Monday, June 28, 2010

Gray Persian Cat

Smokey Blue
Acrylic on wrapped canvas
6 x 8
All edges painted, no staples show.
Display with or without a frame.
I have met many passionate animal lovers online through my work with  the Art Helping Animals Blog.   (Click on link for purchase information.) Many people have their favorites and  do request to see paintings of certain breeds.  One of the most popular is the Persian Cat, an absolutely unique and beautiful animal.  These are definitely indoor cats, not the type you might see walking around in someone's yard, or even curled up on a porch, so about the only place to see one is in a cat show unless you have your own.   Those that I have been privileged to meet are as delightful as they are beautiful. Despite their regal bearing and the somewhat austere expressions on their faces, they are affectionate and devoted and they make wonderful pets.  This painting will be listed both on Art Helping Animals and Daily Painters.

Today's blog is on the short side because my energy level is at the low end of the chart. I fought a serious battle with a sinus infection toward the end of last week, then had a very busy week end.  My husband and I worked all day today on the Inter-Urban Trolley mural and the result is complete exhaustion. Did I tell you about the mural? Probably not. Well, I will catch you up later this week.  And tomorrow I will try to catch up with all of those wonderful blogs of yours that I haven't yet been able to comment on.

Bless you all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Close up Arabian

Into the Marvelous Light
Acrylic on Canvas
10 x 8, standard depth
Wrapped canvas, all edges painted, no staples show
Display with or without a frame

that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.    1Peter 2:9

 Sometimes we go through dark days when it is hard to see the light. We grieve and we may have very good, valid reasons to grieve, or maybe we aren't even sure why but we feel overcome with sadness and hopelessness.  Sometimes it seems that each day is darker than the one before, and we wonder if we will ever see the light again. And then we begin to wonder if there really is a light at all, or if we have just been fooling ourselves. I have faced more than a few days like that, and I wouldn't be surprised if there have been some in your life also. But eventually there comes a time when I have to make a decision between the darkness and the light. It is not an easy decision, not as easy as it should be.  "Let's see, darkness or light?  Now that is a no-brainer." Or is it? Sometimes I believe it is easier for me to stay in my comfort zone of misery, even when it is no longer so comfortable. When I am wallowing in self-pity, overwhelmed with sadness and despair, paralyzed with the inertia of indecision, it is so much easier for me just to stay there. But all it takes is one move, one very small move - just to turn my face to the Light. That's all,  just turn. I don't have to run or walk, don't even have to lift my feet out of the miry mud. All I have to do is turn. And when that first tiny ray of Light hits me, I turn again, Then I move closer. I walk. I run. I dance. I am free.

This painting has been listed on Art Helping Animals and will appear on Daily Painters on Tuesday,  June 22.  10% of the sale will be donated to True Blue Animal Rescue and 10% to Children's Cup International Relief.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

26 Years Ago Yesterday

Yesterday Larry and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary.  We have often taken a trip to mark the occasion, but this year we settled for a lovely dinner out at our favorite restaurant. Well, my favorite, anyway.

Everyone said it was a beautiful wedding, but then everyone always says that, don't they? It is all a blur now, but there are still a few memories.  I remember that the original cake baker had to cancel at the last minute because of back problems and I ended up ordering the cake from the grocery store. And my aunt said it was pretty good and "not too crumby." My uncle had come all the way from Arizona for my wedding but missed the ceremony because he had the time wrong.  I was touched by his tears. Our wedding was the first for the photographer and she did a great job, but the battery on her camera died shortly after the ceremony. We relied on our friends with cameras for more photos, and they were more than happy to share them.  I remember also that my husband stumbled over the words "plight thee my troth," which is hard to say on a good day.  In spite of the less than stellar beginning, it has been a beautiful life, through both good times and bad and that is what really counts isn't it?  Some of our dreams came true, others didn't, and God had a few surprises along the way that we hadn't even thought about.  Anyway, if I had it to do all over again, I would. Still,  I am glad that, even though the Lord knows the end from the beginning, He doesn't share that knowledge with us. We couldn't handle it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wild Thing

Tiger's Eyes
Pastel, 8 x 10

Another in my the series inspired by the song When I Look in Your Eyes, from the original Dr. Doolittle musical. I have always been fascinated by eyes, both human and animal. They speak volumes, more than I can ever explain with words. The eyes of a dog are loving and loyal, the eyes of a cat are somewhat mysterious, a horse's eyes have a certain dignity and nobility.  But the eyes of a tiger are simply amazing.  They are fierce and watchful,  sometimes described as "amber colored," sometimes "topaz," they seem to reflect the colors of the sky and the landscape - a little orange, some yellow, some brown and just a touch of green. Always a challenge.  The sight of a tiger always causes my jaw to drop in awe of this magnificent creature. How did God think to do that? I would never have thought of  that! 

