Passions of an Odd Chick

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mission Statements

Still drawing in my journal. I will always love faces best I think. Don't ask me why she has brown spots on her was to be a dimple and her eyes would not be crooked in a my perfect art world, but I haven't made it to that place.

I am working on my goals and updating my mission statement for 2009. Something I've learned is that everyone has a mission statement, some just haven't written it down yet. But we all are living out a statement about what our life's priorities are, what our legacy will be whether we define it in words or not.

I attended the funeral of a close friend's mother today. I did not know her mother. But as I learned of her, I was reminded by the things that were said about her life that -it was her attitude about life, her love for people, her zest and vibrancy and humor that were remembered. Nobody mentioned what kind of clothes she wore, or car she drove, whether she was good-looking or how much money she made. I'm reminded: it really is the little things, the daily acts of love, of good attitudes and gratefulness and encouragement, and a sense of humor and zest for life that make the big motion picture of our lives so memorable to others - that leave a legacy.

This funeral was one of those divine appointments that will help me further define my goals and mission statement. I'd love it if you would take the time to comment about your own.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Living In our Dreams - Awake

This is a quick and shaky little sketch done in a rough diesel pick-up on the way to visit family over the holidays. William -Adolphe Bouguereau did it first in 1889 and called it "Whisperings of Love".

It is in my journal because it symbolizes to me what I feel as I reflect over 2008. It was a very blessed year. There were some close calls - like when my Mom went to the emergency room because she thought she was having a stroke but they found it was only a reaction to a nausea medicine she had been prescribed -a Benedril tablet cured her. Like when my son skid off the road in Colorado after hitting a icy patch and went over the edge and down to the bottom of a ravine and crawled out uninjured - and after his car was towed, he drove it off the lot! How many other disasters were averted - I'll never know. It is not because I'm good or deserve an enchanted year -thank goodness we don't get what we deserve - but this year was one of those years that most everything went right and good and lovely and it deserves to be remembered and memorialized in my journal. It was a year of great wealth. What is the secret to wealth? I've learned if your not grateful, your not rich. I have felt the abundance this year. I hope the new year brings abundance to you and that the boundary lines for you fall in very pleasant places.

Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake. Thoreau

Friday, December 19, 2008


"I went to the mountaintop and received a gift.

I went down into the valley and went to the market and carried it with me under my robe."

Japanese proverb

Some of our most treasured gifts are memories of places and people that touch us to our very core. And once we take time to bring them forward into the open spaces of quiet reflection where we examine them with the precision of a jeweler, we find something exquisite in the treasure that may have been hidden upon previous inspections.

And once again, the gift is re-opened and re-gifted to our very own soul as if we had never seen it -magnified now with a thousand joyous memories with brilliant facets going in every direction, like a handful of diamonds scattered out on black velvet.

May you find those gifts deep in your soul for this season.

You can leave Africa but it never leaves you. -

Saturday, December 13, 2008

There is a six-foot, fresh Frazier Fir keeping us company tonight. Thanks to Martha Steward it is dressed up in its fancy pants. Sweet Farmer said as I was preparing to unload the tree, "Don't get a tree this year. I know you're doing it just for me. I read your blog".
I said, "Too late- it's in the back of the suburban."
He said, "OH NO, I don't really like real trees. They get too dry and lots of lights make a real tree a fire hazard".
Can you believe it??
I wanted to say it wasn't all about him. But it was.......
I said, "How many houses burned down last year from real trees and Christmas lights?"
"Hundreds", he said.
But he helped me decorate, and tried to tell me how.
And, suddenly, unexpectedly, it felt just like Christmas.
And we both feel better now. We may have to have some spirits with our new Christmas Spirit and toast our new fir tree.

Friday, December 12, 2008

GIVING - is that all you got?

