One Year

I made this card for my daughter’s first birthday. I painted it in watercolor first, and then went over it with diluted Noodler’s Eternal Luxury Blue ink in my flex nib pen.

mysterious lake

©2012 Carolyn A Pappas, Lake Eden, VT in various blues. Watercolor and ink, 4 x 6 inches on a 5 x 7 inch greeting card.

I wrote a message inside the card and sealed it. I am planning on making one every year and then giving them to her on some later date. I am generally not a sentimental person, but I think it will be an interesting thing for her to open when she is older, and also a good way to document how my artwork changes over the years.

All Day Artist's Date

northampton ma ink sketch

©2012 Carolyn A Pappas, 10-6-12 (Northampton). Pen and Copic Marker in Stonehenge paper wirebound sketchbook.

This past Saturday I had the chance to have the entire day to myself, which I spent in Northampton, MA. I have a lot of good memories from there, and it has a lot of creative energy.

I only made one sketch all day, but I did have a good time and I got a lot of inspiration from it. I also did a lot of driving, up and down route 5 & 10, and up 116 through Sunderland and Deerfield. I wish I could have taken photos from the car because there were some amazing skies, especially when the sun was setting.

New Water Cup

watercolor cup and palette

This was one of the cups from my grandparent’s house years ago and I recently found it in a pile of stuff to throw away. I used to love to drink orange juice out of it because it looked so nice against the blue stripes.

Now I am going to use it for my watercolors. The advantage of this cup over my old one is that it has a wider base and is more stable. Also, it is transparent so I can easily see when the water needs to be changed. I painted one time with it so far, and it feels nice to have a piece of the past with me when I work.

First Mother's Day

Yesterday my mom, sister and I went to Old Sturbridge Village because they were giving free admission to all mothers. It was a nice afternoon and we saved $75.

old sturbridge village

The gazebo in the herb garden.

old sturbridge village

Some unfired pottery.

old sturbridge village

I always wanted a canopy bed as a kid.

old sturbridge village

Looking out the window in the "rich people's house."

old sturbridge village

The pond and covered bridge.

I haven’t been there in twenty years and it was just as I remembered it. I left with lots of potential reference photos and the general impression that I was born in the wrong century.

The Bookmill

saw mill river montague ma

The Saw Mill River

Last Friday afternoon we were driving through Montague, MA on our way to look for a certain waterfall in Sunderland. We came across an old mill that had been renovated and filled with shops. There was a cute little co-op gallery, Saw Mill River Arts and a bookstore, the Montague Bookmill. We stopped for a bit and browsed. There were rooms and rooms of used books and new books connected by narrow staircases. I felt almost like I was snooping through someone’s house. I would like to come back and spend some more time there and perhaps eat at their little cafe.

We ended up finding the waterfall and it was quite impressive. I filed away my snapshots into my “future paintings” file.

Treasured Portrait

Another item found at Papou’s house: a pencil sketch of Papou drawn by his sister, Mary. I remember him talking about this drawing in amazement at how his sister could capture his likeness so well. He saved it all these years, since 1951.


red ashtrays

©2012 Carolyn A Pappas, Ashtrays. Graphite, colored pencil and marker in 8.5 x 11 inch sketchbook.

I found this ashtray at Papou’s house, and I took it home and put it on my nightstand to hold hair clips. I love the bright red inside. I enjoy pottery with white on the outside and bright colors on the inside, like these tripod dishes.

I sketched it twice. The sketch on the left was first and I was off quite a bit. I came closer to the actual object on my second sketch (right). Elipses were never my cup of tea (whose are they, anyway?). I could fill up a sketchbook of practice sketches and still be improving.

Papou's House

Norway MapleImage at left: ©2009 Carolyn A Pappas, Norway Maple. Colored pencil, 20 x 16 inches.

I stayed with my grandfather (Papou) when I was in college and for a few years afterward. He passed away this past year, and his house was recently sold. I’ve always loved his house. It was a simple ranch, but it was nicely decorated with lots of original art.

The landscaping was impeccable. He had mini palm, orange and fig trees out on the patio in the summer and kept them in his heated garage in the winter. He had lovely, mature Japanese maple trees.

Even though I will miss him more than any thing, I will truly miss his house. It was always there and available for me to stop in any time. If I ever build my own house someday, I think I will build a replica of his house.

I went through my old drawings and put together a flickr set of some of the drawings that I made at Papou’s house over the years.

Old, old watercolor

©1994 Carolyn A Pappas, Seashore. Watercolor and watercolor pencils, 6 x 4 inches.

I’ve been scanning a box of photos so I can throw out the originals and declutter my space. Recently, I found this small seascape, painted in 1994. Back then, I usually copied from photos in magazines, but I made up this scene in my head.

At the time, I remember being so proud of myself because this was the first watercolor that turned out the way I wanted. I’ve kept it around all these years as a memento of that feeling. Now I’ve thrown out the original, but I still have the memory.

Baby Cate

baby sketch

©2011 Carolyn A. Pappas, Baby Cate. Graphite in sketchbook.

baby sketch

©2011 Carolyn A. Pappas, Cate Sleeping. Graphite in sketchbook.

baby hand sketch

©2011 Carolyn A. Pappas, Right Hand. Graphite in sketchbook.

Baby Cate arrived last week and I’m finally getting into the swing of things enough to make some sketches while she naps. I am no expert on baby portraits, but I will definitely get a lot of practice over the next few months as I’ll want to do plenty of sketches of my precious baby girl. I am so lucky!