Monday, December 30, 2019

From the Front Porch

From the front porch... 
      she could see the tree that he'd planted just for her.
      she could watch the little ones run and play.
      she could laugh at the chickens.
      she could feel the breeze.
From the front porch...
       she could call out that supper was ready.
       she could take in the colors of the sunset.
       she could hear the whippoorwill's evening song. 
       she could sit on the rocking chair beside him...  
             and see the tree that he'd planted just for her.
I finished this little painting with the big sky, grassy field, farm house, and barn in the back.  I liked it, but it didn't tell me a story... until... I added the tree.

I keep thinking of Pa planting the 5 cottonwood trees for Ma and the girls.  Near the end of By the Shores of Silver Lake  Pa says, "You're going to have your trees growing, Caroline, quick as I can get them set in the ground."  He took his spade out of the wagon and said, "The first one's your tree, Caroline. Pick it out and tell me where you want it."

He planted those trees around 1880, and they're still growing in De Smet, South Dakota. I'd love to see them one day.

My blog/Insatgram friend, Sara shared this photo.  
It broke all kinds of art rules (looking uphill... tree right smack dab in the center... huge sky of nearly nothing) but I couldn't quit going back to it.
It made me wonder...  
                                 Photo by
Who built the house? Why did they pick that spot? What kind of farm did they have? Did they plant that tree? Does any one still live there? How big was their farm? Did they love their front porch?

I do love an image that makes my mind wander... and wonder...

Original Oil Painting on 10"x 10" Wrapped Canvas
Click From the Front Porch  to purchase this little painting.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Orange Tiger Lily II

I love orange lilies.  
I love having them in my flower bed and on my painting easel.




I knew that flowers have certain meanings, so I decided to look it up. Google would know what the orange lily symbolizes, right?

According to FTD, the orange lily symbolizes confidence, pride, and wealth. 
According to 10 Flowers You Should Never Give Anyone, the orange lily symbolizes hatred, pride, and disdain.
According to Flower Auora, the orange lily symbolizes respect and honor. 
According to the Flower Expert, the orange lily symbolizes passion.
According to Fresh Flowers, the orange lily symbolizes energy and warmth.
According to Teleflora, the orange lily symbolizes a 30th anniversary.

I quit looking.
I'm pretty sure you can just assign any meaning you want.
According to Helen Eaton, the orange lily symbolizes home, joy, and peaceful times.

Thanks to these two cuties who volunteered to be my practice students.

Original Oil Painting on 8"x 8" Wrapped Canvas
Theirs are priceless, but you can purchase mine if you click Orange Tiger Lily.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

How Many Chickens in my Backyard?

He says they're my chickens... but... 
We got 3 chickens which was just the right amount.. 
... until we had 5 chickens which was just the right amount... 
... until we had 8 chickens which was just the right amount...
... until we had 11 chickens which was just the right amount...
... until we had 13 chickens which is absolutely the right amount!
They work hard in the woods every morning. 
They always hang out with each other, but it's rare that I can get a photo with all 13 in it.  One will be sitting on the nest or two will be under the deck or some will be behind a trees.  They simply will not line up and smile for the camera!
All 13 in one photo!
Every afternoon my little flock moves to the side yard.  Here they can keep an eye on their coops  and the back door.  If I come out shaking their canister of treats, they come running (except for Fancy who only walks) to greet me then run to their coops... where they may (or may not... sometimes one or two will decide to play ring-around-the-rosy first.) go straight to bed for the night. 
The three coops:
The Sister House, The Cousin House, The Friends House
We had one pretty little coop... until we had two... until we had three which is the just right amount!  They're happy being one big group all day, but they know which coop they belong to... (except for Fancy who sometimes chooses to sleep over with the Sisters or the Friends).

The Sister House:
          Dolly, Torchie, Dot, Sprinkles, Thumbelina
The Cousin House
          Sylvia, Fancy, Red Red, Other Red
The Friends House
          Dominique, Danielle, Eleanor, Marigold
The babies... We grabbed these out of the bin at the farm store
when they were all one day old in August and slipped them
under Dolly that night. The next morning they were a family. 
This is how they look now!
I LOVE how different these sisters are!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

That's Just Ducky!

