Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Frosty Morning

Garden gate in winter
Most of the snow came on Christmas Eve, and some the next day, but on Monday morning we were greeted by the sight of this - do I dare say it? - winter wonderland.  Frost covered every tree and bush and almost every building.   Winter is my least favorite season, but I have to admit there is a sort of rough beauty to it, especially on a frosty morning.

The other morning I woke up with a song going through my head and knew it was about time to put away the Christmas CD's. Does that ever happen to you?  It wouldn't have been quite so annoying if it had been one of my favorites: "What Child is This?" which my mother loved because it is set to the tune of her beloved "Greensleeves," or the "Carol of the Bells" which was performed so beautifully by the church choir on Christmas Eve.  No, it was none of these heavenly sounds which awakened me, but rather,  the raucous strains of:

"Just hear those sleigh bells jingling
Ring ting tingling too.
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you."

Now I hope you don't think of me as  some kind of Grinch. I really have nothing against this song, it is a lovely sentiment and sleigh rides can be cozy and romantic - a great activity in winter. But it isn't one of my favorites, and not something I really associate with Christmas carols, and certainly not something I want running through my mind at six o'clock in the morning.  I don't even remember it specifically being on any of our Christmas CD's, though it probably is,  as it does appear in 9 out of 10 Christmas collections. Whenever I had heard it this year, it seems to have planted itself firmly in my brain and I will have to work very hard to get it out of there.  Eventually it will be replaced by something equally annoying.  Maybe I will just hibernate the rest of the winter and hope for an early spring. 

I hope that wherever you are, you can find some beauty in this day and that your heart is filled with joyful music.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Last Tree of Christmas

And the best one of all...

This tree was given to us by the Pastor in charge of Asian Ministries in our church and his lovely family. Today, on the day after Christmas, we celebrated with a potluck dinner in the church basement. So many delicious, exotic  foods, so many joyful people, it was a wonderful day!  But it was not your usual church potluck, certainly not like those in the Lutheran Church where I grew up.  I can not tell you the name of most of the dishes.  No salads made with Jello or mayonnaise, no ham balls or chicken  noodle casseroles. not even any pies for dessert.  There was one cake, brought by Larry and me, just in case the younger children might like it. At least it sounds like a good excuse.  Actually I wouldn't have had the courage to try to do anything else. Although I do love doing an occasional stir-fry, I know it is very American, not at all authentic, and would not stand up next to anything created by our Cambodian friends.  But of course, if I did, they would all be very polite and encouraging, because that is the kind of people they are. 

Before the meal, the people sang a song that brought tears to my eyes.  Both words and music were completely unfamiliar to me but it was beautiful.  This is the song they sang, written in Khmer, the language of Cambodia.

Wish I could translate it for you, but I don't speak Khmer.  My husband and I teach the children in Sunday School, they are third and fourth generation Americans, so we get by with just speaking English.  Being together with the large group. adults and children,  always reminds me of the lines of a song sung by Sandi Patti a few years ago.  This one will probably be familiar to you.  It is called "Love in Any Language,"

We had a pretty quiet Christmas this year, not much family around, but today we got together with the Family of God. What a blessing and an honor that was!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Two more trees of Christmas...

This is the tree that sits in the bay window of our living room.  It has no particular color scheme or even a theme, except it says "family."   There are tiny red stockings. baseball bats, and musical instruments, all bearing the names of our children - a trumpet for Andy and a saxophone for Aaron. There are handmade ornaments given as gifts from students and Sunday School students. There are the special ornaments that Larry and I purchased on our anniversary trips to Kansas City.  And there are some that take each of us back to the Christmases of our childhood.  Though somewhat eclectic, they all fit together to tell the story of our family.

Then there is the Teddy Bear Tree. I am not so sure how this one began.  Probably it was my love of all things furry and cute that caused people to give me stuffed toys. Teddy Bears seemed like the perfect theme for a Christmas tree. although technically there are other creatures hiding in the branches - a couple of poodles and other puppies. a velveteen rabbit or two, a polar bear and  a reindeer - but I call it a Teddy Bear Tree anyway.

This tree always makes me want to sing the old song, "Teddy Bear Picnic." If you remember that one, then you are probably almost as old as I am.  I love the sentiment on this little guy's foot...

"Love Bears All Things."    That says it all...

Have a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Family Collage

 What an odd looking bunch! Not my latest work, but I will share it anyway.

I have been writing about my Christmas commissions a lot lately. This is not one of them.