This is my feeble attempt to get back at drawing in my journal and to get some Christmas spirit. I'm a little in the Christmas funk. I'm really into visiting friends and family and going to parties but I'm just not that thrilled about decorating my house this year, shopping or gift-wrapping or exchanging presents. We'll have no company this year but my son, who wouldn't notice the Christmas tree when I get it up (I'm sorry Tucker, but you know it's true). But my sweet hubby will notice- he loves when I decorate the house and he loves the tree. He loves friends coming by....And since it's not all about me around here, (she says sarcastically) I think I will stretch myself to do it just for him.... tomorrow.
And maybe I'll get the spirit. Maybe that's what Christmas is all about. Giving beyond ourselves - giving sacrificially-whether that means physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially. For God so loved the world that He GAVE........ I just ask that He helps me keep on giving .... beyond my own selfishness and comfort zones and personal pleasure and leisure. And not to give just with my hands, but with my heart.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I took my mom to see her favorite aunt who lives in Dallas, and I took my sister-in-law to see who sister who lives in Dallas, and I took one of my best friends to see her daughter in Dallas, and I took myself to travel with all these fun people to see my great-aunt, my uncle and aunt and cousins and friends who live in Dallas. We had a wild, glorious ride and I had my sister-in-law snap these photos (with my new camera, YEAH)because I was driving in rush-hour traffic (I'm a small-town girl) but I was fascinated with how the light was creating shadow and reflection.

We had a wonderful time visiting and laughing and telling stories.

My aunt and uncle graciously hosted us as they have many times and you feel you have been on holy ground, in a sacred place after being around them because they are so good and kind and patient.

This is my Aunt Freda (in red) and my mom. Aunt Freda is like the fairy god-mother. For every year of my life and for every single relative alive and born in her family, including in-laws - we all receive a handmade birthday card. And when you are 18 or under, you received money in it. She has never forgotten a single person or a single birthday and she is famous for her thoughtfulness and remembrance of all of us for all of these years. It was a pleasure to see her and to see how well she is as she is learning to adjust in a beautiful assisted living home.

All of us want to grow up and be more like Aunt Freda and Aunt Petey and Uncle James. In our family, they deserve to be knighted or crowned or given sainthood.

Do you have an unusually thoughtful relative of whom you would share a comment with me?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's like one big wave hits and then another. No time for routine things. I'm leaving for Dallas today to see family. I can't wait - these are some of my favorite relatives that I haven't seen in a long time.

My camera broke. UGH! I use my camera everyday, especially blogging! And I have missed it tremendously and it doesn't seem the right time of year to replace it and it will take forever to send off for repair. Feel my pain.

I haven't been still long enough to paint or draw and I miss that too- it centers me somehow. So nothing new creatively and it seems my artist friends have been more creative than ever.

But for something old - I'm thinking about Africa these days because I was in Africa at this time last year. East Africa is one of those places that it takes a long time to process and ponder - and it leaves you with memories that wash over you like a high tide. Although it's half a world away - it's still a place I visit often in my mind. Do you have a place that you re-visit?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Three Good Reasons

I will give you three good reasons why I have not been a good blogging buddy lately:




I went and got him (my youngest grandson) last Monday. His mother joined us Thursday night. He has not stopped singing, talking or giggling at me/with me as "Papa Greg" and I play tag team.. He is thankful when you hand him a cup of water, wipe his butt, or butter his biscuits for breakfast. He wakes us up saying: ""wake bup- its tumurtime- the tun is tignin". He still thinks the world is a friendly, happy place with new possibilities everyday and that everyone is good and wonderful and his new best friend. He says he wants to be a lawn mower man when he grows up. But I think he should be a politician. He can talk you into anything - he even had Papa Greg jumping on the bed with him. That's when I knew he could rule the world. He sure rocks ours!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Great Adventure!

I'd like to introduce you to someone so interesting. This is Bob Jones from the UK. (I apologize for the bad photography.) He has ridden two horses from Canada, through the Dakota states, Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico and will end in El Paso, Texas. He came through Roswell, and then Dexter and landed in Hagerman (he had ridden 17 miles that day) to stay the night in our part of New Mexico about 2 days ago. Many of our friends gave him shelter, hay, and took him out to eat for great New Mexican hospitality.
His wife is keeping a wonderful blog of his adventures and stop-overs.

