Early Morning Walk

Early morning walk in the woods. I learned a new trick to thwart horseflies. When they won't leave me alone, I find a spider web and walk back and forth by it for a while. Eventually, I was able to get them to fly into the web. I disposed of five horse flies this way! You're welcome spiders. And look at those cute slugs sitting on a mushroom.


Texas Cartoonists Summer 2019

It was great to see all of the Texas Cartoonists this weekend. An extra big congratulations to Bill Hinds...he's celebrating 45 years of Tank McNamara and 30 years of Buzz Beamer. Woohoo!
I wish I’d gotten photos of everyone..there are more cartoonists running around but they were in the pool or gnoshing.
People who write and draw cartoons and comics are pretty awesome folks. :)

Bill Hinds.jpg
Texas Cartoonist Summer Party.jpg

Cassiopeia Dream

To celebrate the arrival of August, I have another #ThrowbackThursdaypainting:

Throwback Thursday…

I shared this “painting process” a few years ago, and want to revisit it since the theme was “August & yellow”:
Okay...this has a long explanation, but...I'm in an online creativity/artists' group, and this week's challenge was...make something inspired by the color yellow. It's so hot and so dry and so inarguably AUGUST around here.

I spent a day in the studio with my daughters, but only had a 2-3 hour chunk of time to paint with them, including set up, painting, and clean up. So I wanted to do something fairly quick and not too detailed.

Tons of things on my mind lately: Violet goes back to school next week. Although I like structure and routine, I'll miss the freedom to do what we want when we want and the time I have with her during the day. We stayed up late this week to watch the Perseid meteor shower together. I saw more than I've ever seen, particularly long ones that stretched across the sky. I tried to recreate the constellations of Perseus and Cassiopeia somewhat accurately, and put the meteors I saw in the correct place from memory. I fell asleep during the hottest part of the day today with the girls and dreamed of stars.

Last night, I dreamed of Dusty, Charlie Blaylock's son who is a Marine. I was driving him home from serving in the military, and while I drove up to his house, he was split into two people, one of them sitting in the passenger seat with me, and another version coming out of the house with a "welcome home" poster. This reminded me of the old "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" song, and I placed ribbons on each tree in the painting.

I also dreamed a small black cobra was wrapping around my wrist like a blood pressure cuff, and when it puffed back up it was going to strike and kill me. I've lost several friends and family members this year, and I turned 40, and my friend Christy who died was about to turn 40, and my sweet Memaw had a stroke yesterday and was taken by helicopter to a hospital, so mortality and death have been on my mind.

Also, I saw a gigantic water moccasin on an early morning walk/run this week. My dear twin identical cousins Scott and Joey turn 38 today, so they were on my mind, too. They are technically "mirror image" twins, so I made my hammock hanging between both mirrored oaks. That particular hammock broke while I was in it and dumped me flat on my back a while ago. Due to that I'm having neck/back pain, and it has been recommended that I train myself to sleep flat on my back for a while, which I hate, so I showed myself having troubled dreams in that position. I also heard on NPR (I think it was NPR) that the largest percentage of nightmares happen when people are sleeping on their backs.

Whew! That was a lot, but a lot goes into paintings for me, even when they're relatively simple. I tend to put a lot of personal symbols and associations into them. So...that was in my head today!

Cassiopeia Dream.jpg

Four Seasons

"Four Seasons"...oil on panel
Something about the 1st of August wakes me up. This year is turning. Has turned. Is marching on towards fall. All the school supply lists are out, and yellow buses on blacktop roads are in our future. I feel like I need to squeeze in that last bit of summer.

Four Seasons x 3.jpg


“Fraser” and “Fraser’s Flowers”
What a handsome boy! Such a distinguished but cute little gentleman.
Painting dark fur can be tricky, so I had fun using a lot of color to bring out the highlights. I decided to do an extra canvas, too. Sometimes when I work on something complicated (lots of flowers, for example), I start an extra painting to try out different colors and styles before I put them on top of layers that are already complete.

