Monday, February 29, 2016

Breath of Pine for Sale

Breath of Pine.  My loblolly pines painting.  You can almost feel them moving in the breeze.  I really love the fresh look of this painting.  For sale - $350.00 at

Below you'll find several shots of it, including one which shows the picture frame.  It's 17x21" and wired ready to hand. Enjoy.

Also, if you live in this area, I can sell it to you out of my studio to save you on shipping. Plus, a studio tour is an added bonus!

Whistler Quote on My Photo

Whistler on my photo.  Love this quote. We went for a walk tonight and enjoyed these great clouds.  This was one of the last photos before it got too dark.

Teeny Tiny Art Time

Hold on.... drumroll.... It's teeny tiny art time! This tiny little piece reminds us of a great trip to London. Wanna go back. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Teeny Tiny Art Time

Teeny tiny art time! A nod to the Houston Rodeo.  The penny whistle? I pause in my painting routine and tootle a tune now and then when the mood strikes.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

My Mother's Ring

I now have the most stunningly beautiful ring on my finger.  I mean gorgeous.  It's actually one of those rings that when you show it, there's an audible intake of breath. You have to understand  - I am Woman. I love jewelry.  No, I LOVE jewelry! The bigger and the sparklier the better, and if it just happens to be REAL, so much the better! But every time I look at it, it just makes me feel melancholy and sad.

You see, it's my mother's ring. About 15 years ago, mom and dad took all her diamonds from over the years, you know, broken settings, lost prongs, etc., and put them together into this showstopper of a ring.  This ring is my mom.  It's her history.  It's my dad's history.

They met in Spokane, Washington.  A really good skater, he knocked her down, and had to spin all the way around the rink before he picked her up. He picked her up for good.  They dated a couple weeks, and then he was off to serve in WW2.  They corresponded and eventually he sent her a ring from Paris asking her to marry him.  He actually sent her engagement ring in the mail during wartime!  One of these diamonds was in that ring.

Two weeks ago we put my mother in memory care.  Dad lives across the street, but it is an awfully long ways away.  I picked her up today to go have lunch with dad.  She didn't know where we were going.  When we got to their place, she thought I lived there with dad.  She didn't remember where the bathroom was, although they lived there together for six years.

She loved seeing everyone and hugging everyone, but couldn't remember exactly who they were.  When it came time to go, we said goodbye to dad and walked out.  She wanted to know where Martin was. "I never go anywhere without Martin." She wasn't sure where we were going, and it was like entering a place she'd never been. I found her spot and settled her in with some other ladies, but she thought I was going to stay with her.  I hugged and kissed her goodbye, telling her I'd be back.  When I turned to look back one last time, she was sitting there with a vacant and lost look on her face.

My mother. But not my mother.  This ring on my finger belongs to her. But they won't let her wear it. And so here I sit, thinking of her.  Thinking of dad, feeling their loneliness.  Desperately sad for them.  My mother is gone already.  Her body just doesn't know it.  One of these days, her body will release her soul, so it can be free.  Lord, help us all.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Teeny Tiny Art Time

Hooray!  It's teeny tiny art time!

Metal Embossing Finished!

Eureka!  I have finished!  My metal embossed piece, which I named 'The Flower of Spring,' is done.  You can find previous posts which detail the progress as time has passed.  I won't detail everything here as it would be redundant, and you can also find more info on my site,  For sale, $280.00.

Here are a few pics for you to enjoy.  When you look directly at it, you see the metal and. The cool textures I painted onto the birch, but if you tip it sideways, you can see that I sealed it with a super heavy gloss gel, and carved into the gel echoes of the design on the metal.  It's basically a celebration of nice warm textures.  Cool!

Almost Done!

Okay, they're  out of order, but this one finally downloaded.  Plus, my secret ingredient!

Almost Done!! Metal Embossing

Metal embossing is a multi-step art that requires a lot of patience and time. There are many steps which require overnight dry times. That's one of the reasons it's so satisfying when one is almost done.  Ahhh.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Embossing Video

Yes, I am human and callable! I can't get my other video to come up, but CAN get this one!  UGH.  Computers! Ah, well, enjoy THIS one!