Don't you just want to listen in on their conversation!!
  • Bottom Right just asked a simple question.
  • Middle can't believe she'd even ask such a thing!
  • Front Left agrees with everything Middle says.
  • Top Right does not want to get involved this time!
  • Back Left is late to the meeting... again!
The image of these ducks deep in conversation has made me chuckle since I first saw it. 

I "met" these particular ducks inside a blog called Chickens in the Road. They lived on a farm in West Virginia along with lots of chickens, some goats, a few sheep, dogs, cats, a couple of donkeys, a milk cow, and a farmer named Suzanne.

In the days after I broke the two lower bones in my right arm, I had a lot... really a lot... of time that I couldn't do much of anything but click and scroll with my left hand and read on the computer.  That may sound dreadful, but during those days I got to thoroughly enjoy every bit of Chickens in the Road from the early posts of 2005 to the recent ones of 2019. 

I suppose I don't know any ducks personally, but oh, how I have always loved Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, Quack, and of course, Mr. & Mrs. Mallard!

Make Way for Ducklings was written over 75 years ago, but I have a feeling that my grandchildren will love it as much as my kids did and as much as I did... still do!

A few years ago, we'd been on a trip and were to fly home from the Boston airport. We had allowed ourselves one extra day there, but I'm such a not-city person. I'm sure there are dozens of museums, historical monuments, and not-to-be-missed sights to see.  But, there was only one place that I wanted to go... Boston Public Garden.  
I might have cried a little when I saw Mrs. Mallard and her 8 ducklings.
Even the Swan Boat was there!
I might have cried again to see a real Mrs. Mallard with her ducklings.

Ducks just make me smile... well, and cry... but mostly smile. 😊

Thank you to Suzanne McMinn of  Chickens in the Road for letting me use her photo as a reference for this painting.

Original Oil Painting on 11"x 14" Wrapped Canvas

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Little Gray Donkey (a.k.a. Lee Roy)

My parents moved to Northwest Arkansas when they were in their 80s.  Although they no longer had 160 acres of land, my dad managed turn their new 5 acres into a complete little farm.  It had almost everything a farm could need.

  • There was a big workshop for tools and equipment.
  • We all enjoyed their huge garden with tomatoes, corn, and row of sunflowers.
  • He planted an entire orchard of fruit trees and pecan trees.
  • He started with a four-wheeler but traded that in for a golf cart that he and Mom used to take rides around the place every day.
Even with all that, something was still missing... until Lee Roy showed up.  Lee Roy was the funniest little donkey who brayed and hee-hawed and insisted on being heard.  He didn't really have a farm purpose, but Dad loved scratching him and feeding him.  He was well trained to run to the fence whenever anyone came outside because he knew he'd get a treat or at least a scratch on the head.  
Eventually, Dad got him a friend, Margarite.  She was never quite as much of a pet as Lee Roy. But, on the morning of my mom's 85th birthday, she walked outside to find a wide-eyed surprise baby donkey standing in the field beside Margarite. 

I've painted Lee Roy a few times. As a matter of fact, the only one of my paintings that my dad kept to hang on the wall in his apartment was a painting of Ole' Lee Roy.  

I wish I'd taken more photos of him, but as soon as I'd walk anywhere near the fence with a camera, he'd be right there begging for a treat and refusing to pose for a picture.

A friend asked me if I'd paint a donkey to donate for a fundraiser.  I did; however, when I finished, I liked it so much that I decided to paint another one to enjoy on my own wall for a while. Maybe one should be Lee Roy and the other one Margarite.
Original Oil Paintings on 6"x 12" Wrapped Canvas

Monday, December 2, 2019

My Funny Chicken, Torchie

Meet Torchie!
She has been hilarious since she was a tiny little thing.
That wild red flame hair has been on her head since she was a chick.
Does anybody know what kind she is with that crazy hair-do?
Her legs have kind of a greenish tint; I've heard from chicken friends that means her eggs will be green. Oh, I hope that is true!  We'll see in a few more weeks!