Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Second Place Prizewinner

This is probably the brightest painting I've ever done.  I pretended I was a Fauvist (French for wild beast.)  The Fauvists got their name because they were using bright colors and considered wild beasts by the critics.

My second place prize winner, I call it 'Safe.'  This was second place in the Professional Mixed Media category.

For this piece, I chose wax blocks, crayons and liquid acrylics.  First I drew the nest, and after that I fairly poured paint.  If you look closely, it looks like the blues at the bottom are receding and the hot colors come out.  I worked to make the eggs glow, drawing attention there.

All works that were awarded ribbons will be headed for the LSAG show in July at the Marriott Hotel and Convention Center.  It's for sale for $300.00.

The LSAG show will be in conjunction with the Artist Expo Houston, 
This will be a great chance to take art classes in many mediums, and enjoy an exhibit hall stuffed with art supplies, along with viewing the judged show and sale.

I will be teaching two metal embossing classes - to view the catalog, check out this site:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Prizewinner at Judged Show!

 Saturday, April 25 the Woodlands Art League had its semi-annual Judged Show.  I entered five pieces.  Four in the Professional Mixed Media division and one in the Professional Abstract division.

I was delightedly surprised with five ribbons!  Two firsts, a second, a third, and an honorable mention.

This first painting is my first place abstract.  I call it Angel's Wings, and it's a beautiful mixture of cool colors with some bronze setting off the deep blues.  I was actually playing with this and doing some experiments, and, lo and behold, I liked it!

This one got first place in the Professional Mixed Media.  I call it 'Traveling Girl.'  It's a painting of one of my art students this year.  I loved the photo of her strapped into her car and enjoying the sunshine, and told her if she didn't paint it, I would.  We both did!

Once she and the background were painted, I chose paper to collage, including music and maps.  The music is from some musical I played in, and the particular places on the maps are some of my favorite places.  I guess that makes this kind of a self-portrait as well!

This one is about as bright as they come.  It placed second in the Professional Mixed Media division.  When we're talking art history, I tell my students about the artists called Fauvists.  They were so named because they painted with bright unrestrained colors, like wild beasts.  Fauvist is French for 'wild beast.'

Kind of nice painting like a wild beast now and then, and I like my little glowy eggs.

More pictures next time...

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Word from this Blog's Sponsor

Hello, Wonderful People,

Some advertising business to get through:

Tomorrow evening, April 22, and Thursday evening, April 24, we are having open houses at The Training Center.  You will be able to meet the teachers, check out curriculum, snoop around the place and register for classes for the 2014/15 school year.  Check out our site and come on out and see us!  I already have one full class, so if you're seriously interested, please contact me soon.

I'm also giving art classes with the HIS Classes,

Also, I'm giving private lessons.  They are $60.00/hour and we can work around schedules.  They are a lot of fun.  I begin where you are and direct my lessons toward what you want to learn and the mediums you are interested in.

If not on this site, you can also contact me on my email account,

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Without You

A poem for Evan. I composed this on a bike ride March 28 and spoke it into the notes on my phone. Usually I edit about five times but this one laid down in my thoughts pretty much the way you see it here. My route takes an hour fifteen so I worked it out as I rode.

Without You

Rich damp fragrant earth
Offers sweet bursting life to me.

Swinging sliding tickling playground laughter
From a distance echos.

The path before me is strewn
With discarded petals of greening life,

Warm fresh breeze
Banishes cold dreary days.

And so we begin again.
But this time, without you.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Life and Hope from Suicide

I process loss by writing, and making art and music. Here I wrote a poem about it and laid it down on canvas. If you'd like to read the entire poem, I have it on my March 21 posting, 'Remembering Evan.'  March 21 was my birthday.  This year it was kind of a birthday to just skip.  Just not in the mood.
The flower represents life and hope. I obliterated the words in places because things in life are often hard to understand, and we are left with many questions. The painting has many layers, representing the many difficulties to be overcome after suicide. The tally marks represent the days of Evan's life. They do not completely cover the painting because there were not enough days. Miss you, Evan.

Although these days have been difficult and miserable, they have oftentimes been poignant and inspiring as well.