Metal Embossing, continued AGAIN!

I've been working on this piece for some time.  Once I got the metal embossed it was time for mounting.  I chose a nice piece of cradled birch' 12" square.  Sanding ensued.  I recall one of my students, sweating it out while sanding some wood, saying, "Mrs. Johnson, this doesn't feel like art!"  Hahaha!  There is a whole lot of art that doesn't feel like art if that's the case!

The colors I chose for the birch go nicely with the copper of the metal, and I rubbed the edges with turquoise to bring everything together as a whole.  So far so good!  Step by step.

My next step includes Gorilla Glue, and will take all night.  After that I'll post to show you the final steps.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Madeline L'Engle Quote

Madeleine L'Engle quote on my metal art, to encourage you this day.

Teeny Tiny Art Time!

It's teeny tiny art time! 

This textured little piece, a map of England, reminds me of driving a 5 speed manual power car with the driver's seat on the right through London and the South of England.  Ahhh...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Red White and Blue Mums for Sale

I love art!  All kinds of art! Another of my qualities is that I am intensely curious and am continually studying new things.  That goes for art as well, and explains why I employ so many different techniques and mediums.  

The world is just too fascinating and life is too short to stay in only one medium.  For this reason you'll find many different styles and mediums on my blog, and on my Etsy site; just consider them different sides of me.  

The old adage tells artists to 'choose one medium and stick with it.'  Tried that. Boring.  I believe that working with many materials keeps my interest and curiosity high, and keeps my work fresh and fun!  I hope you find fun here too.

This piece is the last one I posted on Etsy. 

This beauty is a woodblock print; I carved the chrysanthemum from a block .  For the 'canvas' I used YUPO, which is a completely non-absorbent a artist's 'paper.'  Because it does not absorb at all, this allows for lots of movement in paint and wild mixtures and texture unattainable in other mediums.  I apply the background in many layers and then lay down the print on top.  For this reason, it is a monoprint, which means 'one print.'  I couldn't make another one like it to save my life!  This is by far the most difficult technique I employ in all of my artwork. And that is what makes it special!  11"x14". 

The first photo shows the entire piece; the others are closeups of particular spots so you can see the textures and flow.

Quickie Portraits

We took turns dressing up and making quick usually-one-minute sketches of each other in classes last week. It was fun!  Students loved it and they're getting better at their proportions. Looking forward to this week!

Chinese Calligraphy; Tiny Art

Everyone needs a little Chinese calligraphy.  This darling little character means 'perfume.'  Note that it looks like a plant, from which perfume originates.  I absolutely love the study of the Chinese language!  I used to write the characters with a traditional bamboo pen (extremely sharp bamboo stick) but that has been nipped in the bud.  Once I stepped over a basket of supplies, stepped a little too short, and skewered my leg with the pen.  It went deep causing a lot of pain with the lovely added bonus of a staph infection up to my knee.

Needless to say, I'm really happy using acrylics for my characters now. Like Snow White and the banned spinning wheels, bamboo pens have been purged from our home!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Steve Jobs Quote

I love words.  I love quotes.  I actually collect them... both words and quotes.  My best word to date is:  Bechocolabox. Great word, huh? It's English (of course!) and means 'run of the mill, boring, just like every other chocolate in the box.'  I got it from Ross King in a short, delightful conversation.  Yes, Ross King, author of some pretty great books.  But that's another story.

Today I put together a quote I love from Steve Jobs with one of my photos.. Very inspirational.  I put it on top of a photo I shot through the sunroof of my care as we sat at.a stoplight downtown.  It's February and the starlings are beginning their bird conventions again.  Noisy, raucous children that they are, it just delights me to no end to see them at their parties. 

Here you are, it's my gift to you this day.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Bird Series (Sold)

Here's another in my bird series; the only comic one. Literally. He has comics in his feathered headdress! Made me laugh every time I saw him. He's gone to a new home now. 

