Inkjoy – inexpensive art fun with pens

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It seems like everything I like, enjoy, or want to do is really expensive.  This really sucks when one lives on a tight budget, and I suspect that many artists and budding artists fit into this category.  So one tries to enjoy life and do activities that are within one’s budget.  One day while shopping for something else I happened to walk through an area that is being set up for back to school items for the kids.  For some strange reason I like all these erasers, pens, pencils, boxes, and notepads…  I have no idea why, but I do, and I happened upon a multi-color package of ballpoint pens that looked intriguing and were for a reasonable price.

You see, ever since I was a kid I liked to doodle in the margins of my class notes, so ballpoint pen became an art tool without much thought.  It was there as well as the paper, so art happened there.  My college notes had tons of decorative doodles.  And when I took college level Geography, which required detail notes about land formations and the ability to recognize slides of these formations for a test, my quick ballpoint pen doodles came in handy.  Heck, after I was done with that class – other people borrowed my notes so they could prepare for the tests.  I had quick drawings of each slide and what they were about throughout my notes, which made a big difference in studying for the final exam.

Inkjoy 01 500hSo to make a point in a round about way, I like to doodle with ballpoint pens.  And this package of colored Inkjoy ballpoint pens looked like fun.  So we purchased this modest investment of about $3.45.

So here are my first sketches and doodles done with these pens on Strathmore Recyled Paper.

 

Working on a Jedi costuming idea, so I needed to sketch out the details that I have seen. The brown pen proved to be brilliant for basic sketching.

Working on a Jedi costuming idea, so I needed to sketch out the details that I have seen. The brown pen proved to be brilliant for basic sketching.

 

Then we attended an outdoor concert where there was some serious waiting time for the guests, so I brought my sketch book with me so that I could doodle a bit.  I decided to use more of the colors and found them to be very vibrant and didn't smear much at all like some ink pens do.

Then we attended an outdoor concert where there was some serious waiting time for the guests, so I brought my sketch book with me so that I could doodle a bit. I decided to use more of the colors and found them to be very vibrant and didn’t smear much at all like some ballpoint ink pens do.

 

So art doesn’t have to be super expensive, and we can practice using simple tools that won’t bust our budget.  And practicing is so important to maintaining a skill level and improvement.

G. Winkler (c) 2014

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Posted in Art

Tahoe Truckee Airshow

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This past weekend was the Tahoe Truckee Airshow, and since I am a big fan of airplanes, I had to go.  I had never been to this airshow before.   When we lived up in the Pacific Northwest, we used to go to the Father’s Day airshow in Olympia, WA as well as the shows at Pearson Airfield in Vancouver, WA.  Had plans to see the big one in Hillsboro, OR, but never got the chance to go.  So going to the Tahoe Truckee Airshow sounded like great fun.  And it was.

TT Airshow 50aFrom when we first arrived, the people at the show made everything as easy as possible to enjoy the show.   Parking was awesome, attendance and parking was free, which allowed guests to spend their money on food or products being sold by the vendors.  They had a nice variety of planes on display, some RC planes of various types, and a beautiful Telsa automobile on site for inspection.  I had not seen one in person and it was impressive.

The event organizers went through a great deal of trouble to make this a family friendly event.  Lots of stuff for people with children to enjoy.  There is a growing concern within the aviation community that there are not enough young pilots coming up through the ranks.  I had wanted to be a pilot since I was about 3 years old, but had the impression that I was not allowed to fly because I wore glasses, so I was never encouraged.  Things have changed and contact lenses make taking to the air a lot easier.  I even started taking flight lessons while living in Vancouver at the Pearson Airfield.  Passed my ground school class, passed the PAR examination, and took several flight lessons in a Piper Cub tail dragger.  So what stopped me?  The cost.  Flight lessons are expensive and people my age don’t get scholarships to become pilots.  Heck, we don’t get scholarships for anything, but that is another topic.

TT Airshow 39aAviation is one of the last challenges that a young person can do while remaining on the planet.  The air like the ocean is the final frontier on  Earth.  Learning how to fly challenges the individual’s planning skills, intellectual skills, physical skills, verbal skills, mathematical skills, and a bit of courage testing too.  If you can master the art of flying, then you might be able to conquer just about any problem that comes your way.  So if you have people in your life who yearn for flight, be supportive of that dream.  The planes are a lot safer than they used to be, and one is more likely to get hurt in a car accident than flying in a airplane.

