Wednesday, December 28, 2011


1. It's two O'clock, and I'm just now getting dressed for the day, not because I'm lazy....because I'm busy.
2. While our daughters are vacating, I'm taking care of their pets, two parakeets and a dog.
3. Walking two dogs at once is harder than it looks.
4. If one dog barks, they both do.
5. Doggie time out is a good thing.....for me.
6. The Christmas tree is long gone, but the ornaments are still sitting in a pile on the coffee table.
7. How many dishes can be made with all of this leftover turkey? Between turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey pot pie, and turkey tetrazzini, I'm running out of ideas.
8. Perhaps the actual question should be, why do I always buy such a big turkey?
9. Who decided to put air bubbles in chocolate? All that means is there's less room for actual chocolate.
10. There has to be something else. Why can't I think of it?
11. (This one goes to eleven.) I'm blaming lack of concentration on excessive amounts of turkey, barking dogs, and air bubbles in chocolate.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Twas Pidgin Style

Was da night bafo' Christmas, and all ova' da place
Not even da geckos was showin' their face.

Da stockings was hangin' on top da TV?
... ... ('Cause no mo' fireplace in Hawai'i)

Da kids stay all crashed, my old man too.
They leave all da work for you-know-who.

So me, I stay pickin' up alla their toys,
When - boom! - outside get only big noise!

I run to da window, I open 'em up,
I stick out my head and I yell, "Eh! Wassup?!"

An den, I no can ba-lieve what I seen!
Was so unreal, you know what I mean?

This fat haole guy get his reindeers in my yard!
An reindeers not housebroken, you know, as' why hard!

But nemmind, dis Christmas, so I cut 'em some slack.
Plus, had uku pile-ah presents pokin' outta his sack!

So I wait 'till he pau tie up his reindeer,
Then I yell out da window, "Huui! Brah, ova hea!"

An' I tell 'em first thing, when I open da door,
"Eh, Hemo your shoes! You going dirty my floor!"

He take off his boots, he tell, "You know who I am?"
I go, "Ho! From the smell, must be Mr. Toe Jam!"

He make mempachi eyes and he go, "Ho, ho, ho!"
By now, I stay tinking dis guy kinda slow!

He look like my Tutu, but little less weight,
And his beard stay so white, mo' white dan shark bait!

He stay all in red, specially his nose,
An get reindeer spit on top his nice clothes!

But him, he no care; he just smile at me,
And he start fo' put presents unda-neath da tree.

I tell 'em, "Eh, brah, no need make li'dat,
And watch where you step! You going ma-ke da cat!"

Den, out from his bag, he pull one bran new computah,
Choke video games, and one motorized scootah!

He try for fill up da Christmas socks too,
But had so much pukas, all da stuff went fall troo.

When he pau, I tell 'em, "Eh Santa, try wait!
I get plenty lef ‘ovahs, I go make you one plate!"

But he nevah like hang, he had so much fo' do;
Gotta make all Dem small kids' wishes come true.

So I wave 'em goodbye, an I flash 'em da shaka,
And I tell 'em, "Mele Kalikimaka!"

When he hear Dat, he stop an I telling you true,
He go, "Garans ball-barans! Merry Christmas to you!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tex Mex Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the casa,
Not a creature was stirring and I wondered que pasa?

I was hanging the stockings with mucho cuidado
In hopes that old Santa would feel obligado,

To bring all the children, both buenos y malos
A nice batch of dulces and other regalos.

My brothers and I went to sleep in our camas
Some in long underwear, some in pijamas.

When out in the yard there arose such a grito
That I jumped to my feet like a frightened cabrito!

I ran to the window and looked afuera,
And who in the world do you think quien era?

Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero,

And pulling his sleigh, instead of venados,
Were eight little burros, approaching volados.

I watched as they came, and this fat little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre,

"Ay, Pancho! Ay, Pepe! Ay Cuca! Ay Neto!
Ay, Chato! Ay, Tono, Maruca, y Beto!"

Then standing erect with his hands on his pecho,
He flew to the top of our very own techo.

With his round little belly like a bowl full of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chiminea.