The Screaming Mona Pearl Night

Makes sense to me. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Millennial-Looking Dude

Any guesses as to who this Millennial-looking dude is?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bird Series of Paintings

Here's another in my bird series paintings.  This one sold last week. It has a mate which I sold about six months ago,both of which are painted in negative space manner.  I went to a Picasso Black and White exhibit not too long ago and it greatly affected my work. The birds themselves are actually the background; I painted the whites and turquoises AROUND the birds and wires.  

Birds on wires have always made me happy. This first picture is the entire painting.  After that follows a couple of shots so you can see closeup how I painted it.

Kandinsky on Kandinsky

A Kandinsky quote that I love on top of one of his paintings which I also love. Not only do I love this quote but I wholeheartedly agree with it!

Last in Bird Series Sold

Today I sold the last bird in my eleven painting bird series, an adorable watercolor black-capped chickadee.  Here are a number of pictures of him, and a closeup of the edge so you can see what a deckled edge looks like. This heavy rag paper is great for watercolors,and looks really sweet if you float it in a frame.  In another post, I'll show some pics of other birds in this series.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Life's Difficulties, Part Three (Kleenex Alert)

It's done.  The evil work is done.

We've seen it coming for six or seven years.  We've talked about it, ignored it, attempted to broach the subject with dad many times, and now it's done.

Last night we went to bed feeling as if most of our work with mom is finished.  We have done a good work, although at many points we have felt traitorous, evil, selfish, you name it.  Everyone's feelings have run the full gamut of possibilities.

My mom is now in an Alzheimer's unit. And dad lives across the street.  Seventy-two years of marriage, and now they are separated by a street.  Dad has always taken care of her and has run through the same emotions the rest of us have.  Mom, in recent years, has always THOUGHT she was taking care of dad, and thinks she should be with him to take care of him.

The second day in her unit, and do you know what she told us when we came to visit?  "Every one of these doors is locked, and I can't get to Martin."  As tottery as she is, I have no idea how she tested that statement.  You know, sometimes you have to laugh so you don't cry.  We've cried way too much these past days, so we choose to laugh at that one.

Dad admitted this weekend too that we did the right thing.  It was huge for everyone to hear that, and huge for him to say it.  Taking care of her has taken a toll on him, and we've all found out recently how hard it has been.  Always the Man, he just omitted telling us of her escapades which has made it hard for him for a long time.

All these years we have been saying goodbye to mom.  Although last week we were unprepared for her to die, and finally resigned to it, we've known that it's been a long goodbye.  This past year with her there's been no conversation.  It flows around her and she nods and smiles.  It's just too much brain work to put together a conversation and contribute. If asked what she did 15 minutes before, she couldn't tell us.  She has introduced me to staff hundreds of times, and we all just smile and wink. When asked what she had for breakfast, we may get a shrug of the shoulders and a smile. Her facial recognition is going.

It's been a long goodbye.  That cute little feisty lady in the home is, well, my mom.  But then again, my mom really isn't there anymore.  That shell of a body has no memory, but is holding something very special.  It's the temporary guardian of her soul.  One of these days, her body will finally release that soul, and in a way will be closer to me at that time.  Because I know that I will see her in heaven.  Whole.  Happy.  Knowing everyone.  Knowing.

My mom is safe.  My dad is healing.  Everyone's hearts hurt.  We are still feeling alternately all the possible range of roiling emotions.  But today is a new day, and God is with us.  He will protect her, as he protects us all.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Life's Difficulties, Continued

Well, here I am again, almost too tired for words, but alas, I am Woman; there must be some words in there somewhere.

Today was one of the most emotionally draining days I have known. I am ever thankful for my brother, Dale and his wife Shelly, and my brother Denny who all came down to help us sort all this out and be partners in the dastardly deed-doing.

Today we put my mom in an Alzheimers home.  Today we separated my mom and dad.  Today we put physical space between lovers of 72 years.

She has been bad for quite some time and really wearing dad down.  I've been going up and giving a lot of help, but the kind of help he needs is every day, all-day, all-night kind of help. Last night I spent the night with them and she continually got up in the middle of the night to get dressed, find her purse, ding around in the closet and all around just keep dad awake. I caught her trying to take the wrong medicine, she understands and remembers nothing, asks continual repetitive questions, on and on.