I can't show you my completed portrait commissions.  My clients want them as Christmas gifts and each one is meant to be a surprise for someone.   While I am fairly certain that none of the recipients ever read my blog, it is best not to take chances at this time of year. Instead,  I am posting a drawing of my family I did several years ago.  (You are viewing the drawing through glass, as it is framed, even though the frame was cropped out of the photo.)  As I remember, this was something of an experiment. Most of my commissioned work is much more formal - parents in the center, children arranged around them according to age - but I wanted more of a "collage" look for this one of my own family.  I rummaged through some old photos, candid shots taken when we were children.  My husband found a  photo of my two older sisters standing in front of a picket fence and wanted me to paint it. I had always loved the photo of my brother with his pet pigeon and I was really into dolls and teddy bears as a child. The drawing was more about how they all fit together in a composition than about our birth order.  In the ten or eleven years that have passed since the drawing was finished, I have grown as an artist, I hope my skills have improved, though my style is still pretty much the same.  I would crop it differently now, of course, less background and more attention to the faces.  It would probably be a whole new picture.  As a matter of fact, I think I will do another one soon - start from scratch and see what happens this time. That will be one of my goals for 2011.

Now that my last Christmas commission drawing is finished, and all that must be done is printing copies and framing them, it is time to get ready for Christmas in earnest. Not much time left, but that is the way it usually happens in the Burgus household. We are sometimes wrapping presents right up until midnight on December 24.

Still have some decorating to do and hope to share photos with you.  Hope it is a lovely season for you. I love Christmas!!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Shiny Brites and Bubble Lights

The Second Tree of Christmas

This year Larry's tree sits on our dining room table.  No plans to have guests this year, so that seems like the perfect spot. My husband loves all things antique and developed a special interest in blown glass ornaments, often called Radko or Shiny Brites.  They tend to be rather expensive, especially the antiques, but there are many replicas out there so we can enjoy them guilt free. Even better, new ones are always purchased after Christmas during the "75% Off Sale."

The old fashioned ornaments remind us of days gone by.  Christmas trees were actually that - TREES - and they were chosen with special care and for a few weeks became part of the family.   We bought ours from grocery stores or special lots run by groups like the YMCA or Knights of Columbus.  Actually the"Y's Men's X-Mas Trees" lot is still in operation. (I am not responsible for the bad pun, or the contraction of the word Christmas.)  To us, the tree was Christmas, and we would not have been content with anything artificial.  Well, actually, I was fascinated by those aluminum trees with different colored spotlights shining on them, but of course my family would never have thought of having one.   We used the same ornaments and lights year in and year out, replacing them only when they were broken beyond repair, and occasionally those that had been given to us as gifts. That was before the era of those tiny disposable lights that you see everywhere these days.  Ours were bigger and the bulbs were replaceable.  I don't really know when or where they were purchased, as far as I can remember, they were in the household before I was. There were even one or two "bubble lights" in the set, which I assume had been purchased as replacements.

Christmas is a good time to remember and a good time to look forward, but the best thing to do is celebrate the "now" of our lives. To spend time with those we love, remembering that life is fleeting and that we have not been promised anything beyond this moment.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Angel Choir Tree

The First Tree of Christmas

We are very, very late with our decorations this year. Too many responsibilities, too many people demanding our time. By the time we finish, it will be time to take them all down, but we remain undaunted. This is the tree in our gallery, the "Angel Tree."  All white, all angels and doves. I love this one because it reminds me of the time a few years ago when I was in the hospital with congestive heart failure brought on by a virus,  It was not long after Christmas.  I called a dear friend and mentor, asking her to pray for me and she took the request very seriously.  She told me that angels had been sent to watch over me, I have never forgotten that prayer. 

A bit of a disclaimer here. I am well aware that most scholars believe that these decorations do not resemble angels in any way.  Of course they don't, because angels are spirit beings and don't resemble anything we can see or even imagine. But to me, these are symbols of God's loving care, of the joy that is in heaven and of the wonderful gift of Christmas. I don't worship them, pray to them or expect things from them, but when I look at them I remember and thank God for his blessings.

There are a few other "angels" and a nativity scene that are usually under this tree, but they haven't been brought up from the basement yet. When I find them, I may take another photo.  The painting above the tree is my pastel of Christ on the Cross, and may be more appropriate for the Easter season, but it is also a good way to remember the reason for the season. Besides the painting is really heavy and I didn't want to move it:)

Close up of my "Angel Tree."

