Thursday, August 21, 2008

One More Day

I will be away from my blog while on a painting trip to Guatemala. Don't let that keep you from visiting or checking out some older posts and artwork. Be back around Sept. 4th.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Where I Stand Sunday

Tethered in space,
no countertops or electricity for the coffeepot,
no sink for the dirty dishes we make,
items in boxes scattered hither and yon.
Sore muscles, painful backs,
more to engineer
with every turn.
The do-it-yourselfer's creed.

We're on the last leg of the kitchen re-do. Started in late June. It has been painstaking and a huge undertaking - our second kitchen remodel in 8 years - OY! You can see the plaster for the old wainscoting and the wood for the chair rail that we have had to work around. We could have demo'd that and replaced it, that would have been a lot more work. We have worked around it, patching it and being careful with it as we go. When it's done, there will be no visual evidence of the 100 year old kitchen, except the floor. I think I will leave it the way it is, wooden and worn and kinda interesting. It's about the best kind of floor, when you have '3' four legged friends. Throw rugs are a blessing!
One more item, as we were demo-ing the old cabinets, we found, a fairly recent or at least very well preserved small snake carcass between the wall and the cabinets. Makes for interesting thoughts at bedtime.
"Where I Stand Sunday" is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places spend my life standing.
Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on.

The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

P.S. We found one of these on the rock that is in our sump pump area. It is a "Barred Tiger Salamander", the state amphibian for Kansas. They like to eat bugs, frogs and small mice, likes damp wet places and can live up to 20 years. I think we will leave it to it's important task because it's in the right place! I will try to get a photo of it today if we go down in the cellar. Every once in awhile, I think of changing the title of this blog or beginning another one named "Wild, Wild Kansas!"

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Bug's Life

If you are squeamish about bugs,
and I know some of you are, don't read this!!

I think I have said it before, but if you were an entomologist, you would have a hay day where I live. Around every corner there are interesting critters. Right now there is a plethora of toads and frogs, small and large, but that's another blog.
Yesterday alone, there were "bug" anomalies everywhere.
There were more than the usual birds flocking around the back door area of the house, chirping up a storm, very excited. As I looked around closer to see what had attracted them, I saw hundreds of these little gnats in swarms and the swarms were everywhere glistening in the morning light, like little tornadoes right above the wet grass. It was amazing. This photo is a little blurry, but you get the idea. I had to encounter them, dodging left and right as I tried to sneak down to the pond to get a photo of a blue heron that I had seen land there, but whoosh - whoosh, as soon as he heard me, he was gone. I guess I need to be more elusive, like walk on air.
Then, this guy lives in our garage under the air tank. We aren't going to disrupt him right now, as he is doing his job on Earth and that is probably taking care of other bugs, we can' take care of all of them. It is a wolf spider.

Lastly, here is Charlotte, all tucked away for the day. You are only seeing her abdomen as she contorts up into a tight ball at the top of my back door alcove. She comes out at night and spins and checks her catch for the day. She has been in this spot sleeping day after day, but this morning, the webs are gone and so is she. Wonder where she went?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Arte y Pico Award

This month I was selected by Karen Hargett awarding my blog The Arte y Pico Award. Karen and I met briefly while attending Susan Carlin's Ustream painting demo on Sunday. She is from Austin - and if you check her blog, an accomplished painter and a real promoter of fine art and artists! I am honored to receive this award from her.

I am passing this award, according to the "rules", to 5 artists that I feel also deserve the recognition. Some of them I have emailed with or met in person and some I haven't, but never the less, they are an inspiration to me, as I am sure others.
Melody Johnson
Karen Margulis
Lorrie Drennan
Sue Bleiweiss
eLIZabeth Floyd
The Origin of The Arte y Pico Award and Rules - just an FYI - are:
The Arte y Pico Award has arisen from the daily visits that are made to many blogs, by you, which nourish and enrich you with creativity. In them, you must see dedication, creativity, care, comradeship, but mainly, ART, much art. You want to share this prize with all those bloggers that entertain and enrich you day to day. Doubtlessly, there are many and it will be hard to pick just a few.
The Rules:
1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award through creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.
2. Each award should have the name of the author with a link to their blog.
3. Award winners have to post the award with the name and link to the blog of the person who gave them the award.
4. Show these rules and the paragraph (above) explaining the awards origination.

I wish to thank you again, Karen, for awarding me. I enjoyed considering those who fit the criteria listed above and feel I have selected the creme de la creme!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Funny You Should Wonder

I have had many inquiries and concerns about my upcoming trip to Guatemala. Only 11 days away, yes, I am getting excited. How did this trip happen? Check here to see what it is...
Last November I was taking my second class with master painter, Kaye Franklin, who told us about the painting trip. After the class was over, I thought, wow, that could be a real experience for an artist and I have learned alot from Kaye, especially about oil painting. This is right out of the brochure:

Join this prolific artist and International Workshop Instructor on the trip of a lifetime to beautiful Guatemala. Kaye Franklin will take you the most scenic and colorful venues throughout Guatemala. The hotels, excursions, special events, and cuisine will be luxury, unique, and five star all the way. The painting and instruction will be most incredible.