Then huffing and puffing, and a little cansado,
He picked up a bag that looked so pesado,

He filled all the stockings with lovely regalos
For none of the niños had been very malos.

Then chuckling aloud, seeming very contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone like the viento.

I heard him exclaim -- and this is verdad
"Merry Christmas a todos...Feliz Navidad!"

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


We, along with our thoughtful, kind, sweet, intelligent, and lovely daughters wish everyone a Happy Christmas from the Reese Hazel Clan!

Left to right, Anna - 24, Joy - 20, Hilary - 22, Erin - 26.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reconstructing Reconstruction

Many thanks to everyone who took time out of their busy holiday schedules to attend the "Reconstruction" exhibit opening reception at the Art Car Museum this past Saturday night. Every event I've ever been to at the Art Car Museum has been fun, and this one was no exception.

For events, because I want to look presentable, before leaving home, it often takes more than a few tries to figure out what to wear. This go around, by the time I had settled on something to wear, it was way past time to leave the house. Wouldn't you know it that the sweater I chose to wear was full of moth holes? Grabbing a needle and thread before we left, I undressed in the car and proceeded to sew up all of the moth holes in the sweater, in the dark, all eight of them. (I didn't notice the two holes near the collar until I was standing in the Art Car Museum gallery.) I finished as we were sitting waiting for a train, just this side of the railroad tracks from the museum, at which point I hopped out of the car, redressed, made some adjustments, jumped back in, snapped the seatbelt, just as the train passed and the protective barriers lifted.

Normally I don't worry about being a few minutes late, especially to a come-and-go event like an art opening, but several of our friends are thoroughly prompt, and because we had cast a wide net in inviting a lot of friends, it was slightly worrisome to be 15 minutes late. I certainly didn't want to miss anyone who came on my behalf! We hurried through the exhibit to find my piece, Still Life with Ukulele #1, reasoning that anyone who might have been there to see me would have been hanging around my painting. (?) If anyone came and went in that first 15 minutes, please accept my apology for not being there, yet.

As I've said many times, for being the fourth largest city in the nation, Houston really is a small town. The Amazing Reese ran into one of his dearest friends, who we haven't seen in forever, who was there on behalf of his girlfriend, who just so happened to have been an artist model in another artist's painting. Go figure. (That was a slightly corny, somewhat amusing artist joke. She was the model in a figurative painting....go figure. Get it?)

Good conversation with friends, new and old, only added to an already stimulating time.

Also, if you happened to come toward the end of the three hour event, we were exhausted and left 30 minutes before closing time. Again, my apologies.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Just in case you don't have enough to do this Christmas season, my piece, Still Life With Ukulele #1, will be in the "Reconstruction" exhibit at the Art Car Museum, with the opening reception December 17th, from 7-10pm. The Amazing Reese and I will be there. We'd love to see y'all.

Still Life With Ukulele #1 is made using metal office desk drawers, marble tiles, chain, magnets, and oils.

125 pieces of art will be in this exhibit, plus some art cars from the permanent collection. It's a fun event. The artwork on exhibit will be very diverse.

Exhibition will be on view until March 2, 2012.

This is an equal opportunity event. Everyone is invited. Bring friends.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oh, the Christmas Tree!

Parts of me never grew up. Don't get me wrong. I AM a grown up and have grown up responsibilities and do grown up things, like eat a Snickers bar for breakfast just because I can (I AM a grown up), but for as long as I can remember, and this is going back to early childhood days when we lived in Centreville, Mississippi, I've "played with" our Christmas trees. The magic likely started when we would, as a family, traipse through someones pasture into the woods (with permission) and hunt for the perfect tree. We would then kill it, drag it back through the woods, tie it to the roof of the car, and like good taxidermy, mount it in the living room.

We lived in the parsonage in Centreville, my dad was the Presbyterian preacher, and the home provided to us by the church was vintage. Older homes in the South had enormously high ceilings to collect the hot air in the summertime, so that ladies could sip their "ice tea" and not have the ice melt before the tall glass reached their lips. It also meant that when going in the attic to retrieve the Christmas decorations, one would have to use a tall ladder just to REACH the attic stairs ladder. It was scarily thrilling to climb into the attic.

