Thursday, August 4, 2016

First Home - David

As I was working on this, I thought of the different homes we've had and the quirky things that made each one special.

Our first home was a townhouse apartment; The kitchen was so narrow that we couldn't pass each other.
Next we got our first little house.  It had wonderful low windows that my babies could pull up on and see outside.  
Then we moved to a bigger house on a cul-de-sac filled with kids. I made some wallpaper choices that were ridiculous quite popular at the time.
Our next home was temporary while we were building our current house.  We were about the only family living in a development for college kids. Yikes!  Our entertainment was to peek out the upstairs windows.  There was always something crazy happening on the street.
Finally we moved into our forever home during the week of 9/11 back in 2001. 

I painted this for a friend's son who'll be moving into it (the house) very soon.  And that son, that grown man, was once a fourth grader in my classroom.  I love when connections circle all the way back around.

Original Oil Painting on 12"x 16" Wrapped Canvas

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Yellow VW Beetle

Everybody has a VW story in their lives, right?  My best friend in high school had a candy-apple red one. Oh, my we had good times in that car.  That's probably why I drive a red Beetle now.  I love my bug and painted it once as kind of a self portrait.

This little yellow Beetle belonged to my friend, Nancy.  Her mother brought it brand new in 1970 and drove it for the rest of her life.  Then Nancy drove it until just this year when she passed it on to another family member. Lots of memories there... still there... only with a little painting on the wall instead of a little car (without good heat, air, or radio) in the driveway.

That's Nancy's story of the car, but let me tell you MY story of Nancy.  32 years ago, I was a 5 foot 0 inch, 105 pound, bright eyed 20 year old who thought I wanted to be a teacher.  I was assigned to spend 9 weeks as a student teacher in her 4th grade classroom.  On my very first day she said, "We've been reading this book, The B.F.G. Why don't you take over." That was my first time ever in front of a class of 4th graders... and I've been there... hmmm...  (178 days x 31 years) ... my goodness... over 5,500 days since.  
Over the course of time, we lost touch but then re-found each other when she saw and liked some of my paintings in a shop here in town.

Thank you, Nancy. Thank you for getting me started on this life of reading and writing with 10 year olds.

Original Oil Painting on 8"x 10" Wrapped Canvas

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Longhorns in Bluebonnets


These lady longhorns are going to hang in a very special place.
Welcome Home Retreat is a unique place in Weatherford, Texas for women to come together for weekends of creativity and fellowship. It's mission is to provide an environment of beauty that inspires creativity.

But if that's not special enough... The owner of this fabulous place is my very own sister!!!   Her specialty is scrapbooking where families' memories are captured for future generations. Sheila's dream to have a venue to encourage and observe guests as projects are begun, continued, and completed is becoming a reality.
She wants Welcome Home Retreat to have a "Texas feel with a feminine twist."  So... how about a painting of longhorns walking through bluebonnets!!!  

Click to visit the site of Welcome Home Retreat!  Book a weekend!!  Maybe I'll see you there!

Original Oil Painting on 16" x 20" Wrapped Canvas.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Summer Distractions.... Garden Harvest vs Does & Fawns

I love summer... 
Pick... wash... sort... cut... slice... chop... stir... taste... mmmm...
(Little known fact... I just happen to make the best salsa in the world... It's true. Click the link then give it a try!)

I spend a lot of time with a knife in my hand... but I get sooooooooooo distracted!
You see... I look out the windows and have all these little friends that live in my back yard!  

I call this mama LaFawnda with her little one Moe. 
They're just checking to see if it's ok to step out of the forest into the little clearing of my yard.

This is another mama and her fawn.  I need a name for them!

For my birthday this spring, I asked for a deer lick.  Best big brown block of a birthday present ever! They're hanging out beside it.

If this doesn't take my breath away every time!  Lulu and her twins, Liza and Opie.     They spend a lot of time helping themselves to our grass.

