensive, Summer 2014

I had a grand time with 13 fabulous students last weekend. They were all ready to spend a weekend learning more about watercolor. After a full day of exercises on Saturday, they painted their own pieces on Sunday. Here is one of the student paintings, a class portrait.

A painting of the class in action done by student, Susan Klare.
 Below are pictures of most of the students, with their work in progress.

Susan and  Whitney came for some artistic mom-daughter together time.
Ben (how did I miss getting a picture of Ben!) drove up from DC for the weekend.
Several of the students enjoyed Waterfires after class on Saturday evening.

Whitney is building up courage to add layers of paint.

Here is an early stage of Susan's class portrait.
Jane worked diligently on color swatches

Cheryl did a lovely scene of rocks, water and flowers.

Birch used resist techniques, and mixed red and green... complementary colors... to get his dark background.
Lowry originally hoped for an absolutely flat sky, but her delicate clouds turned out even better.

Lynn did a painting of her grandparent's farm.
Alessandra took a break from law school to do several paintings.

Anna, our best equipped student, added energy to the weekend.

The students had a wide range of backgrounds... from total beginners, to people who had some experience with watercolor but wanted to learn more, to experienced artists who were looking to learn another media.

Ben experimented with wet-on-wet and Yupo paper, and Miyoung created textured backgrounds with salt. Anne did a floral still life from a blooming kalanchoe. Lois worked on letterforms with delicate colors that she later planned to layer, overpaint, and even stitch into art pieces.

We had a photographer spend a few hours with us, so pictures of the class will probably show up in future RISD CE catalogs.

Thanks to all of the students for your creativity and enthusiasm! It was an exciting and fun weekend for me!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Enough of Winter

It's hard to remember winter, now that summer has hit RI. But I was almost afraid to admit that I was in sunny Florida in February, since it was such a tough winter here.

I had a great time with my husband and mom, visiting relatives and friends, watching the sun set over the Gulf, strolling through parks and botanical gardens in 77 degree weather. Now I'm enjoying the 77 degree weather here at home!

Here are a few pictures from the trip.
leaving Mom's in PA... yuck!
We met a pet turtle on the beach... Louie, I think
We saw orchids at Marie Selby Botanical gardens

...and bamboo

... and koi

I had a craving for a strawberry milkshake, and couldn't have been happier to find this great retro ice-cream shop in Bradenton.