Monday, October 8, 2018
Saturday, October 6, 2018
6" x 8"
I have always loved the sun. I loved it when I was 19 years old and my friends and I laid out at the lake soaked in baby oil, I loved it in my 20's and 30's when we lived on the lake and were out in the boat with our kids all day. I even loved tanning beds when I worked in my 40's and did not have as much time to work on my tan. Well, over the years I have had several skin cancers that have had to be removed, squamous and basal cell. Three years ago I had to have Mohs surgery ( a precise surgical technique used where thin layer of cancer containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains.) Two weeks ago I had my yearly dermatology visit and skin check and I had 4 biopsies. Two came back bad.....wow....melanoma. That is a little more serious. According to the Melanoma Research Foundation, melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and the most common form of cancer in the U.S. If not caught early, it can metastasize to other parts of the body. I had a wonderful surgeon, Dr. Chris Harmon of the Surgical Dermatology Group of Birmingham and he assured me that he got clean margins and the cancer was caught very early but I need to be reassessed every 3 months.
I have a biopsy healing on my left arm, a 2" inch incision on my right arm from one removal, a 2" incision with stitches above my right clavicle that provided a skin graft for my lower shin. My lower leg is still dressed so I am unsure what it looks like but it has been very painful. I started to stay quiet about this but I just want to encourage SUNSCREEN and please see a dermatologist if you have any question regarding any skin discolorations or changing moles, even if you call them freckles.
I have been listening to Rend Collective today and love the son "Counting Every Blessing" and I feel this so strongly.
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Letting go and trusting when I cannot see
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season you are good to me
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Oh I remember those moments when time does not matter, except for the fact that you want it to stop. Those moments when you forget about what needs to be dusted or cooked or folded or washed and you just sit in the grass and hug your little person. When my kids were small I did not think they would ever grow up and be independent. I thought I would always be picking up toys, fixing snacks and running from soccer game to dance lessons. Now I sit with my grandkids and talk of those days filled with stories of their parents. Life goes on and what I am now conscious of is every moment spent with a little person on my lap or in my arms or just sitting and talking is precious. l listen better and live in those moments more fully.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
It is a strange phenomenon when I see a photograph and it just wants to be painted. With this particular reference photo I was drawn to the intense look in the lion's eyes and the values that make up his face. The challenge is to keep the values close, the paint loose and capture the emotion of the piece. Hope I did that.
While painting I wondered if this Lion was painted for someone who just needs to be reminded of how strong they are. When looking up quotes about lions I found some great stuff.
"...and one of the elders said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals."
"You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you." said the Lion
"Remember Who You Are" The Lion King
"Lions don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep."
"A lion sleeps in the heart of every brave man." Turkish proverb
"The righteous are bold as a lion." Proverbs 28:1
"The truth is like a lion. You don't have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself."
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Thursday, September 20, 2018
This little brother and sister love playing by the lake. I love the fact that they have created their own fishing poles out of sticks. One day they will look back and remember how they played side by side and know that they always had each other.
Monday, September 17, 2018
Monday, September 10, 2018
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Saturday, September 1, 2018
While in Key West last week we spent a day at the Zachary Taylor State Park beach. My friend and I felt very brave and powerful as we rode our bikes to the beach from our rented house, while wearing our bathing suits (with a cover up I might add). Because we are both considered "older women" we were quite impressed with ourselves. It was truly beautiful. The water is crystal clear and a very carribbean blue and there are trees with a lot of shade and lovely blue umbrellas that actually almost match the color of the water. On this particular day there was also a breeze. It was a perfect day. We then went home, changed and went out for our reservations at Blue Heaven, a great restaurant that is a "must" for key lime pie. On the way home we found that Duvall Street becomes a big party on Friday night and while walking home a young man at an outside bar asked us, "What are you ladies doing tonight?" We felt even more powerful instead of afraid or insecure as maybe we would have been when younger as I told him, "we could be your mother!"
Friday, August 31, 2018
I spent the last week in Key West with my dear friend. Such a great trip and I have so many photos that I want to paint but I have to pace myself as I am completing Christmas commissions. But there are some days when painting a special place or scene without any expectations helps me have a freedom in painting that I really enjoy. I completely become enmeshed with the subject and I forget to eat or even leave my little studio.
Have you ever gone on a trip and you see something that you love. The colors of the day, the way the house looks, the music you hear in the street and the people you see all create a "moment" in time? This house near the Southernmost point in Key West did that for me. Not only that, someone recommended a great book while I was in Key West entitled, Southernmost. I loved the book and it came to life when walking around the city and being in the exact places mentioned in the book.
Monday, August 20, 2018
I love being asked to paint pictures that tell stories. The reference photo for this painting depicted the child like wonder of a little girl dreaming. The castle in the background, the Cinderella dress and the little butterflies all create the beauty and excitement of the childlike spirit. Little children have the ability to see the incredible in everything. They have faith and immerse themselves in little wonders. As adults we sometimes lose this ability to be awed by little things but we can learn to live this way again. Look around at our incredible universe and become fascinated again with what you are passionate about. Be grateful. Keep the fire in your soul.
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Monday, August 13, 2018
I spend all my time in the studio between May and December painting commissions for Christmas. I feel so honored that people would seek me out for this. I do try and keep Mondays a "free day", a day when I can paint for myself. Recently I spent two weeks in Alaska and became mesmerized with the bears, moose and eagles that I heard about and read about. Unfortunately I only saw an eagle "in person". I was really hoping to see a bear but I did not want to see him real close. Anyway, I came home with a lot of ideas for paintings and this little 8" x 10" is one of those.
