Monday, November 30, 2009


The broken cherub fountain legs
in need of true repair,
and as the JB Weld is used,
replacement starts with care.

But broken legs and broken dreams
of broken people see
that band-aids, rods, and JB Weld
can only ever be...

A fix for body visible...
what happens to the heart?
For heart and soul get broken, too,
how does that healing start?

When arrows pierce a wounded heart
and worded barbs cut deep --
who holds a man accountable,
who is his brother's keep?

And when more slander spreads around,
the lies disguised as truth,
who will defend the downtrod man,
or widow in her youth?

For sometimes life and death collide
and disappointment churns,
beside still waters souls restore
at least, that's what I learned

In youth. My shepherd is the Lord
who guides in righteousness
and though I walk through shadows deep
I dwell in His goodness.

In close, the statue legs are fixed;
they won't fall off again,
though outwardly there is a scar --
the cherub feels no pain.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Year Four -- Check

Achy knees -- check
Sore thighs -- check
Hurting hiney -- check
Lower back pain -- check
Tender shoulder muscles -- check
Painful fingertips -- check
Complete satisfaction of a job well done -- check

For the fourth year in a row, yesterday, I participated as an artist in a street painting festival, Via Colori, to raise money for the Center for Hearing and Speech. It was an exhausting day of art WORK, and will include, as an added bonus, a few days of sore muscle recovery....all for a good cause.

Some new friends dropped by the festival, little suspecting that they would be recruited to help fill in some background color. (Thanks Julie and Mike!) Notice the reflective stripe of the street running through the painting under the ukulele, and a small portion of the grid pattern is still visible.

The Amazing Reese helps before the event by editing a photo of a painting and super-imposing a 10" x 10" grid pattern over it, which we then take to Kinko's and laminate. When we get to the street, we mark off a 10 foot by 10 foot square (also known as 100 square feet) and use the gridded painting as a guide for the day's work. That's how it's possible to get proportions mostly correct on such a large scale.

A couple of young neighborhood friends came to help. These young girls were very good at following directions and helped fill in the background for the table top, and some of the draped blue sheet. A passing comment was made, and randomly enough, these two 7 year olds (and I) were discussing, of all things, fame. One of the girls said, "What do you want? Do you want to be famous?" How would YOU, gentle reader, answer that question? My reply is marked by an asterisk at the end of this entry.

By mid-afternoon, the nagging thought occurred that I was literally starving from hunger. What better way to enjoy the festival atmosphere and replenish sapping strength than to devour a turkey leg? Mmmmm.

My blog buddy Joyce and her sweet family came to visit, too. Young David was quietly studying every aspect of the technique of the process of applying a pastel chalk drawing to the canvas of an asphalt street. Maybe his future includes street painting. Notice also, that I'm getting filthier as the day progresses.

And here is the finished product. By this time, Reese and I were among the last participants to leave the festival. Technically, it should be called Still Life With Ukulele -- 4.

Here's a link to an article that has already been written and very graciously mentions me alongside other Houston artists.

It was great to see the article's slide show, too -- working so hard all day I missed the opportunity to fully enjoy my fellow artists' work. And by the way, that's me in image #8 of the slide show!

If new readers would like to see past Via Colori participation, click on Nov 2006, Nov 2007, and Nov 2008 in the right hand column of this blog.

On a more personal note, the Friday before Via Colori was my 46th birthday. Imagine my surprise when I opened a gift at the restaurant only to find an enormously huge goldfish inside a plastic bag filled with water. Want to help think of a name besides Gigantor for the fish?

*Thoughtfully and carefully, the reply seemed to come from deep within, " I want to do good and be kind." Young Mary (name changed to protect the innocent) seemed satisfied with the response.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sheer Delight

45 miles north of Comstock, Texas is this spot on the Devil's River. Some dear friends invited us out to their ranch one summer shortly after Reese's little brother had died. He died after jumping off a rope swing into the Guadalupe River.

When my mother in law saw the original photo I used for this painting, she had a very strong (negative) reaction. She was extremely upset that we allowed Anna to play on a rope swing when her son had just died jumping off a similar swing on a similar river.