On a much sadder note, we had to say good-bye today to a very special man and a good friend. We came to know John and his wife Christine through the Asian Ministry at our church, where we all taught Sunday School. He was only 54, and died after a three month battle with cancer. He had three beautiful grown children and two grandchildren. The memorial service was a tribute to this kind and gentle man, and a testimony of his great faith. We all miss him. But as the Bible says, we "do not grieve as others do who have no hope," And for that hope, we can rejoice, even through our tears.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kitten in a Christmas Stocking

Naughty or Nice?
 Don't you just love all that cute innocence? They are full of energy, into everything, and life is just one long playtime to them. If there is nothing going on, they start something and they can make toys out of the most common objects. And nothing is off limits, at least they don't think so. Christmas seems to have been made for them and they enjoy it to the fullest - from the bright shiny ornaments to  all the smells of dinner being cooked.  But it is the trees that especially attract them. "A tree in the house! How exciting. This is here for me to climb, right? Why else would it be here? I can go way, way up, clear to the top! ....OOOOPS!!! This is a very unsturdy tree!!!"  That was several years ago, when I decided that there are things more important than tradition and that artificial trees are not so bad after all. 

This is a busy time of year for everyone. There is shopping to do, there are people to see, there are meals to plan and decorations to be hung.  But I pray that somehow this year I can experience some of  playfulness of a kitten or a puppy and just ENJOY.  I would have added "a child" to that list, but I don't think that children exhibit that pure joy so much any more. Everything is somehow attached to an electronic device - TVs, cell phones, computer games. iPods and the like. No, this isn't a criticism of modern technology, or of the younger generation. I use some of these devices myself and they do make my life easier.  It is the brave new world, and no one really wants to stop progress. But it does make me sad, because something has been lost...

So whenever things get too hectic, when there is just too much to do, too many people to please and no time to breathe,  think of this little kitten and make yourself some joy - the pure, simple kind.  Remember, this was meant to be a Birthday celebration! I hope that you have a wonderful, fun, merry Christmas Season! 

This painting is an acrylic on stretched, wrapped canvas, 10 x 8, standard depth. It is available through Art Helping Animals, and can be seen on Daily Painters as well.  10% of the sale will be donated to Tabby's Place, to help the cats and kittens who don't have a home this Christmas.

Naughty or Nice
Acrylic on Canvas
10 x 8, standard depth
includes shipping within the United States

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Equine Art White Horse by the Sea and Why I Don't Like Politicians

Dancing with the Sea
Pastel, 16 x 22 
Three of my favorite things: white horses. the sea, and lighthouses.  Maybe all this is a bit too much for one painting - sort of like a dessert of double-double chocolate torte with whipped cream and a scoop of ice cream on the side.  I am not sure if there are limits for things like that, but I have always heard that you should paint what you love.

Speaking of which, I may have told you this story before, but I know you will forgive me because you always do, no matter how often I repeat myself.  Several years ago Larry and I illustrated a book of poetry written by our friend Kathy.  After it was published, she asked us to go with her to a book fair in a neighboring town.  She set up a lovely display and lots of people stopped to chat, including a local politician, a county supervisor, I think.  He was a bit insulted that we hadn't recognized his name right away, as he wrote a column for the local newspaper. He gave us this song and dance about wanting to buy a book for his mother but didn't have any money with him. (Uh-huh, I thought, if he was a politician, most likely he had some of OUR money. But I was very polite and tried to be impressed by his importance.) Honestly, he would have made a much better impression if he had just said something like "very nice" and moved on.  Instead he picked up the mini portfolio of my work, glanced at one of the pictures and said, "Oh, you paint horses.'  Now there are many ways of saying something like this. You might say, "Oh! YOU paint HORSES!" or "Oh, you paint horses?"  It all depends on the inflection. It could be complimentary, as if horses were nice and he liked them, or it could be condescending and insulting. Let's just say his tone made it clear that he didn't consider horses to be appropriate subjects for painting.  Not all the paintings were of horses, of course, but evidently he had a strong prejudice against them, and I lost all credibility with him when he saw the one horse painting.  I took a deep breath and, with all the dignity I could muster, I answered, "I paint a LOT of different things, and if you are really interested, you can log onto my website." I handed him a business card. He looked at it as if it would bite him and,  after a moment's hesitation,  stuffed it into his pocket.  You can bet, he lost a lot of credibility with me.  And I definitely looked for his name on the ballot in the next general election so that I could vote AGAINST him.

When I began today's blog, as it often happens, I have no idea where things will end up, but there is a point to all this.  In art, as in life, we can't please everyone, nor are we supposed to.  God has gifted each of us uniquely,  to bring healing to a hurting world.  If I don't do what I have been called to do, it won't be done, and a piece of the puzzle will be missing.  If I let the opinion of someone else influence my work, it won't be my work at all and a piece of the puzzle will be missing.  If I try to fulfill the calling of another,  I lose on so many levels,  and someone who might have found a little joy or perhaps comfort through my work will also lose.

