Monday, June 23, 2014

:) My Garden - A Love / Hate Relationship

I LOVE our great big tree; it provides the perfect spot for my little red bench.

I HATE that it casts a shadow on the garden all morning.

I LOVE our seeing our beautiful deer.  They're welcome to enjoy our yard, our woods, and our pond.

I HATE that they don't understand that they are not welcome in the garden.  (Too bad for this poor little sunflower that decided to grow outside the cage.)

I LOVE Robert the one-eyed guard owl who I found on a "serendipity walk" through the woods near the lake where my family has an annual family reunion.

I HATE that he doesn't scare the squirrels or the birds or Pounce the cat who loves to roll in the soil, squash little sprouts, and chew on bigger plants.

I LOVE my marigolds that line the perimeter just like I remember from my Grandma Tallent's house.  Their (stinky) smell is supposed to keep out the bugs and bad creepy little things.

I HATE (That's not true... I LOVE)  my aluminum hanging pie tins that my husband says add a redneck flare to the garden... maybe that's why I like 'em!

I LOVE that my cucumbers are climbing.

I HATE finding a big, fat snozzcumber that hides under a leaf until it goes way past ripe.  (I hope this use of vertical space cures that problem.  I should be able to see them all since there's no place to hide.)

I WISH the cantaloupe would take a vertical lesson from the cucumbers...

I LOVE that jalapenos are so prolific and make me feel so successful and that my cage-fence idea kept the okra safe from the deer this year.

I HATE how cutting jalapenos leaves my fingertips burning unless I wear a glove.  And, I hate the snotty slime that comes with cutting up okra.

I LOVE that I have several different kinds of tomatoes and they all look a little different.

I HATE... nothing... I love everything about my tomatoes.

I LOVE my little herb garden.

I HATE that I don't really know how to cook with fresh herbs...

I LOVE that I have a garden.
I LOVE that I'm a farm girl at heart.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


What's so special about these three books?
I first "finished" this painting four years ago.  Then I put it on a shelf and considered it a failure.  I loved the sunflower that I'd cut from my garden.  I loved the journals.  I hated the painting. I'd notice it every few months and think about painting over it.  I needed a 9x12 canvas the other day, and didn't have one.  
I looked at this one a long time... Should I paint over it?
It was like six separate items with no connection between them... a foreground, a background, a flower, and three books.  Was that what had been wrong all these years and months?

I didn't want to change anything about the books, so I'd just have to tie everything back to them.  
1st -I used a purple wash over the brown table to tie in with the top journal.  
2nd - I used the colors of the bottom journal to create a new background.  
3rd - I decided the leaves and the green journal were pretty good partners.  
4th - Then I just had to get to get rid of the yellow flower.  I made it a purple; t blended with the top journal and made no sense.  I added lots of reds and pinks; it was ugly.  I added the rosy red and orangy color of the bottom book and made extra middle petals to make it kind of mum-like.  
5th - Finally, I got brave and stuck a little but on the leaf that I accidentally put in a weird place.
AND...  Yea! 

So, What's so special about these three books?
The bottom one is my journal.
The green one is the journal I write to my son in.
The purple one is the journal I write to my daughter in.

I started keeping diaries when I was a little.  
These are my diaries from 1973-1983.
That little blue flowery one was the first.
Starting in 1977 I rarely missed a day.

These are my journals from 1985 through the one in the painting.  I don't write daily, but I'm fairly consistent.
(Yeah, I realize 1984 is missing... I was engaged... too in love and busy to bother... but I do have a box of love letters, so that year's not completely lost!)

I also keep a journal for each of my children.  Each has one that goes from birth through elementary school, another from middle school through high school, then the two in the painting.

These are for specific reasons, mostly from my years of participation in the National Writing Project.

Pretty cool, huh?

Original Oil Painting on 11"x 14" Wrapped Canvas

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sweet Blossom the Possum

Would you like to meet my alter ego?

This is her!  Her name is Sweet Blossom the Possum! Sweet Blossom was a darling little creature - practically perfect in every way, but oh, the things she had to deal with!   

