Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Outstanding Blogger Award

I thought I'd better publish this today since tomorrow is April 1st. It might seem like I'm playing an April Fools' Day joke if I wait!

I've been nominated and given an Outstanding Blogger Award by Wendy whose blog is called Pieceful Thoughts.  Her quilts are beautiful, and she writes as if she's just having a conversation with me.   I have so enjoyed getting to know her through her blog posts (and our side e-mail conversations). 

The other day I was happily reading along in her post when I was shocked to see that she'd nominated my humble little blog for this award.  I actually clicked on my own link to see if it was really me or some other Word Weaver Art.  Yep.  The link brought me right here.  You honor me, Wendy. Thank you.

The Outstanding Blogger Award is given one blogger to another.  It's a way of supporting and acknowledging one another.  I love that.  I love reading blogs.  I love coming across a blog that I really enjoy then going all the way back to its beginning and reading it through.  I love the present-tense-ness of blogs. (Ok, it's not a word, but it gets to my point.) A post may have been written 5 years ago, but it's as if it happened yesterday. 

As an award recipient, I get to answer some questions from Wendy.  Right away you'll see why I was surprised to see my blog included.  For one thing, I'm not a quilter. Not to worry, Wendy gave me complete permission to change her questions to suit myself.

  • Coffee or Tea? 
  • Who inspired you to begin quilting? 
  • What is one unusual item we would find in your quilting room?
  • When you are not quilting, we’d find you . . ? 
  • Where do you find your quilting inspiration? 
Coffee or Tea?
Between the two, I’ll choose tea.  I like sweet iced tea well enough. I'll sip hot sweet tea if I need to. I’ve only tasted coffee one time. Once was enough. My real preference, however, wouldn’t be either.  I’d choose Coke – Just a good ice cold Coca-Cola

Who inspired you to begin painting?
Cheri Wollenberg @artbycheriwollenberg  In 2007, Cheri offered a six-week oil painting class at my church.  In that first lesson she guided us to paint a tree.  Much to my surprise, mine actually did look like a tree once I finished!  I couldn’t wait to begin the next painting. I continued weekly lessons with her for four years. She became my painting teacher, my art mentor, and my dear friend. Although she now lives several hours away, we still manage to paint together a couple of times each year.

What is one unusual item we would find in your studio?
I have several wind chimes hanging from the ceiling in my art room. They make me happy there.  I can reach up and make them chime whenever I finish a painting.

When you are not painting, we’d find you . . ? 
If I’m not painting, check the back yard.  I’ll either be puttering around in the garden or hanging out with the chickens.

Where do you find your painting inspiration? 
There are four main ways I choose what to paint.
1.) If someone commissions me to do a painting for them, I paint whatever they have in mind. I find it to be a honor when someone chooses my artistic style for their special image.
2.) Every month I paint something for Inspiration Collaboration.  I look at Sara’s Inspiration Image and read her words about it. Then wait for the muse of inspiration to give me an idea to create in response. It expands my realm of comfort and boosts my creative spirit every time.
3.) For the last 16 weeks, my art mentor Cheri and I have committed to a weekly painting challenge. Each week we take turns coming up with the week’s inspiration word or phrase. It's wonderfully uncomfortable and has pressed me to think and stretch my artistic skills.
4.) Sometimes I see an image that I just know that I have to put on canvas... an image that tells a story. It might be a farm animal with an interesting expression or a toddler doing something completely normal.   It might be a photo that I took myself, something a friend posted on-line, or an image I've randomly come across. I've learned to just write that friend (or stranger) and ask permission to use their wonderful image as a reference.
I love being inspired in all four of those ways.

The second part of this award has two parts.  I'm to pass the award on to my favorite bloggers and choose some questions for them.

I receive the blogs I follow in my feed each day. I decided to choose those that I look forward reading the most... the ones that I never want to miss or scroll past.  Some of them have a large readership... others are very small. Some are written by people (although I've never met in person) I consider my friends... others have no idea I exist.  Some have probably already received this honor and decline to participate again... others may have no interest.  I hope some will choose to have some fun and answer my questions.

