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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Awesome Rainbow

Wow! What an awesome rainbow just appeared in our backyard. After an entire day of raining, this gorgeous gift arrives, glows, and disappears all in 10 minutes. The colors at the horizon are the most intense I have ever seen in a rainbow. It is very difficult to capture its essence in these photos, but it was breathtaking.

After snapping a few photos, I noticed that a second rainbow was developing over the first. You can almost see it in the top photo. But then it, along with the original one, just faded away as the sun was setting.

It reminds me that God's promises are always available to us, whether we can "see" them or not. Her blessings are neverending. Hope is eternal.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Swept Away

Sometimes you just have to be impulsive. This framed piece, which sits atop our new headboard (which Phil & I designed and created) in our bedroom, is such an example. I had painted a canvas with the turquoise blue and purply color that are accent colors in our room. The canvas was slightly textured, and I just wanted to get the colors on there. After playing around with the colors and a spray bottle of water, I felt the colors were fine, but it lacked a focal point.

So I spotted a bottle of shiny black paint on my art table, impulsively flipped open the lid, and with 2 sweeping motions, poured the paint across the canvas. The smudge on the right was an accidental drip, but I like it. As the black paint dried, it blended in a bit because of the water on the canvas, and looked a bit softer. This piece just wouldn't work without that black! As I'm looking at it here, the words "Swept Away" came to mind. The piece itself has a movement of its own, plus the fact that I was swept away by impulsively pouring that black paint. Perfect name.

Oh, and the Number Two piece beside it, I just found today at Home Goods on clearance for $5. It was a distressed cream color, but I spraypainted it shiny silver. And the frame for my canvas, was one I found on clearance several months ago at Hobby Lobby: $4.20. Art on the cheap. I love it!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring = Flowers

Yesterday I went to Home Depot's Garden Center to see if they had any flowers in yet, and behold! Pansies and violas and alyssum, and oh my! I couldn't resist this colorbowl. I decided to put it on the deck instead of my usual spot by the front door. That way I could see it more often.

While there, I was admiring their new shipment of orchids, still on the rack. For only $20, they seemed like a pretty good buy. Then I spotted more orchids on display, and saw they were on clearance! Music began to play in my head, and I swear the clouds parted and the sun shone down....there, right before my eyes, was this plant with TWO stems, tons of blooms, and even one bud. All this beauty for only $10! Now I have never had a lot of luck with reblooming orchids, but I figure at this price I'll get an awful lot of enjoyment whether they rebloom or not.

Now I'm even considering sketching them and maybe playing around with my watercolors. We'll see. At any rate, I now have gorgeous flowers and some beautiful color, and I feel like Spring has definitely arrived (no mater that there's possible snow in the forecast!).

Friday, March 27, 2009


I was up early this morning and caught this beautiful sunrise. It's been awhile since I've seen one, as I tend to sleep later now that I'm retired. I am so blessed to have this view from my backyard.

The plan was that I would watch my 2-year-old granddaughter, Addison, today. But her mommy called me to inform me that both of them were sick and would be staying home together. Darn. I am disappointed. I will have to find some other ways to play today!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Awesome Spring

The daffodils are beginning to bloom! They look so lovely next to these tiny purply-blue iris. The lawn is greening up and I'm beginning to see lots of buds on the trees. Robins are hopping around all over and the goldfinches are turning yellow again. Isn't Spring an awesome thing?

Yesterday I completed mock-ups of my business card and my postcard that I will be using to advertise my art show. I still need to mend a few pieces and decide how to price them. But I have plenty of time for all of it. It feels good to be making progress towards it.

I wonder what creative thing I will do today............

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

His and Hers

These are two collages I completed yesterday for our master bedrom re-do. These are hanging in our bathroom, one to the left of my sink, and one to the right of Phil's sink. They are done with stained tissue papers, some of which were overstamped. The squares stamp is an actual stamp. The white/gray stamp that looks like treadmarks is the corrugated side of some cardboard. The lighter color looks a little yellow-y here, but is actually lime green.

The one with the 3 silver beads, I actually worked on upsidedown. And I thought it looked pretty good that way. But when I went to hang it, I decided that it actually looked better this way, with the beads on the lower part. It always amazes me how I can think one thing, and something calls me to try a different perspective (like a photograph, or looking at it in a mirror), and then it totally changes it.

