Wednesday, April 18, 2018


I've got peace like a river...
I've got peace like a river...
I've got peace like a river...
in my soul.

Guess what...
This is my 400th painting.
I can not believe it!

Although I love the very first painting I did back in 2007, I do think I've improved as an artist over these 11 years and 400 paintings... ha ha... just a little bit! 

This painting began with a tutorial by Kevin on using the palette knife.  It also started out as a disaster.  I carefully foll
owed instructions and ended up with a sky that looked like a tornado was about to drop down at any minute.  There was a definite tone of anger and a foreboding mood. Usually, I would have worked with it, but this time... I wiped all the paint right off, set my mind set on the tone and mood I wanted, and used my artistic license (which comes in handy). I also gave myself permission to use brushes as well the palette knife.  In the end I hope I created a feeling of peace instead.

I'm so glad this one ended up being #400.  
Peacefulness is a good representation of life right now.


     The other day… Hmmm… last Wednesday, I think…
     I was on my knees planting onions in the garden. 
    A light mist was in the air, but it didn’t matter.
    All was silent
        … except for the birds... and squirrels
        … and the tinkle of the wind chime...

     I looked around…

     I saw five colorful little chickens 
         pecking around under the dogwood on my right…
     I saw the cat in the flowerbed filled with daffodils on my left…
     I saw the dog lying under the little red bench in front of me…

     …And was taken aback by this thought.
             ...It’s Someday…

     Someday I’ll have time.
     Someday I’ll have a lush garden.
     Someday I’ll have chickens in the yard.
     Someday I’ll have a row of daffodils and irises.
     Someday I’ll make my own schedule.
     Someday I’ll make time to notice the sky.
     Someday I’ll learn which birds make which sounds.
     Someday I’ll relax.

     I literally sat back, looked around, and thought,
        “Oh, my goodness… I’m living a poem..."

Oil Painting on 12" x 16" Wrapped Canvas

Friday, April 6, 2018

Tweet III

This little bluebird has been my helper several times when I've helped someone give oil painting a try.

These beautiful young ladies call me Aunt Helen.  So do their mamas.  Lucky me!  "Aunt" is a pretty special title. 
These cousins and their families came to NW Arkansas from Texas and from Kentucky to spend Easter at the home of their GrammaLita and Pepaw, my brother.  They had fun with cousins and second cousins and 15 new lambs and 10 great Pyrenees puppies and all the fun that goes along with family get-togethers.
But... these two slipped away for a 2-3 hours and came to my house for a paint party.  They were hard workers and ended up with very nice little bluebird paintings!

Original Oil Painting on 5"x 7" Wrapped Canvas.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Cardinal Pair

I'm often asked, "How do you decide what to paint?" or "Where do you get your inspiration for paintings?" 

  • Sometimes I just paint what someone commissions me to paint, and that's an okay answer. I can do that.
  • When I choose an image, I look for the combination of elegance and simplicity.
  • I want my paintings to tell a story.  If "a picture is worth a thousand words..."  then surely each of my paintings should bring a hundred or so to mind.
  • I usually choose to paint what I know... what is a part of me and my little slice of the world.
Join me for a tour of a favorite little slice of my world...
Here it is... It's my favorite spot.  
What makes it so?  
Well, let's see... Let's begin with that chair in the middle.  There's a table on either side to put a drink or book or computer... convenient. There's a blue heating pad in the chair... just in case it's not quite warm enough outside.  There's a little blue stool in front of the chair... perfect for a 5 foot person who needs a few inches.  
And... there's a feeling of peace... 
It's quiet here, but there are lots of sounds... Depending on the time of day, there are birds of all kinds, peepers, crickets, frogs, and owls.  If there's a little wind, the chimes tinkle...
There's also the little scraping sound of the pieces of tin hanging from the tomato cages... Ha ha... a redneck attempt to keep deer away from the garden... 
Soon there will be flowers in the barrel, tomatoes and cucumbers in the cages around the edges (because deer don't like those), and okra, peppers, onions, and jalapenos inside.
If the sun is shining, maybe it would be better to sit on the little red bench beside the garden.  The hill behind it is actually the bank of the pond. It's got a path around the top and down to the water.
The row of daffodils, irises, tulips, lilies, hyacinth remind might remind you of where you grew up. That's why it's there.
A few other details to notice... 
There's a big pot where I grow herbs beside the bench. 
There's my little "It's been a pleasure reading and writing with you" granite block that my co-teachers gave me when I retired... sniff. 
Then there's our burn pit and a stick to guide the chickens toward their coop when it's time for them to be put up for the night.
Speaking of the girls... Did you know that they kind of purr when they're content?  Yes, they cackle when they lay an egg, but the purr is my favorite.

Welcome to the coops! Sylvia, Fancy, and Dolly sleep in the Sister House. Red Red and Other Red sleep in the Cousin House.
I asked for a birdbath for my birthday last week.... The deer think it was put there for them. 
I asked for a birdhouse for my birthday last year... The squirrels think it was put there for them.
And finally... the birds... the beautiful, beautiful cardinals...

Now back to the view from my chair... and... that scraggly tree right in the center of the view... Ahh... There's a story there!  The builders of our house asked if we wanted them to take it down, but we decided to keep it. And guess what we learned that next spring... and every spring since... It's a dogwood! Next week it will be gorgeous!

If you're ever near, I'd love to have you join me... in my favorite little slice of the world.

Original Oil Painting on 12"x 12" Wrapped Canvas