Passions of an Odd Chick

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Funny story... or at least it tickled me. You know how I wanted to sketch a longhorn. Don't ask me why, I just got it stuck in my head. Well, then low and behold, on the very day I'm wishing, I find a longhorn in the Roswell paper, and I sketch his little snooty self. (They always have such a look of superiority, don't they?). Anyway, next day, I have to run to town to Roswell, now mind you, it's 100 degrees, but I can't get that longhorn off my mind so I run by the Roswell zoo (you can see it all in 30 minutes). Now Roswell doesn't have much of a zoo but HEY, we have a ZOO and that makes me happy. I'm happy Mr. Longhorn has just been donated, and I've gotta see him-I'm on a mission. They don't call me odd chick with a passion for nothing.

So the first thing I see is this albino peacock. kinda yucky really.

Well, I ask around and this particular longhorn that I want to sketch is on the other side of this block of a zoo so I hike my way over there. The only way to see Mr. Longhorn is to get on the kiddie train because he lives on the other side of the tracks... so, why not?? It's been a long time since I've ridden a train.


So there he is but I can't sketch him in this darn train so I try to get his picture.

Not good.

But, oh well, it was fun and I DID get to see him, I just didn't get to visually record him as is my preference - because as anyone who sketches knows - it is only when you draw something that you really, really see it.
So I head home, grinning at myself for being such an obsessive little nerd.
And there, 3 miles out of Roswell, toward home, I see this to my left.
OH YEAH, I remember, I have a friend who owns a passel of longhorns, I mean, a herd... and


One ornery bull decides he wants a piece of me and of course, I invited him over and say out loud "bring it on BIG BOY"... (there was a good fence between us-I'm passionate, not crazy) because after all, I wanted his picture, I wanted his smell, I wanted to see every angle of this glorious, raunchy, sophisticated piece of history. He paws the ground and heads at me.

AND then there he WAS... some things you just have to admire, like a 4 star general... or an old prize-fighter. THis guy came to me with the biggest attitude.... and I couldn't do anything but salute him

And it was at that moment I knew. I had a GIFT GIVER. Like a dear old grandfather who takes his favorite little girl to the zoo, the Good Lord had brought me there for this very moment. Just because I wished it.. just because I'm silly... and goofy and love crazy things like longhorns today, and He gets that.. He gets me..which is so wonderful in itself. And I knew He was getting a big ole kick out of me, like I would my own grandchild, while I just was oggling His creature, and taking this longhorn's picture and talking at him like he was my new buddy. And there for a few more minutes, just God and I and Mr. Attitude just sat and thought about each other and how we fit... and how someday, we'll all end up in a green pasture together again enjoying each other forever. Okay...., I'm not sure Mr. Attitude was thinking this... but he did enjoy posing, I know he did because he stuck around for another humpteen hundred pictures.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Class lessons at Cloudcroft

I guess this is my favorite painting from my class at Cloudcroft. It's not finished as the mountains in the background need work. This lesson was about foregrounds, however. We enjoyed layering the grasses, using masking fluid, throwing splatters, making our own stamps, making scratches with sticks dipped in paint. These ideas will be old stuff to veteran painters but for me and most of the class they are now wonderful tools to add to our repertoire.

She (Cathy Lubke) also taught us about skies.

Every one's was different as we all had different reference photos for adobes.
This is my red sunset.

This is my storm sky. I learned about painting shapes instead of details. She caught me very carefully trying to paint the branches of the trees, and yelped, and showed me how to put in shapes first and then detail. That's how green I am.

This was to be abstract of an aspen tree grove. I failed this lesson miserably. But will keep this around and see what I can do with it later as I learn more.

We learned to negative paint in flowers in a black background.

As you can see we got a lot of finished work done in the class. I like my paintings but honestly, I've seen a hundred of these types of watercolors. I long to do something different... something more edgy, fresh, not like your grandmother's watercolors. Yet, I have to learn the basics and have hundreds of paintings to go before I can find my "style". I get impatient with the process, because my mind's eye sees a finished product that I don't have the skill to achieve. But i must close the gap as Ira Glass says between my taste for art and my skill level. I can only do that with a lot of practice and dedication.
It's not easy to learn new things at my age. ........ I hope I live long enough to see the painting in my mind's eye.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Back to Reality

I already miss the
And Thea, my new art buddy.

