Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Sister - the Tap Pup!

My sister decided to revisit a childhood passion this past year - tap dancing! She enrolled at Vicki's Tap Pups, Adult Tap Classes and began the tippy-tap, tap, tap, tap of shuffling the shoes. Sunday afternoon I saw her tap dance for the first time since I was probably 8 and she was 13. And, boy was she every great!

The Tap Pups performed an annual show at The Forum in downtown Harrisburg, PA that benefitted the local women's shelter of the YWCA. The average age of a Tap Pup is 60 years old. The oldest tapper at today's show was 84. Of the 200 tappers on stage, 3 of them were men, and several were husband/wife teams. Many are working business professionals -- accountants, CEOs, registered nurses, teachers, and more--who simply enjoy tapping as a way to de-stress, exercise, stay fit, and keep those knees limber. And what great fun!. In Sunday's show, everyone was having a blast.

I'm so very proud of my sister for lacing up those shoes and coming full circle back to something she truly enjoys doing. She is always such an inspiration to me. In this video, she is front row, center. WOO-HOO look at that Tap-Pup go!

My sister the Tap Pup! from Cheryl Kugler on Vimeo.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Camellia's Sin Tea Parlor in Carlisle, PA

In Carlisle, Pennsylvania there's a sweet, innocent little tearoom called Camellia's Sin Tea Parlor and Gift Shop. Camellia sinensus is the botanical name for the tea plant; hence, Camellia's "SIN".

My friend Jacqui and I met there this afternoon for a luncheon tea. Relax, sit back with a warm cup of tea and come along to the tea room with us.

Tea was served of course - a delicious house blend, and a snowflake coconut.

Guests may choose to wear a fancy hat.

Delectable and delicate treats were served - from carrot-orange soup, to chicken salad to asparagus fingers. And, sweet little dessert treats for the grand finale.

Jacqui... And, just look at the tiers of scrumptious treats!

Look around. You're immersed in "everything" tea.

A soft curtain hangs across the doorway between the tearoom and gift shop.

Very girlie-girl gifts can be found in the gift shop.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Petunias Galore at Grunthaner's Greenhouse in St. Marys, PA

I went with the Mom-In-Law this weekend to Grunthaner's Greenhouse. It's on a back road on the outskirts of St. Marys in Elk County, PA. What I saw was petunias GALORE! And, in all shades of pinks, purples, stripes, and double-blooms. Plus, a few other interesting annuals. What is an artist to do, but to take in all of the eye-catching color, snap a few shots and share it with you!

If you like this post, you may also enjoy strolling around my home gardens in Carlisle, PA in these recent blog posts:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mulling Over Madison

It has taken me quite awhile to make this illustration. Not the actual drawing part - that ended up only taking a few days. It has been the "mulling over" part.

You see, this idea has been rolling around in my head since last July when my dear friend's Great Pyrenees, Madison, passed away. I KNEW I wanted to draw a picture of her. I KNEW I wanted the backdrop to be a amid blossoming rhodadendron. Madison's home is wooded acreage filled with masses of hybridized versions of them.

The idea was there....but it was stuck. I couldn't get it to come out. There is nothing more frustrating than staring at a blank sheet of paper. I'd mull over it for awhile. Nothing. So, I'd draw something else...thinking I'd come back to Madison later. Sure, I'd forget about it for awhile, but then, the idea would re-surface and I'd mull over it again. And, of course, the questions rolling around my mind: How do I create a white dog? Fluffy. A Great Pyrenees is F-L-U-F-F Y. How do I create that fluffiness? How can I bring out her loving soul? What should she be doing? How do I deal with her 'biggness'? Should I 'this', should I 'that'...and on....and on.

I'm not sure what the ultimate inspiration kicker has been this week, but it has finally started to come out. Maybe it's that the rhodadendron are in bloom. Or, the bluebirds are nesting in the bluebird house. Or, because it's Spring. Maybe the "mulling" is just done. Maybe it's a combination of all of the above. Who knows. I'm just glad that it has finally come out on paper.

I'm also happy to say that I dug out my pastels that I haven't used in over 20 years. After "mulling over" how to achieve the fluffiness, I decided on pastels. Now, as I step back and look at this first illustration, I'm already thinking of ways to tweak it. Let's hope that I don't mull over it too long!

NOTE: If you are a creative person, or every wondered about the creative process and you haven't seen Elizabeth Gilbert's video clip on nuturing creativity, be sure to take the time to view it. It may help you understand the creative craziness.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mid-May in the PA Garden

A mid-May stroll reveals bursts of color and a few purrfectly happy faces. Fulfill your artist's senses as you mix your palette with mid-May hues.

Robin's egg blue no longer, the little peeps are shades of siennas and umbers. Happy Birthday, peeps!

Vibrant orange poppies burst from a grassy embankment.

Just back from the local nursery, a box of perennials awaits their new garden home. There are so many colors to hope for here from rich red geum to sunny yellow gazania.

Cheery pink thrift amidst plum pansies border kissing doves.

Royal red azaleas provide an impressive backdrop for glorious pink dogwood blooms.

You never know who you're going to bump into down the street. These black and white holsteins are telling secrets.

My handsome guy peruses the harvest of cherry red radishes...

...and is a big helper amid the sturdy green cauliflower plants.

A soft, apple scents wafts from these burgundy all-spice buds. Wish you could partake.

The garden is sure to change over the next few weeks. Stop back and visit again soon to get your fill of color. For earlier blooms see my blog from a few weeks ago "Color of Spring Everywhere!".

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This week, I'm finishing up a 15-week college drawing class focused entirely on black and white medium. I'm a returning student. And, even though I went to college years ago and graduated with the more practical marketing/business degree, this past year my creative side got the best of me and I decided to return to the college classroom to work on my drawing skills.

Even though I am always creating and drawing and have taken workshops here and there, I've often felt that I've never "officially learned to draw from the experts". I guess the fact that I work on a college campus gave me the added 'oomph' to step back into the classroom.

Interestingly, just last week, I read another artist's blog and could really appreciate her discussion about it never being too late or you being too old to pursue your artistic talents.

Throughout the course, we worked with pencil, conte crayon, charcoal, ink wash, bamboo sticks dipped in ink, charcoal dust, and oil sticks. For the final project, students were to choose a theme and create four drawings using the same application. I chose subtractive chalk and my theme was teapots.

To create a subtractive chalk drawing, the artist covers the entire page with charcoal - making sure it is mushed and smudged into the page so that the white paper no longer exists. Then, from observation (and with really messy charcoal-blackened hands), you begin to erase out the picture - adding and erasing charcoal - until you have pushed and worked the drawing to your satisfaction.

Although the class has been lots of fun and I've learned plenty, I cannot tell you how starved I am to work with color again!