So back to the photos….I know I went overboard on the photo taking, but that’s what going to an airshow is all about.  Taking lots of cool pictures of airplanes.  Enjoy the photos.

G. Winkler (c) 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing Telsa automobile with a beautiful sparkly red paint job!

Amazing Telsa automobile with a beautiful sparkly red paint job!

Trunk space in the front!

Trunk space in the front!

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Note the young driver already dreaming about his first car!

Note the young driver already dreaming about his first car!

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Nice day to be at the Truckee Tahoe Airport.

Nice day to be at the Truckee Tahoe Airport.

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Ultralight

Ultralight

 

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The pilot who restored this plane was kind enough to chat with us.

The pilot who restored this plane was kind enough to chat with us.

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This plane came in late, so they just parked it here and put some cones around it.

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Angry Birds!

Angry Birds!

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Lots of old military planes around the World War Two Era.  I think this was either a trainer or messenger carrier.

Lots of old military planes around the World War Two Era. I think this was either a trainer or messenger carrier.

 

RC people getting ready to show off their small but very agile planes.

RC people getting ready to show off their small but very agile planes.

Large variety of RC planes and copters were on display.  I have a small helicopter that I need to master.

Large variety of RC planes and copters were on display.   I have a small helicopter that I need to master.

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I love the D7.

I love the D7.

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It's almost hard to believe that it's not a real full sized plane up there!

It’s almost hard to believe that it’s not a real full sized plane up there!

Parachute jumpers' plane

Parachute jumpers’ plane

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Biplanes are my favorite.

Biplanes are my favorite.

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Parachute jumper with really big flag.

Parachute jumper with really big flag.

Lunch time.  Organic food!!  Hurrah!  Something I can eat without feeling sick later.  :)

Lunch time.  Organic food!!  Hurrah!   Something I can eat without feeling sick later. :)

Mexican coke with no weird stuff in it and some sunglasses from the State Farm Insurance booth.

Mexican coke with no weird stuff in it and some sunglasses from the State Farm Insurance booth.

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Great Day of fun.

Great Day of fun.

 

 

 

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Posted in Aviation, Digital Photography, Travel

Artown Adventure continues

The Artown adventure continues this month, and we have gotten our tiles back from the Clay Canvas.  They turned out pretty good considering that we had limited paint to choose from and paint brushes that would make an artist like me grumpy.  My husband and I are contemplating doing another set of tiles or perhaps just going back to do some of the other projects that they regularly offer all year around.  We also showed up for the snow globe project and have to wait to see how those will turn out.

Tiles turned out great even with a limited pallet.

Tiles turned out great even with a limited pallet.

Stage setting before the show started and before they had the lighting problem.

Reno Little Theater stage setting before the show started and before they had the lighting problem.

Yesterday a group of us attended “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” at the Reno Little Theater and enjoyed it very much despite the difficulties with the lighting system.  The performers handled the problem so well that one barely noticed the fact that they had to keep the normal room lights on during the performance.  The theater offered us a chance to come back for free and see it again, and we definitely want to do that.  Great performers and very funny.  It will keep you on your toes and no falling asleep at this performance!

Tonight several of us are going to take advantage of the Monday Night Music Series at the Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater at Bartley Ranch Park.  We did this two years ago and totally enjoyed every performance.  These performers spend a lot time to be ready for these and every single moment should be enjoyed - which is a big hint – don’t get up and leave before the finale.  It’s rude.

Also bring a blanket to sit upon just in case the seating is full or if you find the chairs bit uncomfortable.  Sometimes they have vendors with food or you can bring a picnic basket dinner from home.  It should be a good time.

Here’s a link to investigate the events.  http://www.renoisartown.com/

G. Winkler (c) 2014

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Posted in Art, Culture, Travel

Chicken Wings in the very very hot street

Wings 01aJust got home from the Chicken Wing Fest in downtown Reno, NV.

I have mixed emotions about the event since the temperatures in the street were really really hot. I started out with my companions looking forward to tasting really good wings since that is something that all three of us enjoy.  The quest for really good chicken wings seems like a never ending quest, so we arrived with a positive attitude looking forward to doing lots of sampling.

