The Bathouse at White Oak Farms

This was painted from a photo I took at the beautiful White Oak Farms in Mount Vernon, Ohio, a while back. This thing must have been 20 feet high and big enough to hold an awful lot of bats.

Oils on 8×10 canvas: $250.

Photo provided by Pixabay
Twinkle, twinkle little bat
How I wonder what you're at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea-tray in the sky.

-- Lewis Carroll

Autumn Barn

I know, I know… It is not autumn. I just liked this photo that I had taken of a barn across the road from us in Ohio. I took a lot of photos of that particular barn. It was always there, looking good, when I took Toby out for a walk. (Oh, I miss him…)

Oils on 8×10 canvas, $250.

This past week, I decided to give painting outdoors another try. I have only done it one other time, in Ohio, in front of my garage of the field across the road. So, Ron agreed to accompany me and we loaded up and took my stuff to the clubhouse here in the park. This park has about three good sized lakes and one of them is across from the clubhouse. I looked around and decided to paint the clubhouse, so I set up and Ron set up the chairs and he sat down in the sunshine. I was under a big old oak tree. I got to painting. People rode by in their golf carts and cars and walked by. They all looked at me, but few said anything. One guy stopped and laughed and said, “That alligator really has his eye on you.” Then he took off. I looked around and didn’t see anything, so I just kept painting. We were out for about an hour and I decided that it was time to go. As we were packing up, Ron saw the alligator. We were on the edge of a small, dry retention pond. The alligator, which was about six feet long, was sunning himself on the other edge, about 50 feet away. He was well camouflaged by all the grass and stuff. We were glad to be on our way home. LOL! I don’t know if I will do it, again. Not because of the alligator, but because it is such a big job to get all my stuff set up and then to break it back down and load it up. We will see.

The years rolled their brutal course down the hill of time. Still poor, my clothes still smelling of the horse barn, still writing those doubtful poems where too much emotion clashed with too many words. — Paul Engle

Scene From Our Window

This is what we see from our living room window. Well, not all of what we see. Using artistic license, I left out a LOT! The mobile homes here are so close together, that I could not get it to look right when putting all the stuff in the picture, so I made it look like there was only one home. Basically, I was loving on those trees…

I have a feeling I will be doing quite a few paintings of those trees. I love them. The big one is also a rookery, which I want to capture at some point. This is an 8×10 oil on panel which was done wet on wet.

This morning, I started soaking some quinoa for lunch and as I stirred it, I was fascinated by the pattern of the grains swirling in the water. So, got the camera and took some shots.

The quinoa was good, by the way.

I started reading Murder at the Washington Tribune by Margaret Truman, but I gave up. I got almost a quarter of the way through, but found myself wincing and not feeling good, so I decided not to read it. If you enjoy gritty hard crime thrillers, then they may be for you. I want to feel good when I read, so I go for cozy. I have decided to start Jan Karon’s Mitford Series again. So cozy, fun, and relaxing. I have a hardcopy of the bedside companion, which I quote from, below. But, in the meantime, I present my latest psalm to the Lord.

Of all situations for a constant residence, that which appears to me most delightful is a little village … with inhabitants whose faces are as familiar to us as the flowers in our garden; a little world of our own, close-packed and insulated like ants in an ant-hill, or bees in a hive, or sheep in a fold, or nuns in a convent, or sailors in a ship; where we know every one, are known to every one, interested in every one and authorized to hope that every one feels an interest in us.

How pleasant it is to slide into these true-hearted feelings from the kindly and unconscious influence of habit and to learn to know and to love the people about us, with all their peculiarities, just as we learn to know and to love the nooks and turns of the shady lanes and sunny commons that we pass every day.

… nothing is so delightful as to sit down in a country village in one of Miss Austen’s delicious novels, quite sure before we leave it to become intimate with every spot and every person it contains.

— as quoted by Jan Karon (from Our Village by Mary Russell Mitford) in her book The Mitford Bedside Companion

Laughing in the Wind

This is a charcoal sketch, about 8×10, on charcoal paper.

I have not found my missing paints, yet, but I am sure that they are watching me search for them and they are mocking me. LOL!

