Sunday, July 22, 2018

Feeling a little crabby

When I started the journey into outdoor art shows, I had no idea how far I would have come in a few short years. This will be a series of 3 paintings of crabs. 

I started the sepia series in 2009 to the remark of my oldest saying, 
"Mom I don't know if I like that so much." she continued,
 "I mean it's not bad, but I'm so used to your color." 
They were also framed in simple wooden frames that I got from Michaels in raw wood. 
I had to paint each one twice, once in black, then a dark brown, quickly wiping them back to slightly distress them. They took the 12 x 12 canvases that are shallow depth and sometimes they actually fit into the frames easily! Other times, it was a battle to find a canvas that would fit a frame. I resorted to a numbering system for the canvas and matching frame. I also had to mark the tops, because the canvases only fit a certain way. You get the gist, a LOT of effort.

I told her lets see how they go over at the Arts and Crafts in Fairhope. 
That spring I presented a total of 6 pieces 3 turtles, 3 shells, and sold them all within 3 months.
Maybe something here.

That summer I frantically tried to find as many of the frames as I could to no avail. 
I painted what I had and took them to the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores. We had great success with them at that show. 
I knew though that I had Peter Anderson coming up in a few weeks and wanted more. 
I was in a pickle because I knew they would do well in Mississippi.

I finally contacted a great manager at Michaels and explained my dilemma. 
She attempted to locate them, and found a scant few. 
She was diligent however and located 34 more of them in California. 
I said please ship them all!

I was a little taken aback when confronted by the rather large boxes that contained my frames.
Now, not only did I need to paint them all, but I needed to fill them with artworks.
After several weeks of hard work and effort, I had them all finished. 
What I did not realize was the amount of room these frames took up in the vehicle we were using. They measure about 16 x 16 finished and 2 inches deep. We put them in stacks of 8. At the time, I was driving a 2001 PT Cruiser. After you load the tent, framework, sides, chairs, luggage, card rack, print rack, and other various items there is scant room to sit! The frames are not indestructable and easy to dent as well. We once ran over one with a car as they were drying in the driveway!

The long and the short of it was they were a smashing success at the show. 
I covered an entire wall with nothing but the shadowbox frames and their corresponding canvases. This was one of the shows my mother was at as a helper. 
We had no less than 3 people come back for the same painting in a space of 15 minutes! 
My mom and I were almost in disbelief. 
The shadowboxes made it to a couple more years of shows before I just could not keep up with the demand and the amount of time and space they took. It was also at that time I decided to stop framing anything altogether and went to deep edge canvases instead, giving me a cleaner look.

I happened to have 3 of these frames left from that period in my art career. 
They hung in my dining area with a delta scene split into them. 
They were usurped last year by my dachshund collection that now hangs in the space.
I will finish these and probably put them at the gallery downtown here in Fairhope.

Feeling a little Crabby, 12x12 canvas in shadowbox frame. Acrylic
Day 21 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

King of the food chain

The American Alligator is a beast that can grow up to 11 feet!
 I cannot imagine coming upon a gator that large. 
The one they call Chuckie at the Gulf Coast zoo actually escaped 
for a time after hurricane Ivan. 
I've photographed him and he is huge!
Alligators can reach 1,00 pounds as well. 
They love to congregate but cannot regulate their own temperature. They must bask in
the sun to warm up, or go in the water to cool down.  Speaking of water, they can travel 
up to 20 mph while swimming, but only 11mph on land. I once worked with a guy that said they got taught how to outrun a gator by zigzagging. 

The females lay 10 to 50 eggs and stay nearby to protect them. When it comes near the time for hatching, the female will uncove the nest to make it easier for the babies. 
They come out at about 6 to 8 inches and are full on eating machines.

I have eaten alligator as well and if cooked correctly they can be a harvested meat. I've had it done well, and also eaten it tough to chew. The first time I had it was in Louisiana and I have not had any to compare since then.

King of the food chain, 24 x 24 shadowbox canvas, Acrylic
Day 20 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018   

Friday, July 20, 2018


I can only imagine what a turtle thinks when he sees a diver underwater.
Although there a viral video of a diver actually being harassed by a sea turtle wanting ahem,
apparently a  little amore. It is rather fun to watch, because the diver is clearly surprised, then carefully pushing it away, then getting annoyed just a bit. 