I visited with him about the beautiful weather he must have experienced in the last week through New Mexico and he said in his beautiful British accent, "that it was nice, but a bit hot for him". (our weather has been in the 70s and very dry) He did say that he loved the cool mornings.

He was a little sunburned (he's very fair) and little weather-worn but congenial and appreciative for all that people have done for him as he's made his way. His horses are getting tired but still healthy, and he hopes to sell them at the end of the trail in El Paso.

For those who love great adventures- you'll love visiting his blog.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fresh and Green and Crisp

Ever since we returned from Colorado, from a vacation of healthy food, hikes and horseback rides, I have felt a life-change coming on. For several months, I had been praying about my diet and improving my health and I have been reading things that would encourage me. I will be 50 next year, and at that mile-stone, I want to be in the best physical condition achievable and I have set some goals toward that plan. This beautiful salad (in my new pottery bowl) represents a more healthy way of eating for me and new way of looking at food and fuel for my body. It has taken a lot of energy to learn more about healthy eating (not diets) and to buy healthy food and to prepare healthy food. And I must say, I am enjoying this journey immensely. It is another new passion on my list. It is creating something new in me. Like the freshness of the salad, I am feeling green and crisp and downright sexy again. I have given up junk to gain the treasure of energy, health and good digestion. Food has never tasted so good and it takes much less than it use to to satisfy me. Saying goodbye to some things in our lives is sometimes the best gift we can give ourselves.
I would love to hear if you have a passion about healthy eating - or not........ or the things you must say goodbye to to enjoy a more healthy life - mentally, spiritually, and physically.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

An Art Show

Things got busy around here and I've had little time for computer fun. I just got back from working a booth at the Roswell Potter's Guild. Artistsans from all around this area have a chance to sell their jewelry, art, hand-crafts, paintings, pottery, etc... once a year and it is well attended. I, and about 10 others from my art guild had a booth, and I'm displaying a couple of paintings of my own. Many people commented on the economy and that purchasing art would be too much of a luxury for them right now. Although I believe art is a necessity in our lives- I understand about purchasing high-dollar paintings. I encouraged people to try to make their own, and that especially in depressed, economic times, to surround themselves with their handmade art to add beauty to all the bleakness and harsh realities. I feel sorry for the artist (especially the older people) that are depending on their art selling so that they can keep painting. I think I would find a way to paint even if it was scratching a mural in a cave dwelling or drawing with chalk on my sidewalk. Above, is a little sketch I added to my journal. It was the view I had of another artist's booth who sold pottery and made beautiful crosses. It will serve as a great reminder of the day and artists I met, and the new and old friends I saw today, and the beautiful art that refreshes my soul.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Well, I promised myself and others I wouldn't post bad horse drawings. I've always been so judgmental about bad horse drawings myself that I couldn't bear to be such a hypocrite. But here I am....... but if I didn't post my early attempts, you might never understand the struggle someone goes through to get a horse right. It's not easy.. and I am ashamed of myself for ever being so critical of those who tried. Isn't that the way it is? Until you actually get in the ring and fight the fight the other guy always looks like he's losing... you never really know how tough it was to beat that great contender. Great things don't come easy for most of us. Most of us make it by sheer determination and heart rather than talent. And some day someone looks at what we do, and says, "you make that look easy"..... and they can't imagine that you have a thousand bad trys behind you. Well, I have one less behind me. And I'm one closer to that really exquisite horse painting I see in my mind's eye. I would love to hear some comments about what others are one step closer to after many, many trys.. or even those that made it to the finish line.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I have been so inspired by others drawings, sketches, and paintings of the fall that I couldn't let this Fall of mine pass without a journal page memorializing it. And I added some poetry by one of my favorite poets: Edgar A. Guest.
I want to come to autumn with the silver in my hair,
And maybe have the children stop to look and me and stare;
I'd like to reach October free from blemish or from taint,
As splendid as a maple tree which artist love to paint.
I'd like to come to autumn, with my life work fully done
And look a little like a tree that's gleaming in the sun;
I'd like to think that I at last could come through care and tears
And be as fair to look upon as every elm appears.
But when I reach October, full contented I shall be
If those with whom I've walked through life shall still have faith in me;
Nor shall I dread the winter's frost, when brain and body tire,
If I have made my life a thing which others can admire.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Looking For Answers