In the book Wild Goose Chase,  Mark Batterson briefly describes a trip to the Galapagos and relates it to Adam in the Garden.
Scripture tells us that one of the first jobs God gave Adam was naming the animals. And we read right past it. But it must have taken years of research and exploration to complete the project. I don't think God paraded the animals past Adam to a single-file line. I'm guessing God let Adam discover them in their natural habitat. Imagine how thrilling it must have been for Adam to catch his first glimpse of wildebeests stampeding, mountain goats climbing, or rhinos charging...Few things compare to the thrill of seeing a wild animal in its natural habitat.  There is something so inspiring about a wild animal doing what it was created to do. Uncivilized. Untamed, Uncaged.
He goes on to describe a subsequent visit to the zoo. It was disappointing to him, it was just not the same to see a caged animal. "It is too safe. It is too tame. It is too predictable." He makes the case that in many ways we are like the caged animals, content to live "safe" lives rather than doing what we were intended to do. Unlike the animals, many of our cages are of our own making.

While I have always dreamed of going on one of those photographic safaris to see wildlife in their natural habitat, most of my models have been in zoos. Except for the occasional deer, bunny, or red fox.  Many modern zoos no longer display animals in cages and do make an effort to simulate a "natural habitat" for them.  I am not certain if that is for the benefit of the animals or the people who come to see them, but  zoos have done research in protecting wildlife, especially those considered endangered.  Zoos have helped me as an artist because at this point I do not have the resources for a trip to Africa or India to visit wildlife.  I don't know what I would do without digital cameras and Photoshop although, according to Batterson, I am missing out on the best part of life. So that one will go into my bucket to await a time of fewer responsibilities. Or should I say, "cages."

This painting will be listed on Daily Painters and Art Helping Animals on Tuesday. It is matted and ready to frame. Image size is 8 x 10.
10% of the sale will be donated to Tabby's Place because inside every kitty is the heart of a tiger.
An additional 10% of the sale will be donated to Children's Cup International.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

White Iris

Block Buster -artist's block, that is...

The White Iris is the beginning of the end (I hope) of my current artist's block - which I envision as a huge boulder sitting right smack dab in the middle of my road.   From the moment I saw the beautiful white flower growing in the neighbor's yard, I knew I HAD to paint it. That feeling is what has been missing from my journey the past couple of weeks.  Thomas Edison said "genius is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration,"  and as a genius he would know about things like that.  On the other hand, as an artist I know that the tiny little one percent is the most crucial of the whole equation. Without inspiration, there is no real art, no matter how much perspiration is generated.  And, like it or not, real inspiration comes from God, not from me.  In Bible college I learned that the word inspiration actually means "God-breathed."  Wow! So, when I become dry and weary from trying to crank out artwork because I am supposed to, because people expect it, because I have to list something by Tuesday, or because if I don't produce something, I am no longer an artist - well, it is time to step back and let God "breathe" into me again.

It seems fitting that the last painting I did before my block was a white Persian cat, and the first painting afterward is a white flower. I love painting "white," because it never really is just white.  There are always soft subtle colors in the shadows and bright highlights that are just a step away from white. I get lost in them.

This painting is acrylic on gessoed board, framed with a black wooden frame. It has been listed on Daily Painters and Art Helping Animals. 10% will be donated to Old Dog Haven and 10% to Children's Cup International Relief.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Guest Artist, Sharyn A. Rose

Since my muse decided to take an unscheduled vacation without me, I am sharing the work of an artist friend of mine, one of the most creative people I know.

"Pansies," Watercolor print by Sharyn A. Rose

Sharyn has been a friend for a very long time and I have always admired her work, especially her collages and puppets. But a few weeks ago she blessed me with a watercolor print that completely blew me away. Watercolor? I didn't know she was also a watercolorist!  She doesn't have a blog or website of her own yet, so I asked her to be a guest artist on my blog and she graciously agreed. The interview was conducted by email, since she does live in another state.

