The flowers I had on my table for the Memorial Day dinner with family are still "singing" even on this very rainy day. When I posted this picture on FB I told the story about my own singing. When my children were small I would rock them to sleep at night and sing silly little songs to them. One night my daughter who was about 18 months old looked up at me very serious and said, "Mama, just rock.....don't sing." I have only been in one church choir since that time and that was because they needed a child's voice :). When I traveled with my job I was often told, "you talk so Southern". I must have a Southern, child-like voice but it's ok because when I am home alone painting I can really sing!
My husband's 50th high school reunion is scheduled to take place in June. We will be traveling back to Florence, Alabama where he will get to reminisce with old friends and honor those who are no longer living. I cannot hardly remember anyone I went to high school with as I moved to Florence in my Sophomore year. But, unlike me, most of my husband's friends knew each other from grammar school on to middle school and then high school. Florence is also a small town and people know each other in a different way than a larger city. They know each other's parents, sisters, brothers and even grandparents. To get in "the mood" for the event, my husband has been listening to 60's music and even contacting some old classmates. My children smiled when we said it was his 50th. We know what that smile means as we see it a lot lately. It is kind of like them saying, "Wow, you're old." But we know we are not and that 50 years can fly by faster than the time it takes a demolition crew to take down a building. But even with the building gone, there are wonderful, funny, sad, serious, important and meaningful memories that have lasted. The committee for the event has worked very hard to locate each class member and make this a special event. They asked me to paint a painting of the school. This was a challenge as I could not find many pictures of the original building. It was later renovated and then in 2016 it was demolished. I have a friend that has one of those wonderful memories and I just knew Nancy Stewart Whyte could fill in the gaps I needed filled in and she did. She even told me about the colors of the windows! I hope I caught the spirit of Coffee High School. 16" x 20" oil on linen $200
Every year I donate to the ArtCard project to benefit the Oasis counseling for Women & Children. This is a non-profit organization in Birmingham whose mission is to help women and children heal, grow and overcome difficult life circumstances by providing affordable mental health counseling and innovative educational programs in a respectful and nurturing environment. This year the ArtCard event will be held on June 7th at 5:30. Their location is 1900 14th Avenue South. There will be more than 100 pieces of art available along with live music and complimentary food and beverages. This is my donation for this year. 12" x 12" oil on stretched canvas This is my favorite little corner of my porch.
There are times when a photo just stands out and something about the scene I am attracted to. This was the way with this photo from Meghan Turner. I used thick chunky paint trying to capture the appearance of light.
The DPW challenge today is to paint something that reminds you of Spring. I love the open air market at Pepper Place downtown. We visit on Saturdays and there is lots of fresh vegetables, flowers, music, people and dogs. I took a picture last year of a basket of flowers inside a tent. I loved the colors.
Last week I spent the week at Cheaha State Park with several other artists and the well known artist, Julee Hutchison as our mentor and teacher. Our goal was to learn from her and hopefully incorporate what we learned into our paintings. I never seem to "take in" all the information while on site but today I tried to reflect back on several things she taught us. Some of her thoughts include: Paint with passion Take risks Have fun Revel in the day Dont get discouraged - must of have miles of bad paintings behind us and often more is learned from a bad painting than a good one. She also told us to think of our brush like a violin bow. Pressure changes are extremely important...direction of movement matter. Your brush is your instrument - a bow across strings with the same pressure and the same rhythm would make for a very boring "piece". Value - If you get the value right it really does not seem to matter about the color. I have also heard it said, "once you say what you want to say then quit". As any of you who paint know, THAT IS SO HARD. The longer you look at your painting you see something you want to change but all those added strokes take away from the spontaneity that you created with the first strokes if they were laid down with conviction. Then, there is the need to mix colors correctly and have warm colors and cool colors vibrate when placed next to each other. Today I took out a picture of an old shed that was located on a farm we visited last week and I spent time mixing colors from Richard Schmid's color charts. This practice encouraged me to use colors that I do not normally reach for so it changed up my palette. I also made an effort to lay down color and leave it. When we go back over our colors again and again we create mud. So easy to do but so hard to undo.
I am pleased with the results and hope to keep on learning.
This is a commission for someone but this little girl reminds me of my Max. I have to continually remind myself that Max is not a human and make every effort to treat him as a dog. Those of us who love animals know that they can read our thoughts and seem to understand us when we talk to them. Max has big black eyes like Sadie and sometimes I believe he is speaking to me through them.
This little girl was an assignment today from a course I am taking but I wonder if I did not channel my foster baby grandson in the painting. After having this little fellow for over a year and having him take up residence in our hearts he was recently sent back to his maternal grandmother for his permanent home. To say my entire family does not feel a void would be a lie. I have watched my daughter and her sweet family give him back to his family of origin and cry tons of tears but know that they have placed him and his life in the hands of God. You cannot become foster parents and extended family and decide to only love with part of your heart. I just hope that seated deep down in his little spirit he knows that he is deeply loved and prayed for by all of us who had him as a part of our family. We love you little E always.
I drive past this little house every week on my way to Recovery Church. It is very small but has a well kept yard and a lovely azalea bush that was on fire last week. I loved this little scene. It reminds me so much of what I think of when I think Southern hospitality. I could sit on that porch and drink sweet tea all day. I stumbled upon a blog about Southern Hospitality by a beautiful lady named Rhoda. There I found a recipe for the best strawberry cake ever. Talkin' about Southern - thought I would share it here - send me your comments if you bake it.
This past week I painted "En Plein Air" with several wonderful artist friends. En Plein Air is French for painting outdoors. This is something I do not do very often and it is quite a challenge with wind, bugs and the need to capture the right scene without painting the entire countryside. Our teacher for the week was Julee Hutchison. Julee is an impressionistic painter from Telluride Colorado. Her work is amazing.