The wing on Phil's collage is a nod to his love of flying. The strung beads on mine is a nod to artwork (and also my love of jewelry). These were fun to do, and went together fairly easily, once I selected the tissue papers. The frames, with the silver frame and matte, I picked up at a thrift store for $3.50 each. I DO love a bargain!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This Is The Day

I completed this collage yesterday. It's small: 8" x 8". I am very happy with it; every time I look at it, it makes me smile. And for a lot of reasons:
  • The substrate was only $1. I bought it on clearance at Hobby Lobby, & gessoed over the strange image that was on it. So I was able to recycle something that no one else would likely have wanted.
  • The colors, intentionally, coordinate with my new bedroom color scheme, which is gray, lavender, & silver, with accents of lime green and turquoise.
  • The design is a whole new departure for me. It recently occurred to me that if I looked at magazine ads, brochures, etc. carefully, I could "block out" the design pattern and see if it appealed to me. This design is an adaptation from the Honda brochure (which I have because of our recent new car purchase).
  • The "twig tree" was one of those serendipitous things. I knew it needed something more, and it needed to be organic to balance the lines and shapes. So I went to my Nature stash and this was the first pick. I then spray painted it shiny silver.
  • The wire was then needed to help anchor the twig. This was the only silver wire I had; I feel it adds a lot to the overall effect.
  • The long rectangle is done in silver leaf and catches the light dramatically.
Isn't it amazing how much goes into a piece like this? I love that it's a balance between thought (the design and color) and intuition (all the rest). I titled it "This Is The Day" to remind me that every single day is a day that God has made for us to enjoy.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Here is my first bloom of Spring! It's an adorable little iris, splayed out in all directions with touches of yellow in it. It's in my front garden, and I would have missed it altogether were it not for the fact that I was planting my new peony bush nearby today.

You can also see behind it several daffodils that will soon be blooming. The peony is named "Golden Fish in Pink Pond." I bought it at the flower and garden show a couple of weeks ago. It looks big and healthy, and although it won't bloom this year, NEXT Spring I will have some gorgeous, big peonies. Phil dug up my old Russian Sage plant that was overgrown, and we put the peony in its place.

I just love this little iris. Perhaps some friends will join it soon.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Katelyn's Collage

This is my 8-year-old granddaughter's collage. Here's what she says:

"Do you see that dog right there? A bird is sitting on a stick, and the stick is on the dog. Is that funny?! Those color strings right there are pastels. All of the stickers on there are pretty."

We often paint together too. This grandma is very proud.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Our Town

"Do any human beings
ever realize life while they live it?
every every minute?"

Emily in OUR TOWN by Thornton Wilder

Phil and I and some friends saw this play last night in Chicago at the LookingGlass Theater. I had studied it in both high school and college, and saw it performed once in college. I've always liked this play, and this cast--all former Northwestern students who have reunited to perform this play--was very good. George was played by David Schwimmer, from friends, and imbued his character with his goofiness. Emily was the character who won me over, though. She portrayed a wide range of emotions, and this line of hers, which she says after she dies, is poignant.

It was a great evening. Great food at 676 Restaurant, which is on the 4th floor of the Omni Hotel. The theater is in the WaterWorks Building, and hanging from the ceiling of the theater are hundreds of old props: chairs, a wagon, statues, chandeliers, wheels, etc. Looked like an altered ceiling!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nesting Box

I bought a nesting box this week from one of my favorite stores, Wild Birds Unlimited. It's difficult to tell the size from this photo, but it's actually rather small. It's designed for a chickadee or a wren. Phil installed it yesterday. It will be interesting to see if a little birdie friend takes an interest in it.

I so enjoy watching the birds, feeding them, listening to their songs. And their antics can be quite entertaining.

In the last few years, birds seem to have a running theme in my life. For awhile (especially when I was working) I used the song of a bird as a reminder to myself to STOP whatever I was thinking/doing, and just enjoy the moment. It became a signal for me to be in the Now. Even in my art, I frequently am drawn to feathers, nests, eggs, and birds. For a while I thought it was the whole "empty nest" thing that I was experiencing, but it has stayed with me, so I now think it is more than that. It certainly has to do with mothering and maintaining a home, but it also has to do with the freedom (flying) I have now in my retirement.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

the plan

Here's the new addition to our backyard. We brought it home with us from our dock at the marina. It had floated into the marina last Fall during the flood, and we fished it out and set it on the dock. It was still there last Tuesday, and it had dried out well, so we hauled it up to the car (put the trunk in the trunk!).