Be inspired in the Spanish colonial town of Antigua where you’ll wake up in a 16th century Monastery to the sounds of macaws and running water in the fountains and colorful bougainvillea everywhere. With its romantic surroundings, this town is considered one of the most beautiful in all of Central America. The venues here are endless. We’ll paint in ruins left by the 30 Monastic orders that called Antigua home and built stunning monasteries, convents, and cathedrals in the town. The local markets, quiet courtyards with ornate gardens and the sights and sounds of colonial Spain permeate the atmosphere.

Travel through the magical highlands of Guatemala and paint on sight with Kaye, overlooking Lake Atitl├ín (Aldous Huxley, famed English author called it “the most beautiful; lake in the world”) with its three towering volcanoes and twelve Maya villages. Painters at all levels are invited to join in on this experience of a lifetime; the Maya markets, the villages, and the people will steal your heart forever. You will never want to leave.

So I have been busy studying up on what to pack, what to do, what to expect, getting my US passport (which is a whole 'nother story in itself), and making plans to get to KC on the 23rd, stay at Mom and Dad's and fly off on the 24th, returning on the 3rd of Sept. The only concern I have is there are "coffee flies" (
Simulium ochraceum) and I have been warned about them twice now. Can you picture it, little flies drinking espresso ? Maybe we can sit down and chat over a latte! (And other advise - from bloggers who have been - besides the always and everpresent.."Don't drink the water"? You never want to drink from a straw, unless you take the package off yourself, they recycle them, and other advise that I won't mention, until I find out it's true.) Think of me on Day 2, sitting high atop a Mayan temple above the rain forest in Tikal listening to the monkeys howl and the macaws calling. I can hear them now! Should be fun and very interesting.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Technology and Artists

If you read my blog last week, I wrote about Susan Carlin's Ustream painting video I was going to watch on Sunday. I met Susan while at a workshop with Carol Marine and Karin Jurick, back in March.
It was a learning experience watching her paint her cat last week. Yesterday, she was 'at it' again! The girl has lots of energy! I thought perhaps I would paint along with her, from the same photo, as a learning tool for myself. This week she painted a dog. There were many other artists joining in - watching and learning. I have a little more to do on mine..always helps when you photograph your work and intend to publish it on your blog, you start seeing places to rework in the neck, the body and the nose....other than that...
When you register at Ustream, and I highly encourage you to do so, you get an ID to log in with so you can be a part of realtime video and chat. The chatting is important! It's like being in an art class, or it is good to talk to the artist if you are just a visitor who is curious about the process. If you have time, check it out next Sunday. See her blog for the time. She gives it her all...and then some. Thanks, Susan! You can see the source photo and her painting at
Susan's weblog! Just think, she was down there in Texas and I was up here in Kansas...and we were painting together! Artists - ya gotta love today's technology!

"When's Supper?" 6" x 6" oil on Dick Blick canvasboard

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Where I Stand Sunday

You've seen this spot before!

Actually it was where I stood last night, as I couldn't resist. There had been a misty rain all day, and on one of our canine potty outings, the yard light - lit outside of the gate made an awesome backlight and portrait for this little spider web. Taking photos at night (no flash) is interesting. Got out the tripod - actually, it's the pochade (art painting box) stand...but it worked all the same. Stopped the lens way down. The wind was blowing a little bit, so you can kinda see the motion in it.
"Where I Stand Sunday" is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing.
Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on.
The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


"The Overseer" - 8" x 10" oil on canvas board

I have been wanting to do a painting that included a raven. I am fascinated by them, although I remember a time in my life when I viewed them as sort of a nuisance. I lived and worked in the mountains above Denver at a school where they swarmed a dumpster on a daily basis. They would cause quite a ruckus, still very big and black and beautiful.
Thanks to Jenny deGroot on Flickr for allowing me to use a great photo she had of one there. I added the background from my head.
P.S. I finally upgraded my blog title ! SOLD - collection in Florida - thanks!It gave me fits, but I like the way it turned out.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Painting for Today

"Chaco" - 12" x 12" oil on stretched canvas
I have finished the painting of my red dachshund, Chaco, today. I see a few spots I could rework, but I am going to move on now. I ended up really liking this one - after all. Some days (like everything you do) you do it well and some days you don't. Did I learn something on this one? You bet! There was amazing intense sunlight shining on him. I think I succeeded in showing that. Check my blog for Aug. 1 and then again on the 5th to see the progress.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

And the Rain Came...

Yesterday we had almost 3 inches of rain. The downpour was torrential, the lightning reminded me of the movie "War of the Worlds". Hubster went out to the garage to close the doors we had open, this one snuck up on us...and he couldn't get back to the house due to the lightning for quite awhile. The thunder rattled my bones.
SO, now...welcome to our lake. When the weather comes from the north, we tend to flood - as the water runs downhill.

It's 6:15 PM and the water is still touching the bottom of the bridge. It rained between about 9 and noon. And ya, it's been really sweltering, but did we deserve this much moisture? Can you say 'muggy'?