I have been surprised by a turtle myself twice while paddle boarding in the bay. 
The first time, I was quietly enjoying my morning paddle the morning of the National Shrimp festival set up a couple years back. The sun was just coming over the trees and everything had that beautiful sunlight washing everything in it's path. I was  headed toward the pier and admiring the light, when a head popped up out of the water. The light coloring on the neck was all aglow and I got eye contact. Then, just as soon as it appeared, it disappeared under the surface. I thanked God for the encounter with one of his beautiful creations and continued my morning. 
The second time was really startling to me. I was about 20 minutes into my  paddle adventure. I had come out early in the morning to get a head start on my day. I had paddled under the pier, around the end, and was headed to the end of the beach where the duck pond is located. I changed sides and was about to dip when the juvenile turtle came up right next to my board, took a breath and slipped beneath the surface. I was absolutely elated that I had the opportunity 
to see this beautiful creature up close. 

We all have had these close encounters, 
the bird flying toward your car so suddenly you duck because you think he's about to enter the car and do a fly by! A turtle crossing the road, that you help along on his journey. The red tailed hawk crashing into a tree after a squirrel. Human encounters that take your breath away, like the woman that admires your dachshund shirt and you end up having a delightful conversation about her fur babies long since passed. She was in a wheelchair, and was shocked I took the time to squat down, talk and listen to hear in the middle of Target. I get the human encounters frequently as I talk with people while they are painting and I learn a lot!

Our opportunities are everywhere, we only have to open our eyes and ears to the messages God is trying to send us, to talk with that person, listen to the child, to help someone load their groceries into their car, to pay for someones groceries when the father is 
frantically looking for his wallet left at home. 

I love it when God uses me!

Startled, 24 x 24 Acrylic on canvas
Day 19 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018
Retail $325

Thursday, July 19, 2018


Turtles are my wingman. Any time I want to paint, but am not quite sure what to paint, 
sea turtles come to my rescue. 
My girlfriend who is also an artist, says I could paint sea turtles in my sleep!
I really enjoy them and the beauty and serenity they represent. 
I want to swim with turtles some day, photographing them underwater 
so I would have lots more references. I have a great deal of references from diving friends and from the Sea turtle hospital in Marathon Florida. I have been invited to go to the lab in Mississippi and photograph them there. In the business of life I managed to lose the card a gentleman gave to me several years ago at Art in the Pass.

This turtle happens to be a green sea turtle. 
They are called green because their skin has a greenish hue. Their shell or carpace is almost heart shaped and dark in color. They start out life at about 2 inches, but can grow to 5 feet making them one of the largest sea turtles. They weigh almost as much as a vending machine! (700 pounds) 
As babies they eat invertebrates like crabs, jellyfish and sponges. When they become adults, they prefer to be herbivorous and will eat sea grasses and algae. They are known to sun themselves on the beach as well. They reach breeding age between 20 and 50 years old. 
They can live for about 100 years. 

Green turtles were almost hunted to extinction in the 1800's for their meat and 
fat that was used for turtle soup. There is a large turtle museum in the keys dedicated 
to the turtle industry. They are still considered endangered.

Wingman, 12 x 24 Acrylic on canvas,
Day 18 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018
Retails for $195

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Beautiful Intruder

Everyone knows of my love for these beautiful fish. Not because they're good for our environment but because they are so pretty. The stripes on them seem to be various patterns, at least they are under my brush!

However they are an invader to our beautiful Gulf now. It has taken them about 20 years, but they went around the tip of Florida. They are also headed north, up the Eastern seaboard as well. Divers are having a field day catching them, but it is a never ending game of cat and mouse. These fish can go deeper than any diver ever could. I believe some of them have been found at depths of 1000 feet!  Eradicate them one day, back the next!

We can fight back though, by eating them!

The intruder, acrylic on canvas,  12 x12
Day 17 of the 100 days-100 paintings 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

National Emoji day

This basically how I look after a long week of working with kids at the art camps.
My husband laughs because I look so confused at the end of the day!
Anyway, I am stretching canvases today and have not even lifted a brush, 
except to help 12 children clean up their paintings during class!