I'm back from Cloudcroft, New Mexico and my art workshop. It was incredibly cool (60s & 70s), lots of rain, and the workshop was a very practical, extremely helpful week of painting with Cathy Lubke as our instructor.

I would love to share with you some of the beautiful images.
We cleaned the deck this week and coated it with sealer. This is my view when I open the front door of the cabin.

And hubby spends all his time trying to make it better.

This is the countryside and me on a walk.

I can't wait to check up on what I've missed on your blogs. I've missed my computer... sort of... but I spent quality time with new friends, my sweet husband and with nature, and I painted and sketched. Is it art that is changing my view of the world or is my world/life just that spacious and precious, and it makes me want to capture it?

This longhorn is a new beautiful animal recently donated to the Roswell zoo (sad he's in a zoo, I know). I hope to visit him in person as I sketched his picture from the newspaper. I was just wishing for a longhorn to sketch when there he appeared, so conveniently.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Baby Showers and Art Workshops

Well, I just said good-bye to the last guest. I held a baby shower in my home with 100 people on the guest lists. It was a big job to get ready for, and a big job to carry off but it was so worth it. The young couple was so appreciative and now they can start off with the things they need for their new little boy (due any day). Everyone should have the same beginning - with all the abundance and goodness and family love that they can handle. I painted this giraffe to go in the new nursery as it is safari themed. It was a fun little folk art acrylic and it sends a good message to all who enter there.

I will leave for Cloudcroft for an art workshop with Cathy McNally Lubke. I am very, very excited about this opportunity and will look forward to the break up in the cool mountains. I won't post for a week or so but don't give up on me. I hope to come back with some wonderful new tips and inspiration, along with some nice watercolors.
Thanks to all those who have encouraged me about my juried art piece. It will be judged on August 4th. I don't expect to win anything as the competition is way, way ahead of me in skill and experience. But I'm just happy to have gotten in -that was the goal - just to get one piece in a juried art show. Now, I'll aim for the next step. ...... but first I have to take another workshop... oh yeah, that was the next step.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

That's my watercolour in the Metropolitan Museum!! The frame was not what I suggested but - oh well......

okay... No matter that it's a fake set-up.

Get this!!

I made this funny fake at Dumpr. Go there, it's free, have fun.

Anyway, I thought I'll put this on my vision board and maybe the Law of Attraction will then take my art into the museum.

MY DREAM :I really want to do Fine Art someday and have a museum purchase it. Big DREAM i know, but you gotta dream... (and I have goals, and I'm working steadily creating a volume of work and I just have to live another 50 years and take 1000 art classes!!)

Well, .... drum roll.... no, a museum did not purchase this watercolor. BUT.... for the first time I entered a juried art show and for the first time I was ACCEPTED. Yeah!! ARE YOU YEAHING WITH ME??? Cuz it's a big deal! FIRST TIME STUFF. It's a goal met in this long journey of a dream. 315 standard pieces were presented and only 150 (standard) made it in. And guess where they will hang for the show??? A MUSEUM!! how cool is that??? The name of the painting is "World Traveler" - in case you run across it in the MET. Or you can see it hanging humbly but deep-down-excited at the very fine Roswell Museum And Art Center from August 7-17th.

WOW - another award

My sweet new blog friend Ruth Hull Chatlien who has been so much encouragement to me in the past few weeks, has bestowed on me the Arte y Pico award of which I am very honored and grateful. Thank you sweet Ruth. Please visit her site and enjoy the rich silky deepness of her words and her writings.

Here are the rules of the award:
1) Pick five (5) blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award which is here: "Arte y Pico".My choices for this round of the Arte y Pico award are:

Art in Red Wagons - it seems she makes anything and everything and she makes it with such class and yet keeps warmness and playfulness in her art.