And, what a lot of adventures she's had!

When my kids were little, we had our normal bedtime ritual, and part of that ritual started with, "Tell us another story about Sweet Blossom the Possum!"  

Ha ha ha... It still makes me smile.  Whatever was going on in our lives... that's exactly what was going on in Sweet Blossom's life.  I'm telling you, I think my kids were in junior high before they caught on! (Ok, maybe not that old, but...)

Let's see the comparisons:
I had a talkative daughter = Sweet Blossom had Trudi, Judy, & Beauty who, although they were three, always acted as one.
I had a younger, kind of shy son = She had Buck.
I had a little dachshund = The possum family had a lizard.
We lived in a two story house with the kids' rooms upstairs = The possum kids had their spots on the higher branches.
If we had company coming, so did they.
If our dog had to go to the vet, so did the lizard.
If our family had a trip, so did the possum family.
If we had something crazy happen at the grocery store, it happened to them at the creek.
If my kids had messy rooms, Trudi, Judy, Beauty, & Buck had messy limbs.

And whenever Sweet Blossom's name was used, it was always preceded by flowery adjectives. (Precious Sweet Blossom needed... Darling Sweet Blossom thought... Delightful Sweet Blossom discovered... Amazing Sweet Blossom found...)  

Once we "met" the REAL Sweet Blossom. I wrote a story about the time (totally and completely true) that Precious Sweet Blossom got trapped in our garage for a couple of days.  She tore open the garbage bag.  She crawled around on the shelves and broke canning jars.  She knocked over rakes.  She eventually found a fairly cozy spot in our Christmas tree box.  And, I wrote the whole story from that Daring Sweet Blossom's perspective.  

Here is an excerpt from that story:
(This is when she made the decision to go into the garage and got into the trash.)
She moved one foot, another followed, then another.  Before she knew it, all four feet were on the gray hard ground, the man-made ground.  She crept closer.  The smell was coming from a big black bag.  She stopped.  Waited.  There was no sound.  Her tiny, pink nose twitched.  Her long, white whiskers twitched.  Her paws began moving again.
The temptation grew too great!  Curious Sweet Blossom forgot her caution and jumped.  It was easy to rip through the bag.  Once inside she discovered sweet things, sour things, crunchy things, and salty things.  Precious Sweet Blossom, who had always been so neat and tidy, lost all self-control.  She licked, chomped, and chewed until she could barely move.  Taking a deep breath, she sat back and began to groom her paws and whiskers.  It was then that she noticed she was sitting in a pile of clutter.  She couldn’t possibly rest in this jumble of papers and cans, but she was so full, so tired.  Waddling to the other side of the big room, she settled for a short nap.
Weary Sweet Blossom awoke with a start to shouting voices of the family who lived in the house...
 Thanks to my friend Vaughn for 
taking the photo I used to paint
Sweet Blossom's portrait.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Teaching Little Fingers to Play

Do you remember this book?

If you're from my generation and you took any piano lessons at all, Teaching Little Fingers to Play by John Thompson is in your piano bench.  It starts with songs of two or three notes then goes all the way to "Wigwam" at the end with a chord! Finally there's a certificate at the back... only, unless you were the oldest child in your family, someone else already filled that out with his or her name and tore it out.
I was the fifth child, so all my John Thompson books were pretty worn except this one.  For some reason, our Teaching Little Fingers to Play was worn out, so I got a brand new one.

I kept thinking of this book as I was working on this painting.
If you've ready many of my posts, you know that I love to paint images that tell a story.
This one tells a very special one.

Aren't these sweet fingers?  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Raggedy Ann with Hearts

Have you ever seen a Raggedy that isn't happy?

Of course not!  Raggedies always have a happy little smile!  I found this one at a flea market. She's completely hand made - her clothes, her body, her embroidered face, her yarn hair. Someone worked so hard on her.  I wonder how she could have ended up all alone on a shelf with a $6.00 price tag on her wrist.  No matter... she has a home now.

If you'd like to have her portrait, click Raggedy Ann with Hearts for a link to her listing on Etsy.