This is a lovely watercolor. What was the inspiration for it?
The watercolor that is shown was accidental.  I was just experimenting with colors when (voila) a pansy revealed itself.  Most of my art is that way.
What types of art do you like creating?   
 I like drawing, watercolor, fabric sculpture, writing, scrap crafting. I like to draw faces, hand sew fabric animals, and scrap craft jewelry.

 My crafting is not predetermined but reveals itself as I go along.  We no longer have craft shows here at the senior "home" - but at the last one two years ago I sold:  button magnets; papier mache boxes with button covered lids; bead and button stretch bracelets; bookmarks using old photos and quotes; fabric flower pins (some went on a hat which the Director bought for her cruise); plastic eggs with mini-sewing kits inside (these went for .25 each and the social worker here said it was the best bargain she ever had...she used the kit about 3 times).

I seem to be a "generalist" in art...liking all mediums.  I do not feel "expert" in one and wish, in a way, I could settle down and grow in just one area.

When did you first discover you were an artist, and what is your background?
  I have a BA degree in education with art emphasis.  I taught Jr. High art for about 2 years; after that I was a puppeteer for many years and had my own traveling puppet theatre.  I did birthday parties and also worked in a children's theatre part-time.

What was your most rewarding experience with art?
 My most interesting art experience was when the MA Dept. of Education hired me to give a seminar to midwives from Afghanistan.  I taught them how to make felt hand puppets and they did beautiful embrodered faces. I also taught them how to give a presentation with puppets and we video-taped their presentation.  In Afghanistan a Dr. or nurse cannot tell a pregnant patient what to do, nor does the patient undress.  The midwives thought puppet shows might educate the women about health care and nutrition and baby care.  I now wonder if they are doing shows.

Which work do you consider  your "Masterpiece?"
 My best piece of "artwork" was probably my "4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie."  This was part of my hand-sewn puppet troupe.  The pie was built so that it would open and the 24 blackbirds bounced out...they were sewn on a mesh...the pie was beige felt as were the blackbirds.  I used this "puppet" in my "Mother Goose Rhyme" series.  I eventually sold it.  I love fabric sculpture.....especially multiples encased in one container.  I no longer do fabric sculptures but may go back to it one day.  I also loved doing fabric faces... again, I have no preconceived pattern...and just let the material give me direction. 

I know that you are also a gifted writer. Please share a little about that.
Currently I am taking a writing latest essay was on the moods of the sea.  On my own I am creating an altered book featuring everything I want to be and do and have.  This summer I want to type up and print off most of my writings...Right now I feel I am more writer than artist...but...maybe I'm both.

What is something about you that no one knows.?
 On a test I was diagnosed high creative and high in organizing.  In my office work I organized a President's loose papers and brochures in a series of notebooks.  At a meeting he showed these to the employees and said: "this is the product of an organized mind."  I've always liked that comment.
  I've also had comments about my decorations for parties.  At a church "Picnic in the Park" I created life-size cardboard cows for a farm theme (the udder was in the middle instead of the back; was told by a Dr. at thepicnic he would have to give an "udderectomy.")  Also at this picnic I had bales of hay and a large farmer puppet stuffed into a real pair of overalls.

If you could have lunch with anyone in history, who would it be?
If I could have a lunch with anyone it would be Jesus Christ, of course. I would have a long, long list of questions and would like to know what He is doing now?  Are there other worlds?   When is He coming back?  What should I be doing now?  Should I combine art and writing?  Should I try to publish?  Should I take courses and which ones?  What is my supreme purpose?  How am I gonna' lose weight and still eat ice cream?  What is my mom doing?  etc. etc.

If I had a second choice I'd like to interview Denys Fitch Hatton (of Out of Africa fame - and Karen Blixen's lover)....what happened to his plane that it mysteriously went down just at take-off?  Was it sabotage?  Was he sick?.... What happened between he and Karen...they were such strong friends...then the big separation.

 What are some of the things in your "bucket" -  what you would like to do but haven't done yet?
  I'd like to travel to Denmark to see Karen Blixen's family home; also Kenya to see her home in the Ngong Hills outside of Nairobi.  Other places on my "wish list" are:  Niagara Falls, Mackinac Island, Williamsburg (again), Ocean City, NJ (again), Paris, Sicily.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Sharyn for helping me out. My muse arrived home again late last week when I became captivated by a flower in the neighbor's garden. A painting is in the works, but I am taking it easy - painting when I feel like it, refusing to set a deadline for myself, not pushing. The result has been a joyful painting experience and an artwork that will be finished in a few days. Or not. It may even be good. Or not. At this point I am just happy to be painting again.