Plus, in that house, we kept the living room and dining room closed off to presumably save on heating and cooling bills, so putting the tree in the chilly living room only added to the wondrous mystery of Christmas for me. The tree drew me to it like a magnet. Ornaments, colorful lights, tinsel, and presents, oh, the presents, it was so exciting. I would re-arrange the lights, ornaments, pretty presents, and play with the tinsel, (nobody sells tinsel anymore) over and over and over.

The excitement of finding just the right tree and all the fun of decorating it has continued (for me) to this day. The Amazing Reese and our daughters have been amused, if not slightly annoyed, when, as a grown woman, I continue to play with the Christmas tree. The family joke is not if I'll do it, but when. But this year, THIS year, I have vowed to not rearrange one thing on the tree. My only delight will be to plug in the lights first thing in the morning, and say good night to the tree at bedtime when we unplug the lights. (Goodnight tree!) That's all. Nobody believes me. Hence this photo. Anna took a picture of the tree lights right after they were put on so that they can compare it to a photo of the tree at the end of the season....just to make sure I have not rearranged anything.

It's really not fair, because this is our first Christmas with Tilly, who doesn't seem to understand the word "no", and who thinks that the tree is her personal playground (a girl after my own heart) and who keeps collecting ornaments off the tree (look! new toys!) and subsequently eating them. (Aw, that poor angel is decapitated.)

Ah, but she seems to be enjoying the Christmas tree magic. I completely understand. Good girl, Tilly.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Finish, Not to be Confused with the Finnish

It's a start, and maybe even a finish. It's at least finished for now. Instead of using linseed oil, I used The Natchez Solution, a furniture refinishing product bought years ago in Mississippi. It worked like a charm! The dresser soaked up the oil and is showing off her splendorous beauty.

While I was working on the dresser, not wanting to be left out, Faithful Tilly came in for a visit, which included her repeatedly licking a dresser drawer, which initially I didn't notice, but when I did it kind of freaked me out. Thinking my next four hours were going to be spent in the doggie emergency room getting Tilly's stomach pumped I hollered, "What are you doing, ya' goofy nut?" Tilly looked at me and said, "What?" Not really, of course. She's a dog. But her expression was conveying something very much like "I'm a dog. This is what dogs do. Why are you surprised?" Then it occurred to me that The Natchez Solution is an all natural product. I read the back of the label and sure enough, it's made of beeswax, mineral oil, and lemon oil, which is not toxic at I tasted it, too. (I didn't lick a drawer like Tilly did if that's what you're thinking. Give me a little credit.) Not bad. Not bad at all.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Wormwood Pine

Some women buy jewelry. Some women buy shoes. Some women buy new clothes in every season. Me? I spend my birthday money (thanks, mom and dad) on a dusty old dresser from a neighbor's dusty old garage. This beauty is my newest project. Don't know what I'll do with it, yet. After cleaning the layer of dirt off, the old wormwood pine definitely needs to be given a dose of linseed oil. I'll probably only use some Butcher's Bowling Alley Wax on it after that.

It's old enough to have been made out of square tipped nails. Cool.

And these knobs are like none I've seen -- the inside is a wooden screw peg that attaches to the outside knob. Sweet.

It's got some nice dovetailing details on the drawers, too.

Now, this old dresser will never be featured on the Antiques Road Show. The previous owners attempts at repair are crude at best. That top right drawer front is a lost cause. But it has character, age, and possibilities of wonderfulness. Plus, I really like it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Break

It was a break all right. All of the food for our Thanksgiving feast was prepared by our daughters and guests. I didn't do a thing except open the front door.

At the last minute I started whipping the cream for the pumpkin pie right before someone took a candid photo of everyone in the kitchen. Erin quickly took over whipping duties so that it didn't look like I contributed to the meal. Go Erin! Isn't that how it always is, though? Everyone ends up all crowded in the kitchen together? I love it.

Mimi and Papa came to town for a few days. We only remembered to take a group picture after Reese had gone back to work on Friday and before the girls went off to Agora to study. Our daughters have been patrons of Agora for years and now Anna also works there. It's a groovy gathering place that serves coffee, tea, wine, beer, Greek pastries, free wi-fi, and friendly fellowship.