I've worked on this watercolor for a couple of days. The cowboy, you may recognize, is a familiar subject matter that I keep going back to -this time making him a large painting. But when I got finished, he was just a little boring standing there on such a large screen. And then.... I saw the image of the cross in front of him and began to paint that in and it felt right finally to finish the painting. And then there's always - What to name it?- for me, a significant part of closure and I realized the painting contained the same question. Here a man confronts the cross, and says, "Who am I? Where am I going? What's my life all about? .......... so I named it "Looking for Answers".

Friday, November 7, 2008

The big picture

I've never been one to enjoy drawing or painting landscapes but this was a drawing I had to finish that I started when we visited Lost Valley Ranch when I went to see my son. I'm still marinating in the memories of that place and the wonderful time we had there.

Things are slowing down at the farm and Greg and I are both beginning to discuss our winter projects. He'll work in his shop and I'll create in my kitchen. It's always a peaceful, more relaxed, very creative time for the both of us and I'm looking forward to it and the holidays and time with family.

I have been so inspired and grateful for all the positive things I've seen with the results of the election. Admittedly, I didn't vote for Obama. I was concerned that he was all talk and just a man of promises with nothing in his background to prove his integrity. But seeing the hope and gratefulness of African Amercian people and seeing the hope of the whole world really of what America can do - well, it's given me renewed peace that God can use this man to improve the lives of many Americans. He now has my complete respect and loyalty and prayers as the man God put in power. My trust is still in a higher government that sets all rulers in place for whatever purposes He deems necessary. I stand in complete faith that He knows exactly what He is doing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Favorite Study

I hope you're not getting tired of cowboys. This was a sketch I did last night from a photograph I made of my sweet farmer. I've always liked his backside profile. There's something about the way he plants his feet when he looks out on the horizon. And his strong girth and towering height are like a brick fence, a sheltering wall. I always wonder what he's thinking when I watch him from behind standing so still. His whole stance speaks to me of the graceful waltzer and the gentle giant that he is. And there is always that moment.... when he turns around and responds to my approach, and the mystery of his mood and the countenance on his face. No wonder he's my favorite study.

For those who consider themselves non-artist, I wish everyone could study a loved one like they were going to draw or paint them. I think you really see things about that person you might have missed in casual glances. It's amazing what the right brain will reveal. Everyone who has their whole brain intact can draw. It's not a gift - it's a learned ability - that adds incredible dimension to your life. Just try sitting down and drawing someone or something you love. Take your time. If you let go of what you need to see on paper to drawing what you intently see - with no judgment, I promise you that you will be incredibly astounded.... the act of truly seeing a thing from your right brain is the gift (not the talent) after all. But... you'll never know until you try.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tweaking through a sketch

This was a hasty sketch of Robert Duvall from Lonesome Dove, or rather, Captain Augustus MaCrae. His friends called him Gus. I think he would make a good guardian angel painting for Gus, my grandson, who was actually named after this character. He's going to take a lot more practice but the practice is fun and something that's very relaxing for me. You can lay a drawing down and come back to it and see immediately new things that you should add or change. It's funny how your mind needs space from a problem to work it out. And actually, was it ever really a problem? It wasn't. It was just a growing pain in the process of maturing the whole picture.
I was thinking maybe we all need to create a little space in our lives and our perceived problems. And then when we walk back into it - it's very possible that we will know better what to do - whether to erase, place a bold stroke, or leave it alone. And maybe, if we quit perceiving everything as problems and began to see them as stepping stones across the big picture of life... , the added depth in our own life drawing -we'll quit stressing and let the real Artist of our life just keep tweaking on us until He says we're finished.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trip to the Mountain Top

To love and be loved is to feel the
sun from both sides. -David Viscott

I've been to Colorado to see my son. He works on a resort ranch called Lost Valley Ranch. It was a wonderful visit with him, and a refreshing and restorative time for my soul and great couple time with Greg.