Wee World - she's been quiet as of late but her photography will blow you away. The kind of professional stuff that makes you say: "wow, I wish I could do that"!!
Anetka - she may hate me for this (because she's so busy) but she just gave me an award, and she's received several awards, not this one I don't think, but she is the greatest sketch artist and bright girl and it will just lift your spirits to visit her blog.
I know I just have three but I'm kind of new to blogging and I just nominated 7 of my new blog friends for another award, and these new 3 are really worth viewing and sharing with everyone else. I'm not going to fake it and go out and find great blogs (even though I know there are many) just to fulfill the award or it wouldn't be real to anyone. I do think these awards are a great way for people like us to find the neat blogs out there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Can you believe it just dawned on me that I can use both sides of the page in my new art journal?? My older journal did not have this smooth of a transition in the middle.

The joy of doing a little art everyday - have I mentioned that?
This tabletop watercolor was done yesterday evening after I had quit for the day. It includes my favorite Frankoma tea pitcher and art book.

I cut hay in a beautiful green hayfield most of the day. The purple blooms smell like lilacs and when crushed and cut, the smell of the air is heavy and perfumed.

This is my sweet husband fixing the air-conditioner as he would never allow his wife to run a piece of equipment without a good air-conditioner, even though I never complained.

And this is a hole that opened up in the sky and intrigued me as drove round and round. It was like a big screen and I kept wondering what else was going to appear. I kept my camera handy as it evolved. But soon it turned into a thunderstorm and I was pushing the limits of my machine to get the field cut before it rained me out.
I experience goodness and artful things all day. Is it any wonder, that in the evening that expression must come out ? And then I can rest my mind along with my body.

OTHERWISE by Jane Kenyan

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been otherwise.
I ate cereal, sweet milk,
a ripe flawless peach.
It might have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill to the birch wood,
All morning I did the work I love.
At noon, I lay down with my mate.
It might have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together at a table
with silver candlesticks.
It might have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings on the walls,
and planned another day
just like this day,
But one day, I know
it will be otherwise.

Monday, July 14, 2008

First Blog Award

Anetka , a most brilliant sketch artist in my opinion has passed on to me a blog award. Thank you very much Anetka!!
  1. The rules of acception are as follows:
    Put the logo on your blog.
  2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
  3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
  4. Add links to those blogs on yours.
  5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs. My nominees are under no obligation to continue this chain.This is a fun way to share links to blogs.

So, here are 7 of the many great artists whose work I admire each day through their blogs:

Vulture Peak Muse

Ranch Girl

Paris Breakfasts

Mid-Life By Farmlight

Be Present, Be Here



Sunday, July 13, 2008

Peggy Sue to the Awesome 10th Power

And you thought my name was "odd chick". Well, to two of my favorite little boys I am "Peggy Sue". No one knows why my oldest grandson decided to call me that (Sue is not my middle name) and stick it to me for long enough for the second one to come along but that's who I am. But it is for them that I sketched this old tractor tricycle. It was my husband's toy as a child. It was actually a red Farmall riding toy but someone painted it green. Hubby is not sure of the story but he thinks it is because he preferred John Deere green to Farmall red. Anyway, even without its steering wheel it has been a favorite toy to ride on and it sits on my front porch. And I sketched it because my grandsons look at my art journal frequently and the last time Auggie saw I had sketched a truck, he called me "Peggy Sue to the Awesome 10th Power". I don't think I have ever had such a heartfelt vote of confidence!
So ever now and then I add another favorite object of the boys just to win their approval and encourage their own sketching practice. This tractor also made for a very nice prop for this family picture. I am the very blessed woman in purple surrounded by my favorite people in all the earth.

Carolyn Graham gets all the credit for this very nice photo of my family.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Monk Magic

Sometimes picking a sketch for my daily art journal can be a most intriguing experience. It only happens every now and then when I am open to the concept but sometimes I let an image pick me. Like - if I see a repeated image, read of it, hear of it in the same day - then I "feel" I'm suppose to try to draw that image. Something, Someone inspires me....(bear with me to the end of this)

Well, that's how it happened with this monk. I like monks. I have used them before as imagery. But this time, I tried to draw "why" I like monks. They seem prayerful, intense, intriguing, historical, silent, passive, courageous, martyred, - those kind of words are the force behind this sketch.