We usually go survey the damage - to see if there is any. What we found were lots of mosquitoes. They bring welts where they bite, for me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


A few photos of things planted this growing season, that we are really enjoying these hot days.
We seem to have a grasshopper problem right now, they are devouring sunflowers and bean plants. We finally have a few small jalapenos growing on the mass of plants we's taken a long time for them to get going.

We've eaten so much sweet corn that it's now time to pick and freeze.

Peek-a-boo! Can't wait...there are at least 30 - 40 of them right now!

In addition, we have an apple tree that has really delicious red fruit on it! This is all pretty exciting as last growing season was a dud, due to the early hailstorms that almost took out the trees, but they have made a fair comeback! Applesauce this weekend, along with painting!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Chaco - and not the canyon

I like the format of a square canvas. This one is 12" x 12". Sometimes, I anguish over the art I am working on. Number 1, I don't have time right now to work anymore than a few hours at a time, and I work best if I can work part of a day on a piece. That leads to problem number 2, the paint dries on the canvas between workings, and I have trouble with that. I completely took the dog out of the painting and added him back, and still am not liking the way it is going, but after sleeping on it, I have a few ideas for it's improvement. After wiping out the dog, last night, I inadvertently wiped into the cloth contrast and shadow I had going at the top, so had to start that over. Does it ever go that way for you? I haven't started the folds on the cloth at the bottom of the painting around the dog. So, this one is a challenge! Wendy MacNaughton states it well. She just posted on her blog "learning a thing or two about failure recently, I've decided to keep trying. If not for the final product, for the process." Thanks for sharing that Wendy - it brings my mind to a place where I can deal with this today. I AM experiencing the process on this one!
Supposed to be cooler here today, hope it is where you are.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Where I Stand Sunday

You need not ask,
he's a member of the family.
Dog baths, nail clipping,
tick treatments, shots,
dog food, exercise,
but with it comes
miles and miles of
(and I am not speaking of the feet in the shoes - ha!)
Each morning, our Weimaraner alarm goes off. This morning it went off a little late, I think because of the heat. Even with AC's on , it is still a restless night.

From Wikipedia:
The phrase Dog Days or "the dog days of summer", refers to the hottest, most sultry days of summer. They are a phenomenon of the northern hemisphere that usually falls between early July and early September but the actual dates vary greatly from region to region, depending on latitude and climate. Dog Days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress.
Well folks, that's us!
Today at noon I will be taking a break from kitchen remodel and watch Susan Carlin paint via real-time video at Ustream. The actual URL is You can try to click on this link, however, you may have to type it in as I do. I think that maybe unless she is actually an open link at the time, it doesn't connect. (I am a hacker - at best.)

Just an FYI, here is a photo of our RV 2-alarm system. It had just been activated by the 'yard guys' at Menard's in Nebraska last Wednesday.

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Painting for Tomorrow

This is a 'start' of an oil painting of one of my dogs, Chaco, the red dachshund. I have had this photo in my 'to do' pile for some time. He was sitting on a chair, with lots of pluffy's (what 'we' call dog blankets, and interestingly so, the dogs understand that word) and he is really gettin' into the warmth. I think there was about 3 pluffy's on this chair. I love to paint photos with high contrast, although painting in oil at times still feels foreign to me. But....I DO LOVE IT ! This one will need lots of work in the 'folds in the blankets' department. That's where I will go next. I don't want to overwork it, because I have loosely painted in the dog, and kind of like it the way it is.

Sorry for the glare of the flash, I had to go to the studio after dark, dodging the big toads (they are the poisonous kind) on my way (look out Herman), and steal a flash photo or two. It's so nice now in the studio, we were thinking of sleeping out there. It has enough space in it, and we set up the futon last week, and the AC doesn't blast you out of bed. It's a nice cool, not obnoxiously so, like our itsy bitsy bedroom is. Thought we would sit out awhile at dusk, there weren't mosq, then they showed up. DRAT! Working on the kitchen tomorrow. Meant to today, but didn't get to it. So hope I can get back to this before my palette starts to dry out.

Yeah, That's Done!

Opened this email this
morning from my daughter who lives far away
in Brooklyn,and sent this out to everyone
she knows. She lives on 6th Ave.
They live on the third floor....

"Before I start I want everyone to know that not a single
person was hurt. At about 9pm this evening I was playing
with Scarlett on our bedroom floor and
I hear a loud boom and the house shake,
also the air conditioner stopped squeaking???
I'm thinking to myself that was not a large
truck going by that was an explosion or
something. I look out the window and see a
guy running toward our stoop!
I go to get a better view out of our center
window and look down to see a
CAR that has crashed into our HOUSE!
Basically the girl who was driving
swerved to miss an oncoming car and ran
into our stoop. She actually
missed the house by about an inch. A kid
passing by after the car had been
removed and our mangled stoop fence was
sitting on the ground, kicked the fence
and said "Yeah, that's done!" "

This is not art related, but just had to blog about it. When your kids are far away, you tend to worry - just a little. Supposed to be in the 100's today, oh boy! Check out my sketch blog.

Happy 17th Blogiversary to ME

 I would like to admit, it's still here, I'm still here and it's still worthy of my attention - although sporadic.   Here are a ...