Sunday, April 28, 2019

Watching the Dogwood Snow

See that beautiful dogwood? When we were building our house, the builder asked if we wanted him to take down the scraggly little tree beside the back porch.  He said it had gotten scuffed up during the building and might not make survive anyway.  When that first spring came and it burst in to big white blossoms, we were so surprised and so glad we'd kept it.  It is pretty scrappy.  Every year wonder if it will last through one more winter. (That's been since 2001!)
This is another in the front near the mailbox.
And we pass these when we go for a walk toward our neighbor's house.
Today was windy, and the petals fell like giant snowflakes.

The 10th painting I did after three months of lessons was of some blossoms from this very tree. (April 2007)
I painted some of her blossoms again for my 300th painting.
(May 2015)
It was a good day to spend on the back porch watching the dogwood snow.... and wonder if our dogwood friend will be here to put on her show next spring.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Once Upon a Farm...

Once upon a farm there was a feeling of contentment.  
  • The blue sky was clear.
  • The leaves were beginning to appear on the trees. 
  • The yellow button dandelions were turning into white puffs and blowing away in the wind. 
  • The pigs had plenty of mud for rolling around in their pen.  
  • The grass was green and filled with enough bugs and seeds to keep the chickens busy.  
  • The red hen was teaching her fluffy little chicks everything they needed to know. 
  • And, the rooster with his coat of many colors was keeping an eye on them all.
It was a good, good day... once upon a farm.

One of the things I love about painting a commissioned piece is that I'm nearly always stretched to the limit of my skills. I don't know if I'd push myself of choose to paint challenging pieces if I always just got to choose what to work on next.
This one started out with a simple question, "Can you paint this rooster in larger size?"  Sure!  He was already on a 16"x 16" canvas, so the new version would be huge.  He is proudly standing front and center of this new painting... but instead of 2 feet tall, he's 2 two inches tall!  
How did that happen? 
It happened through a series of e-mails and questions... "Could you put a barn in the painting? We love this one, but could you make it red? Could you add a few hens with the rooster, and maybe some chicks? Could you  put some dandelions in the grass?  One more thing... could there be some pigs?"
Oh, this process makes me smile!
Yes... Sure... No problem... I can do that... Okay... Absolutely... Wait, pigs?
Ha ha ha ha
And so.... that is how the 2 foot rooster became a 2 inch rooster!

Thank you Mandi for giving me the setting and all the characters to put this story on canvas.

Original Oil Painting on 18"x 24" Wrapped Canvas

Saturday, April 20, 2019


My friend Sandra asked me if I'd be willing to do a painting that would commemorate or celebrate her daughter's wedding.  Of course, I said that I'd love to.  I told her to send me a few images that we might choose from. 
Ok... the truth... 
I imagined she'd want a picture of some of the wedding flowers... or a slice of the cake... or their rings... or... or... I don't know... some little sweet wedding token thing... but... noooooo.... 
The photos came and they were the whole bride and groom!!!
Ohhhhhh... dear... deep breath... I can do this... 
     How in the world can I pull this off?!... 
It's just colors and shapes... just values and textures... 
     It's humans with arms and hands and faces!... 
I'm not afraid of a challenge... 
     How did I get into this?!... 
It is such a beautiful image... 
     A solid white wedding dress, for Pete's sake!... 
I can't wait to begin... 

Do you know how many times I've eagerly agreed to do something then realized with a sick feeling that I couldn't imagine how I could actually accomplish it? Well,I'll tell you... A lot! 
But... I guess that's how we get better, and it is oh, so satisfying when it does come together in the end!

