Sunday, February 27, 2011

Guess What These Are

Okay, I couldn't resist.  This doesn't have a whole lot to do with art, but they're very fun to look at, AND it has a lot to do with happenings at our house!  Anybody know what these babies are? :)

Okay, this is a later posting.  Although I haven't gotten any written comments, I got enough oral questions to give in.  They're paintballs!

I learned something about paintballs - their paint isn't as permanent as we artists prefer; however, if you shoot them at your wood fence, the paint will remain there for a veeerrry long time.  Although it's fun while it lasts, I don't recommend it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Veterans Memorial Sculpture in The Woodlands

I just joined the Woodlands Art League!  Went to my first meeting this week and was inspired by a very motivated artist that gave us an inspiring demonstration in oils.  Made me run to my paintbrushes today.

There was a really nice article in The Woodlands Villager this week about the sculptor, Edd Hayes, who is creating the military statue of Cory Kosters and Zach Endsley, two of the first young men in this area to have died in the war (Iraq and Afghanistan.)  While he's working on the sculpture, he's basing himself at the Woodlands Art League gallery, in Market Street.  He's parked right in the front window so you can go down and watch him work and ask questions.

Both Cory and Zach were close friends of my oldest son.  It was a terrible time as they died only a few months apart.  We will certainly never forget them.  Now, thanks to Mr. Hayes, others will remember as well.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dog Attack - God's Protection

One of my art students came in Monday with a very swollen lip, and stitches inside and out.  He'd been bitten by a dog, poor guy! And to make it worse, it was Valentine's Day and we had lovely smell-goody snacks which he couldn't eat!  His dog bite reminded me of something that happened to us when our second son was about eight years old.

We lived in Ohio at that time, and our boys had a new friend that had recently moved into a home behind us.  In Ohio, people don't fence yards, so all the back yards flowed together in one beautiful, rolling, green experience.  Our kids and all the neighbor kids happily ran all over the place.

We were new in the neighborhood and I really wanted to meet our neighbors.  More than that, I am a believer.  I believe Jesus walked on this earth and purposefully died on that cross to pay the penalty for my sins.  I have invited Him in to be the Lord of my life, and He's made all the difference.  My life is filled with joy.  I have a purpose in this life.  I live without doubts, and I live without fear.  So, my real purpose was to share the beauty of Jesus with my neighbors.

I decided to have tea and desserts at our house and invite the neighbors whom I hadn't yet met.  I prepared fliers telling the date and all the details.  Before I walked around our circle, I was talking to a friend on the phone and we were praying together.  She prayed for my walk, for our neighbors, and for the safety of my family and children while I was gone.

Right before I picked up the phone, my son came up to me with a toy that belonged to his friend.  I told him to run it over to their house and toss it on their deck, so off he went.  While we were praying, he burst in through the back door crying and screaming.  He had been bitten by our neighbor's dog!  Mother-protection mode kicked in and I was all over him.  My oldest son came in right behind him and said, 'Mom, Jane's here.' (changed her name)  I snarled 'JANE WHO?' because I was thinking of nothing but caring for wounds and emotions.  Looking up I saw my neighbor, whom of course I knew - the owner of the dog.  By the way, this was not just a dog.  It was a big male German Shepherd.

She helped me care for him and he'd gotten a pretty good bite.  Not only that, he had a burn on his forearm. As we worked, she related what happened.

Our son had run up to their back deck and tossed the toy up there.  Their dog saw him and shot through their screen door, tearing the screen wide open, to get at him.  As he tried to get away from the dog's teeth, he whirled and burned his arm on their hot barbeque grill.

She said, 'Cindy, you don't understand.  We lived in Singapore and had a ten foot cement wall around our yard.  The dog was trained to kill and protect us.  I was in the kitchen and saw the entire thing and ran out immediately.  If I hadn't been there to stop him, your son could have been killed!'


The dog went bye bye.  Jane and I actually became friends.  I did go around and meet all the neighbors (50 houses - oh, my goodness!  Turned out to be a bigger job than I had planned!)  Build some relationships and was able to lead a new friend to Christ.  God answers prayers.