Much later in the day, (not by coincidence) I'm reading and come across this quote: "Being an artist is like being a monk; you have to be willing to forsake comfort and desire for the greater good of your work"- Jason Robert Bell
This is a watercolor painting I did months ago from my Mary Ann Beckwith's class.
It's not finished. I could sure use some suggestions on how to finish it.
Anyone can use these images. I got them from this site . They encourage you to use these images of Burmese monks to promote freedom for Burma and its people. Though monks normally don't get caught up in politics, the monks in Burma silently and passively marched together with the people to protests their murderous government and many were killed, beaten and tortured because of their involvement.

By the way, do you know why they wear saffron (reddish,orange) robes? Well, there are lots of stories but the main one that always comes up is originally they would go to dumps and scrap piles and gather old rags for their clothing and then dye it in the cheapest dye available which was a deep orange powder (saffron) from the crocus flower.
Anyway, do you believe that you can be "inspired" by Someone? We use the word so casually. But one of the definitions for "inspire"is: to be guided by divine or supernatural inspiration. When we say the writers of the Bible were "inspired" by God, it means literally in Hebrew that their writing was God-breathed. Is it possible that God's breath still permeates in us/around us to do some certain thing? Wouldn't it elevate the things you do if you knew for certain that He was behind the thought or action? Should we be more open to His promptings? Did God nudge/urge me to draw this monk? Does that sound silly or even sacrilegious to you? I would like to believe that He influences me in my actions, even as He leads me in creativity. What do you believe?

Friday, July 11, 2008

This is a small watercolor I did recently copying someone else's painting. Newbies like me paint other people's work sometimes: to see how they did it, to use a good palette of colors, and to practice, and..... because we are too lazy to set up our own still life, choose our own colors, work out the composition. Mostly the latter. My husband hates when I do this - imitating. (this one is especially sad because I didn't retain the artist's name of the original). My husband encourages me to use my own brain to paint. But, sometimes I'm curious. Can I do that?? Or some image strikes me to the heart, and I can't afford it, so I secretly place it in my own stash to enjoy, of course, giving the true artist credit (most of the time). If this is your painting please accept my highest regard for the opportunity to try to imitate you. I would never sell it. I will just enjoy it for art's sake. Please send me your name....
Do you ever copy other people because you don't have the confidence to make your own creative stuff? Honestly, I think it makes us lazy and steals something from our own creative endeavors. But, are there any real original thoughts left- aren't they all borrowed or inspired by another? Doesn't someone somewhere get credit for something you've done from scratch from your own head. I often ponder these things.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Meet the Greek Graces

GRACES: Three Goddesses of Charm and Good Humor. Like the MUSES, they inspire artistic creativity. The daughters of APHRODITE (goddess of love) and DIONYSUS (the god of wine) their names are AGLAIA, the Radiant, EUPHROSYNE, the Joyful, and THALIA, the Flowering.

If you've perused my blog much you know I was blessed to go to Greece in March. I love Greek mythology. And these women were some of my favorite images on Greek pottery. That ugly painting I did yesterday, provided me with left-over paint that I think made a good art sketch for my journal. I love do-overs and redeemable things. I love turquoises and golds. And I was happy that three graces: Radiant, Joyful and Flowering showed up and helped me out of a funk. Try letting these girls run around your studio or (kitchen) or wherever you need inspiration.
What can you come up with? Send me your link so I can see.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Today, I promised myself that if I got my Chapped Chick orders out that I could paint. So, I finished my personalized candy bar wrappers for a wedding and made a batch of chapstik and personalized the labels for a wholesale customer, UPsd them, and then... I finished up some sewing projects, like this pillow..... and then I painted. But it was disappointing, really, didn't turn out anything like I hoped but I keep reminding myself that every piece does not have to be great art (honestly, so far, none has really turned out to be great art) - that it is great practice, that I will never really finish, ka-poot, be done with painting the last perfect painting. Sometimes I have the same impatience with people. I want them to be finished works of art. Not art in progress. I'm reminded that we are all just practicing at being our best selves. ... truly, i'm remedial art in progress, still practicing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The evil SINcer vs. GOod