Kids always have a tendency to use entirely too much paint and have to be reminded over and over. 
I love to watch how much kids enjoy painting, even if I fuss just a little!

I'm done, No you're not you missed several spots. X 12
I'm done, Why do I still see newsprint? X 12
I'm done, Did you paint the bottom? X 12
I'm done, No now you need to get the excess paint smoothed out. X 12
I'm done. No now you need to clean your brush. X 12
I'm done, Did you clean up your area? X 12
I'm done, did you wash out your water dish? X 12
I'm done, did you wash your hands? X 12

I have to laugh because their greatest joy it seems is to get to have snack.
Can I have snack?, Not right now, we have to wait for the other kids to finish.  X 12
Can I have snack?, We have to finish our project first and clean up. X 12
Can I have snack? , We need to paint the background for our project tomorrow. X 12
Can I have snack?, When the other kids are finished. X 12
Can I have snack? After  you clean up. X 12
Can I have snack? After throwing brush in sink and spilling paint water on floor. X 12
Such are the joys of teaching!


MY Emoji, 8x8 Acrylic on canvas
Day 16 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

Seahorse duo

So the show season acceptances have started, much to my delight! 
I have been accepted into 2 new shows, been wait listed for one that I will probably get into as well.
 I have to set up my tent for a new booth shot that is leaner and cleaner, with no decoration or furniture visible. Funny thing though, one of the shows I've been accepted into used the booth shot I gave them and gave approval, while the same festival company for a later show wants a new booth shot. Such is the life of an artist trying to expand their horizons. The shows I've applied for involve another swing into Florida, this time on the West coast. All in all, if accepted, we'll be down into Florida for about a month in January. We will spend our 40th anniversary 
down near Tampa and at a show.

 I am so grateful for a husband that supports the shows and the trips. 
He views it as a vacation with a little work in between. He also gets to eat well at shows, that is if I do turn a profit. If I don't do well, we eat sandwiches at a local sub shop. 
If I do well, it's steak on the menu!

Most people don't realize the shows that a lot of artists apply for are juried. This means we pay a separate fee for a judge to look at our images and either invite, decline, or wait list. The wait list can be nerve racking as it means you may not get a call until the night before a show. Fortunately, I have been accepted into the majority of the shows I've applied for this year, being wait listed only once for our local show only to get in at the last minute. I am currently wait listed for a show in North Alabama as well in October. Then there are the booth fees. Artists will have thousands of dollars tied up in booth fees for months in advance if they apply to several shows. 
We throw the dice, but God decides where they land! Proverbs 16:33

Artists may have some issues with getting reservations for a show at a hotel as well.
 They either require a deposit or payment in full, if you can get one at all! 
Our problem is even greater in that we camp to save on expenses. 
The snowbirds usually have the campgrounds filled up to a year in advance. I once had a note recently to reserve a campsite on a specific date for next year. When I got to the site for reservations, there were only 2 sites left in the entire park! Fortunately, I got one of them. I also tried to get a campsite for a show in October in Destin Florida the day I was accepted. The campsites were ridiculously priced, but also full! I finally got a lead on a new campground on a horse farm that was surprised when we made a reservation for October. I have also booked a site for a show I cannot even apply for until November as the show is not until May! I've also prepaid for a campsite in April of next year as the show is in the same park. (fingers crossed I get in!) 
We stayed at a delightful family owned campground this year and made reservations for next year in advance. I was then able to book a site on the island at the state park! This site will  cut our driving time down to about 5 minutes instead of 30 one way. Unfortunately I need to call and cancel our other reservations, fortunately they did not require a deposit in advance.
We may even be able to ride our bikes to the show!
Many hours searching for shows, applying, paying , then praying!
Anyway you look at it, an Artists life is an adventure. 
I cannot imagine the one's that travel all year, going from show to show and state to state.
I get a headache just thinking about it!

Today's painting is "Seahorse duo".
 I took an extra photo to show the way the big seahorse works into the box portion of the canvas. I paint these works in place, which has a tendency to shock people as they think I paint then stretch the canvases. It's what I do, painting in, out and around!

Seahorse duo, Acrylic on custom shadowbox canvas, 12 x 24
Day 25 of the 100 days~100 paintings 2018