Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Hen on the Hay

In my class we've recently finished our unit of poetry.  We read poetry. We talked about poetry. We thought about poetry.  We wrote poetry. 
Humor poems... classic poems... poems with rhyme and rhythm... free verse poems... narrative poems... odd poems... poems that made us wonder why they were poems...
This was one of the first poems that we read that made the kids go... huh?

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

          - William Carlos Williams

But, then I introduced a strategy for close reading called I Wonder statements.  Once the kids started, they never stopped!

I wonder why he wrote that poem.
I wonder why he left it out in the rain.
I wonder what was in the wheel barrow.
I wonder how many chickens there were.
I wonder why he didn't capitalize his first word.
I wonder why the chickens stay beside the wheel barrow.
I wonder what depends on the wheel barrow.
I wonder if it will rust.
I wonder ...

Of all the odd poems for them (both classes) to fixate on!  When we began writing innovations or poems inspired by famous poems, they often came back to this one with their own versions.

so much depends

a warm

glazed with brown

beside the white


so much depends

a blonde Barbie

dressed in a ball

beside the white
teddy bear


so much depends 

the red tractor

covered with 

beside the pink

If I read 5 of these, I read 50 of them!
So, here's one from me.

The Straw Hay Bale
(Inspired by William Carlos Williams)

so much depends

a straw hay

glistening in sun

beneath the red

Thanks to Jackie from Welcome Home Retreat.  This is her gorgeous hen!

Original Oil Painting on 14"x 18" Wrapped Canvas
Click Hen on the Hay if you'd like to purchase this painting.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sunflower Mural on Fence #2

This is the backyard of my sister, Karen. 
What a fun project!  Since it was my second time around, I felt pretty confident and carefree with the sunflowers.  Of course the best part was figuring out how to hide the names of her grandchildren.
Her (real) flowers are always fabulous, so I can't wait to see this view again after they all begin to bloom in front of the fence.

It was kind of tricky painting over all the cross boards since this was on the back side of the fence. But, it didn't take long to learn to ignore them.

Can you find Gentry's hidden name?  

*** Hint - It's in the third flower.  Look at the white part of the petals.

There's also a little blue dragon fly  on this panel.

Did you find Annabelle's hidden name on this one?

*** Hint - It's in the fourth flower.  Look at the yellow part of the petals.

There's also a little red ladybug  on a leaf of her flower.

T.J.'s name is a little different. 

*** Hint - It's in the stalks and leaves fifth and sixth flowers. You'll also find his monogram in the center of one of his flowers.

And there's a little pink and purple caterpillar on the last flower's leaf.

Nothing hidden on this one, just a little blue butterfly that makes Karen smile.

Nothing hidden on these two. But there are a couple of lady bugs and a K.J. + T.J. heart just for fun.
I'm thinking fence painter might be my next career! 
Wouldn't that be different!

Thursday, April 13, 2017


I helped my niece with her first painting a year ago, and we were long overdue to do it again. She's just finished her masters thesis on To Kill a Mockingbird and wanted to try painting a mockingbird to celebrate.... Ta-Da!!    We did have a good time, and her mockingbird is beautiful.

Am I the only one who can forget an entire movie plot line but remember every detail of a one minute scene?  How can a few seconds of a movie stick forever in your brain? ... Dumb and Dumber... riding in that silly dog-van with the bad guy in between them... MOCK... yeah... ING... yeah... BIRD... yeah... YEAH... yeah...

My memory is often the subject of family discussion. I can remember vivid details from childhood, specific things from random life events, facts from information presented. I've got kind of an amazing memory... but... but... I... can... not... remember... lyrics... to... songs...
None... Ever...
I love music! I try! I sing along! But I generally don't make it to the second line before I've substituted a word or phrase... ugh!  And half the time the words don't even make sense... sigh... 

Anyway, I could write a series of blog posts about all the lyrics I've misunderstood, mis-memorized, and messed up.

So I just make up words.

This was the special song that I sang to my little girl to put her to sleep. I probably sang it a thousand times... yeah... I know the words are wrong, but they worked for us.

Hush little baby, don't say a word.
Momma's gonna buy you a mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird don't sing,
Momma's gonna buy you a diamond ring.
And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Momma's gonna buy you a looking glass.
And if that looking glass should break.
Momma's gonna bake your a chocolate cake.
An if that chocolate cake is dry, 
Momma's gonna make you a lemon pie.
And if that lemon pie's too sour,
Momma's going to pick you a big red flower.
An if that big red flower should wilt,
Momma's going to get you a nice warm quilt.
And if that quilt should rip or tear,
Momma's gonna give you a teddy bear
To hug and hold and love
All these things come from above.