But that rope swing and being surrounded by loving friends turned out to be a very positive healing experience for us. The rope swing wasn't evil. What happened to Reese's little brother was nothing more than a horrible tragic accident. Besides, what better way to honor "Uncle Brian's" memory than enjoying the same activity he did with his final breath?

Consequently, one of the things I love so much about this painting is the look of sheer delight on Anna's face; sheer delight and fun returning after an unexpected time of grief.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Little People

Some of our friends came over last night. Joyce and I originally met via the Internet, which, I guess, is becoming more common this day and age. To my delight, because we live rather close to one another, we actually get to visit in person sometimes. The whole family arrived just in time to see the mural on the back of the house before the sun went down. We fed the fish in the pond for a few minutes, then the mosquitoes got hungry so in we went.

Parents and children alike enjoyed playing with the little people. A few pieces have broken or gone missing over the years, but the little people toys are always a hit, and an easy way to show hospitality to the little people who play with's a win win.

Maybe next time we can go to the playground, too. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ode to Hats

This is a story of a life --
a simple one at that,
and yet sometimes I complicate
by wearing lots of hats.

One hat for when I clean the house
another when I cook,
a hat to wear in outside fair,
and one for reading books,

A hat to wear when paying bills,
a hat to be a friend,
a hat when I was Sarah Mills
a hat for who I've been,

The hat as wife of big man Reese,
the hat of daughter, too,
the hat of nurture -- motherhood,
a hat for playing blues,

A hat for mind, a hat for soul,
a hat for healthy eats,
a hat to wear when digging holes
to plant a garden neat.

It's hard to keep on all these hats
for ev'ry little thing,
to write, to paint and live a life
in glory to the King.

Because I want to be my best
in everything I do,
but more than not my life's a mess...
I haven't got a clue.

So, here's the deal, I like to paint,
I'm thinking this is good,
if I could wear an artist's hat
forever, then I would.

But that's not all that life's about...
we all wear many hats,
but just today I want to paint
God, grant me time for that.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Summer Street Warehouse

To match the sky all clear and blue
and mix the colors till they're true
I squeeze the paint from tiny tubes
and on my palette goes the hue.

Earnestly beginning mixing
palette knife the color fixing
soon a building comes in focus
it's fun work, not hocus pocus.

The city is so bright and fair
a simple warehouse clean and bare
shows off in quiet elegance
it's beauty for the ages hence.

A shadow here, a highlight there,
a vision that I want to share
and so one sees what I have done
the work has now become the fun.

I took artistic license, sure...
The colors? not exactly pure,
but as a whole the painting works
just call it an artistic perk.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Off Again

Last Friday, I submitted an art proposal, and even though it's not conclusive whether (or not) I've gotten the job, the project is so exciting (to me) that I've started working on it anyway. Part of the project includes scoping out locations in Houston where I ride my bike to use as inspiration for artwork. And even though I've ridden the ole cruiser past one particular location, in the interest of time yesterday, I drove the suburban there for an informal traffic study, and to take some reference photos. Traffic in the area is robust, full of large service vehicles. A polite bystander, named Louis, who was sitting in an area I had previously thought might make a good vantage point for painting, offered the suggestion that on Sundays, the traffic is almost non-existent. It would be nice to not die from being hit by a truck while painting on the side of the road. I thanked him for the tip.

Louis and I also discussed the book he was reading whereupon he said he would leave the book for me there when he had finished reading it if I wanted to read it next. Is that common street etiquette? Do I bring a book for him, too, and leave it on that street corner in Houston, with his name on it?

After leaving the conversation with Louis, I drove toward home really excited to start work in the studio, and silently congratulated myself for good time management. Approximately two miles from home, the suburban stuttered, sputtered, and let out a deep sigh before passing out. It was out of gas. All that brilliant time management was for naught. (Ha!) After walking home, glad to be wearing comfortable shoes (Chuck Taylor Converse All Star Low Tops Slip-Ons,) I tried to work in the studio but the inspirational momentum was gone.

So, it ended up being one of those days where I paint, wipe it off, paint again, wipe it off again, and then clean my brushes in stoic frustration, if that makes sense. Even though I have nothing to show yesterday's efforts, perhaps it's better to work and see no visible results than not work at all.