Fraser Square social media.jpg
Fraser's Flowers for web.jpg
fraser outside 2.jpg
Fraser and his Flowers in Studio for web.jpg

Vintage Dutch children's books

I’d like to show you some Dutch children’s books that Thom Jeffries shared with me. These belonged to his late wife Julia. She grew up in the Netherlands, and her full name was Albertine Julia Johanna Van Mechelen Jeffries. 
My daughters and I have really enjoyed looking through them. The illustrations are charming, aren’t they? We thought it was fun to see her little scribbles in the books, too. In a future post, I will also share some of Julia’s childhood sketchbooks. Thanks again Thom, and feel free to add any information or corrections.


100 Days of Art!

I'm celebrating today...I have created art every day for 100 Days. I started the #100DayProject back on January 1st, and I made something Every Single Day. Some days it was a detailed painting and some days it was chalk on a sidewalk or writing a song on harp. I wanted creativity to be something that was part of all my days, just like coffee, hugs, and brushing my teeth. I think this project has really helped cement the practice of creating into my daily routine. I wanted to thank the creators of Everyday Creatives (the group of artists I worked with) for organizing this project. It has been such a pleasure to work with you guys, and all the other artists in the group. 
P.S. There are even a few more pieces I didn't include in here because my compilation poster filled up. :)

100 Days of Art for web.jpg

Wonderful Words Wednesday

Whoops! (May I add that word ALSO starts with a “W”???) I got behind on my WWWs. I’ve been sharing them on FB and IG, but I don’t always upload my website in real time. I’ll catch up today.


The Three Moods of Celtic harp tradition

For Fun Friday, I wanted to share a concept called "adban trireach", which loosely translates to "the three moods".  I've put together three Scottish or Irish songs for you today to celebrate "The Three Moods" in a more modern way. If anyone knows more about this concept, please tell me all about it!

I'm fascinated with anything about harps, particularly Celtic harp traditions. To be considered an accomplished musician worthy of their high rank, they were expected to play songs that evoked these "three moods":
-geantraighe = happy/lively 
-goltraighe = sorrowful
-suantraighe = sleepy

In VERY early harping tradition-1200s/1300s, each ruling chieftan considered it a necessity to have a harpist in their court. They ranked just below the chieftan and the bard. And since the pinky was not used in this playing style, they would often amputate the pinky finger of harpers.
I think that's so interesting! 

Happy/geantraighe-Street performers dancing and playing concertina on the streets of Galway. I think this really captures the impromptu joy and "do-it-anywhere" quality of the Irish. 
(Starts :18 seconds in)

Sorrowful/goltraighe -"Amhrán na Eascainne" by Liam Ó Maonlaí & friends
This song is about a man whose new bride serves him a poisoned eel for dinner. The man's sister tends him on his deathbed and asks what he will leave for the rest of his family. It's so depressing, in the best sort of Orkney Islands way.

Sleepy (my favorite)-A Trip to the Islands/Keltische Harfe by Nadia Birkenstock
Here's a soothing harp piece played beside a running stream. This is an original composition by Nadia.

I forgot Periwinkle!

I forgot to show y’all Periwinkle!
This is Pumpernickle Pickle Periwinkle Chukwu Okorafor-
Space cat. Lives with Dr. Nnedi Okorafor 
I was inspired to paint him with nsibidi symbols on ukara cloth. It says-Beautiful woman hunter sets the table with meat for Chukwu out of love. Or at least that's what I was trying to write.
I was thrilled to hear Dr. Okorafor give the keynote address last night at the Highland Park Literary Festival. I'm grateful she's in Dallas, but I bet Periwinkle misses her. 
I'm honored to be teaching workshops with her and many other creative people today. It was a thrill to hear her talk about everything from nsibidi symbols to her library browsing habits to her love of bugs.
What a fascinating woman!