I am inspired to live my life well.  To live my life big, and to touch people.  Although suicide is a terrible waste, death itself reminds us of the preciousness of life; indeed, how alive we are!

What I have learned is that every single person that comes into my life is special.  That person is made in God's image and deserves my love, interest and tender care.  With Christ as my center, I am indebted to Him and must share Him with others. I know I'll see Evan again, because he was a child of Christ.  That is hope. To go through this life without hope is the biggest tragedy of all.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Suicide and the Things that Matter

I wrote this to a particular group of people and sent it off to them.  However, it's appropriate not just for them, but for pretty much anybody who lives.

Today I’m feeling like I want to encourage you as home school mothers.  We’ve home schooled our four for 23 years now.  I came to your first meeting, but opted out because I’ve been down every road you are now walking and don’t need the same encouragement that you need.  As you travel the homeschooling road, your friends and life will change over time.  At this point, I’m hanging around with a lot of teenagers and twenty-somethings, and spending my time in art and theater.  These are the places I find my friends and encouragement.  I’m the flutist in our orchestra with hair that has a mind of its own (especially the grey part – that’s why my hair is, uh, unnaturally streaked.)

This will be a sad story, so if you’re not in the mood for sad, stop here.

I know there have been many times in my life when I thought things like: ‘not my kids,’ or ‘my kids wouldn’t do that,’ or perhaps ‘because we are Believers or home schoolers  my kids won’t do this or that.’  I’m old enough now to know that’s a lie.

Our daughter, Melody, 22, had a boyfriend, Evan, whom we grew to love.  Evan was vivacious, fun, full of jokes and plans and life.  He was determined and did everything with gusto.  He didn’t give up.  He was kind and would actually sit down and talk with my 89 year old mother because he LIKED her, not out of duty. He would find the lonely stranger and befriend him. He cared about people. He was a well-loved, well-rounded home schooler. Not that this matters, but he was extremely handsome., with gorgeous baby blues. He was the first young person any of my kids brought home that when looking at him, I actually thought, “Those are my grand baby eyes.’  Evan was a dedicated Christian. We all loved him.  At one point in their relationship, Melody said, “I hope Evan is the one I marry.”  She’d never said anything like that before.  Oh, how I thrilled to hear that, because we thought he was the one.
Melody broke up with him in early February.  My husband, Gary, had back surgery on Valentine’s Day.  Our joke was he was getting a new back and I was getting a new man for the day.  That night, I got a text from Melody telling me that Evan was suicidal.  While she kept talking to him, I called his parents and best friend.  A rocky road ensued with lots of ups and downs.  Evan was depressed and had been for a long time.  Nobody knew it.  I was shocked to find that someone so outwardly happy (think of the happiest, most fun person you know – that was him.) could be so inwardly sad.  I asked Melody who knew he was depressed, because he had an unusual amount of really good friends.  She said “Evan’s parents, Evan’s best friend, and me.”  That’s it.  

He went on.  We messaged each other on Facebook and we both wished he could come over, but of course knew that wouldn’t work out.  I would ask him how he was and he would say ‘not very good.’
Melody is a choreographer, and we just did Shrek.  March 7, a Friday night, was the first show.  We had three more to do – two on Saturday and one on Sunday.  If you’ve never been in theater, you live and breathe nothing but theater when a show is going on; it’s a lot of work.  Melody went in before the show Saturday and found that Evan had committed suicide very early that morning.  No one had wanted to tell her, so her director had to call her and tell her on the phone. It was devastating to her and the entire cast.  I came in an hour later and she told me.  If any of you saw Shrek, you had no idea that everyone put on those three shows, and while backstage, everyone was crying, comforting each other and praying. Evan was in theater, so was friends with just about everyone.  Evan’s sister did all three shows, as did Melody. It was one of the toughest weekends of my life.  