I think it looks great by the birdfeeder. In fact, it looks like it actually grew there. This is part of my plan for a new garden that will "connect" the two bird feeding stations and provide a haven for the butterflies.

It's always good to have a plan.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sittin on the dock...

Yesterday was so beautiful that Phil & I decided to go down to our dock and pretend that it was summer. If you closed your eyes, you would have thought it was! The sun was hot, a nice breeze kept us cool, and we thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. I even wore sandals, which was simply glorious, as I have never liked wearing shoes much. Growing up on a farm, I was barefoot most of the summer.

Just one more month until we can get our boat in the water, and the picture will be complete!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Here are some of the bulbs I planted last Fall. Don't know if these are hyacinths, iris, daffodils, or tulips! I planted 'em all!

Today is just gorgeous: warm, sunny, birds singing, and the frogs in the forest preserve are beginning their chorus. Ah, the promise of Spring.

Today I bought a "nesting box" hopefully for a chickadee or wren family. It will be interesting to see what happens. I also got my hands in the dirt and pulled up some wayward grass that was already beginning to grow in my gardens. I'll have to remind myself how good that felt, in August when I'm tired of weeding!

So here's to New Life: I thank God that She keeps her promises.

Friday, March 13, 2009

the princess

Little princess Addison, in all her finery here, stopped by to see me a couple of days ago. Oh, and she brought her mother, Amy, too.

A brief visit, but just the spot of sunshine I needed that day. Here she is, addressing her subject, Mr. Bunny. She totally cracked me up, when she decided to hide him in the bathroom and close the door.

She informed me that he was hiding, and I said, "Oh no, where can he be?!" To which she replied, "He's hiding in the bathroom," and ran there. She knocked on the door, saying, "Excuse me. Mr. Bunny? Are you done in there?" Cracked me up! Sometimes it's hard for me to remember that she's still only two.

I love to view the world through her eyes.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

  • bulbs popping up
  • grass greening up
  • robins hopping about
  • trees budding out
  • blackbirds singing
  • raining (not snowing!)
  • and EASTER CANDY appears!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dance at Dawn

I just completed this piece which I created to hang in our master bathroom. (Sounds like a weird place to hang art!) I recently painted the bath and bedroom gray, and the little niche where this is going is rather dark, so I went with bright colors that would compliment the gray. I think this will do it!

It was basically just a textured canvas, with no plan. I chose a palette from Jacqueline Sullivan,(I had taken a class from her a few years ago) and added a touch of lime green and lots of silver. I used mostly fluid acrylics, a bit of webbing spray, silver leaf, and a sun embellishment I found in my stash that I spraypainted bright silver. On the top left, I felt there was too much blue, so I covered some up with stained tissue papers! I was pleased with that little improvisation.

I actually didn't even name it until I just looked at it here on this blog. That's definitely an advantage to this process--looking at your art from a different perspective. I had already decided that it was happy. As I gazed at it here, it seemed as though someone was dancing in the foreground, and it also seemed to capture the morning sun--from sunrise, to looming large in the sky, shining down on the flower. And that's when the name, Dance at Dawn, came to me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Her Typewriter

It's finished! This old typewriter has been hanging around for years. I always had the thought that it would make a great art piece. But then, like so many projects, it sat unfulfilled. A few weeks ago, I began the painting, and last night I added the embellishments. I am very happy with it. It feels like a tribute to all the women who earned their livelihoods, taking notes (perhaps stenographic notes) from their bosses, typing them up, and handing them over for approval or signatures.

I was one of those women, for a period of time in my life. Of course, I had an electric typewriter, but the process was the same. I wonder whose fingers touched those keys, and what their life was like. Now that it's altered, it makes me smile.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Celebrating March

All the grandkids ended up here today, by some divine intervention. It was just what this house needed--the giggles and noise and clever comments of little ones. Tristan asked for ice cream, which led to a little ice cream sundae party. Addison started out being a little hesitant, but by the end of the bowl, was scraping up chocolate and melted ice cream with her spoon, til the bowl was nearly clean. Katelyn, who doesn't like chocolate, finally gave in to caramel sauce. What a great way to welcome in the first day of March!

Grandchildren are always a welcome reminder to celebrate every minute of every day in every way. More ice cream, please!