But this did not happen.  It was too hot to eat anything, and when we decided upon what to try for the most part, there was no place to sit and eat the wings.  Now this is crazy.  Eating wings is a messy endeavor and requires a place to sit with some napkins.  And during our trek down Virginia Street, I only saw two places for people to sit – one of which looked like it was exclusive to a certain select group having something to do with the Silver Legacy and another larger one that was off to the side where a stage had a live band playing.

Now having a shaded place to sit with a live band is really nice, but all the wing vendors were really far from this location.  One would have to carry the paper dish filled wings and hot sauce through the crowd and down towards this sitting area.  By that time your wings may have gotten cold and your drink gotten warm – not to mention the possibility of bumping into someone with messy food.  So I have to say that I was a bit disappointed by the lack of shade and seating areas provided for people to use.    Instead people were huddled along the buildings trying to stay a bit cooler, and as a Reno born native Nevadan…..you guys could have sent a street cleaner truck through the road first before setting up and have someone clean up the sidewalks as well.  It was really grimy and uncomfortable to stand next to the buildings to stay out of the sun.  And those of us who live here know how dirty the downtown area can get, so this really should have been considered.

Hot and dirty is not a good combination.

A lesson could be learned from the Sands Casino in that for their most recent outdoor festival where they served sausages and beer – they set up a huge pavilion with tables and chairs, so that their guests could get out of the direct sunlight.  I think something like this would have been greatly appreciated by the guests and the vendors.  Happy customers are more likely to spend more time and money.

Wings 03aWings 04aWings 02a

Unfortunately, I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed.  About half or more of the vendors were not food people serving wings or other items to go well with the main course but were products.  And I understand giving other vendors a chance to share their wares, but it seemed like most of the festival space was given to merchandise as opposed to food.  So please for next year more shade and seating near the food vendors and make the focus be the food.

On the up side the two kinds of wings that we did try were excellent.  Most especially the wings from local restaurant Boulevard Pizza.  This was the first time we had ever tried anything made by them.  The flavor of the wings were amazing.  We  will have to make time in our busy schedule to try  their restaurant sometime soon.

Our wings from Boulevard Pizza!

Our wings from Boulevard Pizza!

Now,  it’s time for a nap to recover after being in that heat.

G. Winkler (c) 2014

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Posted in Culture, Travel

Reno Artown Events

Clay Canvas 01For many years there has always been these complaints amongst the locals and the newly established locals that Reno has no culture, and every few years some hard working idealists try and put together cultural events to serve that hunger for art, music, theater, and other fun activities.  And it looks like the Artown project has settled in to stay, which is good.  Reno really needs this.

So this year my husband and I have decided to try and participate in more of the activities that are being held.   We shall see how our schedule allows for this, but I think it is worth a try.  It’s a good topic for writing on and since I am a writer – it is always wise to practice practice practice.  Not to mention that I also like to take digital photos and this is something else that I am always eager to improve upon.

Clay Canvas 02So today is the first day of the festivities, which a month long, and we decided to stop by The Clay Canvas on West Plumb Lane for their tile painting day.  We were greeted by the friendly gal there and were instructed on what to do and proceeded to sit down with several adult and child groups sitting already at the table.  It was nice to see parents taking some time with their kids to do a fun project with them.  Of course my husband and I were the only purely adult group to arrive, but we are kids at heart so no problem there.

It was a basic art project yet I found it difficult to deal without my ideal paint brushes.  Mind you all that I am a painter and I am used to having certain kinds of brushes for doing detailed work, and being suddenly relegated to having to deal with brushes fit for 3rd graders was tough!  So my first tile didn’t look so hot and my husband kindly asked if we could do a set of two a piece, which the gal there was nice enough to allow.  They were not too busy at the moment, but it was still early.  Then deciding on a design for my tiles – which I concluded should follow my current study of Norse symbolism, so I selected a Helm of Awe and a Valknut.

The brush challenge

The brush challenge

The Valknut design

The Valknut design

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Another factor which surprised us was that we were given a limited pallet of colors, but when one thinks about children and a lot of people coming in….it makes sense to pick four colors for the participants to use.  Makes life simpler, and I am no stranger to having to deal with a limited pallet requirement.  So we painted our tiles and now they have to dry and then be fired.  So who knows how they will turn out.  They will not be available for two weeks, so I guess I’ll have to post the results later.