Original Oil Painting on 8"x 8" Wrapped Canvas

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

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sunflower Fence Mural - Hidden Surprises

The sunflower fun began last summer with my dad's sunflower field then the whole sunflower harvest adventure that followed.
I mentioned in the last post that I'd hidden some surprises in the mural.  My goal was to make them unnoticeable, yet once discovered, impossible to miss. What fun!

Zoom in...
Can you find them?
Need a hint?

The mural was Sheila's idea. It hides the pool equipment at Welcome Home Retreat.  

I think she loved the surprise... having her grandkids' names in the flowers.

See if this helps.
Oh, my goodness!
What fun it was for me to see these little ones searching for their names!

I think they were pretty proud.

And another little surprise in the grass of the other side.

I hope the guests at Welcome Home Retreat enjoy it too.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sunflower Mural on Fence

It started with an idea...
Then came the plan...

That was followed by a little faith that weird blobs and lines would eventually turn into something recognizable...

Here I'm working on some secrets that are hidden in a few of the flowers... maybe I'll share those later. 😊

There's a point when you just have to say... "I. Am. Finished."
It's a pretty nice way to hide the pool pumps and equipment.

Maybe painting fences can be my next job. 😉 (5651 days down and 45 days left in my old one!!!)

 Wonderful sisters... Wonderful weekend at Welcome Home Retreat.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Door Beneath the Wisteria

Who do you think might live in the door beneath the wisteria?  Surely it's a fairy... a sprite... an elf... a gnome...a regular lady with green thumb?  I think she sings while she tends to her flowers and smiles when she greets the mornings.  I think she laughs when looks at her aqua door and is glad she chose aqua.  I think she is content. I think everyone who visits her feels welcomed and at home.

Although I had a photo or two that gave me the idea, I did much of this from my own imagination... not typical at all for me... but so fun!  And it came together quickly!  Instead of a drawing, I blocked it in and just started.
I loved, Loved, LOVED the process... but in the end it looked like... a door... there was no story...

As luck would have it, we'd planned to spend the night with Cheri, my art mentor and dear friend.  I got to paint with her every Monday night during my first five years as a painter.  It's such a treat whenever we get to paint together now.  I said, "It's just a door with some flowers... Can you help me turn it into a story?"  Well, I believe Cheri has a kind of fairy magic with paints. ☺  
She started with, "Hmmm.... well, what if we tried putting a little aqua in the corner of that door... "  About an hour and 10 "Hmmm... what if we..." ideas later... just like magic... It was a story!

I painted this to hang in the new Wisteria Room that will be opening soon at Welcome Home Retreat.  

Contact me if you are interested in purchasing this painting.
Original oil painting on 12"x 16" Canvas

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Our Chickens!

Introducing the three newest Eatons!
Our sweet little redheaded country chicks: Wynonna, Reba, & BonnieRait!

Sunday, March 12, 2017


I think this is the hummingbird version of "a kid in a candy shop!"  She's probably thinking... "Hmmmmm... They all look so good!  Hmmmm... Where do I begin? Hmmmmm... Maybe I'll just cruise around... Hmmmmm..."

I love to read.
I love to read excellent literature... trashy novels... children's books... and blogs. I love to discover a blog that feels real... like the the author is just talking in his/her own voice without concern for who is/isn't reading it. Usually it's one that doesn't have sponsors or hundreds of followers; it's just someone writing about whatever it is they're passionate about.  Whenever I stumble across one like that, I like to go all the way back to the beginning of it and read it through. It's like a novel (only better).  It's the oddest thing to do that because a blog is written in present tense, so it feels like it's happening now even though it might have been written 6 years ago.  It's funny how invested I find myself becoming in this stranger's life. Occasionally I can't help myself and leave a comment (even though my present is the author's past... let that sink in a minute...) then worry the author wonders what this random stranger is doing in his/her past.

I discovered one of these blogs during Christmas break. (It's always in a really random way that this happens... long story short... I'm fascinated by high and low tides.  I learned that Nova Scotia has the highest tides in the world. Visiting there was added to my bucket list. The author of this blog is from there.) After reading a few posts of SharleyStudio, I knew I wanted to start at the beginning; I think the first post was done in 2007. It became my winter reading choice.  
Then one day in late January I got to the post written on July 19, 2012 and stopped. All of Sara's photographs are wonderful, but the hummingbirds and those spiky pink flowers on this post and a few more on the post on August 1, 2012, just captured my heart.

I gathered the courage to ask permission to use one as a reference for a painting, and Sara graciously said yes.

I'm often asked, "Where do you get your ideas for paintings?"  
Well, sometimes an image just finds me.

To purchase this little painting, click "Hmmmmm....." 
Original Oil Painting on 8"x 8" Wrapped Canvas.