Sometimes you learn things you don’t want to know.  I’ve been learning a lot about suicide.  One of the things I’ve found is that it draws a big dark line through your life.  Before suicide and after suicide.  It’s been equated to concentration camp experiences.  It’s not like a car accident or death for medical reasons.  It means that this person whom you loved chose to die.  He chose to leave you.  It leaves you feeling lacking, disoriented, angry, questioning, and full of ‘what ifs.’  What if I had messaged him to meet me and we’d talked about it?  What if I had noticed he was depressed and done something?  What if, what if, what if?  What if all the problems were wiped away and he just became Melody’s husband, my son in law?  What if, what if, what if?  Guilty, guilty, GUILTY!

I don’t know how many young friends of his I spoke with that felt the same 'what if' guilt.  Many.  It’s a natural reaction to suicide.  The fact that they chose to leave you is huge.  You are left with a very personal bereavement. 

Something else I’ve learned is that there’s a kind of stigma attached to those close to suicide – kind of an avoidance.  I’m calling you to please pray for Melody.  She’s gotten lots of love but needs prayer for healing.  Add me in there, too.  Even I am feeling it to a degree.  We had a gathering to celebrate his life, pray and cry before the memorial service, and Evan’s family wasn’t there.  One of my friends came in and told me and Melody they were coming.  We were ready to bolt.  She gave us the specific message that they wanted us to stay.  We did.  And it was good.

We are just trying to walk.  We have Hope.  But everything is now different.  Clouds skittle through the breezy blue sky and people in restaurants sit laughing.  I want to stand up and shout ‘How can you laugh?  How can you go on?  Don’t you know what’s happened?  Don’t you know Evan’s gone?”  I chat and laugh with friends and inside am thinking about Evan.

In the mornings I choose my news topics on my i-Pad.  One blurb said “Man throws himself in front of train!” I clicked on it thinking, ‘I wonder why he wanted to commit suicide?”  The story said that a woman had fallen down onto the tracks and couldn’t move.  This man jumped down on the tracks and ran toward the train to stop it so it wouldn’t hit her.  So, I burst into tears.  People trying so hard to live when Evan took his life on purpose.  Guilty.  Guilty.

Enough. We are not guilty.  We are covered by Christ’s work.  It was his decision, not ours, and we can’t blame ourselves.  I believe that these guilty feelings are from Satan, as were the emotions that drove Evan to that point.  I know that Evan is in heaven now because of his belief in Christ’s work on the cross, and that someday I will see him.

That black line that divides our life.  It’s still there.  And it always will be.  Tears stream down my face as I write this.

Well, ladies, I said this was meant to encourage you.  And it is, in a round about way.  I know, because I’ve been there many times, how tiring it can be with little ones all around you.  You are tired. All you want to do is just brush your teeth and have a date with your husband.  Or a date ALONE… with yourself!  I know that you’re concerned that your kids learn to spell and read and do math, eat their vegetables and learn history and be good at sports and have friends…  It’s a valid concern.
But let me put this forth to you.  If you can train them to grow in the Lord, to lean on Him, and trust Him, that’s just about all there is.  If you have a bad day of school – it’s okay.  If they can’t read well yet, it’s okay.  I pray that you never face a situation that draws a big black line to divide your life.  But if it does come, math and geography aren’t going to matter.  Teach your kids the things that matter.  You know what those things are.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Processing Suicide

Today Noah danced.  I came into the waiting area out front and sketched this little picture as I sat staring out the high windows.  The clouds were high and skittling past, pushed along by the nice breeze.  Another mother waited for her daughter.  I just wasn't in the mood for chit chat.  Everything looked so normal, even though Evan isn't here anymore.

 For a little reflection time and some quiet, I walked over to BJ's for an iced tea.  I took my newly-purchased book on suicide and read for a few minutes, then just sat looking around.  The people surrounding me were talking, chatting, laughing.  Eating, drinking... living.  LIVING. They don't seem to know that Evan's gone, either.
Drawing and writing is helping me.  And a lot of prayer.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Suicidal Thoughts

I've learned far more about suicide than I've ever wanted to learn this past month in the wake and sad fallout concerning Evan.  Since then, I've formulated some serious and important thoughts which I'll impart in my next post.  For now, I just found this from one of my anonymous students who I've been giving private art lessons to.  This student is a teenager. You never know what a person is thinking.  Here it is.  We need to deal with this, people.

