Sunday, November 24, 2013

:) Winter - Painting with Words


Can you feel it?
Through scarf, hood, gloves, and coat,
Cold bites the skin, chills to the very bones.
Shiver… Huddle... Hurry...
Unwrap… Stand close to the flame… Sigh…

Can you smell it?
Gray and wispy, clinging in the air…
Not menacing, but comforting, cozy.
Rising from chimneys, then drifting down, fading...
To join the neighbor tending leaves.

Can you taste it?
Yellow candy corn replaced with red and white…
Peppermints, candy canes, chocolate kisses in holiday foil.
Tins of sage, promoted from the back…
The premier spice for the most special of meals.

Can you hear it?
No… It’s silent.  No chirping, tweeting, croaking…
Leaves rustle above, crunch underfoot.
“Silver Bells”... “Jingle Bells”... “Silent Night”
Same songs, many versions, over and over.

Can you see it?
Browns and grays, but for the rarest days of white.
The outside world is not dead, just asleep… resting.
But the inside sparkles, twinkles, shines.
Houses fill, hearts grow, faces glow.

Can you believe it?
Another season arrives.
Another year passes.
Endure it.

But also… embrace it.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Whimsical Santa

What's the lesson here?

Tip of the Day: Ya' gotta be brave with the gray if you want to appreciate the white....

I had another painting evening with my teacher friends.  As I was giving out paint dollops for the beard, one friend said, "I want the white, and I guess I'll take a tiny bit of gray, but I think I'll pass on the blue and brown." 
.... a while later... 
"Why does my beard and fur look so flat?" 

I never put my brush on another artist's canvas, but I asked permission, "Do you trust me? You're going to be shocked, but don't be mad."

I took a brush of gray and blue and made a big ole' swipe under his mustache and heard her gasp behind me.
"Now, turn around, walk back a few steps, and look again."
"Oh... my... goodness... It worked!"  

Yep, you have to have the drab to enjoy the bright...
... not sure whether that's a painting lesson or a life lesson.

Oil Painting on 6"x 12" Wrapped Canvas

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Who's the star of this painting?

I can hear my art mentor's advice, "Tone down the background.  Let your subject be the star."  I'm thinking that I purposefully defied that sound rule on this one.  

This was the request from a mother whose son was graduating from cosmetology school, "I want a painting of a pair of hair stylist scissors on a really colorful background."

I must say that it would never have occurred to me to make a still life around a pair of scissors, but I've got to say that I really like it!  And, I'm not apologizing for the garish background.  Let it fight for attention this time!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

We'll Just Have Salad II

How do you tell one cow from another?

This is what my husband (a city boy) asked as we passed a field full of cattle today.  I'd mentioned something about them being Hereford.  "How do you even know that?" he asked. I don't think a farm girl actually has to learn the difference between a Hereford, a Holstein, an Angus, a Charolais, or a Brahman; we just know.  How can you tell a Dachshund from a Chihuahua from a Beagle?

That made me think of how you can tell the difference between individual cows.  Well, a farmer just knows certain cows by their personalities, but generally they put ear tags in their ears.  I hated watching this process.  It was like watching my dad pierce their ears only it seemed awfully painful.   You can see that these ladies actually did have their ears pierced, but I decided that a big yellow tag with a number on it didn't get to be a part of the painting. (Ahhh... the power of the almighty artistic license!)

What I really, really wanted to do in this version (I painted it once before and wrote about that earlier this year. - Go have a look at the first "We'll Just Have Salad") was to give these ladies real earrings... yep, silver dangly ones!  (Go back and read ":) Sisters" and see about those silver dangly earrings!)

My friend Shelley asked me to paint these gals for her.  She is one of those kindred spirits or forever friends.  We're of different generations, from different places, lead different lives, and I see her less than once a year... but when we do see each other, there's so much to catch up on, so much mirrored in our ways of thinking.  So somehow during this process, I began to think of the two of these cows as the two of us.  (She would be the tall, elegant, lovely reddish one... hmmm... I wonder if that's why she ended up much more blonde than the real cow was... And, I'd be the short, stocky... and is she graying in the painting?... one out front.)  We... I mean THEY do look as if they are completely annoyed to be bothered and just want to get back to visiting with each other about whatever it is that cows talk about.

You see, I bought a pair of those dangly silver earrings for Shelley.  She told me that she wears them when she needs inspiration, feels feisty, or wants to feel brave.  I feel the same way about my pair.  So... don't you see how it was very hard not to put earrings on these cows!