Saturday, December 7, 2019

That's Just Ducky!

Don't you just want to listen in on their conversation!!
  • Bottom Right just asked a simple question.
  • Middle can't believe she'd even ask such a thing!
  • Front Left agrees with everything Middle says.
  • Top Right does not want to get involved this time!
  • Back Left is late to the meeting... again!
The image of these ducks deep in conversation has made me chuckle since I first saw it. 

I "met" these particular ducks inside a blog called Chickens in the Road. They lived on a farm in West Virginia along with lots of chickens, some goats, a few sheep, dogs, cats, a couple of donkeys, a milk cow, and a farmer named Suzanne.

In the days after I broke the two lower bones in my right arm, I had a lot... really a lot... of time that I couldn't do much of anything but click and scroll with my left hand and read on the computer.  That may sound dreadful, but during those days I got to thoroughly enjoy every bit of Chickens in the Road from the early posts of 2005 to the recent ones of 2019. 

I suppose I don't know any ducks personally, but oh, how I have always loved Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, Quack, and of course, Mr. & Mrs. Mallard!

Make Way for Ducklings was written over 75 years ago, but I have a feeling that my grandchildren will love it as much as my kids did and as much as I did... still do!

A few years ago, we'd been on a trip and were to fly home from the Boston airport. We had allowed ourselves one extra day there, but I'm such a not-city person. I'm sure there are dozens of museums, historical monuments, and not-to-be-missed sights to see.  But, there was only one place that I wanted to go... Boston Public Garden.  
I might have cried a little when I saw Mrs. Mallard and her 8 ducklings.
Even the Swan Boat was there!
I might have cried again to see a real Mrs. Mallard with her ducklings.

Ducks just make me smile... well, and cry... but mostly smile. 😊

Thank you to Suzanne McMinn of  Chickens in the Road for letting me use her photo as a reference for this painting.

Original Oil Painting on 11"x 14" Wrapped Canvas
Click "That's Just Ducky!" if you'd like to purchase this painting.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Little Gray Donkey (a.k.a. Lee Roy)

My parents moved to Northwest Arkansas when they were in their 80s.  Although they no longer had 160 acres of land, my dad managed turn their new 5 acres into a complete little farm.  It had almost everything a farm could need.

  • There was a big workshop for tools and equipment.
  • We all enjoyed their huge garden with tomatoes, corn, and row of sunflowers.
  • He planted an entire orchard of fruit trees and pecan trees.
  • He started with a four-wheeler but traded that in for a golf cart that he and Mom used to take rides around the place every day.
Even with all that, something was still missing... until Lee Roy showed up.  Lee Roy was the funniest little donkey who brayed and hee-hawed and insisted on being heard.  He didn't really have a farm purpose, but Dad loved scratching him and feeding him.  He was well trained to run to the fence whenever anyone came outside because he knew he'd get a treat or at least a scratch on the head.  
Eventually, Dad got him a friend, Margarite.  She was never quite as much of a pet as Lee Roy. But, on the morning of my mom's 85th birthday, she walked outside to find a wide-eyed surprise baby donkey standing in the field beside Margarite. 

I've painted Lee Roy a few times. As a matter of fact, the only one of my paintings that my dad kept to hang on the wall in his apartment was a painting of Ole' Lee Roy.  
I wish I'd taken more photos of him, but as soon as I'd walk anywhere near the fence with a camera, he'd be right there begging for a treat and refusing to pose for a picture.

A friend asked me if I'd paint a donkey to donate for a fundraiser.  I did; however, when I finished, I liked it so much that I decided to paint another one to enjoy on my own wall for a while. Maybe one should be Lee Roy and the other one Margarite.
Original Oil Paintings on 6"x 12" Wrapped Canvas
[DONATED] for one of them.
If you'd like to have the other one, click "Lee Roy"  to go to the listing on Etsy.

Monday, December 2, 2019

My Funny Chicken, Torchie

Meet Torchie!
She has been hilarious since she was a tiny little thing.
That wild red flame hair has been on her head since she was a chick.
Does anybody know what kind she is with that crazy hair-do?
Her legs have kind of a greenish tint; I've heard from chicken friends that means her eggs will be green. Oh, I hope that is true!  We'll see in a few more weeks!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Apple Slices VII (Painting with Senior Citizens of OLLI)

My little "Apple Slices" still life has helped me teach painting beginners once again.