So it comes down to this.  I don't believe that it was coincidence that we were praying for the safety of my family at the very moment my son was attacked.  I believe that Satan tried to prevent me from talking to my neighbors about Jesus Christ by causing that dog to attack our son.  And I believe that God protected him 1) in answer to our prayers, and 2) because He has a special plan for our son's life.

And I'm pretty sure He has special plans for your life as well.

Monday, February 14, 2011

New England Sketchpad

We traveled up to New England in November and I didn't get a chance to put our little tour up.  We went up really only for a long weekend.  Even though it was the middle of NOVEMBER, we had balmy 50 degree, sunny days, and the trees were still GORGEOUS! Here are a few pages from my little Moleskine sketchpad.  Remember, these are really fast sketches - just to preserve memories.  First pic - what else?  The plane's engine!

Our plane had a layover in Washington, DC.  When we took off for Connecticut, our plane flew directly over the Pentagon!  It quite took me by surprise as the pilot made a pretty sharp turn as we were ascending and, looking straight down, I saw it was directly below us!  And I do mean directly, probably only two or three thousand feet!  That's not the building I'd ever expect to fly over at that altitude!

This sketch probably took me about a minute.  From memory of course, since we were only over it for a split second.

 This one, while difficult to read, chronicles a day my son and I had while my hubby was working.  We toured half of Connecticut in the rental car with really vague Mapquest maps.  It was pretty easy to see all we did considering the size of the state... :)

Nothing special or particularly beautiful about this page, but it's useful.  Started in Wallingford, drove up to Hartford, through some seriously beautiful, hilly, rocky country down to Old Lyme.  I did a previous article about the Impressionist artists' colony there, on the Lieutenant River.

We had lunch in a popular and very bustling cafe and asked an old couple about destinations driving westward along the coast.  They told us about a famous bookstore where authors begin their book signing journey, kicking off their tours there.  Of course we stopped!  Make several other stops along the coast and walked out to the Sound once.  Turning north, we sidestepped a bit to take a quick driving tour of Yale University.  The place reeks of old money and the buildings are some of the loveliest I've seen this side of the Big Pond.

The following day, the three of us drove down into New York State.  One stop we made was at the Eli Whitney Museum, which just happened to be what our son was studying in school at that time.  We also had a very enjoyable hike through the sun-dappled yellow-leafed woods on museum grounds.

 Note the sticker from the Florence Griswold Museum - the art colony.  My books are always a depository for found stickers.

Along the way we stopped at a wildlife refuge right on Long Island Sound and hiked all over the place.  Very enjoyable.

Can't go to New England without having lobster!  Now you KNOW I draw fast, because I wanted to eat this lady!  Actually, I did eat first, THEN set up the shells for a sketch.  This particular one was indeed a she - filled with bright green roe, which were also delicious.

Here are more ticket stubs and things I gessoed in for memory's sake.

We finished our day quite far into the night at this little Italian restaurant.  Yes, I did the name backwards as it was on a window and that's the way I saw it from our table.

All in all, it was a really nice trip, and this little sketchpad helps me preserve the memories.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sketchpad Cover

I have a pile of little sketchpads up on a shelf, each one of them has some kind of design on the outside.  They're all small, about 4"x6".  I usually prefer the Moleskines - the black covered ones (everyone needs a 'little black book.')  The black covers give me the freedom to make my own mark, plus they're cheaper than the ones with fancy covers.  Like mine better anyway!

For this particular cover I painted thick gold acrylic over a textured plate and pressed it on.  Once the gold paint had dried, I painted over it with various colored inks.  Voila!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dead Trees!

Okay, here's a very unusual occurrence for you.

My son is in a choir which lasts one hour.  It's really not long enough to drive anywhere, so I usually sit in the car and draw.  For a very busy lady, sitting in my car for almost an hour drawing is a real treat!

Well, Sunday night I sat in the car looking for something to draw.  Behold!  A dead tree!  Just the trunk with cool dead branches sticking out! Perfect.

There I sat, sketching out my dead tree textures when I got a phone call.  It was a friend doing a show with another theatre company.  They're working up the show, "Into the Woods."

She was sewing a dead tree costume and wanted to know if I'd paint a dead tree on the costume for a couple free tickets.

