Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Backyard Friends

Go ahead and say it... "Awwww... How sweet! So cute!!" 

Do you know what that sweet little fawn is saying to his deer mother? "Hey, Mama, how about we stop eating these leaves and go over there to eat every single cucumber leaf and blossom that our noses can reach!!!"  


We love our woods, and we (usually) live in perfect harmony with our woodland friends.

There are times, however, when it's really frustrating (We'll see if the pieces of Irish Spring soap keep them from coming back to finish off my once-beautiful hostas.), but usually we just laugh.  

Okay... The funniest thing happened last night.  

A little background first - Something (probably a raccoon) had figured out how to get into our big chicken food bin. We sealed it better, and I put 4 empty tin cans on the lid.  I was thinking that if they tried again, the cans would fall, and the clatter would scare them off.  

In the middle of the night last night I heard the crash, so I hopped up and ran through the dark house to have a look.  It wasn't the feed bin and cans though.

Right there in front of me was a raccoon sitting in a pile of sunflower seeds. He must have knocked them off the shelf where we keep four plastic canisters of treats by the back door. When I flipped on the light, the raccoon had his little hands in the air like, "What? Do you need something? Turn the light off."  I  yelled for Ron to come look and yelled at the raccoon.  Again, the raccoon basically shook his head and said, "Seriously? I'm fine here. Go back to bed."  I was about three feet from him, and he didn't care at all.  I finally yelled and waved enough that he said, "Fine... fine!" and sauntered to the edge of the deck where he looked back and said, "Ok, ok... I'm going! Sheesh!"

We were laughing and knew we had to clean up the spilled sunflower seeds. So I bent down, turned... and... not three feet from my head... a possum was sitting right there on the shelf!!!  She'd been watching the whole thing!  It nearly scared the bejeezies out of me!  I hopped back toward the door and yelled at her.  She opened her mouth really wide.  I think she was saying, "I was here first.  I knocked off the birdseed, but nothing happened.  I knocked off the sunflower seeds, and they spilled."  I yelled at her again.  She just opened her mouth wide again and continued, "Next I'm going to knock off the deer corn. Then I'm going to knock off the dried worms."  Finally, I grabbed a mop that was propped up out there and waved it at her.  She just grabbed the back of the shelf with her tail and said, "Stop that! Why are you even out here in the middle of the night?"  I poked her with the mop.  She grabbed on, so I flung her off the shelf. After a thump, She trotted a few steps, and looked back with a most annoyed expression.

I have the distinct feeling that they were neither amused nor afraid.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Dickson Street II

It seems like I haven't posted a new painting in a long time, but I have been painting! A lot... Really!
It's just that this last one felt like 25 little paintings that just happened to be all on one big canvas!  
10 cars...15 buildings... and all the stuff that goes with each one of those. 

I love to do a great big complicated piece every once in a while.  
It's just that it stays in the ugly stage for such a long time!  First it's just a great big bunch of colorful blobs. Slowly each blob takes shape then becomes a car or building or tree or sign. Finally the canvas is covered, and it looks like what it's supposed to be... except wonky and wrong.  
The writer in me knows that the rough draft and major revisions are finished, so it's time to edit.
Ugh... shape up the perspective here... fix the shape of this... make that look like it's further back... straighten those... add some shadowing... make that flatter... rounder... redder... darker... thicker... lighter... thinner... change that whole section... get rid of those... liven this up... tone that down... wipe this off... change the shape of that
Then one day... I sit back and look for the next glaring problem that needs to be fixed.  I search each little part... step away and look back at the whole... and  finally... my furrowed brow relaxes... and is replaced by a smile. 
That's when I find the thin brush with long bristles and move the the bottom corner of the canvas for one last thing...


How about a few fun facts about this painting:
I wanted to show how big it is.
* I painted a similar version of this a couple of years ago for my friend Melanie.
*This one is for my friend Mona.  The red Mustang at the center is hers.
* I asked her, When you think of me to you think of me in the red VW I had for 10 years or in the green one that I have now. The red VW bug about halfway down the line is mine.  
* Her husband's red truck at the far end of the line of cars has actually appeared in another painting.
* They're big Razorback fans, so "Go Hogs."  I like that better than a big Budweiser sign anyway.
* Finally, there needed to be something put on the signs on the fronts of the buildings, so why not the names of her grandchildren. I hope they each like their buildings!

Original Oil Painting on 24"x 36" Canvas

Friday, July 6, 2018

Sunrise at Shangri-La

Comfort food - beef vegetable soup
Comfort clothes - the oldest jeans and big paint-stained tee-shirt
Comfort drink - coke from Sonic
Comfort music - country
Comfort view - Lake Ouachita

This is my view from the porch of Cabin E at Shangri-La Resort on Lake Ouachita.  

My family started spending a three-night reunion here 29 years ago... when we filled 6 cabins.  Now we need 9 cabins and 8 rooms!  

Original Oil Painting on 12"x 16" Wrapped Canvas

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


This is our little LaurelAnne (a.k.a. LaLa)  She hatched into our hearts two weeks ago.

She (...and I realize I have no idea whether she's a she and will begin to lay eggs in a few months or grow a long tail and begin to crow, but until then, she's a she...) is just the cutest little ball of fluff!! 
I can't tell you how much time I've whiled away just watching her flit around beside/under/behind Sylvia while she's learning all the important chicken things she needs to know!

My pretty little garden... Looks like I'm in a pen, right?
I keep things that aren't tasty to deer in the perimeter cages.
Training the cucumber vines to climb up and stay in their own 
cages is a daily thing. They grow so fast!
Things just taste better when you pick the yourself, don't they.
If even half of my yellow blooms become
cucumbers,I will have a bumper crop this year.

Roma and cherry tomatoes seem to grow best for me.
I wish those big beefsteaks grew well here, but my
little guys are have big flavor.
More jalapenos that we can ever use,
but they're so fun to grow and pick!
I can't imagine who ever decided that a bell
pepper should be a food, but Ron likes
them. And they are so pretty.
Okra have the most beautiful blooms.
I like growing and preparing them,
but again, Ron's the one who eats them.
Zinnias have to be in my garden. My mother grew them
and her mother grew them, so I grow them.