I named her "Bear Naked Lady" after the band, Barenaked Ladies. They sing the theme song for The Big Bang Theory. I love that show, it makes me laugh but I seem to be the only one in my family that finds it funny.
Friday, August 10, 2018
I cherish my experiences as a Labor and Delivery nurse for all those years. There is really no greater moment that I can imagine than being present at a birth. We rarely get to see miracles in life but witnessing birth qualifies as a miracle. Regardless of the "route" the infant takes (natural or c-section), the entrance into this world follows a lot of the same processes. ( Trust me on this if your experience is limited.) I have often thought about the story in the Bible where Nicodemus asks Jesus what it means to be "born again". Nic knew that Jesus was not speaking of literally being born again from one's mother's womb but he was trying to draw out the meaning of the words. In my humble opinion, I have found that life gives us opportunities to be "born again" or "born from above". This encompasses a spiritual rebirth, maybe even one where we have to make changes in our lives. Greed, unforgiveness, lack of compassion, anger, addictions, unbelief, or anything else that keeps us from living in the nature and flow of the Spirit. I have witnessed hundreds, probably over a thousand births in my career. If I could interview a newborn right after birth and ask him, "how was it being born?" I seriously doubt he would say "Man, that was great, I would love to do that again!" There is a lot of pressure and pushing and contractions and squeezing that occurs. But after his arrival to this world he is looking around, bundled up and loved on, he can breathe and take in this new life. A good, new life.
I think the same occurs for us when we decide to be "born by the Spirit" or "born again". Changing some bad habits and addictions and getting rid of junk in our lives can require some discomfort. Maybe even some pressure or squeezing, but on the other side of that is a wonderful new life.
This quote kinda sums up what I mean about someone who has been "born again" and maybe even for someone who becomes a mother.
Everything has changed and yet, I am more me than I've ever been. Iain Thomas
Saturday, July 21, 2018
I had the honor of teaching a painting class in Hamilton, Alabama this week. I loved the group I got to paint with and was so honored that the Hamiltonian artist, Belinda McRae asked me to teach in her studio. It was also a opportunity of traveling back in time. I lived in Hamilton over 30 years ago when my husband was the pastor of the Methodist church there. Hamilton is a small town where friends grew up together, went off to college, married and most of them returned. Life has not changed much in 30 years. I spent the night with one of my bestest friends. Judy and I floated around her pool and the Judge, her husband, waited on us and cooked his famous grilled chicken wings. Later, I walked around the downtown area and I saw six friends in their businesses that are seated around the Court House square. We spent a lot of time reminiscing and laughing about days gone by. We share a lot of good memories together and find ourselves amazed that time really does fly by and now the "young mothers" who gathered around the elementary school sports events and watched out for each others children, now found ourselves talking about our GRAND children. The threads of friendship are still there and strong and I am thankful for that time in my life. Friends will be forever and ever....Amen!
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Last year I was in Italy painting with several wonderful artists. One day we spent climbing up a very large hill to the village of Pruno. This village is built into a hillside with winding streets, beautiful buildings and flowers everywhere. There were so many beautiful nooks and crannies it was hard to decide what to paint. I read that there are only 121 inhabitants in the area. We only saw a few people and the majority of those where in the restaurant where we were the only customers. It was excellent and almost like being seated in the middle of a good, good novel that you do not want to end. As I was hiking up to the village with all my gear (backpack, easel, paints, water, etc.), I thought to myself, "this better be good." It was so much more than I could have imagined and I have gone back there in my mind so many times. This particular scene reminds me of that special day. This painting of that special place is for someone very special to me.
Thursday, June 21, 2018
I was asked to paint a picture of two friends who have been very close during their school years and now are on their way to college. It was obvious by the reference photos that these two are very good friends, probably like brothers. They have probably been through many things together, encouraging each other, listening to each other, helping each other out of trouble and obviously playing ball together. Their relationship reminds me of how important special relationships are in our lives and how they can last a lifetime.
This painting comes at a particular time of reflection at my house as my husband and I are leaving this weekend to travel back to our hometown where we finished high school. It is his 50th reunion!!! Where did that time go? Even the physical building is gone and I was given the honor of painting the old school. During that process in preparation for the weekend, we have relived many memories. These two friends will take memories with them and hopefully will share them over and over and again in 50 years.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Recently a friend sent me a picture of a rare yellow cardinal who resides in Alabaster, Alabama. The distinct look is identified as a rare genetic mutation that knocks out the pathway for production of red pigments. Due to his appearance, the cardinal has been named Mr. Yellow by Charlie Stephenson and photographer Jeremy Black, who were the first to spot him. Within the last couple of months he and a female cardinal were seen feeding two chicks in their nest. Mr. Stephenson said even though Mr. Yellow was "different" the female accepted him as he was and they started this little family together. A facebook page entitled The Yellow Cardinal is dedicated to the life and journey of the couple and today it was noted that there are three more eggs in a nest. It remains to be seen whether or nor Mr. Yellow's mutation will be passed on to his offspring. I hope I have done him justice with my painting.
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
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!
Friday, May 25, 2018
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Saturday, May 19, 2018
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.
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Saturday, May 5, 2018
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.
Monday, April 30, 2018
12" x 9" oil on board
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.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
8"x 8" oil
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.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
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
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.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Sunday, April 22, 2018
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.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
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.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
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.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
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.
Friday, April 6, 2018
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.
Friday, March 30, 2018
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
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.