Julee has the ability to paint the most descriptive, colorful scenes with unique strokes of her brush and creative colors that she seems to have an innate ability to mix. (visit her website at http://www.juleehutchison.com)
I named my above painting "Lunch With Friends". We had the most wonderful time learning to paint better outside and sharing stories, food and friendship....I looked across the field at these cows and thought they were doing the same.
This commissioned painting depicts the love between a brother and sister. Life can present challenges that we cannot understand and we find ourselves wondering, "why?" The miracle in that moment is that love is strong and when we walk together we see God's provision.
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head . The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
Many years ago when I was 19 years old and a young minister's wife, my best friend in the tiny town we lived was in her 70's. Mrs. Jaggers was the most "real" person and dedicated Christian I have ever known. She was way ahead of her time in her thinking. Many looked to her for wisdom and spiritual advice. I remember once when a little country Methodist church received their first woman pastor, the church just could not accept her. They were accustomed to pastors who were men and they did not like change, especially a woman for a pastor. Mrs. Jaggers called up the chairman of the board and asked, "Who ran from the empty tomb?" The man replied, "Mary?" Mrs. Jaggers replied, "Yes! She was the first preacher and she was a woman! So accept this woman as your preacher!" And they did. 11" x 14" with deep sides that are painted $150
This is one of those paintings that is meant for someone special. I have several commissions to complete but this painting just would not leave me alone. I remember the Lionel Richie song, "Ballerina Girl". I know this dates me badly but I loved that song and the whole album, "Dancing on the Ceiling". My daughter was very young at the time and for some reason she thought he was singing "Peanut Butter Girl". That still makes me smile.
Home is place where memories are made. Just looking at a depiction of the house we grew up in can bring back memories of Birthday parties, friends, special moments with siblings or parents. There were times when I walked around my father's farm where he grew up and I felt close to those who had walked that land before. Joseph Campbell said, "Sacred Space is where you can find yourself again and again." That describes home to me. I found another quote stating that the role of home and sense of place in a person's life story can be significant. As people age their life stories take on added importance. "It moves from being just a story to becoming an actual resource that people rely on to remember their place in the world and their accomplishments." Not to mention this is the place where the tooth fairy first visited you.
I was not planning on painting flowers today as I have two commissions to complete but keep me away from Trader Joe's! I love the sunshine coming through my window as I have not seen it a lot lately and I loved this bouquet so I thought I would provide a couple of pictures showing how this painting became a painting. I will know to take more pictures next time as I got so into painting I kind of forgot to take photos. As you can see, this is a loose interpretation of my flowers. Someone told me today that they could always tell my paintings because of my unique style. That makes me happy because I am sometimes unsure if I have a "style".
Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!" In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.'" Matthew 27: 38-43 NIV
I have been working hard on a couple of commissions and completing some inventory for the upcoming Jerry Brown Art Festival in Hamilton, Alabama. Today I painted this little painting with a palette knife. There are times when a palette knife will just work better for the painting I have in my head.
The love between siblings is so deep. I read a quote on Pinterest recently that said, "Here's to you, here's to me, big and little we'll always be." We moved around a lot when my children were growing up and the one thing they could always count on being a constant was each other. Today they are all grown up and some of them have kids of their own but I still see them as these two cute little girls. I am very thankful that they still know they can always count on each other.
There is a lady in our church who is so transparent, so "real", so honest. She tells her story of mistakes and then reconciliation with God and it is so inspiring. For one thing she is brave, she knows she is loved and forgiven and she really does not care what anyone else thinks. The other part of the story is that the small church congregation loves her, accepts her and holds her story in their hearts and not in their gossip.
I spent the most wonderful lunch with an old friend yesterday, our lives crossed over 16 years ago and as life does sometimes, circumstances - some good, some not so good brought us back together. I am always amazed when this happens, especially when it just feels "right" and "good" to share our learned life lessons over a bowl of soup. This morning I had that visit on my mind when I glanced up on my wall and saw a painting entitled, "Wake up to Hope" something we had talked about yesterday. The fact that we were much more hopeful and compassionate in these years of our lives after living through some "things". Hope, love and the fact that we cannot make something "ok" for another person. We have both grown and changed and become different over the years. Maybe being gracefully broken has not been all in vain as we both feel we are becoming more of the people we were meant to be. Thank God people can grow and change and move closer and closer to freedom and being "real". I grabbed that painting off the wall and completely redid it and just felt it was now representing it's name........... P.S. I love you Martha!!
I am in a Bible study where I read this passage last week: Luke 9:51-56 (The Message)
When it came close to the time for his Ascension he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem. He sent messengers on ahead. They came to a Samaritan village to make arrangements for his hospitality. But when the Samaritans learned that his destination was Jerusalem, they refused hospitality. When the disciples James and John learned of it, they said, "Master, do you want us to call a bolt of lightning down out of the sky and incinerate them?"
The study is about John and I could not help but laugh that the disciple who called himself "the one that Jesus loved" was also a hot head. He gives me hope.
You can click on the image and see a larger view with more detail. I love getting emails from customers after they have received their paintings and they tell me that they love them! Paintings truly are more beautiful "in person".
This is a very peaceful road that a friend of mine jogs every morning. I was struck by a picture he posted to his facebook page because I walk a road that looks similar every morning and I love it. I also love finding new sayings or messages that speak to me and last night I found a scripture while participating in a Bible Study. Maybe I have read this before but I never heard it nor did I know it existed. Proverbs 6: 20 - 22 "My son, keep your father's command and do not forsake your mother's teaching. (The study stated this was in reference to scripture). Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck." This is the part I love....."When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you."