All this from a horse, the sea, and a lighthouse!  I do tend to get carried away. Be kind to yourself today, and thank God for YOU, just as you are!

This painting is available through Art Helping Animals.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Equine Western Art Horses White Arabian Horse by Della Burgus

Show Stopper
Image size 13 x 18
Matted to a standard frame size
frame not included

Every breed of horse has its unique characteristics, and all of them are beautiful.  Arabians display a regal bearing and seem to have been created for the the show ring.  This graceful little half-bow, with neck arched and ears flat  was a common pose in the show I saw this summer, and it seemed to be a very natural one for them.  To me, horses of every kind are the "stuff that dreams are made of" and they are among my favorite subjects.  The painting has been listed today (Tuesday, Nov. 2) on Daily Painters and is also available through Art Helping Animals.

I recently joined a group called International Equine Artists,  a collective group of artisans that share the love of creating works of art using the horse as their subject. Many of the artists are also very proficient at creating other subject matter and hail from all over the globe with many different skill levels.  Be sure to check out their website to see some great equine art.  http://www.internationalequineartists.com/gallery.html

It looks as if the "Osceola Project" - remodeling my husband's parents' home - may be coming to a close at last. We have painted, hammered, drilled, and refurbished our hearts out over the past two years and we are down to the porch. When the last nail has been pounded in and the last coat of paint has been left to dry. we can finish emptying and cleaning the house, put up a "For Sale" sign and wait for people to tie up the phone lines begging us to sell it to them. Hah! In this economy? Well, I have always believed in miracles. You know recently I read that God isn't moved by need, but by faith. Well, we have both.  So we will await our miracle.

I am looking forward to more time in my studio: more time to work on commissions, more time to meet deadlines  and more time to just play.  I used to have a sign on my refrigerator door that reminded me to "Go into your studio and make things!"  That is the bottom line - just make things - have some fun!   All too often that playful spirit becomes buried by the demands of both life and art. Art is hard work, but without that element of play the result is flat, boring, predicable - three adjectives that spell death to any creative spirit. 

I hope you have a joyful, productive and play-filled day!!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Cute Little Pom
Acrylic, 11 x 14
Stretched, Wrapped Canvas

Every now and then I run into a face that I just can't resist. Pomeranian dogs remind me either of Teddy Bears or little foxes.  They look like foxes but cuddle like Teddy Bears. I lived next door to one named "Teddy" who used to bark at me through the fence all the time. But it was only an act - he was really sweet and friendly.  This painting was listed on  both Art Helping Animals and Daily Painters last week. I still haven't decided if I will list it on Ebay or Etsy.

I haven't been around as much lately and must apologise to all my friends for neglecting you. Not only have I failed to blog, but I haven't been reading or leaving comments on your blogs.  Even that takes energy,  and brain power, neither of which have been in great supply.
Responsibilities with a capital R have been rearing their ugly heads.  Still working on remodeling the house that belonged to Hubby's parents. The house was in worse shape that we had thought when we started, so it is taking a long time. Not to mention the hour plus drive down and back whenever we go.  I am not much of a carpenter, but I am pretty much all the help he has at this point. Poor guy. Yesterday I spilled some paint on the nice concrete patio floor. We cleaned it up before it stained, but he seemed to be fine with my staying home today. Hopefully I will work on a painting. Since I am obligated to list one painting a week on Daily Painters for the Art Helping Animals group, I hope to get something finished soon.  It didn't help that  I caught a nasty cold last week. To which most people would say "Oh, a cold," translates to "So what?" And normally I would agree with that assessment but I must have been run down already because this one hit me pretty hard. All I could do -  and all I wanted to do -  was curl up on the couch and sniffle. But I did get a lot of reading done. And watched some TV.  I learned so much about cooking and crafting, and of course building and  I traveled all over Europe with Rick Steves - just by watching the PBS television, "Create" channel.  Amazing what you can do without leaving your living room.  I am feeling better now, but even after the physical strength returns it takes a while to get going artistically.  Things are really bad when I don't even want to go into the studio and play. But I forced myself to work a little this morning, and though my "muse" has not yet completely recovered, she did at least show up and I am hoping to coax her to stick with me at least for a while. 

So you may or may not see the latest attempt next week, but I will try to drop in and say hello at least. Have a good week and stay healthy!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Little Burro Donkey Oil Painting by Della Burgus

This sweet little donkey was in a children's petting zoo and I just fell in love.  Such a sweet and unassuming creature!   Donkeys are among my favorite animals and God must like them, too, because they appear often in Scriptures.  Don't you just love the irony of Balaam and his donkey - how the animal spoke the words of the Lord, while the rebellious prophet tried to do things his own way?  And the equally ironic sight of the King of Kings riding into Jerusalem on a "beast of burden" rather than a mighty war horse.  It is a reminder that God can use even the most unlikely creature if its heart is humble and willing to serve.