Tucker is happier and more peaceful than I've ever seen him and it did my heart good to see him in his home turf - healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually.

We ate healthy food cooked by a 4 star chef, and rode horseback and hiked everyday. The place has no televisions and no one has cell service. It is rated a 4 diamond resort and the staff take excellent care of you. I highly recommend it.

And the scenery of Colorado never fails to take your breath away. We took a slow drive home on the scenic routes. This was Phantom Canyon, a place between Cripple Creek and Florence, Colorado.

Sometime, I feel like my heart will burst because God's blessings overwhelm me on a daily basis. But on my walk early this morning back on my own home stretch (working the saddle sore out), I let the tears flow as I closed my eyes for seconds and I expressed my gratitude and through my teary vision, I saw the most brilliant sunrise up ahead. I decided then that I won't dim the brilliance of this time in my life any longer, either guilty that others are struggling, or fearful that one giant disaster is waiting around the corner. Nope, I told the Lord this morning that I will open the blinds and let His blessings fall full down upon me and bask in the glow of this blessed time in my life. I know I can't always remain on the mountain tops like I saw in Colorado this last week, but I can embrace the full journey, especially the one today. I have nothing to fear in my tomorrows, if He chooses to give me life again. It is all good because He is good.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day of the Dead

I've gotten mixed reaction about Day of the Dead stuff. This is a large acrylic that I painted for my daughter. She will hang this in her pink and black kitchen!!

"The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico can be traced back to the indigenous peoples such as the Olmec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Mexican, Aztec, Maya, P'urhépecha, and Totonac. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors have been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2500–3000 years. In the pre-Hispanic era, it was common to keep skulls as trophies and display them during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.
The festival that became the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl, known as the "Lady of the Dead," corresponding to the modern Catrina." ( thanks Wiklipedia)(see the watercolor sketch i did yesterday, painted from a picture of Catrinas on Wiklipedia)

Many people who actually celebrate this holiday believe that the souls of the dead will have better opportunity to visit the living. So they go to the cemeteries and make altars, take flowers, toys to dead children and talk to and about the dead. It can take a humorous tone as people relate funny stories about their dead relatives.

I know, I know, it sounds very pagan- but think about it. It's just about doing something that all who have lost a loved one wish for - One more day. It's just a people that act out their secret longing to see and talk and remember those that have passed into the other realm. It's my belief that the dead are not coming back until they are called by Someone who owns the dead. And then those of us who lay in cemeteries will have the wildest awakening you can imagine. And the cemeteries will look like Grand Central Station.

But until then, live until you die. And then, my prayer is that you live again.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

This One's For You

A couple of odd chicks for sure. Admittedly, I've been doing some strange art lately, even for an Odd Chick. I think it's the Halloween season. Or the political debates. It could be my daughter. Yeah, let's blame her. She loves Day of the Dead stuff, and I think about her a lot when I paint. And when I do, I paint the wildest things. Now, you talkin about an odd chick - this crazy girl - well, she's been strangely wonderful since the day she got here. She's always loved over-the-top stuff like fashion and shoes and wild things. She even married a wild thing (i really love my son-in-law but he ain't normal) and lives happily ever after with two wacky, wonderful boys. The little one may show us all what it means to be ODD. Anyway, she just turned 29. (Happy Birthday) I wanted to do a sappy piece about how much she has inspired me and brought me joy and delight and a sense of play in my life. I wanted to say that she is the most beautiful thing I ever look at, the most intriguing woman of my time, and the biggest energy force that ever stepped on this planet. She's compassionate and sensitive, yet stubborn and strong-willed and determined. She's been wounded but she is a wounded healer for the people she comes in contact with. I can't believe she came from me, really, - I may never make the beautiful piece of art I dream about but I already count her as my masterpiece...... that God painted for me. But, I won't get sappy...........not today.

