Monday, August 20, 2018

Simply Shrimpy

Simply Shrimpy is a grouping of five little paintings. 
The only problem is the phone won't let me post them together in a line like I wanted.
I painted shrimp like this for the National Shrimp Festival~Eight Flags on Amelia Island. 
Chris and I had the best time at that show back during the first weekend in May.
This was the weekend after the Melbourne Festival of the Arts.
Melbourne was a successful show and I was panicked, painting that week at the campsite. 
 The shrimp were well received, with all 8 I painted sold!
I even had a woman purchase 4 of them as a grouping for a shelf. 
I'm still shaking my head over that one!

I've also gotten in trouble over shrimp, or the lack thereof. 
I was at the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama several years ago. At a lot of these shows there are patrons that purchase certificates for the purchase of artworks. I had a woman come in to my booth asking if I had shrimp paintings for sale. She really liked my style of art and wanted to purchase one for the Alabama Seafood industry. I had to tell her I'm sorry but no shrimp paintings.
She looked at me and said "Well it is the SHRIMP Festival" I said yes mam, you're right!
Lesson learned, I'll have shrimp from now on.
Although I had a shrimp painting that took two years to sell!

Simply Shrimpy, 3x3 inches, Acrylic on canvas
Day 50 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Sunday, August 19, 2018

One, two, three, Nursery!

Sometimes an artist just wants to have fun!
These were definitely the ticket.
Several months ago, our Youth pastor at church was having a baby and I wanted to do a gift for them.
I told them I wanted to paint the baby something and the Mom to be said she had the perfect thing she wanted. She handed me the sheets and asked if I could paint the animals from them. 
Very easy, or so I thought! The first step was to find the right paints and transfer them to canvas. 
They were done as single animals on 3 canvases. 
I ran across the photo of the paintings and thought , this is the perfect thing for our baby in India!

I transferred these to the smaller canvases, and altered the giraffe to fit. I also added them in numbers One, Two, and Three. I love how they turned out!
They were a delight to paint.
Hope mommy loves them too!

One, Two, Three, Nursery! Acrylic on canvas, 4 x 12
Day 49 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Juvenile Sea Turtle

Another long day for me!
I'm used to them though, the long days that is. 
What I am not used to is a day spent at my sewing machine. 

I was a professional seamstress before I started painting. 
I made good pocket money while working from home and I enjoyed being my own boss. What I did not enjoy were overly picky customers, (you just cannot please some of them!) People who thought I charged too much, (I tried to make $5.00 an hour) I also did not enjoy the time it took away from the kids during the summer. I worked in a factory where they tried to slow my speed by giving me the garbage jobs, but I always figured out a way to increase my speed. (Our pay was based on output, and they did not like that I could always increase my pay.)
I was also a seamstress for a local bridal shop, and made Mardi Gras costumes for several months with two different companies. Needless to say, I sewed a lot! Chris even purchased a heavy duty Pfaff that at the time was already 20 years old probably. The beauty of this machine is the chain drive. No belt, this thing is a beast, doing an average of 1500 stitches a minute at full speed. It also has a 1/3 horsepower motor, and a knee lift pressure foot. I LOVE this machine!

The sewing came to a screeching halt February 3, 1993.
We were hit in the rear of our van by a drunk driver while we were at a dead stop.
The story is long, but we were all in the van. Myself, Jessica, and Christina were all taken to the hospital by two ambulances. Chris drove himself and our son, Jere to the hospital himself. After 5 1/2 hours on a backboard, I was pronounced with just whiplash. The girls fared better, Christina was just scared most of all, but Jessica was tall enough that she had a mild whiplash herself. 
What I did not know at the time, was I had two herniated discs and nerve damage in my right arm from the seatbelt. I was almost useless as a mom for a few days, and totally unable to sew because I could not look down easily.

Out of all this adversity, God had the perfect plan in place.
About 8 months after the accident, life was almost back to normal except for me.
My right hand had two fingers frequently going numb, I still could not sew,  and I was bored out of my mind.
For my birthday, I asked for Oil paints and started painting, which was something I had done as a child. I enjoyed painting and started going to a class to be with others and to learn. I paid for classes by working in the frame shop and it was a good fit. Working at the frame shop next door to Alabama Art Supply, I was asked to help out for a week and it ended up becoming part time job as well. 
It also introduced me to a world of better art supplies and books of techniques that I devoured.
A few months in, I sold my first painting and 
Brushstrokes & Brilliance was born at an Arts Alive.
I've now been painting for 25 years and I really LOVE where God's plan has led me!

Juvenile sea turtle, Acrylic on Canvas 12 x 12
Day 48 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Friday, August 17, 2018


Majestic is another lionfish in the series on 12 x 12 canvases.
The background color is white not yellow.
I am really starting to plan now for the fall shows.
We are going to be super busy!
I've been juried in to Jubilee festival the last weekend of September in Daphne.
This one is a quick turn around, We get home from India on Wednesday, the show set up is Friday!
The next one is the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf shores October 11th-14th
Next up is Kentuck in Tuscaloosa, Al October 20th & 21st
The week after that, I've gotten into Mattie Kelly Festival in Destin, Florida
Then Peter Anderson in Ocean Springs, MS November 3rd & 4th~Pending

Full slate of shows.
We'll see what happens!
In the meantime, I'm tired after getting up at 4:30 again!

Majestic, Acrylic on canvas 12 x 12
Day 47 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Galaxy of Starfish

A group of starfish is called a galaxy or a constellation.
I love to paint them because of all the textures!