These are my favorites (in alphabetical order):

Pieceful Thoughts (who nominated me, but I wanted on the list of favorites.)

  • Silence, music, podcast, or something else when you create / work?
  • What's your favorite part of the process as you create / write?
  • Where do you do your craft, and what's that space like?
  • How do you choose who to follow? (Blogs, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)
  • Why do you write and post on your blog?

It was a pleasure to answer the five questions given to me and to think of five questions that I'd like to know answers to.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Sentimental Stargazer Lilies (Mini Version)

My blog friend, Nelvia, asked me to be part of an art exchange.  Of course, I wanted to say no thank you because, well, other artists are so good and... they might be disappointed when they received my art and... Pffftt.. All that insecure artist dribble and nonsense rose directly to the top. But, it was Nelvia, so of course I said yes.

I painted a mini version of the very first painting I ever submitted to Inspiration Collaboration. Then I made a postcard and wrote about myself to a stranger. The note and little artwork went into an envelope and off it went to New Jersey.

A few days later I received a lovely note and an incredibly beautiful little piece of art from that same stranger... my new friend, Carole.

I look forward doing this again this summer.

Original Oil Painting on 5"x 7" Canvas Board
[GIFT - Artist Exchange]

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Bunny (Mixed Media)

Hoppy Easter!

I got to spend a 24 hours with my art mentor. We used as many of those hours as we could to do art, and she had a list of lessons to pile into our time.  I learned what a Gelli plate is and how to use it.  We did some stamping, stenciling, cutting and pasting. And, of course, we talked and laughed.

How uncomfortable wonderful it is to learn something brand new!
What a nervous exciting feeling to try something that is so different!
To just keep going and doubting trusting that it will work is how it goes.

Then all of a sudden, it hit me... I love this!  This bunny is a good little piece of art!  I could do this again!

Original Mixed Media on 6"x 6" Canvas Board
I am going to enjoy seeing this little bunny on my own shelf for a while, but if you'd like to have him for your shelf, click Bunny.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Spring Chicks

These are the first two chicks that were hatched here on our little farm that we like to Serendipity.   It's pretty amazing to hear the peeps while the eggs are still whole, to watch the cracks appear, then to see a wet little scrap of chick eventually pop out.

There's no telling how much time I've spent just watching them with their mamas. Mama hens know exactly what to do to teach those babies everything they need to know. 

I try to leave them alone, but oh, my goodness!!! How can I not hold them just a little bit!!

We've gotten fertilized eggs a few times so a broody hen could have some babies, but we do it differently now.  When a hen gets broody, I go to the store and buy some chicks that are just a couple of days old.  Once it's dark outside, we go out with the babies and slip them one by one under the hen sitting in the nesting box.  The next morning she wakes up proud of her new family.  We've done it this way several times, and it's been successful.

  • We can get pullets (baby hens) instead of the 50/50 gamble of eggs being hens/roosters.
  • We can get the breed we want. (I like variety in my hens' feather color and in my egg colors.)
  • The hen doesn't have to sit weeks and weeks in the hot nesting box waiting for the unfertilized eggs, fake eggs, and golf balls that she's sitting on.
  • We have never wanted the trouble of having a rooster. (Although, we seem to have one now...) 
What have we learned?
  • Take the eggs, fake eggs, and golf balls out as you put the babies under.  The chicks are still so tiny and fragile. The mama has gone to sleep not realizing that she'll wake up sitting on babies.  The extra eggs can cause a baby to get smashed between them. Sometimes it happens anyway.
  • Arkansas law doesn't allow farm supply stores to sell less than 6 chicks.  We try to wait until a couple of hens are broody so we can give them each 3.  
  • Lots of things can keep a chick from reaching a year old. (Getting crushed, just not thriving, hawks...) We've found that about 1 in 3 makes it to lay her first egg.
We got our first 3 chickens 4 years ago and enjoy them so much.

My weekly art challenge theme was "Easter."  So many symbols of Easter... A cross, an empty tomb... white lilies, tulips... bonnets, baskets, bunnies... colored eggs... Eggs? Chicks!  I remembered the photos I'd taken of these babies thinking that one day I'd paint them.  I guess this was the day!