I am reading book two of the Isabel Dalhousie series by Alexander McCall Smith called “Friends, Lovers, Chocolate”. Book one: “The Sunday Philosophy Club” and this one are okay, but I don’t think I will continue in the series. They are not all that great for me to take the time to read them. A while back, I read his first book in the 44 Scotland Street series, which is the name of the book, also. I remember that it was rather boring, also, and I just didn’t pursue the series and forgot about it. What got me started on this series was that I got book two of the Isabel Dalhousie series for free on the cart outside the library bookstore. So, I wanted to start the series with book one and checked it out at the library. It was okay. I had the second one, so I thought I would give it one more chance. Chance over. Moving on.

The next book on my To Read list is a little locally published book called Dandelion: The Triumphant Life of a Misfit by Sheelagh Mawe. It was published around 1985 at a small publisher here in Orlando. It appears to be a children’s book, but we will see.

After that is my first foray into the thrillers of Margaret Truman, President Truman’s daughter. The one I have (free) is Murder at the Washington Tribune, written in 2005. I didn’t know she was still alive in 2005, but she published a couple more books after that.

A cheap old spiral notebook.

I am learning to use and love Bullet Journaling. I tried it a couple of years ago and it didn’t work for me (or I didn’t work it). I have been trying, all my life, to get my act together, so I came across this again and thought I would give it another try. It is working so well! I am amazed! If you look up Bullet Journal on the internet, you will find some of the most complicated and fanciest things around. That is not what I wanted. I need simple and flexible and, as Ron says, dynamic. And this is it. There is an ebb and flow about it that makes it live and it fits my scatter-brained style. I checked out the book by the creator of the bullet journal, called “The Bullet Journal Method” by Ryder Carroll, and that helped me get it up and running. I just could not use any of the tutorials online that had so many fancy stencils, lettering, drawings, colors, etc. You would think, as an artist, that I would love that stuff. I love to look at other people’s artistic bullet journals, but, for me, I need simple and plain. My art is separate from my bullet journal.

These are just a couple of pages that I would show, but I didn’t want to share what I had written, so I blurred them. But, you can see how plain they are. I do use a little color, but not much.

Mamoo finally had some pictures hung in her apartment. They will not allow anyone else to do it, they must do it themselves and it took them a long time to get to it. I would never have put them over a window, but that is really the only place available in the living room. It looks okay, considering… She likes it. And it looks much better than them sitting on the floor, leaning on the wall.

Closeups of my art that is on her walls:

I hope everyone is well and enjoying God’s beautiful art everyday.

Husband and wife are having a literary discussion whereby she voices her opinion and asks him if he understands her position. He says, “I hear you.” She says, “That is not the question that I asked.” He says, “That is not the answer that I gave.” — Anonymous (for obvious reasons…)

Picture of a Pitcher

This is a painting of a pitcher that I love. I just love collecting pitchers, mostly little ones, but this one is pretty big and lusciously curvy. I love it.

Pitcher with Tomatoes, oils on 11×14 canvas, $295.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, while planning my plunge back into oil painting after a couple of months, I was getting my supplies out and discovered that I am missing several large tubes of paint. I don’t have my black, ultramarine blue, burnt umber, and one of my whites. I don’t know what could have happened to them. LOL! Ron and I have looked this place over several times. Oh, well. I am learning how to paint with a limited palette, against my will.

I finally got around to reading the Miss Buncle series. I thought there were three, but there are four: Miss Buncle’s Book; Miss Buncle Married; The Two Mrs. Abbots; and The Four Graces. So good! Especially the first one. Miss Buncle is a spinster living in a small English village in the 1930’s. Due to the economy taking a dive, she loses her investment income and needs to find a way to make a living. After batting around a few ideas with her faithful servant who has been with her since she was a baby, she decided to write a book. She can’t think of anything to write about, so she writes about her village and the people in it. She gets it published under a pen name, John Smith. When the book comes out it all hits the fan! So funny. I highly recommend these books and any other books by D. E. Stevenson.

We woke this morning to a frost. Wow! The first frost in our new home. I opened the blinds and looked outside and said, “Is that frost?” LOL! Yes. Yes, it was. So, I took some photos, but you can’t really see it. Oh, I guess you can in the neighbors yards to the left. You can also see, across the street, some sheets on plants. It is warm out now (2:10 p.m.).