Since she returned from the hospital things have been especially exacerbated. On top of her needing by-the-minute guidance, she is now tipsy and off balance.  You pretty much have to hover around her to support and catch her.  We knew it was past time.

And now after a day of emotional and physical work, five of us are exhausted and wrung out, and mom lives across the street.

It's a beautiful place.  She will be safe and happy, soon we pray. Dad will finally be able to get some rest, take a nap without being awakened literally every two minutes.  He'll be able to sleep through the night and actually maybe shave without being interrupted.

And he'll be lonely.  And I suspect he'll feel the way we all do, like traitors. My emotions have run the gamut today as I well know his have too.  Simply put, it was one tough day for all of us.  I pray that dad can sleep peacefully tonight knowing we all did the right thing.

Tomorrow... well, the Bible tells us to pray and plan, and to rest.  Our plans are not always God's plans, and He knows best for us.  So I'm going to make some plans, and pray, and I'm pretty certain fall into a dead sleep.  There's no need to worry, because we're in God's hands and holding onto Christ as the Anchor of our souls. So, I might as well sleep, because I REALLY need it!

Tomorrow?  We're going to 'prettify' a room.  I have lace curtains.  I've got some of her beautiful quilts.  Tomorrow will be one busy day of carrying stuff, purchasing stuff, and pulling it all together to make a beautiful space for her.

She is safe. Tomorrow is a gift from God.  It may be a hard one, but we will DO our best to MAKE the best out of that gift.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Life's Difficulties

I'm a pretty positive person, and generally speaking, I'm not going to lay out a list of woes.  But you know what, sometimes I need to gather my thoughts, lay them all out, and take a look at them.  Might as well do it here.

It's raining.  Here in our home,  Here on our family. We've had a lot of ups and downs in our life together, but right now I'm really tired.

First I'm going to just state simply what's going on to deal with it, so I can get to the heart of the issue more quickly.  Since about mid-November, just 2 1/2 months ago, we've been fielding problem after problem:

- My dad's lower back has ramped up the pain to the point of him almost unable to bear it.  It has turned him, my wonderfully capable and fully-estute 94 year old dad, finally into an old man. We did a cortisone shot into his lumbar area which almost completely made him better, until this last week.

- My dad was hospitalized with a serious bronchial infection, and it really put him down.

- My mom has dementia, and cannot remember anything.  She couldn't even remember where Dad was.  FULL time care. We are the only relatives near them, and we are the solo caregivers.

- We are giving a lot more care to my parents.

- Our 27 year old son had his girlfriend break up with him.  He was fired from his job.  He injured his foot really badly, with no insurance.  We've been jumping through hoops getting him on health care and getting the care he needs.  Looks like lots of micro-tears in his foot ligaments and a little bone floating around.  It's taking FOREVER to get exactly what he needs and he can't bear weight at all.

- We've all taken turns being sick.  Really sick.  I got the same thing as dad and it escalated to the point of flu-like symptoms and fevers.  The day he got out of the hospital I went home to bed and was literally lumping around the house for five days with absolutely no voice.  Prednazone (Spelling!) and a seriously tough antibiotic which ate my lunch got me onto the long road to recovery.  Mine was a bronchial infection which lasted about six weeks.  Now tonight our girl comes home feeling very sick.  *sigh*

- My brother Steve died two weeks ago.  I can't talk about it right now, it's too much.

- Gary's been unemployed for over a year.  We were excited about a job he landed which began in January.  It was the job from HELL.  Seriously - the WORST job you could imagine!  We talked about it every night and decided he had to quit or they would kill him with a heart attack.  So... the GREAT thing is - he doesn't have a job!  Thank you, Lord, for making us thankful for no job!

This afternoon we got the call that my mom was hospitalized.  She felt sick with an upset stomach after lunch, and now that we look back, was a little off yesterday.  She couldn't get enough oxygen.  They had to intubate her and then restrain her because she would take the tube out if she had her druthers. The upper section of her heart has a valve that is sticky and is not in sync with the lower part of her heart.  Which means it has to work extra hard to work very inefficiently.  We had to make some tough decisions tonight with the doctor. 

