Friday, October 14, 2016

Red Cottage in Fall

Every year our PTA asks each class to decorate a pumpkin for our Fall Festival.  They're raffled off for a fund raiser.  

This year we got a choice between a pumpkin or a canvas to decorate. 


I picked... a canvas! Yeah, I suppose the idea was that each kid might put a thumbprint and make it into a little pumpkin face, but I decided I'd go a different direction on the idea of canvases and pumpkins.

I hung the painting in the front of the classroom and asked my students to think about who might live there and what the pumpkins were for.  I told them we'd make a book to go with the painting for the auction. 

First they thought, imagined, and talked; then they wrote...  
Oh, I do have a wonderful job!  

Such creative hardworking little people I spend my days with!   

I hope our little project makes a few dollars for our school. 

I bet it will.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bikes, Blues, & Barbeque

Fun Weekend in Northwest Arkansas! They say 400,00 bikers roar into town. I don't know who counts them, but I believe it.

It is so fun to be in the middle of it. I love our town.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Wedding Day!

Ahhh... my heart!
    ... Happy, happy day!!!
And just like that...
... our family is complete. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Blackberries on the Vine

One of my favorite places this summer was Stay-n-Step Blueberry Farm.  I picked so many berries that surely I won't run out before it's time to pick again next year.

I loved to go early in the morning earlier than most people, while the dew was still thick in the grass, when the birds were chirping, and before the sun was high enough to be hot.  It was so beautiful and so peaceful. And it was so easy to fill a bucket with pure deliciousness! 
There's something extra delicious and satisfying about eating something that you picked yourself.  

FYI - My trick to keep from eating while I pick is to put a fresh piece of gum in my mouth right before I go.   If I can keep from eating even one, I'm ok... But if I eat one... I'll probably eat two dozen!

Look at this happy couple!  
They'll be married this time next week!  Yay!  We are so thankful.  She completes our family. 

To purchase this little painting click "Blackberries on the Vine."
Original Oil Painting on 5" x 7" Wrapped Canvas

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Welcome Home Retreat Neighbors

We wanted some photos of Welcome Home Retreat with the evening sky behind it, but the longhorns who live in the field across fence were stealing the show for me. I may have taken a few... dozen... photos of them. 
But if you can take your eyes off these five gorgeous lady longhorns for a minute, look in the background.  There it is!  There's Welcome Home Retreat! It officially opens October 1st, but my sisters and I got to spend a weekend there working (and playing) to get it ready.

 ~~~A women's retreat to inspire creativity in an environment of beauty.~~~

It was absolutely breathtaking... I kept asking my sister, "What if I want to book a weekend, but not craft or paint or scrapbook or quilt... Could I just come and "be" here?"   Ha ha ha.  I guess the answer is yes, but I'd miss out on the opportunity for creativity.

Click and have a look for yourself.

Or look see what's happening there on their Facebook.

If you're wondering about the painting... It's a big one!  The hard part about painting on such a big canvas is that is stays in that "ugly" stage for a really really long time.  Also, it was so far from one end to the other, I worried that one end wouldn't match the other end.  
But... LOVE it!  I loved working on it.
And... I may have secretly named those five cows after myself and my 4 sisters... matching each personality with a certain cow attitude... Hmmm... :)

Original Oil Painting on 24"x 48" on Wrapped Canvas
Giclees or Prints can be purchased from my Etsy Shop.
Giclees, prints, phone cases, pillows, shower curtains, etc... can be purchased through my Fine Art America Site.

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