Original Oil Painting on 6"x 6" Wrapped Canvas

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Mask Mandate

Whether you're the thief or his lookout, you're probably wearing a mask!
At least if you're a raccoon...

A few years ago my friends and I spent a weekend painting at Welcome Home Retreat in Weatherford, Texas.  We came out of our painting room and into the courtyard for a late night dip in the hot tub to discover these babies who thought they were sneaky enough to help themselves to the bird food. 

Here at home I am less delighted with our raccoons.  As long as they go about their raccoon business at night and keep to the woods, I'm happy to have them as neighbors.  When they are unkind (translate to break in the coop and kill) to my chickens, we generally need to have a daytime discussion.  That meeting ends with a long car ride and a new home for the bad guy.

It's one thing to have a talk while he's in the cage.  It's another when I'm face to face with him on the porch.  You'll have to read about that one here as we didn't stop for a photo op in the middle of the night.
Raccoon Story Part 2

I've always known I wanted to paint these little raccoons one day.  Sara's Inspiration Image for March's Inspiration Collaboration was a furry brown dog on a black background.   It was a reminder that these raccoons were still waiting their turn to be put on canvas.

Original Oil Painting on 8"x 10 Wrapped Canvas

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Signs of Spring Here on Serendipity!

One daffodil showed up first.
There will be more every day now.
Grow little onions! Grow!
They're covered with soil now.  
I'll be watching for green shoots soon.
What a lovely surprise! Crocuses!  
They came in a gift basket from my daughter last Mother's Day. 
After they finished blooming, I put the bulbs in the flower row.
Yay, they came back!
Another surprise... 
One of our "hens" has grown really big... and has long green tail feathers... 
and struts around like a boss... and has started crowing before dawn...
We call him Bob.
Seed trays are in the room with the most sun!
Can you guess the reason we have to keep that door closed?
Happy hens! (And, Bob.)
Spring cleaning should also be a sign of spring, but see those precious little handprints on the glass panels? I discovered them a while back. Since the little one who put them there has moved so far away, I don't have the heart to wipe them off!

Happy Spring!

Saturday, March 6, 2021

White Calla Lilies

When I walked to my sister's front door one day last summer...(It was the summer of 2020, so I'm sure I wore a mask, walked to the front door, dropped something off on the step, didn't touch anything extra, and tried not to breathe... Please, COVID, go away soon!)

Anyway... She always has beautiful flower beds, and on this particular day the calla lilies were so gorgeous that they looked like they couldn't be real. I took a dozen photos thinking that one day I'd paint them.  That day was this week.

It was my first time to paint on a black canvas, and quite frankly, I didn't expect to like it much. The first tricky thing was how to get my drawing to show up.  Here's the trick I used.  I covered the back side of my drawing paper with chalk.  Then I laid it on the canvas and traced over the lines I wanted to show up.  That pencil pressure left the chalk where I wanted it on the black canvas.  Ta-da!

I was surprised at how much I liked painting on the black.  I did have to be careful to choose the more opaque paints (titanium white, chromium oxide green, cadmium yellow, etc.) because the translucent ones didn't pull their weight on covering the black.  I ended up covering all the black canvas with deep greens to bring some life into the flat, dead black of the canvas.

I really do love the final product.  I think this one has a very dramatic feel to it. 
I already have a plan to paint on black again soon.

My weekly art challenge was "On Black."  Kind of nice how that worked out, huh... (It was, after all, my week to choose the topic.)

Original Oil Painting on 8"x 10" Stretched Canvas

Friday, March 5, 2021

Kitty in the Drawer

Honestly, Buff...
Is an open drawer an invitation to lounge in a new space?

I take that as a yes.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Inspiration Collaboration - March 2021

 Happy March!

This month's images couldn't be more different! We hope one of them will inspire you to create some art of your own. 
Click HERE to read the thoughts behind each image.
It's easy to be a part.  Click HERE for instructions.  
We look forward to seeing what you create!