A couple of odd chicks for sure.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Guardian Angel

My first oil painting! I have no clue what I'm doing (it looks like a watercolor sort of and it's a little rough around the edges still) but I had so much fun. I loved that I could cover up and redo and that gave me more freedom to make mistakes. This guy is what I imagine my guardian angel looks like. I think he's standing guard with a shotgun always watching my back. I've always seen sweet, white, fluffy angel pictures of guardians and I've always believed that the one looking after me was tough as hell and was ready for a fight so I had to paint my own. I intend to paint a series of some other good bad guys that I imagine are watching out after my other family members. Steve, Linda, Vicki -( I could name so many others) I have you to thank, really and your comments from my last post. It dawned on me that I didn't like my images because they always appeared too tough, hard, rough. And I wanted sweet, good, beautiful things to come out of me. But while I was driving the winnower today, I mulled over your advice and thought, "just let it work for you and quit fighting it". I have to give myself permission to let me paint like me, like Steve said. (it could be okay that I'm not exactly sweet, always good or scrumptiously beautiful and the stuff that comes out of me won't be either.., just a secret wish of mine I suppose.....)And I think I can keep practicing with this idea and get better results. So thanks friends. See, someone is looking out for me after all, he just isn't anymore sweeter than I am. Go figure.

ps. can anyone tell me what I do now, or once i'm really finished. do you seal oil paintings? it's taking forever to dry..... Oh, and please, if you have any suggestions for improvement- you know me - i'm hungry for them good or bad. i only have 8 primary colors and some liquin and some natural turpentine. what else could be helpful?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Rockstars are Artist

This is a little watercolor sketch in my art journal of a Nancy Cawdrey original. Once you see her beautiful art done with dyes on silk, you will gag at my feeble attempt but I love what she does with color and composition of horses, dragonflies and other symbols and images that also resonant with me. Was it Zig Ziglar that said, "if you want to be a millionaire, you have to hang around with millionaires"? Well, if I want to be good artist, I have to hang around with other good artist. They're not that in to me at the moment so I have to take a wee image from a magazine, stalk them on the computer and then just let their paintings flash in front of me while I marinade in their awesomeness. I can't afford most of their originals but I can remember a particular artist work by reproducing an elementary likeness that is for my own enjoyment, my own study, and never for any resale value. I truly honor the artist and would sit at their feet if they would let me, but for now I just hang their "posters" up in my mind and in my sketch book like you might a rock star or a celebrity when you were a kid. These are my rock stars at this juncture in my life. And I must say that they have added some soul and energy to the quality of my life. I'm curious- who are your rockstars at this time in your life?

Monday, October 20, 2008

DEAR hunting

I just got back from the Lincoln National Forest. I was invited on my husband's deer hunt. You heard me right. Invited! He said we need to do more fun things together than just work. I was thinking like movies, dinners, wine under the stars..... well, guess what?? I got all that on this darn deer hunt. For movies, we sat and watched panoramic scenery and wild life and told our own stories for the dialogue. We had delicious meals over a camp stove, most cooked and handed to me on a tin plate in front of a open fire circled by river rock. And the wine tasted so good under the best star lit sky- where we tried to find the constellations we had learned as kids, with a backdrop of elk bugling in the forest.

