Passions of an Odd Chick

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.