Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Autumn Trees

Where do we begin to find out who we are?

Well, this painting was that beginning for me.  This was the second painting I ever attempted; that was way back in February of 2007.  After my first painting, "Summer Trees," I decided to give the same image another go.  I remember thinking, "Now, I've already done this, so I'm ready to put my own spin on it.  Hmmm... what exactly is my spin?"  As I wondered what kind of painter I'd become, I thought maybe I'd be an impressionist.  I'd always loved Monet's work, so I'd kind of blur the lines.  Then I thought about Van Gogh; I'd imitate him and let my strokes tell the story.  Then... I put thick orange and red blobs on top of brown bases, surrounded them with gold and green flame-like vertical strokes and realized that I was just plain Helen doing my best to make colors and shapes appear to be something recognizable.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stream in Autumn

What's just around the bend in the stream?

Maybe that's why I'm drawn to paintings of streams, rivers, roads, paths, and trails.   I think that the real story is just out of sight.

This painting draws me in both through its subject and through its texture.  I like to touch this one - run my fingertips across it.  I used more paint than I usually do, and I like the actual feel of the rocks, the water, and the trees.  I even like the swirls in the brush strokes of the sky.

Original Oil Painting on 11" x 14" Wrapped Canvas

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunrise Silhouette

What is it about a sunrise that makes it so breathtaking to anyone who's lucky enough to see it?

Tranquility... peace... I took this picture as the sun came up behind the Ouachita Mountains and kissed the water of Lake Ouachita with the most lovely glow. I stood on the front porch of our cabin and felt blessed to see the blessing of a new day beginning.

Ok, if I'm completely honest, there's also a boat dock blocking part of this perfect view. But isn't that why we keep a current artistic license? I used mine to leave that part out of the painting.

Although I loved the photograph, I never thought I could paint it because the trees and grass and hillside were just too dark - no details showed. But then, the challenge for Artistic Sentiment was to paint a landscape in silhouette. It gave me the idea for the possibility of turning it into a painting. The vision for the finished piece came on strong. Once I began I didn't stop until I signed my name.

This painting was including in an Etsy treasury (collection of art and vintage items) filled with warm, rich colors called Art That Will Make You Smile.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Aspens in Autumn

What makes autumn so special?

I think that maybe autumn is the season that becomes more loved as we age. I do not remember caring a bit about autumn when I was a kid... yeah, yeah, the leaves changed colors, the fair came to town, football games would be every Friday night...

Oh, but now... How thankful I am that I live in a place where autumn is so beautiful that it makes me slow down and sigh! The air has a crisp feeling. There's a smell of change - smoky, musky freshness. There's a crunching in the background all the time as squirrels and rabbits scamper through leaves - no more sneaking around.

The other night my husband and I sat on our porch rocking back and forth enjoying autumn in our own little mini-forest when something occurred to me... Way back a quarter of a century ago, didn't we dream of sitting on a front porch and leisurely rocking the evenings away? It's a sweet thing to realize when a dream actually comes true.

Original Oil Painting on 24"x 36" Wrapped Canvas
Currently not listed for Sale... I like it on my own wall too much. :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Diana Butterfly on Thistle

What makes this thistle special?

I don't know if this lovely little butterfly knows how special the place where she's chosen to land is. This thistle grows in a virgin prairie - land that has never been tilled or plowed... never. The plot of land belongs to my sister-in-law's family and is somewhat of a national treasury insuring that it will remain protected. So, this butterfly (a Diana female) and her children for generations should be able to return to this exact spot to land on thistles.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"I Am From Home"

I Am from Home

I am from a red-clay road rolling with dust after each passing car

from a long bed of irises - purple, white, yellow, and maroon

from two cars out front one with 4 doors, one with a bed, two humps, and a tailgate

from a front porch with a dachshund named Noodles lying on the step, a screen door that slams, and a panoramic view of the Ouachita Mountains.

I am from tassel-topped corn stalks, thorny blackberry vines, and staked tomato plants bringing the flavors of summer

from a formica kitchen table surrounded by six chairs and a stool

from little glass Pepsi bottles, black angus beef, and homemade ice cream hand-cranked by strong brothers

from sit-down dinners, lingering while the food settles, and sisters washing dishes by hand.

I am from Curtis Ray - “Handy as a pocket on a shirt”

from Gladys Adelle -“Busy hands are happy hands”

from trotline catfish dangling off Grandpa’s stringer

from quilts and afghans labors of love from Grandma’s worn hands.

I am from Ben Franklin’s, Piggly Wiggly, and a fifteen-cent Tastee Freeze cone with a curlicue on top

from a picture window, an attic fan, an antenna on the roof for a black-and-white television

from football games on Friday nights, cartoons on Saturday mornings, and church twice on Sundays

from pot luck suppers, “Count Your Many Blessings,” pass the offering plate, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

I am from a place that is real

from a time that has past

from bonds that endure

I am from home.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


What is your favorite use for lemons?

Besides using them for a still life... That doesn't count! I love lemon flavored cake, lemon ice box pie, and frozen lemon aid. I love lemon drops, lemon Jolly Ranchers, and even honey-lemon cough drops. But when it comes to using real lemons... I like them squeezed over fried catfish, squeezed into fruit juice, and even squeezed over cheap frozen fish sticks!

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

How about having the smell of lemon any time! I discovered these candles on Etsy. My mouth waters just to imagine the lovely smell they must have. Click "Lemonade Scented Tea Light Candles" to smell... I mean...see.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Attempting this reproduction of a painting by the master Bouguereau was quite a challenge for me. My teacher wanted me to learn how to use the style which was used for the original. It was done in many layers. I fussed and whined the whole time. In the first stages, it was in black and white. I hated to admit it, but I loved it just like that. Then I was allowed to use only one color to mix with black and white - alizarin. (Ok, maybe I cheated a little with some umber in her hair a little something in her skin)

Mine is certainly a far cry from the original, but I actually like her very much.

Oil Painting on 9"x 12 Stretched Canvas