This is an oil painting on 9 x 12 stretched canvas. All the edges are painted and no staples are showing. It is available through Daily Painters, Art Helping Animals and the Chisholm Trail.  I will also list it on Etsy. 10% of the sale will be donated to True Blue Animal Rescue and 10% to Children's Cup International Relief. This painting is SOLD,

Looky Looky What I Got!

For years I have been trying to find a way to safely store my finished work, especially my pastels. so they won't get smudged, smeared or torn.  I have been keeping them in folders stacked against the wall in my studio, and so far so good, but it isn't an idea situation.  I found this lovely display case at The Art Store, my local art supply shop, for only $5!!!!  It is laminate-covered pressed board and the shelves are removable and adjustable.  Many, many shelves, probably more than I will ever be able to fill,  Perhaps I could build something else with the leftovers????  The store sold off some of its display furniture in order to fit into a smaller space.  I was sorry to hear they have to downsize, but glad they intend to stay in business, and very glad to be able to take this off their hands. My husband agreed that he couldn't build anything like this for the price.  Probably it would cost more than that for just one shelf. I am thrilled!

My husband and I have been trying to find ways to use our studio space more efficiently now that we decided to close the frame shop.  It was good for us for a while, brought people into our gallery who otherwise would never have come - and so we sold paintings to people who otherwise would never have purchased original art. But now  its time has passed and we need to move on.  Supplies and materials have just become too difficult to find and too expensive to purchase.   We put up a "Frame Shop Closed" sign in effect Oct. 1, and though we are still finishing some projects, we will not take in any more orders.  The frame shop will at last become the studio/gallery we originally planned so many years ago.  Which means more time for creativity and also  a smaller counter, less storage place for mats and glass and more room for us to work.  And my new paper storage fits perfectly with our new artistic lifestyle....

Friday, October 01, 2010

God and Dog

I read this wonderful book by Wendy Fransisco, wife of singer-songwriter Don Fransisco, and wondered how I was going to share it in a blog. Then I discovered that before it was a book, it had been a video on U-Tube. So, enjoy!

By the way, I also see God's imprint on cats, horses, birds, bunnies, and wildlife, but so far I haven't seen a book or video like this about any of them. When I do, you will see it here. 

Thanks to my two buddies,  and to all the dogs who have loved me unconditionally, as well as those that I have painted that loved their people just as much.

Button, our toy poodle who loves to pose for pictures.

Barnabas, our shelter Golden Border Collie, who has never liked my camera. Is that dog sticking his tongue out at me?

Have a great day and don't forget to hug your furry friend.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Equine Western Art Horses Arabian Horse by Della Burgus

Strength and Gentleness
Arabian Horse
Horse shows are always exciting. There is something about seeing one of these gorgeous animals, groomed and polished, strolling around an arena that takes my breath away. To me they are like great sculptures created by the Master  -  not just clay or wood, but living, breathing works of art.  I can only stare in wonder and awe.  This Arabian was one of my favorites in the Society Horse Show at the state fair this summer.  His grace and dignity made him stand out in the crowd, and that was no ordinary crowd.

This is a pastel on Sennelier Pastel Card. It will be listed on Art Helping Animals, the Chisholm Trail and Daily Painters this week. 10% of the sale will be donated to True Blue Animal Rescue and 10% to Children's Cup International Relief.

Hope you have a good day. And find some of the Master's artwork to appreciate this week.



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Resurrection Sunday Dance 2010, Budapest, Hungary -- Electronic Gospel R...

This is a feel-good video. I hope it brightens  your day as it has mine.  On April 4, 2010, over 1,300 young people, all of them members of Faith Church celebrated Resurrection Sunday in Budapest, Hungary.

Music: Ferenc Balogh Jr.
Lyrics: Shelly Matos, based on the Hungarian text by Tamas Pajor (Tompage)
Producer: Ákos Nemes
Art Producer: Tamás Pajor (Tompage)

While we are banning prayer in the public schools and taking God out of everything our forefathers fought for, take a look at what happened in the streets of Budapest on Resurrection Sunday!  Here in America, we call it Easter, but I like their name better!