So don’t be shy about trying out some of the activities and shows that are being put on for the Artown event in Reno.   Go and support these artists by attending and participating them in their events.  :)

http://www.renoisartown.com/

G. Winkler (c) 2014

 

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Posted in Art, Culture

Signs of Drought in the Sierra Nevada Range

June Tahoe BannerWent to one of my favorite places as a teenager – Sand Harbor Beach at Lake Tahoe last week and the signs of the drought are very visible.  To the untrained eye or casual visitor that did not see the beach or lake in earlier years, it may not be so noticeable, but it was to me.  And I am sure Lake residents are concerned as well as those that live in the valleys nearby that rely on water from the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and Lake Tahoe.

June Tahoe  19 500wWe had a great time at the beach and I always find it so revitalizing to be there.  I like to get there in the mid morning hours, bring a picnic lunch, find a good spot, put a load of sunblock on and just enjoy the sweet air, the sounds of the waves and birds, the warmth of the sun,  the people around us enjoying the location, and the amazing view that is Lake Tahoe.  For the most part people are in a great mood when they relax on the beach with only a few people misunderstanding the need for basic beach etiquette such as not putting several huge umbrellas in front of someone else’s view of  the waters.

June Tahoe  11 700hI am so pleased that the water is still beautiful and clear.  I know that years ago they were having concerns about pollution damaging one of the world’s clearest mountain lakes, but from what I understand action was taken to keep this under control and reverse some of the problem.  I have not been to the beach on the west side at Homewood, CA where my Grandparents built their house back in the late 40s.  I know that the clarity over there had been damaged.  One could walk out on the pier and peer down some 20 feet and see the rocks and the fish clearly below.  I loved that as a little kid.

One thing I did notice at Sand Harbor was how low the water level of the lake was.  My guess would be that it is down 6 feet at least – maybe more.  I almost always take photos of Tahoe when I go for fear that it may be my last trip up there.  Lake Tahoe was the only place that I missed when we lived in the Pacific Northwest.  Okay, Virginia City has a certain amount of strange unique fun to it as well, but Tahoe is… revitalizing.  So I pay attention to details such as the Lake’s water level and clarity.

So after our fun on the beach, we walked around and looked at the giant granite boulders that are an iconic part of the Lake Tahoe, and boy are they now really exposed from the water.  Many of these big rocks used to be hidden under the icy cold waters and one would only peer down at them from above.  But now many are exposed as well as the beach is getting bigger as well.

So like I said I take pictures so here are some of the ones from this trip.

G. Winkler (c) 2014

 

Clear water of Lake Tahoe

Clear water of Lake Tahoe

 

Kayaking on the lake looks like great fun - that should be added to the bucket list.

Kayaking on the lake looks like great fun – that should be added to the bucket list.

 

Seagulls are standing on rocks that did not used to be visible above water level.

Seagulls are standing on rocks that did not used to be visible above water level.

 

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This area used to be under water.

This area used to be under water.

 

During the afternoon the wind came up and started to make white caps on the waves.

During the afternoon the wind came up and started to make white caps on the waves.

Seagulls are often abundant in the area looking for a snack.

Seagulls are often abundant in the area looking for a snack.

 

Water is so clear and cold.

Water is so clear and cold.

 

Can you see the water lines on the big boulders?

Can you see the water lines on the big boulders?

 

It's hard to judge just how big these rocks really are in the photos without a reference point.

It’s hard to judge just how big these rocks really are in the photos without a reference point.

 

My husband goes out to retrieve a piece of trash lying on one of the rocks, and you can get an idea of how big the boulders are.

My husband goes out to retrieve a piece of trash lying on one of the rocks, and you can get an idea of how big the boulders are.

The northern section of Sand Harbor right next to the boat launch area.  A favorite rock jumping point now more exposed.

The northern section of Sand Harbor right next to the boat launch area.    A favorite rock jumping point now more exposed.

 

This area used have the tiny of beach space for people to sit upon.

This area used have next to no beach space for people to sit upon.

 

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Thanks for visiting :)

 

 

 

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Posted in Culture, Digital Photography, Travel

Where the Double Diamond Ranch used to be…

North DD Ranch Banner 600wThe Reno Area,  also known as the Truckee Meadows,  was a drastically different place when I was growing up.  The valley was filled with ranches and there were lots of birds, cattle, and thunder storms in the summer.  It was very different from now.  It was not a sophisticated place and to be truthful, it’s not one now either.  Yes, sure there are still people trying to bring culture and class here, but they get beaten down by the strange little clicks that seem to exist in the valley, so I guess in that respect – that has not changed much.  But the landscape has.  We no longer have the daily summer thunderstorms, the heavy foot deep snow fall on the valley floor in the winter time, and hardly any cattle or birds left in the valley.

