Friday, May 29, 2009


I'm busy creating atcs for the byhandartists yahoogroup atc swap that I've been hosting. This month's themes are the number 5 (it is May),anything Mexican (Cinco de Mayo) , and anything sea related. Here's what I have so far. I don't know why, but the yellow (which is really a green yellow) scanned as white on the long-legged sandpiper. The beak and top stripey wing are that color, matching the alcohol ink in the background. The belly is white. I need to use my glaze pens more. I like them. I ran across the jewelry tags when I was looking for something else and thought I'd use them. I found a collage stamp with the number 5 and figured it was time to dig it out of the stash, too. Some of the long-legged sandpipers have the word "dream" on them. They walk so fast I doubt they really dream of longer legs, though!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Art, but not mine, a Long story

I may have posted once before about Woodie Long, a primitive painter who's work I've loved since my mother introduced him to me several years ago. Woodie is the son of a sharecropper from Alabama and was one of many children. He worked as a house painter and would doodle on the house before he covered it with paint. As I heard it, his wife Dot came home one day and he showed her a painting of kids flying kites he'd done and she exclaimed, "Woodie, you're an artist!" That was the beginning of the end of house painting and a great adventure in art.
Woodie and Dot live in Santa Rosa, Florida and when you go to the gallery, it's like visiting with your next door neighbor. Their home is a one story frame house with a screened-in porch across the front. It is surrounded by lots of trees and plants and there is a garden out back with corn, beans, tomatoes, okra, etc. I am always reminded of my childhood by the passion flower that twines its way around the chain link fence. There was a vacant lot in our neighborhood that had passion flower just growing wild on the ground. I thought the blooms were so exotic! Their living room, which runs almost the length of the house, is the gallery. Woodie has painted on everything, the floor, walls, to the point that Dot has banned painting on anything that isn't canvas, paper or at least unattached to the house. So, Woodie often will draw with crayons on small 5x7 newsprint-like paper, like I used in elementary school, when folks visit and are looking over his artwork. The first year we went, we only looked and helped, just by being there, resolve a family impasse. We rang the two doorbells and went on in like the sign said. Dot was surprised to find us there, though I assured her we did ring the bells. She said they were preparing for family visits the following week and oh, by the way, Woodie was there somewhere but, they weren't speaking. She said to make ourselves at home and look around. In a bit, Woodie came in, in his typical jeans and white t-shirt, and said "I guess she told you we're not speaking". We said yes, and the rest of our conversation was them talking to us and to each other via us. Woodie's memorable comment was that in getting ready for company, there had been "too many chiefs and not enough Indians". By the time we left they were speaking to each other and Dot's parting words were: "Blessed are the peacemakers".
Last year, we went with the purpose of choosing a painting for my sisters and me to give Mom for her 80th birthday. She has loved his New York City series of tall colorful building and bunches of yellow taxis and people jumbled up. It is what he thought of NYC when he went there. Unfortunately, there was only one of those and way out of our price range so on we went to the task of choosing another. So I narrowed it down to a few and decided to solicit Richey's opinion, too, via phone and email. Dot was the photographer and e-mailer of the selected art and then Richey and I would talk on the phone about the painting. Woodie drew crayon drawings and took Jim on a tour of the yard while we debated. We finally selected A Windy Day, not knowing one like it was his first painting. It is a beautiful piece with red and yellow kites and children of every color against a swirl of blues and turquoise.
It was a great choice and Mom loves it! It hangs above her fireplace and is a happy addition to her home. Before we left, Woodie asked which of two drawings I liked best, I chose the one of the proud mother watching her little girl pirouette. He said "That's call the Recital". He gave the other of two girls and their mom, to Jim. I put them in floating frames in our living room.
This year, I asked Jim that my Christmas present (and maybe birthday, too) be a small painting of Woodie's. I can't think of anything I'd enjoy more. We headed out to the Longs our last day in FL. We rang the two bells and went through the screen door. Dot was in the office at the computer to the left and we re-introduced ourselves. I told her I was there to choose a painting for ME this year. She turned on the lights and Jim and I had a look around, several times. She told just the kind of stories you tell a friend about what had been happening lately and what had been done to the house, a door added to the bedroom from the gallery, etc. Woodie came in from painting in his studio outbuilding and visited with us. Told us that a doctor from KY had bought three paintings the day before. Dot said he was from Bowling Green. I had heard that Woodie has cancer,I see now on the YouTube link that he has colon cancer. Woodie looked a little frailer, but nothing was said by either about his health. He chatted about the garden and painting. I showed him a photo of Mom's framed painting and that's when I learned it was the subject of his first painting.
I looked at the small 8x10 matted paintings and picked one up immediately. Lots and lots more to look at so I made a stack of "possibles". Some were classic, some newer themes. This year there was a small NYC that went into my stack. I love the kids jumping on the bed, the wagon with kids that says "Western Audo", and the farmer behind the plow but, in the end I chose the first I picked up. I won't get it to "keep" until Christmas. I can't wait for Christmas to come to hang "The Red Hats".
I hope I have many more years to visit with Dot and Woodie Long when I travel to FL and wish him a speedy and full recovery.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We're still goofy

