Friday, February 27, 2015

Coconut Retriever

What's a coconut retriever?

Well, a dog that brings back the coconuts that you send her after, of course!

I've been blessed with some amazing professional opportunities during this 30 year teaching career of mine.  One of them is that I get to represent elementary literacy for Arkansas on a committee. I absolutely love the work... but enough of that... 
I have made some life-long friends that I get to spend a few days with every few months. When we met in Chicago last month, my friend from New Mexico said, "I brought a picture I want you to paint!  Do you ever paint dogs?" I paint images that tell stories, and when I heard the story behind this dog, I couldn't wait to put her on the canvas!  

I asked my friend to write the story.  Thanks, Sheryl!

She’s a girl’s best friend.  
This precious “coconut retriever” was born at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine on the island of St. Kitts, where she was adopted by a student who named her Smarty Jones. Why? Well, because she can run like the wind!  
Since becoming part of the girl's family, Smarty Jone has traveled the country far and wide as a loyal companion, living from Oregon to Canada to Minnesota to Florida.  
Smarty Jones is quite an amazing dog. She can talk, and she endures serving as a couch for her two wiener dog sisters with nary a complaint. She's such a well-mannered girl who loves her “cookies.” However, she does have a history of sneaking bread and even fresh tomatoes off the kitchen counter. 
  Her bark may be big, but her bite is small, Using that big bark, she saved the girl from an intruder one night. For that, the girl's family will be forever grateful.
Smarty Jones will forever be loved.
So fitting is this poem….the girl’s love of Smarty Jones.
My sunshine doesn't come from the skies,
It comes from the love in my dog's eyes.
Author Unknown

The girl is my friend's daughter.  And that girl will be receiving this painting for her birthday.  I hope she is surprised and pleased!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

:) Not for Sale

As of this week, I have been a painter for seven years.

     On a Thursday night seven years ago, I took my brand new wooden art box, five unopened tubes of paint, set of brushes, and a few other items from the supply list and went to a class. I sat on the front row and tried really hard to do what the teacher said even if I didn't understand it... (She told me to put orange in my blue so that my sky wouldn't be garish. ?!?)  At the beginning of the night she said, "Painting will make you see the world differently," and she was right.
     I was never a kid who drew, a teenager who doodled, or a person with a flair for art, but I left that night with a finished painting.  During the course of seven years, I've finished 294 more.  I've loved the process of each one, and I've enjoyed them on my walls as they wait to be purchased for someone else's walls. 
     Of those 295 paintings, there are 7 that are so special that they'll always remain on my own walls.
"Summer Trees"

Here it is!
That very first one!
See that third tree in the back?  Yeah... that wasn't supposed to be there.  I dropped my brush and a blog of paint became a new tree trunk.

"Flower Girl & Her Kitty"

My little sweetie who loved her kitties so...
And now she flies helicopters...

"In the Tree"

My other little fella...
Looked so serious...

"My Boys"

He's as tall has his dad now.  

"Beauty and the Beach"

Lovely... I'm certain that's what my son-in-law thought last year when he snapped the photo I used for this painting.

"Aspens in Autumn"

Nope, there's no emotional attachment.  I just love it.  It hangs above my sofa.

"Sweet Blossom the Possum"

Hee hee hee... my alter-ego.  
     Bruce Wayne has Batman.
     Bruce Banner has The Hulk.
     Clark Kent has Superman.
     I have Sweet Blossom

It's a long story... 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Candy Kisses

Do you get a lot of kisses on Valentine's Day?

I do.  Teachers get more than our quota of chocolate at the Valentine's party.  I like chocolate, but I don't crave it like I know some people do.  

Here's what I do with all the kisses I get.
 1st - Lay out a bunch of  Snyder's Snaps 
         (square waffle shaped) Pretzels on a cookie sheet.
2nd - Put an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss on each one.
3rd - Cook them about two minutes.
4th - Squash another Snaps on top of each melty Kiss.
5th - Put them on waxed paper in a plastic container.
6th - Keep them in the freezer.
7th - Enjoy one when you need a little sweet & salty bite.