My thanks to John Stuart for passing along this video.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Feline Art Cats White Cat Acrylic by Della Burgus

 I love painting white fur - white horses, white cats, dogs, rabbits - they fascinate me because of all the unexpected colors that lurk in the shadows as well as those that come out to play in the light.  Colors are to me what amusement park rides are to other people, or maybe a week end in Vegas if you are so inclined.  Like unearthing a hidden treasure.  As a young art student, one of my most exciting discoveries was that white is not really white,  neither is black really black nor is red red. Not totally.  It still blows me away.  In all the years I taught art, there was one student who reacted in the same way.  I had given her an apple and asked her to "paint" with her colored pencils what she actually saw, NOT  what she thought was there. She was amazed and excited to see so many colors in the "red" fruit. I mean really excited - to the point where she was beginning to annoy some of the other kids who just couldn't see the value of it all.  I was thrilled.  It does warm a teacher's heart when a student, even just one student, "gets it,"  I wish I could tell you she went on to a career in art or at least design, but I don't think so. At least, perhaps, she does look at the world a little differently.

This painting is called "Ivory" and is a sort of companion piece to the black cat from last week's blog. I like the contrast of the black and white, and also of the personality of the animal.  The white cat is very much like one I had as a child. She was loving and nurturing, especially to a little girl who was often lonely and frightened.  I think she thought I was one of her kittens.

This painting is acrylic on stretched canvas, 6 x 8.   All the edges have been painted and no staples show. It may be displayed with or without a frame.  As with the black cat, 10% of the sale will be donated to Tabby's Place, A Cat Sanctuary. 10% to Children's Cup International Relief.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Black Cat "Ebony"

Cats fascinate me. They are a completely contradictory creature.  Warm and affectionate, yet cool and disinterested,  shy and timid yet ferocious,  dependent  yet absolutely superior, the their only consistent characteristic is their inconsistency. The same animal can display all the  grace of a ballet dancer and the delicacy of a bull. A cat's purr can calm even the most troubled heart. They are, above all else, unpredictable, an endearing yet irritating quality.  If you have a cat as your friend, you will never be bored.  Annoyed, disgusted, entertained, enchanted and most of the time bewildered, but never bored.  Unfortunately I don't think a cat can say the same about us. We do bore them sometimes. With some pets, such as dogs, I wonder who it is that owns whom, but with cats there is no question...

Cats relate differently to us than dogs do.  A dog's person can do no wrong. Even when we make idiots of ourselves, to our dogs we are superior in every way. the most wonderful people in the world.  They will never admit to our imperfections,  But cats have no illusions. They know we are inferior in so many ways,  yet somehow they seem to love us anyway. But they never let us forget who or what we are.

This painting is part of a series entitled, "When I Look In Your Eyes," inspired by a song from the Dr. Doolittle musical.  I love the look in the eyes of this one,  serene, yet watchful.  You never know what they are thinking but you know their thoughts are deep.  The painting is in acrylic on stretched, wrapped canvas, all edges painted and no staples show so that it may be displayed with or without a frame. It is available through Daily Painters  and Art Helping Animals.

By the way, I am working on a companion piece to this painting. It will be called "Ivory." I will let you figure it out.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Sleeping Kitten and A Tree Full of Butterflies

Sleeping Kitten
Pastel,  Image Size, 9 x 12
Matted, Ready to Frame
A kitten finds a nice, soft, unmade human bed for a nap. There is nothing sweeter than a sleeping baby and this sweet kitten has found a quiet place to sleep.  It is amazing the way kittens can tear around destroying everything one minute and the next they look so sweet and innocent. Which of course, they are - even when they are creating chaos.  A lot like all children - and grownups, too. We all have our moments, and it is lovely when people remember us when we are at our best instead of our most chaotic.

This is a pastel on Wallis Professional Sanded Pastel Paper. It will be mounted and matted, ready to frame.  It is listed on Art Helping Animals and Daily Painters.

The Butterflies of Autumn
A sign of fall: the Monarch migration.  They rest in the trees and bushes on their way to Mexico.  There must be hundreds of them in our apple tree this evening.

Whenever I see a butterfly, I marvel at its Master Designer, but in the autumn when they fill the trees and cover the bushes,  I can only shake my head in silent wonder.  What an absolutely incredible sight!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Long-haired Dachshund and More Maine Musings


Here it is Saturday already and I am just now blogging my artwork for the week.   How many days can you blame it on jet lag?  Anyway, I want to share this little sweetie with you. My brother had a dachshund for many years, a little guy named Oscar, although he was the short-haired variety.  I got to know Oscar pretty well and through him discovered that Dachshunds are very special people - good-natured and friendly, though intensely loyal, highly intelligent, just a little stubborn and with a well developed sense of humor.  This painting was listed Tuesday on Daily Painters and Art Helping Animals and has already been purchased because it looks exactly like a sweet little dog named "Curry." I always love it when that happens. Curry's person even sent me a photo to show me how much he looked like the painting. 
Speaking of dogs, that is another reason I loved Bar Harbor.  I saw nearly as many dogs there as at the dog shows I have visited. Many shops were "dog friendly" and some even set bowls of water in front of the store because it was a warm day. My kind of people.