This is a photo Paul took of Richey and I and we both laughed at how it reminded us of a photo booth picture we took in the 60's.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Catching up but no art yet

Back from a restful week in windy, sometimes chilly Florida, I am in full swing. I came home to some corruption of my computer that required my computer guru's assistance. Thankfully, he came over this morning and it was an easy fix and he showed me how to do it myself next time. My heart and head start pounding when it appears none of my files are present.

I must include a few beach pictures as I think this was maybe my most interesting photographic trip. Lots of storms, clouds of various colors, big waves and days the waves barely broke on the shoreline. I never get tired of the beach, hot or cold, sunny or cloudy, it is a wonder to me. I made a video on my camera and recorded the sound of the surf on my iphone for Ezra so he can get an idea of what the beach is like. He asked for shells and sand as a gift from my trip. I had made up a glass jar with some last year, he remembered-I thought that was cool. The shells this year were fantastic and so unlike Destin typically, where there are just tiny white shells and not a lot of those. By Thursday they had vanished.
I had a dinner visit with my sister, Mary Ann, at her new home in Milton, FL. We yucked it up for the camera so we could email a picture of us to Richey.
I was excited to visit with Richey and Paul on our way home, sort of on the way. We took a round about return trip through GA. We had a great time over pizza, comparing apps on our phones, playing shake and spell, and speed scrabble. We laughed until we cried. Richey got her charm bracelets out as I wanted Jim to see them and amongst her jewelry was a little sterling silver bracelet that fits the wrist snugly I had given her 33 years ago. She used to wear it all the time, literally. She decided to give it to me to enjoy. I have it on and wear it all of the time, day and night.
Lastly, my summer window boxes are planted. As with the spring pansies, these flowers make me happy and even smile, every time I pull into the driveway.

If you like to write, here's a good giveaway

The Pen Addict is give away a pen with a twist, my friend Sue, would love it for its novelty!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ezra and the really fun day

I'm finally getting a minute to write about my fun day with Ezra, Saturday. I had lots of activities planned for us, and we usually do some but not all of them. The line up of possibilities included: tracing his hands and making a bouquet of flowers out of them, making a Mother's Day card, watering my flowers and planting his (earning money for those Wolverine Claws, they're not sharp), trip to the farmer's market and breakfast at Sweet and Savory.
We headed out for our trip to the FM and note to self, we meander and it takes longer that way. He loves to look at everything along the way, I, on the other hand am usually a more efficient traveler. We did find a nickle to add to the bank. Not a lot happening at the FM now but I did get red spinach (my fav), some radishes and a chunk of cumin Gouda cheese. The woman who prepares food is not there yet, so no cinnamon roll for Ez. We got there too late for the buffalo we planned for dinner, so we got buffalo brats.
Sweet and Savory offers breakfast and lunch, Ezra opted for a breakfast of pancakes and some oj. He poured his own syrup ( I forget he is FOUR and can do these things).
He played with a little Spiderman character that I had gotten some time ago at McDonald's that spits water (thankfully we didn't use that function at the restaurant).
Mr. Spitter was employed to water the plants when we got home. He decided that he wanted his plants we started from seed to go in HIS yard, not mine, so they were a gift to his mom for Mother's Day. I had some cookie dough left from Easter so we made heart cookies, too.
I traced his hands on yellow, blue and white cardstock and had seen a cute idea of bending the hand around a straw and flaring the fingers back to look like a lily. I though this would make a great, lasting bouquet. I got the hands cut out and began assembling. His lip started to quiver and he said he didn't like his hand that way, could I cut off the straw? He didn't want a flower, just his plain hand. So cut it off I did and placed the cut out hands in a card that Ezra wrote the "E" on and scribbled a little flower. Funny boy, who would have guessed this would have been upsetting?
We played outside with an imaginary lawnmower (rake) and tried to toss tennis balls into a bucket. It was a beautiful day, with this beautiful boy.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Back to art

