Friday, May 20, 2011

Floral Flowers Red Tulip

An Unexpected Joy
Image size: 7.5 x 9.5
Matted, ready to frame

Somewhere, nestled deep inside our most difficult struggles, when problems have piled up so high that they become mountains of stress, despair, and hopelessness, God plants a surprise, a little gift that says,"Cheer up, I'm here, I love you and I am still in charge.No big, mountain moving miracle, just a little gem of reassurance that God is still in His Heaven - and His earth - and that everything is under control.  Not my control, of course, but when I really analyze it, things are better off with God doing His thing than with me doing mine.

Last week, I was "enjoying" a solitary lunch of canned chicken soup - Healthy Choice Chicken with Rice, if it matters - because I had developed a rather nasty spring cold had no appetite for real food.  Besides the cold, I was facing a mountain of worries, responsibilities and forks in the road that seemed too much for me to handle. In the middle of my "meal," though, I looked up and found myself staring at a bouquet of tulips that my husband had brought in from the garden earlier in the week.  Most of them were pretty well spent, but there was this one lovely bloom,  beautifully colored,  perfectly shaped, smiling gently at me.  Of course, I did what any red-blooded American artist would do when faced with a subject like that.  I planned a painting, a series of paintings, a lifetime of paintings! It would be my Red Tulip Period.  Of course, I could not expect one little flower to last through so many paintings,  so I did what every red blooded American artist of the 21st century would do - I reached for my digital camera!  Don't you just love digitals?  I shot close-ups, closer-ups, macro close-ups, not-so-close-ups, in this light and that.  Some were good, some awful, but that is the beauty of modern technology.  Take as many shots as  you like and throw away the duds.  No money wasted on the film.

Of course this one had to be in pastel,  nothing else could have captured the joy of that moment.  The joy I had in creating this painting is drawing me back to pastel, which has always been my first love, even though other mediums may be more impressive and easier to ship. Oils and acrylics are fun and have their own special qualities, but I had been really missing the expressiveness and directness of pastel.  It is time to return to my first love in art, at least for a while. It is amazing how a chance encounter with one humble little flower has restored my vision, my passion and my joy.  Of course, that mountain of worry still looms, but I can trust the Creator of my red tulip to take care of that too. 

This pastel has been painted on Wallis Professional Pastel Paper, it comes mounted on foam core board and matted to a standard size so that it can be framed easily, but the frame is not included. It will be listed on Art Helping Animals and Daily Painters, and Chisholm Trail Art next week, Contact me for more information:

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mother's Day

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

The following has been "reposted" from Mother's Day last year.  I received many lovely comments and personal emails in response to this message, and I would like to share it again. 

For many years now, Mother's Day has been a day of mixed feelings for me. My mom passed away when I was 26 - that was a long time ago.  I still miss her.  I missed her when I married, and when I was raising a family. She loved kids and would have enjoyed being a grandmother. And I would have appreciated her encouragement and advice. But God had other plans, and His plans are always for the best, even when we don't understand them.  Mom had a firm, sometimes even fierce faith in God, and I don't remember her ever arguing with Him about anything.  And we all know that Heaven is a much better place than earth. 

I inherited a love of children from my mother and always planned, or at least hoped, to have a large family. But God had other ideas about that, also.  A few years after Mom died, He brought a young widower into my life and I became the instant mother of his two little boys.  I loved them as if they were my own, even though there were plenty of people on all sides reminding me that they were not really mine, and that it wasn't really "the same."  But I plugged on, and though my mother was no longer with me, God had given me a best friend, named Shary who I could always depend on for moral support.  I hadn't been married long when we went out for lunch together and she asked me how I was doing.  I chatted on and on about the kids, their activities, the house, Larry's work, and she said, "Della, how are you?"  It made me tear up then, as it does now. She never let me forget that, yes, I was a wife, a mother, a housekeeper, but I was also still her friend, a person, an individual. She once told me that I should stop thinking of myself as a second string replacement, a substitute for someone else, but to always remember that I am the one and only "me" and I wasn't a second-best anything. Thank you, Shary, for being there. Best friends are a wonderful gift from God. Right next to mothers.

So, the question is who is the real mother - is it the person who carried the children for nine months and spent hours in labor bringing them into the world, or the one who spent years feeding them, doing mountains of laundry and cleaning, spending sleepless nights worrying and  praying, praying, praying that someday when they went out into the world, they would be safe and happy, and that the world would become a better place because of them?  The answer can only be BOTH of them!  It takes all those things, and more to make a "real" mother. And for some reason, God in His wisdom decided that my boys needed two different women to share this responsibility, instead of just one. That was His decision.  Twice as much love, two times the prayers. And, like my mom, I don't have the audacity to argue with God about anything.

I painted this rose last summer.  The bush was a Mother's Day gift from my wonderful husband, who never stops reminding me that I am the mother of his children.  A husband is also a wonderful gift from God!  And I am blessed...

So to all you ladies, those of you who are or have been mothers or daughters and those who have been nurturing, caring people who perhaps don't fit the traditional "mother" mold, to all my friends and mentors, and especially to you, Mom - Happy Mother's Day!!

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Art Show

High Trestle Trail Artists

 Last Saturday we were invited to participate as guests in an art show  celebrating the opening of the new bike bridge in this area.  It was a lot of fun, we sold some paintings and prints, met some wonderful fun people and reconnected with some long time friends.

Hmmm, first the Chisholm Trail and now the High Trestle Trail, wonder if there is a pattern here.  I am not that much of a trail person myself, but maybe all this is a sign. If it happens I find myself on a trail at all, though, it will be for walking, not biking.  Or maybe just to follow the yellow brick road.

 Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more....

As you can see from the photos, the patrons were not dressed in the standard art show attire.  Most of them had ridden in on their bicycles, some had taken a shuttle bus from the town nearby. In any event, "biking" was the theme of the day.   It was  beautiful, though somewhat windy and we had a great time.

We hadn't done a show for years and learned a lot this time out.  We learned we should have brought more cards and prints, we learned that cat people love cat art, even when it doesn't look like their own cat, but dog people want the spots to match their pets exactly. We learned that the corner spot has both advantages and disadvantages.  You don't have to worry about your panels falling over if they are standing against a wall, but people sometimes walk right by without seeing your booth if it is tucked away in a corner. And always leave room for a chair so you can sit down and rest your feet!!!  It was fun and a whole lot less stressful than I expected it to be.  My thanks to the High Trestle Trail Artists for making us feel so welcome.  Hope we can do it again some time.