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Winter Walk with Mamoo

Mr. Beloved and I took Mamoo for a walk and I decided to take my camera this time. I wanted to get some photos for painting. I got a few good ones. Here are some of the photos that I took. We walked on the campus of Lake Port Square, in Leesburg, where Mamoo lives. Winter in Central Florida brings lots of wind, but this day was rather calm. It was very bright and sunny, but it was dark under the trees.

Winter in Florida….

There are some things that you can fulfil with money, but at the end of the day these are not the things that make you happy. It is the small things that make life good. — Sebastian Vettel

The Light Shines

Greetings from VCMFA in sunny and relatively warm Florida! It is already difficult to remember being cold. LOL! I mean really cold. Here, it is “cold” when it is in the 60’s. It is the middle of January and we are having sunny days and wind, but no real cold, although I do see people wearing winter clothing.

So, I have had a painting in my mind for a few months and finally decided to give it a try. It did not turn out how I was thinking, so this one is not that one. But, this one is very nifty and I like it a lot. This one is for sale, however. I have been reading The Westminster Confession of Faith and ideas for paintings have been swirling in my head.

The Light Shines in the Darkness (John 1:5), 16×20 oils on 1 1/2 inch deep splined canvas with painted edges, ready to hang or can be framed: $495 for pickup or local delivery. It should be dry in a week or two.

I have been working on a commission:

And practicing my oil painting on an old scrap canvas. Some of you loyal followers may remember me doing the painting in the bottom left of the canvas. I had also started a painting of lilacs in the bottom right, but gave up on that. It is been over a year and I decided to tape it off in small squares and do some little practice paintings. I thought I would fill all the squares with difference poses from my trusty apple friend, but I got bored with that and ate the apple and found various other things. At one point, I was trying to think of something and spied a victim out the window in front of me:

I finally finished the canvas. It was fun and I think it is a fun one to look at. It is big, about 24×30.

I have also discovered a new author: Gladys Taber. She wrote lots of books about her beloved home in Connecticut called Stillmeadow. Such lovely writings. I am reading The Book of Stillmeadow (1948) right now. It is a year, starting in November, of all that goes on around the old homestead. So nice and relaxing and funny and beautiful. Check her out at your local library and let me know how you like her.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. — John 1:5 (ESV)

Some Recent Scribblings

How I Came to Love Jane Austen

by Virginia C. McCoy

It was the mid-1990’s and I was incapacitated because of back problems and my husband was very graciously borrowing books from the local library for me. Somehow, he came to bring me the book “Pride and Prejudice”. I had heard of it and, perhaps, I had even asked for it. I don’t remember. But, here it was and I dived right in. I was expecting great things. I had heard that it was a classic loved by many generations of voracious readers. I licked my lips and prepared for something delicious.

I was overwhelmed by the silliness and the ridiculousness of this horrifyingly stupid book! I could not believe it. I threw it down and huffed and puffed with indignation. They call this a classic? What a waste of paper! What a piece of trash! I can’t believe that people like this. Intelligent people have praised the works of this author. Why? I never made it through the first couple of chapters before I gave it up as impossible. I talked trash about it for many years afterward.

I don’t remember when I picked it up, again, but I did. Why? Well, because people kept saying how wonderful it was. I thought I would give it another chance. It didn’t work. It was just as silly and stupid as before. I shook my head and vowed to turn my back on Jane Austen for good.

Some years later, I came across “Sense and Sensibility” and gave it a try. I don’t know why, I just did. I have my own brand and variety of silliness, you know. So, I started this book and it seemed to be a little on the ridiculous side, also, but I kept going and it grew on me. Soon, I was deep into it and loving it. After I finished the book, I took some time to savor it and meditate on it. I decided that Jane Austen was not as bad as she seemed.

Some time later I tried “Pride and Prejudice” one more time. Suddenly the light came on and I got it! I got it! Oh, so wonderful! Jane Austen is so good! Her wit and wisdom was overwhelming and so entertaining. Oh, those silly people in her books are such nitwits and I just love to look down my nose at them. What fun! How could I have not liked this book so many years ago?

