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!!!!