Now, how can I accomplish anything when I can watch this sweet family!
That's Liza with the heavy mascara.
I call this one Tina. She has a big scar down her side, but she is gorgeous.  I don't think she has a baby.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

My Atelier ... a.k.a. The Fonzie Room

Although my blog doesn't appear to show it, I HAVE been painting!  I've been working on a really, really big project. No... not on canvas, even bigger!
My art space has gone though a transformation,and I love it!  It's brighter, lighter, and whiter! The ceiling fan lights and lamps are gone.  The green walls are gone.  My brother installed fabulous new lighting, and I painted the whole thing a crisp white.  Did I already say how much I love it!

I love seeing artists' creative spaces.  So, I'll share my (new and improved) one.

This is my spot. Let me give you a tour.

  • Paint palettes on Styrofoam  plates because I never graduated to a fancy palette.
  • Foot stool because I'm short.
  • Computer that's got paint splatters all over it because I use it for reference photos. 
  • Easel with what I'm working on. 
  • Trash can because I'm a pretty tidy painter
  • Drawers with brushes because I tend to accumulate so many.
  • Wet wipes and dinosaur-head cat squirter because she sometimes needs a reminder.
  • Drawers for my paints and supplies because I'm pretty organized with them.
  • Basket of rags because painting is messy.
  • Cards and special things on the wall because they make me smile.
Here's the view from the other side.
  • A wind chime hangs above where I sit.  I like to make it sound when I finish a painting, or am frustrated with a painting, or just want to jingle it.
  • My sewing machine.
  • My serger.
  • Special things on the wall that hold memories.
  • My Cricut (which I LOVE and am just learning to use).
  • Boxes of all my hoarded crafty junk very useful artsy/sewing supplies.
  • Painting shirts on the back of the door.
  • The window where you might look out and see a deer.
  • Paintings that are waiting to be purchased to their forever home. 
  • My big easel for large canvases.
  • Three stations where my friends paint on Tuesdays during the school year.

And here's the other end.
  • Where Ron hangs out while I paint.
  • Some special toys and books from childhood.
  • The other wall where I hang paintings waiting until they're sold.
  • The elliptical that we use often, but should use more.
  • The other window where, again, you might see a deer.
  • A shelf with more memories and more useless stuff crafting/sewing materials.
  • The television.
  • And finally the shelves filled with... well more junk that I just might need for that next project.
My creative space is called The Fonzie Room.  If you're from my generation, you remember the show Happy Days... Fonzie lived in the room above the Cunningham's garage.  That was what we called this room while the kids were growing up and teenagers using it for all their kid shenanigans. 
After they moved out and we shoveled out their junk reclaimed that space for ourselves, I tried... I really, really tried to change the name. I called it The Atelier. I even made a little sign and hung it beside the door.  (It's french, but if you can't remember how to pronounce it, you an just say in your best Southern redneck "I tell ya'" and that's almost right. Anyway... it didn't stick... I gave up.  It's The Fonzie Room, and I love it.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Sunset on the Cape

I want to give a big thank you to Kim from Kim's Daily Paintings for hosting this painting challenge.  It's fun to see the variety of styles that can come from the same original image.  Click over and have a look!                                             I love flipping through blogs, but I'm very choosy about which ones I follow.  I love blogs that feel "real." When I find one I enjoy, I like to go all the way back to the beginning and read it from beginning to present. That's how I ended up finding Kim's blog and this challenge. I'm glad I did.

I've been thinking about the quote, "Comparison is the thief of joy," by Theodore Roosevelt. When I decided I was finished with this painting, I loved it.  My eyes went to the sun then traveled all around the canvas. I loved the sweep of the clouds, the reflections in the water, the splashes of color... it made me smile... I was proud.
Then... I took photographs, uploaded them onto my computer, and clicked over to submit my piece to the challenge.
That's when it happened... I scrolled through all the others... they were really good.. and... I lost confidence... didn't submit.
But, I know better!  I spend every day encouraging my students to have pride in their work and in its individual voice or style.
So... yes... I do love it.  And... yes... I do love the others too.  And, yes... I will add mine to the rest.