Mimi and Papa are seen here posing with their granddaughters and grandpoodles.

We borrowed Hilary's laptop to Skype with my little brother, Stephen, in Hawaii. That was fun. He's out there working behind the scenes on the new Hawaii Five-0 TV show.

All of the university students had papers to write and studying to do. It was a quiet end to a wonderful break. I am full of thanksgiving.

Thank you all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Via Colori #6

The most interesting thing about the Via Colori experience this year was how much extra attention the art got because Saint Arnold was the sponsor of my square.

Plus, there was a tent that had Christmas Ale on tap. Draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hair Don't

It's not very often that I actually pay to have my hair cut. (I usually cut it myself.) But with Via Colori this weekend, my 48th birthday on Sunday, and family in town for Thanksgiving next week, I though it high time to treat myself to a professional cut. I made an appointment for today at noon.

At noon on the dot, I knocked on the door, which might seem unusual except for the fact that I get my hair cut at the hairdresser's house. She's quite wonderful, creative, full of exuberance, and very much a free spirit. From inside the house, I hear a stream of expletives as she stumbled her way to the door. Another expletive as she opened the door, and a quick apology. She had forgotten our appointment. On top of that, she had had a very bad day, and looked it. It was only noon.

She suggested that her highly charged emotional state might not be in my best interest as far as a hair cut was concerned. Would I mind coming back tomorrow? Same time? I halfway thought that it would be fine if she cut my hair anyway. After all, I had scheduled my day accordingly. Then I asked what had happened that morning that was so distressing. She told me. It's seriously messed up and complicated. Her idea of rescheduling seemed both good and bad. Do I really want to go back tomorrow? Will she be able to pull herself together? When she's at the top of her game, she's awesome. But there are several extenuating circumstances in her life right now that might not make getting a hair cut from her at this moment such a good idea....

Thinking back on the handful of times she's cut my hair and it looked great, I'm actually considering it. Bless her heart. Mine, too.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Next weekend is Via Colori, the street painting festival for the Center for Hearing and Speech. Yesterday, I picked up the artist packet and found out that the sponsor for my square is Saint Arnold, which is a huge thrill, as I'm a big fan of the Saint.

The Amazing Reese is helping me by overlaying a grid on the image of the painting I'll use this year. Not on the actual painting, on a photo of the painting, which we will then get laminated at Kinko's, which I just found out is not Kinko's, it's now Fed Ex. How do I miss these things?

The last few years of Via Colori, I've worn the same pair of stretchy jeans, which in anticipation of this event, I tried on the other day. They no longer fit. This is an eternal dilemma -- do I go buy the next size up? For this event, with all of the bending involved, it's imperative to be in comfortable, movable clothes. I had debated going to Goodwill to buy some old scrubs -- those would be comfortable -- but who are we kidding, they are NOT attractive. And by golly, since I'll be on display all day, I want to look good. Ah, what to do what to do?

The last things to gather for next weekend are a chalk line, tape measure, masking tape, non latex gloves, baby wipes, a hat, sunscreen, a small whisk broom, and a back brace.

I'm still debating whether or not to paint a practice square in the driveway....

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


For some unknown reason, I'm in creativity limbo.

It's a poor excuse, but instead of going to a hardware store to buy plywood for the new mosaic project, I've been looking at construction sites around the neighborhood hoping to find leftover scraps. Well, that's not entirely true. I've gone to two hardware stores looking for various supplies so that this project can get rolling, yet have bought nothing.

And honestly, my brain can't think of another thing to say.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

An Ordinary Day

Tilly and I go for a walk every morning while it's still dark. It's actually more of a stumble than a walk. If I look sleepy, it's because I am. On this morning, I'm overdressed, but Houston had a cold (high 50's) morning the day before and I don't do well with cold. The sweatshirt is an old one from University of Hawaii days.