Our first decision was to let her go through the night to see how she does.  I"m just too tired to present all the scenarios we worked through.  All this while around her bed, with her under anesthesia.  I didn't get to talk to her today.

I drove Gary over to his car as he got to the hospital long before I did.  Noah and I were in classes, and I just felt like we both needed to finish our business.  I went home with dad and got him settled in.  We cried together.  You know, I don't think I've ever seen my dad cry.  No, really.  I'm pretty sure I have never seen him cry.  He is a strong man and has always been there for everyone.  He went through WW2 mostly behind enemy lines.  Got strafed, killed men, captured Nazis, saw death.  Homefront he was always a leader and a manager of others.  Sensible and extremely smart, he can still finish the newspaper's crossword puzzle every day.  But I've never seen him cry.

Tonight we cried.  He told me he just didn't expect it.  That he wasn't ready.  He told me to go home.  I know he wanted to be alone, and that he's probably crying right now.  He didn't think he was going to be able to sleep tonight.  You see, he has always taken care of her.  Always.  He's always taken care of all of us. And tonight he looked like a broken man. And that was the very worst thing for me.

Now, the good.

We are blessed.  Beyond measure.  We are God's children.  We have put our trust in the work Jesus did for us on the cross.  I know where my brother went.  Heaven.  He is no longer broken.  I know where my mom will go, where my dad will go.  And I know that there will be no more pain there - that Jesus will be there - and that we will see them again!  And even though we are right now tired beyond measure, I know that we are dwelling under the shadow of HIS wings.  We hold on to that Anchor - the anchor of our very souls, both sure and steadfast (Hebrews 6:19).

We see Him moving in our lives.  He takes care of us, just as he always has.  The tough times remind us of that.  When we're dependent upon him, we recognize his work in our lives.

And so, I am going to bed.  I'm going to pray, and I am going to sleep.  Tomorrow, as every other day, we will be in God's hands.

Dad looks rough. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Yoda Quote on My Art

Yoda quote on my background. Good advice for almost-Monday. I use this with my students. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Embossed Metal For Sale

Just finished my latest embossed metal piece!  Yay!  It's beautiful. Here are several shots, because it's so reflective that it looks different from every angle.  It's 5 x 7, and I'm posting it tonight on my site,

Enjoy! And check out my site! If you 'like' it, I'll send you a free magnet of your choice.  Check them out and let me know.

As for this piece, it can be used many ways.  I've mounted it on aquaboard, which can then be framed, or attached to any number of places.  Some people like to affix these onto wooden boxes or any number of places.  For that reason I will leave it unframed.

Chinese Calligraphy Part Two

Here's the book I referred to in the previous post, with a two page spread.  Love it.

Tiny Art

I popped this little piece down just to give you a happy day.  I love Chinese calligraphy!  Some years ago I toddled to the book store with the idea that I was going to learn Chinese.  Happened to meet a Chinese friend (serendipity, huh?) who laughed when I told him my grand plan.  He told me that even the Chinese don't know Chinese! Undaunted, I bought a book.  I have loved this book well, and have actually learned a lot.

No, I can't speak Chinese, but I now understand how the words are put together and how they originated; how they moved from pictograms to characters.  I can look at the characters and pick out bits and pieces of things I know - enough to make me dangerous.  And enough to make Chinese friends laugh at me.  Really what it has done is enriched my life in yet another way.

This symbol means 'dragon.' I chose it for a couple reasons; one - dragons are really cool, and two - the character itself is beautiful. This piece is in layers.  The top layer I laid down quickly and had to draw in the symbol fast before the paint dried.  Enjoy.

David Bowie Quote

I love this. Put it on top of one of my paintings. It's really very true. David Bowie, Picasso and I agree on this one. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Metal Embossing Almost Done!

Finished! Now, all that is left is for me to paint some kind of stratus to either match or accent (I'll decided when I get it) and mount it.  Love!  By the way, this is entirely hand drawn.  That accounts for the fact that there are places all over it that differ from others.  I think it makes it more artistic and a lot more fun to look at.  Enjoy!  When I get it completed, it's going to go up for sale on my site.