This painting got the honor of being chosen as part of an Etsy treasury called In the Glare.  Click to have a look.  It's a lovely collection.

To purchase this painting, click Sunrise on the Cape.
Original Oil Painting on 16"x 16" Wrapped Canvas.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Flamingo Portrait

Painting with pinks and oranges and reds was fun!  I've got to find more reasons to use them!  Maybe I'll do another flamingo or two.  
I became enamored with flamingos when we went to the Tulsa Zoo a couple of months ago.  (If you were there that day, you might have noticed us... We were the ONLY couple there who was neither pushing a stroller nor pulling a wagon!)

While I worked on this, I kept having Christopher Cross songs go through my mind...   
It's funny how images and songs bring back long forgotten memories...   When I was in college, I took a course called Art for Elementary Teachers.  One of our assignments was to create a monochromatic piece (an entire piece using only one color in varying dark to light shades).  I borrowed this album from a guy I knew, drew a grid right on it, and re-created... well copied...the image on a poster. Although I did change his eye to red... Hmmm... Well... Looking back I'm pretty sure that was plagiarism... Oops!  Since that was over 30 years ago, I'm hoping the statute of limitations has run out.  For what it's worth... I'm pretty sure I got an A... although now I'm feeling kind of bad about that... 
My apologies to the guy whose album cover I ruined and to Christopher Cross for stealing borrowing his image.  

I still love your music, Mr. Cross!

Click "Flamingo Portrait" to purchase this painting.
Original Oil Painting on 12" x 16" Wrapped Canvas

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Purple Iris

May = a bed of irises :)

May = a busy, busy month for teachers :)

May = not much time or energy for painting. :(

May = the countdown... 8... days... left... :)

May = decisions... heat? or air? :)

May = a garden filled with baby plants and hope :)

This is the peacefulness that I get to come home to....

I love BOTH sides of my May!

Just click "A Purple Iris" if you'd like to purchase this little painting.
Original Oil Painting on 6"x 12" Wrapped Canvas

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


The older I get, the more I find myself drawn to that fine line (or is it a fuzzy one) between beautiful and tacky!            ... ha ha ha ha!      
We went to the Tulsa Zoo during spring break.  We were the couple there that day without a stroller... At least I'm pretty sure we were the only ones not pushing a stroller or pulling a wagon.

We enjoyed strolling along and enjoying the gorgeous day. But when we got to the flamingos, I was mesmerized!  They were a fabulous orange, not pink! It was so odd to watch them sit down by bending their knees backwards! And their necks... oh my goodness!  Their necks were like snakes! 

I took lots of pictures and imagine I'll paint another or two.

Click "Flamingo" if you'd like to purchase this painting.

Original Oil Painting on 12" x 24" Canvas

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Swing

When I finish a painting, I'm usually ready to hand it off to its new owner before it's even dry.
But, I'm going to enjoy this one as long as I can.  I used a palette knife and lots of paint.  I can't wait til it's dry so I can touch the rough bark on that tree trunk, run my fingers over the tall grass, feel the wispy leaves of  willow-like tree...

Original Oil Painting on 24"x 36" Wrapped Canvas

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Dancing Cow (Mary Poppins)

After I finish a complex painting, I usually paint a cow next.  I guess it's just a comfortable subject for me.  As I was working on this pretty red mama cow, she reminded me of something... or someone... a flicker of a memory that I couldn't put my finger on until she was almost finished.

When I was a kid I loved getting to order books from the Weekly Reader forms each month.  I still have a few of those that I loved the most.  I think I ordered and read Mary Poppins when I was in fourth grade... (the first time when I was 10... although I've been in fourth grade - on the other side of the teacher's desk -  about 30 times since :)

Mary Poppins... the book, not the movie... is filled with chapter after chapter of completely wonderful, crazy, irrational, zany, clever stories that somehow tie together perfectly.