'Hey guys. I just needed to get something off my chest tonight that I feel is very important and that needs to be said. My mind has been weighed down by this for a while and its time it got lifted. Please, if you have five minutes, read through this.

Almost a month ago on March 8, I lost a friend. He wasn’t close to me, but I knew him. He had committed suicide. A couple of days later I missed his visitation. Not because I didn’t want to go or had other plans, but I was in the hospital. I was admitted to ______, a mental health hospital on March 10th for suicidal ideation and actions. I stayed for five days. During my time in the hospital and my stay outside of the hospital, there have been a lot of realizations that I have felt torn on. This post isn’t about me, I am not seeking any attention from this. I do not ask for sympathy or anything like that..but that also makes me wonder, why not?

The first thing I want to address is the social difference between actual illnesses and mental illness. I see a lot of jokes these days about people who can’t make up their mind being bipolar, or girls being crazy, people who are different being psycho. These words are thrown around as insults to make fun of people, whether or not it is meant to hurt someone or just be a joke. However, the second someone uses a word like retarded or disabled to pick fun on someone, everyone freaks out about how awful that is. Why? Why is it okay to call someone who is upset psycho, but it isn’t okay to call someone who isn’t fast disabled? Is mental health really that light of a subject that it can be thrown around as an insult?

Also, if it is a light subject, why can’t it be brought up in a serious context. Lets pretend for a second that I am a chain smoker. One day, I will inevitably get cancer. Probably one of the first things I would do is post it on facebook - everyone would want to know and everyone would want to pray for me. Even though it was my fault that I got cancer, everyone would still overflow their pity on me and their love. But now that I am talking about my mental health issues, all of the sudden I have to put a disclaimer on it - I AM NOT LOOKING FOR ATTENTION - and the like. Why is it so shameful for me to talk about my depression in public that I can’t even mention it without making it absolutely clear that I do am not an attention seeker.

Of course, people usually think, depression isnt that bad. Let me tell you just what my depression feels like. When it is at its best, I feel tired. I feel like I didn’t get a good nights sleep and my attention span is about 3 seconds. I find joy in things, and I think things are funny and I can be happy and laugh. However, it sometimes is really bad. And really bad isn’t crying and feelings sad - in fact I hardly ever cry or feel sad at all. Its feels like I have been paralyzed. I feel like it would be impossible to pick my arms up or hold sometimes. Everythings seems so empty, and I feel so empty. Even my glass of water feels like the heaviest thing in the world.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re so lazy you can’t even pick a glass of water up? Let me tell you, there is a big difference between lazy and depressed. Lazy people do nothing and love it. Depressed people can’t do anything and we hate it. I am so embarrassed when I am on a date with my boyfriend and my depression hits. I hate it more than anything and I wish that it would go away and I could do things without the fear of my depression hitting. Depression is awful and it feels awful and it takes lives, just like cancer. And no, exercise, showering, or just getting over it doesn’t work. Depression, and other mental illnesses, are chemical imbalances in the brain that cannot be controlled. No one does this on purpose, your “quick fix” won’t work. Patience and never giving up on someone works. I’ve seen too many people leave someone’s life because it was too much for them, and that has honestly almost driven me to give up a few times.

We all know what cancer is. Not everyone understands mental. Please try to understand, even if you can’t totally. I know I didn’t cover everything in this post, and everyone’s struggle is different, but I did the best I could. End the mental health stigma. Learn the warning signs of depression and suicide and other mental illnesses. And please, next time you’re about to criticize someone for a mental health issue, ask yourself if you would say the same to someone with cancer. If you wouldn’t say it to them, don’t say it to me.

If you would like to talk more about this or need to talk in general I’m always willing. Tell someone something encouraging today. Thank you for reading, it means a lot.'

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Registration open for My 2014/2015 Art Classes

Wonderful People,
I am now taking registrations for my upcoming 2014/2015 school year classes.  Already one class is almost full and another is half full.  If you are interested in taking art, check out these two websites and then let me know:

This school year is coming to a close, and it's already time to be making plans for next year!  Wow!