After we get home, I make myself a cup (bowl) of cappuccino. Mmmmm, coffee. Reese buys the beans from Lola Savannah. After careful and studied consideration, my favorite roast is espresso dolce. Hmm, I usually watch the Today show and check e-mails (and facebook) while enjoying my coffee.

Because the dishwasher is broken, I hand wash the dishes -- some of which are leftover from the night before. There are ALWAYS dishes to wash.

On this day, I meet a friend at the museum. After touring the exhibit on etching, Alison and I look around for some museum favorites. In all my years of going to museums, I've never seen a gallery in this state. So cool. I wonder what amazing artworks are in all those crates.

An upcoming art project will be a mosaic. It took several days to sort these glass tiles. There was so much tile to sort that I suffered from decision fatigue for several days afterward. It was the nuances of color that did me in -- dark blue, turquoise-y blue, light blue, etc. Silly, but toward the end of sorting my brain really was fried. This was only one table top full. There were three table fulls altogether. In the end, they were sorted into 15 different colors, of which the small bag of periwinkle (not seen here) might be my favorite.

Another chore. The vacuum cleaner is held together with duct tape. Even so, nothing sucks like an Electrolux. (Somebody has to do it.)

There's always time in the day to visit neighbors. This cutie (and his mom) is an adorable three year old full of a contagious amiable personality. Sadly this day, we were all outside because one of our other neighbors had a health emergency. (See the ambulance in the background?) Maybe Tilly and I can visit that neighbor on our next pet therapy trip to Methodist.

Tilly and I go on an afternoon/early evening walk. On this walk we hear a rousing outdoor concert at Rice University. So fun. In the crowd surrounding the band, we see a lady holding a monkey AND a man juggling while riding a unicycle. True story.

After supper, the Amazing Reese and I go meet our friends brand new baby. This baby is beautiful. And, believe me, Danger is his middle name. It really is. Danger. His middle name.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mother Daughter Artists

Lawndale Art Center's retablo exhibit is the first time daughter Anna and I have shown our artwork in the same gallery space. It was super exciting for me. I loved introducing Anna to some of my art buddies and bragging on her piece.

This is a photo of Anna and me posing in front of my retablo at Lawndale Art Center. My piece is between us on the bottom row.

And here is Anna posing with her retablo -- the one in the middle row. (Yes, I'm a proud mama. Look how cute she is -- just adorable.)

Thank you, Anna, for being such a fun date at the opening event.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tiles, Glorious Tiles

Look what I found (next to a sign that said FREE) on my walk with Tilly yesterday! There are enough one inch glass tiles here for several art projects.

First things first -- clean and sort by color.....and then I get to design a new mosaic.

Very Godmother

The Amazing Reese and I are very pleased to announce that we, along with Reese's older brother, are godparents to our new baby nephew, Gabriel. We are very honored AND very excited.

By the grace of God, it just so happened that Reese and I were in the room when this sweet baby was born. It was....magical. It really was. Reese and I already felt blessed to have been part of such a beautiful event.

Now we feel doubly (very very) blessed to be Gabriel's godparents.

"With God's help, we will so order our lives by the example of Christ, that this precious one, Gabriel, surrounded by steadfast love, may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to eternal life."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yellow Painting - 1968

At the Menil Collection, this bright canvas is the first thing that one sees when entering the main reception area. There's a large pouf ottoman in the middle of the expansive foyer. It was on this pouf, while obscuring the camera from an exceedingly friendly receptionist, that someone enthusiastically and covertly snapped an unauthorized photo of the painting with me in front. The painting is called Yellow Painting/The Color Men Use When They Attack the Earth by Walter De Maria.

Yellow is my favorite color.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Shadows of Childhood

"Shadows of Childhood" is the title of my finished retablo for Lawndale Art Center's Dia de los Muertos exhibit. Without undue influence from the artist, it IS a particular memory (for me) but one that I hope is universal as well. It's 12" x 9 and 3 quarters" and is made of sheet metal, oils, and hardboard. Come to the event on October 21st and support Lawndale! Even if this is not your style, there will be a variety of retablos from which to choose -- there always is. The opening bid for this piece is $50.