Chapter Five - "The Dancing Cow" 
Jane is sick in bed, and John is watching out the window when he sees a red cow walking down Cherry Tree Lane.  Mary Poppins explains that The Red Cow was a friend of her mother.  She tells the story: The Red Cow was raising The Red Calf in her perfectly normal field. One evening she began dancing and couldn't stop.   Eventually she went to see the king who noticed a star had fallen and become caught on her horn.  He advised her to jump over the moon. It worked, but then she wished she had it back.  The Red Cow now spends the her days looking for another star.

Like every other chapter, it's filled with all sorts of details... the lessons she teaches The Red Calf... the types of dances the cow does... the king who has an appointment with the barber...

I came across a blog post from Random Thoughts who asked whether The Red Cow's story was optimistic or pessimistic? She never gave up hope of finding another star, but she roamed the streets never feeling satisfied without it.

Any thoughts?

To purchase this painting, click "The Dancing Cow."

Original Oil Painting on 16"x 16" Wrapped Canvas

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

:) Anna

It's always fun to watch the initial reaction of a little one to her portrait. (Of course there's the little fear that they'll burst into tears or worse, not recognize themselves!)

Anna  stopped... looked... stepped closer... looked... looked at me... kind of cocked her head... looked again... reached out to touch... said, "The flower matches!" 
What was going through her mind?  Maybe she remembered that she was holding a raggedy old dying dandelion when I took her picture.

She looks pretty proud.  Her Pop (my brother) and I share a birthday today.  Tonight we'll give this little painting to him.  I hope he likes it as much as Anna seems to.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


This is our Anna.  
What a sweetie!  
Every so often we get to have a playdate with her and her little sister and brother.  Ron and I have 11 nieces and nephews (on my side), and they’ve given us 24 great nieces and nephews who we love... and who happen to ALL be beautiful.  So, whenever I get in the mood to paint a little one, I’ve got plenty to choose from.

I've said many times that I like to paint children from the back or from the side because I like the way those images tell the story.  
That is very true; however, let me be completely honest... Views from the back or side don't have... eyes... or teeth... or nostrils... or dimples... or eyebrows... or lips... or ears... And, those are all just plain hard for me!

I'm a little sad that the pink rain boots (on this bright sunny day) didn't make it into the crop for the painting, but those eyes and teeth and nostrils and eyebrows and lips told the story this time.

Original Oil Painting on 9x12 Wrqpped Canvas

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Scruffy Calf

I am so happy to see this little face looking back at me.  I was beginning to wonder if I'd simply forgotten how to paint.

I wonder... Does that happen to anyone else?

Earlier this year we went for a drive, looking for opportunities for me to practice taking pictures with my new camera.  Cows are funny.  We came to a field with a bunch of the cutest calves... all of whom had absolutely no interest in looking at me.  But this scruffy little girl was so curious.  No matter how long I waited for the cute ones to look at me, she never stopped posing.  So, eventually, I began to see how cute she was too... scruffy hair-doo and all.

Click to purchase this gorgeous little "Scruffy Calf."

Original Oil Painting on 12"x 12" Wrapped Canvas.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunrise on the Farm

We've been talking about tone in my literature circles at school lately.  "What's the tone of this chapter?"  It's a concept that is fairly new to fourth graders, but once they understand it, they notice it and point it out in every passage they read.  
I might take this painting to school and ask them, "What's the tone of this scene?"  If I've done a good job... both with teaching them and with painting this... they'll say, "It has a peaceful tone," or maybe they'll say it's tranquil or calm or quiet.  

This is the original photograph that I fell in love with.  It was taken by Tom from Piks of the Day, and Stuff. I stumbled across his work and ended up looking through the entire blog.  When I came to this image I left a comment that saying that I loved this image, that I thought it was my favorite picture from his whole blog, and that if it wasn't in black and white that I'd want to ask permission to paint it.  He replied that he'd love for me to paint it and that I could just look at other views of it to get the coloring.
Oh, my... I thought... This guy is really nice, but he has completely overestimated my abilities as an artist... then I thought some more... I had permission, so I painted the same barn from a different photograph to work out the coloring... and kept thinking about it... I had turned a black and white into color one time before... my painting buddies also loved the image... so I took a deep breath and drew it up on the canvas.

