Swing low, sweet voltage

Okay, it’s true, you have to hold the last word for quite a bit to get it to match the tune, but its not bad really. We’ve been having trouble with the air conditioner today cycling on and off. The temperature was slowly rising throughout the day, so when it got to about 80 in the RV I went into diagnostic mode. Initially I thought it was a problem with the coils freezing up in the air conditioner, but then I decided to test the line voltage. I found that we’re getting 105 volts when the air conditioner is off, but when it cycles on the voltage drops to about 90 volts and after 30 seconds or so the compressor shuts off.

The temporary solution was to bring out our generator and use that to power the RV. here’s what the voltage looks like when we’re running of the generator, a near-perfect 120 volts:

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In a little while I’ll try plugging the RV back into the garage. I’ve moved the extension cord that we’re using to power the RV from an outlying outlet in the garage to the outlets immediately adjacent to the breaker box where the wires come into the garage from the house. That wiring is 10 gauge, as is the extension cord, so we should be OK. I suspect the problem is with the wire that connects the outlying outlets to the breaker box of the garage.

We will see how it goes, but it’s always an adventure when you’re living in an RV in your driveway!

Mommy Art

When the kids go to sleep, I have a chance to work on my own art projects!  I have always struggled to capture realistic facial features in any medium, so I decided I would tackle eyes first.  I am so impressed with the amount and quality of art tutorials available on the internet today.  I simply searched for “oil pastel eyes” and found several pages of links and information.  I was especially impressed with one particular video that I watched several times and was eventually able to copy. 

Eye Study #1, in progress:

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Eye Study #1, oil pastels, complete:

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Tonight, I decided to try another approach which used pencil and watercolor.  The video I watched was a time-lapsed video of artist Mark Crilley drawing and painting an eye.  I was able to pause the video every few seconds and add to my drawing. 

Here, the artist is showing his chalk pastels that will be needed for the next step.  Sadly, I do not own chalk pastels.  Oh, well.

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Eye Study #2, pencil, watercolor, charcoal:

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This study needs more work.  The addition of chalk pastels would soften all the edges and lines for sure.  I am happy with the general shape of the eye, but I am still working on those pesky eye lashes. 

Showcasing Our Artwork

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We purchased two picture frames that will display our artwork over the year. One frame opens on a hinge and can store many pieces at a time. We can easily rotate the current or favorite piece. The second frame is a shadow box, which is meant for displaying things that are not flat. In our case, we reversed the position of the mat and will use the extra space behind it to store more artwork. We can rotate work in this frame as well, just not as easily. I like displaying the family’s work in frames because it adds importance to the process. It also makes our little RV feel more like home!

Our First RV Art Class!

Last night I decided to take some time to experiment with our new Crayola pastels to get ready to present a mini-lesson to the kiddos.  I had never used pastels before, so I spent some time reading about different techniques and styles.  I doodled around and created an interesting flower using the blending technique.  I left my sketch pad open and on the breakfast table to be “discovered” in the morning.  (I find that our kids are much more inclined to try new things if I can entice them or hint at possible projects.)  My drawing was a big discussion point over breakfast, and I was glad that the kids could recognize my drawing as a flower!

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B was first to grab her sketch pad and give it a try:

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M joined soon after, and they really started to get the hang of it!

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Usually, the kids try one drawing and move on to other things.  Today they surprised me by trying different versions and exploring their own ideas.  M came up with a sunflower design:

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Before bedtime, we were back at it and having a really good time.  (I sprayed the finished drawings with a clear fixative to prevent smudges!)  Here are a few of our finished pastel drawings:

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