Also, the Center for Hearing and Speech had a photography contest after last years Via Colori event. A photograph that featured my sidewalk painting and the shoes that inspired it was one of the winners. Though the camera flash is shining on the glass of the photo, here I am posing with the photographer, Michael Matthews last night at Wade Wilson Art Gallery.

At Via Colori last year, after the street painting was done, Reese noticed Michael taking a photo of my pink chucks painting and coincidentally, I just so happened to be wearing my pink chucks at the time. Reese lifted me over a fence so that I could pose next to the street art. Apparently I kept saying, "They're the same pair!", which totally sounds like something I would do, and hence the title of the photo is "Same Pair". This photo will be auctioned off at this years Via Colori event on November 19th and 20th. (November 20th = my 48th birthday.)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Gin and Tonic

Every now and then, not very often, I volunteer for the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. I'm not sure why they let me do this. Maybe they'll figure out how easily distracted I am someday, but until then, I'm a very enthusiastic and friendly (but easily distracted) volunteer.

It just so happens that I volunteered to help with their annual fundraiser last week, Martini Madness. (It was SO much fun.) When the guests arrived, they were to select a hand crafted martini glass for the evening -- sort of a grown up party favor. One of my jobs was to make sure the glasses were easily reachable and neatly arranged on the table. Piece of cake.

Another job for the night was to bus tables. Again, a super easy job, but a surprisingly social one. I kept bumping into people I knew and chatting with those I didn't....which made the "work" fun.

Now, I'm not a martini drinker, but I do enjoy a good gin and tonic, which, when I asked, were not available. Turns out that I wasn't asking the right person. When the right person found out that I like gin and tonics, within 15 seconds, a gin and tonic was in my hand. Since my dad reads this blog, I'll go ahead and confess that I had my first gin and tonic when I was in high school. (Dad, thanks for sending me to Our Redeemer Lutheran. Good Lutherans sure do know how to drink. I can literally hear my dad groaning and saying, "Oh, my.") Really, I was only going to have a sip, since I was a volunteer worker and all, ah, but that was the best gin and tonic I've had in years. So good.

My last job of the night was the final clean up. But by then, I had been visiting with a table of friends, and that gin and tonic was on top of a glass of wine or two (or three). For whatever reason (?), I kind of forgot to be a diligent helper at the end of the night. And besides, one of my new friends wasn't drinking, and when she offered to drive me home, which was a need, I gratefully accepted.

That was a week ago. Tonight, there's another event at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and I volunteered to count the people who attend. I have absolutely no OCD tendencies AT ALL. And I'm easily distracted (but enthusiastic and friendly). I just hope that I can focus long enough to count people coming in, smile, be friendly, have ONE glass of wine, and not get fired from this volunteering job. Oh, I've got to be there in 30 minutes....better get ready.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Heart 2 Heart

For those who have been following my art heart slow progress, it is no longer pink. The background was pink for a so long that it started to look like a giant candy Valentine. It screamed, "BE MINE!" I just couldn't leave it that way. So, now the background is blue, AND happy.

It's drying for another day or two before the final clear coat gets sprayed on it to protect it from the weather.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tilly, the Wonder Dog

Tilly, the Wonder Dog, actually smiled for her volunteer badge photo at Methodist Hospital today. She's becoming a pet therapy pro. Even though we've gone on a dozen or so visits with the Faithful Paws group -- we've also gone to a couple of assisted living facilities and DePelchin Children's Center -- this was only our second time to go to Methodist Hospital.

The last time we went to Methodist, Tilly did a great job of propping her two front paws on the bed to let the hospital patient pet her. This time, there were no special requests to go to particular rooms, so we went to the surgical waiting room. From the outside looking in, it was obvious that everyone was on edge, tense with worry waiting to hear that all was well with their loved one. The mood visibly lightened when we walked in with our pets. It was remarkable! You could see the tension melting away as we walked our dogs around and visited. Over and over, people thanked us for bringing our pets to the hospital.

It's really fun to take Tilly places that people don't normally go with animals. She is so sweet, gentle, beautiful, and well behaved. People can't help but fall in love with her. She seems to understand that she goes to these places to let people meet her, pet her, and maybe scratch her under her chin. She was especially good today. It's like she knew that people needed to be comforted.

