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Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Review: Daily Painting {Blogging for Books}

Daily Painting: Paint small and often to become a more creative, productive, and successful artist by Carol Marine
ISBN: 9780770435332
Paperback, 182 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications
Retail: $22.99

About the book (from the back cover):
Do you want to being the joy back into your art?
Have you landed in a frustrating rut? Are you having trouble selling paintings in galleries, getting bogged down by projects you can't seem to finish or abandon, or finding excuses to avoid working on the studio? Author Carol Marine knows exactly how you feel- she herself suffered from painter's block, until she discovered "daily painting." The idea is simple: do at (usually small) often (how often is up to you), and if you'd like, post and sell it online. Soon you'll find that your block dissolves and you're painting work you love- and more of it than you ever thought possible!

With her encouraging tone and useful exercises, Marine teaches you to:
-Master composition and value
-Become confident in any medium
-Choose subjects wisely
-Stay fresh and loose
-Photograph, post, and sell your art online
-Become connected to the growing movement of daily painters around the world

About the author:
Carol Marine is an artist and the creator odd the popular blog 'A Painting a Day (or Almost)'. She is a member of Daily Paintworks, a distinguished group of daily painters, and she teaches daily painting workshops around the country. Marine lives in Eugene, Oregon. Visit

My thoughts:
I am beginning to really appreciate Watson-Guptill's books, as so far they've all been art books.
The print is admittedly a little small for my liking, but the artwork is wonderful. I used to be extremely picky about art. It had to be super realistic for me to call it 'good', no matter the medium. I've come to appreciate impressionistic and somewhat abstract art more as I've gotten older. This book features quite a few types of paintings. One of the points Marine makes is that doing small painting gives more freedom to experiment. I can see how that would be true. 
This book also emphasizes posting and selling online the artwork that is created. This might be good for some but personally, I don't see myself doing this. Guess we'll see.
The book features other artists who have taken to the daily painting lifestyle, along with their short stories and tips. 
It is short on materials but I suspect that is because this meant for those who already *are* painters. Marine gives some pointers on choosing materials, subjects, and settings. 
When we get to chapter 4, Value, Marine goes more in depth. She says, "Getting the  values right is by far the biggest thing I have to help my students with."
She covers color, proportion, perspective, and composition. Chapter 8 is dedicated to using oil paints, as this is her preferred medium. Chapter 9 includes advice from other painter's pointers on artist block and other related painting topics. The last two chapters are on photography, editing images, posting online and selling.
Overall I like the book but it isn't a book for those who do not have the slightest idea about painting.

Disclaimer: I received the above book free from the Blogging for Books program for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. See Disclosure/Policies.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesdays with Words {5/20/15}

"Marvellous lovingkindness."
Psalm 17:7

When we give our hearts with our alms, we give well, but we must often plead to a failure in this respect. Not so our Master and our Lord. His favours are always performed with the love of his heart. He does not send to us the cold meat and the broken pieces from the table of his luxury, but he dips our morsel in his own dish, and seasons our provisions with the spices of his fragrant affections. When he puts the golden tokens of his grace into our palms, he accompanies the gift with such a warm pressure of our hand, that the manner of his giving is as precious as the boon itself. He will come into our houses upon his errands of kindness, and he will not act as some austere visitors do in the poor man's cottage, but he sits by our side, not despising our poverty, nor blaming our weakness. Beloved, with what smiles does he speak! What golden sentences drop from his gracious lips! What embraces of affection does he bestow upon us! If he had but given us farthings, the way of his giving would have gilded them; but as it is, the costly alms are set in a golden basket by his pleasant carriage. It is impossible to doubt the sincerity of his charity, for there is a bleeding heart stamped upon the face of all his benefactions. He giveth liberally and upbraideth not. Not one hint that we are burdensome to him; not one cold look for his poor pensioners; but he rejoices in his mercy, and presses us to his bosom while he is pouring out his life for us. There is a fragrance in his spikenard which nothing but his heart could produce; there is a sweetness in his honey-comb which could not be in it unless the very essence of his soul's affection had been mingled with it. Oh! the rare communion which such singular heartiness effecteth! May we continually taste and know the blessedness of it!

From Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Night, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book Review: The Postage Stamp Garden {Blogging for Books}

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden: Grow tons of organic vegetables in tiny spaces and containers by Karen Newcomb
ISBN: 9781607746836
Paperback, 224 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Retail: $18.99
About the book
This classic gardening bestseller (over 500,000 copies sold) uses ecologically friendly, intensive biodynamic methods to produce large amounts of vegetables in very tiny spaces. Revised for an all new generation of gardeners, the 40th anniversary edition includes brand new information on the variety of heirloom vegetables available today and how to grow them the postage stamp way.

To accommodate today’s lifestyles, a garden needs to fit easily into a very small plot, take as little time as possible to maintain, require a minimum amount of water, and still produce prolifically. That’s exactly what a postage stamp garden does. Postage stamp gardens are as little as 4 by 4 feet, and, after the initial soil preparation, they require very little extra work to produce a tremendous amount of vegetables–for instance, a 5-by-5-foot bed will produce a minimum of 200 pounds of vegetables.