Facing west towards the GSR, which was originally the MGM Hotel

Facing west towards the GSR, which was originally the MGM Hotel – this is the Truckee River

I guess the big turning point in the Truckee Meadows was the building of the MGM Grand Hotel out in the middle of nowhere.  Well, at least it seemed like nowhere.  It was not downtown Reno nor was it downtown Sparks, so it seemed like this giant thing placed in the middle of nowhere.  It changed the nature of the valley and the people.  And I don’t necessarily think it changed things for the better either.  It may have made something better, but as a kid, I did not see it.  We had a lot of strange desperate people move here hoping to instantly get casino jobs, and when they did not, it was rough on them.

We lived in the outskirts of town in a newly developed residential area across the freeway from the Double Diamond Ranch, which was this huge area that I believe had several ranching families working that land.  It was this massive green section that was often filled with dark cows.  And in  the winter the pogonip frost would lurk like this mysterious deathly mist.  I went to Brown Elementary School which was nestled onto that side of the freeway, and I recall fondly going for a walk down Old US395 with our teacher to visit the Fire Department down the road.  The big ditches on each side of the road were filled with cattails and my friend Merritt had to get one of these for himself and decided he could jump across this ditch to retrieve one.  This was not a good idea. Upon his return back to the road side of the ditch, he did not jump far enough and sunk into the mud almost up to his wast!  My girlfriend Kelli and I pulled him out of the ditch before he could get into trouble for trying to get a cattail.  Pretty sure we were not supposed to do that.

So, when I say that the Double Diamond Ranch area has a high water table….it has a high water table.  No joking.  That is where all the water run off from the mountain streams go, or at least they used to.

Northern section of the where the Double Diamond Ranch used to be or perhaps a neighboring ranch property.

Northern section of the where the Double Diamond Ranch used to be or perhaps a neighboring ranch property.

In our neighborhood the irrigation ditches always ran full with water and were fun to float flowers and sticks down.   In the early mornings, we could hear calves crying for their mothers now and then.  We even had mornings when the cows escaped from their pasture that was between our neighborhood and the new US 395, and one time they ended up on our lawn.  I was excited, but my parents were not so pleased about the heavy cow prints in the lawn.  They probably left other surprises as well such as cows tend to do.

Our neighborhood when I was little and you can see the Double Diamond Ranch area in the far background.

Our neighborhood when I was little and you can see the Double Diamond Ranch area in the far background.

So now, the land across the freeway is filled with houses and fancy commercial buildings.  I know they tried to leave some natural wetland sections to deal with the high water table, and I love those sections, but it still lacks that immense natural wild beauty that it used to.  The air smelled different when I was kid.  It sounded different.  It felt different.  It was different.

Then my husband and I happened across this location while trying to find a certain pathway to take a walk upon.  I wanted to see some of the natural sections they left in between the houses, but we could not find the one I researched and instead I saw this place.  What a pleasant surprise.  It was quiet and felt peaceful.  I could hear and see birds.  And it smelled like childhood.  If you were here as a child before the MGM and the influx of people, you will know what I am referring to.  It’s a strange sweet smell combined with water.  So I took some photos and decided to share this lovely place that looks like old Nevada before it got hit with the harsh drought and so many people.  It is worth coming out here and just feeling the difference.

The following are some of the photos I took of the remaining natural area out there.

G. Winkler (c)2014

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Looking back towards Mt Rose

Looking back towards Mt Rose

 

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I had no idea that any of this natural area still existed.

I had no idea that any of this natural area still existed.

 

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Amazing how the direction of the camera viewpoint changes the color of land.  It is about 6pm.

Amazing how the direction of the camera viewpoint changes the color of land. It is about 6pm.

 

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Hoped to walk towards the little building to see what it was, but we found ourselves blocked by a wide expanse of water directed water flow.

Tall grasses were about 4 feet high.

Tall grasses were about 4 feet high.

 

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Looking towards the developed land.

Looking towards the developed land.

 

Birds I have never seen before.

Birds I have never seen before.

 

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Some kind of sandpiper?

Some kind of sandpiper?

 

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North DD Ranch 20

 

 

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Posted in Culture, Digital Photography, Travel
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