We live about a mile from Methodist, so we walk there and back. It's still quite hot here in Houston -- about 95 degrees today (feels like 100) -- so by the time we got home, poor sweet Tilly was exhausted. She is taking a well deserved nap. Good girl, Tilly. Good girl.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Reese Hazel, Actor

My husband, the Amazing Reese, is a movie star! Well, at least he has his own IMDb page from a movie he was in in 1992. (I Googled his name. You know you do it, too.) So cool.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Oh! This is the fifth year (five years -- wow) that I will participate in Lawndale Art Center's Dia de los Meurtos Retablo Exhibition. Each year, the artists are given an 8" x 10" piece of sheet metal that must be used to create some sort of retablo, or tribute to a loved one.

When creating a traditional retablo, one becomes emotionally attached to it. At least I did. For that first retablo,(seen here -- 2007), I painted a portrait of my grandmother who died when I was 10-ish. Of all the art I have created over the years, THAT is the one piece that I would like to buy back. Well, maybe some day.....

My idea of how to incorporate the sheet metal in the retablo has evolved over the years. That first year, my retablo was very traditional in thought and execution. The subsequent years retablos are here -- 2008, here -- 2009, and here -- 2010. This year, I'm "sort of" copying a painting of's an interpretation of childhood.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Help Sarah Buy Art Supplies

Don't know what to get Aunt Edna for Christmas? Run out of ideas for hostess gifts? Be my patron!

For a $20 donation to the Help Sarah Buy Art Supplies Fund, you will get a lovely 8 piece set of Sarah Hazel Art note cards. Seven of these sets are available.

For a $25 donation, you receive a 5" x7" painting of an oak leaf.

For a $35 donation, you receive a 6" x8" painting of oak leaves. Two 6" x 8" paintings available.

For a $45 donation, you receive an 8" x8" still life painting. Three 8" x 8" paintings available.

For a $55 donation, you receive an 8" x 10" still life painting. Two 8" x 10" paintings available.

For a $65 donation, you receive a 9" x12" painting. Four 9" x 12" paintings available.

For a $75 donation, you will receive a 12" x 12" still life painting. Only one 12" x 12" painting available.

These smaller paintings really are lovely wedding, birthday, hostess, and Christmas gifts. They can easily fit in a bookcase or on a smaller wall. All paintings are done in oils. Of these, there is a variety of linen and cotton canvases. Any possible shipping costs are the responsibility of the donor. Yes, that's my left foot in the photo. Yes, I'm standing on the dining room table.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Heartful Thinking

Well, this is a start....for the heart. The American Heart Association asked me to turn this heart shape into a work of art for one of their "Go Red for Women" patrons. This is what I've done (so far) based on the patrons answers to some very basic questions I asked her -- things like what's your favorite flower, color, artist, etc. (Guess what her favorite flower is?)

Because I painted a practice study (seen on the wall behind the giant pink heart), it was not quite as scary to paint these rather large calla lilies on the art heart. And because I painted another giant heart not too long ago, it wasn't as scary to get started painting this one.

As ridiculous as it might sound, it took every ounce of my brain power to come up with what you see in these photos. It isn't finished. It's in a let-the-paint-dry-for-a-few-days-before-I-do-anything-else phase. My brain is working overtime trying to think of what to do (and how to do what) next. This quote from Mohandas Gandhi seems to go along with how I feel about this project at this point, though I'm pretty sure he wasn't talking about a giant six foot tall Styrofoam heart shape:
Culture of the mind must be subservient to the heart.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Gesso You Know

Every now and then, instead of painting on an already prepared surface, I need to use something raw. A raw surface can be anything from board, Masonite, unprimed canvas -- you name it. Raw surfaces need to be prepared so the oil in the paint doesn't absorb into the surface and therefore change the composition (and color) of the paint.

But I never remember which product to use -- gesso (pronounced jess'-oh) or primer. (?) So I Googled it. This site, Spaces Between the Gaps, was full of particularly helpful information. In the "all about gesso" section toward the bottom of the article, I more or less determined that Liquitex acrylic gesso would be the right thing to use for what I was doing....more or less. (It was a long article -- lots or words.)