We panned for gold in the streams, and awed at the gold in the trees. We hiked and sat, and cuddled and laughed and talked without cell phones, tvs, ipods, computers and real-life drama. It was rather idyllic, thoreau-ish....... And we didn't even kill a deer . But the sweetest thing of all, after 3 days of this, he drew me in close and said, "I've had you to myself all this time, but I still haven't got enough of you." .... and I'm thinkin,... hmmm, my darling farmer..... we found our gold after all, and the hunt, well that was about finding us again .... and again.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I hope you recognize my little sketch of Einstein. Odd chicks like me - well, he's one of my favorite crushes, I must say. Einstein said once when introduced to an adoring crowd, "It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible non-conformist so warmly received." That's the way I feel about all my blog friends. Your encouragement and comments mean so much to me. I also love Einstein because he gave clout to the misinterpreted. Like my son, Einstein didn't care about his hair or wearing socks -he had more important things to think about. And even with his brilliant understanding of the universe he always believed that God was the "illimitable superior Spirit" and he was just looking for the mysteries that God already knew and had left for us to find. He also had an insatiable curiosity. Einstein said, "Never lose a holy curiosity". Until the very end of his life, he never quit questioning or lost his passion for learning. I think I could have hung out with the dude. I might not have understood everything he said, but I would have loved following him around while he muttered and muddled in the universe.
Here's a cute ditty - I call it Einstein humor, by Ted Shoemaker
From way down in my cranium
This prediction I will make
That if you eat uranium
You'll get an atomic ache. :) teehee

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Spectators In the Game of Life

I really enjoyed doing this little watercolor sketch inspired by James Darum's art. I guess I will always love the western folk art. I know I'm putting off creating my own art. It's so much easier to just follow after someone else. I really believe that no one else can create the art that I am suppose to create. I have to quit sitting in the grandstands as a spectator and play the game.
This is another favorite piece of poetry that reminds me to get off my duff. Title and author unknown.
I would rather stumble a thousand times
Attempting to reach a goal,
Than to sit in a crowd
In my weather-proof shroud
A shriveled and self-satisfied soul.
I would rather be doing and daring
All my error-filled days,
Than watching and waiting and dying
Smug in my perfect ways.
I would rather wonder and blunder,
Stumbling blindly ahead,
Than for safety's sake
Lest I make a mistake
Be sure, be safe, be dead.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


This happened the other night in my new art journal. My husband and I were sitting in the same double-wide Lazy-Boy chair as we often do watching a boring movie and I'm staring at a blank page with my little watercolor set handy. So, I begin to play with abstract imagery. But my darling farmer needs it to be something. We discuss why that is necessary "that it be something" for the sake of interesting conversation. He sees a horse.. maybe a horse with wings. It wasn't long before I wanted him to see the horse so I begin to manipulate the drawing with him saying, "no, here", "no there".. "it should have...." and there it went. And it was an interesting collaboration to say the least. But, I was having so much fun his fingers began to itch. So I handed him a blank page because I swear there is a frustrated artist inside the man just waiting to be let out. But, it vanished as he began to describe what he could do... if he did do....... we all know the feeling. One time, long ago, I know there was a child artist in him that didn't care about making mistakes or being perfect, but just drawing and painting for the sheer love of it. But for the life of me, I haven't been able to coax him out to play. Except to hand me colors for my own coloring book.

But it does beg the question: where in own lives do we lock our own grown selves up in comfort zones afraid to venture out to play just in case we ran into that bully named Fear of Failure?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Photograph made by Carolyn Graham
Today is our 10th anniversary.
I know you can say anything you want to on a blog but the honest truth is that I got a prince of man and I have lived a happily-ever-after-life for the last 10 years.
You almost have to know my history before I met Greg. I married way too young to a man I really didn't know and struggled in a sad, lost marriage for 19 years because I believe in the covenant of marriage. But this man had 4 affairs in that time period, and at some point, I realized that I wasn't doing God, myself, him, or my children any favor by martyring my life in a dead-end marriage. I had learned the hard way that marriage wasn't for sissies and I was like a battered, skittish mare by the time I met Greg. But Greg's kind of love was deep and mature loyal and gentle and it eventually won my heart and I have never regretted it for a day - to this day. Maybe I would have taken this kind of love for granted had it come first. Or somehow believed that I did it. But, I know that God gave me Greg as a precious gift and I know that He gives and takes away and I take nothing for granted, but I am blessed beyond measure in a love that most people only dream about. Thank you Greg for loving me, supporting me, encouraging me and for making my little girl's dreams of happily ever after come true. And thank you - God.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Picturing my Muse

