Monday, March 30, 2009


This morning, on the way to one of my favorite resale shops to look for a lampshade for an art project, I was detoured around some road work. No problem, it was a very small inconvenience. As I approached the re-routed street, I noticed a helicopter overhead. Then two, three helicopters hovered almost directly overhead. As I looked to the left, there were several emergency vehicles at the intersection I travel through all the time! It's not a major thoroughfare. In fact, the street on which I drive is a semi lazy neighborhood cut through type street. Apparently, I just missed two fire trucks colliding into one another with such an impact as to knock one truck on it's side, and onto another car, which knocked over a light pole, which (what I heard) fell on a lady riding her bicycle.

The accident occurred at the corner of Dunlavy and Westheimer.

Needless to say, it's trippy to consider that this intersection is in my stomping grounds. It could have been me, or any number of my friends who live and work in the area.

No lampshade, but I am alive and uninjured, completely unscathed.

Thank God for detours.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Every time I see daffodils, it reminds me of the following quote from the movie, Big Fish.
Amos Calloway: Her favorite flower is daffodils.
Young Ed Bloom: Daffodils. [smiles]
Can there possibly be a happier flower? Doesn't everyone love daffodils? It wasn't the first year that I've planted daffodils in the garden, but it's certainly been the best year for blooms. Not only the daffodils, but everything in the garden is blooming out the wazoo. Oh, and by the way, in case the reader has forgotten, yellow is my favorite color.

In order to paint as many spring flowers as possible, rather than taking more time to paint a larger painting, I thought that smaller canvases might help the the cause. In this case, the longer a painting takes to complete, the likelier the flowers will have dropped their blooms. So, these are small paintings, 5"x7" and 6"x6". The smallest painting I had done up to this point was 8"x10." Hopefully, I'll have time this week to get to other blooms and other canvases.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Laughing Song
by James Whitcomb Riley

Sing us something full of laughter;
    Tune your harp, and twang the strings
Till your glad voice, chirping after,
    Mates the song the robin sings:
Loose your lips and let them flutter
    Like the wings of wanton birds, --
Though they naught but laughter utter,
    Laugh, and we'll not miss the words.

Sing in ringing tones that mingle
    In a melody that flings
Joyous echoes in a jingle
    Sweeter than the minstrel sings:
Sing of Winter, Spring, or Summer,
    Clang of war, or low of herds;
Trill of cricket, roll of drummer--
    Laugh, and we'll not miss the words.

Like the lisping laughter glancing
    From the meadow brooks and springs,
Or the river's ripples dancing
    To the tune the current sings--
Sing of Now, and the Hereafter;
    Let your glad song, like the birds',
Overflow with limpid laughter--
    Laugh, and we'll not miss the words.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Becky's Azaleas

This is what happens when the tyranny of the urgent crowds in and a painting can't be finished in a timely manner. The still life starts decaying. It needs to be completed in spite of the lack of time. Well, technically it doesn't need to be finished, but, whatever, I would like for the painting to be done. The set up is left as is so that I can match colors and put things in the right place, more or less.

Last Friday-ish (maybe Thursday) was the first day working on this painting. Even though the leaves and flowers have started to fall (see above photo,) I still needed to use it as reference for painting today.

The reason this painting looks fuzzy is because I paint without wearing my corrective lenses. This is how blurry life is (for me.)

Another thing one can notice is how I run out of room on the canvas. Reese claims it's one of his favorite things about my painting style. There wasn't room on the canvas for the table after the flowers were put in place.

And this is what happens when the flowers are twelve inches away from my face and sitting on the easel. Even with the flowers so close, there's still not an excessive amount of clarity. Again, the wine bottle used as a vase didn't fit completely on the canvas.

Many thanks to friend and neighbor, Becky, for allowing free reign to clip her azaleas for use in still life paintings. There is such a plethora of flowers blooming in her front yard that one can hardly tell that any are missing.

Oh, and happy birthday to my mom! Since she's always been big on celebrating, but never keen on the actually counting the years, let me just say many happy returns of the day to her. Our computer crashed last week, and while we're still having difficulty with file retrieval, Reese helped find and upload this photo of Mom with my little sister, Elizabeth on her wedding day a couple of summers ago. Mom, aka Sally, has always been generous in sharing her birthday with a slightly more noted saint, Patrick.

