Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bikes, Blogs, and Behold!

Finally! It took more than a lil' bit of time to finish this painting. There were many frustrating moments where great globs of paint were scraped off and thrown away like yesterday's news. I'm very pleased with the finished product, though. It's extremely satisfying when a painting comes together and (according to me) works.

This is the third time that I've painted this image. All three paintings are a little different, with different colors, brush strokes, and viewpoints. The other two were more landscapey, while this one (in my opinion) is almost like a portrait of this particular bit of city forest. It's called Trees in Hermann Park - 3 and is 36" x 24", oil on linen.

Farm on Highway 71 will be displayed in Houston's City Hall for either nine months or a year...the specifics of the exact details have been a little sketchy. I just found out a few hours ago that the exhibit opening is tomorrow between 11:30 and 1pm. Houston area artists were invited to submit up to two works for consideration in an Art on Loan Exhibit for the City of Houston. This one of mine was accepted!

Yesterday, I took my cruiser to a bike workshop in the Third Ward. The poor groovy bike is old, and needed some tender lovin' care. When the gracious folks who volunteer there asked if I wanted to patch my flat tire, or install a new tube, of course I asked for a price comparison. Free for the patch vs $3 for a new tube? Just show me what to do to patch this baby! Three attempts at patching later and I was happily buying a new tube. Then, because real fear occurs when bike brakes don't work, I installed new brake pads...for all of two dollars. The way this bike workshop works is that people bring their bikes in to get fixed, and then do the work themselves. It was the first time I had ever worked on a bike. So, for $5, and a couple of hours of sweat equity, this cruiser works like a charm.

Also, I'm starting a new blog. :) It's called Purely Poetry, and will basically be a compilation of poetry that I've written for this blog...and if I feel really brave, maybe some random prose.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Busking in the Afterglow

Getting whooping cough has been one of the best things to ever happen in my life. The constant tiredness caused by the cough forced me to slow down, and because of that, I finally had both time and opportunity to learn to play the ukulele. For whatever reason, I've taken to the ukulele like a duck to water. And delight of delights, Reese (on guitar) and I (on ukulele) play music together morning and night.

Not long into this new found love, it was decided that Reese and I needed to take it to the streets. So last night, spur of the moment, Reese and I went busking. (Busking is the practice of performing in public places for tips and gratuities.)

We live a short walk from a shopping/restaurant area of Houston. Deciding that was the place to have our first outdoor public performance, we loaded up the guitar, some sheet music, the ukulele, a djembe, the playlist, and a hat...for the tips, IF we got any. In the actual act of putting one foot in front of the other to walk there, not knowing what was about to happen, Reese and I both started to get a little nervous. But honestly, there was nothing to worry about...we would just play the same songs we play and sing in our living room every day. Piece of cake.

Sure enough, once we got started, there was nothing to it. Because the playlist wasn't very long, we ended up rotating through the same songs over and over. We played for an hour and earned enough money to buy ourselves a few beers plus a tip for the waiter....during which time,
while enjoying said cold frothy beverage, we realized the whole busking event had been undocumented with a photo. So, we went back and performed the songlist again, this time making sure to ask if someone would please take our picture. (?) And yes, during the second set, we earned more tips.

All in all, it was a most excellent adventure, one we are eager to repeat.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Extra! Extra!

Read all about it! I've been featured on the Block 7 Wine Company blog. Sweet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thoughtless Limerick

Lost for the right words, I am thinking,
but thoughts disappear, or are shrinking;
ever smaller they grow
'til, as you'll soon know
not one small synapse starts it's linking.

So therefore, my mind is a puddle
of nonsense, I am quite befuddled.
I can't seem to think,
my eyes they just blink...
but onward I go, now to muddle.

Muddle through old cardboard boxes,
searching the mess is a shocks-es.
What might I find there?
I had better beware;
there might be a box full of rocks-es.

Or socks-es without the right mate,
just please please contain all the hate,
for with boxes to rhyme
I ran out of time
and thus, sealed my fate, second-rate.

Is it clear that the boxes discussed
in the musty old attic of rust
is akin to my brain
on the border of sane
or at least full of chaos and dust?

Now back to the ole misty fog
that my brain, that ole addled nog,
is trying it's bestest
to have small successes
and write for the readers of blog.

To search all day long, it could happen,
for thinking and thoughts overlappin'
are infrequent it seems
not one thought to scream
about which I could start a rappin'.

And so, gentle reader, adieu;
not one thought from this head came unglued.
Pure nonsense it's been
from the start to the end,
forgive if you think that's just rude.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Evil Jerry

NEVER NEVER NEVER shop at Jerry's Artarama. Not only is the quality of the product inferior, the customer service is LOUSY!