MUSE (myooz) n: 1. Greek Mythology. Any of the nine daughters of Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science. 2. a source of inspiration, especially: a guiding spirit

I'm still in the last pages of my tree journal and this was a spiritual sketch I did while I was in Cloudcroft. As you can see, I haven't mastered the overlapping, enveloping aspect of the design but I enjoyed taking snippets of images and making a personal piece about the things that have meaning for me, the things that guide me. The key has significance because I believe there is a mystery to many things and that there is always a key - like a key on a map or a key to open up a previously locked area. Of course, the Muse - whose beginnings started in a spiritual world long ago, and I believe there is a guiding spirit in my own life as well. Rumi's (possible) portrait is a reminder of poetry, skillful words and deep thoughts. The cross, well, it's over-used, but it really is a symbol about sacrifice for higher good, living beyond ourselves. The sunflower represents living only by dying to self as it must bow its head and drop its seed to reproduce. Of course, the monk -the solitary, spiritual, prayerful, humble life. And the trees, one of my favorite images - it means life, it means the cross, it means family (the branches), it means knowledge of good and evil... well, that may be weird to you, but a tree represents many, many deep lessons for me and I love that you don't have to go far to find one. Even at 50, I'm known for the fact that I sit up high in trees and watch the world. It gives me a different perspective on things. These things influence my life and my art. What images are spiritual images to you? What does your muse look like?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Who done it??

This is one of the last pages of my tree journal. It is a study of a painting of a very famous artist, one of my very favorites. Can you guess who it is? Can you name the painting? Who will be first to "Name That Artist". The background of the my sketch is a little different, but everything else I tried to remain true to the original. I learn so much from painting after a really good painter. You see their shadows and techniques and nuances. And I love, love art appreciation and art history. For me, imitation is just another tool of learning.
On imitation, I would like to leave you with this quote from
Kahil -
I have learnt silence from the talkative,
Toleration from the intolerant,
and kindness from the unkind;
Yet strange,

I am ungrateful to these teachers.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Second Moleskin Finished

I rewarded myself with this beautiful hand-carved moleskin from Modofly when I finished my first art journal. Now 3 months later, I am finished with my second. I get really attached to these little journals as they hold my handiwork and writings that have come from my heart and, like an old familiar friend, it's hard to let go. But, just like a friend, it can always be revisited. And progress must be made.

This is one of the last pages. It is collage - mixed media and so much fun.

What would we do without our imaginations? Since I've learned to paint and draw, I very rarely go to bed at night and dwell on problems. Now, it gives me so much more pleasure to close my eyes at end of the day and imagine my next painting- what colors, what textures, what shapes will I use? I know it is bound to be more beneficial to my health to create and imagine with the last thoughts of my busy mind than to fret and worry over things of which I have no control.
And these little journals are the perfect depository for all things conjured up in that very blissful, dream-like state, right before sleep.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Blog Award

I received this blog award from Anetka at "Progress Not Perfection". Thank you Anetka, I am honored that I would be on your list because you have many, many artist that visit your blog for inspiration.

This is an award for arty blogs in WORDS, PICTURES, DRAWINGS and THOUGHTS...Joyfully presented to:

A Visit to the Pumpkin Patch

Well, I've been having a good time as you can see. My Mom and Dad came to visit for a week and then we all went to Cloudcroft for 3 days. When we got back, my daughter and my grandsons came for the weekend. We all went to the pumpkin patch before they left and the boys chose their own pumpkins, plus one for every friend they could think of. We've had cloudy, cool fall weather but no freeze. If anyone has tips or web-sites for me to visit for painting or decorating pumpkins, please send my way. I have a car load that I would like to dress up, although they are beautiful in their natural state. I just need a little porch art. I'm painting today in between laundry and house maintenance. There's such a let-down after having all that excitement in my house that I'm doing something fun to ease back into my normal schedule.