During the fall semester my painting partner, Julie, and I had the most fun ever!  We taught a couple of beginning painting classes through the senior citizen branch of the University of Arkansas. The program is called OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute), and it was just a pleasure to be a part of it.

Let me begin at the end! 
Just look at those happy faces!  So proud!  As they should have been!
Beginning Still Life Oil Painting Class
Beginning Nature Oil Painting Class

Julie and I have been retired for a couple of years, so we hoped we'd remember how to be teachers!
Teachers just get giddy about setting up
the classroom and getting ready for
students to arrive
Lesson plans written... Examples made...
Supplies ready... Materials laid out...
We'd both spent 30+ years with 8,9,& 10 year olds and wondered how different it would be to have students who were juuuuuuust a little bit older.

As it turns out... It's about the same.  They're nervous about learning something new. They have questions, but they're timid to ask.  They're impatient eager to get their hands on the materials. When they saw their final products, their eyes twinkled with pride!

There were some differences though.  Having 8-10 students instead of 25-28 was amazing!  And...  you know, we didn't have one single discipline issue in any of the class meetings! Not one!

Original Oil Painting on 5"x 7" Wrapped Canvas
Of course, their paintings are priceless!  But you'll find mine for sale on Etsy.  Click "Apple Slices VII".

Monday, November 25, 2019

Nutcracker Guard

Did you ever accumulate a big collection of something that you never really intended to have?  For me, that would be nutcrackers.  
I have a lot... really, a lot... of nutcrackers.  Tall ones, fat ones, old ones, expensive ones, cheap ones, pretty ones, and an ugly one (who sits on top of the refrigerator facing the wall every year).  The kids, now grown, wouldn't have it any other way! He scared them when they were little, so he was banished to face the wall on top of the fridge. No one would consider him having any other place!)
I didn't ever decide, "Hey, I love nutcrackers! I think I should have at least one for every space!"  It just sort of happened.  I remember early in our marriage we bought one on an after-Christmas sale. I think we bought another the next year in the same way.  We may have even bought a third at some point. Then they just seemed to sort of appear over the next three decades.  I'd get one from a student one year... a friend would see that I had several and give me one another year.  Someone would find one at an estate sale and think I might want it.  I had an activity I did at school where I brought my nutcrackers... which gave several students the idea that I needed another one.  That little activity was a good one, so I repeated it quite a few years... which gave even more students each year the idea that I needed another one... 
I have a lot of nutcrackers.

And sometimes they end up the getting to be in a painting. (But not the ugly one that has to face the wall.)

Click to have a look at some of them.
"Traditions" or "Santa Nutcracker Santa" or "Nutcracker King" 

Original Oil Painting on 6"x 12" Canvas

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Santa Claus

Months ago my friend and art mentor, Cheri asked me if I'd like to be a part of a weekend of Santas.  I had no idea what that meant, but I said, "Yes! I'm in!  What do you want me to do?"  Her instructions were open and intentionally vague.  She said to bring art with a Santa theme. There was no other limit... just Santas.
Cheri had an open house at her Inspire Studio and Gallery in Shawnee, Oklahoma on the night of the city's Christmas event, and she invited us to be a part of it as guest artists.
My painting partner, Julie, and I had fun during the last few weeks creating different Santa themed ideas to bring. On Friday morning we loaded up the car and headed west to set up our little Santa booths. 
Cute! Don't you think!
Lots of people came through, and it was a fun evening.  
But... that was only half of it...
The next morning there was a Santa paint along workshop.  I love being a part of something where someone paints their very first painting ever.  
This was my first time back at the easel doing intricate work since breaking my right arm.  Hmph!!... Being able to use your wrist is pretty much an important thing when painting... I did take my cast thingy off a couple of times but got mom faces (You know... head slanted, eyes cut, lips pursed...) until I put it right back on.
Every one had a jolly ole' time together and left with a nice little Santa painting.

Original Acrylic Painting on 8"x 10 Canvas Panel
Click "Santa Claus" if you'd like to purchase this little painting.