Friday, May 29, 2015

Quote for the Day; Death and Roaches

Coming from a near-death experience I had last night, here's my quote for the day for you:

I am not afraid of death.
But I am afraid of roaches.

Scared the daylights out of myself and everyone in our home tonight. I often wear a blue tooth set of earbuds dangling around my neck when I'm at home. Tonight I picked up one of our cats, and the earbud rolled down his fur. Thinking it was a roach, I screamed and threw him who knows where! Poor guy -

Who knew cats could fly?

All four cats roamed around with wary, wide-open eyes for a while, and Noah came out of his bedroom upstairs to inform me that I made him jump, too.

By the way, that quote is very true.  I know exactly where I'm going.  No fear there.

But I don't know exactly where those roaches are going.

Another Painting Sold! ...and Another...

Painting sold! I can't show a picture of it or talk about it because it's a birthday surprise for someone.  That's all I'm going to say about that.

What I CAN tell you is how the Lord has blessed us.

My husband was 'dismissed' from his job of 16 years recently.  Yep.  He's starting his own business, actually, has always wanted to do this, but that's all wrapped up in having four kids, school, life and fear.  I'm guessing you all know about that.  Well, it's defintely time now!

We have four kids, three are adults.  Those three have been looking for jobs for a long time and the market isn't exactly welcoming these days.  Right around the time Gary lost his job, those three were blessed with good jobs.  Thank you, Lord.  Thank you for the visible sign that your hand is upon us.

My own business is picking up, too.  Just yesterday someone else told me she wanted a particular painting, but I can't talk about that one right now, either.  Soon for you.

If you want to be busy for a lifetime doing varied work, never knowing exactly where you will be led or what you will be doing at any given moment in time, try artist.  I can't do as much as people ask, and just seem to be getting busier!  Right now I'm facing website setting-upping (yuck).  This intimidates me but I am feeling a desperate need for it.

Also, I'm really badly needing to make nice giclees, and can't sell this second-mentioned painting until I get that in place.

So, if any of you have recommendations for those things, let me know.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

'The Way Home' Sculpture Explained

I've never been more closely entwined to a sculpture before.  Tomorrow is the unveiling of 'The Way Home,' dedicated to Cory Kosters and Zachary Endsley.  It will be at 4:00 in Town Green Park in The Woodlands.

We, too, remember that day. Cory Kosters was our oldest son's best friend.  They grew up together, going to Scouts, putting together serious potato guns.  I remember sweaty boys making forts, running around in the woods shooting each other with paintballs.  You have to have boys a certain age to remember the LAN gaming parties they would have, hefting their huge, three-part computers over to each others homes, snaking the cords to every outlet in the home until you had to mind your step so as to not trip, and just pray that your electrical system didn't blow.  Zach Endsley was also one of Chase's good friends, and I remember him at many of those crazy boy parties, eating us out of house and home.

The day we found Cory died was tough.  He was the first Texas soldier to die in Iraq.  Our funeral was protected and surrounded by bikers who specifically come to protect the funerals of soldiers from protesters.  They closed the highway completely for us and brought out all the firetrucks and police cars at every intersection.  Research Forest was lined with people all the way from our church, Crossroads Baptist, at Cochran's Crossing, all the way to the highway.  The bikers rode with us, big flags flying, and protected the service at the grave site as well.  It was a long funeral.  A long drive.  A long ceremony.  A long day.

 Two months later when Zach died was even tougher.  When soldiers die, there is a very wide swath of pain.  Our oldest son, Chase was changed that day; it hurt him very deeply. This funeral was even more difficult than the first. Cory's mom generously gave him one of Cory's fatigue jackets, and I saw Chase sheepishly pull it on today. It's been sitting around and he never put it on. I think he's finally able to honor him by wearing it.

Today in church, eight or nine men from Zach's unit came from all over the country.  They will be there tomorrow.  All the men from Cory's unit are dead.  They died for us, people.  And all these beautiful 27 and 28 year old men remember.  They walk around with it every day, as does my son.  And Cory and Zach are buried about thirty feet from each other down at the Veteran's Cemetery.

There was trouble funding this sculpture, and it was tabled for some time. A friend of mine interested in sculpture took up the reins and incessantly beat on Woodlands businesses' doors for a couple years to get the funding.  He also is no longer with us, and won't be able to see the fruit of all his labor.  Left in his wake is a lot of pain as well.

So, when you go tomorrow, thank God for what you have.  For what we all have. For our freedom. For our God.  For our families. And pray for those who are empty-armed and still experiencing that pain.  I'll see you there.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Birthday Party - Looks like Fun!

Well, here we are again, looking at my desk. Today it looks pretty colorful.  Today, it's my gathering place for a fun girl-party I was hired to do.  It's now evening; I did the party today, and it was just a delight!

Is it possible for a birthday party for 13 year old girls to NOT be fun? Mom's agenda included some fun art and she gave me almost two hours to play with girls.

I opted to teach them how to do artist trading cards (ATCs) and we did two complete sets to trade with each other, each with multiple layers.

For a party like this, I wanted them to be able to experience as many types of mediums as they could, and we covered a bunch.