I didn't intend to, but I began with the beautiful yellows an oranges and rosey-reds of a sunrise (or maybe a sunset) sky. I have no idea whether the sun really rises (or sets) behind the barn, but I think it's such a peaceful time of the farm day.  That's the tone I wanted to convey.

So, thank you to Tom both for the permission to use your photo and for the encouragement to take a risk. 

Click "Sunrise on the Farm" if you'd like to purchase this painting.

Original Oil Painting on 14" x 18" Wrapped Canvas

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Barn up the Road

This is the type of image that stops me.
Imagine the stories that could begin here!!!
..."Papa stopped the wagon so we could have one last look..."
..."She knew he'd be waiting inside after he finished the chores..."
..."Grandpa told her he thought she was old enough to drive the tractor to the barn..."
My imagination goes on and on... It's a perfect setting.

So, how did I come across this fantastic setting?
There's a little button at the top of blogger that says "New Blog."  Every once in a while I click it.  You never know what kind of blog will pop up.  Usually I spend a minute or two then move on, but every once in a while there's one that holds my attention.  And, that is how I came upon this image.
It came from a photography blog called Pics of the Day, and StuffClick and go have a look.  You'll find captivating photographs of simple elegance.
When I came to the post titled New Outhouse, Same Old Barn, it stopped me... my imagination took over.
Thank you, Tom, for capturing this fabulous barn on film and allowing me to put it on canvas. 

Click "Barn up the Road" if you'd like to purchase this painting... although... I secretly hope I get to enjoy it on my own wall for a while. :)

Original Oil Painting on 10"x 20" Wrapped Canvas

Mitten the Cow

She wanted to have her picture taken!

My husband and I went on a cow-hunting drive on New Year's Day. That means we picked a direction and drove until we found some cows willing to be still and look at me while I took their pictures.  Half the time they run away, but the other half the time they are curious enough to stare for a while.

This little gal was determined.  I have to be honest... I tried to avoid her.  She had this big mitten splotch right in the middle of her face... so...
So... I aimed my camera at other cows. However, this sweet little gal was focused on me and curious no matter what I did.  She grew on me.

As I was looking through all the downloaded photos, she was the star again and again and again.  
And... I was wrong... She is lovely... Her face is perfect for the canvas.  
I love her big mitten splotch.

Original Oil Painting on 16"x 16" Wrapped Canvas.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ruby Throated Hummingbird III

We have three hummingbird feeders on our back porch.  The hummingbirds love one of them.  I don't understand that. I put the same sugar water in all three of them.  They're literally within 2-3 feet of each other.  They're all shaped the same too.  I just can't figure out why they like one better than the other two. Any ideas?

Original Oil Painting on 6x 6x 2 1/2 Canvas

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tweet! II

It's so much fun to get to help someone complete their very first painting ever.  

This is my niece, and she's an artist now!  
In one afternoon she went from, "How do I hold the paintbrush?" to "I painted a bluebird!"

Great job, Karly!

I remember my first painting lesson almost 8 years ago.  It was so exciting to leave with a finished product!  (In my case it was a tree.)

I've painted this little bluebird a few times.  
He was facing left in 2012.  
He was one of the first the subjects for my Tuesday painting group in 2013. 
And this week he helped me help Karly complete her first painting.

Click Tweet!! to purchase this little painting.
Original Oil Painting on 6"x 8" Wrapped Canvas

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Family

I love seeing families who enjoy being together.  
I think that's the story that this painting tells.  There's a fantastic bridge, a pretty creek, a leaf covered hillside, and a bright autumn day with a chill in the air. But, I don't think any of those is what this painting is really about.  
At the center of it all... is a family.  
I love that.

Original Oil Painting on 12"x 16"  Wrapped Canvas