Gourd and Apples

This is a gourd that we grew many years ago in our garden in Ohio. I grew quite a few and sold them at the farmer’s market or gave them away, but this one has been hanging around. At first, I wanted to paint it and make it a birdhouse. I have decided to leave it as it is. It is a very cooperative and beautiful model. The apples are Gala’s that I got from Publix. They were delicious, of course. Behind the gourd and apples is hanging a magnificent purple scarf that I received as a gift, one year, when I was working for NCR in Lake Mary, Florida, way back in the late 1980’s. It is such a beautiful scarf and such a lovely shade of purple that I use it quite often for photo shoots.

I am slowly working on my Gypsy Man oil painting.

Last night, I was taking the trash out after it rained and saw this. I took a quickie with my phone. I wish it looked as wonderful as it really was…

I chose the following poem because I was thinking of purple. This poem is very purple to me and seems to go with my purple scarf.

I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

-- William Butler Yeats

Gypsy Man — Drawing

Well, it is finished. I actually ended up using charcoal and white pastel on this, so, technically, it is a mixed media piece of graphite, white charcoal (which is not really charcoal), regular black charcoal, and white soft pastel. He is a 12×16 drawing on toned pastel paper, smooth side.

Below is the reference photo that I used. I hate sharing the reference, because people (including me) compare every detail. I am not a copy machine and I don’t want to be, but I find myself stressing over the small stuff. If I don’t look at the reference, I can like the drawing for what it is and not what it is not. But, I felt led to share it, because I could not get in touch with the photographer. So, the reference photo, below, was taken by Pierrie Gonnord. You can find an article about him, here.

Now, to work on that painting…

Gipsy man, O gipsy man,
In your yellow caravan,
Up and down the world you go —
Tell me all the things you know!

Sun and moon and stars are bright,
Summer's green and winter's white,
And I'm the gayest gipsy man
That rides inside a caravan.

-- Dorothy King

Gypsy Man WIP

I am working on this painting that I am calling “Gypsy Man” for want of a better title. The photo was taken by Pierre Gonnord, a French photographer living in Spain. His photos reminded me of our own interactions with gypsies when we lived in Spain. One of these days I need to write a story about that. Well, I am working on a painting and a drawing at the same time. The painting is a little larger than life-size. The drawing a little smaller. I am really struggling with it. But, hey! Don’t I struggle with everything! LOL! Anyway, I just wanted you all to know that, yes, I am still working on art. Just very slowly.

The charcoal sketch on a 16×24 gessoed MDF panel. I tried to mix some burnt umber into the gesso and it was too dry to actually mix into it, so when I applied it, the burnt umber was in lumps and smeared onto the panel. LOL! It looks like woodgrain. Oh, well. It works. It will be covered with paint.
A half of a first paint layer. I loved the charcoal sketch so much that I was afraid to put the paint over it. It was hard. But, I think I will like it in the end.
I loved the charcoal sketch so much that I decided to work on a graphite portrait of the same man at the same time.
Slowly but surely. It helps me to have the eyes done quickly. I don’t know why. They are not completely done, but enough to make a difference.

I must confess that I am a little shy of showing my process. I am of the same feeling as Norman Rockwell. He said that he could never work with someone watching. Me, too! It just about locks me up. This last time that I was painting outdoors with people going by, I didn’t accomplish a thing.

Well, back to the ol’ drawing board…

I don’t think there’s any artist of any value who doesn’t doubt what they’re doing. — Francis Ford Coppola

A Drink of Water

Momma. Graphite and white charcoal on tinted paper. 12×16

Bedtime was eight and, as I lay there in the dark, I listened to Daddy play the guitar. Momma was in the kitchen. The boys were probably fast asleep after a day of perpetual movement. “Momma!” I yelled with sudden inspiration.

“Yes?” I heard her voice from the far reaches of our military housing in Germany. We lived in a nice apartment with army-issued furniture. The sound of her voice echoed slightly, but it was still a beautiful comfort to me. “Yes?”

“I want a drink of water!” I don’t remember ever asking for a drink of water when I was in bed, before. Maybe I just needed to see her face and hear her voice one more time before I went to sleep.

“Just a minute” she said from the kitchen.

When she did not immediately appear, I yelled again. Perhaps she heard a little note of fearful desperation in my voice. She came quickly and found me sitting wide-eyed in the bed. She stopped in the doorway and smiled. “A minute is when you slowly count to 60.” Then she returned to the kitchen.

I slowly counted and she was back with my water before I got to 60. I drank. She rubbed my back. I handed her the glass. She kissed me, hugged me, tucked me in, told me she loved me, and left.

I slept.