Let's see, we did
- Contour drawing with pens
- Painting with watercolors
- Stamping
- Scraping acrylics with credit cards
- Watercolor Crayons
- Working with gel mediums
- Splatter painting with liquid acrylics
- Adding layers of glitter - of course - we're GIRLS!
- Probably something else I can't remember

Anyway, at the end, everyone signed and traded their work, and we gathered addresses so they can trade new cards by mail.  Pretty sure they'll be running to their mailboxes all summer. :)


This funny lady - I guess I'll call her 'Surprise!' was so much fun to do!  As you notice, her hair is, well, comics.  My favorite comics. :)  This is a sketch I did whilst sitting somewhere, probably a doctor's office, where I had to wait.  Then when I got home, I added color by painting and adding collage material.  Fun!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bradley Cooper

Just finished this one.  One of my favorite combinations of mediums is drawing with pens on a crazy previously-painted background.  I was planning on adding paint to give him more chiaroscuro, if you will, but decided I liked the raw, fast laydown.  Bradley Cooper, you've never looked, well, like this. :)

I've pretty much tossed out the pencils - my favorite way to draw is simply with pen.  Living dangerously, you know - no mistakes!

Friday, May 15, 2015

My Desk - Working on Canvas Backgrounds

I'm starting a new series of paintings.  First in line - tuba commission.  School is out now, and it's time to PAINT!!  As you have seen in previous posts, my tuba commission is well along the way, but now it's time to put all that work to canvas.

This shows my desk, once again, but you only get a sneak preview of anything that looks like canvas.  Today I was able to lay down first layers on three canvases, and the final background layer on my tuba canvas.

This is all you get to see right now - I have to have some surprises!  This particular canvas that you see a corner of is destined to be a German Shepherd.  I'm going to do the dog in warm colors, hence the cool background.  You can see some warms peeking out from one of my earlier layers.  I got the idea from two of my students - they have the grandest German Shepherd I've ever seen!  I already did a pen drawing of him that turned out really nice.  I'll post it for you later.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sharpies, Blackberries, and Sledding

You know, every now and then, it just has to happen.  Sharpies.

As an artist, I make sure my materials are archival and acid free, but now and then I just need... Sharpies.

They fairly glow, don't they?  Begging you to lay them out color wheel fashion and try each color?

I have enough artist markers around to build a bridge between us and Russia (THAT'S a big bridge these days!) but find myself saying, 'I just need a Sharpie!'

Long lasting, permanent and cheap. I won't use them in my art, but soon they'll be spread throughout the house serving their various Sharpie functions, marking water bottles, labeling t-shirts and aiding poster projects.

But in the meantime, I think I'll just lay them out color wheel fashion and lay down a little color.

Post Scriptum:  You may have noticed my handy little bucket.  This little friend has been with me for a very long time.  I'd have to check, and I don't want to move right now, but I think somewhere on it there's a date - 1998.  We hail from Northern climes, and yes, I miss those berries.  I painted these as a tribute to... well, our sledding days.

When our three oldest were very young, we had a blackberry patch at the bottom of one of the hills on our property.  In snowy weather, we often pondered the fact that it was at the BOTTOM!  Think sledding. It was cold, so of course the only exposed skin was our faces.  After having gotten our fair share of facial scratches, we figured out that if we laid down at the perfect moment, we could slide right through a hole in the blackberries and come out pretty much unscathed!  The challenge made sledding much more rewarding. We just won't go to the place where one of my sons straddled a tree on his downhill ride.  That's another story!

At any rate, ye ol' blackberry bucket is my tribute to our fun sledding times, and all the blackberries, raspberries and strawberries we left behind.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Remembering the Louvre

Aaaahhhh.... I remember.

It's been a big day.  We just got home and have been gone since early this morning.  My mind wants to think of nothing.

So, I thought I'd just scan some photos for relaxation and came to this one.

It's not one I took, I guess I found it on Art Daily News, where I'm always poking around, but....

When we were at The Louvre, I distinctly remember wearing my feet to unhappy stumps and then sitting at the edge of these pools soaking them, flipping water and tickling my toes.

And the balcony in the background is a nice, bustling cafeteria for visually- and foot-weary people.  The day was exactly like this, sunny, fresh and dry.  I sat on the wide granite (rail?) fence? banister? and soaked up some of those nice rays, that is, until one of the workers shooed me off the ledge.  Ah, well.

Beautiful museum that it is, there is so much special about the place.  But I'm too tired to talk about it.  So I'm just going to look at the photo and remember.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Summer Classes at My Home - Open!

It's finally happening!  After years of requests, I'm holding summer classes and including ADULTS!  Check 'em out below and let me know exactly which ones you want to sign up for.  Class size is limited, so get me your registration and money soon!  Email me at to sign up.

These classes are great for summer fun and inspiration, and a sneaky way to see if you like my teaching style before committing to an entire school year with me.