Sandra sent me a half a dozen photos to choose from.  I sent back my feedback on each one so that she could make the final choice. I explained the positives and negatives about turning each one into a painting.  I tried to be neutral, but I'm pretty sure I didn't fool her.  I think she knew which one I was rooting for. 
These were my comments about this image:
  • +They just look so peaceful.  I love the stories that each of these photos tells, but somehow this one feels like it's about the "marriage" not just the "wedding."  I love it.
  • +They aren't centered.  I love that.
  • + Her bouquet makes and appearance, but it's not trying to steal the show.
  • +They seem so relaxed. A kiss on the forehead, eyes closed, arms draped (not posed).
  • + The background is a medium value so her dress and his suit both would show up.
  • + The background is natural. Nature is always good. Nothing in the background would demand the attention of the eye.
  • - Yes, the veil is gorgeous.  Is it bad that I'd want to paint it going down instead of straight out.  I just think the tone of the whole piece is so calm. **The wind had blown it straight out behind her.
  • - I see that the train of the dress is cut off in the photo, but I could fix that.
Because Sandra is also an artist, (Although she uses fabrics instead of paint - you must visit her blog and see her quilts.) I asked her if she wanted to follow along with my progress.  It's really the first time I've ever sent pictures of every little step of the process. I made her promise to trust me even while the painting was deep in the ugly stages.  She did.  It was fun.

I asked Sandra if she'd give her thoughts on the finished painting. This was the response written to the beautiful bride, her daughter.
This painting captures the way I see your relationship: a contentment, an equality, an ease of being in each others' arms that's born of partnership, love. and care for each other....and for a fluffy feline! May loads of love, happiness and contentment be in your lives for always. 
I love the thoughts.
I love the story told by this image.
I'm so glad she trusted me to put it on canvas.

Original Oil Painting on 16"x 16" Wrapped Canvas

Saturday, April 13, 2019

R.J.'s Dinosaur Mural

"Mom, we were wondering if you'd do a painting for us... Something to go over his bed... Maybe something with dinosaurs...?  It's a big blank wall."

I am on it!
It's a DREAMI (DRop Everything And Make It!) project!
One day everything is as normal as ever then... Surprise! ...all sorts of amazing happens!
Click HERE if you want to read the precious story of the arrival of our grandson.

Original Acrylic Paintings on 24"x 8", 24"x 12", 24"x 24", 24"x 12", 24"x 8"

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Watering Yellow Roses

There's a story on this canvas!  I just know there's a story... 
I wonder what it is...
  • What's her name?
  • Where does the path lead?
  • Why are the roses in pots?
  • Who helps her with the flowers?
  • Is that a special dress?
There are lots of ideas bouncing around in my head. Maybe there's more than one story on this canvas.

Sometimes the colors, shapes, and ideas flow and the painting appears without much effort. Other times... not so much.
This painting had a mind of its own... 
I did the trees and sky one way then changed the color and the shape.
I did the path one way then changed the direction and the width.
I did the grass smooth and formal then changed to add wildflowers and texture.
I did the watering can yellow then changed it to blue.
I did the shoes yellow then changed them to purple.
I did the face one way then another then another then another... then another...
... sigh...
I should have listened to the painting better from the beginning.  
The painting knew its story all along. 

This is the fourth painting for the bedrooms of Welcome Home Retreat. 
It's for the Yellow Rose of Texas Room. 
Click below to see each of the other three.

Original Oil Painting on 16"x 20" Wrapped Canvas

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Springtime in My Kitchen

My kitchen is filled with springtime!  
There are some dreamy things to love about springtime.  
Flowers on the island just say happy, Happy, HAPPY! 
And, the smell.... mmmmm.... 
Those hyacinths! 
Trays of little seedlings cover the table.
And, there are more in flower pots on the floor!
Yeah... I totally planted more than I could ever need.
But, I love watching them grow!
The counter top has a place for the day's eggs.
Beautiful weather makes my six little hens happy!
What fun it is to share their eggs!
I know planting a seed tray should be an outside job, but it was freezing on Sunday.  We built maybe the last fire of the year in the fireplace, and I was ready to play with some dirt.   
You can imagine my little dog's disappointment.  She stands right below me when I cook, chop, slice, pour, stir.  This had all the look of cooking with not a single good treat falling to the floor.