With great anticipation, I ordered some linen canvases online. As I've mentioned several times throughout the course of this blog, professional quality art supplies are expensive. When a friend forwarded an e-mail touting great deals through Jerry's Artarama online store, I was happy to jump on board. Imagine my complete dismay when the package arrived, and the quality of the canvases was grossly sub-par. Within moments, I sent an e-mail trying to find an amicable solution to a big problem.

Days later and still no response from the e-mail, I called the 8oo number. I waited 37 minutes to speak with someone, who, in the end, basically told me to go #@** myself. The one small concession was that we could return the product at our local store and get a full refund. Houston is a big town. The local store is a 45 minute drive -- one way. But, hoping for resolution, Reese and I went. Turns out, local stores have nothing whatsoever to do with the online part of the business. They didn't even carry the same product line. The person on the other end of the 800 # call knew full well, and sent us on a wild goose chase anyway. The local store told me I was screwed, but must have done something on my behalf. Because, a week later I actually got a call from someone at the company...not saying, "Oh, we're so sorry. What can we do to help?" Instead, they said, "Prove it."

Then, they said, "We're bigger and more important than you. You are a tiny insignificant speck. We don't have to do anything to make this right. You're up *%#@ creek without a paddle. HAHAHAHA!"

So again, NEVER purchase anything from Jerry's Artarama. They are very bad people.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Guadalajara Beggar Woman

Last summer, Reese and I were an extra pair of hands on a senior high mission trip to Guadalajara. Walking through El Centro one afternoon, we saw this woman sitting on the steps of a cathedral. When I saw her, I saw a painting, exactly like when I first saw the woman in Jamaica.

For various reasons, though, life happens, and painting doesn't. It seems like ages since I picked up a paintbrush. How do I begin? Do I really know how to do this???? Do I have a clue? What happens if I pick up a paintbrush and it's all been a fluke?

So, with a small leap of faith, I squeeze out the paints. I take out the palette knife and start mixing colors. Then, just one stroke is applied to the canvas, and another, and another. Soon, the process overwhelms, and it's been hours. To be honest, I've been working on this particular painting in my head for almost a year. But, now, look! It is a painting! The woman and child look like what they are supposed to look like! It is the beginning of what I've envisioned for all these long months....

Reese comes home and cheers. Realizing how much of my soul has been invested in this painting, I start to cry. What a blessing....I'm so grateful that I can be a part of this. Amen and amen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Three Ukuleles

When I walked in to Southland Hardware with the 30 pound Still Life with Ukulele # 1 in order to engineer the best way to affix it to a wall, it was almost as if I was a rock star. Employees and customers alike seemed fascinated with the piece and kept gazing adoringly back and forth between me and the art work and asking thoughtful questions. Understand, it's a heavy piece. Of course, I was flattered by the attention. But lugging it from one end of the hardware store to the other trying to find just the right eye hooks, chains, and bolts to make it work was laborious to say the least. Getting stopped every few paces...well, it was nice to have an excuse to rest. Finally, one of my (alleged) new fans asked if he could please help carry it? Gladly, I agreed with much rejoicing. (yea)

As of yesterday, the series is officially finished. All three pieces will be dropped off at Block 7 within the next week. Reese literally helped with the nuts and bolts on #1 and #2, and I re-worked my bio and resume. It's great to be finished with the whole project, and great to have an updated resume.

Below is a copy of what was sent to the wine bar to use in their publicity or whatever, if they end up using any of my pieces. They've already stipulated that they reserve the right to not display all works. The bio is something re-worked from a previous Houston art thing, hence the abundant references to Houston. (It always feels a little strange doing a bio. It's weird and a discomfiting to, for lack of a better word, brag.)

Painted a wine related still life series in conjunction with the opening of Block 7 Wine Company. All three works were painted in oils on three very different surfaces re-purposed from the former warehouse.

The series includes:

1) Still Life with Ukulele # 1

20" x 24 3/4" x 4 5/8" oil on marble tiles magnetically mounted on metal drawers -- 30 lbs.

2) Still Life with Ukulele # 2

22 1/4" x 24" oil on corrugated metal

3) Still Life with Ukulele # 3

20 1/2" x 23" oil on canvas from discarded army cot stretched over a frame also made from the cot

All materials were salvaged from the warehouse except for the paints, magnets, chains and bolts.

All pieces are complete and ready to hang.