2015 Home Summer Art Classes
All Ages, kids and adults
Splatter Fest!  Did you ever want to just let go and throw paint? Did you ever wish for painted jeans and boots like mine? This class is for you!  We’re going to get messy and have a blast!  You will learn about color while creating a crazy, fun canvas.  The second half of the class we will paint our clothes and shoes, and whatever else you want to paint, so if you have clothing you want splattered, wear it!  Bring a change of clothes for driving home; you’ll need it!
Friday, July 19, 10:00-12:00

Addictive Prints – You too can make prints!  We’ll learn a lot about color and paint as we try several different kinds of printing methods in this messy, fun painting class.  Be warned – this is a fun one.  Once I take the supplies away, you have to go home! Be prepared to take home some spectacular, frameable art!
Thursday, June 4, 10:00-12:00

Layers – Try it All  – Want to try watercolors, acrylics, stenciling, pens, gel mediums, stamping and collage? Maybe even … sshhhh!... crayons?  I’ll show you how to mix ‘em up to create fun, complex paintings.  You won’t be able to stop once you begin these!
Thursday, June 25, 12:00-2:00

Draw, Laugh and Paint – I’ll show you how to loosen up and get your creative juices flowing.  If you’ve ever been afraid of that blank, white page, this is your time!  We’ll laugh a lot as we combine pencil, ink and paint to produce some whimsical, charming pieces.  You’ll take home some fun art, and lots of ideas for continued fun at home.
Thursday, May 28, 10:00-12:00

Oooohhh, Shiny!  Metal Embossing!
This class is so relaxing and delightful it’s hard to stop when class is over!  You will enjoy learning the basics of embossing metal and will create a number of beautiful, finished pieces.  You will learn how to antique some of your work and learn about color and how to apply it to other pieces.  I have taught this class many times and have seen those who are not artists, but just want to have fun proudly take home stunning pieces of art!  Relaxing and satisfying.  Two classes are required to finish pieces. Come and join in the fun!
Two 1 ½ hour classes (total 3 hours)
July 16 and July 30, 12:00-1:30

Artist Trading Cards

Sometimes I just plain old run out of gas.  The previous day we had a really serious family matter, my car died, and one or more of my students, after my deliberate instructions to the contrary, went in to the place where I teach and got latex paint all over the carpet. Latex.  That means house paint.  That means permanent. On blonde carpet. Not my blonde carpet.

It turned out fine, and we are blessed; hubby to the rescue fixed my car, professional services to the rescue to clean the carpet (mostly)...

Anyway, it was a pretty stressful day, and left me wandering around our house the following day tired and listless, unable to get any serious work done.

It's times like these I pull out my Artist Trading Cards (ATCs).  Sometimes we just need to be fed.  And these feed me.  ATCs have specific guidelines such as size and contact information, etc.  One of those guidelines is that they can only be traded.  Generally you make a small series of similar cards to trade and keep one in that series.  Here are some of mine - some I made and some I received in trades.

Let's see - bottom right - the surprised girl on crazy warm background - mine.  Actually it's a drawing of one of my students.  I love complicated backgrounds.  They can make even a simple drawing pop.

Underneath that is an iPhone box onto which I laid down some embossed metal and paint.  It's now an ATC receptacle. Many artists keep their cards in baseball card-type pages, but I like to handle mine.  I just put them in baseball card sleeves.

The pretty blues and greens abstract is one of my Art 2 student's.  I think she's 13. I taught them ATCs this year and they LOVED it!  It got to the point that they wanted to do it over and over.  I'm having them trade on their own this summer without me.

The metal embossed card next to that one is one of mine.  The theme was 'Wild West.'  What could be more wild than the back of a cowboy?  Just sayin'.  It's reflective, and a little hard to see in this photo, but nice to touch and easy to see in person.

A couple of my favorites by others - the landscape, which was a postal theme.  The blue and green vertical with the Tuscan flavor and the red flowers is one of my ALL TIME favs, done by a friend of mine.

Next to that is a cool starburst pattern of words upon which a face is drawn.  I like it a lot!  She made an envelope for it, underneath.  Good idea.  I can use that.

Love da bunny.

I did an England map theme, which is the red one in the center with the stripes of maps.  Cool textures atop that one too.

Next to it is a phone booth and London theme that I did as well.

Top right is a pretty cool mask I made for a Mask Series trade.  Actually, this is one of my favorites as well, and I keep telling myself I'm going to do a series of paintings like this.

You will also find a spiral made with thread.  Way cool!  This was a one-on-one trade.  I'm definitely not going to try that.  I'd tie myself up.

Cool mushroom card, snail mail trade.  Love.

Last but not least is a Chinese writing theme I did.  I love Chinese characters and know quite a few.  I've studied their origins and how they've evolved through the centuries and it fascinates me.  Anyway, in this series I laid down a complex background, and then swiped over it with a solid paint.  Then I drew in the characters quickly and surely.  Chinese calligraphy is all about HOW you do it, sure and perfect, one stroke, no mistakes.

All these feed me.  Sometimes when I'm in an artistic slump I'll go through them and get all kinds of ideas.  As for me, I'm, well, full of it.  Full of ideas, I mean.  And these just kickstart me.

Sooo.... if you want to do an ATC trade with me, let me know.

I'm going to go make stuff now.