For this particular art project (in the works), I bought a sheet of hardboard Masonite from one of my favorite hardware stores. (I love hardware stores.) After measuring, I used a skill saw to cut the Masonite down to size, and then lightly sanded the smooth surface. After sanding, I applied two layers of Liquitex acrylic gesso, with drying time in between.

By and large, the general impression of the life of an artist is a romantic one. Even though all of that prep work is part of the artistic process, there's nothing creative about doing it. It's very basic and even mundane. Before a runner races, she/he exerts considerable sweat, effort, and miles in preparation for a race. Just like the runner, SO much of being an artist is hours and hours of basic prep work. Hopefully, it all adds up to something wonderful and truly creative when we finally reach the finish line. In the meantime, it's gesso much work.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Just Practicing

Thinking that I might paint calla lilies on the art heart, and having never painted them before, I thought it might be a good idea to practice. The blue practice canvas was a hand-me-down leftover from my oldest daughter who (I think) got it from someone else.

FYI, the calla lily is a very sexy flower to paint, similar to painting the naked curves of a beautiful woman.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Twice the Heart

Someone at the American Heart Association must be really good at their job....because the Circle of Red has several new donors that came about directly as a result of the awareness raised from the art heart tour. These new donors were especially excited about the art hearts.

So, I'm pleased to announce (and immensely honored) that I've have been asked to create another art heart for a brand new patron of the Go Red for Women movement.

The six foot tall heart shape was delivered this morning, and I've already put an undercoat of pink on it. The image on this one will be entirely and completely different from the last one. The idea for what to paint on it is coming together....I'm nervously excited to get started!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Art Working

There are two things of note in this photograph. To the left of the goofy face, which is also actual left (mirror image), I am holding a small piece of sheet metal. It is provided to artists from Lawndale Art Center to make a retablo for their annual gala. It's become one of my favorite art projects every year. (This is my fifth year to participate.) Also, notice the ceiling in the studio. I finally finished caulking the cracks in the beadboard ceiling! Whew. It took six tubes of caulk and just over two weeks (not working everyday) to finish the job.

The two paintings on the easels are in process. I'm trying to figure out what to do next. (?) I know what I want them to look like, just not sure how to achieve it.

Pottery smashing has begun for my new mosaic project. Every time I do a mosaic (all three of them) I swear that I'll never do another one again. They are complicated, messy, and time consuming, not to mention the wear and tear on my fingertips. The design and idea for this mosaic is only in my head. It's an ambitious project (for me) so I don't feel at liberty to discuss what it will be, yet, because what if it's a complete flop? It happens.

There's one more big art, time consuming project that hopefully will begin next week. It's big. More on that next week.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Much to my delight, I've been reading a book about Vincent van Gogh by Marc Edo Tralbaut and Edita Lausanne. It was published in 1969, and is a big, thick, heavy book with wonderful color reproductions of some of his paintings, and first hand, rich descriptions of van Gogh's relational style and personality from those who knew him. Reading the book, I couldn't help but be reminded of a BBC Dr. Who episode, and this wonderful scene.

His friend, P. C. Görlitz, writes this about a young Vincent:
"He was a singular man with a singular appearance into the bargain. He was well made, and had reddish hair which stood up on end; his face was homely and covered with freckles, but changed and brightened wonderfully when he warmed into enthusiasm, which happened often enough. Van Gogh provoked laughter repeatedly by his attitude and behaviour -- for everything he did and thought and felt, and his way of living, was different from that of others his age. At table he said lengthy prayers and ate like a penitent friar: for instance, he would not take meat, gravy, etc. And then his face had an abstracted expression -- pondering, deeply serious, melancholy. But when he laughed, he did so heartily and with gusto, and his whole face brightened."

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Beginning to gather supplies for a new art any of y'all have some old broken pottery to donate to the cause?

Long overdue -- caulking the cracks in the bead board ceiling in the art studio. Hopefully it will help keep the studio from collecting the summer heat. Every little bit helps, right?

I thought that it would be easy, like decorating a cake. It wasn't.