I told her I'd love to, and mentioned that I was sketching a dead tree at that moment.

Not sure if she believed me...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sketchpad Addition

In my recent post entitled 'Sketchpad,'  I snuck in a photograph of our cat, Pickles, although he definately wasn't drawn or painted into my sketchpad!  It reminded me that I had recently caught him not moving and did a little sketch of him on my bed.  Here he is.  I detailed his face only; it seemed like all that was necessary.

Thought it'd only be fair to share it with you.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Earth Star Adventure

Today I told a friend a little story (that would be the friend who shares a love with me - owl pellets,) and thought you might enjoy this one.  Hopefully it will make you smile.  WARNING - I'm giving you the spoiler!  I didn't die.

One day my son (he was about ten at the time) and I were hiking in our Illinois woods.  We came upon some earth stars scattered about (look em up, they're fascinating.) Finding them wonderfully intriguing as usual, we stopped to give each one a squeeze so we could watch the spores fly.

I gave one too big of a squeeze and a cloud of spores shot right into my face!  Immediately they made me feel ill, so I told my son I was done and it was time to walk back up to the house.  On the way, the entire lining of my mouth and throat opened up and saliva literally POURED out of my mouth - I don't know how it was possible that so much came out!  I was getting really sick and he had to lead me, hunched over, leaking, with a roiling stomach, up out of the woods.

Even though I was feeling terrible, I can still remember being fascinated that my body had turned on a faucet full blast, and wondering how this could possibly happen.  Always was the curious sort.  It was a very long walk uphill, and I was wondering if I was going to make it.  I could already see the headlines: "Woman Dies in Woods from Sniffing Earth Stars."  By the time we did get out of the woods, I was feeling lightheaded, but a little better. My body had apparently put up its defenses and cleansed itself of the poison. Wow!  What a God we have to make our bodies so complex!  After an hour, I was pretty much back to normal.  Well, MY normal.

To this day, I haven't squeezed another earth star.  

Don't recommend it.

And now, I'm curious.  How many of you knew what earth stars were before reading this?  Did you look them up? :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Time to look at a couple pictures from my sketchpad.  This is the little Moleskine which is ever-present in my purse.  There's nothing ever finished in it - it's really a jumble of, well, ideas, phone numbers, notes and quick sketches of wherever I am.  I pretty much use only art pens, and add color when I get home.  This particular pic is the gumball machines at the mall when we sat in the food court and ate.  Thought I'd try some new color and simply smeared the stamp pads all over it.  The little gumball touches are watercolor.  Definately not perfect, remember this is a quick sketch.  And students, I know, I know.  Never an even number.  Paint only odd numbers of items... one, three, five...  You're lucky I'm sharing these unfinished ideas at all!

Here's some crazy work for you!  Okay, I admit it.  I like stickers.  Not necessarily the kind you buy, but the kind you FIND.  I found this one on a nice big water bucket I found at Jerry's Artarama, complete with three wells.  (Yes, of course I bought the bucket!)  And this page seemed the perfect place to see what kind of color I could lay down with the ink pads.  Gets the hands pretty dirty.  I use a barrier cream, and it helps quite a bit, but those little pads are heavily pigmented.  Funny thing is that the ones least likely to come out are the children's washable ones! I bought these for my young students once and we all had magenta hands for a day or two - it was hilarious (but I haven't done it with them since!)
 See?  Here I am again with my stickers!  The big one I ripped off who knows what, and the little one I drew on.  It just seemed like the page to draw an octopus.  I like to draw them AND eat them.
 I know, I know.  He's not from my sketchpad.  But he really is a work of art, isn't he?  His name is Pickles, shortened from Piccolo.  I call him Pickles Paintbrush, because he always knows when I'm painting and comes running for a drink of  1) the paintwater; and 2) a few licks off my brush.  Plus, his amazing tail could feed a number of paintbrushes.  Next you see, well, my sermon notes from last Sunday.  Our pastor is preaching from James right now and it's been really moving and inspiring.  If I take notes like this, one look at the page and I remember the sermon.  As usual, I added the color when I got home - of course!  The book of James tells us that not only do we need to believe, but we must act upon it.  What we do should reflect our beliefs.  Father, may I continually live out my faith in actions!