A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them. — Victor Hugo

A Breakfast Show

The sun was lying gently on the water tower and the trees as I stirred my little pot of morning oats and gazed out the kitchen window. Just as the peak of the roof across the street got its kiss of light, an impatient and hurried white-haired fellow hove into view with his two little dogs, as he does every morning. One appeared to be a chihuahua and the other seemed to be a wonderful mix of schnauzer and dachshund with the most comical walk. He had such short legs that he looked to be in a desperate hurry, which must have gratified his hasty human companion. As the man and his beasts tramped the street, a crow was languishing in their path. The dogs were willing to engage said crow, however their master would have none of that. He took his usual position of quickly walking toward his destination, which I presumed must be home, coffee, and breakfast. He looked neither to the right nor to the left. As they progressed, the crow lifted himself up and slowly landed upon a post in a yard to their left, mocking and scorning with all his might, to the infinite frustration of the little doggies. In no time at all, Master yanked the leashes and poured forth a lecture on the evils of pulling. The dogs very politely and earnestly gave ear to their beloved and, immediately upon resuming their walk, were dive-bombed by the naughty crow. Whereupon, pulling commenced with as great a force as two miniscule canines could accomplish. Master, appearing to realize the futility of trying to stop the wild behavior of his charges, set his face like a flint and headed for home with the two warriors flailing at the ends of their leashes and the crow making their lives miserable. As they disappeared around the bend, I smiled and longed for my own dearly departed doggy. I dished up my oatmeal, sat at the table, and watched out the window for the next dog and pony show.

The bond with a true dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth will ever be. — Konrad Lorenz

The Heavens Declare…

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. — Psalm 19:1

This is the landscape that I am the happiest with in my entire artist career. My spirit lifts when I look at it. I have always been easily overwhelmed by the bigness of creation. I remember coming around a curve on the interstate in West Virginia once, years ago, and being confronted with mountains and bursting into tears and praises. I can also be overwhelmed by the minutiae. I have been known to burst forth into song over the luscious juicy experience of eating a ripe peach warm from the tree. I wish I could glorify God with my art better than I do. He is so beautiful!

The Heavens Declare The Glory of God. Oils on 16×24 panel, $525.

The highest glory of the creature is in being only a vessel, to receive and enjoy and show forth the glory of God. It can do this only as it is willing to be nothing in itself, that God may be all. Water always fills first the lowest places. The lower, the emptier a man lies before God, the speedier and the fuller will be the inflow of the divine glory. — Andrew Murray

Maaah the Ewe

We just recently watched the movie “Babe”, again, for the umpteenth time. I love everything about that movie. I love everything about that farm. I love the colors, the design, the story, the characters. I want to be just like Mrs. Hoggett when I grow up. LOL! Maaah is one of my favorite characters. (They are all my favorites.)

Maaah the Ewe. Oils on 8×10 canvas, $250.

In my early 20s, a friend and I worked for a few months on a sheep farm in New Zealand. Working with ewes, I learned a lot about the power of wool – how it keeps you cool when you’re hot, warm when you’re cold, dry when you’re wet. — Anthony Doerr

Pink Lady of Camelot

I have a coffee table book with an awful lot of photos that I had never seen of this lady. This one really struck me. I really like another one, also, but it is spread over two pages with the spine going through her face. (!?) I have been working on her for months. I finally decided to get ‘er done. I tried to be loose about it, but it is hard not to get caught up in details to the detriment of the overall picture. What say y’all? (Y’all? I am back in the south. LOL!)

Pink Lady of Camelot, 11×14, oils on panel, $350.

I’ll be a wife and mother first, then First Lady. — Jackie Kennedy

Tufted Titmouse in Oils

Tufted Titmouse, 8×10 oils on canvas, $250.

I did a quick charcoal sketch of this particular bird, the other day, in preparation for this painting. I haven’t seen one of these lovely birds since leaving Ohio. Their territory does extend to south Florida. I hope I do see some, soon. I enjoyed painting this.

The morning was a cup filled with mist and glamor. In the corner near her was a rich surprise of new-blown, crystal-dewed roses. The trills and trickles of song from the birds in the big tree above her seemed in perfect accord with her mood. A sentence from a very old, very true, very wonderful Book came to her lips, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” — L. M. Montgomery, Anne of The Island

DIY Wet Canvas Carrier

In an effort to get more into painting in the great outdoors, I decided to make a convenient way to carry wet paintings. I priced ready-made ones, but decided that I could make one for free that would work just as well. It may not be as purty, but who cares?

So, I got my equipment out: leftover packing boxes, Elmer’s Glue-All, box cutter, Lehman’s Hardware ruler, a colorful variety of duct tape scraps, and canvas for measuring gaps. I made it to hold 8×10’s right now. If I need a larger size, I can always make another one.
Ta-dah! I painted it with acrylic paint. I was surprised how well the paint matched the green duct tape. The box is very sturdy and has some weight to it. I am debating on how to attached a strap to it. It would be nice to sling it over my shoulder so that I can have my hands free for other things. (Like fighting alligators?)
It holds four and they easily slide in and out with very little wiggle room.
I left room between them so that I could reach in without touching wet paint.
It can sit like this on a table or shelf and act as a drying rack for the paintings. I thought it turned out very nifty.

This is a quick little charcoal sketch of a tufted titmouse.

Also, did you notice the new Shop in my webpage menu? Click on it and it will take you to my Fine Art America site where you can buy prints or merchandise with my art on it, like coffee mugs, pillows, t-shirts, tote bags, etc. I can only have 25 artworks up at a time, so, if there is anything that you want that is not in my shop, please let me know and I will take down one and add the one that you want. Please look it over and shop ’till you drop!

Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping. — Gertrude Stein