A few Starfish facts:
They have no brain or blood.
They can live up to 35 years! 
They are actually not a fish, they are related to sand dollars and sea urchins.
There are about 2000 different types of them. Most have 5 arms.
They can regenerate a limb, but it may take up to a year.
They have suction cups to hold on to food, but their stomach exits the body to digest 
and then goes back into the body. (Ew!)

I did not know a lot of those facts myself. 
I just love to paint them!
I once had a happenstance at Peter Anderson with a starfish painting. I was with my mother and she really enjoyed seeing me sell my works. The first afternoon of the show, we were particularly busy, with people in and out of the space and some sales. This young woman came in with her stroller and walked around quickly, then said as she was exiting. "I just got here, but I really like your work. I'll be back soon, I just got here and want to see the show." Great! I said. (I nodded to my mom, who just shook her head. That day had seen several "be backs", that had not come back.) 
We both just smiled and went on with our day.
About 15 minutes later, Stroller lady reappeared and quickly put several pieces on my table to purchase. At the time, I hand wrote receipts and had a knuckle buster so sales took a few minutes. I was writing the sale up, when another woman rushed in, looked around quickly and pointed to the starfish on the table and said "Is she buying that starfish?" Yes mam I replied. I finished with the first woman and the disappointed  lady was standing at the other side of my booth. I said "Can I help you?" She replied "I'm just guarding my paintings." "I said you can take them down." 
She said, "No I 'd rather you do it for me."
She selected two pieces and as I was writing them up, another young couple ran in and said, 
"Where's the Starfish?" I said about 15 minutes down the way.
"We came back to get the starfish." the couple said sadly. "It reminded us of our honeymoon"
I had packed up the other lady by then, and sent her on her way. The young couple went out, trying to get the next piece they had decided to purchased.
The booth got quiet.
I looked at my mother and she said, "Did that really just happen?"
"Yes mam!"
We both shook our heads then burst into peals of laughter.
So many memories of starfish.
I still have a starfish I got at about 7 years of age while living in the Philippines in the mid 1960's.

A Galaxy of Starfish, Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 36
Day 46 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Octopus in the light

The day started early, 4:30 am to be exact!
This was so we could walk the beach for turtles at Orange Beach, Alabama.
We got to the beach at about 5:30 and had a wonderful time walking.
Unfortunately, there were no crawls this morning.
Our last walk for the year.

I spent a lot of time in the studio today just painting canvases white. The backgrounds on my sepias are white Liquitex soft body acrylic that I purchase by the gallon. 
I buy the gallon just simply to make it last longer, because I don't want to spend my art time running to the store. I store a small amount in a ziplock container that keeps the air out. 
This allows me to pour out what I need, closing the gallon quickly.
If you don't use it quick enough though, it will go bad on you. 
This means it will smell awful, or get super gloppy and gooey. 
There is almost nothing that will bring back acrylic paint that has gone south. 
Make sure you have the lid closed tightly, after all you spent a small fortune on that gallon of paint!

I also went to teach a class this afternoon with my girlfriend, Linda Scott. We have a great time teaching together, helping people to create fun works of art! This class was in Foley, about 30 mins from my home in Fairhope, Alabama. The class took about 4 hours out of the day, but was a delightful time spent with a good friend and a fun time was had by all. 

I then came home to a short nap, a quickly cooked dinner of shrimp and salad.
Then back to the studio to paint.
Or at least, to try to fix the computer.
Wait computer,What?

Last night we had a terrific thunderstorm move through our area. 
It struck extremely close and took out our power.
What I did not know, was that my monitor and speakers also received a blow.
Anyone who knows me, knows two things about me.
One, I am much better with a brush than a computer!
Two, I try to be a good steward with my money. 
This morning when I came to the studio to work, there were no working speakers, (so no Pandora!) and my monitor went into shut down mode when I tried to turn it on. I was beyond upset, the last time I managed to earn extra money, I had to buy a new printer.
Now it seemed I might have to  spring for  a new monitor and speakers.
I finished the day with teaching and dinner then headed to the studio to paint.
I thought about the computer and became resolute in trying to fix the problem. I removed the laptop from it's docking station and starting untangling wires and checking connections. After 30 minutes of frustration that I admittedly don't handle well, I snapped the laptop back in place.
This time, when I turned it on, the Monitor came to life and the speakers had the familiar Windows jingle. I then held my breath as the computer downloaded a new update.
After a few nail biting moments, the screen filled with my shrimp boat photo. 
I then tried Pandora and it worked!
Thank the Lord! 
The electrical system lives to drive me crazy another day!

Octopus in the light, 8x8, Acrylic on canvas
Day 45 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Octopus in the darkness

While octopus love to hide in dark secluded areas, I don't have a fondness for the dark. I get injured in the dark, running into things that have placed themselves in my way. I've also miscounted steps going down from my studio in the dark. Fortunately,  I had a firm grasp on the rail and caught myself, only twisting a finger instead of my neck.

I was in the studio this afternoon when this very noisy thunderstorm came through from the North. The closer the storm line came, the more the lightning increased. This scared both me and the dachshunds. Even our partially deaf one was trembling as she could feel the vibrations from the too many, way too close lightning strikes popping all around us. One particularly close strike and the power flickered. The next really close one, (you know the one where you almost feel the snap, see the flash, and jump out of your skin thunderclap simultaneously.)That one apparently took out a transformer, so then went the power. I now had no lights in the studio and darkness is approaching with a vengeance.

I also had an unfinished octopus to paint. Undaunted , I brought out the light switches from our booth set up and finished the painting. The life of an artist is an exciting one indeed!

Octopus in the dark, Acrylic on canvas 8x8
Day 44 of the 100 days 100 paintings 2018