Here's to you, Mom. Happy birthday.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rim Shot

It's becoming a habit to take a camera almost everywhere. That's how I was able to snap this classic photo while waiting at a stop light. The skull and crossbones rim is worthy for picture taking in it's own regard....

But does it get any more surreal, bizarre, and confusing than these rims being on a minivan with a normal enough looking mom driving and three kids buckled up in the back seats?

Visual oxymoron is the term that comes to mind.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Round 'Em Up

Ah, what a day! The sun, wind, and cowboys were out in full force, as well as a few clowns, for it's rodeo time in Houston. Like last year, I helped supervise the fun for a few little munchkins. For the purpose of this story, let's call these munchkins (l to r in the photo) Charles, Bill, and Mary.

Starting at the farm animal petting zoo, the kids were super glued to me, especially Mary. Everyone was excited about petting the animals when we were outside the pen, but as soon as the gate shut behind us, the reality sunk in that we were all in closed quarters with real live animals. Yikes! The deer kept trying to eat my skirt, and one very curious goat was absolutely convinced that we were long lost relatives. That silly goat insisted imploringly that we stop for a chat and cup of coffee. My poor young friends had no recollection whatsoever of being a relative (or even mere acquaintance) of the goat. The terror in their eyes grew at the goat's increasing persistence. We politely declined the goat's offer, and literally inched our way en masse out of the pen.

Next came the pig races. Charles did not want to see pigs fly, I mean, pigs race around a little track. First, a wee piglet swam across a water trough. So cute! Then, four little pigs came squealing out of a pen, lined up in marked lanes, put on their colorful racing vests, and were off! We had each picked our favorite pig based on vest colors. "Your pig won," Charles said incredulously, "That was fun!"

After many more adventures, we went on a quest to find long promised ice cream. That's when we bumped into these clowns. They graciously posed while I took a photo. Then the darnedest thing happened...the man clown pulled out his own camera, and asked if he could pose with me! That was a first! When I got home and told Reese, he said, "Can ya' blame him?" Aw, thank you, Reese.

On the bus ride back to school, Mary said that her favorite thing was watching the pig races. Despite the terror at the time, Charles said that he liked petting the goat. (!) Whether he remembers or not, little Bill's favorite thing was using the free hand sanitizer at various stations around the rodeo, but he said he liked our (impromptu) game of duck duck goose after eating ice cream. My favorite part?...holding hands with three new friends.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Lil' Bit

A small bit of forest
in our city park
is what I am painting
from now until dark.

It's quite overwhelming
with canvas so large;
the painting is slow,
but at least it's a start.

I better stay focused
(there's no time to diddle)
and paint till exhausted
'cause time is so little.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tori Tori Tori

For those who did not put your name in the hat, about three weeks ago I offered one of my paintings as a freebie to a blog reader. Tori, the young lady who won, is a sophomore at the University of Texas. I was delighted to recently discover that she is a regular blog reader of mine, in addition to her university studies. Everyone who entered (and didn't win) was sent a courtesy e-mail. I couldn't have been more pleased by the encouraging and delightful replies.

Here are a few of the many wonderful responses that you said when you heard that Tori won....

Hey, that is cool that it went to a student! Good to encourage those young collectors...

Congratulations to the winner of your painting!! That was such a fun idea!

It was my privilege to put my name in the hat! You have many disappointed "runners up" and one very excited winner! What a fun idea--and you got all of our hearts racing faster for a few days.

It was a fun idea, and I'm sure the gal who won is absolutely thrilled!

Tori will have an awesome keepsake to forever remember you and your art by. I bet it also serves as an inspiration and bookmark to her own life when she receives it.

That is so cool. I had been praying that someone would win your painting who really needed encouragement. It was fun to watch people's responses.

Tori oozes grace, confidence, and joie de vivre. The natural talent of hers of which I'm most familiar is her clear alluring alto voice. She sings a groovy Danke Schoen.

(In case it's not obvious, the photo at top is the actual name selection. The hat is a new-ish linen Panama style hat with an almost three inch brim.)