There we were in a garden setting when Mr. Know-It-All, who wanted to censor our good life, came slithering up. He's the voice that chokes out the Creator's thoughts, who discourages us, and makes us distrust others and our own intuitions. he made our Creator's world hostile and scary.

he, the Censor, creeps into my own creative thoughts, sometimes ties my own hands up and lies to me. he lies to so many I talk to that say that can't make anything, draw anything, paint anything, write anything......

The truth is : that if I was made by the GREAT Creator, and I believe I was, and I was made in His Image, then creating would be the most natural thing of all the activities I do. I feel very connected to the One who made me when I draw and paint as if I'm doing something that comes very natural from my deepest being. It is a ZONE i enter, maybe the garden setting where He and I just enjoy the beauty He made and the potential He sees in me. Creativity is a blessing I accept.

We have an AWESOME teacher. Treat yourself generously and gently as God unfolds the layers of your life. He wants us to think abundantly and productively and expansively.

Forget the Censor - as an uninvited guest that should be shown the door.

Monday, July 7, 2008


You don't come visit odd chick for nothing. This unusual face may seem .... well, unusual -but it was inspired by this quote: "In the arts, your weakness becomes your signature; the fact that your work is imperfect makes it interesting. A perfect face isn't interesting". So I'm thankful that someone has taught me to get past the don't-paint-until-you-can-do-it-perfectly syndrome! Yeah, I started my new art journal!

Question: Do you know how old I would be by the time I learned to paint (play the piano, speak Spanish, etc.) well?????

Answer: The same age you would be if you don't.

Brenda Ueland said: "Why should we all use our creative power...? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold, and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and accumlation of objects and money."

Do these faces look like they should be on WANTED posters? They crack me up! Normally, I would not put front images of my grandsons but good grief.... anyone could love these faces. Now that's good art - I don't care who you are.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


My daughter, son-in-law, and grandsons came by on their way home from vacation to pick up my mother and take her home. I had only a few hours to play with my grandsons on the farm-yard and we packed as much fun in as possible. I'm a wonderful tired - after my company. It was so fun to have my Mom and I taught her how to make collage cards and to keep a gathering book and she was so excited about her new hobbies. It seemed funny-strange that now I am teaching her how to enjoy her time alone where she always taught me how to enjoy staying at home.

Yesterday was also my last sketch (from a sweater in Anthropologies's catalog) in my art journal. I'm kind of sad to see it go -it's been like reading a good book you never want to end. I have a new one waiting but I'm attached somewhat to my old one and all the cherished memories and sketches it holds inside.
But I suppose that is what attachments are all about. Our heart breaks a little everytime we say good-bye, but the only reason we feel it so deeply is the love and the joy that has been planted there by the person or memory and that is something that we never lose. I've said before that I want to love others and my life so much that my heart completely wears out with the effort. Mary Oliver wrote these words: "When it's over, I want to say, all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms".

Saturday, July 5, 2008

We went out to our little park and man-made lake and watched the fireworks last night . These were my favorite images. I loved sitting with my Mom and and my husband and another sweet family who had little kids running around. It was a beautiful night, jut still enough to keep the sparkling fireworks lit for seconds longer in the sky. The booms would echo through the valley - startling you and thrilling you as you anticipated the next one. Hubby thinks I should paint fireworks but how do you paint fireworks??? They are not even well captured in photography. They are just one of those fleeting sites that bring you to past July 4ths and tie you lovingly to the people with whom you shared the memory. One of those traditional pleasures that bind people to places and to family. I told hubby that when I die, I want him to cremate me and stuff my ashes in a bottle rocket and shoot me up into the sky with lots of other colors so that I can go out in a blaze of glory.... and then be sifted over my sweet little home town to fertilize new growth and new beginnings.