When first published 40 years ago, the postage stamp techniques, including closely planted beds rather than rows, vines and trailing plants grown vertically to free up space, and intercropping, were groundbreaking. Now, in an ever busier world, the postage stamp intensive gardening method continues to be invaluable for gardeners who wish to weed, water, and work a whole lot less yet produce so much more.

About the author
Karen Newcomb has contributed to and co-written eight gardening books with her late husband, Duane. She is a lifetime vegetable gardener, garden blogger, and avid writer, and has been a writing teacher for more than twenty years. She lives in Rocklin, California.

My thoughts:
I don't like the paper this is printed on. There I said it. I feel like it is going to tear any moment. I don't feel it is a book I can take outside while I am actually doing my gardening. Okay, that's out of the way. 
I do not do well with plants of any kind. We've had a garden for almost every year since 2005 and I have done terribly every single year. No joke. Last year the most prolific plant was the green bean which yielded approximately 1 large bag of beans. The size of bag you'd find in the freezer section at the store. My husband called them the $600 dollar green beans. Yeah, I really do not do well with plants.
I requested this book in hopes it would help me do better with less space. We have a greenhouse that is pretty small. I wanted to grow vegetables in containers, both in the greenhouse and out. I'm desperate, you see. That is why I requested this book. 
Unfortunately, at this time I don't have time to read every single line in the book. But you can't simply search something in the index, flip to that page and know what you need to know. Really, and this may be common to everyone else but me, you have to go from the front to the back with this book. It is set up different than other gardening books I've looked through. Or so it seems to me. 
Since I have not read it cover to cover, I cannot definitively say it's a good/bad gardening book. Also, I am not a good gardener so my opinion may be worth nothing in that regard. I think it has potential and I am going to give it another go. When I do take that much needed time to thoroughly consume the book, I am sure the sections on soil preparation, placement of containers (in sun, in shade, near the house, away, etc.) will be very helpful. 
Oh, another point, it doesn't help if you have deer eating your plants. The book does tell some tips for keeping smaller animals like rabbits and birds out of your garden. 

**Disclaimer: I received this free for the purpose of this review from the Blogging for Books program. No compensation was given. See Disclosure/Policies.**

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Day 30: National Poetry Month & 30 Day Blog Challenge {DONE}

This post was all written up, nice and done. But my computer ate it. I went all day thinking it'd posted! I am not sure why but I am determined to get this post up. I missed three days out of 30; not too shabby.

Originally the intent, whether actually stated or not is sort of beside the point now, for me was to post something every day in April, and include a poem in each post. But I was also attempting to get over to read others' blogs more in April because quite a few from the AO forum were participating. I've failed, in all three counts really. I didn't post every day. Some days I posted three in a row and scheduled them. Three days I didn't post anything {hence the three days I missed}. I also didn't get a poem in every day. Originally even if I just linked to a poem, I'd have called it good. I didn't do that either. I tried.

As for the last part, reading others' blogs: That was really what I wanted to do. I think perhaps in May I will set a new challenge for myself. Twenty-six days of reading blogs. Yeah... that sounds good!

I say "26" because I *try* to stay offline on Sunday {it doesn't always happen}.

Or maybe I'm just blogged out for the summer...

Oh, and here's the last poem for April:

From Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828):

Mosquito at my ear—
does he think 
I’m deaf?

A cuckoo sings
to me, to the mountain,
to me, to the mountain.

Hey, sparrow!
out of the way,
Horse is coming.

Don't worry, spiders,
I keep house

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day 29: Wednesdays with Words {National Poetry Month & 30 Day Blog Challenge}

From Dr. John R. Rice's book The Golden Path to Successful Personal Soul Winning.

You should give soul winning priority.
The preacher should face the fact that winning souls is more important than preaching a sermon that would not win a soul. The Sunday school teacher should face the truth that to win one of her pupils is more important than teaching the lesson. The church member out visiting should face it that it is far more important to win a soul than it is to get someone to attend a service, the Sunday school class or to join the church. Of course the preaching service, the Sunday school class, the visit in the homes, all properly may be used to win souls or lead toward soul winning. But the end itself, soul winning, is more important than any of the means. You will have to give soul winning priority.
{p. 65}

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

This world will pass away but the Word of God will remain forever. (Isaiah 40:8)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Day 28: Tuesday {National Poetry Month & 30 Day Blog Challenge}

Today, Tuesday

The sun shines, but
Under the eaves is 
Ethereal white, looking like
Snow; it is only thick frost.
Dawning, the sun begins to warm
And melt the ice, but it isn't that warm

Monday, April 27, 2015

Day 27: Monday {National Poetry Month & 30 Day Blog Challenge}

Another poem by by Lee. This may have been shared at some point here but poems are good to repeat.

White Butterfly by Autumn Lee

The day I
Caught a little
In my

Was white
And so small,
Even in my
Own small

The gasp I
Gave at seeing
The creature
So close

I thought, and
In my

Blowing on
The butterfly,
Willing it
To fly

Up, away
From me, into
The sky, soon
Just a
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