Now that Derby fever has died down, I'm working on my 4x4 project for the byhandartists yahoogroup Quietfire inspired swap. I like so many of Suzanne's quote stamps but lately I've been enjoying her crows plate. I embossed white cardstock with her crows brass stencil, which caused it not to scan so well, so a photo will have to do. I did a background on glossy card stock with denim, lettuce and wild plum alcohol inks and cut it 3 1/2 x 3 1/2. This is mounted on one of three different cardstocks, one is the black corrugated shown here, the others are two different greens. I tend to buy one sheet of cardstock I like which means I never have enough for a group project. But, really I like each of the different colors and it keeps me from feeling like I'm an assembly line. I stamped the music score from the plate onto white cardstock and used my cuttlebug balloon die to cut out word balloons. I trimmed them a tad on the "tied" end of the balloon, to look more like a word balloon than a birthday balloon.
The music score is stamped with Adirondack Lettuce, Fresh Ink Steel Blue and Chalk Ink Wisteria. The word "crow" is stamped with Archival Black.
The embossed portion was glue to the back ground and I popped the music "bubbles".
The back has a crow stamp and my most used quote of Suzanne's.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The sweet things in life

I've admired this ring, or one like it since my friend Sue found one on Etsy. I shared it long ago with my sister, Richey. Yesterday, there was a package for me in the mail. I love packages in the mail, one of the sweet things in life. I think I host so many swaps so my mailbox will often be filled with beautiful things. In this miniature cardboard box, tied with precious tiny pink bow, was this beautiful ring, just my size.
It went right onto my finger where I hope it can live under the latex gloves of my work days so I can always keep it on. It is beautiful in so many ways. The shiny, silver nest, bright and new, twisted and woven like years of sisterhood and love, holding blue eggs, the color of my sister's eyes, a reminder of life and hope. A gift from a person who is a gift to my life,

even more so in recent months.

My sister is waiting patiently (most days) for a double lung transplant. She's tethered to an oxygen hose that follows her around the house like a snake. She is the bravest, strongest, good-natured person I know. So incredibly funny, you can't help but be crazy about her. She is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her first grandchild in August so she will be a "Gigi". I hope each day the phone will ring to call her to Emory. She got a call in January, went through a painful day of testing and preparation, was under anesthesia in the OR when the doctor pronounce the lungs unfit for transplant, even though they had passed several preliminary scopes and testing. Whisper a sweet prayer for her.
This beautiful ring, from this beautiful person, both wonderful gifts I will treasure always. Oh, the sweet things in life.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I'll be back to art next week, but for today, The Kentucky Derby

We were lucky enough to get passes to the Derby today and decided the city bus was our best transportation. It stops 4 houses down and returns us practically at our front door! Avoiding traffic, paying amazing amounts to park in someone's yard blocks away from the track, and an even longer walk than the bus stop proved to be the tip of the day.
To our surprise, Amy's friends, the Kissel girls, and a whole load of friends met us at the stop. Emily is a fantastic seamstress and had fashioned head wear for all of the gals. I must admit I was jealous of her great creations, especially the one with the little bird.
While rain was predicted, and it DID rain all night, we didn't have a drop fall on us.
We had a great time, even cashing a few tickets, seeing some people we knew, getting close enough to see horses in the paddock and a wonderful look at some pretty hats and dresses before we headed back home long before the start of the Derby. If I'm going to watch it on a screen, I'll take the one in my bedroom, thanks. Oh, the luxury of passes.
Enjoy these pictures of the day. Oh, and no, I didn't have the winner, though all day I talked about how much I love Calvin Borel. He is just the most enthusiastic, emotional person. I'm happy every time I see him win. I even liked the name of the horse as my youngest son calls me "J-Bird", but, still, I passed on it. Too bad.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Oaks Day

I didn't go to the Oaks today, but instead got ready for a trip to the KY Derby tomorrow. I doubt we'll stay until race time, predictions are for cool, rainy day, but we'll go for awhile, because we have passes! So, today, I decorated a barrette for hair adornment, instead of a traditional hat. I have a lovely Frank Olive hat my friend, Karen, gave me and I may wear it, if I wear the pink and brown skirt and coat, but not in a downpour with no seat. It can also go with this pink and black tweed jacket and black slacks. They were both "donate items" from a consignment shop where Karen works. I don't know why someone didn't buy them. I thought they were cute as can be! The jacket is part of a skirt suit. Anyway, I think my decorated barrette can substitute and still be festive. My friend, Dee, will get a kick out of it, it is a step up from my past Derby weekend hat which usually came from K Mart and had some flower candle rings (that could encircle a taper candle) pinned to it as decoration. We always got a good laugh out of that. Dee was meticulous with her hat creations. I'm better with paper.