Even later, as I have aged and, hopefully, grown a little bit wiser, I have come to see myself in those silly people. So convicting!
Recently, I read a book written by a man who encountered Jane Austen out of necessity because it was assigned reading in a college class. He had almost the same experience, being in hate with her and growing to love her. He shares all that he learned from her, also, which was considerable. The book is called, “A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter”. I recommend the book, but must give this caveat: he uses the Lord’s name in vain once close to the end of the book. I do not agree with all of his applications of Jane’s wisdom. I don’t even agree with all of Jane’s wisdom. But, as always, harvest the good, leave the rest.

I had the same experience with “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte. I tried to read the book many times over the years. It was certainly not silly and ridiculous, but it was dark and heavy and difficult for me to enjoy. I just could not make it very far into the book before giving up. One day, I came across the BBC miniseries starring Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke from 1983. It was a little difficult, but I watched the whole thing. Oh! Oh, Oh! I get it! Now, I understood the story and the whole point of the thing! Oh, so good! I love it! Jane Eyre is one of my many favorite books, now. I always cheer her on and come away encouraged and uplifted. My beloved husband, who does not get it, yet, just recently sat through it with me for three days of watching Jane Eyre. He is a good man.

Now, for a confession. I am in the time of my life, and have been for many, many years, of hating “Wuthering Heights”. I think it is a ridiculous waste of paper and time. No plot, nothing good about it, stupid characters, I don’t get it. I am hoping that I am wrong and come to that turning point, soon. However, I have vowed never to open that book, again. I even got rid of my copy. But, I can get it for free on my kindle…

How I Came to Love Jane Austen

by Larry L. McFall, Jr.

In 2006, we took a chance at a junk store, when living in Virginia, and bought a cheap, used copy of the 1995 BBC mini-series. I don’t think we had even read it (or any Jane Austen) at that point.  Anyway, it sat on the shelf for quite a long time until, after a particularly long day, Monica and I put the kids down one night and crawled down to the basement, flopped on the sofa, and cranked up episode one.  I figured, “Hey this is about 45 minutes long.  I can stay awake THAT long before dragging my tired carcass upstairs to bed!”  Well, we slid the VHS tape in and our lives have never been the same.  After the first two episodes that night we took a short break, scrambled upstairs to grab some snackies, and then right back down to meet Mr. Collins.  We kept saying, “Let’s go to bed after the next one.”  It didn’t happen.  We stayed up that night all the way until Darcy came clean and claimed his prize. We’ve been enjoying “P&P Weekends” in our family ever since.  I’ll admit, I’m the driving force behind those.  I love it.  My family loves it, too (although maybe a little less than I do) and we laugh out loud, still, at all the insanity of Mrs. Bennett and cringe at the improprieties and impetuosities of so many wonderfully colorful and convicting characters.  I hope I never grow tired of it.    

I (Ginny) have been in a poetry writing mood, recently. Here are some verses from this past week:

Psalm 119:143-152
Things may look bleak, dark, distressing,
All beyond our control,
But my delight in Your Law and Your Word
Lights the expanse of my soul.
Your Holy Word is eternal and sure,
Make me to know it and live.
I ask You, I beg You, I cry to You, Help
Me take of the hope that You give.
The world twists and tumbles around me,
Enmeshed in all wickedness.
But, with You, O Lord of hosts, my God
There is surely peace and rest.

Confession & Thanksgiving -- A Haiku
I am one who walks
In counsel of the wicked.
I do not wish it.
Please forgive me, Lord,
Out of your loving-kindness.
Thank you, my Father.

To Love You
O Lord, would you that I meditate with delight upon your word?
Aid me in the accomplishment thereof.
For I am in need, the greatest need, of your wisdom and your truth.
Dispose me, enable me, you to love.

Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights. — Psalm 119:143

Blossom in the Night

I have a few photography books, mostly from thrift stores. When I get them, I usually go through and mark the photos that I want to draw/paint someday. This was one of them that I marked a couple of years ago. I finally did it in colored pencils on black paper.

I am working on an oil portrait that I am rather excited about. And I am about to start another oil painting. Not a portrait or a landscape or a still life. Something new for me. We shall see…

Life is the flower for which love is the honey. — Victor Hugo

Morning in the Desert

This morning I wanted to do a pastel pencil picture on 9×12 black paper, so I looked through all my photo books and found a photo of petrified trees in the desert in Namibia. It is not pastel pencils, however, because I didn’t think my black paper could handle it, so I did it with prismacolor colored pencils.

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. — Isaiah 55:12