Having had no previous experience or training, the artist started painting in late 2004. A relative encouraged the new artist to display her first 30 works on Texas Independence Day in the Pioneer Log House Memorial Museum. However, it wasn't until November, 2006, that she started pursuing the making of art as a career. To that end, she has exhibited in several venues in Houston, including the Glassell Student Exhibit in the spring of 2007. She was asked to be a community artist juror for Yes Prep's Student Art Show, and has repeatedly been asked to be a select artist for the Center for Hearing and Speech's fundraiser, Via Colori. She spent her formative years in Mississippi, but attended high school and college in Hawaii. She met and married her husband in Aspen, Colorado, and they briefly lived in southern California before moving back to her husband's hometown of Houston. She and her family, which includes four daughters, have lived in Houston for 24 years in the East End, the Third Ward, and most recently the Rice U/Med Center area.

Though very passionate about painting, the artist is an equally passionate writer, and blogs regularly about the artistic process. Her blog can be accessed through

Thursday, June 04, 2009

16633 Days

Apparently, that's how old I am today; 16633 days old. How many of these days have been used wisely? When the kids were little, every day seemed like I was making deposits into some sort of eternal account book. Even wiping a snotty nose seemed important and significant. But, a few days ago, my youngest daughter graduated from high school. Honestly, never in a million years would I have thought that I would be one of those moms who seemed stunned when the mom gig was up. But here I am. Feeling a little lost. and sad.

It's not like I have nothing to do. There's plenty to do. Good grief, there are 21 empty canvases in the studio waiting for something to happen. That's an eye opener....hadn't counted them until just now.

Last week I finished the back yard patio. While it's great to finally be done, it didn't make my innards do cartwheels like usual...that strong sense of accomplishment just wasn't there.

We live in this old house, and there are lots of handyman type projects always screaming for someone to pay attention to them. It's not like I'm not capable of doing the work; just lately, the screaming house has been ignored.

Speaking of screaming house, Hilary and Joy have almost convinced themselves that our house is haunted. For a while now, the TV has been turning on by itself. My explanation is that one of the neighbors has a universal remote. When whichever neighbor turns on their TV, it sometimes somehow reaches our TV as well....but Hilary and Joy aren't so sure. And then there's the possibility that this unidentified neighbor has figured out that their remote works on our TV, and is just messing with us, which, incidentally, is a very plausible theory. Once, while visiting my parents, who at the time lived in a cookie cutter house suburban area of Orlando, we just so happened to discover that my parents garage door opener also worked on two other neighbors' garage doors. Instead of a drive by shutting, we pulled out the big gun (garage door remote) for a drive by opening! Also, Hilary and Reese are convinced that they heard the ukulele playing itself a few weeks ago. My theory on that one is because I have been playing so much, a tune got stuck in their brains and was trying to sweeten their dreams...both of them...dreaming the same dream at the same time. (Cue Twilight Zone music) It could happen. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I hear the stairs creak. I'll get up to see who went downstairs, but everyone is tucked all snug in their beds. My theory is that the house is adjusting it's belt loop after a long day of holding it's breath. Night is the time to put on elastic after sucking in the gut all day...and then breathing a deep creaky sigh of relief. The house, I'm talking about the house.

Back to the beginning, Reese and I knew going in that this parenting gig had a built in time frame. We've transitioned fairly well with the older three. (Right, daughters?) And I thought that I was prepared for the same healthy transition with Joy. But, when I went to James Avery to buy the last high school graduation gift, I realized that I was buying the last high school graduation gift. It's kind of a big deal. In this crazy life, I'll still have plenty to do now that we've all reached this milestone, but what am I going to do?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Year at the Museum

Imagine, pick-your-price MFAH memberships, for any amount starting at $10. For one day only and four hours only, last Saturday, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston offered Houstonians a chance to set our own price for a year long museum membership! Brilliant marketing. This is the epitome of a win win...the museum spreads goodwill to the community, the museum has a new list for continuing patronage, the new member is delighted to afford the opportunity, and voila! Everyone's happy.

Hundreds of Houstonians showed up to take advantage of the offer. First of all, we waited in this line. What isn't obviously apparent in this photo is that this line of people is a giant U, and this was just the outside line. At least it was a pleasant day with a line full of pleasant people.

Even though Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, it never ceases to amaze me how small it is. While waiting in line, I ran into several friends, including these two sweeties. Sol, on the right, is my friend who forwarded an e-mail telling about, in her words, a *wowser of a deal* from the MFAH.

Finally, after 45 minutes or so, we made it to the inside line. It may seem silly to some, that all these years of living here, and loving the museum, that we've never become members. When it came right down to it, because the museum offers free admission on Thursdays, I couldn't seem to justify the added expense of membership to our already stretched family budget. But now...a year's worth of complete freedom to attend the museum any day of the week; a whole year at the museum; an entire 365 days (excluding Mondays and holidays, of course)...I can't begin to describe how thrilled I am. It was totally worth the wait (in line.) Even sweet, recent-high-school-graduate-daughter Joy, when she heard about our family membership, said, "tight," which, for a teenager, is a good thing.