Since this was only my second time seeing the Atlantic Ocean, I am sure you will allow me to "oooh" and "ahhh" once again. I shot this picture the first day we arrived at the coast. All it took was one look at this to convince me I wasn't in Iowa any more.

Even as we speak, I am composing paintings in my head. This year the colors were so clear, so strong,  I just can't wait to get out my oils!   But there are commissions to do and promises to keep, and miles to go before I paint...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

There and Back Again - The Maine Adventure

I took this photo in Acadia National Park last week.  My handsome son and his beautiful bride celebrated their first wedding anniversary last week end in Maine. The wedding last year had been very small, just immediate families - which of course included dogs. This year they invited all of their family and friends to a reception/anniversary party, complete with a Maine lobster feast, dancing and a whole lot of fun. So we made a return trip. As you can see, the weather was perfect.  I just love the turquoisey blue of the water and sky. All my pictures from last year were lovely pearly grays, just as beautiful, but a completely different color scheme.  I can't wait to try to capture these amazing blues in oil or pastel!!! I had originally planned to take along watercolors and get in some Plein-air painting, but decided to take lots of photos instead. Cameras take up less room in a suitcase. And a whole lot less time. You will probably see more photos in later blogs. Plus a painting or two...

Our kids live in Lamoine, Maine, which is not far from the famous Bar Harbor, a very fun, picturesque place to visit, a quaint little tourist town with surprises around every corner. We enjoyed all the galleries. souvenir shops  and stores for pets and lots of unique restaurants whose main bill of fare is - you guessed it - lobster!

I left my camera behind when we visited the shops as I was serious about shopping which,  as every serious shopper knows, includes but is not limited to buying things. As a serious shopper, I am committed to looking at everything. These photos were taken by my husband who is a serious photographer.

Hull's Cove School

The reception was held in a 1906 school building, a fascinating bit of history in the area. I didn't bring my camera to that event either, because I thought one photographer per family should do it. But my husband is always willing to share his genius. Above is an exterior view of the school. Below is an interior shot, with Aaron, Keegan, and her uncle in the distance.

As much as I love Maine is about as much as I dislike flying. But it is a fact of life, if you want to go somewhere far away, you must take a plane, you must go through security and you must change planes and endure layovers. I feel I spent more time in airports this vacation than at my destination. But even looking out the window is an experience.

The obligatory airplane window photo

Have a great day. Hope you have had the chance to see something new this summer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

End of Summer Madness

If I were to say "Butter Cow" what would you think of?
Or, "A Butter Tribute to Dr. Suess?"

Green Eggs and Ham, anyone?

How about "Star Boars?"

Jabba the Hutt
Artist at work.

Corn dog on a stick? Chicken on a stick? Octodog (hotdog in the shape of an octopus)? Chocolate-dipped cake on-a-stick? Pork chop on-a-stick?  Fried pickle on-a-stick? Chicken lips on-a-stick (breaded chicken breast smothered with hot sauce, served with blue cheese dressing)? Deep fried Twinkie on-a-stick? Chocolate-covered tiramisu on-a-stick? That is just a small sampling.  I didn't eat any of those things, but I did have a foot-long hot dog. Please don't tell my doctor!

If you guessed, the Iowa State Fair, you must be from my part of the country.  Of course it wasn't all craziness.

I did see some gorgeous horses...                      And some beautiful artwork...


Not to mention the baby lambs and goats: the chickens, the ducks and giant pumpkins.

I was sorry to see that the Old Goose Herder and his gaggle were missing this year...
I had loved them so much last year.  Wonder what happened to them?  Well, they still might make a good painting. ..

And I did make a new friend. She doesn't talk much but she seemed very friendly and listened to everything I said...

She is the one on the right....

It was a long day and I am still exhausted.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Equine Western Art Horses Running Chestnut Horse by Della Burgus

The Dust Flies

Sometimes they run to avoid capture when they know they are being pursued. Maybe they run out of fear or distress, or because they have been left behind. But they are at their most exciting and beautiful when they run for the sheer joy of running - because they love to listen to the thundering of their own hooves, to feel the wind blowing their manes, or to experience the power flowing through their legs. They run because they were created to run. The idea a simple one, yet far beyond the understanding of most human beings.  Animals hardly ever suffer from identity crises or image problems. They never have to take a year off to "find themselves," and they never waste time or energy trying to pretend to be something they are not. They are what God made them to be.  That is all He asks of any of us.