Periwinkle for web.jpg
Peri and print.jpg
Peri Twitter 2.jpg

Feline February Finale

If you didn’t already know, I painted a cat every day in February-Feline February! I asked people to send me photos of their cats, and I numbered each entry. 
Every day, I entered that total into a random number generator. Whichever number came up that day, I painted that cat. 
This was also part of a project called Colourful February, where artist Este Macleod suggested a color for every day of the month. I used each day’s color in the painting of the cat for that particular day.
This has been a really interesting month. It wasn’t always easy to complete a piece of art every single day, but I did it! 
I’m happy to have increased the work in my portfolio and to be able to share art with a lot of people.
Some of the pet owners I know, but many of them I do not. My favorite thing about art is how it can bring all of us together, even if in a small way.

Feline February Poster.jpg

Here’s one last look at the colors for Colourful February.

month of color colorsheet.jpg

Feline February-Week 5

Cream Fleece Indigo for web.jpg

Day 25-Indigo
Day 26-Pear
Calvin Lewis Champion- here are Tallulah and Hermione. Great names!

Pomegranate Pebble for web.jpg

Day 27-Pomegranate 
Day 28-Pebble
Here are the last two kitties for Feline February. Kayla Olson..your number was the final randomly picked entry. What are their names?
I’m ready for spring, so here are your cats welcoming the first bloom of the season.
By the way, Kayla is a published author. Check her out sometime if you’re on the hunt for your next read.

Feline February-Week 4

For this group, I wanted to create greeting cards.
These kitties belong to:
Coral: Tayelor Pierce
Green Smoke: Maggie Meek
Turquoise: Marty Woodruff
Mulberry: Alanna Cartier

Coral for web.jpg
Green Smoke for web.jpg
Turquoise for web.jpg
Mulberry for web.jpg

Amaluna -Cirque du Soleil in Dallas

Amaluna was AMAZING! This Cirque du Soleil show is in Dallas a few more days. The trailer is in my other post.
It is an experience like no other. Seeing that striped grand chapiteau on the horizon makes my heart beat faster. 
Amaluna is a rough interpretation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest", with an all-female live band and 75% female cast, which is really rare in the circus industry. 
I wanted to show Violet strong, creative women doing amazing things. Ama means "mother" and "luna" means moon, so it seemed like a great mama-daughter event for the night of the Super Moon!

The costumes, the music, the athleticism, the complexity of the show...I'm gushing! Photography is not allowed, so I only have photos from the entrance, but oh-my-goodness I want to run away and join the circus now. I’m sharing a few press photos from Cirque, too.
If you have the chance, treat yourself to this one-of-a-kind performance. You'll remember it the rest of your life.

Moon Goddess CWP_105.jpg

Feline February-Week 3

Sage for web.jpg

Day 13-Sage 
“Backpack Unicat”
I’ve gotten the chance to pet this kitty in person. Megan, I was happy to see today’s number was Kit!

Slate for web.jpg

Day 14- Slate
Today’s Random Cat belongs to Laura Rutherford. I’m posting this later, but I painted this on Valentine’s Day! To subtly celebrate the day, I made some heart shaped leaves. 

Arctic for web.jpg

Day 15-Arctic (pale blue)
Random number generator says...#50. This is Gypsie and she belongs to Jacque.

Parakeet Glaucous speek bubbles for web.jpg

UPDATE: Sparkle has been adopted!!!

Day 16-Parakeet (bright intense green)
AND Day 17- Glaucous (dull blue green)
Zeus and Sparkle
I’m hoping to turn this piece of art into real life. Sparkle the three-legged-kitty is waiting for a forever home. She is currently being fostered and is looking for a permanent family. If anyone is interested, please comment below.
I will happily give her new family a print of this painting too!
Sparkle and many other pets can be found at the Hunt County No Kill Shelter. If you are considering a pet for your family, please think about giving a home to a pet who really needs one.

Smokey and Bandit for web.jpg

Day 18: Mikado (intense yellow)
Day 19: Mocha (dark chocolately brown)
Today's cats are named Smokey and Bandit. For real.

Remember that cheese-a-licious movie Smokey and the Bandit with Burt Reynolds and Sally Field? The Firebird he drove was almost as big of a star as he was. I have a long-standing fondness for the "Screaming Chicken" phoenix on the hood.
(Someone asked why I skipped a day---I didn't. On 2-cats-in-a-painting days, I double them up.)