I once heard that if you pursue your passion you will bump into your purpose, but it you look for purpose without passion you will lose them both.  I like that. Hmm, maybe the horse isn't running away from anything at all. Maybe he, too, is pursuing his passion...

So, keep on running - and let the dust fly!!!

This is an acrylic on canvas, 18 x 14. standard depth. All the edges have been painted and no staples show. It has been listed on the Chisolm Trail Art blog and will also be available through Daily Painters and Art Helping Animals. 10% will be donated to True Blue Animal Rescue.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Churning Waves

Last year I took a trip to Maine and saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. Like much of the English language, the word "awesome" has become so over- and, to my mind, misused, that it has nearly lost its meaning, yet it most nearly describes my feelings.  The original meaning of the word, inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear, rather than the current, watered down version which could apply to anything from a rock band to a new flavor of coffee.  When nature, in its raw power, causes the jaw to drop, the heart to beat rapidly and the mind to turn to God, now that's awesome!

I created this painting recently in anticipation for a return trip this fall.  I hope to have more time to walk along the rocky shore and listen to the amazing, powerful sounds of the breakers crashing the shore.  Perhaps this time I will bring my watercolors as well as my camera and do some painting on site. That would be awesome!
Sometimes I have to admit that my life feels just like these churning waves. I do not know which way I am going, where to turn, what is going to happen when the next big wave hits. During times like these it is good to remember that, though I have no control over the storms in my life, I know the One who does. He holds my hand and will never let me go.

Rocky Coast is an oil painting on wrapped canvas, 11 x 14, standard depth.  All the edges have been painted and no staples are showing, no frame is needed.  It is scheduled to be listed on Daily Painters tomorrow and on Art Helping Animals. 10%of the sale will be donated to Old Dog Haven, 10% to Children's Cup International Relief. 

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Maine Coon Cat

Tiger Stalks
Maine Coon Cats are a very popular breed, and I receive many requests to paint them. This one of Tiger, a cat belonging to my mother-in-law, shows him stalking his prey. He loves to play tiger and stalks all kinds of things - his toys, my poodle, bugs, his imaginary friends, anything that moves, and if nothing moves he will make it move.  He does resemble a raccoon in a way, but he really is a tiger, and don't you forget it!  Whenever I run across another photo of him I am inspired to paint him again.

As I wrote before in an earlier blog, my husband's parents gave a home to this helpless little stray kitten and took care of him. But later on, when my mother-in-law was widowed, Tiger took care of her - he was her friend and companion, he kept track of her and, when she didn't feel like doing anything else, she would sit in her rocking chair and hold him. All that sounds to me like the hand of God. He knows what we need before we do, and He makes provision for us ahead of time.

This painting is available for sale on eBay. Click here to view the fixed price listing.

By the way, according to a note written on the back of one of his photos, Tiger began life as "Marie."  For some reason everyone thought he was a "she," even the veterinarian.  When Marie was taken in to be spayed, the vet shaved off her fur before realizing it would require another kind of operation altogether.  Tiger was more than just a little indignant about the entire ordeal, but animals do not hold grudges as humans do.  

  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.               
                   1Cor. 13:4-7                

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Rose

 Love in Any Language
 Oil on canvas, 12" x 12" x 1.5"

My interpretation of one of God's most beautiful creations. Personally I can't imagine how anyone can look at one of these and not believe in a Creator, but then at various times I have also said that about horses, dogs, cats, sunsets, rainbows, oceans, mountains - well, you know.   Psalm 19:1 says it all: "The Heavens declare the glory of God and the earth shows forth His handiwork."

Lately I have been drawn to looking at things close up. I even began a series of animal paintings called "When I Look in Your Eye."  While roses don't have eyes,  they seem to me to be more beautiful the closer you get. It may have something to do with being nearsighted.  Georgia O'Keefe developed a similar attitude toward flowers. I remember seeing a film in which she described her fascination with a Jack-in-the-pulpit. She did a series of paintings from a closer and closer point of view until she was almost inside the flower.  She was a fascinating artist, and though I don't share her style or philosophy, I really admire her talent and her "toughness," especially when she grew older.  One of the things in my "bucket" is visiting her museum in Santa Fe,  New Mexico.   But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep...

The rose is in oils on a wrapped, canvas, stretched over 1.5 inch thick stretcher bars. The painting is extended over the edges. No frame is necessary. It will be listed on Art Helping Animals and Daily Painters.

10% of the sale will be donated to Old Dog Haven.
And 10% of the sale will be donated to Children's Cup Relief